Le Claire Iowa

River Men (and Women)



Le Claire Rivermen

 Georgeann McClure


Sue Rekkas  



1880 Census LeClaire Township , LeClaire City  

Lancaster E. J.  Head  age 53   Steamboat Captain

Lancaster Helen wife  age 35    House wife

Lancaster Olive  Dau  age 20     cook

Lancaster Alice  Dau   age 17     student

Lancaster Edna   Dau  age 14     at school

Lancaster Hymie Son  age 12     at school

Lancaster Lee      Son  age  8      at school

Lancaster Lucas   Son  age  5     at school

Lancaster Harold  Son age  3      at home

Lancaster Venice  Son age  0        at home  

Times - Democrat,  Tuesday, July 20, 1965, page 15.  



  Mrs. William H. Bissick, of the Vale apartments, 210 E. 4th Street , Davenport , died this morning in St. Luke’s Hospital after a brief illness.

  Born in LeClaire, the former Olive Lancaster was married to Mr. Bissick and he died in 1950.

  Until returning to Davenport three years ago, Mrs. Bissick had resided in St. Louis for 40 years.

  There are no immediate survivors.

  Private funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday in McGinnis Chapel, Davenport , and cremation will follow.

  Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.  



Bridging The Past And Present, page 117.  

  “Among the river boat cooks were Francis A. Buchheit, Sam Craig, George Shannon, Doris (Schickling) McCauley.”  

The  Davenport Democrat And Leader, Friday Evening, July 1, 1921, page 17.  



  LeClaire , Ia. , July 1.--(Special.) - S. A. Buchheit, aged resident of LeClaire, passed away at 7:30 o’clock this morning.  Death followed a lingering illness.  Mr. Buchheit was born in LeClaire, Sept. 17, 1820, and has resided here most of his life.  His marriage to Fannie Morrison took place Sept.18, 1903.

  Surviving to mourn his loss are his wife, three sons, Fransie, John and Lewis, all of LeClaire, and one sister, Mrs. Alice Cox of Arcola , Iowa .

  Funeral arrangements have not been completed.  

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sunday Morning, July 3, 1921, page 3.  



  LeClaire , Ia. , July 2.-(Special.)- Funeral services for F. A. Bucheit of LeClaire, whose death occurred at 7:30 o’clock Friday morning, will be held from the home Sunday afternoon.  Burial will be in LeClaire, Cemetery.

  The sad death of Mr. Buchiet took place following a lingering illness.  He was born in LeClaire, Sept. 17, 1870, and has resided here most of his life.  His marriage to Fannie Morrison took place Sept. 18, 1903.

  Surviving are his wife; three sons, Francis, John and Lewis, all of LeClaire; and one sister, Mrs. Cox, of Arcoia , Ill.  

Bridging The Past And The Present, page 116.  

  “Fritz Fedderson held a master pilot license from the U. S. Coast Guard during the World War II years.”  

Quad-City Times, Thursday, September 9, 1999, page 2M  


Fedderson Frederick

  DAVENPORT - Frederick Fedderson, 97, Davenport , died Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1999, at his home after a lengthy illness.

  There will be no services or visitation.

  Cunnick-Collins Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

  Mr. Fedderson retired in 1986 after 19 years at the former J. I. Case, Bettendorf .

  He was born Sept. 26, 1901, in LeClaire , Iowa .

  During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard.

  A memorial fund has been established.

  Survivors include his caregiver, Rosemary Bolton, Davenport .



Frederick Fedderson



* The Gault men were all rivermen  


The Daily Times, November 8, 1916, page 7.  






  LE CLAIRE, Ia., Nov 8.--(Special)--Word was received today by relatives of the death of David A. Gault, for many years a resident of  Le Claire, at his home in Bartlesville, Okla., following a prolonged illness of paralysis.  Mr. Gault was born in Le Claire 55 years ago and in late years had resided in Oklahoma .

  He is survived by his wife, his aged mother, Mrs. M. A. Gault, two brothers, William A. and H. D. Gault and one sister, Mrs. W. S. Adams, all of LeClaire.

  H. D. Gault leaves tonight for Oklahoma to make arrangements for the funeral.  It is not yet known whether the remains will be brought back to Iowa for burial.  

The Daily Times, November 13, 1916, page 7.  




  Le Claire, Ia., Nov. 13.--(Special)  The body of David A. Gault, whose death occurred Wednesday morning at his home in Bartlesville, Okla., arrived in Le Claire Saturday at eleven o’clock accompanied by his wife and brother, H. D. Gault.  The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at three o’clock from the home of his mother, Mrs. M. A. Gault, conducted by Rev. M. E. Krotzer of the Presbyterian church.  A Choir composed of Mesdames J. A. Teeter, W. Rathmann , J. H. Clark and Miss Anna Laird sang beautiful songs.

  Interment was made in LeClaire cemetery, the following friends acting as pallbearers;  F. H. Kitchen, F. P. Schworm, A. H. Dawley, J. A. Meyer and C. B. Hitchcock and C. W. Disney.  Floral offerings were many and beautiful.

  David A. Gault was born in Ohio November 14, 1852.  He grew to manhood in Le Claire, was educated in Le Claire and when he became of age went out for himself and has always been successful in business.  He was married to Miss Fannie Walker of Joplin , Mo. Feb. 15, 1892, and to this union a son was born who died in infancy.  He is survived by his wife and aged mother, one sister and two brothers. 


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, November 13, 1916, page 13.   





  Le Claire, Ia., November 13, 1916.-- (Special)-- The remains of D. A. Gault who passed away Wednesday morning at his home  at Bartlesville, Okla., arrived in Le Claire  Saturday, accompanied by his wife and brother, H. D. Gault, of LeClaire.

  Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon from the home of his mother, Mrs. M. A. Gault, conducted by Rev. M. Krotzer.  Hymns were sung by Mrs. J. H. Clark, Mrs. J. A. Teeter, Miss Annie Laird and James Suiter.

  The remains were laid to rest in Le Claire cemetery, borne by the following friends:  F. P. Schworn, F. H. Kitchen, C. W.  Disney, J. A. Meyer, C. B. Hitchcock and A. H. Dawley.

  Many out of town friends of the family were in attendance.         


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, October 19, 1936, page 9.  


Harry D. Gault.  

  Harry D. Gault, 71, life resident of Le Claire and retired bank cashier, died at his home in Le Claire at 8:45 a. m. today, following a lingering illness.

  For seven years he had served as the assistant cashier at the Le Claire bank, and for 18 years was cashier at the Princeton bank, retiring in 1931.

  The body was removed to the Hill and Fredericks mortuary where it will remain until returned to the Presbyterian church at Le Claire at 12 p. m. Thursday for funeral services at 2 that afternoon.  Burial will be in the cemetery at Le Claire.

  He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Wilson Adams of Le Claire.  His parents and two brothers preceded him in death.


The Daily Times, Monday, October 19, 1936






   Harry D. Gault, life resident of Le Claire, died at his home there at 8:45 a. m., today after an extended illness.

  He was born in Le Claire on March 28, 1865.  He was assistant cashier of the Le Claire bank for seven years, previous to acting in the same capacity in the Princeton bank for 18 years.  He had been retired since 1931.

  Surviving is one sister, Mrs. Wilson F. Adams of Le Claire.  His parents and two brothers preceded him in death.

  The body was taken to the Hill & Fredericks mortuary.  Thursday noon it will be taken to the Presbyterian church in Le Claire for funeral services at 2 p. m.  Burial will be in the Le Claire cemetery.


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, October 23, 1936, page 15.


The Gault Funeral  

  Funeral services for Harry B. Gault were held at the Presbyterian church at Le Claire Thursday at 2 p. m. with the Rev M. E. Crotzer officiating.  Mrs. J. W. Richards and Mrs. J. W. Clark accompanied by Mrs. Edith DuVon sang two hymns.  Burial was in Glendale cemetery at Le Claire.

  Bearers were J. J. Ryan, Tom Kennedy, Ed Davenport, E. Von Hein, Irve Morey and Gene Youngers.

 ·        Harry was a steamboat man at one time.



