1849: Lucius Hart Langworthy to Gilman Folsom

Lucius Hart Langworthy

This letter was written by Lucius Hart Langworthy (1807-1865), the son of Stephen Langworthy (1777-1848) and Betsey Woodbury Massey (1781-1820). “Langworthy constructed the first frame house and first school in Iowa and served in the Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin that met at Burlington. He was appointed Dubuque’s first sheriff in 1834 and owned an interest in the Dubuque Visitor and a steamboat, the Heroine. Greatly interested in Railroads, Langworthy worked with others including John Plumbe, Jr. to generate interest in a railroad line to the Pacific coast. He was one of the delegates who traveled to Washington, D. C. to obtain a grant for the Pacific Railroad, a line in which he was an original incorporator. In 1855 he was a director of the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad and later served as president of the Dubuque Western Railroad. He was one of the first directors of the Miners Bank. An historian, he recorded much of the early history of the area and frequently gave lectures on literary and historical topics.

Langworthy and his brother James Langworthy were partners in their Mining activities and very successful when their brothers Edward Langworthy and Solon Langworthy joined them. Involved in many businesses, the J. L. Langworthy and Bros. in 1854 paid one-twelfth of all the tax collected in Dubuque.” [Source: Hudson, David; Bergman, Marvin; Horton, Loren. The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2008]

Langworthy wrote the letter to Gilman Folsom (1818-1872). “Born at Dorchester, New Hampshire, Folsom read law in the office of the Hon, Josiah Quincy, a noted jurist of New Hampshire, and was admitted to practice law at Haverhill, 1841, at the early age of twenty three years. He settled in the practice of law in Iowa City in 1841, and was recognized as a young man of great promise. He was married in 1843 to Miss Emily Arthur. Mr. Folsom was for two successive terms a member of the House of Representatives of Iowa. On the election of Frank Pierce to the Presidency in 1852, Mr. Folsom was appointed receiver of the land office in Iowa City; this service terminated his public career, and thenceforth he devoted himself to looking after and caring for his large estate. As a legislator he rose to the full height of statesmanship.” [Source: History of Johnson County Iowa 1836-1882, Iowa City, Iowa, 1883.]

Stampless Letter


Addressed to G. Folsom, Esq., Iowa City, [Iowa]

Dubuque [Iowa]
December 14th 1849

Dear Sir,

I am now engaged making surveys of the different R.R. routes to connect with other points — particularly Potosi & Galena — and shall have diagrams of them at Washington on Carlton’s new map and elsewhere. Let me hear from you, if you please, often. While I am at the Capitol, will you keep me informed of the whys & the wherefores. I start about the 1st of January and shall expect to see the memorial to Congress by our committee in due season. I must be excused in leaving that work in more able hands.

Your friend and obedient servant, — L. H. Langworthy


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