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Dubuque, Iowa - Crawfordsville, Indiana,

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The Hoosier Hay Carrier was originally patented and manufactured by Charles H. Kirkpatrick in 1873. Kirkpatrick manufactured his version of the Hoosier hay carrier for a few years before selling the patent and manufacturing rights to John C. Wingate sometime after 1876. Wingate produced his version of the Hoosier hay carrier for an unknown amount of time before selling the rights to Charles Fockler and Brother. Charles Fockler produced his version of the Hoosier slider for a short time around 1880.


Charles Fockler and Brother were manufacturers of Key City Carriage Tops. Natives of Pennsylvania, Charles and his brother came to Dubuque in 1860. Chas. Fockler, the senior member of the firm, invented the adjustable buggy tops in 1876. A traveling merchant of agricultural products, he developed a buggy top to protect himself from the sun. The reaction of people to the invention proved so great that he gave up his former occupation and the following year established the business. His brother practiced law in the city until joining his brother in business.

The company was the first to manufacture the adjustable buggy top in this country. The timber used in their business was selected and bought in Indiana and consisted of the second growth of ash. They cut it up with their own machinery there. The company had a steam room where the bows were bent and a drying-room, shops where the ironwork was made, enameling-room, and paint and trimming-rooms. They employed between fifty to seventy-five workers at a weekly cost of $600.

The company shipped its goods, the adjustable buggy top and the carriage extension tops, to every state and had a large trade on the Pacific Coast. Charles was in charge of the manufacturing department and his brother, L. Fockler, supervised the office and finances of the firm. In 1879 one hundred carriage tops were being made daily with fifty employees. (1) Annual earnings around 1880 were said to be $200,000. In September of 1880 they were exhibiting their products at the Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Missouri state fairs. (2) “Hoosier Hay Carrier.” Patent: Sept. 1873 Charles Fockler, Dubuque, Iowa. The business began at 42 South Main. The 1878-79 Dubuque City Directory listed the east side of Main between Jones and First. The 1880 Dubuque City Directory indicated that this business was located at 46 Main.


1. “Caught on the Fly,” Dubuque Herald, April 10, 1879, p. 4. Online:

2. “Caught on the Fly, Dubuque Herald, September 4, 1880, p. 4. Online:

Oldt, Franklin T., History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Online.

It is not everyone who succeeds in having a town named after him, but this honor has fallen to John C. Wingate, one of Montgomery county’s most representative citizens, few people of the locality being better known; none occupy a more conspicuous place in the confidence of the public, and it is a compliment worthily bestowed to class him with the progressive men of his day and generation in the vicinity of his residence, having done much for the general development of the town of Wingate and surrounding country. In all that constitutes true manhood and good citizenship he is a notable example, his career having ever been characterized by duty faithfully performed and by industry, thrift and wisely directed effort. These have led to the acquisition of a liberal share of this world’s goods. His personal relations with his fellow men have ever been mutually pleasant and agreeable, and he is highly regarded by all, being easily approached, obliging and straight forward in all the relations of life. He believes in doing well whatever he undertakes and in extending aid and sympathy to others, and he is a fine example of that type of progressive citizens who rise paramount to environment and all which seeks to hinder them.
Mr. Wingate was born May 22, 1851, in Coal Creek township, Montgomery county, about a mile and a half from Pleasant Hill (now known as Wingate). He is a son of William A. and Nancy (Coon) Wingate. The father was born in East Monroe. Ohio, and there he spent his earlier years, removing to Montgomery county, Indiana, when a young man, in 1840, and here he spent the rest of his life, successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits. He was a son of Philip Wingate and wife. The mother of our subject was born in Miami county, Ohio, near Potsdam. Her father was one of a family of sixteen children.
John C. Wingate grew to manhood in his native community and here received a good common school education. On May 22, 1879, he was married to Lida Gilkey, a daughter of Aaron H. and Mary Gilkey. Mrs. Wingate’s father was treasurer and trustee of Coal Creek township for a period of twenty-one years continuously.
hoosier-005At a barbecue and basket dinner, given in a grove near Pleasant Hill by the men on the construction train of the Clover Leaf railroad in 1881 it was determined to change the name of the town of Pleasant Hill to Wingate. A telegram was received from Gen. John M. Corse, president of the above named railroad, by Eli Marvin, a director of the road, who was asking that this change be made, and his request was concurred in by meeting. Among those in attendance were Colonel Maynard, editor of the Indianapolis Sentinel, Hon. Peter S. Kennedy, Hon. M. D. White and Gen. Mahlon D. Manson, all of whom had made addresses, at the conclusion of which Mr. Marvin read General Corse’s telegram, in which he stated that the station here should be named Wingate, for the reason that a town of several hundred people in Ohio, and on the Clover Leaf road, was named Pleasant Hill and it was deemed advisable to change the name of the local town to prevent confusion. Afterwards the postoffice department changed the name of the postoffice from Pleasant Hill to Wingate, so that the name of the town and the station would comport. Thus the town was named for our subject.
Mr. Wingate was one of a family of five children, he being the eldest, and he is the only one that survives, and his parents are both deceased. His nearest of kin is Claude Hughes, a nephew, a son of our subject’s youngest sister, who died when her son Claude, was two years old. He was reared by our subject and wife, who have also reared Arthur Hogan, known as Arthur Wingate, who is now married and is living at Long Beach, California. Our subject took him from the Montgomery County Orphans’ Home when he was four years old. Our subject and wife having had no children of their own, have taken a great interest in the above named boys, giving them every advantage of education and otherwise looking after their interests in the same manner as if they had been their own.
Mr. Wingate is leading a quiet life, after an active and successful business career. He was for many years a traveling salesman. He has served on the Indiana Tax Board for nearly ten years, giving eminent satisfaction in this capacity. He has a beautiful and modernly appointed home in Wingate, surrounded by a large and well-kept lawn. He has a Mission style sleeping house, sixteen by twenty feet in size and containing twenty-three windows and one door, the former being Pullman car windows. The exterior has a pebble cement stucco finish, and the interior woodwork is covered with oil paintings, and the furniture is of cane. It is a most sanitary and pleasant room.
Politically, Mr. Wingate is a Republican, and fraternally he belongs to the Masonic Order, the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, all at Wingate.

Source: History Of Montgomery County, Indiana; With Personal Sketches Of Representative Citizens. Publisher A.S. Bowen. Published 1911

The Indianapolis Journal of Monday under the title of “Person’s who are Talked About” has the following to say of Col. John C. Wingate of this county: John C. Wingate, a farmer who has pockets full of money has put up at the Grand, and will remain until the “war is over.” Mr. Wingate has a little town of his own and its name is Wingate. The place is in Montgomery County and is becoming quite a thriving little village. Two years ago Mr. Wingate, who has a very large farm, concluded that his neighborhood needed a town and a post office and he started the town by laying out quite a number of lots, which were soon sold. He started a general store and soon after made application for a post office. After considerable labor he succeeded in securing an office by the name of Wingate and he himself as postmaster. His town is growing rapidly and in time, he says, promises to be a business center of some importance. He is a radical Democrat and with the remainder of the revolutionsts, thinks the fort ought to be held at all hazards. The man who interviewed the Journal reporter was evidently from this county and bent on gulling the press. When John reads in the paper he swears by that he is a Democrat, there will be blood on the moon. The question now, who orginated the joke!

Source: Crawfordsville Saturday Journal, January 12, 1887


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