1880 Census  

Illinois Rock Island Moline 3 Wd

Gault W. F. 58 Hotel Keeper …………..Penn     

Gault M. J.  48Keeping House ………… Ohio

Gault David A. 28 Clerk on Steamboat….Ohio

Gault W. A.  22  Steamboat Hand ……….Iowa

Gault Harry 15   At school ……………….Iowa

Gault Carrie   6 daughter………………….. Iowa


1900 Census  

Iowa Scott Le Claire City  

Gault W F 78  Head  Retired…………………….Penn

Gault M J  68  Wife  House wife ……………….. Ohio

Gault W A 32  Son   Steam Boat Engineer ……… Iowa

Gault H D  34  Son   Clerk on Boat ……………… Iowa

Adams Carrie 26 Daughter  Music teacher……….. Iowa  


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, October 1, 1930, page 5  



Retired Marine Engineer, Succumbs After Extended Illness.


  William Adrian Gault, retired marine engineer and life resident of Le Claire , Ia. , died at 9:30 a. m. today at his home in LeClaire after an extended illness.

  Mr. Gault was born in Le Claire , Ia. March 25, 1857.  He was employed as a marine engineer on the Mississippi for more than 30 years, retiring 15 years ago.

  Surviving are one sister, Mrs. Carrie Adams and a brother, Harry D. Gault, both of Le Claire , Ia.

  The body was taken to the McGinnis funeral home and will be removed to the McGinnis chapel at Le Claire Friday morning where funeral services will be held at 2 p. m. Friday.  Burial will be made in the Le Claire cemetery.


The Daily Times, Wednesday, October 1, 1930, page 8.






  William Adrian Gault, a life resident of Le Claire, died today at 9:30 a. m. at his home in Le Claire from a long illness. 

  He was born in Le Claire on March 25, 1857.  He was a marine engineer and was employed on the river boats for about 30 years.

  Surviving are one sister Mrs. Carrie Adams, and one brother, Harry D. Gault, both of Le Claire.

  The body was taken to the McGinnis funeral home in Bettendorf and will be removed to the McGinnis funeral chapel in Le Claire Friday at 2 p. m. when funeral services will be conducted there.  Burial will be in the Le Claire cemetery.


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, October 5, 1930, page 9.






  Funeral services for William A. Gault were held Friday afternoon at the McGinnis chapel in Le Claire.  The Rev. C. E. Thompson officiated.  Burial was made in Glendale cemetery.

  Pallbearers were James Ryan, Charles Thompson, Gene Youngers, James Brown, Ed Davenport, and Carl A. Newton  




The Democrat and Leader, Thursday, March 25, 1948, page 15.  



  Le Roy Gilbert, 74, an engineer on the Mississippi river boats a number of years and later owner of a sand and gravel business in Le Claire, died in St. Luke’s hospital at 1:40 p. m. Wednesday.  He had been ill two months.

  A life resident of Le Claire, Mr. Gilbert was born Sept 25, 1873, son of the late Philip and Martha Gilbert.  He attended the Le Claire schools and was married to Anna Dittmer March 26, 1900.  The couple would have celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary Friday.

  An engineer on the river boats many years, he later operated a sand and gravel business in Le Claire for 30 years before retiring a number of years ago.

  Surviving are the widow; a daughter, Mrs. Vern McDonald, Wheatland; two sons, Robert C. and Arthur W. Gilbert, Le Claire; a brother John Gilbert, R. R. No. 1 Princeton, and five grandchildren.

  The body will be taken from the McGinnis funeral home to the Le Claire Presbyterian church at noon Saturday for services at 2 p. m.  Burial will be in Glendale cemetery, Le Claire.  




Capt Samual Hitchcock  

1870 Scott County Federal Census Le Claire city

Hitchcock Saml 30 M W Raft Pilot 1,000 . Iowa .

Hitchcock Lizzie 23 F W Keeps House . . Iowa .

Hitchcock Minnie 2 F W . . . Iowa . . . .

Hitchcock Willie 8/12 M W . . . Iowa



A Raft Pilot's Log by Capt. Walter A. Blair
1929-Arthur H. Clark Company
Transcribed by Joan Bard Robinson

Some of the Men Prominent in the Rafting Industry, 1840-1915


Walter Blairs “A Raft Pilots Log” Clark Co. Publishers 1929  

In old floating days Sam Hitchcock stood high as an easy, skillful pilot.
He had rare knowledge of the draft of water at different stages and with
his quiet manner and low voice he had excellent control of his crew.
When towing rafts came in vogue, Sam soon got the hang of that, and always
had choice positions,
Ex-governor Van Sant writes me this about him: "Sam Hitchcock took to
steamboat rafting very quickly and was a good handler as well as a good
upstream pilot.
"In 1874, when I began running rafts on contract, I
hired Sam Hitchcock for the 'D.A. McDonald,' agreeing to pay him one-third the
net profit after all expenses were paid out of earnings.
'I have had a good many good pilots in my time but none ever did better
work and I learned much from him about the business that helped me greatly.
At the end of the season I paid him $2650.00 as his share. That
was good pay then for six months' work, but he earned it. He was an
even-tempered, pleasant man to work with. Captain Hitchcock was on the
' Minnesota ' with Captain A.R. Young of Stillwater many years.
" His last work was with me on the 'Last Chance' in 1882 and got off on
account of illness that soon took him off."
transcribed by Joan Bard Robinson  

The Davenport Democrat

July 28, 1881

Pg. 1  

Steamboat Movements  

  The War Eagle, from St. Paul , went south yesterday,

  The Josephine left for St. Louis at three o’clock this afternoon, taking 250 barrels of onions.

  The Jo- je (?) leaves for St. Paul to-night.

  Alex Mitchell left for St. Paul at 2:30 this afternoon with a good load of freight and passengers.

  The Jas. Fisk, Jr. struck the bar in Coon slough the other day and broke her raft to pieces.  With the assistance of the Le Claire Belle the raft was reconstructed in a day and a half, but about $850 worth of logs were lost.  

  His many friends on the Upper Mississippi will regret to learn that Capt Sam Hitchcock now of the oldest and best pilots on the river and head pilot on the fast raft boat Kit Carson for the past few years has become demented.  The first symptom of his aberration were noticed some days ago when the boat with her raft was lying opposite Eagle Point, and the raft was being split in two pieces preparatory to running thru the bridge. Sam then inquired of the second pilot, who was on duty. “What are you splitting the raft for!” the second pilot replied that he was going to take one piece through the bridge. “Why,” replied Sam, “Don’t you know that bridge has grown since we were here last?”  This remark caused one of the owners of the boat, who was aboard, and the second pilot, to doubt Sam’s mental soundness.  When the boat reached New Boston, about 50 miles above Burlington , Sam moved the raft from the dead water, where he originally landed it, to the swift water a short distance below.  This action and other manifestations during the trip, convinced his friends that he was laboring under temporary aberrations.  A friend has taken him to Colorado in the hope that the climate of that region will restore his health and senses.  Over exertion is the cause to which his misfortune is attributed.- Dubuque Telegraph. 


The Davenport Democrat, Tuesday, May 4, 1886, page 1.  




  The venerable pilot, Samuel R. Hitchcock, is dead--and day before yesterday he was placed in his lowly bed of rest and peace.  Hitchcock was pilot on the upper Mississippi for more than twenty years, and a good one.  In the fall of ‘84 he became melancholy--and seemed to dwell on the borders of black despair.  One day in June last, there came a complete change to him; he brightened up and became jolly and cheerful over the idea that he was immensely wealthy, owned silver mines and gold mines in Colorado , and a dozen great farms in the county.  Expected dividends did not arrive, and he became violent; and his sorrowing wife and relatives had all they could do to keep him from destroying his own house.  Mrs. Hitchcock was skillful at bottoming chairs, and one evening she requested him to carry a couple she had finished to a neighbor.  He went away with the chairs, and staid so long that Mrs. H. went in search of him.  He could not be found that night, and the next day he was discovered twelve miles from town--had been out all night in the rain.  He would give no account of himself whatever.  The next day he was brought to Davenport for examination by the county commissioners, who sent him to Mt. Pleasant hospital--and there he died last Friday.  Mr. Hitchcock was 51 years of age.  He was well known by all steamboat men in the upper river trade.  His wife is childless.  




