#Iowa175

Iowa will celebrate the 175th anniversary of statehood this winter on December 28, 1846!

Our department has been trying to spread the word and bring attention to the event in some small ways. We have been posting little bits of Iowa History Trivia Tidbits on the Twenty-Ninth of each month, capitalizing on Iowa being the 29th state to join the Union.

We’ve gotten a little corny with our social media!

We welcomed a new book club:  https://davenportlibrary.libcal.com/event/7456287

We are reaching out to the young historians with cool activities planned by Goldie’s Kids Club: https://iowaculture.gov/goldie/at-home-expeditions

Did you realize that Davenport became a city ten years before Iowa became a state?

Did you know that in 1846 Davenport’s population was about 1,000?

“Buffalo Bill” Cody was born in Scott County in 1846, so he would be 175 years old today!

1846 also brought a plow factory started by Mr. Bechtel, the first steam flouring mill opened by A.C. Fulton and a Board of Trustees for Iowa College was chosen. So much going on so very early!

There is so much to explore about Davenport’s and Iowa’s history. Be sure to follow us on social media and give us some “Iowa Love”!  Stay tuned for more #Iowa175 fun at the library!!

Design from https://iowalove.org/collections/

(posted by Karen)

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The Moaning Ghost of Esplanade Avenue

It was early summer in 1891 when talk began about the screams and moans coming from the woods near Esplanade Avenue in East Davenport. Those screams and moans sounded like a woman in distress, but no woman was ever seen.

Housewives began locking their doors at night. Children were called inside at dusk. Teachers reported fear in their classrooms as children discussed the terrible sounds coming from the dark woods near their homes. Those children who walked through the woods back and forth to school began to ask their parents to walk with them on their journey.

There were even rumors, sworn to be true, of a female figure floating down the streets towards the Mississippi River. Old timers in the neighborhood tried to think back to any terrible crime or tragic event that would have created this ghostly apparition, but no past stories could be remembered.

Why had it started, they wondered, and when would this terrible thing end?

Finally, on June 19, 1891, a more detailed story was written in The Daily Times. A man from Rock Island, Illinois had been visiting his sweetheart in East Davenport the evening before. Emil Farring was said to be the man’s name and he would regularly take the trolley line as near to her house as possible. It was in the area of Esplanade Avenue and Walnut Street (latter Fulton Avenue and now E. 12th Street) that he would set off on foot after disembarking from the trolley. There was a path through a darkly wooded area he followed which contained a wooden bridge over a small stream (most likely a small tributary coming from Duck Creek farther north). The area was hilly and dark deep in the woods which Mr. Farring admitted added to his discomfort late at night, but not enough to dissuade him from visiting his girl.

Esplanade Avenue & 12 1/2 Street – June 11, 2021. Photo by Amy D.

But this night, June 18th, was different. As he left from his visit to return home; he entered into the darkened woods heading towards the bridge which would take him to the safely lit area of Walnut Street.

He said he heard rustling in the woods. Thinking it was an animal going to the creek for a drink he continued to forge ahead. Then he heard it, a woman’s whimpering and whispering voice. Could a woman have entered the woods and gotten lost or hurt? As Mr. Farring looked around, peering into the darkened corners of the woods, the whimpering turned into a terrifying moan and a woman’s voice uttered the words “On yonder bridge rail you’ll find the name Dala Share.”

Mr. Farring took off in a run, he reported to the paper. The newspaper’s reporter stated that Mr. Farring told the story in the hopes that someone would go back to the bridge to look for the name as he no longer had the courage to do so.

Our intrepid reporter did just that and in the article gave us clues that we may use today to help locate this mysterious patch of woods near East Davenport. With Hose Company #4 as the main guide (the former address being 1502 Walnut Street, then 1502 Fulton Avenue, now 1502 E. 12th Street) we can roughly place the woods in question as running from E. 12th Street in the south to Esplanade Avenue to the west towards Kirkwood Blvd. to the north then to Adams Street to the east. An area with trees and culverts still today.

Image from Google Maps – June 11, 2021.

Our reporter found the bridge in question covered with the names of many couples who stopped to carve their names or initials on the bridge railings. Carved in one spot was the name Dala Share, but no one in the area remembered anyone by that name. Our research did not turn up the name either; though we did find the female names of Dalla and Dalia listed from the 1860s to 1890s, but not with a last name of Share or anything similar.

By June 22nd, The Daily Times was reporting that others had come forward with similar stories. Now the fear in the neighborhood increased and children were no longer allowed to roam the woods or play near the stream. Groups of neighbors began to search the woods to find the cause of the commotion. Was this a prank, an animal, or something more terrifying?

On June 21st, Mr. Hugo Smith with his wife and mother-in-law were walking the path towards the bridge in the late evening hours. They would later report they heard the sound of female moans as they approached the bridge from Esplanade Avenue. Then they saw it, a ghostly figure floating near the creek bed. The women began to run towards Walnut Street until they reached the corner and the Mt. Ida Meat Market (current address 1330 E. 12th Street). The husband following closely behind.

Mississippi Avenue near 12th Street – June 11, 2021. Photo by Amy D.

We found in the 1880 and 1900 U.S. census that a Mr. H. A. Smith and his family lived near the Mt. Ida Meat Market at 1319 Fulton Avenue.

The June 25, 1891 Daily Times, gave the final update to this story. It seemed, according to the newspaper, hundreds of people were descending on the small woods to hunt out the ghostly female. Even the Davenport Police Department altered their patrols to cover the area. And this final update was strange indeed.

Just before sunrise on June 25th, a few neighbors saw the ghostly apparition appear near the bridge. Seemingly, once again, floating near the creek bank. She was described as being shorter than medium height and about 120 pounds wearing a long robe with her feet floating a foot off the ground.

