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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.


American’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, 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 ove4r them, which induces me, more than anything else, to speak of it. If the law does not prohibit the blockading of streets, I think it would be far better for the Common Council to pass an ordinance to that effect, than the ten hog law; for if either is a nuisance, the one which I refer to is the greatest. Signed M.


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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 [Democrat], 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 17th, 1840.


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.


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.


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.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, January 21, 1853
In accordance with the invitation of our city, Gov. Matteson, the members of the Legislature, and the Judges of the Supreme Court, came down yesterday, upon the [rail] cars. They turned out en masse, and notwithstanding the day was not of the finest, they had a very comfortable and pleasant ride. The cars were well filled, but not to excess. and the sage law-makers of Suckerdom unbent their brows a trifle, and indulged in the well told anecdote, the keen repartee, and the hearty laugh, like common folks. New beginners improvised new campaigns, while the older members "wept o'er their wounds," and "showed how fields were won." Arrived at Alton, our guests were escorted to the Franklin House, and set down to the groaning tables of Mr. Bliss, that were heaped with all the luxuries and delicacies of the season. We saw the tables, before the guests had taken their seats, and they presented a truly splendid appearance, and fully satisfied us that the worthy host was master of the art gastronomic, and has a fine eye in decorating and setting off a public table. His effort was creditable to himself and to the city. After having taken the "rough edge" off from hearty appetites, the following regular toasts were offered by H. S. Baker, Esq., of Alton, and were received with enthusiastic applause:

[Their toasts:]
1. Our Guests - The pride and talent of our State - a cheerful welcome makes a hearty feast. Drank with applause.
2. Illinois - The Prairie State of our Union - rich in soil, and rich in minerals - with steam, water, horse, and intellectual powers, may she never sell her birthright for a mess of pottage. Drank with applause.
3. The Governor of Illinois - Chosen for his wisdom, and honored for his virtues - In his first official act there is seen the index of the giant map of things to come at large. Gov. Matteson responded, by offering, as a toast, the continued prosperity of our beloved State, &c.
4. The Members of our Legislature - Administrators de bonus nom of 1836 - may they settle up the estate so as to leave something to their heirs. Applause.
5. Ex-Gov. John Reynolds - Speaker of the House of Representatives - though often honored by his fellow-citizens, yet honored not enough with a hearty and a hale old age, he is not without that respect which should attend it. The "Old Ranger" responded in a happy off-hand style; stated that he had lived many years in Illinois, and in dark days, and times of but little seeming hope. But now he was witnessing the realization of all his hopes, and the fruition of good to his loved Prairie State.
6. Illinois Railroads - With judgment, wisdom, and discrimination they are destined to place us in the vanguard of the commercial world. Mr. Egan, of Cook county, made some happy remarks, in which he complimented Alton, and was responded to by Mayor Hope.
7. The Judiciary - The expounders of our Laws - upright, intelligent, and independent - the strongest bulwark of our liberties. Judge Caton being called upon, very cleverly "shifted the responsibility" upon Judge Trumbull, and the latter made such a handsome little speech, as we all know he can make, whenever called upon.

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


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, 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 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 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 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 Weekly Courier, June 24, 1853
We are pleased to learn that the Hibernian Benevolent Society [an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization] of Alton have determined to celebrate the coming National Anniversary in a very appropriate manner. They intend preparing an immense tent, or covering of tarpaulins, upon the high bluffs of our city (probably the high point above the Penitentiary), and will have a fine dinner. Good speakers have been invited, and Gen. Shields and Hon. D. L. Gregg are expected to be present. The Hibernian Societies of St. Louis have been invited, and will be up, and a band of music has been secured. This is a grand movement, and the Hibernians of our city will do the affair up right. They by no means intend to confine the celebration to themselves, but invite the other Benevolent Societies, and the people generally, to meet with them. We hope the Altonians will not be backward, but celebrate the Fourth in the joyous, good old-fashioned way. Let the stores, shops and warehouses be closed, and all determine to make it a holiday.


Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 12, 1853
We took a stroll about the lime works, under the bluffs, a day or two since, and collected some facts and figures that we think will be of interest to our readers. The lime business is thought to be considerable, but we are not prepared to find it carried on as extensively as appears by the following: The principal lime manufacturers of Alton and Messrs. C. Trumbull, John Lock, and some gentlemen in Hunterstown, their agents being Messrs. Mitchell & Hollister. Mr. Trumbull takes out about 800 bbls., Mr. Lock 300, and Mitchell & Hollister about 300 per week - a total of 1400 bbls. of lime per week, during the season. Up to July 30th, Mr. Lock has taken out of his kilns 8,000 bbls, and has burnt 680 cords of wood. Mr. Trumbull has burned over 15,000 bbl.; other manufacturers in proportion. Lime barrels are required in large numbers and are furnished from Upper Alton, Jerseyville, Kane and Wood river. Mr. Lock has also a cooperage connected with his shop. Barrels are scarce, and rising in price. The manufacture of these barrels requires many workmen, and affords a sale for all the refuse stock of the cooperages, which would not answer for "tight work," as flour and pork barrels. The price of lime will average 95 cts. per barrel the year through. It is a cash business, and the capital employed very quickly tuned - at least once per month. The profits are very fair. In fact, at 80 cts per bbl., and at present prices for wood, empty barrels and labor, the business would be at least ordinarily profitable. The demand has so far, exceeded the supply this season by more than two thirds. The manufacturers have 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: Alton Weekly Courier, December 2, 1853
Early on Thursday morning a young man, a drayman [man who drives a cart], was stabbed during a drunken row by another man, supposed to be a drayman. The occurrence took place at the grocery on the corner of Third and Piasa streets. The wounded man lived about twelve hours after the affray. An examination was held on Thursday, before Justice Pinckard, and was continued over to yesterday, in order to await the verdict of the Coroner's jury; and which was, that the deceased was willfully murdered. The Coroner's jury also signed a document addressed to the City Council, petitioning that the grocery where the murder was committed should be shut up. The accused party was remanded to jail, to await trial. His name is Flannagan. The name of the deceased was Causley.


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


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


Source: 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.


ALTON TORNADO - June 3, 1860
Source: Vincent's Semi-annual U. S. Register, Jan-Jun 1860, pages 486-489
From the Alton Courier
The most destructive storm in this section of the country that has occurred within the memory of anyone, broke upon our city Saturday evening [June 3, 1860] and in a matter of minutes destroyed property to the amount of scores of thousands of dollars. The track of the storm through the business part of the city lies between Belle and Henry streets. On and west of State street the damage done to building is very slight, confined to the throwing down of two or three chimneys and one or two stables. Here as well as elsewhere the shrubbery, fruit-trees, shade trees, etc. suffered to a considerable extent. The "Courier" office, for which so much apprehension was felt, escaped uninjured. Our loss is confined to the bindery, and is but slight, occasioned by the tearing open of a trap-door in the roof. Farther up the street, beyond the Piasa Foundry, was the principal scene of disaster on Belle street. Here, in the creek-bottom, are about twenty small houses, occupied by twenty-five or thirty families, mostly Irish. At sunset there was scarcely enough water in the creek to make a current; when the storm was at it's height the water must have been at least ten to twelve feet deep, tearing on with almost resistless force. Some three or four of these houses were torn in pieces, three or four more swept from their foundations, and all of them filled with water and mud. The affrighted families fled with what they could carry, in very few cases saving more than three-quarters of their household effects, and in some instances hardly escaping with their lives. Still farther up the road in the neighborhood of the toll gate, some damage was done by water, but very little done by hail or wind. The road is very much washed in all places, all the way to the Buck Inn. In the insurance office neighborhood, the traces of hail first began to be much apparent, the insurance office having very many panes of glass broken out, and other houses having suffered in this respect to some extent. We remarked two or three chimneys down, also a stable near the house of Dr. Wood. The main damage hereabouts is upon the shrubbery and fruit and other trees, and it is very severe, not to be estimated in dollars and cents. Dr. Wood, Mr. Kellenberger, Mr. Moses Atwood, Robert Smith, John Atwood, Judge Billings, Capt. Adams, H. I. Baker, Mr. Wade, Dr. Marsh, Mr. Metcalf - all these, and, in fact, everybody in this neighborhood, have lost much in this respect. Mr. Smith's yard and garden particularly are very much damaged. The house building for cashier Caldwell lost it's chimney and part of its roofing. In Hunterstown, the German Catholic Church, corner of Third and Henry Streets, built last year at an expense of about $6,000, is almost a complete wreck, the basement and part of the front wall alone standing. From the two story brick building standing directly opposite, belonging to Mr. Coppiner, the roof was partially lifted, and a small frame building near it was damaged by a falling tree. Farther up Henry Street, opposite the German Protestant Church, a frame story-and-a-half house, about finished, for John Callacombe, was torn completely to pieces. Lower Middleton suffered considerably, both by hail and by wind. Captain James Starr's house lost a couple of chimneys. James Newman lost a chimney and a stable. J.C. Underwood lost a stable, and had both gables of his house blown out, damage say $800. A new story-and-a-half frame house opposite Mr. Dimmock's was badly wrenched, but not blown down. A story brick house, also opposite, occupied by Mr. Spreen, is a wreck: loss $1000. Seth T. Sawyer's house lost it's roof and part of the back side-wall: $500. Mr. Johnson's house lost a couple of chimneys. Joseph Spray, porter of De Bow & Son, living back of the African church, had the upper story of his house taken off, and a part of it carried two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet: loss $350. A small stable nearby was wrecked. A small frame house in front of, and a short distance from, the church building for Mr. Waples by Mr. McCorcle, was blown from it's foundation and badly sprung. Thomas S. Coffey's house suffers, by loss of it roof and other wise to the amount of $500. Mr. Coon's house has damage, $150. Mr. Waple's home has a chimney and one corner down. Dr. Hope's stable was scattered over an acre of ground. All through this section of the city there is no small loss of trees and shrubbery, very few property owners escaping. There are also several houses damaged to the amount of from $20 to $50 or $60, by falling limbs or parts of other houses. In Second Street, the residence of Dr. De Leuw, a short distance above Henry Street, has a chimney down and also the front of a one-story wing. Arnes's new brick store and residence has the lower gable-end out. Kohler's seed-store has part of its front down. One of the old shells in Cary's Row is demolished. The lower gable-end of Joerges' fine brick house is out. One of the back gable-ends of the Alton house is out. The Baptist Society were burned out but a short time ago, and now are out again. Ryder's three-story building lost its upper story, in which the society have been worshipping for several weeks. It is said that this building was struck by lightning. The city building lost more than half of it's tin roof. The front firewall of the building occupied by Blair, Ballinger & Co., Adams & Collett, and Ferguson & Gawley, was partly blown off. The river gable-end of the store formerly occupied by Adams & Collett was blown out. Part of the river front of Pickard's store is down, as is also, one gable of Malachi Holland's Liquor Store. The steeple was blown off of the Episcopal Church. It is said that the church is almost a total loss, the walls being very much sprung and cracked. The church cost about $12,000. The organ is ruined. The steeple was also blown from the Methodist Church. The roof was considerably hurt by it's fall, and the interior is also somewhat damaged. The loss cannot be less than $3000. The house of D. Simms was also completely crushed by the falling steeple of the Methodist Church. It was worth $1800. The back end of the Depot is blown in. The destruction of awnings, signs, &c., in the entire business part of the city is very great. A dozen houses or more in this part of the city, the names of whose owners we did not learn, lost chimneys. The front gable-end of the Illinois Iron-works is blown out, and the building is slightly damaged otherwise. No loss in the city is commented upon with more and warmer expressions of sympathy than that of "The Democrat" office. The building was new, yet hardly finished, and Mr. Fitch moved into it only a week ago, just a week ago on Saturday evening, opening it with a gathering of his friends. And it is now all gone, the most complete wreck we ever saw. We know how Mr. Fitch has labored early and late in his profession here and elsewhere for many years, through what discouragements he had attained his position as head of the leading Democratic paper in this section of the state; and, knowing all this, and appreciating the public spirit which led him to put up so fine a building in these times, we share the general sympathy felt for him. The building, presses, engine, and stock, and all is completely wrecked: the entire loss must be at least $8000. The Geo Bachter Office was moved into the building on Saturday, as was also the German Bindery; and of course, the entire stock of these establishments is a complete loss.