Bridging The Past And The Present, page 117.  

“ Percy Hulet’s name must be mentioned as he worked on the river and helped in the building of the LeClaire Canal .”  

Quad-City Times, Saturday, November 13, 1982, page 4.  


James Hulet  

  Services for James “Percy” Hulet, 87, of 219 Wisconsin St. , LeClaire, will be 2 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church, LeClaire.  Burial will be in Glendale Cemetery .

  Visitation is 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at McGinnis Funeral Home.

  Memorials may be made to the LeClaire Volunteer Fire Department, or First Presbyterian Church, of which he was a member.

  Mr. Hulet died Thursday at his home.

  He retired in 1956 from Rock Island Arsenal.  He also was a former postmaster for LeClaire.

  Mr. Hulet married Inez Cope in 1931 in Davenport .

  He was an Army veteran of World War I.

  He was a member of Snow Lodge 44, Silver Creek Order of Eastern Star; a charter member of the Buffalo Bill Museum Board and LeClaire Cemetery Association, and former director of both; a member of Davenport Consistory; Kaaba Shrine, Davenport; and World War I Barracks.

  He was a charter member of the volunteer fire department and served 10 years as chief.  Mr. Hulet was remembered as the person who drove the town’s first motorized fire truck off the flatbed railroad car when it was shipped in 1924.

  He also had been a member of the first organized basketball team at LeClaire High School .

  In 1978 he was honored by the LeClaire Business Men’s Association for 68 years of community service.

  Survivors include his wife, nieces and nephews.  


This is the link to a picture of Elmer Mc Craney from Le Claire  





Bridging The Past And Present, page 117.  

  “Among the river boat cooks were Francis A. Buchheit, Sam Craig, George Shannon, Doris (Schickling) McCauley.”  

Quad-city Times, Friday, October 13 1989, page 39.  


Doris McCauley  

  LeClaire , Iowa - Doris M. McCauley, 71, died Thursday at her home.  Services will be 11 a. m. Saturday at Glendale Cemetery , LeClaire.

  Visitation is 5-9 p.m. today and 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday at Nelson Funeral Home, LeClaire.

  Doris Thompson married Russell McCauley in 1946 in St. Louis .

  She and her husband owned and operated the Lone Star Inn, LeClaire, from 1956-1977.

  She was a member of Buffalo Bill Museum .

  She enjoyed bowling and was an avid card player.

  Memorials may be made to the family.

  Survivors include her husband; daughter-in-law, Sharon Schlickling,  Camanche; two grandsons; two great-grandsons; and a brother, Edward, St. Ann , Mo.

  Her son, Richard “Wimp” Schlickling died in August and her sister, Lois Henson, died Dec 13, 1988.






Bridging The Past and the Present, page 117.  

  “Russell McCauley is still actively engaged as master pilot on the “James P. Pearson,”

He began working on the river in 1944.  He was issued a Mate license on steamboats and now operates on diesel powered boats.”


Quad City Times, February 2, 1997, page 4M.  


Russell McCauley  

  LeClaire , Iowa - Services for Russell L. McCauley, 72, of Moline , formerly of LeClaire, will be 11 a. m. Monday at Nelson Funeral Home, LeClaire.  Burial will be in Glendale Cemetery , LeClaire.

  Visitation is 3-6 p.m. today at the funeral home with a Masonic service conducted at 6 p.m. by Snow Lodge 44 AF and AM.

  Mr. McCauley died Thursday, January 30, 1997 at Manatee Memorial Hospital , Bradenton , Florida .

  He owned and operated the Lone Star Inn, LeClaire, from 1956-77.  He then was employed by Moline Consumers as a barge pilot from 1977-89.

  He was born August 25, 1924, in LeClaire, to James and Myrtle (Roberts) McCauley.  He married Doris Thompson in 1946 in St. Louis .  She died in 1988.  He married Eugenie Cone on January 4, 1992, in Argo.

  He was a member of Snow Lodge AF and AM, LeClaire.  He enjoyed fishing and golfing.

  Survivors include his wife, Eugenie McCauley, Moline; step-daughters, Marilyn Arp, Davenport, Paula Lang, East Moline, Karen Poquet, Moline Il., and Teresa Carver, Milan, Il.: two grandsons: 11 step-grandchildren; sisters, Winifred McKannon, Milan, Betty Burkhamper, Princeton, Iowa, and    Mary O’Brien, Kewanee, Il., and brothers, Wilford “Bob” McCauley, LeClaire, and Daniel McCauley, Vancouver, Wash.

  He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Doris, a sister and a brother.  


Nesbitt Newton


Davenport Morning Tribune, April 18, 1891, page 4.  





A Sensation for Le Claire -- A Woman Shoots Her Husband and Then Turns the Revolver on Herself.


  The little village of Le Claire is having more than its share of sensation of late.  It was only a week ago that a night watchman was shot by a riverman and now comes another shooting, more sensational and which may have more serious result than the first.  This time it was a family affair, a wife shoots her husband then attempts yesterday morning.  Mr. and Mrs. Nesbitt became involved in a quarrel at the breakfast table when Mrs. Nesbitt ended it by shooting her husband and then herself.  

Nesbitt is a riverman and last year was employed as a fireman on the rafter Stillwater .  During the past winter, however, he had been attending bar in Le Claire.  His wife objected to this avocation, and that is what led to the trouble.  He persisted in the last pursuit, though his wife repeatedly entreated him to give it up and at last it came that every mention of the matter involved a quarrel.  One of these not infrequent unpleasant occurrences took place at the breakfast table yesterday morning.  In the course of the animated conversation, Nesbitt was paternally offensive and his wife suddenly producing a revolver fired.  The ball struck Nesbitt in the back of the neck and he fell unconscious.  The woman then turned the revolver on herself and fired twice.  The first ball entered two inches below the ear and the second made merely a scalp wound.  Neighbors attracted by the shooting rushed into the house and found Nesbitt and his wife lying on the floor, but the woman was still conscious.  Nesbitt, too, was soon revived, but he is in a precarious condition, and while the woman may be saved, it is not improbable that both will die.  Physicians have probed the wounds of both for the bullets, but so far have failed of success in both cases.

  Nesbitt is 24 years of age and was born in Le Claire.  His wife is about the same age and has lived here in all but twelve years.  


Nesbitt Lawrence (Larry)


The Daily Times, July 30, 1926, page 28.


  LE CLAIRE, Ia., July 30.--(Special)--Lawrence M. Nesbitt, 47 years of
 age, died at his home at 10:45 p. m. yesterday after an illness of
 short duration of gallstones.
  Mr. Nesbitt was born in Le Claire Sept. 23, 1878, and had spent his
 entire life in Le Claire and vicinity.  He was known as Larry by his
 many friends in Le Claire and Princeton .
  He married Miss Cora Thompson, daughter of Charles Thompson of
Princeton in November 1905.  He was a member of the Woodmen of the
World and of the Davenport aerie of the Eagles.  He had been employed
 for a number of years on government work on the river.
  Surviving are his wife and his mother, Mrs. H. G. Noddle of Dixley,
 O.  Funeral services will be held from the home at 1 p. m., Sunday.
burial will be in Glendale cemetery.  

Lawrence M. Nesbitt died at his home in Le Claire Thursday at 9:30 p.
 m. after a short illness.
  He was born Sept. 23, 1878 in Le Claire and received his education
 there.  He was occupied as a U. S. engineer on the government river
 boats.  On Nov. 29, 1906 he was married to Miss Cora Ellis Thompson at
  Princeton , who survives.
 Mr. Nesbitt was a member of the F. O. E. and the Woodmen of the World.
 The funeral will be held Sunday at 1 p. m. from the late home.
 Interment will be in Glendale cemetery, Le Claire.





The Davenport Democrat and Leader, page 2.  





  LEcLAIRE , Ia. , March 9.--(Special to the Democrat.)--William Nesbitt, one of the oldest and most respected residents of this city, passed away at his home this morning after a lingering illness due to the infirmities of old age.  Mr. Nesbitt was born in Ireland on Feb, 14, 1822.  He was  united in marriage with Miss Margaret Shannon, in Scotland , in 1849, and the couple came to Le Claire in 1855, living here since.  Mrs. Nesbitt’s death occurred on Feb. 19.  Mr. Nesbitt was a civil war veteran, having served in the Twentieth Iowa regiment, Company K.

