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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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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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DUBUQUE EARLY SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION. The first meeting of the Association occurred on June 10, 1865, with Peter Lorimier presiding as chairman. Membership was open to anyone living on either side of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER in the vicinity of Dubuque on or before July 4, 1840. The charter officers of the Association were Timothy MASON, president; John H. THEDINGA, secretary; Chandler Childs, treasurer; and Peter LORIMIER, John KING, Patrick J. QUIGLEY, George Wallace JONES, and Edward LANGWORTHY, vice-presidents. On June 10, 1865, the early settlers organized as the "Early Settlers Association." The first members were P. A. Lorimier, John Simplot, George W. Jones, Jesse M. Harrison, S. M. Langworthy, A. McDaniel, Richard Bonson, J. R. Goodrich, N. V. Descelles, Mathew McNear, A. B. Harrison, B. F. Emerson, S. M. Lorimier, T. C. Roberts, A. Levi, T. S. Wilson, George O. Karrick, J. D. Grafifort, Peter Waples, H. A. Wiltse, John King, J. H. Thedinga, Jacob Christman, M. McNamara, Joseph Ogilby, Nathan Simpson, J. H. Emerson, John Goldthorpe and C. H. Booth. This was the first list, but others were immediately added. Eliphalet Price, of Clayton county; Ezekiel Lockwood, of Washington, D. C, and Patrick Quigley, Thomas McKnight and C. Childs, of Dubuque, were elected honorary members. They passed suitable resolutions upon the death of Lucius H. Langworthy. — (Herald, June 13, 1865.)

The preamble of the organization's constitution read: (1)

              Whereas, in the providence of God we became pioneers in the
              settlement of the rich and fertile County of Dubuque, in the
              State whene no traveler returns, and believing that
              recollections of the past, the happiness of the present,
              and the hopes of the future should unite us as a band of
              brothers, we have formed an Association...

The first membership roll included thirty members. At the Association meeting in December 1868, the members chose to change the date of eligibility from July 4, 1840, to December 26, 1846, the date of Iowa's entry into the Union. The membership also decided that all women in the Dubuque area on that required date could become members and that honorary members could be elected.

On December 17, 1869 the constitution was amended by removing "male" in the third section. This change allowed women to be members. The first women members were Sarah J. ANDERSON, Euphemia Cleveland, Margaret Guilford, Martha Le Van, Josephine Place, Lena Wagner, and Katherine Zugenbuehler. (2)

In February 1888, the members of the Association expressed their interest in joining with other local societies in celebrating Dubuque's centennial. At a special meeting on August 21, 1892, President Alexander SIMPLOT informed the members of plans for a monument and part for the grave site of Julien DUBUQUE. Simplot unveiled his design based on a picture of a castle on Germany's Rhine River and asked for a thirty acre park surrounding the monument. Plans were made to dedicate the monument on July 4, 1896.

In 1894 Alexander Simplot announced a meeting of the association. He reminded residents that all residents of the city and county for the last twenty-five years could be a member. All that was necessary was registering their name and paying a "light" membership fee. (3)

On Sunday, October 31, 1897 the remains of Julien DUBUQUE were encased in a walnut casket manufactured by the DUBUQUE CABINET MAKERS' ASSOCIATION and lowered into the grave beneath the JULIEN DUBUQUE MONUMENT. The twelve-feet in diameter, 29-feet tall, limestone structure costing $560 was paid for by the Dubuque Early Settlers Association and the IOWA INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND ARTS. (4)

On July 25, 1898, a successor organization to the Dubuque Early Settler's Association was formed with leadership provided by Peter KIENE, Patrick J. QUIGLEY and Theodore RUETE, Richard John Mullany, and Alexander Simplot. This new organization was to be called the Dubuque County Early Settlers' Association.



1. "The White Family Album," Telegraph Herald, February 22, 1976, p. 83

2. "Early Settlers of Old Dubuque," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, August 23, 1908, p. 7

3. "Old Settlers Meeting," Dubuque Daily Herald, June 23, 1894, p. 1

4. "R.I.P., Julien," Telegraph Herald, November 25, 1973, p. 20

Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-17-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml