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John Hauberg, Volunteer

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

I'm confident that at least once this past month, looking around at all the half-finished projects around the house, you've said "I've got to get organized." If you need a role model as encouragement to do so, I give you Rock Island's premier volunteer, John Hauberg. He knew where he was going to be Friday evenings, and I can tell you, it wasn't the saloon.

As a young Rock Island lawyer early in the 20th century, Hauberg determined to organize his time usefully. While other men, he wrote, were joining the Eagles, Elks and Owls and doing the saloons, his hobby would be volunteering.

Not that he was lax at work. In addition to his law practice, Hauberg served on the boards of the Rock Island Plow Company, the Servus Rubber Company, and the Central Trust and Savings Bank. He was chairman of the board of the Manufacturers Bank and Trust. This gave him just enough time to serve as president of the Weyerhaeuser and Denkmann Lumber Company, the Rock Island Millwork, and the St. Louis Sash and Door Works, and eight or ten smaller companies.

And enough time to volunteer: as President of the Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, County Forest Preserve, the Young Men's Club and the Century Club, and as secretary of Bethany Home and treasurer of the County Bar Association and the Moline YMCA.

It was John Hauberg who uncovered the route of the Old Sauk Indian Trail leading out of Rock Island, and the sites where Abraham Lincoln camped during the Black Hawk War. It was Hauberg who transcribed interviews with all the early Rock Island County pioneers, so we have their stories today. For two decades, he had 275 boys in a fife and drum corps which practiced in his garage, and which traveled the United States. He helped found Black Hawk State Park, the Rock Island County Forest Preserve, Archie Allen camp for YWCA girls, and the Black Hawk Museum.

In between these activities, Hauberg found time to open his home to Carl Sandburg, Paderewski, Madam Schuman-Heink, Billy Sunday, and the Indian chief, Poweshiek, among many others.

Are you inspired? I'm not so sure. Whenever I read the list—four pages, single-spaced—of Hauberg's volunteer activities, my inclination is to put my pile of projects out of mind and head for the saloon.

Rock Island Lines with Roald Tweet is underwritten by Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.

Beginning 1995, historian and folklorist Dr. Roald Tweet spun his stories of the Mississippi Valley to a devoted audience on WVIK. Dr. Tweet published three books as well as numerous literary articles and recorded segments of "Rock Island Lines." His inspiration was that "kidney-shaped limestone island plunked down in the middle of the Mississippi River," a logical site for a storyteller like Dr. Tweet.