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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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Family History: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=ernest_keene&id=I63604

John Hodgdon
HODGDON, John. (Weare, Hillsboro Co., NH, Oct. 8, 1800--Dubuque, IA, Aug. 27, 1883). MAYOR. Hodgdon prepared for college at Exeter Academy. He entered Bowdoin College and graduated from that institution in 1827. He studied law with Allan Gilman, of Bangor, Maine, and was admitted to the bar and practiced law there. In 1838, he was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Amelia Legget, a native of New York. In 1843, he went to Holton, Maine to settle two townships of land, one of which was given him by his grandfather, and one he bought; he remained there ten years. While living in Maine, Hodgdon was elected to the State Senate, served two terms, and was chosen presiding office of that body. When only 33 years of age, he was elected President of the Mercantile Bank of Bangor, Maine. He was a member of the Governor's Council in 1833. He held the office of Bank Commissioner and Bank Examiner six years and also held the office of State Land Agent four years. He was appointed by President Polk Commissioner, on the part of the State of Maine, to confer with George W. Coffin on the part of the State of Massachusetts, to settle and distribute the disputed Territory Fund. He was a member of the first Presidential Convention ever held in the United States held at Baltimore, Maryland on May 22, 1832. (1)

He came West to Iowa, and settled in Dubuque on November 1, 1853 and bought and sold land. In 1859, he again resumed the practice of law and became mayor. (2)

During his term, he frequently boasted that all city expenses during his administration totaled less than $10,000. The DUBUQUE CITY HALL was completed. A total of 611 wagon, some carrying men from Dubuque, left the city in search of Colorado GOLD. The post office was housed in a building on the north side of 6th Street between Main and Locust or in the ODD FELLOWS TEMPLE on Eighth and Bluff. Fire destroyed this building on June 19, 1859. Francis J. HERRON formed a militia group called the GOVERNOR'S GREYS which saw service beginning in the CIVIL WAR. The JACKSON GUARDS were also organized.

In 1868 Hodgdon was elected president of the board of education and held the office for six years. He declined to run again but did agree to serve as a trustee of the State Asylum for the Blind at Vinton. He also helped organize and then served as a director of the SECOND NATIONAL BANK.

For other civic activities in 1859, enter "1859" in the search feature of this encyclopedia.



1. Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 805

2. "Dubuque Sought Business Methods From Beginning," Telegraph Herald, March 27, 1921, p. 14. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=bi5eAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SmANAAAAIBAJ&pg=6644,4092622&dq=james+fanning+dubuque&hl=en