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

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

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


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, November 29, 1861
About 1 o’clock yesterday morning, the engine house of the St. Louis, Alton, & Chicago Railroad was discovered to be on fire. In a few moments after, the whole building was in flames. The fire department was promptly on hand but too late to accomplish any practical result. The building and all that it contained was consumed in a few moments, including three locomotives. The loss is supposed to be something over $20,000. It is not known certainly how the fire originated, but it was most likely from a stove in the house, which had been left with fire in it about two hours previous to the fire breaking out.


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. 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.

We are informed that Mr. Patterson, the proprietor, intends to commence immediately to repair the damage caused by the boiler explosion yesterday morning, and that he will probably be prepared to resume business in his machine shop and foundry within a few weeks.


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, 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, 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 manufacturies. 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.


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, 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, 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, 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 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 five 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 Fifty 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: 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.


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.


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


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 13, 1867
The supper and festival at the Alton House last evening in honor of the completion of the Alton & Upper Alton Horse Railroad [horse-drawn streetcar], was largely attended by citizens of both places, and a most delightful season was enjoyed. The gathering was select. Many ladies, especially from Upper Alton, graced the occasion by their presence. Hon. Cyrus Edwards presided with his usual suavity, and Judge Billings acted as vice President. The banquet is spoken of in enthusiastic terms. It comprised every delicacy, in season and out of season, and was served in admirable style. The host of the Alton House certainly added to his laurels as a public caterer, on this occasion. The toasts proposed at the table and the responses thereto were equally felicitous, and added in no small degree to the pleasures and sociability of the evening. The following is a list of the toasts offered, as furnished us by the committee:

1. Motive and Locomotive Power: In celebrating the event that calls us together, let due credit be given to the gentlemen who exerted the motive power that caused the Alton & Upper Alton Horse Railway to be built - Messrs. Edwards and Clawson.
2. Horse Railway Carriages: Coaches for the people - in which the poor as well as the rich can ride at the same cost.
3. The Altons: May the union by bands of iron lend to a more perfect union under one city charter.
4. The Alton Sisters: Now unified by a cord of iron; may it be bound as impolitic to sever this union as it would the cord that connects the Siam brothers.
5. Railing Between the Altons: May it be so profitable to both places as to end all other unprofitable railing.
6. Our Stockholders: May the upper and nether Alton railway - like the upper and nether millstones - grind them out a good grist of dividends.
7. Railroads and the Magnetic Telegraph: The two greatest inventions for the increase of comfort and wealthy in this century.
8. The New Viaduct Between the Altons: The natural chasm having been spanned may the social one no longer exist.
9. Alton and Upper Alton: Now that they are united by a two-horse railway, let them no longer be named as one-horse places.
10. To the Board of Directors of A. & U. A. H. R. R.: The citizens of both places tender their most grateful thanks.
11. The Horse Railway Charter: Let the "sp____" [unreadable] clause, which provides for extending the web of rails over both Alton's not be forgotten.


Source: The New York Times, New York, February 19, 1868
Feb. 18. Flackenecker's grocery-store, and three or four adjoining buildings in Alton, Ill., were burned on Sunday night. The loss is about $15,000. The insurance has not been ascertained.

[This was probably Leonard Flackenecker, who also owned an upholstery store in 1852 on "Third Street, opposite Belle Street," in Alton. He was also listed as an "old settler" of Alton in 1874, and was born August 29, 1804 in Germany.]


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, Alton, IL, May 1, 1868
About half-past five o'clock yesterday afternoon the brick "drying house" of the Wooden Ware Works was discovered to be on fire. The alarm was at once sounded, and in a few moments the Alton engine was on the ground, and was vigorously at work. A large number of men were, also, engaged in deluging the house with water from buckets, but no amount of water seemed to have the slightest influence on the flames. The house contained six separate compartments, or kilns (each of which was filled with staves and headings) and the walls were without windows, hence it was found almost impossible to get at the fire, so as to play upon it effectually. In about an hour from the time of the first alarm the Washington engine arrived on the ground, and was station at the pond near the Methodist Church, where it rendered efficient service. But although three streams of fire were kept playing upon the fire constantly, still the dense volumes of smoke and steam issuing from the building showed that the flames were but little effected by the deluge of water. At nine o'clock the roof of the building fell in, after which time the firemen were able to play with more effect upon the dense mass of fire within. But it was not until after twelve o'clock that the flames were so far subdued as to render it same for the engines to leave their posts. At one time it was feared that the fire would be communicated to the main building, but owing to the wind's being from the south and to the great exertions of the firemen and citizens, this great calamity was obviated. Too much praise cannot be awarded to the firemen, and the citizens who assisted them, for the perseverance and energy they manifested throughout. Hour after hour the brakes went steadily up and down without a moment’s cessation, until the labor was no longer necessary. And there was no excitement about this "manning of the brakes," but it was hard, monotonous work, where grip and grit were alike needed. We take pleasure, also, in testifying to the efficiency and zeal of Chief Engineer Pfeiffenberger and his assistants in directing the operations of the firemen and citizens. It is a difficult matter to ascertain exactly the amount of the loss, as it will be mostly, indirect. The building was divided into six kilns, and in each kiln were 2,000 feet of prepared, or 12,000 staves in all, almost ready for use. The value of this material was about $1,200. The building cannot be replaced for less than $2,500. There was no insurance. The great loss, however, is in the suspension of business which will be necessary on account of the disaster. Very nearly all the dry material that the factory had on hand was consumed, and consequently no work can be done until a new "drying house" can be built and new material prepared. This will require at least a month, all of which is a dead loss of time. The company have the sympathy of the community in their loss, especially as it is the third time the have suffered in a similar manner. They have won the reputation of making the best wooden ware in the west, and the entire trade will regret to learn of their misfortune.

[The Wooden Ware Works was established by Althoff and Stigleman at 7th and Piasa Streets, in a building 112x80 feet, three stories, two of stone and one of brick. It had one tub and one bucket lathe, and other corresponding machinery, with forty to fifty workmen employed. Located at Seventh and Piasa Streets in Alton, IL. Later, in 1873, this building housed the Hughes and White Roofing Tile Factory.]


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.

Source: The New York Times, November 2, 1868
From St. Louis, Mo., Saturday, Oct. 31. Five men attempted to rob the First National Bank at Alton, Ill., early this morning. While they were at work drilling the vault, Mr. H. Filley, a private watchman, arrested one of the parties, who was outside watching, when the remainder of them attacked the officer, cut his head dreadfully with a steel bar and shot him through the heart, causing instant death. The robbers then escaped, leaving behind them all their tools. One thousand dollars reward is offered for the arrest of the murderers.

Great Excitement in Alton!
Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, November 6, 1868
Friday night [October 31, 1868] was one long to be remembered in this city. There were at least five or six distinct attempts at burglary; the last one, at the First National Bank, ending in a terrible tragedy: the death of Mr. M. H. Filley, the private night watchman for that locality.

At about four o'clock this morning, several persons in the vicinity of the First National Bank had their attention aroused by cries of "murder," and by the discharge of firearms, and some two or three on looking from their windows, saw a struggle going off between several men near the side door of the bank. The first persons who reached the spot found night-watchman Filley lying in the street in a dying condition, and saw three men making their escape with all the haste possible.

It appears that the burglars had forced open the side door of the bank, and also the iron doors of the vault, but had been unable to open the safe. Mr. Filley, it is presumed, while on his beat, had heard them at work and had gone around to the side entrance, when one of the villains rushed from the building and attacked him. Mr. Filley succeeded in overpowering him, and had thrown him to the ground, when the noise of the struggle brought the other burglars to the scene, and they joined in the assault. Some three or four shots were fired at him by the two men who last came up, on of which took effect in his breast. The robbers then fled in different directions. One of them was tracked quite a distance up Short street [western end of W. Broadway] by pools of blood, which led to the supposition that he had been injured in the encounter with Mr. Filley. An overcoat was thrown aside in the street by one of them, which also was bloody.

It is thought that the two men who came to the first burglar's assistance were not in the building, but were on the watch outside. It was found, on examination, that Mr. Filley's revolver had not been removed from the holster, hence he must have wounded the burglar in some other way. Mr. F. lived but about eight minutes after assistance came, and was unable to give any account of the affair. His body was taken to the Franklin House, where a post mortem examination was held this morning, which show that death had ... beaten on his ... and the back part of his head with a crowbar. A Coroner's inquest was held this morning by Justice Quarton, but the jury, after hearing the evidence and examining the remains, adjourned until tomorrow to await further evidence, before rendering a verdict.