She appeared happy as she floated towards the bridge with the name Dala Share inscribed on it. Lingering a moment, she soon headed towards Esplanade Avenue and the Mt. Ida Meat Market. She then turned and neared Hose Company #4 located at 1502 Fulton Avenue (now 1502 E. 12th Street). Gazing up she moved past the building and turned towards the Mississippi River.

Adams Street & E. 13th Street. Leading to a ravine in the woods. June 11, 2021. Photo by Amy D.

She continued southeast past the railroad tracks and trolley line toward the river bank. Passing near what are now Iowa American Water buildings before floating into the river.

It is here, the story as told to the newspaper takes an even stranger turn. The ghost was seen to fall to one knee and her shoulders and head jerked backwards. The smile vanishing from her face. Suddenly, another figure developed on the water. A man holding a dagger stood over the figure and then plunged his right arm down as if to stab the woman. Both figures vanished only to reappear, it was said, across the river near the Moline, Illinois side of the river bank.

The citizens of East Davenport, it was reported, hoped the troubled ghostly woman and her unearthly companion had chosen to take up a new residence across the river.

The last mention we found of the ghost was from The Daily Times in October 1891. The light committee of Davenport City Council had chosen to remove the electric lights near Esplanade Avenue and Fulton Avenue. The article mentions the area was the one in which the ghost once roamed the woods nearby, but fortunately, at least for that neighborhood, the ghost appears to have not been seen since that fateful night in June.

There was no report from the Moline side of the river though.

(posted by Amy D.)

Sources

The Daily Times, June 19, 1891. Pg. 4

The Daily Times, June 22, 1891. Pg. 4

The Daily Times, June 25, 1891. Pg. 4

The Daily Times, October 27, 1891. Pg. 4

Google maps

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Early Horticultural Pursuits in Scott County, Iowa

On Tuesday evening, April 26, 1859, in the Davenport law offices of Howard Darlington, Esq., a constitution was adopted by a gathering of Scott County residents interested in forming a Horticultural Society. [1] The second article of the constitution announced the Society’s purpose: “….to promote and foster the cultivation of fruits, flowers and vegetables in our own county and a taste for ornamental and landscape gardening…” and to “…introduce and test new and choice varieties…and afterwards publicly report thereon.” [2]

The first official meeting of the Horticultural Society was held the first week of June, and as quickly as Saturday, June 18th, the first exhibition took place in Metropolitan Hall. Said the editors of the Daily Iowa State Democrat on Sunday the 19th, “[t]he quantity of the specimens far exceeded our expectations, while the quality was of a higher standard than we had any idea could be found in Scott County.” They also noted the presence of many women, who “among the sweet flowers looked more beautiful.” [3] Indeed, the number of ladies exhibiting flower and fruit specimens was close to that of the gentlemen.

Among those active in Society’s early days are names already familiar to us from our Davenport family history research. George L. Nickolls, son of the Kentucky man who had formerly enslaved Albert Nuckols, had “about thirty-seven acres of land under a high state of cultivation” on Harrison Street north of Locust, and a one-hundred-foot-long hot-house by which he could “give his plants an early start, and could also keep them from freezing in winter.” Nickolls, the Vice-President of the Society in 1859, had high hopes for producing grapes, boasting that “bunches of some of his varieties will weigh eight pounds.” [4] At that first exhibition, he presented a “box of Iowa prolific strawberries,” and at the second semi-annual exhibition, held in September, he was awarded the premium for the “Best Lot Vegetables.” One wonders if Albert Nuckols was an uncredited support for Nickolls’ success — it is unclear if and how they associated with one another after arriving in Davenport a few years earlier. However, Mrs. Warrick’s (wife of barber J.H. Warrick) award for “Best Cabbage” suggests that people of color were welcome to participate. [5]

Map of the City of Davenport and its Suburbs, Scott County, Iowa (Hogane and Lambach, 1857)

Evidence of the Killion family’s activity is always readily found in the local newspapers, and in the same September 1859 Horticultural Society Exhibition, John H. Killion exhibited two varieties each of tomatoes, potatoes, and corn, as well as squash, sweet potatoes, and crab apples. “Mrs. K. had some very choice butter,” winning the premium.

Livy S. Viele was the Recording Secretary of the Society at its inception. His seed and farm implement business was essential to the growing number of horticultural enthusiasts:

Davenport City Directory for 1858

Homer S. Finley was also an early participant in the Horticultural Society exhibitions He was in the nursery business with land to the northwest of the city and next to Ebenezer Cook’s in the west end, on the road to Buffalo along the Mississippi River.

Map of the City of Davenport and its Suburbs, 1857
Map of the City of Davenport and its Suburbs, 1857

According to Wilkie, “Mr. Finley commenced this buisness in 1839, and after Herculean efforts has succeeded in establish one of the finest and largest nurseries in the West.” [6]

Exhibitions were produced in June and September of each year for the life of the Scott County Horticultural Society, which appears to have been active through about 1890. Regular meetings were held at the Davenport Academy of Sciences.

(posted by Katie)

[1] Davenport Daily Gazette, April 28, 1859; [2] The Willard Barrows History, as republished in Downer, History of Davenport and Scott County, 1910, p. 216-217; [3] Daily Iowa State Democrat, June 19, 1859; [4] Daily Iowa State Democrat, May 26, 1859; [5] Daily Iowa State Democrat, September 22, 1859; [6], Franc B. Wilkie, Davenport Past and Present (Davenport: Luse and Lane, 1858), p. 267.

