Biographical and Genealogical History of Appanoose and Monroe Counties, Iowa.
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.
The subject of this sketch is one of those quiet, unpretentious men whose name are not seen in the papers nor on the ballots of political parties, who pursue “the even tenor of their way,” and whose industry, in the mass, is the prime factor in making the wheels go round. Mr. Marine owns a good sized piece of land in the matchless farming state of Iowa, and this he has worked industriously for many years and still works in person, though now in the seventy-first year of his age.
Though unobtrusive in manners and inclined to attend strictly to his own business, while letting that of others alone, Joseph Marine is recognized by his intimate friends as a man of sterling worth and blameless life. The family came originally from New Jersey in the persons of Moses and Ellen ( Monroe ) Marine, who settled first in Ohio and came west to Iowa in 1854. The father was a farmer and followed that occupation for a livelihood until his death in 1870, two years after his wife had departed from the scenes of earth. They had the unusually large number of fifteen children, of whom only Moses, Joseph, Alexander, Sarah and Maria are now alive, those dead being Robert, Samuel, John, Nichols, William, Washington, Ilof, Mary, Margaret and Louise.
Joseph Marine, who was the seventh of this numerous family, was born August 25, 1832, in Belmont county, Ohio, and spent his boyhood at home. In 1850, when about eighteen years old, he caught the western fever and crossed the Mississippi into the great state of Iowa, but in two years felt such a longing for a sight of the old Buckeye home that he could not resist the pressure to return to Ohio. However, he did not long remain in his native state, but, again turning his face northwest, came back to Iowa, and from that time until now has been one of its most steadfast citizens.
In 1855 Mr. Marine was married to Lucy, daughter of William and Mary Foster, to which union an only son, Alexander Lincoln, was born. Mr. Marine owns a farm of two hundred and forty-nine acres, which he work himself, despite his more than three-score and ten years of age. He and his wife are both devoted Christians and regular attendants of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which they have long been members.
One of the ablest and most prosperous men of Monroe county to-day is D.J. Martin, who resides two and three-quarters miles northwest of Melrose, on the place known as the Walnut Grove farm, where he is extensively engaged in breeding thoroughbred shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. He started in life without any particular advantages which would of themselves boost him to the top round of the ladder of success, but he has by the wise use of the talents that were vouchsafed to him and by the exercise of the determination and energy that were in him risen to a place where he may be called one of the leaders in the business and social life of his community.
M.D. Martin, his father, was born in Ohio and came to Illinois when quite a young man, and from there went to Iowa, where he located in Wayne county, and a few years later located in Wayne township, Monroe county. He wife, Elizabeth S. Prather, was born in Bartholomew county, Indiana, in 1828, and there passed her early life. She came to Iowa in 1848 and located in Van Buren county, but in the same year her father, D.J. Prather, settled in Monroe county, and she remained at home there until her marriage.
The marriage occurred in 1853, and one child was born, the subject of this sketch. Mr. Martin marred a Miss Sackett for his second wife, and they became the parents of three children. Mr. Martin died in South Dakota in 1891 and was buried near Rochester, Minnesota, where his second wife now lives. The mother of our subject lived on the home farm until 1884, when she went to Eugene, Oregon, where her death occurred January 30, 1901.
D.J. Martin is a native son of Monroe county, his birth having occurred August 8, 1854. He received his preliminary education in the town of Melrose, and at the age of seventeen entered Howes Academy at Mount Pleasant, where he was a student for two years, and he then spent one year at the Iowa Wesleyan University. For the next seven years he devoted himself to teaching school in the winter and to farming in the summer seasons.
