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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Photo courtesy: Jim Massey
DUBUQUE CATTLE COMPANY. The Dubuque Cattle Company was established by John T. HANCOCK and his son, John Samuel HANCOCK.

Capitalized at $500,000 by investors from New York, Chicago, and Dubuque, the company was located in New Mexico on between 7,000 and 8,000 acres of land.

Indicating the size of the operation, a report on January 1, 1885, stated that the Dubuque Cattle Company had ten miles of fence cut down during a recent raid of fence cutters in Texas and New Mexico. (1)

T. H. Lawrence, general manager of the Dubuque Cattle Company, came to Dubuque in early July 1885. The Herald noted:

           ...bronzed and rugged from outdoor life with
           the roundup. Mr. Lawrence gives his personal
           attention to the detail work of the company, 
           which accounts for much of the thriftiness 
           of this standard organization. (2)

On August 11, 1885 James BEACH was reported as traveling to Las Vegas on business matters related to the company. (3) A week later than the tone of the Dubuque Herald toward the company changed.

In 1885 the company was caught up in the accusations that millions of acres of public lands had been illegally seized by western cattle companies. In 1885 the Dubuque Herald reported that a prominent member of the Dubuque Cattle Company which had been implicated in illegal seizure of public lands, told a reporter of a city paper than the report as to his company should not have been published by the Herald because "it did not concern the public." (4)

In that year documents provided to the Committee on Public Lands indicated that in Colorado alone two foreign companies had fenced more than one million acres each of public lands. In New Mexico the Dubuque, Cimarron, and Renello companies had very large enclosures one of which was declared to be thirty miles square. Armed herdsmen prevented settlers and homesteaders from access. (5)



1. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, January 23, 1885, p. 4

2. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, July 10, 1885, p. 4

3. "Caught on the Fly," The Dubuque Herald, August 11, 1885, p. 4

4. "The Public Land Stealing," The Herald, August 18, 1885, p. 2

5. Ibid.