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AAPI Heritage – Vietnamese Refugees in the Quad Cities

By the summer of 1975, the first of the Vietnam War refugees evacuated from their country by U.S. forces began to arrive in the Quad-Cities. Organizations in Davenport, Rock Island, and Moline had pledged to help these families find housing and employment, to learn English, and to adjust to a new culture. Their stories, covered by the local press, are summarized here in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Thu T. Nguyen & Phuong X. Ngo

Quad_City_Times_Sat__Jul_5__1975

The first family to arrive in the Quad Cities arrived at the Quad-City Airport on the 4th of July, 1975. Thu T. Nguyen, his pregnant wife Phuong X. Ngo, their daughter Yuan Thuyen (age 12), and sons Huy (age 10), and Nang (age 4) were sponsored by the Friends of Children of Vietnam, Quad-Cities Chapter.

Their son Richard was born on August 27, 1975, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Davenport. Thu enrolled as a student at Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Thu had been a lieutenant colonel in the South Vietnam Army. An expert in psychological warfare, he was instrumental in negotiating the release of prisoners of war between North and South Vietnam. His wife Phuong was a jade specialist in Saigon.

“It’s hard to adjust at 40. When I fled from Communism in Hanoi, I was only 19 so it was not so hard to adjust. Now, at 40 with a wife, three children, and another on the way, it’s like starting my life all over.” Quad-City Times, August 17, 1975

Jean Carizey & Ton Nu Thi Sam

Perkins, Claranne. “Refugees Slowly Begin New Q-C Lives.” Quad-City Times, August 17, 1975.

Jean Carizey, his wife Ton Nu Thi Shaam “Sam,” and their children Juliette (age 11), George (age 9), Robert (age 7), and Rene (age 2) arrived at the Quad City Airport on July 6, 1975. The family was sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church (Lutheran World Relief) in Moline and initially lived in a house owned by the church. They came here after sending time at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas.

He was born in Dien Bien Phu to a French father.

Carizey had worked as a field and survey engineer for an American firm in Saigon. He was able to find work as a combine tester for Deere & Co. before landing a job as a surveyor for American Engineering Co. in Moline.

Jean spoke English and the rest of the family started taking classes at the camp, then continued through the church.

Hoanh Vo & Anh Thi Ngoc Pham

Quad-City Times, February 17, 1981

Hoanh Vo, his wife Anh, daughters Trinh and Tram, and son Trung arrived at the Quad City Airport on September 22, 1975. Their son William was born December 22, 1975, in Davenport. The family became citizens of the United States on April 1, 1982. They stayed in the Quad Cities through the mid-1980s, then moved to Texas.

He was born in 1940 in Saigon. He had a 15-year military career and had been a Major in the South Vietnamese Army. He worked as a French professor at the University of Saigon and instructor of Political Science at Saigon Military School. He wrote anti-communist articles for both French and Vietnamese newspapers.

He bought an 8-foot boat for $5,000 in gold and diamonds. The family left Vietnam on May 3, 1975. It took them 4 days to get to Thailand, where they spent 3 months and lost their youngest daughter. He feared that his parents may have been killed.

The Vo family was sponsored by First Baptist Church in Davenport. They rented an apartment at 3300 E Kimberly Road. He got a job as a security guard for International Harvester Farmall working 2nd shift. In the mornings before going to work he helped new refugees. He wrote articles for New Life Refugee newsletter, the Spirit of Vietnam, and Tan Dan newsletter.

His wife Anh started working at Bettendorf Bank and learned bookkeeping at Scott Community College. She then worked for a furniture company during the day and helped refugees in the evenings.

Doung Ba Le & Minh-Quang Thi Vu

Quad-City Times, November 7, 1975

Duong Le was born on February 10, 1947, in South Vietnam. He met Minh-Quang Vu when he was buying airplane tickets for his family to get out of Vietnam. They ran into each other again at Camp Pendleton. Duong, his mom, dad, 2 brothers, and 1 sister arrived in the Quad Cities on September 15, 1975. Minh-Quang and her father arrived on September 24, 1975.

They were sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church in Pleasant Valley and Zion Lutheran Church in Burlington. The couple was married on November 1, 1975.

Duong took English classes at Black Hawk College and wanted to study electronics or mechanics. Minh already spoke English, French, and Chinese. She took typing classes.

Vinh Quang Pham

Vinh Quang Pham was born June 4, 1952 in Ninh Binh. He was a soldier in the South Vietnamese Army. With the help of his sponsor, Calvary Lutheran Church, he found a job as a mechanic at Tom Tague Dodge. Although he did not speak English, he was able to read the manuals. He opened Vinh’s Auto Repair in 1980.

Vinh married Cynthia M. Carlson on June 6, 1976, at Calvary Baptist Church in Moline. Cynthia, a recent graduate of Augustana College, volunteered to teach English to Vinh and his brother, Quy’s family.

Vinh Quang Pham died on November 12, 2020.

“When I come to American , I have nothing. Now I have everything.”

Vinh Quang Pham, Moline Dispatch, February 28, 1976

Buong Trong Hoang & No Thi Hoang

The Dispatch, October 10, 1975

Buong Trong Hoang, his wife, No Thi, and children Thi Thuy Tiem (age 7), Duc (age 4), and Thao (age 15 months) arrived in the Quad Cities on July 24, 1975. The family was sponsored by South Park Presbyterian Church in Rock Island.

He had been an Air Force pilot and flew about 60 refugees to Thailand. They then went to a refugee camp in Vietnam and a military base in Arkansas, where they waited for a sponsor.

Buong had a degree in Agriculture, Lumbering, and Husbandry. He found work in the assembly line at International Harvester Farmall. His wife No Thi had worked as a secretary-accountant for the South Vietnam government and was looking for work as a tailor or dressmaker.