On March 5, 1885, he was married to Miss Sarah Brandon, who was born in Monroe county, and whose father we shall mention further on in this article. She attended the common schools of her native county until her seventeenth year, and afterward received a complete business training at the Bloomfield and Shenandoah business colleges. After returning from school she opened the first set of books in her father's newly established bank at Melrose, and for four years preceding her marriage acted as cashier in this bank, she having been among the first, or perhaps the first lady bank cashier in the state of Iowa. Her sister then accepted the position and served in that capacity until her marriage, at which time Mr. and Mrs. Martin took charge of the bank, Mr. Martin being cashier and his wife assistant.
This arrangement was continued for about seven years, and during the last four years Mr. Martin was the owner of a one-third interest in the bank. After retiring from the bank he returned to his farm, where he now lives. He has about four hundred acres of excellent land, and his place shows the evidences of good management and thrift, which are largely responsible for his success. He also owns land in Oregon, while his wife has eighty acres in this county and one hundred and sixty acres in Texas.
In political belief Mr. Martin adheres to the Republican party and is chairman of the central committee of Wayne township. In religious affairs both he and his wife have been reared in the faith of the Methodist church and are active workers in the cause. They are well known and highly respected in all circles. Mr. and Mrs. Martin became the parents of six children, five sons and one daughter: Randall, who died in infancy; Elbert C., Sterling B., Thomas, David B., Mildred L.; all are natives of Monroe county.
Thomas Brandon, the father of Mrs. Martin, is a pioneer settler of Monroe county. He was born in Crouchtown, Tennessee, August 27, 1826, and remained there until sixteen years of age. He came to Iowa in 1845 and took up a homestead claim in Franklin township, Monroe county. He has since bought a great deal of land in this county and at one time owned about fourteen hundred acres, a large part of which he has since given to his children.
He was the founder of the first bank in Melrose, and perhaps has done more to develop the material resources of the county than any other one man. Forty-one years ago he nearly suffered the loss of his eyesight, and his daughter, Mrs. Martin, assisted him in organizing his bank at Melrose, and to her he owes much to his success. He is now seventy-six years old and spends his winters on a large plantation in Texas and San Diego, California. Mr. Brandon is well known over the entire county and is everywhere shown the honor due to an old age following a life of useful and successful effort.
The subject of this sketch was born in Chautauqua county, New York, April 14, 1834, the son of Norman and Sarah Ann ( Allen ) Mason, the latter a descendant of Ethan Allen, of historic fame. His father was a native of New York and his mother a native of Vermont, and they were married in Washington county, New York, in 1830. After marriage they lived in western New York, but came west to Iowa in 1863 and settled in Albia, where for a time he conducted a restaurant and boarding house. To this union these children were born: Elizabeth, deceased; Allen A.; Darwin N., a minister; William Gussie, deceased; Mary; Charles, deceased; Katie; Lillian, deceased; and Jessie, deceased. Father of these children died in 1892, but his wife is living with her son in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Allen A. Mason spent his early days in western New York until twenty-two years of age. He taught school in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. He was married in October, 1860, to Miss Margaret Boyle, daughter of William and Esther Boyle, pioneers of Iowa. The four children by this union were: Charles N., Fred D., John H., and Ben A. His wife died in the spring of 1874, and is buried in Albia. He was married in the fall of 1875 to Martha E. Taylor, daughter of John M. Taylor. Six children have been born by his second wife: Walter M., Ralph T., Elsie, Roy E., Edna E., Carlis.
When Mr. Mason first came to Iowa he followed the carpenter's trade. He served as deputy clerk for two years, and in 1858 and 1859 he was deputy treasurer and recorder. In 1861 he was elected county judge on the Republican ticket. Since 1864 he has been engaged in running a nursery and in farming. He has one hundred and twenty acres on the home place, having sold off three hundred acres in 1901. He was in the dairy business in Albia from 1876 until 1887, and had the only milk wagon at that time in the city.
