THE HISTORY OF THE CITY OF DAVENPORT
"From History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co."
By Rev. J. G. Merrill
The birth-place of the Congregational Church of Davenport was a small building on the west side of Main near Fourth street. At this time there were 30 families in Davenport; there were three stores, a hotel, two groceries, two commission houses, and St. Anthony's Church was being built.
At first the little church had no minister. Sermons were read by one of the deacons in a room hired for public worship. They sung out of the old village hymn book, and were made twice glad when a minster casually spending Sabbath in town could preach to them. The church met in various places - on Second street, on Main where school was kept during the week and the family kindly removed their beds for Sunday services, at the foot of Brady and over a grocery or fruit stand, and near Ripley, in an unpleasant room in which a man could not stand erect. This latter place was called by the unregenerate of the time, "brimstone corner."
When the church was a year old, a minister came to Stephenson, now the city of Rock Island, bearing a commission from the A. H. M. Society, "for Stephenson and vicinity." It was Rev. J. P. Stuart, who on looking over his field considered Davenport as part of the said "vicinity" and preached for the little church six months.
We find upon the records of the old church bearing the date of March 18, 1841, this vote: "Not to use any wine at the communion but that made from raisins or free from alcohol."
The first infant baptized was upon the 18th of April, 1841, Rev. Mr. Mitre being in town on that day. At the same time a committee was appointed to adopt measures for building a meeting-house. Mr. Le Claire was waited upon and generously gave the church a lot. A part of the church were not satisfied with the location and an exchange was made for the site upon which our former house of worship stood, and here the project rested. On May 30, the church united itself by vote with the General Association of Iowa, a body assuming no jurisdiction over local churches, but affording a means of intercommunication and mutual help. In September, Rev. Reuben Gaylord was invited to become the pastor of the church, but declined to accept. But as good Providence would have it, the same month came from the East Rev. A. B. Hitchcock, a graduate of Yale College. He was invited to minister to the church, and was commissioned by the A. H. M. Society, which assumed a part of his support. The church then numbered about 15 members.
The coming of the new minister awoke the sleeping church-building enterprise. Mr. H. was sent East, a journey of three weeks by canal and stage, to secure funds. He obtained $540, a large sum in those days, and being able to handle tools he with three other brethern who gave their time, erected a building 38 x 24. Generally speaking, when a minister helps build a church, or is settled while his people build it, on its completion he is no longer needed. There was no exception in this case, and Mr. H. was glad to accept a call to Moline, his record as a faithful minister going with him.
The church was without a pastor for nearly a year when Rev. E. Adams was chosen. Mr. A. was one of the famous "Iowa Band" which our churches delight to honor. He began to preach in November, 1844, to an extremely feeble church, supported in part for the subsequent eight years by the American H. M. Society. His salary was not far from $400.
Thirty was considered a large number for a congregation. The choir was assisted by a portable melodeon, held upon one arm by a man, who with the fingers of the other hand, played the bass, while his helpmeet on the left played the soprano, each accompanying the instrumental efforts with the voice.
The highest price paid for pews at any time during Mr. Adams stay was $20. Seven were sold for that amount, one for $16, two for $12, nine for $10, etc. This was not at first but about the half way point of Mr. Adams's ministry.
Money was worth much in those days. Twenty per cent was the best the church could do when it tried to borrow.
Mr. Adams was the first installed pastor of the church, his installation taking place in 1847. Three years after he began to preach in Davenport. His ministry continued 10 years, during which time 178 members were added to the church. On the 24th of May the committee on supply of the pulpit were requested to employ Geo. F. Magoun. A new church was soon talked of, to be not less than 60 x 90 feet. But after consultation such an undertaking seemed too large, and on the 6th of September, 1855, it was voted to enlarge the old church by widening it, and on Nov. 13, Mr. Magoun was invited to become pastor, at a salary of $1,000. The call was accepted in a characteristic letter, which is spread in full upon the records of the church. Mr. Magoun was installed January, 1856, Rev. M. K. Cross preaching the sermon. These were bright days in the history of the church as far as men could judge. Congregations were very large, larger perhaps than any congregation regulary maintained since that time in town. The church was aggressive, interested itself in missionary work, colonized the Congregational church of Davenport, had a band of "Young Workers," and still held on to the project of building a new editice upon the lot adjoining the old church, apiece of ground that had cost them $1,900, and for the purchase of which they gave a mortgage upon their property. Two hundred and fifty dollars was paid for plans of a building like Beecher's to cost up among the thousands.
Then came the crash of 1857. Its full effect was not felt the first year, but in '58 and '59 houses stood tenantless; hundreds left the city in single boats. The census slowed a decrease of 5,000 in population. Property had a merely nominal value; church members were financially crippled; the mortage upon the church, which had come to be $3,000, was an intolerable burden. The minister's salary, which he had cut down to $600, could not be paid. Disaster produced dismay. Slight misunderstandings between the minister and a few of the people increased the embarrassment of the situation until at the end of the fifth year of his ministry Mr. Magoun resigned. Of these years he says: "I remember them as associated with blessed seasons of revival, especially two or three years, when conversions were pretty constant, and I held inquiry meetings every Monday night, summer and winter."
A council was called. Petitions accompanied with promise of help from members of the congregation were presented. The council recommended Mr. Magoun's stay, provided the financial embarrassment could be removed. It was simply impossible under existing circumstances, and the pastoral relation was dissolved.
Here follows a sad peice of history. The church that had numbered 250, the congregation which had filled the capacious house, were scattered to the winds, and for a year there was no organization, no service; the rains beat through the roof of the sanctuary, its windows were broken, and desolation was on the house of God. The First Congregational Church of Davenport after an existence of 21 years was no more.
We come now to the history of the present organization: The Edwards Congregational Church. On July 18, 1861, a company of 26 persons met, organized and voted to call a council to recognize the church. On Aug. 11 of the same year the council met, Dr. Wm. Salter, of Burlington, preaching the sermon. Rev. Wm. Windsor, now of Marshalltown, was the first pastor of the church. His salary was $600, the Home Missionary Society paying $200.