Mr. Filley was a faithful and reliable watchman, of excellent private character, and his terrible and brutal murder, while in the discharge of his duty, has shocked the whole community.

To return to the burglars: Every effort was at once made to catch the murderers, but they effected their escape. It is supposed that they went down the river, as someone stole a skiff from some fishermen on the riverbank. Besides the overcoat dropped in the street, two other ones were left in the bank, together with a large black carpet-sack, containing a complete set of burglar implements. Nothing was obtained at the bank but a small quantity of nickel coin.

In addition to the above tragedy, the store of J. H. Maupin on Belle street was entered, the thieves effecting an entrance by removing a pane of glass from a back window. In this case, the burglars had made a prolonged but unsuccessful effort to open the safe, and had finally taken their departure through the back door without, so far as Mr. Maupin can discover, taking a thing. The next attempt seems to have been made at the rear of Sneeringer & Templeton's store, where a shutter was taken off a window, but no entrance effected. The residence also of Mr. John S. Topping was entered, but nothing was known of the affair until this morning when the doors were found standing open. The thieves had ranged through the lower part of the house, but Mr. Topping's family have so far missed nothing. An attempt was made to enter the residence of Mr. Drummond, which was unsuccessful.

Funeral of M. H. Filley
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 2, 1868
The funeral of Mr. M. H. Filley, which occurred yesterday from his late residence on State Street, was the largest which ever took place in this city. The ceremonies were under the charge of the Odd Fellows, of which the deceased was a member. Rev. Mr. Jameson officiated. The procession to the Cemetery was very long. It was preceded by the band, playing a funeral march. The Fire Department was largely represented, and the Mayor and Common Council attended in a body. The grief-stricken family of the deceased have the sympathy of the entire community.

Coroner's Verdict
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 2, 1868
The following is the verdict of the jury summoned by Justice Quarton to hold an inquest over the remains of M. H. Filley:
"We, the undersigned, members of the Coroner's jury, investigating the cause of death of M. H. Filley, which occurred about four o'clock a.m., October 31st, near the corner of State and Short streets near the First National Bank, came to the conclusion that the cause of his death was from a pistol shot, the bullet passing through the heart, necessarily causing death in a few moments. The same being done by parties unknown to the jury." J. J. Mitchell, Foreman

Alton Bank Robbery and Murder Confession
Source: The New York Times, November 20, 1868
From the Missouri Democrat, Nov. 16. Marshal Keck of Kansas City, and Detective Wright reached Alton with their prisoners, St. Clair and Kelley, on Saturday evening, lodging them in jail without trouble, although St. Clair himself was much exercised for fear Judge Lynch would get hold of him. It is not claimed that Kelley had a hand in this bank robbery and the murder of the private watchman, but he is known to have been cognizant of the circumstances, and it was surmised either a confederate or friend of the parties implicated, consequently his arrest. St. Clair made a confession after his arrival in Alton, to the effect that four men were engaged in the robbery; three were at work inside the bank proper, on the safe, while one was standing guard or watching outside; the private watchman came along, and a struggle ensued, during which he was shot. St. Clair asserts that Bill Ayres fired the fatal shot. Had the watchman not appeared on the scene, in a few minutes the safe would have been opened and all its valuable contents secured; they had done such jobs before, and knew how to go to work. As already known, the four only secured some $800 in stamps and nickels before making their escape. From Alton they came down the river in a skiff to St. Louis, and from thence proceeded to Kansas City, where they had a "job already put up," but they were afraid to attempt it at once, and the arrest of St. Clair cut short his career in the burglar line. From Kansas City the quartette were to have gone to Atlanta, Ga., where another "job" awaited their execution. On Saturday, as stated in our Alton letter, St. Clair was arraigned for preliminary examination, but entered a waiver, which virtually means, in this instance, a plea of guilty as a participant in the burglary, but, as stated, he stoutly denies any hand in the murder. The man Kelley was held as a witness in the sum of $2,000, and in default of bail was committed to jail. Marshal Keck received a receipt from the Mayor of Alton to the effect that he had delivered to the authorities St. Clair, known to be and properly identified as one of the men wanted and for whom the $1,000 reward was offered, but the reward was not paid, though it probably will be. As he has spent considerable time and money in the affair, it would certainly be an act of injustice not to pay him the promised reward.

In 1903, 35 years later, a bag of coins (3 cent pieces bearing the date of 1865) was found near the Alton levee by George Finkenkiller of Upper Alton, while assisting in building the foundations of the new Bluff Line passenger station. It was theorized that these coins were dropped by the robbers in 1868. The newly discovered coins were returned to circulation.

According to the 1866 Madison County Gazetteer, the First National Bank in Alton took over the Alton Mutual Insurance and Savings Company, and was located at the northwest corner of State and Broadway [then called Short Street]. Later, the Alton National Bank bought them out, and located to a new building at the northeast corner of Third and State Streets. Morrison's Irish Pub, as shown on the Google Earth photo, was currently occupying the old First National Bank building.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, November 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 Daily Telegraph, December 17, 1868
The Alton Foundry and Steam Engine Manufactory, and the celebrated Patterson Iron Works are rival houses in the manufacture of steam engines, boilers, castings, and machinery of every description.


Source: Buffalo, New York Evening Courier, September 8, 1869
ALTON, Ill., Sept. 8. The party were received here by a dense mass of persons, many of whom were from the surrounding country and from St. Louis and other cities. Salutes were fired and the greatest possible excitement prevailed. The excursionists were conducted to a stand previously erected, where the President. Gen. Grant, Admiral Farragut, Secretary Seward, Secretary Welles were introduced. The Mayor of Alton extended a cordial welcome to the President and the statesmen, and he accompanied him, in a neat speech. The President responded briefly. He was frequently interrupted by applause. Mr. Seward was then vociferously called. The party was then squeezed through a dense mass of human beings to the deck of the steamers Andy Johnson. Cheers were frequently repeated by the excited multitude. The President was formally introduced to Mayor Thomas and escorted to the steamer Ruth, when the bells commenced ringing for the fleet to turn their heads homeward. The steamers Andy Johnson, Ruth and Olive Branch, lashed together, made the first move forward, closely followed by as many other boats us there were original States in the Union. As soon as the fleet of steamers was under wav, the Presidential party crossed over from the Andy Johnson to the Ruth, and passed up to the cabin escorted by a detachment of Knights Templars, At this point Captain Bart Abel suggested that as the boats were about to pass the Missouri River the party should be escorted to the upper deck. The President and party were then escorted to the hurricane deck of the Ruth where they passed an hour in a most agreeable manner. Gen. Grant was kept busy in acknowledging the congratulations that were heaped upon him.


Source: 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, 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 Weekly Telegraph, August 4, 1871
We understand that the valuable stone quarry on the river bank, back of the old penitentiary, is to be re-opened and extensively worked. It has excellent shipping facilities, both by river and rail, and will, doubtless, be profitable.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 22, 1871
Mr. William Armstrong, who owns the frame building corner of Fifth and Piasa streets, formerly a planing mill, is fitting it up as a barrel factory, on an extensive scale.


Source: The New York Times, February 11, 1872
The Rockford, Rock Island, and St. Louis Railroad Company have offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension of Fred Baker and Pat Halpin, the conductor and engineer of the freight train which collided with the passenger train near Alton on Wednesday last.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, April 26, 1872
The stone business is active this season. Watson's quarry employs a large force of laborers, and is the liveliest place in town at present.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, April 16, 1889
The Bluff Line has put a side track to Watson's quarry, and made connection with the river-side track, where ties are transferred from barges.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, September 13, 1872
We have been informed that there are from twenty to thirty dead cattle lying in Hop Hollow, within a mile or a mile and a half of this city [Alton], and that the stench arising from them is almost intolerable, and will soon produce a pestilence unless it is abated. It should be the duty of someone to see that this offensive nuisance is removed without delay. We also learn that there are several carcases of dead cattle lying unburied in several of the sink holes in Sempletown, The Board of Health of the city should give this matter early attention.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 6, 1872
A conference took place on Monday afternoon at the office of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, between the Citizens' committee and the St. Louis manufacturers, heretofore spoken of, in regard to the location of a screw and cotton press factory in this city. The representations made by the St. Louis gentlemen were to the effect that they had $57,000 cash to put into the concern, and patterns, patents, etc., to the amount of $18,000 more, making a total of $75,000 stock. The Citizens' committee, consisting of Hon. J. T. Drummond, Hon. L. Pfeiffenberger and George A. Smith, Esq., then made the following proposition to the manufactures, as an inducement to locate in Alton:

"That they would organize an independent joint stock company; purchase the Patterson Iron Works buildings, and place it at the disposal of the manufacturers for five years, free of taxes and insurance."

The manufacturers, however, while acknowledging the liberality of the proposition, stated that they preferred to own the buildings themselves, even without being exempt from taxes and insurance, and would, therefore, make the following counter-proposition, viz:

"They would agree to purchase the Patterson Foundry buildings and establish a factory here with $75,000 capital, providing the citizens of Alton would put the buildings in proper repair."

The cost of the necessary repairs would be from $2,500 to $3,000. There the matter rested, and the Alton committee agreed to submit the matter to the consideration of our citizens for their action. In regard to this offer we have only this to say: If the manufacturers are reliable, upright men who will carry out their proposition in good faith, the investment of $3,000 to secure an increase of $75,000 active capital in our midst, and a factory employing from 50 to 100 operatives, will be an excellent one. As to the reliability referred to, we presume the committee are prepared to give the necessary information.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, January 10, 1873
The street railroad is again in operation, and cars are making regular trips. The horses have almost all recovered from the epizootic. The public will appreciate the restoration of regular communication between this city [Alton] and Upper Alton.


Source: New York Times, New York, February 28, 1873
A fire at Alton, Ill., on Tuesday night, destroyed the shoe-store of Smiley brothers, the dry-goods store of Richard Flagg, and the drug-store of H. W. Chamberlain. The loss is from $40,000 to $50,000, and the property is mostly covered by insurance.


Source: The Deseret News, November 12, 1873
An Alton, Illinois woman recently threw a brick at a dog and hit her husband, who stood fifty feet behind her.



Source: Alton Telegraph, December 27, 1872
We are informed that the Alton Screw and Manufacturing Co., through H. H. Bingham, have closed negotiations with H. G. McPike and F. Hewit, agents, for the purchase of the Patterson Foundry Works in this city. The above company is made up of the St. Louis manufacturers, of whom we have before spoken.