The Hoang family became U.S. citizens on January 13, 1981. Buong’s brother, Minh Trong Hoang, escaped from Vietnam on June 16, 1988. He had been a manager of a radio station in Nha Trang and received telecommunications training from Americans.

Nghia Thi Nguyen Oxendine

Quad-City Times, July 8, 2007

Nghia Thi Nguyen was born on March 15, 1945, in North Vietnam to Tinh Hiu and Gian Thi Nguyen. She met Master Sergeant Stanley Oxendine while he was stationed in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After his 2-year tour with the Army, Stanley stayed in Vietnam as a civilian, working for Bell Aircraft and the U.S. Embassy. The couple moved to the Quad Cities in 1975 when Stanley was transferred to the Rock Island Arsenal to work as a Supply Management Specialist.

Nghia and Stanley were married on November 4, 1978 in Davenport; they next year they opened their restaurant, American Vietnamese Oriental Foods, at 1507 Harrison Street. It was so successful that they moved to a bigger space at 1228 Brady in 1981, changing the name to Nghia’s Restaurant. The couple had 3 children.

Learn more about Vietnamese families in the Quad-Cities by viewing this gallery of images from local newspapers:

Quad_City_Times_Tue__Feb_17__1981

(posted by Cristina)

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A Club for Singing and Fellowship: the Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies

On March 24, 1885, a small group of German immigrants organized to form the Northwest Davenport Liedertafel with ten active members, one of which was P.N. Jacobsen, and six passive members with Henry Restorf as music director (“Liedertafel has Big Celebration” 1910). Liedertafel is a name for a society or club which meets to practice male parts of songs.

The Northwest Davenport Liedertafel held its meetings and activities at Jacobsen’s Hall, also known as Jacobsen’s Tavern or the Farmer’s Hall, located at 1663 West Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa now known as Five Points. Peter Nicolai Jacobsen became synonymous with the singing group. He was born in Eckernfoerde, Schleswig on March 24 1833 the first of thirteen children of Claus and Dorothea (Moeller) Jacobsen. He married Anna Gerdts, who was born in 1829 in Eckernfoerde, the daughter of Johann and Dorothea (Hinrichsen) Gerdts. In 1856, the young couple made their way to Scott County, Iowa. He owned and managed a hotel and was a cigar manufacturer. (Roskom, Kathie 2015)

The Liedertafel society participated and supported a variety music festivals and celebrations including the 1903 Saengerfest held in Schuetzen Park. This organization bolstered a sense of community for the German immigrants who settled in Davenport and Scott County through the expression of song and gathering for social events.

In September 1901, the Damen Zirkel of Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies Organization was formed by Peter N. Jacobsen, a member of the men’s Liedertafel. Beginning with 24 members, the group has had as many as 350 in the 1960s. Monthly meetings were held at the Northwest Turner Hall located at 1602 Washington Street in Davenport.

“Liedertafel has Big Celebration.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, IA), Mar. 27, 1910.

After 25 years in 1910, the male Liedertafel society grew to reach 126 members with 19 active singers. The women’s auxiliary comprised of 60 women. They celebrated their silver jubilee with a large celebration with a program that brought together all the Saengerbunds of the tri-cities including “the Davenport Maennerchor, the singing section of the Davenport Turngemeinde, the Germania Saengerchor, Rock Island Maennerchor, and the Concordia-Germania society of Moline” (“Liedertafel has Big Celebration” 1910). The men’s Liedertafel disbanded around the time of World War I because of anti-German sentiment and restrictions on speaking the German language.

However, the Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies continued to flourish. The object of the society was both social and beneficial. The membership reflect dual purpose by offering full or benefit and social membership. Dues were collected and benefit members received a $50.00 death benefit which was started by the men’s group in 1891. Activities included singing, playing cards and picnics. (“Liedertafel Means Singing” 1966)

“Liedertafel Ladies’ Club to Note 50th Anniversary.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa), September 12, 1951.

In 1951, the year of their 50th Anniversary, the group was still active and posted notices in the local newspapers such as the one above announcing their anniversary luncheon and the newspaper clippings below noting luncheons, card parties, and a Christmas party.

Proctor, Sharon. “Liedertafel Means Singing.” Times-Democrat (Davenport, IA), Dec. 16, 1966.

The Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies [Damen Zirkel] Records dating from 1921-2008 are housed at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. This collection consists of materials recording the activities and actions of the ladies through organizational minutes, membership records, financial records, and realia (objects and material from everyday life).
The collection is organized into series and then chronologically. The documents hold information about the decisions the society made at their meetings as well as an extensive record of their membership.

In the “Liedertafel Ladies’ Club to Note 50th Anniversary” article, two charter members are mentioned. With the aid of the Liedertafel Ladies Records, we will look at the records of Maria (Marie or Mary) Schreck.

Maria Schreck was born on August 10, 1865 in Kellinghusen, Kreis Steinburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany to Claus and Anna Suhl. According to Anna Suhl’s obituary published in The Daily Times on May 16, 1931, Maria and her family emigrated from Germany in 1880 and came directly to Davenport. She was between the ages of 15 and 17. She married Juergen F. Schreck on June 2, 1883 according to the Iowa Marriage Index. She passed away at age 88 on June 12, 1954 and she was buried at Fairmount Cemetery. Her obituary published in the Democrat-Times on June 13, 1954 states prominently that she was a charter member of the Liedertafel Ladies, a member of the Northwest Davenport Turners auxiliary, and the Old Settlers club member.

From the Liedertafel Ladies Records, she was listed as a full member and her join date was in September 1901. The membership records also document those who drop their membership or pass away.