Early in his ministry Mr. Windsor went East to secure funds to save the meeting-house from being sold. He obtained $2,500. Members of the church and other citizens of Davenport interested in the enterprise gave all in their power, and the happy hour came when there was no debt. Soon repairs seemed necessary, and by great self-sacrifice $1,200 was raised for the purpose. In the process of repairs an attempt was made to remove the unsightly pillars from the center of the house. The last prop was being taken out when the roof fell in, and the whole structure was a wreck. The crash of the fall had hardly ceased resounding through the streets before a few members of the church were calculating with a pencil, upon a shingle, the cost of the increased repairs. Those who had given their last dollar reached deeper into their purses and found their last penny, and, driven by necessity, accomplished what seems to us a miracle.
This was at the beginning of the war. As our great civil contest advance, and the Government needed money, as you all know, it issued promises to pay that became less and less worth their face. The first pastor of the church was fearfully embarassed pecuniarily.
It was on Aug. 6, 1866, that the church for the first time thought itself able to go alone. Some of the members were becoming better able to give large sums, and at that time Mr. Windser, who was hired from year to year, was asked to remain a sixth year with a salary of $1,000. Mr. Windser declined to accept; said that his health was insufficient, and with expressions of profound regret on the part of the people, the first pastor of the Edwards Church left, the church having received more then 100 members during his five years' stay. Then followed a season of candidating. Three clergymen in turn were invited to and declined the pastorate, Messrs. Greely, Bardwell and Cochrane, the latter at a salary of $2,000. On March 11, 1867, the church voted a call to Rev. J. A. Hamilton offering a salary of $2,000 and agreeing to increase it year by year until his salary should be $3,000. This was at first declined but on a renewal was accepted and Mr. Hamilton began work in August of that year. The church moved steadily forward under this pastorate, which continued for four and one-half years. He found 120 members and left 273. In the autumn of 1871 Mr. Hamilton determined to carry out a long-cherished plan to visit Europe, and asked to be relieved from his pastorate. The church requested him to take leave of absence and return to them. He declared such a course prejudicial to the interests of the church and peremptorily resigned, and the church adoped resolutions regretting the loss occasioned not only to the city but the church by his departure.
It became necessary, of course, to secure a new pastor, and Mr. Hamilton was authorized by the Church Committee to recieve his successor, and on the 30th of March, 1871, Rev. J. G. Merrill, of Topeka, Kan., was invited to become pastor for one year, the church and pastor-elect never having met. The salary promised was $1,800 for the first year, the church having found itself unable to pay the $3,000 that it had hoped to raise for Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Merrill accepted the call and preached his first sermon on the 2d Sabbath of January, 1872. In August of the same year the church property was sold for $10,500, with a view to building a new house of worship. On Sept. 2, the pastor preached the last sermon in the house that cost so much anxiety and sacrifice from the text, "But many of the chief of the fathers that had seen the first house wept with a loud voice and many shouted aloud for joy; so that the people could not discover the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people." On Nov. 5, of the same year the acting pastor was unanimously invited to be installed. He accepted. Installation services took place Dec. 18, Dr. J. E. Roy, of Chicago, preaching the sermon. Druing the last third of 1872 and all of 1873 the church leased the building standing on the northeast corner of Fifth and Brady streets, now occupied by the Ladies' Library Association, and formerly the Fifth Street Methodist Church. Late in 1872, after great difficulty and some division of feeling and judgment, a lot was secured for a new church, the corner-stone of which was laid in June of 1873. The church, in which we now worship, situated upon the corner of Ninth and Perry streets, was dedicated on the 26th of December of the same year. The dedicatory sermon by the pastor from the text "Even that which they build, if a fox to up, he shall break down. And I said unto the nobles and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, the work is great and large; in what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us." In May, 1874, an organ was purchased, and in the same month of 1876 the house was completed by the erection of galleries, so that to-day we have church property worth $37,000, a building capable of accommodating over 1,000 people and furnished with all the appliances for church work. The church was partially destroyed by fire on the night of the 18th of December, 1881. It has since been rebuilded and refurnished so as to surpass its former beauty and comfort. It enters upon the 11the year of its present pastorate with a membership double the number it had when the pastoral relation was entered upon. It has an aggressive, earnest, and self-denying spirit, and believes that although the past of Congregationalism in Davenport has been often dark and troublous, its future is secured.
The First United Presbyterian congregation of Davenport, was organized Oct. 21, 1854, by Rev. William Graham, of the Associate Reformed Church, with 10 members: Alexander Blair, Sarah Blair, David Walker, Jennet Walker, Thomas M. Patterson, Margaret Patterson, Henry Calderwood, Mary Calderwood, Robert N. Patterson, Jane Lucy. Thomas M. Patterson and Alexander Blair, were chosen ruling elders, the latter being still a very useful officer of the congregation.
The first religious services were held in a private dwelling near the site of the present building. Since its organization the following named have served as pastors: Rev. J. R. McCalister, who now lives at Shippensburg, Penn., was the first pastor. His pastorate, which began Feb. 1, 1855, continued until October, 1857, when his whole time was given to Rock Island.
Rev. S. H. Hutchen, who died at Norwich, Ohio, in the year 1868, ministered to the congregation from Oct. 24, 1857, until July 25, 1858. Rev. R. N. Fee, at present a missionary to the Warm Spring Indians of Oregon, preached to the congregation, as stated supply for a short time.
After a vacancy of several years, Rev. Henry Wallace, now editor of the Winterset Chronicle, was installed Jan. 24, 1864. Resigning in May, 1870, Rev. J. U. McClenehan officiated as stated supply for 18 months, removing to Winterset, and from there to Olathe, Kansas, where he died, lamented by the entire community.
Rev. R. S. Campbell, who had been pastor at De Witt, Iowa, for about 20 years, took charge of the congregation March 17, 1878. His health failing, he resigned in July of the following year, and removed to New Concord, Ohio, where he died in the fall of the same year.
