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On the River


Charles Falkner

Compiled and Transcribed by Sue Rekkas





The Davenport Democrat, February 19, 1922, page 7 & 8.


“The stillness of the night was suddenly interrupted at about 10:30 o’clock on the 27th of October, when an alarm whistle, a signal of distress was blown and answered by the whistle of the government bridge, and caught up by the ferry boat and re-echoed by a locomotive on the embankment. At that late hour but few people were in the vicinity of the river. It was pitch-dark, and rain was pouring heavily. Patrolman Charles Falkner happened to be on Perry Street above Second. When he heard the signal he knew it was the Jennie Gilchrist that was in distress, having seen her going up stream a few minutes before. He rushed to the Fire King’s hose house and vigorously pulled the bell. Soon another man appeared to whom he turned over the rope with instruction to keep up the alarm until the fire chief arrived. Falkner then hurried to the river bank, where a few others already were hastily preparing for rescue work.

…Policeman Falkner, a former riverman, ran from the fire station to the river, and at the foot of Rock Island Street he found three row boats, but as soon as he pushed them, one after another, into they filled up and were useless. He found a serviceable boat near the ferry landing, and with a small lantern procured at Louis Schauder’s saloon, he put out in the dense darkness. Two other men, Christian and Charles Monroe, had also gone out in a boat. In search of any floating people they might be able to rescue. Shortly after the steamer crashed against the bridge Mrs. Wendt found herself in the water; luckily she came in contact with a board, not very large but sufficient to buoy her up, and keeping her mouth over the water she thus drifted along, when she could hear some human voices. These came from Falkner and the two Monroes who were coursing the river in search of unfortunates. But image the woman’s horror, like the helpless victim of a terrific nightmare, when she heard the men say, “Well, there is no use of farther search, we can’t find anyone”, and she there in the last stage of exhaustion and so hoarse and feeble from her exertions during the long freezing drift that her voice had entirely failed her. The three men once more shouted across the water in directions: “Is there any one here?” when summoning her energy, the woman could barely raise her voice to a whisper. This fortunately, sufficed to call the boats and she was saved. The storm was still raging and a landing could not be made until Cook’s Point was reached.” -- “A True History of Scott County by August Richter.”--The Davenport Democrat and Leader, February 19, 1922, pages 7 & 8,

From Huntington County, Pennsylvania, he came to Davenport, Iowa, where he arrived March 14, 1866. He then became a pilot on the Mississippi and after serving in that capacity on different boats later purchased the vessel Louisa in 1874. After running on the river for some time he returned to Davenport, sold the boat and obtained an appointment on the police force under Mayor Dow serving as a patrolman for four years, as city detective two years and as night captain for fifteen years.—From  “Volume 2 History of Davenport and Scott County” by Harry E. Downer – S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago.





Geb. Den

19 Oct. 1844

Gest. Den

5 Feb. 1911






Carl F. Falkner

Davenport City Cemetery

Scott County, Iowa

Photo contributed by Shirley Plumb





The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Wednesday, February 6, 1911, page 11.


Well Known Ex-Police Officer Dies from Heart Trouble.

Charles Falkner, a citizen of Davenport for over 40 years, died at his home 1307 Scott Street Sunday morning at 5 o’clock from heart trouble after an illness of a year and a half.


 The deceased was well known here as he was a member of the Davenport police force for 21 years, serving four years as a police man, two years as a detective, and 15 years as night captain. For the last 12 years he has been a night watchman for several of the banks.

The deceased was born in Pommern, Prussia, October 13, 1844, and at an early age enlisted and served three years in the Prussian navy. On April 27, 1864, he enlisted in the United States navy and served about a year on the Brooklyn. He was married to his first wife Christina Schroeder in New York City in April 1865. He came to Davenport March 14, 1866, and worked on the river packets for seven years. His wife died in May, 1867. In 1868 he married Mrs. Louis Shoel who died in 1902. In 1904 he married Dora Uthoff of Manning, Ia.

Mr. Falkner was a member of the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Veteran Volunteer Fireman’s association. Surviving the deceased are the wife, Dora Falkner and the following children and step-children: Charles Falkner, Canada; Mrs. Louisa Stofft, Moline; Herman Falkner, Davenport; William Schecf, Keokuk; Mrs. Emma Lamp, Mrs. Adel Ohrt, and William Uthoff, Rock Island; Mrs. Alma Jens, Manning, Ia.

The funeral will be held from the late home at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon. Gustav Donald will deliver the address and the body will be incinerated at the Davenport crematorium.



The Daily Times, Monday, February 6, 1911, page 6.