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, January 10, 1873
The representatives of this company from St. Louis were in town on Tuesday in conference with the Citizens' committee, in regard to the details of their location in Alton. The company have filed their certificate of organization with the Secretary of State, arranged for the purchase of the Patterson Iron Works on Piasa Street, and have accepted the conditions offered by said Citizens' committee, consisting of Mayor Pfeiffenberger, ex-Mayor Drummond, and George A. Smith, Esq. The conditions are that our citizens shall donate the company $3,000 to repair the Patterson buildings, payable when the new works are in running order, stocked with machinery, and $50,000 stock paid in. The company have given the Citizens' committee satisfactory evidence of their entire reliability, and of that fact that they mean business. They have sent to Boston to complete the negotiations for the transfer of the buildings (whose owner resides there), their books are open for further subscription in St. Louis and the full amount of $50,000 will be paid in within ten days. Mayor Pfeiffenberger assures us that the company are all right and are entitled to public confidence. The Citizens' committee will shortly commence canvassing for the $3,000 fund to repair the buildings ready for the reception of machinery. As the money is not to be paid over until the works are in operation with a paid-up capital of $50,000, there is, of course, no fear that the money of the Alton subscribers can be misapplied. The importance of such a manufacturing establishment to Alton, employing at once from 50 to 100 hands, will be understood and appreciated by all, without further remarks. Let us give the new company a generous reception and every assistance possible. The time has past for the manifestation of any narrow-minded prejudice. We must all work together for the common good.


Source: Utica, New York Daily Observer, 1874
About 6 o'clock the sky was half obscured by the dense mass of clouds; then, what seemed to be lighter clouds were detached from the upper mass and swept through the air with inconceivable rapidity, while the atmosphere on the surface of the ground was almost perfectly still. At 6:10 a heavy cloud, in the shape of a funnel, fell, apparently from the great mass, swept across the river as quick as a flash of lightning, the small end of the funnel dragging along the surface of the water. In a second the cloud struck the river front, swept by in flash, bounded like a ball, passed over the hills, toward the northeast, rose again, and broke into fragments. When it struck the buildings, a terrible rambling; crash resounded, which was distinctly heard a mile distant, then came the rush and roar, of the tempest, blinding rain and rattling hail; the air seemed ail in a swirl, almost total darkness closed in and hid the scene of destruction. The time occupied by the passage of the whirlwind from the river through the valley was not over two seconds, and all the damage was done within that time. The only part of the town touched by the tornado was the main business part, directly in the valley. The course of the storm-cloud was most erratic. It was, as we have said, funnel-shaped, small end down. Whatever object that small end touched was smashed to atoms. It rose, fell, darted here and there, and finally rose up and broke into fragments. The diameter of the small end of the funnel was only a few feet. The storm cloud, as it swept over the river, was of a greenish-white tinge, but when it rose again into the air it was densely black, like a column of ink.



Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, March 13, 1874
Among the most important and prosperous manufacturing industries of this city [Alton] is the extensive and famous carriage factory of Mr. Chas. Rodemeyer on Third street, between Piasa and Market. This factory has been a successful and prosperous establishment for many years, adding no little to the business and manufacturing importance of the city. The proprietor is one of our oldest and most respected citizens, and is well known as an experienced and skillful mechanic and a successful business man. What he does not know about carriage and wagon making is not worth inquiring about. The secret of his success lies in his always turning out the best of work. Nothing is slighted. He is careful in selecting the best of raw material, and in making it up in the most substantial manner, which his long experience can suggest. Consequently, when a customer purchases a Rodemeyer carriage or wagon, he knows that he has got the worth of his money, a vehicle that will last and be useful for many years. The factory is a very beehive of industry, and is divided into several distinct departments, so that work can be prosecuted with the greatest dispatch. Each department attends to some particular detail, such as the woodwork, the iron work, the trimming, upholstering, painting, etc. The number of workmen is so proportioned that there is no delay. The vehicle in different stages of completion passes rapidly from one set of hands to another until finished. Thirty-five workmen are now employed in the factory. The carriage repository is a separate building, three stories high, where the completed work is displayed for sale, and it is safe to say that no similar showroom in St. Louis or Chicago can make a finer display of rolling stock. The basement is occupied by the popular Rodemeyer wagons, for the use of farmers, coal haulers, and others. They are strong and substantial, and have a well-established reputation. On the second floor is a beautiful display of carriages, phaetons [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 1 or 2 seats], rockaways [light, 4-wheeled carriage with 2 or 3 seats and a fixed top], and buggies. These are elegantly painted and trimmed, and upholstered in various styles. The painting of some of these buggies is a marvel of beauty and good taste. These vehicles combine all the latest improvements in sliding seats, shifting tops, new styles of bodies, several of them being covered by valuable patents for which Mr. R. has purchased the right. The third floor is occupied by an equally fine assortment of open buggies, spring wagons, "sundowns," etc. A visit to this repository, whether one is intending to purchase or not, is well worth the time. A good idea of the extent of Mr. Rodemeyer's business and the popularity of his vehicles is shown by the fact that during 1873, he turned out 180 carriages, buggies and light wagons; and 250 wagons, total 430, or an average of nearly 1 1/2 for each working day. These facts speak for themselves and need no comment.

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, July 4, 1878
We were shown, last Saturday, at Mr. Charles Rodemeyer's Carriage Repository, corner of Third and Market Streets, one of the finest top buggies ever seen in this city. It was manufactured for Dr. W. A. Haskell, is a new style called the Saladee triple spring buggy, so arranged that wherever the load may be placed, the weight is equalized and falls on all the springs alike. The buggy is elegantly finished in plain style and shines like a mirror. Another new feature peculiar to it is a patent leather protector, to be placed over each side of the bed in front of the seat, to prevent injury to the highly polished surface from the foot of anyone mounting or dismounting. Dr. Haskell's monogram is artistically put on the side of the vehicle in gold. The buggy is so elegant and attractive in appearance, that orders have already been received from Jerseyville for two of a similar pattern. Another fine vehicle, almost finished, is a Brewater improved sidebar buggy, for a gentleman living in Jerseyville. In fact, this manufactory is getting up great numbers of fine carriages of various styles, that cannot be excelled for fine workmanship, superior finish and durability.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, August 13, 1880
The firm of Charles Rodemeyer & Bros., carriage manufacturers, was mutually dissolved on the 4th of August 1880. Charles Rodemeyer assumes the payment of all the liabilities of the firm, and he alone is authorized to collect and receipt for all the outstanding demands of the firm. Charles Rodemeyer. William Rodemeyer.

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1897
The Rodemeyer Carriage Factory has been sold by Mr. Chas. Rodemeyer to Mr. John Karel, who has long been a partner in the business. Mr. Rodemeyer has conducted the business at the present location for many years. The Rodemeyer Carriage Factory is one of the oldest institutions in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1874
Deputy Sheriff Bannon Sunday detected a man handing in a bottle of whisky to the prisoners in the jail through the window. The offender was arrested and immediately accepted an invitation to join the prisoners on the inside of the bars.


Held on the Old Abel Moore Homestead
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1874
One of the most pleasant and successful picnics that ever occurred in this section was that given on last Saturday afternoon and evening by Wood River Grange No. 901. It had been originally designed to hold the picnic on the Fourth, but the members of the Grange felt that they would never be happy again if they missed the St. Louis fireworks, so the picnic was postponed. Although Wood River Grange is a youthful organization, the wealth, high standing, and personal influence of its members have already made it famous, as well as rendered it a social and agricultural power.

The grove where the picnic was held is one of the most beautiful and inviting spots in the county. It is on the farm of Mr. George Cartwright, about two miles east of Upper Alton, on the high table land between the forks of the Wood River. It is the Abel Moore homestead farm, one of the oldest “improvements” in the county, concerning which we shall speak in another article. The grove is a magnificent growth of gigantic elms and sugar maples, the latter predominating, covering an area of several acres. The majority of the trees in the grove are over 100 years old, as grand monarchs of the forest as can be found in the State. The grove is free from underbrush, and the ground thickly covered with grass. A more delightful place for a picnic could not be imagined. It had been conveniently fitted up for the occasion with tables, seats, benches, swings, etc., besides knight’s dancing platform.

Reaching the ground about 5 p.m., we found a large company already assembled and enjoying themselves in the time-honored style of picnic occasions. The old settlers gathered in groups, on that historic ground, and talked over the days of “long ago.” The girls and young ladies engaged in croquet with their admirers. The lady grangers, assisted by the Committee of Arrangements, began opening scores of covered baskets and spreading their contents on a long table. The children amused themselves in the swings, and, withal, the time passed merrily until the slanting sunset rays stole in among the tall trunks of the trees, when Mr. Shadrach B. Gillham, the Master of Ceremonies, summoned the picnickers to supper. The call was quickly answered, and surely never did city banquet equal in abundance, variety, or excellence, the delicacies and substantials under which the tables groaned. We recalled to mind Secretary Smith’s bloviation on the poverty of the down-trodden farmers of Illinois: “compelled to live in log huts and subsist on hog and hominy!” – and concluded that a man of his falsifying abilities would shine in Congress. We think all the guests will long remember that granger supper with a longing for its repetition too deep for utterance. Added to a host of other accomplishments, the ladies of Wood River Grange have certainly brought the culinary art to the height of perfection.

After supper the grove was brilliantly illuminated with scores of variegated Chinese lanterns, the rays from which struggled for mastery with the moonlight now streaming through the branches of the trees. The effect was beautiful and picturesque beyond description. The brilliantly colored light and the shimmering moonbeams falling upon the diversions of the gay company in that woodland retreat, made up a scene long to be remembered, and when the music sounded from Rutledge’s band and the merry dance began, the scene would have done credit to fairy land. Certainly, no city ballroom was ever graced with lovelier or more accomplished ladies than many of those who participated in these festivities.

