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The miners' express. : (Dubuque, Iowa) 1849-1854
Alternative Titles:
  • Weekly miners' express
Place of publication:
Dubuque, Iowa
Geographic coverage:
  • Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
H. Holt & A. Keesecker
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased with Oct. 27, 1854 issue.
  • Vol. 8, no. 34 (Apr. 24, 1849)-
  • English
  • Dubuque (Iowa)--Newspapers.
  • Dubuque County (Iowa)--Newspapers.
  • Iowa--Dubuque County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212637
  • Iowa--Dubuque.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217313
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Editor: H. Holt, <1849>.
sn 86083363
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The miners' express. April 24, 1849 , Image 1


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Weekly Miners' Express and The Miners' Express

Dubuque, Iowa, is located on the west side of the Mississippi River at the junction of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The city was named after Julien Dubuque, a pioneer from Quebec who arrived in the area in 1785 and began mining the rich lead deposits three years later. At this time, the Louisiana Territory west of the Mississippi was under Spanish control. The territory was transferred to France in 1800, then to the United States following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Julien Dubuque passed away in 1810, and the local Meskwaki Indians continued mining operations until they were forced out of the area by American prospectors in the early 1830s. The city of Dubuque was officially chartered in 1833. At that time it was in a "no man's land" of unorganized territory, until the area was assigned first to Michigan Territory, then to Wisconsin Territory, and finally to Iowa Territory when it was created in 1838.

Dubuque was also home to Iowa's first newspaper, the Dubuque Visitor, which was established in 1836 and which became the Iowa News in 1837. When the Iowa News ceased publication in August 1841, Lewis A. Thomas' Miners’ Express stepped into the role of Dubuque's community newspaper. Andrew Keesecker, who had been a printer and editorial writer for the Iowa News and Dubuque Visitor, joined Thomas at the Miners' Express. Keesecker had gained a strong reputation in the newspaper business as an expert typesetter and was said to have been capable of composing his editorials as he set the type at the press, without needing to first write them by hand. Keesecker soon became a part owner and editor of the paper, partnering with David S. Wilson to purchase the operation from Thomas.

George Greene purchased the Miners' Express in 1845, and around this time its title was changed to the Weekly Miners' Express. The following year, Iowa became the 29th state admitted to the Union. Although the city of Dubuque continued to grow and prosper, sustaining a newspaper was a challenge. By the end of 1847, difficulty in collecting payments from subscribers led to significant financial problems for the newspaper. The December 8, 1847 issue included an announcement: "Wood, butter, cheese, lard, eggs, flour, potatoes, wheat, corn, chickens, and pork will be taken in payment for the Express."

In 1848, Keesecker and Harrison Holt took over as publishers, and two years later the title was changed back to the Miners' Express. While the paper changed editors and ownership over the following years, Keesecker remained with the Miners' Express until it merged with the Dubuque Weekly Herald in 1854 to form the Weekly Express and Herald. In May 1860, Keesecker rejoined the paper, now the Dubuque Herald, which celebrated his return with an announcement reminding readers that "Mr. Keesecker is the oldest printer in Iowa and it was by his hand that the first newspaper in Iowa was struck off."

Provided by: State Historical Society of Iowa