Over the years she was a member of the society, Maria was mentioned in various newspaper articles about her activities with the group. The 1938 article below notes that she “received the flower fun prize”.

“Meeting Is Held by Turner Group.” The Daily Times (Davenport, IA), May 13, 1938.

The Liedertafel Ladies Records we reviewed only touch on the activities Maria Schreck participated in as a member of this groups. A more thorough examination of the minutes and the membership records would probably reveal a plethora way she and the other members created a wonderful society for fellowship and singing.

The images below showcase materials from the collection include copies of the Constitution and By-Laws from 1956 to 2002, membership booklets in English and German, and the minutes beginning in 1940s. We are happy to share their stories with the Davenport and Scott County communities.

Bibliography:

“Liedertafel has Big Celebration.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, IA), Mar. 27, 1910.

“Liedertafel Ladies’ Club to Note 50th Anniversary.” The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa), Sept. 12, 1951.

Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies [Damen Zirkel] Records, 2015-18, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa.

Northwest Davenport Liedertafel Ladies [Damen Zirkel] Records, 2015-18, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa. https://archives.davenportlibrary.com/repositories/4/resources/2 Accessed May 22, 2021.

Proctor, Sharon. “Liedertafel Means Singing.” Times-Democrat (Davenport, IA), Dec. 16, 1966.

Roskom, Kathie. “Peter Nicolai Jacobsen.” Jacobsen Family Tidbits, October 21, 2015. https://jacobsenfambits.wordpress.com/jacobsen/peter/.

Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. S.v. “Liedertafel.” Retrieved May 22 2021 from https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Liedertafel.

(posted by Kathryn)

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May, Memorials, Mothers and Memories

The month of May brings to mind flowers, mothers, and memorials to military members – some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Combining all three, today’s blog reflects on a few of Davenport’s Gold Star Mothers who took advantage of a unique opportunity for Memorial Day in May of 1930.

The Davenport Women’s Auxiliary to American Legion Post No. 26, originally called the Soldiers’ Mothers’ Club, began a city-wide sale of memorial red crepe paper poppies in 1921 after the American Legion adopted it as the official symbol of sacrifice in September 1920. [1] Proceeds of Poppy Day went toward aid for disabled veterans, their families, and the families of those who lost their lives in the war.

The idea of poppies being a symbol befitting the heroes of the war began years earlier with the publication of Canadian John McCrea’s poem “In Flanders Fields” in December 1915. [2] The idea was heavily promoted by Madame E. Guerin, the “Poppy Lady of France” who invited American women to wear the poppy of Flanders Field on May 30th of 1921.

 Democrat & Leader (Davenport, Iowa) March 31, 1921, page 4.

Fifty women and young girls stationed themselves on downtown corners with baskets of blooms. The goal was every man, woman and child in the city procuring a poppy at ten cents apiece. The newspaper reported over 12,500 poppies were sold that first year. [3] Auxiliary members like Mrs. Katherine Kauffman soon adopted the same corner each year, faithfully selling the flowers on “Poppy Day” in memory of loved ones. Her son, Private Daniel Kauffman, had died in July 1918 of wounds received in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry – one of the first offensive actions of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Scrapbook; Accession 2004-07 American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26

Just a few months prior to Private Kauffman’s death, American women began wearing a black arm band adorned with a gilt gold star [4] representing family members who had given up life for country. When the family learned of his death and burial in faraway Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France, Mrs. Kauffman likely adopted that mourning custom as well as changed the blue star to gold on the Service Flag that undoubtedly hung in one window of their home.

Soon the women who had lost their loved ones became known as Gold Star Mothers and Widows.  By 1928, they had successfully formed a national organization known as American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. [5]

In early 1930, a resolution passed the House and Senate to appropriate over five million dollars to finance a pilgrimage for Gold Star mothers and widows to visit the European battle fields and cemeteries where their loved ones had valiantly fallen. [6] Five Davenport women qualified and chose to make the trip. [7] The first to go was 69-year-old Katherine Kauffman.

Mrs. Zella Cox was chair of the Auxiliary’s Poppy Day that year. On May 12th, Auxiliary members gathered at the Rock Island railroad station where Cox presented a wreath of poppies to Gold Star Mother Mrs. Kauffman to place on her son’s grave. After twelve years, and fittingly, on Memorial Day, she would finally see her Daniel’s place of rest.  The brave mother boarded the train for New York; two days later she set sail for Europe.   

Scrapbook; Accession 2004-07 American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26
Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), Monday, May 12, 1930, page 14.

Gold Star mothers Catherine Popp Rehder, Elenora Clouse, and Anna Wiebbecke along with widow Vivian Irwin sailed the following week on May 21st.  One deserving mother, Mrs. Marie Gilbert, opted to make her trip later in the year. [8]

Scrapbook; Accession 2004-07 American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26
Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), Monday, May 19, 1930, page 2.

That Saturday, May 24, 1930, as Zella Cox and the one hundred Poppy Day volunteers in Davenport loyally took to their corners they undoubtedly thought of their friends on pilgrimage. Gold Star mother Mrs. Emma Ball was stationed at Second and Brady streets for the twelfth year in a row. The team from Third and Brady Street netted $472.21. Total receipts reported for the day equaled $2,124.09. [9]

The Auxiliary’s Poppy Day scrapbook for 1930 contains this thoughtful handwritten tribute written by Zella Dee Cox.

Poppy Day was over for another year, and the travelers returned in June from their trips with Auxiliary members waiting at the train station to welcome them home.