Rev. J. Boyd, the present incumbent, after an irregular ministry of a few months, began his labors in the congregation, in July, 1880, which have continued without interruption, and with encouraging success.
The present house of worship, 40 x 50, was erected in 1854, at a cost of $1,400. It is not in a good location, and the congregation intend erecting a new one in some other part of the city.
The present officers of the congregation are as follows: Elders, Alexander Blair, William McCool, William Johnston, Joseph H. Clyde; Trustees, James McCosh, J. H. Clyde, J. W. Jamison, L. A. McCool.
The number of members since the organization cannot be given with any accuracy; the removals since that date have been numerous, leaving about 50, with a number of adherents, which give hope of an increase at no distant day.
A Sunday-school was begun, and has been kept up ever since the orgnization. James McCosh, who has recently been elected, was the first superintendent. The present officers are: Superintendent, James McCosh; Assistant Superintendent, J. W. Jamison; Secretary, T. W. Carthy; Treasurer, M. McCosh; Librarian, N. Jenison.
St. Anthony's Roman Catholic. - The first church organization in Davenport was St. Anthony's Roman Catholic. In the spring of 1838 Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli an Italian by birth, visited Davenport and organized a church. Steps were at once taken for the erection of a church, which was completed and dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Loras, of Dubuque, assisted by Very Rev. S. Muzzuchelli. The Catholic Advocate, printed at the time, thus speaks of the matter:
"Mr. Antoine Le Claire, a wealthy Frenchman, and a zealous exemplary Christian, in partnership with Mr. Davenport, has generously granted to the Catholic congregation, in the very center of the town, a whole square, including 10 lots, in the middle of which he has built, partly at his own expense, a fine brick church, with a school-room attached. *** In order to lay in Davenport a lasting foundation for the Catholic religion, our bishop has purchased half a square for a hospital, and several other lots for purposes of the same kind. *** The church has St. Peter for its primary, and St. Anthony for its secondary patron."
This little edifice was the first of the kind in Davenport. It was erected at a cost of $2,800. It was used for several years as church, school-house and priest's residence. In 1843 an addition was built. This building for some years was the largest public edifice in the town, and was used by all large assemblies to deliberate upon matters of public interest.
In 1839 Rev. J. A. M. Palamorgues took charge of the congregation, and for many years labored zealously to advance the interests of the cause in this city. At that time he was the only priest in Iowa south of Dubuque, and for many years he visited Burlington, Muscatine, Iowa City and other places. The number of Catholic families in Scott County in 1839 was 15. For a sketch of Father Palamorgues see chapter Illustrious and Prominent Dead.
In 1843 when the church was enlarged the number of Catholic families was about 50. "Money at that time was so scarce," says a member of that church, "that only $20 were collected in cash to build the addition." The number of Catholics increased very slowly until 1854. In 1849 the stone church was commenced and not finished until 1854.
In 1855, a new stone church was built for the Germans in "Mitchell's addition," Mr. Mitchell donating the land. This church was organized in 1855, and Rev. Michael Flammary placed in charge. He was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Baumgartner. The present pastor is Rev. Mr. Niermann, who has ministered to the charge for many years, and who has gathered together a large congregation. A large and handsome church edifice is being erected by the congregation in 1882.
St. Mary's Catholic Church, was organized and the house erected in 1868, by Rev. Maurice Flavin, and dedicated by the bishop of the diocese, Rev. John hennessey, D. D. At this time there were 150 families connected with the congregation. Among those participating in the laying of the corner-stone was father Palamorgues, the pioneer Catholic priest in this locality, whose memory is held in grateful remembrance by all who knew him. Rev. Maurice Falvin had charge of the congregation until his death, which occurred May 10, 1872, at which time Rev. Michael Flavin was appointed to the charge. The church-edifice is of brick and is very handsomely furnished. It was erected at a cost of $25,000. A neat residence for the pastor, adjoining, was erected at a cost of $8,000. The congregation is in a flourishing condition, spiritually and otherwise, and is entirely out of debt. When the church was erected a Sunday-school was organized, which has been in operation to the present time, under charge of the Sisters of Mercy. A parish school is also under charge of these Sisters.
Michael Flavin was born in Ireland, April 13, 1841. His parents, James and Catherin (Hourgan) Flavin, were also of the same nativity. Both are now deceased. He began his education in Mr. Mellary Seminary, and graduated at Carlow Seminary in 1865. He then came to America and entered Girard (Missouri) College, and pursued a theological course and graduated from that institution, and was ordained priest in July, 1869. He was then sent as assistant in the cathedral at Dubuque, where he spent one year. He was then appointed pastor of two churches in Bates and Burrough Counties, Iowa; at the same time had charge of several small charges. In 1872, he was sent to Davenport, to take charge of St. Mary's Church, where he has since faithfully labored in his Master's cause.
Patrick J. Burke, pastor of St. Anthony's Church, was born in Tipperary, Ireland, April 25, 1854. His parents, John and Honore (Ryan) Burke, also natives of Ireland, and are yet living in the "Green Isle". Young Patrick began his education in the common parish school, which he continued to attend until 15 years of age, when he attended a private school taught by William Loudon for two years. He then entered St. Patrick's College in Tipperary, County, where he studied the languages for three years. At 20 he came to America, where he spent a year or two in visiting relatives in Iowa, and entered St. Joseph's College at Dubuque, and studied philosophy under Rev. William Dorney one year. From Dubuque he went to Montreal, Canada, and entered Grand Seminary, conducted by the Priests of Supic, and studied theology three years. On the 20th of September he was ordained priest by Bishop Hennessey, of the diocese of Dubuque, and at once sent to take charge of St. Anthony's Church at Davenport.
St. Marguerite's Church, built in 1856; congregation organized October of same year. Original church, 40 x 80, built by Antoine and Magaret Le Claire, who also donated the block of ground on which the church stands. Pastoral residence and Sisters' house built by the same, and cemetery known as St. Marguerite's Cemetery, also donated by Mr. and Mrs. Le Claire. First pastor of church, Rev. A. Trevis; Rev. H. Cosgrove was appointed assistant in 1857, also shortly after was appointed pastor in place of Rev. A. Trevis who went to France. Rev. H. Cosgrove has remained pastor to the present time. In 1865, the church was enlared to its present size.