The life of the tiller of the soil, while it has many hardships and uncertainties which make it unattractive to many, is after all the basic of the world's industries, and in all the ages of history men have followed it, not from necessity but because they were drawn to it by the natural desire to make the earth bring forth after its kind and because it afforded the most independent existence among the pursuits of mankind. But now the old prejudices against farming are being dispelled by the new and scientific methods which tend to remove the former hap-hazard results and place it upon the most substantial basis. And among the young and progressive farmers of Monroe county who takes rank with those who will be the leaders of agriculture in the first part of the twentieth century is C.V. Mason.
His father, J.W. Mason, was a native of the state of Missouri and removed to Jefferson county, Iowa, when quite young, and while yet a young man came to Monroe county, where in 1861 he was married to Martha J. Barnes, a native of Indiana; her father, Jesse Barnes, was a native of Kentucky and was a pioneer settler of Cedar township, Monroe county, and his wife's name was Eliza Ann Hogland; Jesse Barnes died in Monroe county, but his wife is still living. J.W. Mason was a Republican in political sympathies, and he and his wife were members of the United Brethren church. He passed away in 1884 at the age of forty-two, but his wife is still living with the subject of this sketch; there were seven children born to them, three sons and four daughters: John A., Minnie L., Eli A., Carrie, C.V., Esta, and Cora Mae.
C.V. Mason was ushered into the world in Monroe county, January 25, 1871, was reared to manhood under the hardy discipline of the home farm in Wayne township and there received his education in the country schools. In November of 1893 he was married to Minnie M. Davis, who is a native of Hancock county, Illinois, and a daughter of Eugene Davis, a native of Ohio; she spent her childhood in Illinois and came to Iowa after she had reached maturity. Mr. and Mrs. Mason have three sons, Clifford J., Paul E. and Dwight D. Mr. Mason casts his vote for the Republican party and he and his wife are faithful members of the United Brethren church. He has made a success of farming and he and his family stand high in the regard of his fellow citizens.
No paper in Monroe county, Iowa, publishes more news, is more public spirited in its support of all measures affecting the town and county or enjoys more fully the backing of the citizens of the county, as shown by the large and representative subscription list, than the Albia Republican, whose success is the result of the efforts of its enterprising and energetic editor, G.C. McCormick. And it is most fitting to record the life history of the journal and its owner in this book of biography of two of Iowa's most progressive counties.
Mr. McCormick comes of Scotch-Irish ancestry, who came to America before the Revolution, members of the family taking part in that war, also in the war of 1812, the Mexican and Civil wars, so that they may be listed among the patriotic families of America. The first ancestors settled in Virginia, then migrated west to Indiana, and from there to Iowa, in 1867. The parents of our Monroe county editor were Mont and Hattie McCormick; the former was a farmer and veterinarian and served three years in Company A, Fifty-ninth Indiana, during the Civil war; his wife was a school teacher and a most estimable woman, as the lasting influence she exercised over her children proved.
It was after his parents had taken up their residence in Sandyville, Warren county, Iowa, that George C. McCormick came into the world, on October 20, 1872. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and now that he is on the fair road to success he might have considered that an incumbrance rather than a benefit. But he was industrious from the start, and the fact that the first eighteen years of his life were spent on a farm probably had much to do with the shaping of his character and subsequent development.
At the age of eighteen he moved to College Springs, Iowa, and entered the preparatory department of Amity College at that place. As he was not afraid of hard work, he paid his way through school by doing chores for his board, teaching school and acting as general agent for a book company, and notwithstanding such restrictions he went through with his class and graduated in 1897 with the degree of Ph. B., having covered the general collegiate course of studies. He had already decided to make a career of journalism, and three months before graduation had bought the College Springs Current Press. He published this paper until January, 1899, when he bought the Albia Republican and removed to Albia in order to enter upon his duties as editor and publisher.
Mr. McCormick is a man of push and ability, and he has, in the short time he has owned it, made his paper the official organ of the county and has placed it on a firm financial basis, so that it is a paying property. The paper, like its editor, is straight Republican in politics, but on the questions of general policy that are continually before the people for settlement it advocates progress and the general welfare of all. In 1902 he built a two-story printing office, and the entire office has been newly equipped in the last four years, so that there are few country newspapers anywhere which are better fitted up for their work. The paper is a six-column quarto, all home print, and the average circulation for 1902 was 2,204 copies.