  The funeral will be held from the home, Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Interment will be made in Le Claire.  


Rambo William

Rapids pilot  

The Daily Gazette,

January 27, 1871, page 4.  


Wm. Rambo, one of the oldest settlers of the county, died at his residence in Le Claire, last Wednesday evening.  He was about sixty years of age, a good neighbor and an exemplary citizen.  He had been twice married, the last time about one year ago, and was the father of a numerous family.  He was a skillful Rapids pilot, having been engaged in that business more than thirty years.  At times he was somewhat conspicuous in local political matters, having been an ardent Democrat.  Many citizens of Scott county will be grieved to hear of his decease.  

The Daily Gazette, January 30, 1871, page 4.  


  The citizens of Le Claire were gathered by the toiling bell to the Methodist Church , on Friday, Jan. 27th, to honor the memory and remains of an old and respected  neighbor, Mr.  Wm. D. Rambo.

  Deceased was born December 30th, 1814, in Beaver county, Pennsylvania , where he grew up to manhood, and in April, 1832, married Miss Jane Peterson.  In 1848 he moved to the “West”, stopping  one year in Illinois , and finally settling in Le Claire , Iowa .  Here he engaged in business in a mill, of  which he was part owner, continuing therein for some five or six years.  Afterwards, he engaged in business in the river trade, and for many years past has been known as a pilot of the first class.  In July of 1857, his wife closed an exemplary Christian life, and dying as only a Christian die, given the fixedness of death to the luster of a faithful life, which has been like a pole-star, to her husband and children in every vicissitude, in all their wanderings.  Thirteen years from her death saw the youngest of eight children nearly grown to womanhood, when he again married, and now, after but about four months of wedlock, Mrs. Mary Fullmer Rambo mourns his decease.

  Bilious colic, malignant and baleful from the start, not only baffled the skill of the four physicians called, but fixed upon his mind the belief that it was the clutch of death.  But he declared himself ready, ready thought the merit of his redeemer.  Six of his children, with sons and daughters-in-law gathered with his wife around his death bed.  He spoke to them severally; admonishing, advising and encouraging them to a pious life and a reunion in heaven.  Having prayed for them, he delivered to them his dying charge.  His last words were. “We are going.”

  He had become a member of the M. E. Church in Illinois , in 1843 or ‘44, and had maintained religious principles and instructions of Methodist type in his family ever afterwards, although he, through troubles of a private business character, had voluntary ceased to exercise the privileges of a member in the church for several years previous to his death.

  Mr. Rambo was a man of strong physical constitution, was regarded by his fellow citizens as a quiet, honest, dignified gentlemen, and as an affectionate husband and father commanded the love and reverence of his family to the last. 

  A crowded audience attended the funeral solemnities, and the universal sorrow of the community attested the attachment of the “old settlers“, the reverence of the young, and the unnamed grief of his family circle.  Whatever were his good acts and qualities, he trusted, not in them, but in the Savior of sinners, in whose name he sleeps by the grave of his sainted wife, awaiting the “better resurrection.”                                                                                                                                     


Sanford William

The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Wednesday Evening, June 18, 1924, page 9.  



William J. Sanford, Marine Engineer for 20 Years, Passes Away.


  William J. Sanford, 49 year-old resident of Le Claire, and for 20 years a marine engineer connected with the Mississippi river boats, died at St. Luke’s hospital, Davenport , at 5:45 o’clock this morning, after a short illness.  However, he had been in poor health for some time.

  He was born October 15, 1874 in Le Claire, and received his education there.  In December, 1896, he was married to Miss Laura M. Thies in Le Claire.

  Deceased was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, the Mystic Workers and of the Modern Woodmen.

  Surviving are the wife, one son, Charles and a brother, Benjamin Lee Sanford, all of Le Claire, and one sister, Mrs. M. L. Hire, of Princeton , Iowa .

  Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the home in Le Claire.  Interment will be made in Glendale cemetery, at that place.


The Daily Times, Wednesday, June 18, 1924, page 6.




  William J. Sanford of Le Claire, for the past 20 years an engineer on the Mississippi river , died at 5:45 o’clock this morning at St. Luke’s hospital following a brief illness.  He was 49 years old at the time of his death.  He was born in Le Claire, Oct. 5, 1874, where he received his education.  He was united in marriage in December, 1906, to Miss Laura E. Thies of Le Claire.

  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Le Claire, the Mystic Workers of the World, and Modern Woodmen of America.  The survivors include his wife, his son, Charles Sanford, at home; a brother, Benjamin Sanford of Le Claire, and a sister, Mrs. M. L. Hire of Princeton .

  Mr. Sanford was well known in Le Claire and his death is a shock to a large number of friends.  He was at work until a few days ago and his condition had been critical only since Sunday.

  Funeral services will be held from the family residence at Le Claire Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Internment will be in Glendale cemetery, Le Claire.


The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sunday Morning, June 22, 1924, page 15.  



The Sanford Funeral  

  Funeral services for William J. Sanford were held from the home in LeClaire, Friday, at 2 o’clock.  Interment was made in Glendale cemetery.  Rev. W. E. Green officiated at the home and the grave and Mrs. Green and Miss Green sang the songs, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul,” and “Jesus Knows Who Cares”.

  Pallbearers were Jake Meyers, Andy Slichter, Joe Bissick, W. Adams, Edward Stichter and James Ryan.  






Bridging The Past And The Present, page 117.  

  Frank “Pete” Scharff was with the Corps of Engineers from 1921 to 1964, a licensed launch operator, for channel inspection.  He is also licensed for 15 years, 1st class all gross tons operator.  Pete positioned buoys for a section of the rapids before the dams were built.  

Quad City Times, Wednesday, June 21, 1995, page 4M.  



Frank Scharff  

  LeClaire, Iowa --  Services for Frank P. “Petey” Scarff, 89, will be 1 p. m. Friday at McGinnis Chambers and Sass Funeral Home, Bettendorf.  Burial will be in Davenport Memorial Park .

  Visitation is 4-8 p. m. Thursday and noon to 1 p. m. Friday.

  Mr. Scharff died Tuesday at his home.

  He retired as a navigator specialist after 43 years at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island .

  He married Sylvia Fritz in 1927 in Rockford , Ill.   She died in 1984.

  He was a member of National Association of Retired Federal Employees.  He enjoyed hunting.

  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Red Cancer Society or Bettendorf Red Cross.

  Survivors include daughters, Phyllis Haecker, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Nancy Snyder, Phoenix; a son, Pete, Davenport; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a half brother, Ralph Siebel, Stockton.

  He also was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Judy Haecker.  




Ada May Shannon

George Shannon and his wife, Ada , worked as cooks on the river together.  

The Daily Times, Tuesday, May 6, 1958, page 4.  

Death Notices  



  Mrs. Ada May Shannon , 74, of 828 Vine St. , Davenport , Ia. And formerly of LeClaire, died at 1:30 p.m. Monday after a long illness.  She was born in Prairie Du Chien, Wis. And married George W. Shannon there.  He preceded in death in 1951.

  Surviving are four daughters, Mrs. Ethel Newland, Davenport, Mrs. Letha Couch, Cincinnati, Ohio, Mrs. Viviane Craig, LeClaire, and Mrs. Gladys Cade, Dundee, Ill.; two sons, Lawrence M. and George W., both of Davenport; one brother, Emery Fuller, Marquette, Ia. 21 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

  Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the McGinnis Funeral Home, Bettendorf .  Burial will be in Glendale Cemetery , LeClaire.  

Shannon John  

Le Claire , Iowa , Sept. 17, 1908  



          Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10th, at four o’clock at his home in the north part of town, occurred the death of John Shannon after a lingering illness from stomach trouble. He was born in County Donegal Ireland and came to America , locating in Le Claire in 1852. A few years later he was married to Miss Lizzie Michedly also of Donegal , Ireland . In 1862 he enlisted in Co. K., 20th, Iowa Infantry, with which he fought until the end of the war, when he received his discharge.