The large brick school-house attached to the church was built in 1869, school having been previously taught in a smaller building on the church property.
The diocese of Dubuque having been divided, its first Bishop Rt. Rev. John McMullen was consecrated July 25, 1881, and St. Marguerite's Church chosen as the cathedral, Present officers: Rt. Rev. John McMullen, Bishop; Very Rev. H. Cosgrove, V. G., Rector of cathedral; Rev. A. J. Schulte, Assistant.
The first school-house erected in Davenport was in 1838.
The growth of the city for several years prior to 1858 was very great, while the accommodations for the instruction of the rising generation was very limited. To better meet the wants of the city in this direction steps were taken to organize the city into a school district and thoroughly grade the public schools.
A meeting of the electors of the city was held in pursuance of the provisions of the school law at the court-house, on the first Monday in May, 1858. Thomas J. Saunders was elected president and Robert E. Barrowman, secretary of the meeting. The polls were opened for the election of district officers, which resulted in the election of A. S. Maxwell, President; T. D. Eagal, Vice-President; J. R. Johnson, Secretary; George H. French, Treasurer. These officers, together with a director from each sub-district composed the School Board.
Within the limits of the city and adjacent territory heretofore there had been six school districts. These remained the same, though the number designating each was changed. J. M. Frizzell represented No. 1 in the first board; W. T. Clark, No. 2;* H. Lambach, No. 3; T. H. Codding, No. 4; W. L. Cook, No. 5; S. G. Mitchell, No. 6.
*Resigned, and John Collins elected to fill vacancy.
At the time of the reorganization of the city schools the country was being affected by the financial panic which began the year previous, and which extended throughout the whole country. This embarrassed the Board of Directors very materially, but they entered into the work with a zeal and determaination to raise the public schools to the first position.
The office of city superintendent of schools was created and A. S. Kissell was elected to that position. The board established an intermediate school preliminary to the establishment of a high school.
There were small school buildings in Districts No. 1, 4, 5 and 6, and a large stone building in No. 2, on corner Perry and Seventh streets, and a large brick building in No. 3, on corner of Sixth and Walnut.
In 1859 the school law was amended providing for the election of three directors, who in connection with the president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer should constitute the School Board. At the first election three directors were to be chosen, one of whom should hold his office for one year, one for two years, and one for three years; and annually therafter one director should be elected to fill the vacancy of the one whose term would expire. At this first election A. S. Maxwell was elected President; E. Peck, Vice-President; Thomas J. Saunders, Secretary; George H. French, Treasurer; Directors, J. W. Frizzell, one year; Robert Mean, two years (Mr. Means resigned and J. Grant was elected to fill vacancy); Ignatius Langer, three years.
The city is now well supplied with good buildings, though the demand is constantly on the increase, as the city increased in population. There are now 12 school buildings, one of which is stone, two frame and nine brick. Prior to the year 1866 the city was illy supplied with buildings, and the accommodations at that time were insufficient to meet the wants of the pupils who desired to attend. Since that time much has been done to supply the demand.
The school building in District No. 1, East Davenport, was erected in 1865-'6, and an addition built in 1874. It is of brick, having several recitation and school-rooms, with the necessary closets and halls, and is valued at $34,000.
District No. 2 has a large stone building, erected in 1853-'4, and dedicated to school purposes, Sept. 30, 1854, with such ceremonies as were suitable for the occasion, including speeches by several leading citizens. An addition was built to it in 1870, making it a very large and convenient building, having several recitation and school rooms. The property is now valued at $33,000, and is situated at the corner of Seventh and Perry streets.
District No. 3 has a brick building situated corner of Sixth and Warren streets, erected in 1856-'7. Being too small to accommodate the number of pupils desirons of admission, an addition was built in 1870, which added greatly to the convenience of both teachers and pupils. The building and grounds are valued at $30,000.
District No. 4 has within its limits two buildings, both located in the same neighborhood, corner of Main and Locust streets, and both of which are of brick, with a total valuation of $30,000. One of the buildings was erected in 1857 and the other in 1865-'6.
District No. 5 has a fine brick building, located on West Third street, which was erected in 1867-'8 and which, together with the grounds, is valued at $45,000.
District No. 6 has a frame building, erected prior to 1858, and which has had two additons made to it, one in 1866 and the other in 1871. The value of the building and grounds is $7,000.
District No. 7 has also a frame building, erected in 1868, at a cost of $2,500.
District No. 8 has a brick building, erected in 1871, at a cost of $25,000. It is situated corner of Fourth and Ripley streets.
District No. 10, possesses a good brick building, erected in 1878, at a cost of $21,000.
The old high-school building was erected in 1854, and used for some years as a Baptist church. In 1865 it was purchased of the Baptists and remodeled. It is situated at the corner of Sixth and Main streets. The building and grounds are estimated at $5,000.
The new high-school building, situated on the block bounded by Rock Island and Iowa, and Seventh and Eighth streets, is the most imposing school edifice in the city. It was erected in 1874, and together with the grounds is valued at $65,000.
