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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.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

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


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GERMAN BENEVOLENT SOCIETY. The German Benevolent Society was among the oldest, if not the oldest, beneficial association in Dubuque. Organized on the August 5th, 1817 it counted among its original members Anton HEEB, Charles Reis, Andrew Hoerner, Joseph Kaufman, Simon Schmidt, Joseph Scheuger, and Charles G. Kretschmer.

The objects of the Society included caring for its members in sickness, burying them, and providing for their families. Applicants for membership were required to furnish evidences of their nationality and good character and had to be confirmed by the organization. The initiation fee varied from $8 to §15 according to the age of the candidate. When elected to membership, a person was taxed a monthly contribution of 30 cents which was deposited in the general fund for caring for the sick and the payment of $500 to the survivors of deceased members.

In 1850-52, hard times reduced the number of members to seven. By 1899, however, the membership stood at 225. Meetings were held on the first Tuesday of the month, at Turner Hall, and the assets of the Society in 1899 were said to be $6,000.



Oldt, Franklin T. The History of Dubuque County