          He is survived by three sons and one daughter as follows: George W. of Le Claire, James of North McGregor, John and Kate of Davenport ; also three brothers: James and Robt. Of Le Claire and Hugh of Rock Island, and one sister Mrs. William Nesbit Sr. of Le Claire.

          The funeral services were held at the home Sunday afternoon and were conducted by Rev. O. B. Chassell of the M.E. Church . The interment was made in the family lot at Jack’s Cemetery. The burial services were in charge of the John R. Bushman Post and the following members of his company bore the remains to their last resting place: Geo. Leamer, T. Y. McCall, J.D. Barnes, Jas. H. Wilson, S.W. Kylor, John Port.

          The out of town relatives in attendance at the funeral were Hugh Shannon, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dodds and children, Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Shannon of Rock Island , Mr. and Mrs., John Beyers of Clinton, Mrs. Caroline Schneider and Mrs. Mary Schneider of Guthrie Center , Ia.



The Daily Times, Monday, September 17,1951, page 2 A  

George Shannon, Sr.,

Believed LeClaire’s

Oldest Native, Dead  

  George W. Shannon, Sr., 83, believed to have been the oldest native of LeClaire residing in that community, died at 9:35 p. m. Saturday in Mercy Hospital .  He had been ill about five months.

  Born in LeClaire Jan. 15, 1868, Mr. Shannon married Ada McGowan Dec 18, 1899, in Prairie du Chien, Wis.   He was a retired stone mason.  Mr. Shannon also was an honorary member of LeClaire Dad’s Club.

  Survivors include his wife; four daughters, Mrs. Eythl Newland, Cedar Rapids; Mrs. Letha Couch, Cincinnati; Mrs. Vivian Craig, LeClaire, and Mrs. Gladys Cade, Princeton; two sons, Lawrence, of Davenport, and George W. Shannon, Jr., of LeClaire; 20 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

  The body was taken to McGinnis funeral home, and will be taken to LeClaire Full Gospel Tabernacle at noon Wednesday, where services will be held at 3 p.m.  Burial will be in Glendale cemetery, LeClaire.


The Democrat And Leader, Monday Evening, September 17, 1951, page 9.  

George W. Shannon, 83,

Oldest Native-Born

LeClaire Resident, Dies  

  George W. Shannon, Sr., the oldest native of LeClaire, died at 9:35 p. m. Saturday in Mercy Hospital , following an illness of five months.

  Born in LeClaire, Jan. 15, 1868, he was a stone mason his entire life, until recent retirement.  On Dec. 18, 1899, he married Ada McGowan in Prairie du Chien, Wis.   He was an honorary member of the LeClaire Dad’s Club.

  Surviving besides his widow are four daughters; two sons; 20 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.  Two brothers and a sister preceded him in death.

  The body was taken to the McGinnis funeral home, where it will remain until noon Wednesday.  At that time it will be taken to the Full Gospel tabernacle, LeClaire, for services at 3 p. m.  Burail will be in Glendale cemetery, LeClaire.


The Democrat And Leader, Wednesday Evening, September 19, 1951, page 15.



  Funeral services for George W. Shannon, Sr., oldest native-born resident of LeClaire who died Saturday in Mercy hospital, were held at 3 p. m. Wednesday in the LeClaire Full Gospel tabernacle, with the Rev. K. E. Matscholat officiating, Finley McGinnis sang, accompanied by Vivian Moore.  Burial was in Glendale cemetery, LeClaire.

  Bearers were Roy Long, Earl Tipzenberger, Ben Youngers, Jim Roberts, Francis Buchiet and Arthur Newton.


* Note from Larry Shannon about his grandmother Ada Shannon 

Oh my gosh, thanks for the picture of my grandmother.  She practically raised me, and when I saw the picture it brought tears.  She was a little woman, but the absolute strength of the family.  Stood about 4ft 10inches tall and never topped a 100 pounds in her life.  When we were growing up we knew we'd reached a milestone when we got bigger than grandma.  Everybody did, of course, but the real thing is that whenever anyone had a problem we could talk to her and go away with a wise solution.  Every human being needs an Ada in their background.  Thanks so very much! 



ps.  So far, we haven't figured out how to open the obit, so maybe we can ask for it again.  Will let you know.  I remember her and my grandfather cooking on a steamboat while on their honeymoon---maybe not the cruise most folks would think as a honeymoon, but what works works.  

Van Duzer  

The Daily Times           

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 1910           

Page 11  


 Van Duzer  

James Jefferson Van Duzer, for many years a resident of Le Claire, Ia., but for the last two years living in the tri-cities, died at 10:30 o’clock last evening at St. Luke’s hospital after a few days’ illness. He was taken sick last Sunday, and went to the home of his brother, E. H. Van Duzer in Rock Island . Tuesday, pneumonia developed and he was taken to the hospital in Davenport , where he passed away, paralysis of the heart being the direct cause of death.

            He was born February 23, 1858, and hence was 52 years, 9 months and 28 days of age at the time of his death. His birthplace was in Le Claire Township, and there he lived continuously until about two years ago, when he came to the tri-cities. For many years, Mr. Van Duzer was employed on the steamboats on the Mississippi river . During the last three months he had been employed in construction work at the new plant of the Rock Island Plow Company.

            He is survived by one brother, E. H. Van Duzer of Rock Island , and the following half-brothers and half-sisters: A. P. Van Duzer of San Francisco , Cal. , Frank Van Duzer of Denver , Colo. , Ed Van Duzer of Boise , Idaho , T. F. Long of Dubuque , Ia. , William Long of Le Claire and Mrs. Jane Cox of Baltimore , Md.

The deceased was a member of Trinity cathedral parish in Davenport .

            The funeral arrangements have not been completed but it is thought that the body will be sent to Le Claire tomorrow morning for burial.                                                        


The Davenport Democrat and Leader              

Wednesday Dec. 21, 1910  


  Van Duzer

            James Jefferson Van Duzer, brother of Harry E. Van Duzer of Rock Island , died at 11 o’clock last evening of heart trouble at St. Luke’s hospital. He was past 52 years at the time of death. He had only recently recovered from an attack of pneumonia and believed, was an indirect cause of death.

            He was born in Le Claire Dec. 20, 1858, and ha lived in Davenport a number of years. Besides his brother in Rock Island he is survived by relatives in Le Claire and surroundings.

            The body will be taken to Le Claire tomorrow morning, where interment will take place in the afternoon.


The Daily Times              Dec. 23,1910                                   page 12  

Van Duzer


The remains of James J. Van Duzer, who died at St. Luke’s hospital Tuesday morning were sent over the I.& I. to Le Claire yesterday afternoon where the funeral services were conducted at 2 o’clock by Rev. B. S. Bailey, of the M. E. church from the home of Wm. H. Long. Music was furnished by a quartet composed of Mrs. Alice Trombly, Miss Anna Laird, Jas. P. Suiter and Wm. Laycock. Burial was made in the Le Claire cemetery. 



Researched and Transcribed

By Sue Rekkas  

The Davenport Democrat, Wednesday, October 6, 1875, page 1.  



A Quarrel Between two River Men, Which ends in the Murder of one of Them.


  A couple of river men, named respectively James Russell and Charles Herman, both of whom reside in Le Claire, were in this city Tuesday, and it is believed were on a little spree together.  Both took passage on the Red Wing, which left here for the north, about noon the same day.  During the trip up they both got into a quarrel, and a short time before the boat landed at Le Claire, their quarrel culminated in Herman sticking Russell in the face.  When the men went ashore at Le Claire, about 7 o’clock, Herman proceeded to the Galt House, took a chair on the porch and went to sleep, and Russell soon after reached the hotel, and went up to his room but returned to the porch where Herman was very soon afterwards.  How the scuffle that ensued commenced, no one appears to know at present, or who was the attacking party, the first intimation of it to Mr. Galt and others in the hotel was hearing the report of a pistol shot, and a voice saying, “I’ll shoot you now,” followed by another pistol shot.  These shots soon attracted a crowd to the scene of the scuffle on the porch, where Russell was seen lying, and Herman with a pistol in his hand pointing right at him.  As soon as the latter saw Mr. Galt come to the door he started and went down street.  Russell was then picked up and borne into the hotel, when  it was found that he was dead.  Dr. Gamble was immediately sent for, who examined the wound, and it was found that he was shot though the neck--the jugular vein being severed.  When picked up, the blood was pouring from him in a stream and running off the porch on to the sidewalk.