(From the Davenport Daily Gazette, Nov. 1, 1877)
It is now impossible to fix the precise date at which the first effort to establish a public library in the city of Davenport was made, but it is known that, as early as 1853-'4 a few public spirited citizens, by donations of books and a few dollars, succeeded in getting together what may be termed the nucleus of the present library. At about the same time a few mechanics and working men also made an effort looking to the establishment of a library and reading-room and were partially succssful, but were soon absorbed by the earlier organization. No particulars as to the especial objects or rules of either of these associations, or of the rooms, if any, occupied by their library, can now be ascertained, and the subject does not seem to have assumed responsible form until early in 1857, when the donation by Geo. B. Sargent, Esq., to the Young Men's Library Association of $500, to be used in the purchase of books as a contribution toward a public library accessible to every respectable resident of the city of Davenport or vicinity, at a charge not exceeding $3 per annum was announced. With this impetus, the Young Men's Library Association seems to have been quite popular and in flourishing condition during the next year or two, but the evil days came upon it in the general crash of 1857 - '59 and in the latter year the books and other properties were boxed up and placed in storage in the cellar of what is now the First National Bank building. From this they were however rescued in a few months and transferred to suitable rooms on Perry street, corner of Third, and again made accessible to the public. At this time the catalogue named about 1,500 volumes. About this time the Young Men's Associated Congress, a sort of debating society, composed of young attorneys, physicians, etc., had been successfully organized, and after some negotiation as to the details, it was decided to place the library in the hands of a union of the two societies, under the name of the "Davenport Library Association," on the general basis of the terms of General Sargent's donation.
During the ensuing 13 years, 1860 to 1873, the new association encountered the usual varying fortunes of life with a downward tendency, until in the winter of 1873-'74 its condition seemed to promise only a speedy dissolution. Just at this crisis it was proposed to place the management entirely under the care of a board of ladies, and in April, 1874, the following Board of Directors was duly elected and installed: President, Mrs. A. P. Dillon; Vice-President, Mrs. Wm. Renwick; Treasurer, Mrs. W. C. Wadsworth; Secretary, Mrs. J. F. Barnard; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. G. M. Ballou; Lecture Committee, Mrs. W. F. Peck and Mrs. J. T. Lane; Library Committee, Mrs. H. M. Martin, Mrs. Lounsbury and Mrs. D. S. True. With this new era the library assumed a more appropriate and influential standing. During 1874-'76 as rapidly as possible new books were purchased and the department of periodical literature largely added to. At the present time, November, 1877, the entire number of books contained in this library is in the vicinity of 7,000.
It only remains to be siad that the most important event in the library's history occurred in July, 1877. Mrs. Clarissa C. Cook at this time made public her intention to carry out the wish of her deceased husband, the late Hon. Ebenezer Cook, to aid the library.
This aid from Mrs. Cook subsequently took the form of erecting a suitable building at a cost of $13,000 upon a lot purchased with the proceeds of individual donations for that purpose, and in May, 1878, the library was moved into its new home thus permanently secured to it, and the rental of the surplus offices and rooms also secured to it an income sufficient to meet the ordinary expenses of the institution. In accordance with the stipulations of Mrs. Cook's donation, the title and control of the funds and real property of the association is vested in a board of nine trustees, composed of five ladies and four gentlemen. The management of the library proper is, however, controlled by a boad of officials annually elected by the members of the association. The annual dues are now set at $2 from members and subscribers and the attendance and good influence of the library are constantly increasing.
By C. S. Watkins
Among the public and private institutions of Davenport there is none to which the citizens point with more pride and respect than to Mercy Hospital.
The hospital was opened Dec. 8, 1868, under an arrangement between Scott County and the "Sisters," that the county advance $2,000 (to be used in fitting up the building, then vacant, owned by the "Sisters") for five years without interest. Ten insane paupers were, on the above date, at once transferred from the poor house to the new hospital, the authorities guaranteeing that there should constantly be at least that number of county patients thus in the care of the Sisters. A ward for the care and treatment of general cases of illness or accident was also established. The entire control and discipline of the hospital was held by the Sisters, though constant inspection and visitation by the county officials was provided for. From this humble beginning the institution has steadily grown, until, a recent description says, "the present grounds cover 20 acres; the buildings are, First, the main building, a very large massive brick, four stories high, and about 150 x 60 feet; this contains the general sick wards, in which we found about 50 patients, all seemingly well pleased with their accommodations and treatment. The chapel, dispensary, dining and reception rooms are also in this building. Second, the building for insane, two stories high and about 40 x 60, well provided with sleeping and bath rooms, large halls, etc.; this now has about 90 (insane) inmates. A large space out of doors is enclosed for exercise and airing courts. Third, another two-story building, used as a Catholic orphan asylum; this is a branch especially under the care of the Sisters. A city and county pest-house is situated in a secluded outlet 60 or 80 rods distant from the other buildings. This pest-house has all the appliances needed to make it especially adapted to its purpose, and is undoutedly as well arranged as any building of this class in any part of the country. The remaining buildings pertain to the general purposes of the institution, as ice-houses, store-houses, etc. The location is adjoining the city limits, and distant about two miles from the postoffice and court-house. The grounds are well shaded and have abundance of water from wells on the premises, neither the public water nor gas system have yet extended their mains to the hospital, though annually getting nearer to it. The physicians of Davenport have been of invaluable aid to the hospital from its beginning. They immediately organized a system of (gratuitous) visitations, which is still maintained, by a board of three physicians and three surgeons, active, and two consulting surgeons. And advanced medical student, selected by this board, remains at the hospital and has his rooms and meals there without charge. I have only to add that from the beginning the institution has had the entire confidence of our citizens, and its wonderful success, which is due to the admirable management and personal services of the "Sisters" is a sufficient demonstration of the superiority of the system.
ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
By Prof. W. H. Pratt
On the evening of Dec. 14, 1867, four persons met in a small real estate agency office in Davenport, and agreed and pledged themselves to each other and to the community, that their efforts, feeble as they might be, and must be, should be united and directed toward the acquirement and dissemination of scientific knowledge, and that the limited means at their command should be used to the best of their knowledge and ability, to awaken an interest in such studies, to unite the influence of those who were already interested, to encourage scientific research and scientific reading, and to promote the introduction of practical scientific instruction in the public schools. In this attempt they were merely taking the initiatory steps, relying upon the co-operation of others of equal earnestness and greater ability, who should join in the good work and carry it forward.
Druing several years previous this matter had been discussed from time to time between Mr. Barler, Alfred Sanders, Mr. Riepe, Prof. D. S. Sheldon, Dr. Parry, Mr. Tiffany and myself, and perhaps some others whom I do not now recall, with the rather vague determination of doing something sometime, and a full conviction that something ought to be done by united effort.