Mr. McCormick is one of the whole-souled, genial gentlemen who make friends everywhere they go, and his hitherto successful career is due to these and other solid elements of character. He early learned how to work hard and effectively, and this happy quality, combined with his enthusiasm, makes him a winner in whatever field of endeavor he may engage. While he has advocated the principles of the Republican party and thus has been able to be of much assistance to his party, he has never chosen to enter the field of politics, and prefers to devote himself to his business. He is a member of the Methodist church, belongs to the Masons, the Woodmen and the Yeoman fraternities, and is a willing helper in all branches of social and religious work. On June 22, 1897, Mr. McCormick was married at College Springs, Iowa, to Miss Carrie Sherman, the daughter of S.L. Sherman. She was born and reared at College Springs, Page county. They have one son, Paul Sherman McCormick, who was born August 12, 1901.
Among the worth citizens of Monroe county who have come to this locality form Indiana is Thomas Benton McDonald, who was born in Liberty, Union county, in the Hoosier state, December 6, 1846. He comes of Irish lineage, his father, Bernard McDonald, having been born in county Carlow, Ireland, whence he crossed the Atlantic to America. The paternal grandfather was Edwin Lawrence McDonald, M.D., who on reaching years of maturity wedded a Miss Camel and among their children was a son to whom they gave the name Bernard. The latter was a sailor in early life, following the sea for some years.
Taking up his abode in this country, he wedded Elizabeth Heavenridge, a native of Virginia, and in 1840 he retried from the sea in order that he might devote his energies to farming, which occupation he followed until 1888, when he put aside business cares entirely. He was born in 1808, took up his abode in this country in 1840 and is now living a retired life in Fairmount, Indiana, at the very advanced age of ninety-five years. His wife passed away in 1865. The children of their family were: Thomas B.; Emeline, deceased; Edwin; Lawrence, who has also passed away; John, Frank, Elizabeth and Jemima.
Thomas B. McDonald spent his early days in Indiana and attended the public schools there. When he became a young man he began learning the trade of a spinner and after a year spent in that way he secured employment with a millwright. In 1867 he began railroading on the Pan Handle system, first acting as a brakeman, while later he was promoted to the position of conductor. When he had been with the Pan Handle road for a year he left Indiana and removed to Nebraska, where he secured a position as conductor on the Midland & Pacific Railroad, running between Nebraska City and Lincoln. In 1871 he began work on the Burlington as conductor and continued in that capacity until 1879, when he retired altogether from railroad work.
He then came to Lovilia, Iowa, and with the capital he had acquired through his own labors and economy began merchandising. He is today the leading merchant of the town and his efforts have been largely instrumental in the upbuilding and improvement of this place. He carries a large and well selected line of general goods, and because of his correct business policy and earnest desire to please his customers is accorded a liberal patronage. On the 10 th of December, 1890, he established a private bank, which is known as the Lovilia Exchange and which has become a leading financial institution in this part of the county. Its present officers are T.B. McDonald, president; O. L. Wright, vice president; and Jerry Wilcox, cashier.
On the 25 th of January, 1878, occurred the marriage of Mr. McDonald and Mrs. Sarah J. Wilcox, a widow, and a daughter of Joseph Patterson. Her parents were residents of Baltimore, Maryland. Mrs. McDonald is an estimable lady, holding membership in the Methodist Episcopal church of Lovilia and her friends in the community are many. Mr. McDonald, however, is an adherent of the Episcopalian faith, and fraternally is connected with the Masonic order, belonging to Lodge No. 269, F. & A.M., Clinton Chapter No. 16, R.A.M., and the Malta Commandery, K.T. He is an exemplary member of the craft, true to its beneficent teachings.