Prominent in Public Life of Community for Many Years—Funeral Tuesday Afternoon

Charles Frederick Falkner, a resident of Davenport since 1866, and for 21 years a member of the police force of this city, died at 5 o’clock Sunday morning at his home, 1307 Scott Street. Mr. Falkner had been in failing health for the past year and one-half, death being due to heart failure. He was born October 18, 1844, in Stettin, Pommern, Prussia, the son of William and Fredericke Falkner. At the age of 15 years he was confirmed in the German Lutheran Church. A short time afterward he became a sailorboy on a Prussian merchantman, serving for three years. During this service he visited almost every country in the world, went through a fire on shipboard and while at Constantinople fell off the deck and was confined in a hospital for six weeks.

April 27, 1864, he enlisted in the federal navy, serving on the battleship Brooklyn until the end of the war. He was promoted to second captain and then to quartermaster, with Admiral Farragut as his commanding officer. The Brooklyn participated in the blockage of Mobile Bay, in the capture of Fort Morgan and in the running down of the confederate ram, Tennessee, as well as many less important events.

Mr. Falkner was married Aug. 24, 1865, to Christine Schroeder in New York City, where they made their home for a short time. Later they removed to Huntington, Pa., where Mr. Falkner was employed in the coal mines.  March 14, 1866, they moved to Davenport where Mrs. Falkner died in May, 1867. For a few months Mr. Falkner was employed on various of the river craft, finally, in partnership with John Luetje, he bought a boat and helped in the construction of the government bridge across the Mississippi at Davenport. He was also connected in the building of the channel dams at Keokuk and in the dam for the Davenport Water Works.

Mr. Falkner was married in 1868 to Louisa Schoel who died in Davenport in 1902.

In 1873 he bought the packet steamer Louisa, and engaged in the packet business, running from Keokuk to Fort Madison.
Mr. Falkner went on the Davenport Police force in 1875 under Mayor Dow and Chief of Police Frank Kessler. For four years he served as a policeman, for two years as a detective, and for fifteen years as night captain. During this time he figured prominently in a large number of captures of professional criminals.

On May 16, 1878, he ran to earth Charles Hagerty, one of four who had some time before shot at Bishop Cosgrove of Davenport. At another time he captured single handed one of the worst counterfeiters in the United States.

In 1883 (1881), when the steamer Jennie Gilchrist sank in the river near East Davenport, with the loss of thirteen (nine) people, Mr. Faulkner saved the life of Mrs. Johanna Wendt of Cordova, Ill.

Mr. Falkner was married Feb. 22, 1904, to Dora Uthoof of Manning, Ia., and they have resided at the home, 1307 Scott Street, ever since. In 1906 Mr. Falkner, accompanied by his wife, revisited his old home in Prussia, and spent four months in a tour of Europe.

Mr. Falkner was a member of the Masonic order, of the Knights of Pythias, of the Veteran Volunteer Fireman’s association and of the Vereinigten Brueder.

Surviving are the widow, two sons, Charles Falkner, Jr., of Strathmore, Canada, Herman Flakner of Davenport and four daughters, Mrs. Louisa Stofft of Moline. Mrs. Adele Ohrt of Rock Island, Mrs. Emma Lampe of California and Mrs. Alma Jens of Manning, Ia.

The funeral will be held at 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon from the home, 1307 Scott Street. Gustav Donald will conduct the services. The body will be incinerated in the Davenport Crematorium.



The Davenport Democrat and Democrat, Wednesday, February 8, 1911, page 13.


Falkner Funeral

The funeral of the Charles F. Falkner was held from the home, 1307 Scott Street, Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock, Gustav Donald officiating. Emil Silberstein of the Knights of Pythias spoke at the house. The body was incinerated at the Davenport Crematorium, the following being pallbearers: Henry Hass, Henry Wriedt, Adam Stafenbiel, William Ramm, Fred Naeve, Oscar Wernentin, Johannes Sindt and Fritz Mengal.



The Daily Times, Wednesday, February 8, 1911, page 14.


Falkner Funeral

The funeral of Charles F. Falkner was held yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the late home, 1307 Scott Street, with services which were conducted by Gustav Donald, Emil Silberstein, of the Knights of Pythias Lodge No. 80, also spoke. There was a large attendance of friends. Henry Hass, Henry Wriedt, Adam Stafenbiel, William Ramm, Fred Naeve, Johannes Sindt, Fritz Mengel and Oscar Wernentin were the pallbearers. The body was incinerated at the Davenport Crematorium.

Fairmount Crematorium Records, Fairmount Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa, for the year 1911.

Name Age Occupation Cause of Death Date of Death Name of Physician Name of Undertaker
Charles Falkner 66 years, 3 months, 18 days retired Arterio Schterosis 2-5-1911

Name of Physician Name of Undertaker Date of Incineration
H. Matthey Nissen Hartwig 2-7-1911



Compiled and Transcribed by Sue Rekkas


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