  Officer Van Duzer soon after arrested Herman on the street, who was also wounded, a pistol shot having taken effect in the nose, the ball going downwards.  The wound was probed, but the ball had not been found up to the last accounts.  When arrested, Herman said to the officer, “When you shoot a man, shoot him dead!”

  Russell had been employed as a cook on the raft steamer Le Claire Belle, was well known on the river, and had resided for sixteen years in Le Claire, and is spoken of as a quiet, peaceful man.

  Herman was cook on the raft steamer, Van Sant, and made his home for the past season or two in Le Claire.

  When arrested he had a pistol on his person, with two empty chambers.  No pistol was found on the person of Russell, and there seems to be a mystery connected with the shooting of Herman--whether he accidentally shot himself, or whether the pistol belonged to Russell and he fired the first shot, and then the pistol was taken from him by Herman.  Some incline to the later opinion. Coroner Grant was notified of the affair last night, and went to Le Claire this morning to hold an inquest.  

(Note-the spelling is  the way it was written.)  

The Davenport Daily Gazette, Wednesday Morning, October 6, 1875, page 4.  



Fatal Quarrel in Le Claire.


One Man Killed Instantly-The Slayer Wounded.


  When the steamer Red Wing put out from this port for the north yesterday noon, she had two passengers named James Russell and Charles Herman, who went on board here, ticketed for LeClaire, where they were residing.  Herman had been cook all season on the raft steamer Van Sant, and Russell was cook on the raft steamer LeClaire Belle until about four weeks ago when he left and took board at the Galt House.  It is believed both had been drinking in Davenport--at any rate, they had a quarrel on the Red Wing just before they landed at LeClaire, and Herman slapped Russell in the mouth.  They left the steamer separately.  Herman went into Hitchcock’s salon, drank a glass of beer, went on up to the Galt House, took a chair on the front porch and fell asleep.  Russell called at Hitchcock’s twenty minutes after Herman did, and also took a glass of beer and walked to the Galt House, to his room upstairs but came right down and went on the porch.

  This was about half past six o’clock.

  Soon Mr. Galt and others in the house heard a scuffle on the porch, followed by a pistol shot.  Then a voice said,


                                                 “I’LL SHOOT YOU NOW,”


and another report was heard.  Mr. Galt stepped to the front door.  There was Herman on the porch with revolver in hand, pointing right to the door, and muttering  a threat, while Russell lay right along the front of the still.  Herman turned, when he saw Mr. Galt, and went down the street.  Mr. Galt stooped to Russell, and saw the blood running from him in a stream, and flowing across the porch; he felt of the prostrate man, and found that


                                                      HE WAS DEAD.


  Other parties came out, and the corpse was borne into the house.  Dr. Gamble was sent for, and it was found that Russell had been shot through the neck, the jugular vein being severed.

  Officer Van Duzer was called, and he soon found Herman on the street and arrested him.  He was


                                                      COVERED WITH BLOOD


and it was still flowing from a wound in his nose, just between the eyes.  Dr. Gamble examined the wound.  It had been made by a pistol shot, the ball going downward.  It had not been found when our informant left.  All that Herman said after being caught was when in the doctor’s office, “When you shot a man, shoot him dead.”


                                                         BOTH PARTIES


to the deadly affray were single white men.  Russell was well known on the upper river, having been employed on steamboats for sixteen years.  He has made Le Claire his home when not thus engaged, for several years.  He was about thirty years of age.  He was a quiet, peaceful man, and was well liked in Le Claire.

  Herman is not considered a resident of Le Claire, but has been stopping there now and then during the season.

  Of course the town was very much excited last evening.


                                                         NOBODY SAW THE AFFRAY,


nobody knows the cause.  All that is known is that a citizen has been killed.

  No revolver was found on Russell, but Herman had one with two chambers discharged:  Did Russell shoot Herman first, and have the revolver taken from him and get shot in return?  That was the supposition last night.

  John Morrison and Jacob Berger came to Davenport in the night for Coroner Grant, who will go to Le Claire this morning to hold an inquest.


Davenport Daily Gazette, Thursday morning, October 7, 1875, page 4.




The Coroner’s Inquest.


All About the Affray and Death.


The Murderer’s Statement.


Verdict of the Jury.


  Yesterday morning Coroner Grant went to Le Claire and held an inquest over the body of James Russell, an account of whose death, on Tuesday evening, at the hands of Charles Herman, was given in yesterday’s Gazette.  And the testimony showed that Gazette’s report was correct in the main, the only point of difference being in the fact that Herman contradicted his assertion, made after his arrest, that Russell shot him first.

  The Coroner’s jury was composed of three prominent citizens of Le Claire--W. B. Hall, C. C. Applegate and Laurel Summers.

  The inquest was held at the Gault House, where Russell’s body was lying.  The room was crowded, and a large number of people gathered about the hotel.


                                                           THE TESTIMONY


was listened to with a great deal of interest.

  The first witness was W. F. Gault; proprietor of the Gault House.  He testified that Russell had boarded with him about a month; that he left for Davenport Tuesday morning, and returned in the evening, on the streamer Red Wing; that Herman came to the house at 6 p. m., and went to sleep on the porch, witness supposing him drunk; he said he wanted no supper, and would rather sleep, but was not ready to go to bed.  Russell had been there, and returned in about twenty minutes.  About 6:30 witness heard a pistol shot which seemed to be on his porch, and in a few seconds heard another.  There was a little noise on the porch, and he opened the door and Russell was lying across the still.  Herman was standing against a post on the porch, with a revolver in his hand.  Witness told him he had better put up his revolver.  Herman said, “He struck me first, and I shot him“  Marshall Van Duzer appeared now, and arrested Herman.

  J. Davenport, who keeps a saloon in Le Claire, testified that he came up from Davenport on the Red wing on Tuesday, and Herman and Russell were on the stearmer intoxicated.  They had a quarrel, and were talking about cooking. (Both had been cooks on the river.)  Witness saw Herman strike Russell in the mouth in the mouth with his flat hand, and Russell kicked him.  Captain Haight interfered and stopped them, but before arrival at LeClaire, the quarrel and blows were repeated.  The two had played cards on the boat with a couple of other men, but there was no quarrel then.

  Captain Sam Van Sant testified that he was a passenger on the Red Wing; that both were drunk, and were constantly engaged in talking about cooking, but observed no bad feeling between them while they were playing cards.  They played for the drinks.

  Dr. McCleery testified as to seeing Russell’s body, and described the wound.

  George Williams said he heard Russell say, in Hitchcock’s saloon, between 6 and 7 Tuesday evening, that he would “be even with that man that struck him, if it cost him his life.”  Russell drank a glass of beer there.

  Sam R. Hitchcock  testified as to Russell’s calling at his saloon.  Russell said a man struck him in the mouth on the boat, and he would have his satisfaction.

  Marshal Van Duzer testified as to Herman’s arrest.  He was hurt, and said he was shot by Russell and then shot Russell.  Herman said he had made his will.  He was out of his head.

  Charles Lillabage testified that he saw Russell before he was shot, and he said a --- --- - ----- struck him in the mouth, and he would get even with him.  Witness found $20 in Russell’s pockets.

  D. A. Gault testified that after the firing he found two pieces of brick on the porch, about 1 ¼ inches thick.


                                                      HERMAN’S OWN STATEMENT


 before the Coroner will be read with interest.  It was as follows:

  Charles Herman, sworn:  I am aged 23; live at St. Louis; father and mother are from Switzerland; mother living in Missouri; I have known James Russell about four years; known him intimately for two years; up to this time I have been cook on the steamer Van Sant; left Davenport for this place yesterday; James Russell and I came up here on the Red Wing as passengers; we had a quarrel about cooking; he said he was the best cook on the river; I laughed at him, and he hit me with his fist and kicked me;  I returned the blow with  my hand, striking him in the mouth; the barkeeper and Capt. Hight parted us, and we all drank together, and we had not more trouble on the boat.