Katherine Kauffman described her unforgettable experience when interviewed by the local newspaper: “I know where he is now. I always felt a little uneasy and a little uncertain before. Now I shall always remember the Aisne-Marne cemetery which is so beautifully tended. I shall not think of Dan as lonesome…I am really glad that I did not have him brought home. I am so happy and grateful that I had this chance of visiting his grave.” [10] As they did for all the Gold Star women, officials took pictures of Kaufmann next to her son’s simple white cross marker and presented her with a gold star medallion and a silk flag.

Davenport Democrat and Leader,  July 20, 1930,  page 19.

The Gold Star honorees were invited to a number of Davenport organizations and clubs to share their pilgrimage experiences. All expressed gratitude for the opportunity and praised the efforts of those who choreographed the month-long trip.

Davenport Democrat and Leader,  May 4, 1930,  page 23.

It was surely a monumental May that year for the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26 and their Gold Star sisters, filled with poppies, memorials and mothers who  hopefully found some sense of peace in their hearts.

[11]  Rest easy, soldier.

Daniel F. Kauffman          Private, Co. A 58th Infantry           July 1918             age 26   Aisne-Marne France

Son of D.F. and Katherine Kauffman

William H. Rehder            Private, Co. F 357th Infantry          Sep. 1918            age 28   St. Mihiel France

Son of Henry and Catherine Rehder

LeRoy S. Gray                    Private, Co. E 364th Infantry          Oct. 1918            age 29   Meusse-Argonne France

Son of Thomas Gray and Mrs. Eleanor Clouse

Earl E. Waldvogle             Private, 1/c Co. F 26th Infantry     Oct. 1918            age 23  Meusse-Argonne France

Son of Augustus Waldvogle and Mrs. Marie L. Gilbert

Leonard F. Ostereicher   Private, Co. G 313th Ammunition Train 88th Division

Only son of Mrs. Anna Wiebbecke                                           Oct. 1918           age 30  Meusse-Argonne France

Clarence Irwin                   Sergeant, Co. L 131st Infantry       Oct. 1918            age 22   Meusse-Argonne France

Son of Thomas Irwin and Mrs. Minnie Moe

Husband of Vivian Irwin

(Posted by Karen)

Sources:

[1] The Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa); Tuesday, May 24, 1921, page 6.

[2] https://poppyladymadameguerin.wordpress.com/remembrance-poppy-timeline/

[3] Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa); Tuesday May 31, 1921 page 10.

[4] www.goldstarmuseum.iowa.gov

[5] www.goldstarmoms.com

[6] Constance Potter, “World War I Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimages,” Prologue:  Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, Vol. 31, Nos. 2-3 (1999):  140-145, 210-215.

[7] The Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa); Wednesday February 26, 1930 page ____.

[8] Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa); Sunday May 4, 1930 page 23.

[9] Daily Times (Davenport Iowa); Monday May 26, 1930 page ____.

[10] Daily Times (Davenport Iowa); Wednesday June 18, 1930 page 6.

[11] Pilgrimage for the Mothers and Widows of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the American Forces Now Interred in the Cemeteries of Europe as Provided by the Act of Congress of March 2, 1929 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1930). Reproduced in the Congressional Serial Set under the same title, 71st Congress, 2d sess., 1930, H. Doc. 140, Serial 9225.

Scrapbook, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26, Accession #2004-07, Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library, Davenport, Iowa.

Auxiliary magazine, May 2021.

www.ALAforVeterans.org

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The Latest Craze: The Locomobile is here!

May 2, 1900 found many citizens of Davenport waiting with great anticipation. Would it happen? Could it happen? All eyes were fixed on Mason’s Carriage Works at 122-124 East 4th Street. Their patience was soon rewarded.

The day before, the crates had arrived. Inside were parts to a Stanhope Locomobile made by the Locomobile Company of America in Watertown, Massachusetts.

The first automobile in the Tri-Cities had arrived.

One of two Stanhope models available in 1900. The Hartford Courant, September 17, 1900. Pg. 7

The proud owner of the Stanhope was Baron Otto Von Schaezler of Davenport. An actual member of the German nobility, Baron Schaezler had immigrated to the United States in 1882. By 1900, he was an independently wealthy (from his family fortune) man living in Davenport with his wife Mabel. Schaezler worked as a bookkeeper and had several side businesses as well.

The Stanhope was a two-seater with a boiler and engine behind the seats. The gasoline tank was fitted underneath the passengers’ feet. The less expensive models came without the carriage canopy that could be folded up or down depending on the weather. The vehicle was also fitted with 28-inch wheels with pneumatic tires. The locomobile could move forward, but it could not be put in reverse! It did have the ability to go uphill, which must have been a plus considering the landscape in and around Davenport.

At that time, an automobile would be shipped in pieces and the local carriage works would assemble it. The employees at Mason’s were able to put the locomobile together quickly enough that a test drive took place that very evening.

The Baron started the vehicle, waited for the water to start steaming, and then set off. Sadly, the first drive ended quickly because not enough steam could be generated; the Baron and his assistant were forced to push the Stanhope back to Mason’s.

The next day, a boiler repair expert was brought in to work on the vehicle. After a few more failed drives, the automobile was finally off and running, or at least limping, along.

One of two Stanhope models available in 1900. The Hartford Courant, September 17, 1900. Pg. 7

Three days later, the pieces of Mr. Claus Bischoff’s automobile arrived in town and the Tri-City Carriage Works put it together. It seems a new craze was taking hold in Davenport.

The first automobile race in the city took place that summer. The Baron and Mr. J. B. Richardson were set to compete at the Mile Track, where horses usually raced, on July 19th. Expectations were high, and the excitement mounted as Richardson’s vehicle failed to appear until two days before the race!

