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Reverend Haddock's Pulley

Date: 1886


Description: The Reverend George C. Haddock was a pastor here in Sioux City at First Methodist Church. He came to Sioux City in 1885 and was a staunch believer in the temperance movement and the prohibition of alcohol. Iowa had passed prohibition laws on alcohol in the early 1880s, but Sioux City defied that law for years, continuing to produce, sell, and distribute alcoholic products. At First Methodist Haddock preached and denounced the production and sale of liquor, and even helped local and state law enforcement gather evidence against distributors. On August 3, 1886, Haddock went to Greenville, then a small village outside town, to procure evidence against liquor sellers with fellow pastor Reverend C. C. Turner. They had procured a carriage from a stable on Water Street. When they returned to town to return the horse to its stable, a mob of brewery owners and liquor distributors who saw Haddock’s preaching as a threat to their lifestyle had gathered in the street nearby. Turner went to his home some distance away, and Haddock was left to face the mob alone.


Haddock did not believe in carrying firearms, so the only weapon he carried on him to defend himself was this small iron pulley wheel, with a rope long enough to wrap around his wrist. A shot rang out from the crowd and Haddock fell to the ground. The crowd dispersed quickly, and in the later years a few men were tried but none were soundly convicted. Haddock’s death did spark some nasty backlash: the existing state laws were more strictly enforced than they had been in the past, and Sioux City earned itself a poor reputation. Many of the breweries and distilleries left town and moved across the river to Nebraska, away from Iowa’s liquor laws.


Memorials were conducted all over town in memory of Haddock. A plaque was dedicated in his honor at the scene of the murder by the local leaders of the temperance movement, and churches all over the city held services to honor Haddock’s name. Iowa repealed the state ban on alcohol in 1892, before passing it again in 1916, which lasted until the repeal of the federal Prohibition in 1933.


Donor: George W. Wakefield

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