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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
After losing his wife Betsey and son, Stephen Langworthy (July 25, 1801 – April 5, 1820), to malaria, Langworthy moved his eleven children to Diamond Grove, near Jacksonville, Illinois and purchased several acres of land which had been cultivated by the Kickapoo Indians. This land proved productive and good support. It was during this time that Stephen met his second wife, Jane Moureing. She eventually bore him nine more children, giving Stephen a total of twenty-one offspring. (2)
Langworthy remained in Illinois as his older sons moved away, eventually selling the farm in 1831 and moving to St. Louis. In 1834 he came to Dubuque with his son, Solon. The description of what was later called the Couler Valley and nearby Union Park Hollow, just north of the present limits of Dubuque, fits the 160 acre claim of Dr. Stephen Langworthy. By the time he arrived in Dubuque, Dr. Langworthy’s eldest sons, James, Lucius, and Edward, were living on their own. Census takers in 1840 noted that Dr. Langworthy’s household included nine people, including two engaged in mining, three in agriculture, one in manufacturing or trade, and one professional or engineer. (3)
The government’s General Land Office survey of the newly formed Iowa Territory was done in the fall of 1837. Surveyors found that Dr. Langworthy had settled north of town, and recorded his claim as the NW¼ of Section 11, T89N-R2E. The surveyors also noted that Dr. Langworthy had built a house on his claim. For unknown reasons, however, the surveyors did not record the bearing and distance of Dr. Langworthy’s house from the nearest corner post, as they had for other miners and settlers. It was nearly 30 years before civil engineer and map maker T. H. Thompson printed what may be the first commercially published plat map of Dubuque County land ownership. By then the land had passed out of the Langworthy family name and the exact location of Stephen Langworthy’s 1830s house was never mapped. The doctor and his family left no description of their first Iowa home. Dubuque settlers were not allowed to enter their claims in county records until the Chouteau case was resolved. (4)
When he was finally able to enter his Dubuque claim, Dr. Langworthy's home needed some major improvements. Dubuque had no brickmaker in the mid-1830s, but with the success of the local LEAD MINING industry and the rapidly growing population, the construction industry and related trades also grew. By the 1840s, local brickmakers supplied construction brick that previously had to be shipped in from sources east of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. (5)
Sometime in the late 1840s, Dr. Langworthy replaced or extensively remodeled his original Dubuque house. Once again, first hand accounts of the timing and circumstances surrounding the Langworthy family’s decision to reconstruct their dwelling escape us. What is known is that much of the NW¼ of Section 11, T89N-R2E continued to be owned by Stephen Langworthy’s offspring until 1862, when transfer records show that the property passed out of the Langworthy family ownership. (6)
Dr. Stephen Langworthy was buried in the Dubuque City Cemetery and moved to LINWOOD CEMETERY in the 1850s. Dr. Stephen Langworthy, father of the famous Langworthy brothers, came to Dubuque in 1834 and became Dubuque's first permanent physician and a United States land officer. (7)
1. "Stephen Langworthy," Linwood Legacies. Online: http://www.linwoodlegacies.org/stephen-langworthy.html
2. Perry, Michael J., "A Territorial Period Site in Dubuque," Online: https://archaeology.uiowa.edu/territorial-period-site-dubuque-0
7. "Stephen Langworthy..."