When our reported left the grounds, all was passing “merry as marriage bell” to young and old participating in the enjoyment. It was a late hour when the grove was left to silence and solitude. The picnic was in all respects well managed and a credit to the generous hospitality of the grange. The officers of the grange and the Committee of Arrangements extended every courtesy and attention to their guests. Mr. S. B. Gillham is Master of the Grange; Hon. D. B. Gillham, Overseer; Mr. Joel Williams, Secretary; Mr. John C. Davidson, Lecturer; Mr. Irby Williams, Steward; Mr. John M. Cooper, Chaplain; and Mr. Ed Dooling, Gatekeeper. The ladies are honored with the following offices: Ceres, Mrs. N. Stanley; Pomona, Mrs. S. A. Badley; Flora, Miss Kate Delaplain; Lady Assistant Steward, Mrs. J. M. Cooper. Among the prominent farmers present, not mentioned above, were Colonel Andrew F. Rodgers, Mr. Edward Rodgers, Wirt Edwards, Major Frank Moore, and others equally well known. Alton and Upper Alton sent out a host of visitors, who enjoyed the occasion as highly as their granger cousins. What wonder if they went away humming the refrain: “I want to be granger, And with the grangers stand.”

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1874
The beautiful grove of maple trees on the farm of George Cartwright, two miles east of Upper Alton, is a place of historic interest. It is a part of the original homestead of Captain Abel Moore, one of the most famous of the pioneers of Madison County. Here it was that Captain Moore and his wife, immigrating from North Carolina in search of a better country, first pitched their tent in 1804, and there remained during the rest of their lives. In all their wanderings, no fairer land, no richer soil, no grander forests had met their eyes than this same beautiful upland lying between the forks of the Wood River. In 1846, both were summoned across the dark river, within a day of each other, and now their tomb is seen in the grove upon the exact spot where their first cabin was erected. The selection of this burial place was in accordance with the last request of Captain Moore. The tomb is built of brick, with a marble tombstone facing the west, upon which is this inscription: “Abel Moore, Died February 10th, 1846, Aged 62 years, 1 month and 7 days. Mary, His wife, Died February 9th, 1846, Aged 60 years, 3 months and 12 days.”

A simple epitaph, recalling nothing of the privations, dangers, toils and hardships which they endured in their pioneer life, “breaking the pathway for future generations.” A few hundred yards from the tomb, to the northwest, is another spot notable in the early history of this section and of painful interest to the Moore family. It is the place where the last massacre by Indians occurred in the county. All are familiar with the story of the killing of the four Reagan children and two of the children of Captain Moore, in the year 1814 – the Captain at that time being absent from home, serving in the war against England, never dreaming of the danger menacing his own household.

Four of the children of Captain and Mrs. Moore still survive, viz: Mrs. N. Hamilton, Mrs. Williams, Major Frank Moore, and a sister living in California. The first three all reside in the immediate vicinity of the burial place of the pioneers, and Major Moore upon part of the original homestead. The county of Madison boasts no more honored or respected citizens than the descendants of Abel and Mary Moore.

It is now 70 years since the hardy pioneers first broke the solitude of that primeval forest, now covered with flourishing farms and stately dwellings, the homes of wealth and refinement. The wonderful changes that have transpired in that period read like a romance, and to none of the old settlers does more honor belong for the changes that have been wrought than to those whose tomb is seen today in that beautiful grove under the spreading branches of the sheltering maples.


Source: The Daily Observer, Utica, New York, September 14, 1874
Boys will be boys - at Alton, Illinois, a teacher asked Sunday School scholars to stand up who intended to visit the wicked, soul-destroying circus. All but a lame girl stood up.


Source: Alton Telegraph, 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.


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. The Stanford estate had $3,000 insurance on the buildings; $2,000 in the American Central, $1,000 in the Springfield. Captain Flanagan had $1,000 insurance in the Aetna.


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: 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 Weekly Telegraph, October 28, 1875
Armstrong Bros.' barrel factory, situated on Piasa street, is one of the institutions of Alton, and has a capacity for turning out 800 barrels a day. A specialty is made in the manufacture of the ventilated fruit barrel, of which large numbers have been shipped this season to Northern points.


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 2, 1875
Armstrong Bros. are fitting up a new barrel factory and warehouse on Piasa street, opposite the C. & A. freight depot.

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 2, 1875
Messrs. Brunner & Duncan have fitted up the building opposite the C. & A. freight depot on Piasa street, belonging to the Allen estate, as an iron foundry, and have begun operations, the preliminary heat having been run off on Friday last, and the second cast on Tuesday afternoon. The first orders filled at the new works were a quantity of plow casting for the Hapgood Plow Works of this city, a number of street plates for the Water Works, and iron castings for seats, etc., for M. H. Boals' planing mill. The building occupied has a dimension of 30x70 feet, and is fitted up with engines and the necessary machinery used in the manufacture of engines, flouring mills, saw mills, coal mining machinery, house fronts, sash weights, boiler fronts, grate bars, pulleys and shafting, lift and force pumps, brass work, and fittings of all kinds. They also manufacture the Bingham & Hunt flour, meal and grain dryer. These gentlemen have been interested in the foundry business in Alton for several years, and have only recently removed from the corner of Front and Henry streets to their present desirable location, where they will, undoubtedly, meet with that success which long experience and careful attention to the wants of the trade, usually ensure; and the growing importance of Alton will assuredly afford them an ample filled for expansion, as its manufacturing and industrial interests grow and flourish.

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, December 30, 1875
Brunner & Duncan shipped 600 pounds of casting to Louisiana on the steamer "Addie Johnston" from their new foundry and machine shop.


Roof of Building Burned Off
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 31, 1877
Last Friday noon an engineer on the Chicago & Alton Railroad sounded the whistle of his engine as an alarm of fire upon discovering flames bursting from the roof of the Bishop’s Palace, near the Cathedral on State Street. We understand that an alarm was given about the same time by a small boy at the Brothers’ School. The alarm was echoed by the Cathedral and fire bells.

In an almost incredibly short time, the Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1 Firehouse, were at the place, followed in a few minutes by the Hose Companies, who immediately unlimbered and made attachments to the plugs in the vicinity. Two lines of hose were attached to the corner of State and Prospect Streets, and one to the plug 100 yards further down the street. Some trouble was at first experienced in getting a supply of water, but in a few minutes three powerful streams were directed on the burning building, which is an immense, three-story brick, containing about fifty rooms. Owing to the height of the building and the large projecting cornice, great difficulty was experienced in directing the streams effectively. The roof was soon flooded, and streams directed inside at every available point in the upper story, to which the flames were confined throughout.

The fire originated immediately under the roof of the L, at the rear or north part of the building, probably from a defective flue. From thence it extended toward the front, until almost the whole roof was destroyed or badly damaged. At the end of about one hour, the flames reached the observatory, which was badly scorched, but not destroyed. There was no lack of water, which poured from the caves, down the stairways, and through the gas pipes into the lower rooms, in tremendous streams. In about two hours, the fire was under complete control – nothing remaining but a few smoulde4ring embers, with an occasional slight blaze.

The firemen and numbers of othe4r citizens labored faithfully, both inside and outside the house – some on the roof, exposed occasionally to the force of the irresistible streams of water that sometimes were varied in their course, and others inside of the upper story, almost strangled by the great volume of smoke. As soon as the alarm was given, willing hands by the hundreds were utilized in carrying out the household goods and other valuables, that were in danger of destruction. Among those worthy of special mention – Mr. J. C. Brown, agent for Simon’s Comedy Company, a comparative stranger, was especially noticed for his efficient efforts in directing the work of the crowd engaged in saving the furniture.

After the flames were extinguished, the fine house presented a terrible scene of disarray. The whole building seemed perfectly saturated with water, fragments of burnt timber were scattered around, while the splendid ornamental painting on the walls and ceiling was sadly discolored by smoke and moisture. Water was introduced into the yard from the main, but a short time ago, but the lug had not yet been placed in position, consequently was useless. Although nothing below the garret and roof was injured by the flames, the whole building will undoubtedly need repair, owing to the effects of the deluge of water on the walls. The roof on the south part was cut up pretty badly with axes in order to reach the flames, as the shingles prevented the water from reaching the desired paints, but thanks to the water works and the noble men who labored with unselfish energy, what threatened to be a destructive conflagration was quelled, and the building saved from being a total loss. The furniture, the library, etc., were saved in a comparatively uninjured state. While all the firemen were entitled to praise, Captain Henry Smith, Assistant Engineer Henick, and ex-Fire Warden Kirwin were particularly entitled to mention.

It is at present impossible to estimate the loss, but no doubt greater damage was done by water than by fire. Two thousand dollars will probably cover the latter, while that by water cannot be less than $5,000. Doubtless the ceilings and part of the walls will have to be replastered, which will cost a large amount. The loss is amply covered by insurance in F. Hewit’s Agency as follows: On building, $5,000 in the Phoenix, of Hartford; $5,000 in the Hartford, and $5,000 in the German American; total $15,000. On furniture, library, etc., $4,000 in the Glenn’s Falls, and $4,000 in the Girard.

The “Bishop’s Palace” or residence, of Sts. Peter and Paul Church (also called the Old Cathedral), was located next door to the church on State Street. The church was constructed in 1857, and the Bishop’s Palace constructed in 1863. The original Bishop’s Palace has been replaced with a modern building.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 12, 1877
On the Fourth, as Mr. A. W. Hardy, accompanied by his wife and three children, was driving down the hill at the junction of Seventeenth and Piasa streets, the wagon tilted so much that he fell out. His wife, in attempting to catch him, was dragged out also, with the oldest daughter. Mr. Hardy fell in such a position that a wheel of the wagon stopped directly on his neck, and he raised the wheel with his own hands and thus became free. No one was particularly injured, which was a very fortunate circumstance.


ARMORY HALL (Alton's National Guard unit opened the Armory Hall on Third Street in 1877. The Hall may have been located in the Mercantile Building.)

Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, October 4, 1877
This fine Hall is finished, and was open for inspection today. It has a wide entrance on Third street, and near the rear of the building, where two large doors finely painted and grained, open to a broad stairway leading to the Hall, which is whitened, painted and ornamented in a manner to make it a very pleasant and attractive resort. The rifles are stowed in the large upright showcase, which is arranged with numbers from 1 to 96. The cartridge boxes and other accoutrements are arranged in closets at the base.

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 18, 1877
Mr. L. E. Houghton has given Armory Hall, corner of Third and Piasa streets, two coats of paint, of a grey or stone color. When it receives another of the same color, it will present a vastly improved appearance.



Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 9, 1878
Armstrong Bro's have laid a side track at the corner of Sixth and Piasa streets, leading to the place where their lime kiln is to be erected.