We had been gradually forming private geological and natural history collections, those of Prof. Sheldon being the principal ones. With a rich field for study collection of specimens in the several branches of natural history; situated in a flourishing city, surrounded by a rapidly increasing population, and at a time when a growing interest in scientific subjects was everywhere manifested; it seemed as if some more might and ought to be accomplished than had been or would be by such scattered and desultory action, and there was encouragement in the work already done. We were, of course, entirely unaware of the rich mine of archaeological treasures hidden almost at our feet, as scarcely any attention had at that time been given to the subject in this region, and comparatively little elsewhere.
Prof. Sheldon had scoured the woods and fields and explored the rivers and ponds in a very assiduous and successful search for plants, insects and shells, and by example, advice and instruction had been gradually and faithfully sowing the seeds of scientific progress and promoting scientific culture. Mr. Alfred Sanders had during several years made large collections in the same lines, and had then recently retired from business, and determined to devote his time largely to scientific pursuits, and was much engaged in the study of systematic geology especially. Mr. Barler had become an assiduous and perserving collector and student.
Mr. Riepe, always a naturalist in his tastes and habits, was constantly finding something new and interesting, and leading the attention of his pupils and friends in the direction of natural knowledge, and chiefly through my acquaintance with him, and through his influence, my attention was turned that way more than ever before. He and I, with sometimes one or two others, and usually some of our children, spent many a pleasant, and I believe profitable, day on a private picnic upon Credit Island, or over at Rock River, enjoyed our dinner with fresh hot coffee made on the spot, by the side of a little fire in the woods, even on a chill November day, as well as a keen appetite and absence of conventionalities would enable us to do. These explorations always resulted in some desirable additions to our cabinets, and though often fatigued with our burdens we always returned refreshed in spirit and renewed in zeal. Many specimens found on these excursions are now in the museum.
Dr. Parry had long since acquired a high reputation as a thoroughly scientific botanist, and untiring explorer, and remarkably successful collector, and Mr. Tiffany was delving among the rocks with all the zeal of a new convert.
Such was about the condition in matters of scientific research here in 1865-'66. None of us being very sanguine in our expectations of building up a society of much strength or rapid growth, it was still thought that a scientific club or small association in some form might be established, which would afford an opportunity for comparison of observations and interchange of ideas, and by uniting our collections we might form a nucleus for a museum which should ultimately become of some general interest and benefit to the community, by stimulating research and adding something to the sum of human knowledge, and possibly, in time, an institution which should be creditable to our city.
The untimely death of Mr. Sanders and the loss of his talent, experience and influence before any definite action had been taken, was a serious drawback and discouragement, and doubtless somewhat delayed action in the matter, and Dr. Parry's absence most of the time was a further difficulty. But we realized that the formation of mere private collections was of comparatively trifling importance, having very little influence upon the community, and if pursued with no higher object, rather encouraging, perhaps, a spirit of selfishness or exclusiveness, each being led to work more for his own than for the general good. Personal proprietorship is rather antagonistic to a liberal public spirit and true interest in the increase and diffusion of knowledge.
In the spring of 1867, while spending a few weeks at Ottawa, Ill., I became acquainted with Dr. John Paul and Dr. L. N. Dimmock, now of Santa Barbara, Cal., and some other leading members of the Ottawa Academy of Natural Science, an institution which had then a name but no local habitation. They had, however, some good working members who had already in their locality awakened a fresh interest in scientific subjects, and a prospect of soon establishing the society in good rooms, and by uniting their private collections, which were of considerable value, making a very good beginning in the building up of a museum. By thier example and advice we were encouraged to attempt something more systematic than we had at first thought of venturing.
Mr. L. T. Eads having become interested in the subject, joined in our consultations and offered the use of his real estate office in Postoffice Block, southeast corner of Third and Perry streets, for our cabinets and meetings, as long as it would answer these purposes.
It was probably mainly due to Mr. Barler's energy and enthusiasm that decided action was taken at this particular time, and so on Saturday evening, Dec. 7, 1867, Mr. Barler, Mr. Eads and myself met by appointment at Mr. Eads's office to consult upon the ways and means, the possibilities and probabilites, and as to what we would dare to undertake, thinking that its success might depend somewhat upon the character of the first movement made. We had been unable to enlist men of means in the enterprise; we had no direct assurances of aid from any source; we knew that in a majority of cases where such a project was attempted, the interest died out after a short time, and the enterprise failed for what of internal energy and persistence, and outside recognition and support. We determined to procure a copy of the constitution of the Ottawa Academy, and to call a meeting of those interested on the next Saturday evening. We did not venture to advertise the meeting, however, fearing that too much might be expected at the beginning, but invited personally those whom we knew to be desirous of joining in co-operative work. Druing the week R. Paul promptly complied with my request, and sent us the copy of their constitution and by-laws, and on Saturday evening Dec. 14, 1867, we found "present, Messrs. Barler, Eads, Tiffany and Pratt." Mr. Sanders was deceased, Dr. Parry absent at the far West, Prof. Sheldon in poor health, and Mr. Riepe could not attend that evening though he was present at the next meeting and regularly thereafter.
It was then decided to proceed to the organization of an association without further delay, and this was done then and there, by the adoption of the form of constitution and by-laws of the Ottawa Academy, and by the election of officers for six months. Some embarrassment was experienced in filling up the board of 10 trustees required by the constitution, but the full number were chosen, subject to the acceptance of the position by those who were not present. They all accepted, however, except one Mr. C. S. Ellis, and his place was filled after a resonable time by the election of Hon. John L. Davies. After about six weeks the following encourageing notices, which I give verbutim et literatim, appeared in the daily papers, viz., in Gazette, Jan. 24, 1868:
An organization has just been completed which takes the somewhat ambitious title of the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences. Its object is the collection and dissemination of scientific knowledge, and we understand that special attention will be paid by this society to the geology of our State. Specimens of the various fauna and flora of the coal formations will be gathered into cabinets, which the members will endeavor to make as complete as possible a beginning of which cabinets have been made. Peat will also occupy a prominent place in their inquiries for information; in fact, all scientific subjects will claim a share of their attention. We wish the society prosperity, as well as a long existence. The officers are: President, S. Sheldon, of Griswold College; Vice-President, A. N. Barler; Secretary, W. H. Pratt; Treasurer, L. T. Eads. The Library Association has offered the new society a habitation in its room, we learn.
