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HANCOCK, Charles Thomas

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Charles Thomas Hancock

HANCOCK, Charles Thomas. (Dubuque, IA, Mar. 16, 1860--Dubuque, IA, Dec. 29,1913). The third son of John T. HANCOCK, Charles succeeded his father as head of the profitable wholesale grocery house of JOHN T. HANCOCK & SONS. In 1888 he was elected secretary and treasurer of the Iowa Jobbers and Manufacturers' Association. (1) A business leader in the community, Hancock was also active socially as a member of the board of trustees of ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. He served on the building committee that was responsible for the present church structure.

Hancock succeeded his father on the board of the LINWOOD CEMETERY Association and was instrumental in establishing the plantings of trees and annual flowers in the center of Grandview Avenue. He was elected chairperson of the Iowa Republican Central Committee in 1898.

By 1899 Hancock was recognized as a leader in Iowa of those who raised and raced horses. He was elected president of the Western Circuit and was also associated with the Great Western Trotting Circuit. Hancock was in the business of breeding light harness horses at his HIGHLAND STOCK FARM and managed the local track. In 1899 an article in the Dubuque Herald noted Hancock was shipping sixty head of horses to New York for sale. The paper described some as having pedigrees "longer than the 'moral law.' Prices were 75% higher than the previous year for fine horses used in breeding. (2) In association with Bruce BALDWIN, Hancock was in charge of publicity for the futurity race held in Dubuque in 1899. In 1912 he held the same position for the race that was canceled due to bad weather.

In 1899 Hancock claimed that preparing for his sale of horses had forced him reduce his campaign efforts for the Iowa senate. (3) He had been expected to win given his background of serving as the chairman of the state Republican Party. (4) It was not until the Des Moines Trades and Labor Assembly issued an address "To the Laboring People of Dubuque" urging Hancock's defeat that his momentum to victory was ended. The Assembly charged that Hancock was the candidate of those who wished to "discredit and debauch labor." Hancock's loss was seen as a boost to the political ambitions of Albert Baird Cummins who was seeking the nomination for United States Senator. Hancock, as a Republican, was not seen as committed to the Cummins' campaign. (5)

As president of the NUTWOOD DRIVING CLUB, Hancock called a meeting on January 20, 1900 to discuss the future of horse racing in the city. He wished to have an annual race in the city greater than the one held in 1899. He believed the lack of interest in such an activity was due to the small size of the group. The club chose to disband unless a stock company open to all business people could be established. Hancock then urged such a stock company be formed. A motion was made to established a committee of five to offer to purchase the Nutwood Driving Park and establish a stock company. (6)

Hancock is remembered today for his home located at 1105 Grove Terrace. In 1887 the positioning of the home led Hancock to join others in seeking an injunction against the ELEVENTH STREET ELEVATOR. Hancock and neighbors living in the area claimed that the elevator construction obstructed the street with its pilings and trestle work. Those seeking the injunction also claimed that passengers on the elevator could look in their windows. (7) Constructed in QUEEN ANNE ARCHITECTURE, the Hancock House--1105 Grove Terrance years later became one of the city's most popular bed-and-breakfast locations. Despite its dominate position in the area, the beauty of the landscape was reduced in 1889 by the discovery of a large deposit of LEAD along 11th Street. It was reported in 1889 that large piles of "bright galena are in sight." (8)

Charles Hancock home. Photo courtesy: Old House Enthusiasts' Club House Tour, 1987





1. "Personal," The Herald, August 7, 1888, p. 4. Online: http://p8080-

2. "Hancock to Ship Horses," Dubuque Herald, November 28, 1899, p. 8

3. Ibid.

4. "Charles T. Hancock," The Herald, April 29, 1900, p. 4

5. "Did Cummins Beat Hancock?" The Herald November 14, 1899, p. 4 Online: http://p8080-

6. "Races to be Continued," The Dubuque Herald, January 21, 1900, p. 4. Online: http://p8080-

7. "Eleventh Street Elevator," The Herald, November 11, 1887, p. 4. Online: http://p8080-

8. "Local News in Brief," The Herald, September 27, 1888, p. 4