Description: Though it looks rather simplistic, there is a lot of information contained on this one document. This is a printed invitation to a reception honoring Hose Company No. 2, a private fire department in Sioux City in 1877. Private fire departments at this time meant they were not funded by the city, but instead took paid subscriptions from homeowners in exchange for protection in case of a fire. Tickets for the reception (read, “party”) were one dollar, which roughly translates to about $20.00 today. It was held and likely sponsored by the Hubbard family, headed by Judge Asahel Hubbard, one of Sioux City’s foremost figures in business, law, and politics. This invite was addressed to his good friend Samuel Tait Davis, another major figure in Sioux City during this time.
Davis began his career in Sioux City as an attorney but also had a hand in business and politics as well. He was responsible for adding several additions to Sioux City in this time and made many improvements to the city, most notable of which is the straightening of a section of the Floyd River at great personal cost to himself. But he was most successful in the railroad business. He brought the first train into Sioux City and started several different railroad companies, some of which failed but others were very successful. Davis successfully laid many rails through Sioux City, including shortlines to Yankton and the Black Hills and longer lines to Illinois and Omaha. This invitation was sent to both him and his family, some of whom married into other prominent Sioux City families. This is only a copy of the true letter and envelope sent to Mr. Davis; the Davis family retains the original document.
Donor: Roy and Jean Raney