Source: Alton Telegraph, March 13, 1879
Messrs. Dixon & Powell of the Hop Hollow Stone Quarry company, arrived in town Tuesday from Logansport, Indiana with a carload of machinery, including a steam engine and saws, for getting out stone which they intend having in full blast in a month. Mr. Powell carries a specimen of the stone, procured at Hop Hollow, finely finished and beautifully polished, resembling marble of the best quality.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 22, 1879
The Massive Stone Company of the Hop Hollow Quarry have orders for more stone than they can fill. They have just made a contract with the Grafton Quarry Company to furnish them dimension stone for their contract at Rock Island.

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

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, June 28, 1879
The steam saws from cutting up the stone procured for this quarry were started yesterday afternoon. Nine blades were at work cutting four inches each per hour. The "saws" are without teeth, run by means of a steam engine, and are supplied with fine sand and water, the process being that of grinding, rather than sawing. A blast took place yesterday afternoon, and one solid mass of rock without an apparent crack or crevice was dislodged, weighing by calculation over 28,500 pounds. It was afterwards split in two pieces by means of a little drilling, and the introduction of some wedges. The various processes were viewed with great interest by a large number of picnicers. A railway track connects the quarry with the Mississippi River, which is but a few hundred yards distant.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 16, 1879
A small barge, rigged with a hoisting apparatus, loaded with stone from the Hop Hollow Quarry, is at the levee. The most of the stone is for shipment. One large block will be used in the City Cemetery.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 28, 1882
On invitation of the Massive Stone Company, a party of citizens, including the Mayor and several members of the Council, went up to Hop Hollow yesterday afternoon on the ferry boat, to inspect the company's quarries at Hop Hollow. After a pleasant ride, the visitors landed at the mouth of the Hollow, and proceeded to the quarries which have been opened a few hundred yards from the river bank. The company have already gone to a heavy expense in their operations, and are prepared for work on an extensive scale. They have erected a large building in which the stone is sawed into slabs by steam power; have a powerful steam sawing machine at work in the quarry, and a narrow-gauge railroad to convey their product to the river bank. The ledge of stone they are now working is eighteen feet thick, of unknown length, and extends back through the bluff until it outcrops again on the river bank. The ledge is well termed "Massive Stone," being without seam or break, and enabling the company to saw out blocks of any required length or thickness. Blocks of stone as long as an Egyptian obelisk could be sawed out if desired, without seam or flaw. The stone is of a light cream color, of fine texture, close grain, and takes a splendid polish. It is much harder and in every way superior to the Grafton stone. By means of their complete mechanical appliances, the company can furnish the stone in any desired form or size for building purposes: in massive and uniform blocks for walls, in window sills, window caps, in slabs for wall-fronts or sidewalks, or in any shape, size or style desired. The blocks are cut out from the ledge by the machine referred to, and if for immediate shipment, are raised by derricks, loaded on platform cars and run down to the river; if for cutting up into slabs or sills, the blocks are transferred to trucks and run into the shop on tramways where they are sawed into the desired form. The saws are long bands of soft iron, run by steam power, which cut at the rate of two inches per hour, but the large number of saws in operation at once renders it possible to cut out a great many slabs in the course of a day. The quarry is yet only partially developed. As the work progresses further into the hill, there is every reason to expect that the ledges will prove thicker and finer than that now being worked. Hon. Z. B. Job pronounces it the finest ledge of building stone in the State. It is called Oolitic limestone [limestone composed mainly of calcium carbonate "oolites," small spheres formed by the concentric precipitation of calcium carbonate on a sand grain or shell fragment] and closely resembles the famous Bedford stone of Indiana. This variety of limestone consists of round grains as small as the roe of a fish. In quantity, it is inexhaustible. The company have a tract of 76 acres, lying on both sides of the hollow, with a river front of over half a mile. The company, although completely equipped for work, are much hampered by their inadequate shipping facilities. The way they are now situated their product is first loaded on their own cars, run down to the river bank, unloaded into barges, towed down to Alton by their steamer, unloaded into wagons, and then loaded again onto cars. It is easy to see that so much expensive handling makes a big hole in the profits. The company have a bonanza in their quarry, providing they can induce a railroad company to extend its line to, or through, Hop Hollow, so that they can load directly onto the cars. So important do they deem this matter, that they offer a bonus of $6,000 to any railroad that will run a line to their quarries. Other property owners along the line would, doubtless, also subscribe liberally. The Altonians were satisfied from the inspection made that the Hop Hollow quarries are extremely valuable, and that if railroad facilities can be obtained, a force of 500 or 1,000 men would soon be at work in the quarries, affording a heavy business to the railroads at once. If the C. B. & Q. railroad would extend its line from Bright to Alton, via Hop Hollow, it would reap an immense profit in time by the extension; or if the C. & A. or I. & St. L. would extend a switch to the quarries, they would make it pay in a business point of view. It is to the interest of Alton to see these great quarries developed and everything possible should be done by the Council and citizens to aid the Stone company in obtaining the needed facilities. The offers of the company are J. C. Huff, President, and I. W. Crawford, Secretary. They understand their business and are anxious to develop it to the greatest possible extent. Among those participating in the excursion yesterday were: Mayor Pfeiffenberger, Aldermen Hobart, Curdie, Clifford, Bruch and Bissinger; Messrs. J. W. Schweppe, A. R. McKinney, W. P. Noble, H. G. McPike, S. F. Connor, W. N. Danvers, J. Quarton, Z. B. Job, H. Stanford, A. Breath, J. W. Hart, F. H. Rabe, James Bannon, George McNulty, F. H. Ullrich, Frank Cunningham, D. Busse, James E. Dunnegan, S. S. Foster, R. S. Sawyer, Dr. Hardy, H. Behrens, Philip Peters, W. H. Temple, L. Stohr, representatives of the Sentinel, Democrat and Telegraph, and others. The result of the inspection was to impress all present with great value and extent of these quarries, and the importance of railway facilities to develop them properly. The extension from this city to the quarries is, at least, easy and practicable. There is no grade to overcome, and the material for ballasting the track is right on hand. The cost would be small compared with the advantages to be gained.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1884
Mr. J. C. Huff, President of the Massive Stone Company, says that their Hop Hollow Quarry is constantly improving the farther it is developed. The ledge now being worked is eighteen feet thick and of superior quality. The company is greatly hampered in its operations by the lack of railroad facilities and is able to accept only a small part of the orders it could otherwise fill. Mr. Huff says that their business is such that with a railroad along under the bluff, the company could work 200 men to advantage.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 11, 1889
To a representative of this paper, Mr. E. D. Babbitt, proprietor of the Hop Hollow Stone Quarry Co., made the following statement: When the Bluff Line contractors came within a short distance of his property, he found that graders had camped near his ground with the intention of building the track on his land, without asking his permission. He immediately wrote Mr. Fisher that he would object to such proceedings. Mr. Fisher came to Alton, and a contract was made out and signed by Mr. Babbitt and Mr. Fisher, wherein Mr. Babbitt agreed to give the right of way over his land in consideration that the railroad company would build and maintain a side track from its main track to the stone quarry and mill where the stone was sawed into dimensions. Mr. Babbitt further agreed to furnish the railroad company with $200 worth of stone on the cars, on side track, five months after date of contract, which was signed by both parties on March 23rd, 1888. The road bed was built and the track laid over the land of the Stone Quarry Co., but from that day to this, Mr. B. has not been able to get the railroad company to build the side track or pay him for the use of his land. Mr. Fisher offered to relinquish the road's claim to the $200 worth of stone if Mr. B. would pay for the ties used in the side track. This was agreed to by the latter, but the company failed to keep its offer. The Bluff Line has possession, and in Mr. Fisher's own words, demands "a new deal." This "new deal," says Mr. Babbitt, was that he should pay for the filling of the roadbed, about 2000 yards of earth, costing about $300, and pay 6 per cent interest per annum on cost of rails. Mr. Babbitt declined this proposition. By this violation of contract on the part of the Railroad company, Mr. Babbitt is not able to operate his quarry. He has no facilities for getting his stone to market. The old county road by which he hauled the stone to the river and placed it on barges, has been blocked by the track of the Bluff Line, and he can no longer haul stone that way. Mr. Babbitt could have sold his quarry and machinery if he could have obtained side tracks as agreed to in the contract; he has been offered money sufficient from abroad to increase the capacity of his works on the same conditions; he has been obliged to refuse contracts for work, as under existing circumstances, he must operate at a loss to himself, and so he has closed the works. Mr. B. says his works have been effectually sealed up by the failure of the railroad company to keep its contract. When contractors Johnson & Co. reached Mr. Babbitt's grounds, they said they would put in the frogs and switches, etc., and take Mr. Fisher for it, but he declined saying he could do it cheaper with his section men. By this statement of Mr. Babbitt's, it will be seen that Mr. Watson is not the only one who has had difficulty with the Bluff Line in regard to promises and written agreements made by its officials, and we are reliably informed that a similar state of affairs exists at various points along the line of the road. Alton business men are friendly to the Bluff Line, but if it wishes to further its own interests, it will fulfill its agreements to the letter.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 20, 1891
Mr. William Huff of Bremen, Indiana was in town today looking after his interest in the Hop Hollow stone quarry.

Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, December 27, 1893
Work at Watson's Hop Hollow quarry is being prosecuted vigorously, and 50 or 75 men have been given employment.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 20, 1900
Contractor Joseph Golike opened up the Hollow stone quarries today to take out stone for a government contract he has secured. The quarry to be operated is the one operated by Golike and Rust several years ago on the river bank, and the stone will be loaded into barges for shipment to the Chain of Rocks, where the government is making extensive improvements. Mr. Golike said today that he has secured a sub-contract for furnishing 14,000 yards of rip-rap on barges. He will employ 60 men until the contract is fulfilled. The quarter boat of Contractor Golike has been stationed at Hop Hollow, and work will be pushed until cold weather stops it.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 9, 1900
The big red quarterboat of Joseph Golike, which is used to provide sleeping and living quarters for the men in the employ of Golike at the Hop Hollow quarries, was destroyed by fire at 5 o'clock Thursday night, and burned to the water's edge. Golike is working the Hop Hollow quarries, and is using the stone down the river, where he has a contract to furnish rip-rap for river improvements at the Chain of Rocks. He keeps the quarterboat at Hop Hollow for his men, and a spark from the hoisting engine blew in the window and set fire to the interior of the boat. In a short time, the boat was in flames and was soon destroyed. The New Haven has been lying across the river, and Friday morning she was steamed up and taken to Hop Hollow to provide a place for the homeless men who were burned out. Mr. Golike will continue with his work.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 23, 1905
Hop Hollow will become an important stone producing place within a few months. A lease has been signed up by a firm from Savannah, Mo., for the old quarry at Hop Hollow, formerly worked by Golike and Rust, and a big crusher will be set up having a capacity the same as some of the larger crushers at Alton. The company has signed contracts with the Bluff Line railroad for furnishing crushed stone for railroad construction work, it is said, and will engage in the stone business on a large scale. The Hop Hollow quarries were one-time scene of active industry, but they have fallen into disuse in recent years.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 20, 1906
The Hop Hollow Quarry Company intends installing another crusher at their plant, and business will be livelier than ever next summer in the hollow.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 16, 1915
The Hop Hollow quarry has not been in operation for the past three months on account of the high water. The high water made it impossible to use the stone at the East St. Louis levee, and the quarry was therefore closed down. A number of other Alton industries have suffered from the high water.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 7, 1939 (in copyright)
The abandoned quarry at Hop Hollow filled with clear water, and provided a swimming hole for young boys. The water was said to be 20 to 30 feet deep, and was fed by springs. This was later called "The Blue Pool."


