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RICH, Jacob

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Photo courtesy: Don Nelson
1072 West 3rd. Photo courtesy: Old House Enthusiasts' Club House Tour, 1995

RICH, Jacob. (New York, NY, Dec. 18, 1832--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 1,1913). Rich's early education was received in Philadelphia. His first interest was in becoming a physician, but after the first year his delicate health forced him to reconsider and enter the field of journalism. (1) He moved west in 1856 and spent some months in Dubuque. He then relocated to Buchanan county where he, in partnership with a Mr. Jordan, began the publication of the Quasqueton Guardian. In 1858 he moved to Independence and continued its publication as the Buchanan County Guardian until 1865. (2) He also served part of that time as postmaster of Independence. In 1864 Rich was chief clerk of the House of Representatives in the Tenth General Assembly. In 1865 he went to Washington as clerk of the naval committee of the United States Senate, and remained there until 1869. (3)

In 1869 Rich joined his friend Captain John Grimes Walker and a crew of midshipmen from the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in a year-long cruise aboard the "Sabine," a wooden man-of-war. The ship was navigated only by sails. The goal of the voyage was to teach navigation. The ship visited ports in Europe and South America before returning to the United States. (4)

In 1870 Rich purchased a half interest in the Dubuque Times and assumed editorial control which he held until 1875. The "Times" grew quickly under his management with steam machinery being added in 1871.

Rich sold his interest in the paper in 1875 and retired. Locally in 1884 he helped organize the IOWA TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK of which he remained a director. In 1890 he was president of the DUBUQUE LINSEED OIL PAINT COMPANY, vice-president of the Fenelon Place Elevator Company, and a director of IOWA TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK. He served as president of the board of Public library Trustees in 1911-1912. (5)

Politically Rich was among the inner counsel to Senator William Boyd ALLISON. The chairman of the Republican state central committee during the presidential elections of 1872 and 1877, Rich was appointed the Dubuque pension agent and held the position until the districts were consolidated and the office moved to Des Moines. (6)

In 1898 Rich successfully led efforts in Iowa to have Allison nominated as the Republican candidate for President of the United States only to have his work sidetracked by the successful campaign of William Harrison. Rich attempted unsuccessfully to get the nomination for Allison again in 1896. (7)

Locally Rich used his powers of persuasion to successfully protest an ordinance that would have given the DUBUQUE STREET RAILWAY COMPANY a seventy-five-year extension on its franchise. He championed only a thirty-three year extension and a workingman's fare of 2.5 cents at designated hours of the morning and evening.

In 1894 Mrs. Rich was mentioned in the Dubuque Herald for holding a "jewel party" described as "unique but very enjoyable party for ladies." Every guest was to bring a rare and valuable family jewel to show the others. (8)

See: JACOB RICH-890 W. 3RD



1. "Jacob Rich as Seen By Others," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 23, 1915, p. 10

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. "Jacob Rich" Dubuque County IAGenWeb. Online: http://iagenweb.org/dubuque/bio/Rich_J.htm

5. Dubuque, Iowa Architectural Survey: Online: http://weblink.cityofdubuque.org/WebLink8/1/doc/18042/Page1.aspx

6. "Jacob Rich"

7. "Jacob Rich as Seen..."

8. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 11, 1894, p. 4