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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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

ATHERTON, Sanford A.

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Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/41697781:60525?tid=&pid=&queryId=a1eedb26804e8a539f6de4482b25f179&_phsrc=LFI2939&_phstart=successSource


ATHERTON, Sanford A. (Orleans Co., VT, Sept. 4, 1839--Dubuque, IA, Apr. 11, 1900). When the CIVIL WAR broke out, Atherton enlisted in Co.A, 2d N.H.V.I.; he was in the first battle of Bull Run and Williamsburg. He served in the service about two years, then returned, and, in 1865, was united in marriage, in Vermont, to Miss Helen L. Everest; the following year, he came West. (1)

Atherton came to Dubuque in 1866 and entered the coopering business in 1868. He managed the KEY CITY BARREL COMPANY employing between fifty and one hundred men who manufactured two thousand barrels per week. (2) He sold out his interest in 1880 when he was made manager and treasurer of the DUBUQUE OMNIBUS COMPANY. (3)

Atherton's local activities were both political and social. In 1896, Atherton, Williard H. TORBERT, and D. C. Glasser attended the Republican convention. (4) In 1898, he joined a group of men and several musicians including Mayor Berg who serenaded the newsroom of the Herald upon receiving word of Admiral Dewey's victory at Santiago in the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR. The same year, he was elected chairman of a committee established to welcome soldiers home. (5)

As survivor of the CIVIL WAR he was one of many asked to attend 1899 Memorial Day activities at a Dubuque public school and speak to students about his experiences. (6) His experience in Company A, 2d New Hampshire Voluntary Infantry at first battle of Bull Run and Williamsburg led to him serving on the GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC (G. A. R.) encampment committee in 1891. (7)

He was an early participant in BASEBALL history in the city.



1. Find-a-Grave, Online: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/83109165/sanford-adolph-atherton

2. Oldt, Franklin. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880, p. 762-763

3. Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company, 1894, p. 202

4. "Personal," The Dubuque Herald, June 14, 1896, p. 8

5. "A Great Victory," The Dubuque Herald, July 15, 1898, p. 8

6. "Veterans Will Speak," The Dubuque Herald, May 28, 1899, p. 8

7. "Committees for the Camp," The Herald, February 1, 1891, p. 8