  After we landed I came to the Gault House--put my carpet sack away or rather handed it to Mr. Gault, and then went out on the porch and sat down in a chair.  I was about half asleep and in about 15 minutes Russell came up and struck me with a brick or rock, I should judge, which knocked me off the chair, and struck me again after I fell.  As soon as I could pull my pistol from my pocket, he standing near me, I shot him.  He at once started to run and I arose and shot him again, and he fell in the doorway.  Neither of us said a word during the whole time.  I gave myself up to the Marshall when he arrived and came up to me.  I thought he was going to kill me, and I killed him to prevent it.  I never had any trouble with him before.  I felt my liquor, but was not drunk--knew what I was doing.  The pistol was a Smith & Wesson 6 shooter.

  Herman was unable to write his name, and so made a mark.


                                                       THE VERDICT


of the jury was that James Russell came to his death “by a pistol shot in the neck, severing the carotid artery of the right side, at the hands of Charles Herman, and feloniously.”

  Marshall Van Duzer had Herman in charge, and will bring him to Davenport jail today.

  The theory that Russell shot Herman first is dispelled--Herman did all the shooting.  Russell may have hit him with a brick.  He is a large, coarse, heavy man and has a bloated, repulsive face.

  Coroner Grant made search for the ball that killed Russell--opening to the right carotid artery; but the ball could not be found.


The Davenport Democrat, Thursday, October 7, 1875, page 1.




The Coroner’s Inquest-- Herman Held for the Murder--His Statement.


  Coroner Grant proceeded to LeClaire Wednesday morning to hold an inquest over the body of James Russell, the cook, on the raft steamer LeClaire Belle, who was shot on Tuesday night on the porch of the Galt House by a man named Charles Herman, a cook on the steamer Van Sant.  The details of the tragedy were given in the Democrat last evening, and very little additional was elicited at the inquest.

  The jury was composed of W. B. Hall, C. C. Applegate and Hon. Laurel Summers.  There was a large crowd in attendance at the investigation, which was held in the Galt house, where the murdered man boarded, and which was the scene of the tragedy.  J. Davenport and Capt. Van Sant, who were passengers on the Red Wing with the murderer and his victim, testified as to the quarreling of the parties on board between this city and LeClaire, and to the striking of Russell in the face by Herman.  They had been playing cards on the boat, but the quarrel did not originate in that, but they believe, over the merits of each as cooks.  S. R. Hitchcock testified as to Russell’s coming into his saloon, and telling him a man struck him in the mouth and he would have satisfaction for it; and George Williams testified that he heard Russell say in Hitchcock’s saloon that “he would be even with that man that struck him, if it cost him his life.”  Dr. McCleery testified as to the nature of the wound that caused death.

  D. A. Gault testified that after the firing he found two pieces of brick on the porch.  After some further unimportant testimony, the prisoner made the following statement:

  Am aged 23; live in St. Louis; father and mother are from Switzerland; mother living in Missouri; I have known James Russell about four years; known him intimately for two years; up to this time I have been cook on the steamer Van Sant; left Davenport for this place yesterday; James Russell and I came up here on the Red Wing as passengers; we had a quarrel about cooking; he said he was the best cook on the river; I laughted at him, and he hit me with his fist and kicked me; I returned the blow with my hand, striking him on the mouth; the bar-keeper and Capt Hight parted us, and we all drank together, and we had no more trouble on the boat.

  After we landed I came to the Gault House, put my carpet-sack away, or rather handed it to Mr. Gault, and then went out on the porch and sat down on a chair.  I was half asleep, and in about 15 minutes Russell came up and struck me with a brick or rock, I should judge, which knocked me off the chair, and struck me again after I fell.  As soon as I could pull my spitol from my pocket, he standing near me, I shot him.  He at ounce started to run, and I arose and shot him again, and he fell in the doorway.  Neither of us said a word during the whole time.  I gave myself up to the Marshall when he arrived and came up to me.  I thought he was going to kill me, and I killed him to prevent it.  I never had any trouble with him before.  I felt my liquor, but was not drunk; knew what I was doing.  The pistol was a Smith & Wesson 6-shooter.

  The jury returned the following


  That James Russell came to his death by a pistol shot in the neck, severing the carotid artery of right side, at the hands of Chas. Heramn, and feloniously.

  Her was brought to this city this afternoon, and turned over to the Sheriff.  He is somewhat reticent, but feels confident that he will be acquitted.  The papers in the case were given into the hands of the grand jury and they will proceed at once with their investigation.


Davenport Daily Gazette, , Friday Morning, October 8, 1975, page 4.  


  Charles Herman, who killed James Russell at Le Claire, and was adjudged guilty of murder by the Coroner’s jury, was brought to jail yesterday morning by Marshall Van Duzer of Le Claire.  He has engaged W. A. Foster as counsel.  

The Davenport Democrat, Tuesday, February 1, 1876, page 1.




The Murder of James Russell--Arrangement of Charles Herman, Account of the Crime--He Pleads “Not Guilty”-The Names of the Jury.


  At 2 P. M. the case of Charles Herman, indicted for the murder of James Russell, was called.  The prisoner with his counsel, Mr. W. A. Foster, was in court.  On being arraigned, a plea of “not guilty” was entered.

  The work of empanelling a jury was at once begun, and there being but little objections offered, and only a few challenges, twelve men were secured by three o’clock.  Their names are as follows:


Leander Lambert ……………………….. Davenport

Henry Madden ……………………………Winfield

Adam Abt ……………………………….. Davenport

Wesley Van Duzen ……………………….Princeton

C. E. Pickering ………………………….. Davenport

G. F. Kuestmann ………………………… Davenport

Jno. Brosck ……………………………… Davenport

Herman Trimer ………………………….. Davenport

T. T. Manbe ……………………………… Davenport

Chas. Bell ………………………………... Davenport

Dexter Yale ……………………………….Davenport

Frank Mason …………………………….. Davenport


  Our readers will recollect that the deceased and Chas. Herman--both of them cooks on raft steamers,--were on the day of the murder last summer, drinking together in this city, and towards evening, both went aboard of one of the packet steamers to go to their homes in Le Claire.  On the way up they had a quarrel as to which of them was the best cook on the river, resulting in the lie being passed, and a blow being struck.  The parties boarded at the Galt House in Le Claire and it was on the front porch of the hotel that the final rencontre took place, ending in the death of Russell.  The coroner’s jury rendered a verdict that death was caused by a pistol ball fired from a revolver by Chas. Herman, and the prisoner was removed to the jail in this city.  He was subsequently indicted by the grand jury--they finding a true bill.

  The District Attorney, Ellis, read the indictment to the jury at 3 o’clock, and made the opening speech for the State.

  Dr. McCrary was examined by the prosecution to show the death of defendant, and the cause of the same.  He also testified to an injury received by defendant, his nose being broken with some blunt instrument, probably a brick or stone.  At the conclusion of his evidence the court adjourned till to-morrow morning at 9 A. M.  


Davenport Daily Gazette, Wednesday Morning, February 2, 1876, page 4.




Opening of the February Term of the District Court-

  Prompt Commencing of business-

    Docket Called-Juries Impanelled.





   A MURDER TRIAL was then commenced--the case of the State vs. Charles Herman, indicted for the murder of James Russell.  The tragedy occurred at LeClaire on the night of the 5th day of last October.  Full particulars were given in the Gazette of the next morning, and the facts are familiar to nearly all our readers.

  Herman and Russell were both professional cooks--on raft steamers.  The afternoon on the day named, they left this city on the steamer Red Wing for Le Claire.  Both became intoxicated and had a fight on the boat.  After dark, Herman took some drink at a saloon in LeClaire, and soon after went to sleep in a chair on the porch in front of the Gault House.  Soon the inmates heard a pistol shot, the landlord ran out, and there was Russell lying across the door still, dead and Herman standing facing him, covered with blood, and with revolver in hand.  He was arrested, brought here to jail next day, and has been confined ever since.