Alas, Richardson’s auto stopped working the night before the race; it could not be repaired. But all was not lost! Mr. Charles Moore stepped up and challenged Baron Von Schaezler’s locomobile to a race against his super-fast…bicycle.

So that’s how it happened: the first automobile race in Davenport was actually between a steam-propelled “horseless carriage” and a bicycle. The crowd was surprised and delighted when the Stanhope, driven by the Baron’s brother-in-law Will H. Canniff (with the Baroness Mabel Von Schaezler by his side), rolled up to the starting line next to Moore and his bicycle.

The 2-minute-3-second-long mile race was considered a dead heat, but there were those convinced that Moore would have won if he could have maneuvered his bicycle around the locomobile.

After the race, Baron Von Schaezler was approached by wealthy coal businessman W. J. Haskell of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Haskell wanted to purchase the Stanhope from the Baron on the spot, and he did, for $1,000. He then started for home with Canniff beside him in the passenger seat so he might have help learning how to drive the locomobile. It took them 6 1/2 hours to cover 75 miles of county roads from Davenport to Cedar Rapids.

Haskell owned the locomobile for several years before donating it to the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1927 (Accession #1559 B). Judging by the pictures in the museum’s catalogue, we guess it was either a Stanhope Model #3 (with canopy, $900) or #2 (without canopy, $750).

There is no record of Baron Von Schaezler’s next automobile purchase — perhaps he preferred the more reliable horse and carriage in the end. But the automobile craze had taken over nonetheless. Business at Mason’s Carriage Works and similar establishments turned brisk as owners of both traditional and newfangled conveyances required service.

The Davenport Democrat, August 27, 1900. Pg. 4

If only we knew what became of Moore’s bicycle!

(posted by Amy D.)

Resources

  • The Davenport Democrat, May 1, 1900. Pg. 4
  • The Davenport Democrat, May 3, 1900. Pg. 7
  • The Daily Times, May 5, 1900. Pg. 5
  • The Davenport Democrat, May 10, 1900. Pg. 7
  • The Daily Times, May 18, 1900. Pg. 5
  • The Daily Times, July 14, 1900. Pg. 6
  • The Davenport Morning Star, July 18, 1900. Pg. 6
  • The Davenport Morning Star, July 20, 1900. Pg. 7
  • The Daily Times, July 20, 1900. Pg. 6
  • The Davenport Democrat, July 20, 1900. Pg. 4
  • The Davenport Democrat, July 23, 1900. Pg. 5
  • The Daily Times, July 25, 1900. Pg. 6
  • Davenport Weekly Republican, July 25, 1900. Pg. 3
  • The Hartford Currant, September 17, 1900. Pg. 7
  • The Daily Times, July 21, 1930. Pg. 3
  • The Daily Times, July 11, 1936. Pg. 78
  • The State Museum of Iowa. www.iowaculture.gov/history
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The May Dawn Bird Concert

For the better part of the last century, Quad-City area birders looked forward to this day, the first Saturday in May, to enjoy the May Dawn Bird Concert. This unique springtime event was started by J.H. Paarman of the Davenport Academy of Sciences in 1924, who “insisted that some of the finest bird music was to be heard in their waking song at dawn before they started on the routine of hunting food for breakfast.” (“May Bird Dawn Concert to Be Given,” Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa), April 25, 1931, p. 9).

Participants would hike in small groups along the shores or through the woods of Davenport’s Credit Island (flood conditions permitting) to hear and see spring migrating birds in the earliest hours of the day. Humans could make reservations ahead of time for their breakfasts.

The RSSC Center is fortunate to have among its archival collections the papers of Dr. Herbert James “Jim” Hodges (Acc#2014-03), one of the founders of the Tri-City Bird Club. Because his group jointly sponsored the May Dawn Bird Concert with the Davenport Public Museum (earlier the Academy of Sciences, later the Putnam) beginning in 1950, the collection includes plenty of information about the event specifics over the years. Below is a report on the species sighted at the 1956 Concert, a sheet handed out to participants in 1957, and an announcement of the event in the 1960 Tri-City Bird Club Bulletin.

Club programs like these from the 1950s listed the events for the year, including the May Dawn Bird Concert.

A brief history and purpose of the May Dawn Bird Concert is given in this 1962-1963 “Year Book.”

The annual Bird Concert continued after the Tri-City Bird Club became the Quad City Audubon Society in 1976, and the event was held on into the 1990s.

Serving often as a leader of the May Dawn Bird Concert hikes was just one of many ways Jim Hodges expressed his passion for birds and birding. He kept extensive field notes, including these he jotted down in 1944 at the age of 15:

He also published over 50 articles on birding in scientific journals and was an avid bird photographer. The slides in the Hodges collection merit another blog post altogether!

In addition to his papers, we have on our shelves these titles on birds authored by Hodges: The Bird Life of the Quad-City Area , 1950 (SC 598.2 Hod) and The Breeding Birds of the Upper Mississippi Valley: A Summary and Checklist, 2005 (SC 598.0977 Hod).

The RSSC Center also has other publications on Scott County and QCA bird life by local authors, including those by Hodges’ fellow Tri-City Bird Club member and Davenport Public Museum curator Peter C. Petersen, Jr., and by J. H. Paarman, the founder of the May Dawn Bird Concerts.

Get outside early one of these May mornings and hear this year’s concert for yourself, visit us at the Davenport Public Library, and check out the Putnam Museum’s exhibit Birds and You!

(posted by Katie)

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He “Spoke for the Trees” of Davenport

What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2021 and the flowering of spring than to feature this charming addition to our collection, the “Therapeutic Chart for Street Trees,” by Philip Hunter Tunnicliff.