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879
Captain Starr's ferry boat made an excursion trip to the mouth of Wood River yesterday, with a large party of ladies and gentlemen onboard, including the members of the Alton Hunting Club, under whose auspices the excursion was made. Gossrau's Band was in attendance and furnished good music. The party spent the day in a fine shady grove on the west bank of Wood River, about half a mile from the Mississippi, where a picnic dinner was partaken of with appetites sharpened by open air exercise. The ferry boat had a barge in tow. Captain Largent, with a party of twelve onboard the swift running little Truant, also went to the same locality with a skiff in tow, with which to explore the shallow places. The Truant went up Wood River about half a mile to a quiet spot, where the gentlemen onboard explored the depths of the stream under the drifts and secured some fine large black bass, croppies, and other fish. The champion cook of the party prepared some of the catch, and with coffee and other accompaniments, the Truants had a feast.

The steamer Calhoun made an excursion from St. Louis yesterday with a military company onboard to Hop Hollow. We understand that there was a little disturbance at that place during the afternoon, but nothing serious resulted.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879
One of the most successful and of course the busiest places in Alton is the dry goods house known as the Bee Hive, established in April 1874 by R. Henry Flagg. His store is shown in the engraving of Third Street, and is correctly named the Bee Hive. Mr. Flagg is a born dry goods man, takes to the business as naturally as a duck to water, likes the trade, and constantly enters into it with a zeal that insures success. Always buying carefully, selling at bottom figures and keeping none but the gest goods, his trade has grown from a small store to a stock of many thousands in value, and commands trade from many counties in Illinois and over the river in Missouri. Mr. Flagg served in the dry goods trade many years in larger cities, and graduated in such establishments as Field, Letter & Co., Chicago, and John Schillito, Cincinnati, and with his thorough understanding of the business, is enabled to buy the best goods for the least money, and his patrons are thereby benefitted by his extensive experience. Mr. Flagg has lately added to the Bee Hive a house furnishing department in the basement of his store, which has proved the greatest hit of the season, and has already nearly doubled the trade of the house. Many useful articles are sold for from five cents to twenty-five cents, which heretofore have cost three or four times that amount. New housekeepers, especially, find this department a Godsend.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879
A good steam ferry, owned and operated by Captain H. B. Starr, plies continually between the city and Missouri Point on the Missouri side of the river, by means of which a fine trade is obtained from Missouri amounting to tens of thousands of dollars annually. The receipts of this ferry yearly amount to $6,000 to $9,000, and 10,000 to 15,000 persons and 4,000 to 5,000 teams cross the river by it, mostly with farm produce for the Alton market.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879
We present a very accurate engraving of D. Miller's carriage manufactory. This institution employs 25 to 30 hands, and turns out $25,000 worth of carriages, buggies, light spring wagons, etc., yearly. Mr. Miller frequently makes to order complete outfits for livery stables, including all the varieties of vehicles used in the business.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 12, 1879
At an alarm of fire, the hose companies immediately make attachments to the nearest hydrants, and then have the whole river as a water supply. There is no delay for the purpose of raising steam as is the case with fire engines. Since the water works were established, there has not been a destructive fire in Alton, and never can be under the present system. Both as a fire protection and as a water supply, the water works of Alton are unsurpassed in efficiency in the country. The direct pressur engines and machinery for pumping are located in the water works. The reservoir is situated on the bluffs, half a mile distance from the river bank. The engines keep the reservoir pumped full of water, and are also started at full power at the first sound of a fire alarm. There are 87 fire hydrants distributed over the city, forming a complete system of fire protection. Each one of these hydrants is supplied with two hose connections and is equal to two steam fire engines.


Source: Alton [Weekly] Telegraph, January 22, 1880
About 2:30 o'clock this morning a policeman discovered smoke coming from the cellar in the western portion of the building occupied by Mr. R. B. Smith, the wholesale druggist, by the Telegraph newspaper establishment and by Beall & Danvers Book and Job Printers. Mr. Smith and two of his clerks, Messrs. John Laird and Clark, were asleep in the building, second story, and when awakened, escaped with difficulty by a ladder from a second story front window, the building being filled with a dense smoke. The firemen were on hand with unexampled alacrity, under the direction of Chief Engineer Henick, who, though very unwell, worked faithfully and efficiently. The fire seemed to have originated in the cellar under the western half of the establishment, a place largely occupied by cans and oil barrels on tap. The flames extended from story to story of the part of the house first attacked, the combustible nature of a large portion of the drug store stock making a fierce heat and rendering the floods of water of little avail for a considerable time. The floors were all burned out in the center of the house in the western half, also parts of the stairways, leaving portions at the north and south ends almost intact, the presses on the second floor retaining their positions though utterly ruined by the heat. The eastern half of the building, which was a large, double brick, the property of Mr. Smith, was not very much burned, owing to the determined efforts of the firemen, but the stock and fixtures, owing to the smoke, heat and water, were a mass of almost chaotic ruin, a discouraging sight to the owner. The eastern cellar, with its large stock of oils &c., was not reached .... [unreadable] burning ....., which was a very fortunate circumstance, else the horrors of an explosion might have been added to the list of disasters. The devouring element was well under control by daylight, but fire was breaking out at different points until 10 or 11 o'clock, although the place had been literally flooded for hours. The principal books and accounts of Holden & Norton, being in a safe, were secured in good order; also the books of Beall & Danvers, though the material stock, fixtures, presses, etc., of both firms, were destroyed or rendered useless. The files of the Telegraph, for 25 years back, were all destroyed, which is a loss to the whole community as well as the owners. The list of subscribers to both Daily and Weekly Telegraph was fortunately saved. The total loss by the fire is estimated to be ......[unreadable], with the following insurance: R. B. Smith had with the agency of McPike & Atwood, on stock, the following amounts: Imperial of London, $5,000; London Assurance, $2,500; London and Lancashire, $5,000; Manufacturers Bon, $2,000; Amazon, Cincinnati, $2,500; Farmers, York, Pa., $1,000; total $18,000. Mr. Smith had with Whipple & Smiley, on stock: North British, $2,500; Commercial Union, $2,500; Glenn's Falls, N. Y., $2,500; Franklin, Philadelphia, $2,500; Phoenix, Hartford, $1,000; American, Canada, $1,000; St. Paul, $1,000; total, $14,500. In the German American, on fixtures, $1,000; on the building; North American, Philadelphia, $2,500; Hartford, $2,000; Weston Assurance, Toronto, Canada, $2,000; Scottish Commercial, $1,500; total $8,000. Holden & Norton have $1,307.50 on stock with Whipple & Smiley, while Beall & Danvers have in the Continental, N. Y., $1,000; North American, Philadelphia, $1,000; Girard, Philadelphia, $1,000, making a total for the latter firm of $3,000, which they estimate will about half cover their loss. Whipple & Smiley's total risks on the fire amount to $27,807.50. Rudershausen's & Sonntag's Agency carried the following for Mr. Smith: National, Hartford, Conn., $2,000 on furniture and fixtures; Springfield, Mass., $2,000; Phoenix Brooklyn, N. Y., $5,000; Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, $2,000; Meriden, Conn., $500, total on drug store, $11,500.00, Holden & Norton, Springfield, Mass., $1,307.50, making their total insurance $2,615.00, which will not half cover their loss. The total risks of Rudershausen & Sonntag were $12,807.50. Dr. McKinney has risks to the amount of $28,500.00 on the stock of drug store; $3,000 on the building. The total amount of insurance on the drug store stock and fixtures is $84,500; Holden & Norton $2,615; Beall & Danvers, $3,000, making a grand total of $89,115.00; all in good companies.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, May 19 & 21, 1883
This whole section of country was visited by a terrible storm last night, resulting in loss of life and great destruction of property in places. In Alton, the wind was very high, yet but little damage was done except to trees, many of which were blown down, but the rainfall was heavy and the roll of thunder continuous, accompanied by vivid flashes of lightning. Upper Alton escaped with but little damage, except that the streets are covered with branches torn from trees. Other places in this vicinity were less fortunate.

In Edwardsville, two-thirds of the tin roof of the courthouse was blown off, and some other buildings damaged, more or less. The County Poor House was badly wrecked. The dwelling house of Mr. Barnett, three miles east of Edwardsville, was destroyed. Mrs. Frank Maxey of Upper Alton was visiting there (the home of her father) and was killed. Her little son was injured, and two other members of the family were hurt. This morning Mr. Maxey received a dispatch bringing the heart-rending intelligence that his wife was killed. Mrs. Maxey was outdoors at the time, on her way to a neighbor’s, and was blown against a tree and instantly killed.

In no part of Madison County was the tornado more destructive than in Olive Township. It first appeared near Moultonville (Livingston), and swept in a north-easterly direction for five miles, over a thickly settled district, destroying everything before it. Houses, barns, outbuildings, fences, trees, and livestock were swept away. The camp of the builders of the St. Louis & Springfield Railroad was carried away. Mr. John Berry of Jonesboro, Arkansas, the foreman of the crew, and his family, were the largest sufferers. Their tent was blown away, and their son, Alva, 14 years of age, hurled from the tent and dashed to the ground and instantly killed. Then the cyclone traveled about 200 yards and leveled to the ground the fine dwelling of Mrs. Olive, which contained seven persons, who were saved by going in the cellar, then with a mighty vengeance it swept to the new barn, 300 yards northeast of the house, where eight of the laborers had taken quarters in the loft. It raised this huge building high up in the air and then dashed it to the ground. None escaped injury. At Livingston, the home of John Livingston was hit by the tornado and demolished. Luella Mae Livingston was the only family member home at the time, and she survived. The name of the killed and injured in Olive Township are:

E. H. Cantwell, contractor, age 45, from Arkansas.
Alva Berry, aged 14, from Arkansas.
George Burns, laborer, from East St. Louis

Fatally Injured:
Florence Berry, age 9, daughter of the foreman.
Arthur Robinson, aged 4, son of a laborer.

