Audubon County, Iowa
Unless otherwise specified, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
EDWARD B. BAKER submited by Earl Hoffman
WILLIAM O. BAKER submited by Earl Hoffman
One of the prominent
characters in the early settlement of Audubon county
was Doctor Samuel M. Ballard. His
ancestors were said to have been
Virginia Quakers. In youth he lived
in Hillsboro, Ohio, where he studied
medicine under a preceptor in the old-fashioned way, and afterwards
attended medical lectures, perhaps at Cincinnati, Ohio.
He was an incomparable story
teller and a delightful companion in some ways;
but some incidents of his life as told by himself will not, in the light
of morality, bear repetition. He
once related an amusing incident which
occurred during his early medical experience.
A council of surgeons were
convened to perform an operation upon the patient of his preceptor,
and through his courtesy the student (Ballard) was invited to attend
and witness the case. A lady, who
acted as nurse, prepared the room
for the occasion and notified the surgeons that it was ready for their
reception. They proceeded to the room, and Ballard followed until reaching
the entrance where the others had preceded him.
Upon recognizing him, the
nurse declined to let him pass. His
preceptor, observing the
interruption, said to the nurse: "You may admit Doctor Ballard."
She acquiesced, but in a deprecatory tone remarked: "Oh, you are
a 'stujent,' are ye?' The memory of
that event was a pleasing recollection
to the old doctor. He was a noble
specimen of manhood - six and a
half feet in stature, and of powerful physique, a veritable giant. His
presence was at once noticeable, even in the largest assembly.
In early life his hair had been sandy; his eyes were flashing blue,
with an eagle gaze, and one of them was blind.
When the writer first saw
him, in 1865, his hair and long flowing beard were snowy white.
He was a self-made man, largely; not classically educated and never
a student of books. His stock of
sound, practical common sense was
varied and extensive. He was a
thorough business man of the world among
pioneers. His reputation as a
skillful, successful physician rested
upon his own personal experience, rather than upon any book knowledge.
But few facts concerning his life have been recorded in print.
No biography of him has been discovered.
He once related that he came
down the Ohio river on a steamboat to St. Louis; thence up the Mississippi
river to Iowa. He was engaged in
the practice of medicine at Iowa
City as early as 1842, and there he established an extensive, lucrative
business. He said that he kept relays of saddle horses to carry
him about the country; that he would start from Iowa City and ride north
several miles; thence west to oxford, and south to the settlements on
English river; thence east and north again to West Liberty and then home,
after visiting and prescribing for patients along the route; that he
made such trips in a single day and night and often rode asleep in the
saddle; that for weeks at a time he slept but four hours out of twenty-four
on an average, sometimes falling asleep in the saddle against
his will power to keep awake. On
such occasions as he was able to go
to bed, he would order that he be permitted to sleep but for a half hour, then to be awakened at all hazards by dragging him
from bed and throwing cold water in
his face. He would then eat
something and drink some coffee,
and proceed to the next patient, taking another short sleep
when wearied nature would resist no longer.
His fees sometimes exceeded
two hundred dollars in a day. He
was a wealthy man before coming to
Audubon county. He came to Audubon
county in 1851, and his meeting
with "Uncle Johnny" Jenkins is told in another part of this work.
Doctor Ballard owned thousands of acres of the best timber and
prairie lands in what is now Exira
and Oakfield townships, and adjoining, in Cass
county. His dwelling, situated in
section 25, Oakfield township, was
a very common affair. It stood in
an open space in the timber on the
north side of the old state road leading south from his dwelling place,
and was a one-story building, boarded up and down with rough, undressed
oak boards, unpainted and unplastered. It
would not have been supposed by
strangers that it was the abode of the richest man in the county.
Everything about the house was of the most common kind, there being
neither fine furniture, books or anything to indicate elegance, refinement,
luxury or wealth, except the lands. Mrs.
Ballard did not come to the country
until 1855, and remained here but a short time, when she
moved to Council Bluffs, and was maintained there is good style the remainder
of her life. The relation which
existed between the Doctor and Mrs.
Ballard was never understood by outsiders, but probably was not congenial. Hon.
William P. Hepburn, who was intimately acquainted with the family at Iowa City, recently told the writer that the
Doctor and Mrs. Ballard were
members of the Universalist church in Iowa City, and further
related that on one occasion Mrs. Ballard told him that she once believed
she was a Universalist, but that she doubted if God would pardon
or save so wicked a man as Doctor Ballard.