Mr. McDonald started out upon his business career without capital, and the success that he has achieved is entirely due to his own efforts. He may well be termed a self-made man, for he has placed his dependence upon his own industry, unremitting diligence and perseverance and these have proved the foundation upon which he has built the superstructure of his prosperity.
Joseph C. McElhaney is today one of the prosperous agriculturists and enterprising business men of Monroe county. There is no rule for achieving success, yet certain elements are always found in a prosperous career, and these are tireless energy and keen business perception, both of which are manifested in the career of Mr. McElhaney, who is now controlling extensive and important interests both in Monroe county and in other sections of the country. He is a native of Hancock county, Ohio, his birth having occurred there January 21, 1853, his parents being Isaac and Sarah Jane ( Reddick ) McElhaney. His father was born in Pennsylvania and was of Scotch-Irish descent, while the mother was a native of Columbiana county, Ohio. During his residence in the Buckeye state, Isaac McElhaney followed the cooper's trade, but after his removal to Iowa he abandoned industrial interests in order to give his attention to agricultural pursuits.
The year 1865 witnessed his arrival in this state and he took up his abode in Guilford township, Monroe county, where he made his home for ten years, and then removed to Union township, where his remaining days were passed. As every true American citizen should do, he kept well informed on all political questions affecting the welfare of his county, state and nation, and his belief in the principles of Democracy led him to cast his ballot for its nominees. Both he and his wife were devoted members of the United Presbyterian church and took an active part in its work. His death occurred on the 19 th of March, 1891, when he had reached the age of seventy-five years and seven months, and his widow is still living, making her home with the subject of this review. To Mr. and Mrs. Isaac McElhaney were born eight children, five of whom are yet living, namely: Mary J., Margaret C., Mattie, Cynthia and Joseph C. Those who have passed away are David R., who was the eldest; Irvin Presley; and Dora, who was the youngest of the family.
Joseph C. McElhaney lived in Ohio until he had reached the age of nine years, when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Iowa. He acquired his early education in the public schools and when sixteen years of age took up the study of geology, which he mastered and then began prospecting for coal in the employ of different companies. He has done prospecting work in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, and has been instrumental in locating several coal beds which have yielded excellent returns.
He is today the owner of a fine and valuable farm of three hundred and sixty-six acres of Iowa's rich soil, located just north of Lovilia, and of this two hundred acres is under cultivation, being planted with cereals best adapted to the climate. The remainder of the farm is pasture land and Mr. McElhaney is successfully engaged in raising and dealing in stock, his annual sales from animals bringing to him a good return. He has resided upon his present farm for fifteen years, living with his mother and his two sisters, Maggie and Cynthia. Mr. McElhaney is a man of excellent business ability, resourceful and far-sighted and he has not confined his attention entirely to one line. At the present time he is extensively interested in rice growing and has a tract of land of ten thousand acres in Texas, of which forty-five hundred acres are now planted to rice. He has been interested in rice production since 1899 and believes it to be one of the country's profitable crops.
Mr. McElhaney is a member of the Pioneers' Association and at the recent meeting held In Lovilia he served as officer of the day. He is honored and respected by all, not only on account of the success he has achieved, but also because of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has ever followed. In his business affairs he has never taken advantage of the necessities of his fellow men, but has been fair and just in all transactions, and his prosperity is the legitimate outcome of careful discernment in business and of unremitting diligence.
The subject of this review is a self-made man who in his your had few advantages, educational or otherwise, nor had he the assistance of influential friends, but he possessed strong resolution, and, desiring to become a successful factor in business circles in Monroe county, he has labored earnestly and energetically until his efforts have been crowned with a gratifying degree of prosperity. He now lives in Bluff Creek township, where he owned a valuable property, comprising four hundred and sixty-five acres of land, which, however, he has divided among his children, retaining for himself one hundred and sixty acres.