The Davenport Democrat, Jan. 23, 1868:
DAVENPORT ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCE
A society bearing the above name has been organized in this city for the purpose of disseminating useful knowledge and investigating subjects of a scientific character. The officers of the society are at present: President, Prof. D. S. Sheldon, of Griswold College; Vice-President, A. N. Barler; Secretary, W. H. Pratt; Treasurer, L. T. Eads. In addition to these there is a board of 10 turstees. The society has one large cabinet filled with natural curiosities, and specimens enough to fill another which is now being constructed. The specimens consist of a large variety of river shells- some 75 kinds - mineral productions, geodes fern fossils, coal blooms, and various other geological curiosities. Also antiquities and rare articles. The headquarters of the society are now in Mr. L. T. Eads' office, where the cabinet and its contents can be seen. An invitation has been extended by its members to share quarters with the Library Association, and it is likely that the invitation will be accepted, as more room will be needed as soon as the other cabinet is finished. The principal object of the siciety is to make geology a specialty, and to that end the coal and peat beds are to receive a due share of its attention. The gathering of valuabel specimens will be continued, and new cabinets provided as occasion requires. Donations of curiosities, antiquities, books, etc., are respectfully solicited.
We are glad to notice that a movement of this kind has been inaugurated by our citizens. It is a step taken in the right direction, a move worthy of all commendation, and we sincerely hope that those who have made the beginning will see the project grow to the extent it deserves. Cabinets filled with geological and mineralogical specimens, gathered for the most part in our own State, and open for public inspection, will incite inquiry and promote research, and the cause of science must naturally prosper when its votaries increase in number and intelligence. Success to the Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences.
As soon as possible one case for specimens was procured - the old larger case now in the back room - made by one of the first members who joined after the organization, and a considerable number and variety of specimens, contributed by Messrs. Barler, Tiffany, Eads, Sheldon, Riepe and myself. I find in my diary on Jan. 18, 1868: "Carried specimens from home and put them up at the Academy all day." Mrs. Alfred Sanders also contributed a large collection of minerals, fossils and recent shells which alone occupied the second cabinet case we procured, and others soon began to hand in such specimens as they happened to have.
We were proud on the occasion of the receipt of the first donation from abroad, which was that of a collection of crinoids, now in our collection, from Mr. Enoch May, of Burlington, Jan. 18, 1868. These were sent in response to our notice of his election as an honorary member. We were rather free if not hasty in our distribution of such "honors" at first while as yet we were receiving rather than conferring honor by such connections. Our notifications were, however, usually very well received and kindly responded to.
The first lot of specimens received in response to our propositions for exchange, was a collection of marine shells, sponges, etc., from the Portland, Me., Natural History Society. We still have the specimens but have outlived the institution.
Our first appearance before the public was upon the occasion of a lecture delivered before the academy by Prof. Hinricks, of the Iowa State University, at the German Theater, on the 15th of February, 1868, on the subject of "Pantogen; or, the Element of Elements." It was well attended and well received and we "thanked God and took courage."
The first paper read in academy meeting was on May 1, 1868, by W. H. Pratt, on "The Relation of the Outer World to Our Senses."
Our meetings were held at Mr. Eads' office until a liberal offer was received from the Young Men's Library Association to give the use of a portion of its room, northeast corner of Brady and Second streets, free of rent. The offer was accepted and I find in my diary, March 21, 1868: "Began to remove specimens from Mr. Eads's office to Library rooms" and the meeting on April 8, 1868, was the first held there. The old case, being of an odd size and form, was left.
Our first enterprise out of the routine contemplated in the original plan was the purchase from Mr. Thomas Lighton, of Rock Island, of a telescope, made by him, for the sum of $100, which was raised by subscription. The instrument is still with us, in good order and has been the source of much pleasure and some benefit.
During the summer of 1869, preparations were made for securing photographs during the progress of the total eclipse of the sun, which was to occur on the 7th of August. This project was carried into effect with quite as good results as could reasonably have been expected with such limited skill and appliances as were at our command. Twenty pretty fair photographs were made. We were much disappointed in the failure to obtain a nagative during the time of totality, not being aware at that time of what we afterward learned, that it was necessarily totally out of the question in any case, being sumply impossible to take one during the short time. 63 seconds of totality.
The meetings were held quite regularly at the library room for three years, with an average atttendance of about eight members, and usually considerable interest was manifested, though sometimes the meetings were rather thin. For example: On June 2, 1869, only James Thompson and myself were present, but the business had to be done or lie over one month, with poor prospects of a larger meeting next time, as it was difficult to secure a good attendance during the heated term. The constitution prescribed no quorum for the transaction of business, and we thought it best to proceed and dispose of it at once. Small as was this meeting in numbers, yet estimating it by results, it was the greatest meeting the academy ever held. The original minutes read as follows:
Very few members present. Mr. Thompson was called to the chair. Minutes of last meeting read and adopted. Mr. Thompson reported donation of some glacier scratched by Mr. Fejervary. The propositon to amend the by-laws by substituting the last Friday for the first Wednesday of each month for the date of monthly meetings was then taken up and unanimously adopted. Miss Dr. Irish having withdrawn her name on account of leaving the city, the other names proposed for membership, viz., Mrs. Charles E. Putnam, J. D. Putnam, and Henry Hourtillotte were then balloted for and unanimously elected. Academy adjourned to Friday evening, 25th inst.