According to the author’s foreword, the chart was created in September 1941 for “the Davenport Park Board in its civic ministry of street trees” but especially for “the pure joy of doing.” It is a guide to the diseases and pests commonly suffered by trees in the city and environs, along with descriptions of the recommended treatments for each. An index, organized by genus, then the scientific name of the affliction, provides the reader with the disease’s common name and directs them to a square in one of four (and a half) pages of hand-colored illustrations.

Tunnicliff concludes his work with this amusing drawing, featuring his guiding philosophy in the care of trees: “An ounce of anticipation is worth a pound of realization” (a paraphrase of Benjamin Franklin’s saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”).

The 25-year-old dedicated his work to his superior, W. H. Romine, the Davenport Park Board Commission Superintendent. A 1935 graduate of Moline High School, Tunnicliff studied landscape design at Cornell College and Iowa State College before beginning work as a landscape designer for the City.

This list of trees looks to be about the same vintage — and is presented with the same sense of humor. Tunnicliff described the trees as if people, with Christian names and nicknames, and noted: “After barely surviving the rigors of winter, one can scarcely blame them for leaving in the spring, and after facing the scalding sun all summer, it is no wonder that in the fall they begin to turn.” These “citizens” also had occupations: “one was a holder of banks, another stored waters, and still others manufactured medicines, dyes, and paper, or reclaimed land.”

Tunnicliff was employed by the City of Davenport for just under two years; in the spring of 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served for four years, designing and planting “headquarters, stables and military prison areas,” and achieving the rank of lieutenant. (“Philip H. Tunnicliff, Landscape Designer, Begins Practice Here.” Daily Times, Davenport, Iowa, 11 Mar 1947)

After the war, Tunnicliff returned to Davenport and in March 1947 started a landscape design practice. These advertisements are from the 18 Jul 1948 Democrat and Leader and the 14 Jun 1949 Daily Times:

These are drawings for some of Tunnicliff’s earliest jobs, as reproduced in his Tunnicliff Tales: A History of the Tunnicliff Family and its Midwest Environs (Davenport, Iowa: P. Tunnicliff, 1981), Call No. SC 929.2 Tun:

Tunnicliff Tales also includes drawings he made during his service as a Captain in the Korean War. From the early 1950s until his death in 1984, Philip H. Tunnicliff was the owner and president of Tunnicliff Surveyors & Engineers, with offices in the Putnam Building. In our collection of historical City of Davenport materials, we also have blueprints for the work the firm did for the Levee Commission in the 1960s. Yet we cannot claim to have any work of Tunnicliff’s more delightful than the “Therapeutic Chart for Street Trees!”

(posted by Katie)

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Happy Anniversary Davenport City Hall!

Last week we posted a selection of close-up images of a local building that is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its dedication this week. That building is Davenport City Hall.

From the opening of the eleven construction bids on December 27, 1894, Davenporters eagerly awaited their new City Hall. Some were disappointed when the Mayor and City Council elected to have the building built of Bermea (Ohio) sandstone instead of red stone. The Romanesque style building designed by local architect John W. Ross would soon win them over and many citizens stopped by the construction site to watch the new building take shape.

The Morrison Contracting and Manufacturing Company of Pueblo, Colorado won the bid to build the structure. By mid-march 1895, the company was fencing off the construction area as huge pieces of sandstone were shipped to the area. The bid required all pieces of stone to be cut and prepared on site; that meant the construction area had to be large enough to accommodate both the storing and cutting of the stone as well as the structure itself.

New Public Works truck outside City Hall c. 1950s.

By April 1895, foundation work had begun and the building began to take shape.

The contract deadline was for the Morrison Company to have the structure completed by December 1896. With good weather and no supply problems, the building was actually completed in April 1896.

The public dedication was held on April 14, 1896, with all citizens invited to attend the speeches and tour the new building. Quarter-sawn White Oak filled every inch of the building except the new prison cells. Furniture of the same wood had been custom-made locally by the W. H. Voss Manufacturing Company and the Ohmer Company of Dayton, Ohio.

Davenport Police Department Radio Room inside City Hall. Photo courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association.

Nearly every office area had large windows to let in sunlight. The latest gas and electric lighting fixtures were installed to illuminate building spaces on dark days and evenings. A modern toilet and bath room was located near the police department. Even an electric elevator was planned to help people reach the third floor City Council chamber (this was not added until 1950).

Third Floor Council Chamber c. 1940s. The electrical lights shown were once electric and gas when the building opened in 1896. The Council Chamber was moved to the first floor during the 1979 – 1980 renovations.

City Hall was built at a cost of $79,997.50. By the time of the dedication, $50,000 of the cost had already been paid in full.

Public Works employees c. 1946. The immense size of the windows is noted in this picture. Natural sunlight and fresh air were considered two benefits for employees when the building was originally built.

Davenport City Hall has adapted over the years to fit the needs of a growing city. In 1963, an addition was built on the north side of the building to add office space. A $2.6 million dollar renovation was done in 1979-1980 that completely changed and modernized the inside of the building.

Davenport Police officers standing outside the 4th Street Police Station entrance once located in Davenport City Hall. Photo c. 1920s courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association.

The police department is now located across Harrison Street from City Hall, while Public Works has moved farther north, off Brady Street.

C. 1920. Davenport City Hall being cleaned from the soot that had collected on the stone since it was built in 1895 – 1896.

It seems that after 125 years, Davenport City Hall is still going strong. Happy Anniversary City Hall!

(posted by Amy D.)

Resources:

  • Daily Leader, December 27, 1894. Pg. 4
  • The Morning Democrat, January 18, 1895. Pg. 4
  • The Morning Democrat, April 15, 1896. Pg. 2
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