Mr. Mercer was born in Kentucky, February 26, 1827, and comes of a family of Scotch origin. From the land of hills and heather his early ancestors went to England and thence to America. The great-grandfather was a soldier in the continental army during the Revolutionary war and valiantly assisted in winning American independence. George and Mary (Martin) Mercer, the grandparents, were residents of Pennsylvania, whence they removed at an early day to Kentucky, there residing until called to their final home, the former at the age of sixty-eight years, the latter at the age of seventy-four.
Martin Mercer, the father of our subject, was born in Kentucky and served his country in the war of 1812 under General Jackson, participating in the “tearless battle” of New Orleans. He was married to Anna L. Biggs, a daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth ( Christ ) Biggs, who were residents of Kentucky, but removed to Indiana, where both passed away at an advance age, the former when he had attained four-score years, the latter at the age of seventy-eight. Mr. and Mrs. Martin Mercer also removed to Indiana, locating there in 1831. They became the parents of ten children, but only two are yet living, William and his brother, H.H. Mercer. The father died in Indiana at the age of seventy-three, and the mother's death occurred in the same place when she was seventy-two years of age.
The early youth of William Mercer was a period of persistent and unremitting toil. His educational privileges were very meager, as he had opportunity to attend school for only about two months each year, and during that time he pursued his studies in a log building, sitting upon seats made of slabs, which rested upon wooden pins or legs fitted into a hole bored in the wall. His training at farm labor, however, was not meager, for from an early age he worked in the fields form early morning until evening, but, always ambitious for advancement, his persistence, energy and diligence at length won the victory over limited financial circumstances, and he stands to-day as one of the successful men of his county.
On the 27 th of March, 1856, Mr. Mercer married Miss Bernetta H. Sellers, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of Nathan and Mary (Yowell) Sellers. Her father was a son of James and Mary (Crawford) Sellers, and the former, a native of Kentucky and of Scotch descent, died in his native state, while the latter passed away in Indiana. Nathan Sellers was born in Kentucky and when he had arrived at years of maturity wedded Mary, daughter of William and Margaret (Coppage) Yowell. Her father was of English lineage and lived in Kentucky. He died in an explosion of a steamer on which he was a passenger, and his wife died in Kentucky when more than ninety years of age. In 1854 Mr. and Mrs. Sellers came to Iowa and here spent their remaining days, the former dying in Appanoose county at the age of seventy-five, the latter at the age of eighty years in Monroe county. They had eight children, of whom five or yet living, including Mrs. Mercer, the estimable wife of our subject. To Mr. and Mrs. Mercer have been born ten children, six of whom are yet living: Henry, who is married and has two children; William L., who is married and has three children; John P., who is married and has four children; Emma, at home; Ida, also with her father; and Inez, who married Dr. C.N. Hyatt and has one child. A daughter, Florence, died at the age of twenty-three years, and the others died in infancy.
Since 1850 Mr. Mercer has been a resident of Monroe county, and great changes have occurred in that period, for the wild land has been plowed and made a bloom and blossom as the rose. His own farm has undergone a complete transformation. He first purchased two hundred and sixty acres and his first farmhouse was 17x20 feet, in which he lived until 1870, when his present fine home was erected, and in the interim the boundaries of this farm have also been extended until the place comprise four hundred and sixty-five acres of land. He has divided this among his boys, who are now operating it, with the exception of William, who in February, 1902, was graduated from the College of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, and is now practicing in Hailey, Idaho.
In politics Mr. Mercer was first a Whig and voted for General Scott, and in 1856 he cast his ballot for John C. Fremont and has since been a stanch Republican. He has filled various local offices and in 1860 he was elected county supervisor, serving for two years, and was the first supervisor of the first superior court of Monroe county. He has always been active in support of measures for the general good and through more than half a century's residence in the county his labors have greatly benefited his locality, and at the same time his efforts in business circles have brought to him a very gratifying return.
