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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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O'FERRALL, Francis K. (Unknown-Nevada City, CA, Dec, 5, 1851). MAYOR. In April, 1844, F. K. O'Ferrall, a well-known local lumberman, was elected mayor.

During the first O'Ferrall administration, the city undertook many issues. The grocery (wet) license was fixed at $100. Town lots remaining unsold in Dubuque were listed. A general examination of the public improvements going on here was ordered in April, 1844. Large sums were spent on street improvements. Culverts on all the cross streets had to be built. Again on May 9, 1844, the council asked the receiver at the land office why the money due the city was not paid over. Eleventh street to the canal was opened in the spring. The ordinance closing groceries (wet) and stores on Sundays went into effect in May, 1844.

Several mines were discovered on city property, which were leased for mining purposes. Jesse P. Farley was authorized to build a (gun) powder magazine, and all persons who sold powder were required to deposit the same therein. In November, 1844, Farley & Bonson presented a bill of $206.85 for building the powder magazine. E. Langworthy was asked to appear before the council in November, 1844, to report the amount of mineral due the city from the Third street mines. The city's share of this mineral was one-fourth and was worth $83.30 in specie. The survey of the harbor in detail was considered in December, 1844. The question of a market house was again considered in February, 1845. Levi and Simplot agreed to donate to the city ten feet fronting on their lots on Fifth street between Main and Iowa, providing the same should be used for a market-house. Steps to raise the means to erect the building were taken in February, 1845.

In April, 1845, F. K. O'Ferrall was again chosen mayor, and Elisha Dwelle, Robert Rogers. Timothy FANNING, John H. THEDINGA, John G. SHIELDS and John Blake, aldermen. Twenty feet on the south side of Fifth Street between Main and Locust streets, owned by Charles Miller, was obtained for a market house. J. P. Farley improved and fenced the public square and was paid $136.50. The Couler Hollow road was greatly improved in 1845, as was Dodge Street up Madden Hollow. The council considered the suggested improvements on the harbor. L. H. Langworthy having exchanged with the city important lots on the Couler, was required to furnish the city as a part of the compensation 10,000 good building bricks. A stone wall sixty-four feet long and two and one-half feet thick was ordered built on the west side of Locust Street between Second and Third. In July, 1845. Warner Lewis informed the council concerning instructions received at the land office in regard to the unsold town lots and issued instructions as to what should be done to enter and pay for the same. December 1, 1845, was the day set to close the sale of such lots.

Mr. Cook's plan for a market house was finally accepted. Sealed proposals for the building were called for. A cistern was ordered built in the market house — to hold 200 barrels of water. All slaughtering within the city limits was prohibited from September 1 to November 1, 1845. This order was in response to a petition to that effect. Todd & Humboldt offered to build the market house for $883.

Through the work of Charles Corkery there was subscribed in Dubuque in 1845 $1,000 for a hospital; he also managed to secure the title to eight acres within the city limits for a site. In 1846 the ladies of Dubuque, among whom were Mrs. G. W. Jones and Mrs. J. P. Finley, gave a public supper by which to raise funds to buy a fire engine. They gave several others and by 1848 the fund amounted to $125.60, which the council endeavored to obtain, but without avail, unless they should furnish an equal amount. The sum was put in bank and continued to draw interest. In January, 1845, pursuant to act of Congress of December 26. 1844, Col. J. J. Abert and Capt. T. J. Cram, of the United States Topographical Corps, made a report of the survey of Dubuque harbor.

The council continued to have much trouble in getting the funds due it from the land office. Heavy grading on Main street was done in 1845. Clay Street was ordered graded in November, 1845. In 1845 amendments to the city charter were discussed; a committee was appointed to make suggestions of changes. Saucier and Mattox were permitted to mine on Fifth street, they to pay one-fifth of the mineral found to the city. The council paid $20 for having the willows cut from the island opposite the canal made by the government under the superintendence of Captain Barney. It was ordered in January, 1846,that no city scrip should be issued for less than 75 cents on the dollar.

On March 10, 1846, the citizens petitioned to have the city divided into wards. Accordingly the council immediately formed the following wards: First ward — All of the city lying south of Third Street. Second Ward — All of the city between Third and Eighth streets. Third ward — All of the city north of Eighth street. It was decided that two aldermen should be elected from each ward and a mayor from all the wards jointly. Todd & Humboldt were paid $135.61 for extra work on the market house.

In April, 1846, F. K. O'Ferrall was re-elected mayor, and Hugh Treanor, Michael McNamara, W. H. Robbins, Mordecai MOBLEY, Amos Matthews and Lewis L. Wood, aldermen. Mr. Trower was the first market master — chosen in April, 1846. John T. Cook was paid $10 for his plan for the market house, the same having been accepted.

In April, 1846, the citizens petitioned to have the public square ornamented. A council room was prepared in the new market house in 1847. The rent of inside stalls in the market house was fixed at $15 per annum; choice stalls were offered publicly to the highest bidder. In May, 1846, C. J. Leist succeeded Mr. Trower as market master. All articles of produce or meat were required to be sold in the market house. A cannon was ordered for $25 for city use. Market hours were from 3 a.m. to 10 a. m. each day except Sunday — from May to October. Mr. Fulweiler's slaughter house was ordered removed from its location, as it had become a declared nuisance. The same of Mr. Straper's butchering establishment. The billiard license was fixed at $25. The beer license was $25. George L. NIGHTINGALE became city clerk in 1846.

In September, 1846, the council appointed a committee to draft a new charter for the city of Dubuque, to be submitted to the Legislature the coming winter. In December, 1846, the council counted all of the islands opposite the city for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a donation of the same to the city, previous to the public sale which was to take place in March, 1847. Such a petition was prepared by the city attorney.

In 1847 the islands in front of the city were reserved from public sale. In August, 1847, the mayor was authorized to buy the islands in front of the city. By paying $50 the council obtained permission to use for fire purposes the well of Emerson Shields on Fourth street. Upon the payment of $100 Timothy Fanning was given exclusive ferry privileges in 1847-8. The grading of Bluff street from Dodge to Twelfth was ordered in May, 1847. A room for a calaboose was ordered rented and fitted up; it was ready in July.



Oldt, Franklin T. History of Dubuque County, Iowa. http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/franklin-t-oldt/history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl/page-9-history-of-dubuque-county-iowa-being-a-general-survey-of-dubuque-county-histor-tdl.shtml