J.B Grinnell's activities with the Railroads, Cattle Industry, and City


Henry Farnam


Henry is one of the railroad owners. J.B. meets him after a scuffle on a train.

Advises Grinnell to go to Iowa because he is planning on expanding the railroad there.



Within two months of meeting Farnam, Grinnell gets three men together to but land in Iowa. They purchased 5,000 acres for $1.60 an acre.
By 1855 the land was going for $10 an acre.

58 residents of Grinnell


246 residents of Grinnell


Economic Recession stalls railway

1857 - 1858

Railroads were estimated to cost about $9,600 a mile.

Director of Mississippi and Missouri Railroad


J.B. Grinnell elected president to connect all cardinal points


Was to construct a line to connect all cardinal points

Petitioned to get bond for Railway construction


$100,000 in bonds approved
it was financed by a guy with the last name Sargent
Did not build for a few years which made J.B. mad so he refused to pay interest on the bonds. he lost the settlement in court and had to pay a financial penalty
Judge of U.S. Court John F. Dillion orders J.B. to be in charge of finances

Grinnell proposes North south Railroad through Grinnell

1859 - 1870

Did not materialize until 1870.
ironic because Iowa College left Davenport because traffic through the school was a menace. Now there is a loud train

Elected president of Iowa Central Railway Co.


Railroad reaches Iowa

1860 - 1863

Greeley's advocacy, federal grants, and civil war help push railway through Iowa

Railroad reaches Grinnell


reaches Des Moines by 1867.
The route was not going to go through Grinnell which stressed J.B. greatly. Henry Hamilton, an engineer, saves the day with new proposed less expensive route through Grinnell
J.B. is president of Grinnell and Montezuma Railroads

Resigns from Central railroad in Iowa


His financial integrity was questioned

Cattle Industry

Wool Industry Booming

1862 - 1865

By end of war, wool went from $1 to $.45 per pound. War stimulated wool growing in Iowa.

Grinnell fights for wool industry


Grinnell is worried about wool industry and fights to save it. Served as president of Iowa Association.
Wool and Woolens Act failed and the number of sheep in Iowa fell drastically
Grinnell said that tariff legislation was only second to emancipation

Owned about 6,000 Cattle


Imported them from other states

Sheep Shearing Festival in Grinnell


J.B. entered the shearing competition and also payed for the awards

In support of high tariff bill


Because of Grinnell's wool business he wanted high tariffs so that it was more expensive to manufacture the wool out of state. he wanted to develop manufacturing in Iowa. Was in support of "Big Business" - high tariffs
Iowans think high tariff will rob farmer and benefit manufacturer

J.B. appointed special commissioner in New York Custom House


In charge of classyfying wools

Speech on texture of butter and good men


happened at National Dairymen's Fair in New York

Mayor of Grinnell


last elective office held

President of State Society of Wool growers


President of Fine Stock Breeders Association




32 dead, 100 seriously injured
J.B. raises thousands to rebuild college and town in just two weks after tornado

Passes Bill for Cattle Health


Put in charge by acquaintances to pass a bill through congress that mandated the checking of cattle for pleuro- pneumonia

Elected President of American Agricultural Association


was elected in New Orleans


Founds Grinnell College


Year Iowa College began in Davenport

Sold Land for $1.62 an acre


By 1855 it jumped all they way to $10 an acre

Settlement established


Built three temporary log cabins with Homer Hamlin, Henry Hamilton who was a surveyor, and Dr. Thomas Holyoke

No Alcohol in Town

1854 - 1874


1860 - 1880

Recruited Vermonters to the college