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Encyclopedia Dubuque

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MASSEY, Louisa

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MASSEY, Louisa. (Unknown). Woodbury MASSEY, a resident of Dubuque, purchased a MINING claim known as the "Irish Lot." He later learned that it was also claimed by a Mr. Smith and his son, William. On Monday, September 7, 1835 Massey and the sheriff arrived at the claim to evict the Smiths. Massey was shot and killed. The sheriff who accompanied him to the claim arrested Smith and his son and took them to Mineral Point, Wisconsin, for trial. The judge dismissed the charges claiming no jurisdiction west of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

In anger, the Henry, the brother of Woodbury Massey, shot and killed the elder Smith in Galena, Illinois. Everyone, except the younger Smith, believed the matter was settled. Vowing revenge, William Smith rode to Dubuque and announced he would kill the first Massey he met. This turned out to be Louisa who had heard of his arrival and found Smith in Guerin's store where the MERCHANTS HOTEL was later constructed.

Ordering Smith to turn and defend himself, Louisa fired a pistol and hit Smith in the chest. Fleeing the scene, she was helped to escape to Illinois by the Langworthy family which were relatives. The people of Iowa later immortalized Louisa by naming a county (Louisa) in her honor.

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Source:

Klauer, John P. "Murder at the Irish Lot," Dubuque Forklore II, American Trust and Savings Bank, p. 13-16

"Tragic Events Marks Early Dubuque History," Telegraph Herald, Apr. 16, 1922, p. 27. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=QCBRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=W84MAAAAIBAJ&pg=4718,343399&dq=steamboats+dubuque&hl=en