One of the most progressive and enterprising business men of Monroe county is Amos F. Miller, who is connected with one of the largest cheese factories in the county. By his progressive spirit and unflagging energy he has contributing in a large measure to the business activity of Bluff Creek township, and is regarded as a man of force and worth in the business world. Mr. Miller was born in Ripley county, Indiana, on the 28 th of January, 1855, and is a son of Henry and Mary R. ( Hiteman ) Miller. The father, who was of German origin, was a native of France, but when a mere boy he left his home across the sea and came to the United States. The year 1858 witnessed his arrival in the Hawkeye state, and a location was made near the vicinity of Hiteman in Monroe county, that village having been named in honor of an uncle of our subject. Both Mr. and Mrs. Miller died in Pottawattomie county, Iowa, the former at the age of seventy-nine years and the latter when fifty-nice years of age. They became the parents of twelve children, ten of whom are still living.
Amos F. Miller was early inured to the labors of the farm, and he continued to reside on the old home farm until the 11 th of March, 1881, when he was married to Martha E. Williams. She was born in Kansas, and by her marriage has become the mother of six children, one of whom died in infancy, and those living are: Amy, who became the wife of J.C. Moore; and Henry E., Charles M., Anna L., and Mildred E., at home. All are receiving excellent education privileges, and they will no doubt prove an honor to the honored family name. After his marriage Mr. Miller located on a farm near Avery, Monroe county, Iowa, where he conducted a cheese factory for one year, he having learned that business prior to his marriage. Removing thence to Lynnville, Iowa, he resumed the same occupation, and after residing there for a time located southeast of Albia.
Three years later he came to his present location, four miles northwest of that city, where he is now serving as the manager, treasurer and salesman of one of the largest cheese factories in the county. This concern has a capacity of seven thousand pounds of milk daily, and furnishes employment to many men. The plant is now equipped with modern machinery and all accessories for facilitating the work and rendering the product of value on the market by reason of its excellent quality.
Mr. Miller is also the owner of a valuable farm, and is one of the substantial business men of Monroe county. He was reared in the faith of the Republican party and was one of its supporters until the Prohibition agitation in Iowa, when he supported Grover Cleveland in his first race for the presidency, and continued to uphold Democratic principles until the nomination of William J. Bryan. Since that time he has exercised his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party. For one term he served as assessor of his township, for many years was a member of the school board, and is now school secretary and township trustee, being incumbent of the latter position by appointment. The family attend the services of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Henry Miller, who has departed this life but is yet remembered by the citizens of Albia as a man of genuine worth, was born in Union county, Indiana, September 22, 1828. His father, Daniel Miller, was on of the substantial and prominent men of that county. He was also a minister of the German Baptist church, and did much good work for the cause of Christianity during the years of his active pastoral labors. He resided in Indiana until the latter part of the fifties, when he came with his family to Iowa, settling in Monroe county.
Henry Miller, however, did not remove to this state until several years later, at which time he also became a resident of Monroe county. He had been reared in Indiana, obtaining a common school education there, and on October 31, 1850, he was united in marriage to Miss Susannah Kingery, a native of Union county, that state, born July 18, 1828. She was the youngest of five children, and when but seven years of age was left an orphan. By her marriage she became the mother of the following named: Riley, Monroe, Willie and Anna, all deceased; Maria, Emma and Frances, who are living. Of the surviving members of the family Maria is the only one unmarried, and she makes her home with her mother.
At the time of the Civil war Henry Miller's sympathies were enlisted with the Union cause, and with interest he watched the progress of hostilities. In 1864, at what was probably the darkest period of our country's history, he felt that his first duty was to the government, and he offered his services to the country, remaining at the front until the close of the war, when he was mustered out. Meritorious conduct upon the field of battle had won him promotion to the rank of lieutenant, and he returned home with a most creditable military record.
