Panic of 1857

The Panic of 1857 was a financial panic in the United States caused by the declining  international economy and overexpansion of the domestic economy. After the failure of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Co. the financial panic quickly spread. Railroad industry experienced financial declines and laid off hundreds of workers. In the beginning of 1857, the European market for goods from western America began to decline. Price of grain also decreased heavily, farmers experience loss in revenue causing foreclosure on recently purchased lands. As a result of price decreases, land sales declined vastly and westward expansion essentially halted  until the Panic ended.

Merchants and farmers both began to suffer for the investment risks they took when prices were high.  Dred Scott vs. Sanford in 1857 After Scott attempted to sue for his freedom, Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that Dred Scott was not a citizen because he was an African American and therefore did not have the right to sue in court. The ruling also made the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional and it was clear that the decision would have lasting impact.  Soon after the Dred Scott ruling, “the political struggle between ‘free soil’ and slavery in the territories” began.

By 859, the Panic began to level off and the economy had begun to stabilize. President James Buchanan, after announcing that the paper-money system seemed to be at the root cause of the Panic, decided to withdraw the usage of all bank notes under $20. southern economy suffered little whereas northern economy made a slow recovery

Source: Wikipedia


Weiss, Arnold

Arnold Weiss

Arnold Weiss Dies at 86; Helped to Find Hitler’s Will. He fled to the United States from Nazi Germany at age 13 returned as an American Soldier in WWII,  awarded an Army Commendation Ribbon for service performed Dec 24-28 in Berlin. He became a successful lawyer and banker. Hans Arnold Wangersheim was born in Nuremburg on July 25, 1924. A age 13 young Hans was sent to the United States social services organization, and he was ultimately placed with a family that owned a jewelry store in Janesville, Wisconsin. In the Army, Mr. Weiss trained as a tail gunner until a crash landing broke both his legs. During his recuperation, because of his German language skills, he was recruited by the O.S.S., the WWII Intelligence Service, before joining the Counter-Intelligence Corps.

Source: Rockford Register Star 11/19/2010


Church, Samuel I.

res 112 So Second St., 1869

Source: 1869 City Directory

res. Between a ‘swell-front’ and the brick house (owned by Samuel I. Church), south of 2nd. Dr. David Goodrich owned the house in between the ‘swell-front’ and the brick house.

Source: Charles Church’s history, p.31, col. 2 in 1838

not in city directories after 1869 (verified by a staff Local History Staff Member)

res.: Sect. 16 of Rockford Township

Source: History of Winnebago County, 1877, p.538

hung Alfred Countryman for murder of Sheriff John Taylor November 11, 1856. Executed in 1857 (source: on Sect. 16 property

wife Silence, died 5/5/1905 Death Certificate

residence was at 2605 School St. [St. Pat’s is on his property] (2015 site of Galapagos Charter School) Death Certificate

Capone, Al – Convention of Ex-Gunmen Here

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“Al Capone – though we know him under a different name, has been in Rockford many times,” was one startling announcement very casually stated, and ‘He will be here some more!”

Source: Rockford Daily Republic September 7, 1928



Capone, Al

“Bare Capone Liquor Traffic Here!”

“Alcohol to Chicago via Local Route”

“Davenport Clearing Point for Peru Ring Hooch”

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“Information linking up the operations of a huge $75,000,000 a year Chicago liquor ring, headed by “Scarface Al” Capone and his aides, with Rockford, Davenport Peru and Waukegan was revealed today following the indictment by a federal grand jury in Chicago of ten members of the alleged liquor ring of LaSalle and Peru, Ill.”

“…From Davenport the liquor was re-routed to Chicago by way Rockford and Waukegan, LaRue stated. It then went to Capone warehouses where it was transformed into “Genuine Canadian liquor” and dumped on the Chicago and northern Illinois market at exhorbitant prices.”

“The men indicted are charged with possession of liquor from Jan. 1, 1927 – Jan. 9, 1929, and with conspiracy to violate the national prohibition act.”

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” The indictment recites that the two men were operating two stills, one at 1501 Water St., Peru, and in a warehouse at 1507 Water st.. The stills were said to have made more than 110,000 gallons of alcohol a year.”

“Those indicted are: Frank Urbanowski, Ugo Ferroni, Candino Picili, James T. Green, of Davenport, Iowa, Guilo Bollili, A.J. Commins, Louis and Gaegano Orlandini, Lino Togfini and James Collins of Davenport, IA.”

“LaRue expressed satisfaction over the indictments today and said this was merely the first step in closing up the gigantic bootleg industry he had discovered. He said that LaSalle county officials had shown themselves exceedingly lax in attempting to enforce the prohibition law and had evidently been allowing stills to operate within a stone’s throw of law enforcement headquarters without attempting to arrest the violators.”

Source: Rockford Daily Republic February 1, 1929