  The jury was empanelled and sworn as follows:

Frank Mases                                       Dexter Yale

Charles Bell                                         F. T. Rasbe

Herman Trimer                                   John Branch

Geo. F. Knostman                               C. F. Pickering

Wigley Van Duzen                              Adam Abt

Benny Madden                                    Leander Lambert

  District Attorney Ellis presented the theory of the prosecution.  W. E. Foster, counsel for the prisoner--with Jackson Hirschl as associate--presented the theory of the defense, which was that the killing was done in self defense; that Russell came up and commenced an assault upon Herman, with a brick.

  The first witness was Dr. McCrary who was at the Gault House a few moments after the deed was committed.  He testified as to the pistol ball wound in Russell’s neck, which killed him, and as to the wound in Herman’s nose--a three cornered hole, the bones being fractured so that he could run his probe right down through the nostrils.  The wound might have been made with a brick.

  Court adjourned till 9 this A. M.


The Davenport Democrat, Wednesday, February 2, 1876, page 1.  

District Court.  

  Three witness were examined up to the noon adjournment, in the Russell murder case, vis:  W. G. Gault, John Davenport, and Jacob Bergan.  The testimony enlisted was relative to the quarrel of the men on the “Red Wing,” what was said by Russell and Herman in the saloon at LeClaire on their way to the Gault House; the fact of the shooting, and Herman’s admission that “I shot him because he shot at me, “ and a few other points, as to Herman being sitting on the porch in front of the Gault House, asleep, when  Russell came down stairs, etc.--all of which is about the same as published in the Democrat at the time of the tragedy.  It was expected that the testimony for the State would be concluded this evening.


The Davenport Daily Gazette, Thursday Morning, February 3, 1876, page 4. 



The Character of the Evidence Yesterday--Herman’s Innocence of the Crime Made Very Clear--The Jury Render a Verdict Without Leaving Their Seats.


  The trial of John (Charles) Herman for the murder of James Russell was resumed yesterday morning, with the court room full of spectators.  The prisoner, a well built, fine looking man, was accompanied by his wife and young child, who had arrived from Hannibal , thier home.  The lady’s face indicated a good deal of suffering from care and anxiety.  She eyed every witness closely, and followed the testimony with intent interest.

  There is no need on giving a synopsis of the testimony.  The facts were detailed by the witnesses for the State substantially as heretofore given in the Gazette.  None of the witnesses offered any evidence of deliberate, premeditated killing--on the contrary every fact stated was against such theory, while the testimony made it very clear that Herman shot Russell in self defense.  It was shown that Russell, ugly drunk, had pondered over the quarrel on the steamboat till thoroughly enraged, and then went in quest of Herman, utter threats against him in the ears of all his acquaintances who met him.  For instance, Wesly Rambo testified that he met Russell near the Gault House, and that the latter said, “I’ll fix the --- -- - -----, or similar words; witness went into the Gault House, and two minutes after two shots were fired, and then followed the discovery of Russell dead on the porch, and Herman standing over him.  All the circumstances went to prove Herman’s statement--that he was asleep in a chair, that Russell came up and either shot him or mashed his nose with a brick; that he started up from his sleep, pulled his revolver, and fired at Russell, not knowing who he was, for it was quite dark.

  At the conclusion of the testimony, at 4 o’clock District Attorney Ellis said to the jury that no evidence had been offered that convinced him that Herman was guilty of murder, and he shouldn’t ask the jury to bring in a verdict of guilty.  He hinted that he believed that Herman did what he did in self-defense.  Judge Hayes said there was no necessity of any instructions from him, he presumed they were unanimous in their opinion; each member of the jury responded affirmatively, and the verdict of not guilty was returned forthwith, none of the jurors leaving their seats.  Mrs. Herman’s face lighted up with joy--in two minutes she seemed different from the woman who entered court in the forenoon.  Herman’s acquaintances crowded up for “a shake” which was given heartily, and everyone seemed pleased.

  Herman and his wife left for Hannibal last evening.


The Davenport Democrat, Thursday, February 3, 1876, page 1.  


  It was very evident to all who heard the testimony in the Russell murder case yesterday, epically in the afternoon, that Herman would be acquitted on the grounds of self defense, of the murder of James Russell, in LeClaire, on the 5th of October, 1875.  There was nothing tending to show that it was a premeditated affair, but strongly pointing to the deceased as the aggressive party in the fatal recontre which resulted in his death.  At 4 o’clock, when all the testimony for the prosecution was in, and before a single witness for the defense was called, District Attorney Ellis addressed the jury, telling them that as no evidence had been elicited tending to establish the crime of murder, it was unnecessary to proceed further in the cse.  They did not need any instructions from the him.  Judge Hayes also thought it was unnecessary for him to charge them, under the circumstances, as he presumed they already had their minds made up, to which they responded in the affirmative.  Without leaving their seats they returned a verdict of “not guilty,” and Charles Herman was declared a free man once again.  His friends immediately crowded around to congratulate him, prominent among them were his counsel, Messrs. Foster and Hirschl, while his wife, who, with the their little daughter, sat beside him during the trial, was almost overcome with the sense of relief, joy beaming in her face, while tears of gladness streamed down her checks.  Mr. Herman and family left for Hannibal last evening, their former home.  


Davenport Daily Gazette, Tuesday Morning, October 5, 1875, page 4.

  Good Captain Mitchell, of the Lone Star, is down with the
 rheumatism, and Captain Ruby is running the Davenport , Buffalo and
  Andalusia packet.
 on the same page under  Rock Island Items.

 The steamers Red Wing, Minnesota and Diamond Jo are expected up
 today and the Belle of LaCrosse down.  The Savanna also starts for St.
with three barges pf lumber.
 An amusing scene on the ferryboat, last evening:  the persevering
 but futile attempt of two ladies to obtain a drink of water from a
 Babcock fire extinguisher that stood in one corner of the cabin.                                                



The Davenport Democrat & Leader

June 28, 1924

Pg. 15  

Capt. Bledsoe Dies In St. Louis Hospital

Well Known on Boats All Down the Mississippi River 

   Captain William Bledsoe age ____ years, and a former resident of Davenport , died Monday morning at 2:45 o’clock at the Marine Hospital in St. Louis .  He had been ill for some time.  Deceased is the son of Mrs. J. P. Bledsoe of 1630 Harrison street , Davenport .

  Captain Bledsoe was born in 1877 in Davenport and left the city when a young man, and since then has been on many boats, up and down the Mississippi river . He ha also traveled extensively in South America , Alaska , and the United States . At the time of his death he was Captain on a liner on the Yucan river.

   Surviving are his mother and two sisters, Mrs. W. J. Elston and Miss Clara Bledsoe of Davenport , and three brothers, Earl and Edward of Davenport and Ernest of La Crosse, Wis.

   The remains will be brought to Davenport tomorrow morning, and taken to the Runge Mortuary. Funeral services will be held from the Runge chapel Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock and interment will be in Oakdale cemetery.  


Bledsoe Funeral  

   The William H. Bledsoe funeral services were held Thursday afternoon at Runge chapel at 2 o’clock. Dr. Frank Court officiated and interment was made in Oakdale cemetery.

   Mrs. C.M. Gustine and Miss Eva Six sang “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere” and “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”.

   Pallbearers were H.E. Garner, F.D. Steen, F.W. Garstang, D.W. McDermand, Alva Rice and E.F. Epply  

Carl Managan  

Davenport Democrat & Leader

April 8, 1923  

Carl Managan Predicts Good river Season  

Traffic Manager of the Streckfus Line Visiting Old House Here. 

The out look for a good excursion boat season on the Upper Mississippi was never better than it is now.  Declared Carl Managan, genial traffic manager of the Streckfus line of steamboats.  This company owns the four palatial steamers, Captiol., St. Paul , J. S. and Washington.

  The Washington will open the season here with a moonlight excursion on Saturday evening May 2,  The St. Paul will open on the same date in St. Louis .  During the early season the J. S. will give several excursions in this vicinity and will then on to St. Louis for the summer.  The Capitol which is now plying in the excursion business at New Orleans , will come north in June.

  Captains assigned to the various stressful boats this season are:  

J. S. - John Streckfus

St. Paul-Hilmar Lax

Capitol-Con McGee

Capt. Walter Blair of Davenport will be pilot on the Capitol.

  Mr. Managan is spending several days at his old house in Davenport .  He returns to St. Louis Monday.

Sue Rekkas

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