After the war he joined the Grand Army of the Republic and thus maintained pleasant relations with his old army comrades, with whom he delighted to meet and rehearse the experiences and stories of camp life. He was also at one time a member of the Masonic fraternity and of the Odd Fellow society, but demitted from both organizations prior to his death.
In early life Mr. Miller gave his time and attention to farm work which he carried on until he had acquired a good competency. He then abandoned the plow in order to become a factor in commercial circles, investing his money in mercantile enterprises. Still later he engaged in the stock business and in the closing years of his life was a coal operator. Whatever he undertook he carried forward to successful completion, for he was a man of strong purpose and determined will, and, moreover, his business methods were honorable and straight-forward. He passed away February 19, 1890, respected by all who knew him, and in Albia, where he made his home for many years, there are many friends who still mourn his loss. His widow and daughter Maria are yet residents of this city and are widely and favorably known.
John W. Moss was born December 17, 1830, in Putnam county, Indiana, his parents being Francis and Mary ( Webster ) Moss, both of whom were natives of Virginia. The father died in Putnam county, Indiana, at the age of sixty-eight years, and the mother afterward came to Iowa, spending her last days in Pleasant township, Monroe county, where she died at the very advanced age of ninety-one years. In the family of this worthy couple were nine children, eight of whom reached years of maturity.
In taking up the history of John W. Moss we present to our readers the life record of one who is widely and favorably known in this portion of Iowa. He remained upon the home farm in the Hoosier state until twenty-one years of age and his boyhood's training was such as to make him familiar with farm work in its various departments. The mental discipline which he had was that afforded by the common schools and on attaining his majority he left Indiana, believing that he might have better business opportunities in a district further west.
Accordingly he came to this state in the year 1853. After a year, however, he returned east and in 1855 he again came to Iowa, settling in Monroe county, where he has since made his home. In 1860 he purchased one hundred and fifteen acres of land, but of this he has since sold a portion and he now owns one hundred acres. Mr. Moss has made the place what it is to-day, a valuable and well improved farm, but this statement but faintly indicates the years of earnest labor which have been devoted to the farm. After taking up his abode here he worked early and late in order to place his fields under cultivation, practicing the rotation of crops in order to keep the land productive and following progressive methods that have become known to the farmer as time has advanced.
He had no special educational privileges to aid him, in fact, he pursued his studies while seated upon a slab bench in a log schoolhouse. In him, however, was the strength of character that caused him to brook no obstacles that could be overcome by persistent and determined energy and his labor has been the ladder upon which he has risen to the plane of affluence. There is now evidence that his farm is underlaid with one of the richest coal veins in the county or state, and in the development of this there lies in store for Mr. Moss a handsome competence, of which he is certainly deserving as a reward for his career of industry.
On the 15 th of November, 1860, occurred the marriage of our subject and Mary Miller, the widow of Abraham Kingery. She was born in Ohio and by this union has become the mother of two sons, the elder being Perry E., who is married and has two children; and Riley E., who is married and had four children, three of which are yet living. Both Mr. and Mrs. Moss are faithful members of the Baptist church and take an active interest in its work, doing all they can for the extension of its influence. In political circles Mr. Moss is also prominent and influential and is identified with the Democratic party. In 1878-9 he served as county auditor of Monroe county and from 1884 until 1887 was the county treasurer, discharging his duties in a most prompt and capable manner. He has also filled township offices and was at one time the candidate of his party for the legislature, but could not overcome the strong Republican majority of his district.
His first presidential vote was cast for General Winfield Scott, the candidate of the Whig party in 1852, and in 1856 he voted for James Buchanan, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, since which time he has never wavered in his allegiance to the Democracy. Both he and his wife possess sterling traits of character, which have gained for them high esteem through the community, and the life record of Mr. Moss proves conclusively that success is not a matter of genius but is the outcome of clear judgment and experience and that it may be won by diligence and persistency of purpose.