Here the secretary was obliged to "cast the vote of the meeting" as nobody else was there to vote. We little realized then what we had done. We "builded better than we knew." The time for meeting then fixed has never since been changed. Mr. Tourtillotte died a year or two after. The other two lived to do good work for the academy. J. D. Putnam died in December of 1881. If it had not been for them the academy would not now be what it is. Mrs. Putnam was the first lady elected to regular membership. Mrs. M. A. Sanders was the first lady elected as honorary member, Jan. 4, 1868, afterward transferred with the rest to the list of corresponding members upon a change of the constitution, and since became an active regular member. John Hume was the first regular member elected, Jan. 4, 1868.
In the fall of 1872 some changes in the arrangements of the library and their time of meeting rendered it inconvenient for us to hold our meetings there, and by the kindness of Messrs. Putnam & Rogers their commodious law offices was our place of meeting from Nov. 29, 1872, until the next May. On May 30, 1873, the regular meeting was held in Dr. Hazen's office. On July 15, 1873, the academy rented a small room in the rear of Mr. Eads' office, second story, south side of Third street, next door east of the bank, on the southeast corner of Brady and Third, which we occupied until April 1, 1874, at $6 per month. This was the first rent paid by the academy. The room not being ready for occupancy, our regular meeting, July 25, was held in Mr. Eads's office, front room of the same place. Referring again to my diary I find, Monday, Aug. 4: "Moved the specimens out of Mr. Eads's office into our academy room this afternoon. This was the old case and its contents which had never been taken from Perry street to the library. On July 28 I find: "Worked at the academy room, moving the books in and arranging them as before in the cases." Our trustees meeting was held there that evening, and the first regular meeting there on Aug. 20, by a little kerosene lamp, which some of us may remember.
March 31, 1874, the diary says: "Commenced carrying our academy things to Odd Fellows Building." This room we rented from that date at $75 a year. On our removal we brought only the original wide case, two of the regular six-foot cases, three of the closed botanical cases, and the old narrow book-case, formerly belonging to the Workingmen's Library Association. All of these and twice as many more since added, are now in our west room, and all in this room - 10 large cases - have been added during the three and a half years of our residence. This room was not half filled, more cases were soon needed, and by a special effort, principally on the part of some lady members and friends, "a ladies' furnishing fund" was raised, which soon provided several cases, matting for the floor, curtains, etc.
At the trustees meeting, Sept. 18, 1875, it was decided to rent an additional room in the rear of this at $50 a year, which we did from Sept. 1 of that year, and occupied both rooms till they were filled to overflowing. We are compelled to enlarge our borders and are happy in the prospect. Several attempts have been made, and with at first some apparent prospect of success, to unite the academy and other associations of kindred aims and interests in an association building, but have each time failed from want of funds, as those who possessed the means, without which it could not be accomplished, did not step to the front. The failure was, possibly, a blessing in disguise to all the parties concerned, as each will go on independently, and their several views and interests may be less likely to conflict than if more closely connected. The first steps for a new building on the lot donated by Mrs. Newcomb began in 1877. Only a portion of the original plan of building has been carried out. This was erected in 1877, and on the first day of January, 1878, the academy moved in. It is now stronger than ever before, and has the finest collection of mound relics in the world. The presidents, since 1877, have been as follows: Dr. Farquason, 1878; Mary L. D. Putnam, 1879; W. H. Pratt, 1880; J. D. Putnam, 1881; C. H. Preston, 1882.
CLARISSA C. COOK'S HOME FOR THE FRIENDLESS
This charity was established under the will of Mrs. Clarissa C. Cook, of Davenport. She died in February, 1879, and her will was proved in the Circuit Court of Scott Co., Iowa, in June, 1879, and J. Wilson Dewey and John F. Dillon nominated as executors by the will, qualified as such executors. By the 11th paragraph of this will Mrs. Cook, gave to John F. Dillon, Edward E. Cook, Daniel B. Shelley and Ira Cook, $50,000 in trust, providing that "They shall cause themselves, with four ladies to be selected by themselves, residing in the city of Davenport and County of Scott, to become incorporated under the laws of the State of Iowa **** under the name and style of 'Clarissa C. Cook's Home for the Friendless,' the object and purpose of said corporation being to provide a home for destitute and indigent femailes."
The same paragraph also devised, for same purpose, 15 acres of land in the west end of the city of Davenport, directing that the north five acres of the tract should always be used for the purposes of the home to be erected thereon. The will directed that about $25,000 be expended for erecting the building.
The 50th paragraph of the will provides that one-half of the residuary estate of Mrs. Cook should also be taken by the Home.
On the 14th of June, 1880, the trustees and the four ladies selected by them, viz.: Mrs. Agnes French, Miss Harriet Rogers, Mrs. Mary E. Wing and Mrs. Clarie B. Bills formed a corporation as directed. These parties, with Mr. F. H. Griggs as treasurer, and ex officio a manager, formed the Board of Managers. The first officers were Miss M. E. Wing, President; Mrs. Harriet Rogers, Vice-President; D. B. Shelley, Secretary; and F. H. Griggs, Treasurer.
Some time was required to determine the selection of a plan for the building, but finally the plan prepared by E. C. Gardner, architect, of Springfield, Mass., was adopted.
In May, 1881, Hon. John F. Dillon resigned as a manager, and N. Fejervary, of Davenport, was elected to fill the vacancy.
In June, 1881, the contract for erecting the building according to the plans and specifications of architect E. C. Gardner, was let for $19,500.
Mr. Fejervary, Mr. Shelley and Mrs. Wing were appointed as a building committee, and selected Mr. Victor Hunt as superintendent of the work.
At the meeting of the board for election of officers in June, 1881, the same officers were re-elected, except Mr. Shelley, who desired to be relieved from duties of secretary, and E. E. Cook was elected as secretary.
The building is now (March, 1882) well advanced, and will be ready for occupancy not later than July, 1882.
The share of the residuary estate coming to the Home from Mrs. Cook's estate is estimated to be worth over $65,000, in addition to the $50,000 and 15 acres of land given by the 11th paragraph of the will.
Rules and regulations for the admission and government of inmates have been adopted by the board, and before the completion of the Home will be published in pamphlet form. One of the original trustees and managers, Mr. Daniel B. Shelley, died on the 21st of March, 1882.