Badly Injured:
Minnie Berry, aged 12, daughter of foreman.
William Smith of Kentucky.
August Johnson, of Arkansas
Mike Butler, of Jonesboro, Arkansas
Edward Cantwell, son of E. H. Cantwell
Mike Shea of Chicago
James Riley of Pennsylvania
Mr. and Mrs. John Livingston
Carson Cobine
James Dugar

All the contents of the houses destroyed are useless and are scattered all over. The loss in Olive Township is estimated at $30,000.

The tornado struck Hamel’s Corner [Hamel], where it scattered everything in its path, 30 rods wide, and were carried then for miles through the air. Then it seemed to rise to the sky, and with a roar and vivid lightning, it struck Mr. Seiver’s place, devastating his orchards and outbuildings. The storm continued through Macoupin County, where not less than 15 were killed.

When the Spread Eagle (steamboat) arrived at Grafton, soon after 9 o’clock last night, those on board found that the storm had struck at the stone quarries just below that place with disastrous effect. Four or five houses situated in a valley leading back from the river were destroyed, a woman was instantly killed, a man in the same house was badly, if not fatally, injured, and another man, said to be the foreman at the quarries, is reported missing. Two children also were maimed. It is stated that the woman killed was the wife of the missing man, and that the injured person was his brother. All the derricks in the lower quarry were blown down, and several barges torn from their moorings.

Another heavy storm visited Alton this afternoon. The rain fell in torrents, accompanied by hail. The streets were flooded, but so far heard from no further damage done. In the northeast corner of Judge H. S. Baker’s place in Middletown, a space about 50 feet square was swept clear of trees, bushes and shrubbery, but no damage was done outside that space.


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



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

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



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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was later found that Spellman and Neisenbach were only slightly injured. Two men by the names of Thomas Campbell and “Frenchy,” witnessed the accident. A crowd gathered at the Alton levee as the boat with the dead and injured arrived for medical care. Dr. William Haskell was in charge of the injured. Each man was covered with blankets and placed in wagons. They were taken to either the hospital or their homes. Although the men were suffering, none cried out in complaint. Frederick Groshan, the man instantly killed in the accident, was a German living in Upper Alton. He had recently bought a little home there. He was middle aged, and was formerly a cavalry soldier. The newspaper stated that Groshan was with General Custer’s regiment at the time of the great slaughter, and was one of the few survivors. Some historical accounts state that no white man survived the Battle of Little Bighorn, but according to, when the smoke cleared on the evening of June 26, 1876, 262 men were dead, 68 were wounded, and six died later of their wounds. Custer’s Battalion – C, E, F, I and L companies – was wiped out, but the majority of the seven other companies under Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen survived. Groshan may have been in one of the other companies. Since I know very little about that battle, and whether or not Groshan was with them, I will stop here and just say I can’t say for sure that he was there, but I have no reason to doubt his word, either. Groshan left behind a wife, the former Sarah Caldwell, and three little children. He is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Founded in 1854 by Edward Rodgers

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

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

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


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


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


Source: Syracuse, New York Evening Herald, March 15, 1893
Miss Lucy Cleveland died here suddenly yesterday afternoon at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. C. Britton. She was a cousin of President Cleveland.


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


Sources: The News Frederick Maryland, April 6, 1895;
The Hamilton Daily Republican Ohio, April 6, 1895
In a freight wreck on the Chicago and Alton cut off at Wood River bridge, half a mile north of East Alton, four men were killed outright and two were fatally injured. A long and heavy train was coming down the grade when the middle of the train bulged out and fifteen cars were piled on top of each other.

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 7, 1899
The ice fields across the river present a busy scene. At the two series of houses, the upper and lower houses, 350 men are now at work storing the crystal ice. The quality of the ice is said by the men to be the finest ever stored, and if it was thicker, it could not be better. In the upper houses, the ice is now being stored only in the first three, and they are half full after only four days work. At the rate that work is now progressing, the series of houses will be stored to their fullest capacity in a little over a week, if cold weather holds out, and such is now the indications. The amount of ice stored daily is increased each day as the facilities for caring for it are increased. The number of men employed is added to daily, and it is a noticeable fact that most of the men either live in Alton or board here. All of them are compelled to come to Alton to be paid as the Huse Loomis Co. has opened an office on Market Street between Broadway and Third Streets.

Monday afternoon, a team of horses used for drawing the ice markers and snow scrapers was driven too close to the edge of the ice where it had been cut, and they broke through. They were rescued by the men at work in the vicinity before suffering serious consequences.

The ice thickens now at the rate of one-half an inch during the night, and at present continues thickening slowly during the daytime. The thickness of the ice now being harvested is 10 inches, but when the field now being cut is stored, a heavier one on the west will be cut, and by that time the ice will be at least 12 inches.

Last night was pay night with the Huse-Loomis Co., and all the men came to Alton to receive their wages. The wages paid are $1.50 and $1.25 for a day.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, May 15, 1900
A bell that is said to be the bell carried by the steamer Altona, the most famous boat ever on the Mississippi river, which has for many years forsaken the calling for which it was designed and has been used to summon the Presbyterians of the church at Shipman to divine worship, may in a very short time return to the river and fulfill the destiny it was intended for. The Altona was the fastest boat, rivermen say, that ever turned a paddle on the Mississippi river, and it is doubted that any boat ever was built that could throw water on its bow. It is a tradition of rivermen that the Altona made the trip from Alton to St. Louis in 55 minutes, and that she made the return trip in 97 minutes. Steamboats are not built now, the old rivermen say, that can make such time as that, and the river is not in a condition to permit the speed being made if the boats were capable of doing it. The Altona sank in 1854 and ended her career. The boat was then the property of the Mitchells, and the Altona's bell was subsequently given by some member of the family to the Presbyterians at Shipman for use as a church bell. Since that time the bell has pealed forth the call to Sunday services and has performed its duties well. The Eagle Packet Co. is a corporation with a soul and some sentiment, notwithstanding the general opinion that corporations have no sentiment. Hearing of the bell being on the church and learning that the church building was about to be abandoned, they sent Mr. S. H. Gregory to Shipman today to investigate the genuineness of the bell and to buy it if the present owners could be persuaded to sell it. It is the intention of the Eagle Packed Co. to place the bell on some one of its steamers, probably the Spread Eagle, and it may pass many more years in service on the Mississippi. Another famous steamboat bell is now in the tower of the new Presbyterian church, although it is silent as the grave. It was more than forty years ago on an Ohio river steamer, and awoke the inhabitants of the towns and villages all the way from Cincinnati to St. Louis. Many long years ago the boat sold it, and it was purchased by Isaac Scarritt for the use of the then Presbyterian church, where the post office now is, and used to call the public to divine worship until the old building was sold, when it was removed. After the new church was completed, it was placed in the tower, where it is entombed and silent as the grave and will no doubt remain so until a spasm of remorse overtake the officers for permitting its silvery tones to remain unrung. It's notes floating over the hills on Sabbath morning would be a welcome sound to many of the residents of Alton.


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


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


Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, June 8, 1900
The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association has purchased from McClure Bros. the piece of property on Front and Alby street where their shop was located. The old building is being torn down and it is supposed the new owners intend to erect a building upon the property. The McClure's and their father had occupied the old carpenter shop 35 years. They are erecting a new shop on Ninth street, between Langdon and Ninth. The price paid for the lot was $1,600.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, February 14, 1901
Contractor Lancaster has a force of men at work today wrecking the building at the southwest corner of Third and Langdon Streets, the property of Patrick Kane the grocer. The lot upon which it stands will be graded and a fine double brick residence built thereon. It is said that no one in Alton can remember when the house that is being torn down was built. It came into the possession of Mr. Kane in 1865, he purchasing it from John R. Wood, a justice of the peace and banker, who used it as a residence for many years. A woman named Bradley used it as a hotel or boardinghouse in 1830, and it then was far from being a new house. The lower story (or basement) is of rock, and the masonry still gives evidence of the master hand of its builder. All of the wood part of the building is of oak and is yet sound. It is believed to be the oldest building in the city.


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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

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

John Snyder, who was born in 1864 in Alton, worked at the Illinois Glass Works at age 11. In 1884, he purchased an auction house from John Dow for $200 at the corner of Third and Piasa Streets in Alton. He was only 21 years of age at the time. He earned a reputation for being honest in his dealings, and decided to go into the retail clothing business. Snyder paid cash to his suppliers, and likewise required his customers to pay cash. The business grew and prospered until the 1901 fire, where his store was destroyed. Snyder then hired local architect Andrew S. Marland to design a new, three-story brick building, including a rounded turret, four stories high. The Snyder store occupied the first floor, dental and attorney’s offices were on the second floor, and the third floor was occupied by the Frank Boyle Pool Room, and later a business college. Later the Snyder Dept. Store expanded to occupy the entire building. He held a grand opening on December 21, 1901. Snyder sold his store in 1918 and decided to retire. However, the new management did not succeed, and Snyder took over the business once again. He advertised a grand reopening on April 11, 1919. Snyder died of a heart attack at his home in November 1938, at the age of 74. He was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

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


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


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



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

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

A Meritorious Entertainment/Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 21, 1901
The Canton Carnival Company has come to Alton, the people have had an opportunity to pass upon the merits of the entertainment afforded and the unanimous verdict is that the street fair attractions are almost uniformly first class, and that a class of entertainment is afforded that is really worth many times the price of admission charged. The stories circulated against the company in Alton before its advent have been thoroughly disproved. The Streets of India is an entertainment that no one should miss. The features are all strong and the acrobatic specialties shown there have pleased and puzzled everyone who has seen them. Seemingly impossible feats were performed last evening before a large crowd of spectators, and every person there was well pleased with the entertainment. It is worth many times the price of admission. The wild animal show is an ex