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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.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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JOHN T. HANCOCK & SON. In 1858 John T. HANCOCK established his wholesale grocery business. The premises occupied by the firm included a building 50x125 feet in dimensions and four stories high. The company employed twenty-six clerks and assistants.

The stock carried included everything in the line of staple and fancy groceries and grocers' supplies and shelf goods. Specialties included teas, coffees, spices, tobacco and canned goods. All their teas, coffees and dried fruits were imported. A staff of six traveling salesmen represented the firm in a trade territory including Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakota Territory.


The company name became John T. Hancock & Company around 1875. When his son Charles Thomas HANCOCK joined the business around 1880 the company name was changed again to John T. Hancock & Son. In 1891 another son, Frank A. Hancock joined the firm and the company name became JOHN T. HANCOCK & SONS.

When John T. Hancock died, the business was moved to 2-20 South Main. The company name remained the same, but the president was C. H. Young. The business became a branch of the WESTERN GROCER COMPANY in 1909. (1) and was not listed after 1918.

The 1859-1860 Dubuque City Directory listed Main between 2nd and 3rd.

The business was listed at 38 Main in the 1861 through 1865 Dubuque City Directory.

The 1874-1875 Dubuque City Directory stated that this business was located at 402-416 Main.

The 1880 through 1886-1887 Dubuque City Directory stated that this business was located at 215-229 Main.



1. "Dubuque's Wholesale Grocers Among the Oldest Concerns in Iowa," Telegraph Herald, March 10, 1910, p. 1

The Industries of Dubuque: Her Relations as a Trade Center, Dubuque: J. M. Elster and Company, Publishers, 1887, p. 60