Evidently she was aware of
his wrong-doings. In his last
sickness Mrs. Ballard came to his
residence and cared for him several days until he was moved to her home in Council Bluffs, where he soon died.
The house above mentioned was
claimed by him as his home and domicile, and he voted in Oakfield township
until his death. Many families
lived there and kept house for him,
among whom were Benjamin M. Hyatt, Samuel Smith, Stephen T. Campbell, Milton Heath and others in early times, and many
Large areas of Doctor Ballard's lands in Audubon and Cass
counties were in cultivated farms,
with the cheapest kind of dwellings and buildings upon them. It was
a small principality, partaking the appearance of ancient times, when such estates were tenanted by serfs and
peasants, rather than a modern,
up-to-date American settlement. His
pastures were filled with large
herds of fine cattle, and droves of hogs. He
received large quantities of corn
and grain from his tenants. He
erected a saw- mill near his residence about 1855-56, and got out considerable
lumber from his own timber and for
his neighbors, until after the railroad came to
Atlantic, about 1869. While
surrounded by such wealth and advantages,
he was unpopular with his neighbors. He
was not a public- spirited citizen, his ambition being to accumulate lands and
property for his own selfish
aggrandizement, along the primitive methods indicated. He did
nothing for the upbuilding of his neighbors, or of the community in which he dwelt, consequently he had no
friends, even among his kindred.
He lived hermit-like, not allowing himself a respectable
subsistence, considering his wealth; only providing for himself
the bare necessities of life, food and raiment. Such methods of existence
failed to enlist the favorable opinions of the people among whom
he resided. In business affairs he was disagreeable and a hard man to
deal with. He constantly differed and quarreled with his tenants, hired
help and others who dealt with him. It
was said that he was a hard master
to his sons.
He complained of losing many cattle and hogs by thieves, and
to have lost large amounts of wood
and timber by trespassers. Once,
when riding with him near Oakfield,
a man was met with a load of shoats. The
Doctor stopped and claimed them.
The driver said he was delivering them to a man
whom he named. The Doctor said he had not sold any hogs to that man,
and directed him to return them to his place, and not take away any more
without his order. The depredations
became so flagrant that he was obliged
to dispose of all the live stock on his estate. He negotiated the
sale of all his cattle, and they were turned into the woods pasture south
of the Ballard bridge, temporarily, for delivery a few days later. On the day of delivery, fifty head of the cattle had disappeared,
and no trace of them could be
discovered. It was supposed that
some of the Doctor's agents had
made away with them. After he
became too old and feeble to
superintend his business, for several years large amounts of boards
from his fences were stolen and carried away.
A barn was discovered near
his estate built from such lumber, the marks of the boards
plainly showing where they had been fastened to fence posts. The owner of the
barn was accused of the theft, and admitted that he had bought the boards from an agent of the Doctor; but he
reluctantly paid for them, saying
that the money he paid was part of that stolen from the Doctor
when he was robbed at his residence in 1882-83, as hereafter related.
In the fall of 1882 it was discovered where nine of the Doctor's
fat hogs had been stolen, killed in the timber and carried away.
It was supposed they went into the pork barrels of his neighbors.
During the last winter of his life, 1882-83, while sick and
confined to his bed at his
residence, one night two robbers, Northgrave and Van Winkle, as was afterwards learned, entered the house, broke
open his bedroom, and robbed him of
about two thousand seven hundred dollars in money,
which the Doctor had negligently allowed to accumulate in the house,
the proceeds of rents collected, etc., which was contained in a leather
valise near his bed. The robber
seized the valise containing the
money and was about getting away with it when the Doctor sprang from the
bed, grasped the retreating robber around the legs, felled him to the
floor and shouted for help. The
only other persons in the house at the
time were the wife of the Doctor's
hired man and two boys. The latter
fled, but the lady was plucky and came to the rescue, beating the robbers
with a club. In the struggle the
robber kicked himself loose and the
Doctor was seriously injured in the encounter, trying to defend his property; but the robber escaped with the booty.
The Doctor at once sent to
Exira for his attorney, H. F. Andrews, who promptly responded, although
it was a better cold night, taking Richard W. Griggs along with him.
On arriving at the residence of the Doctor, several of his neighbors,
having learned of the outrage, were assembled there.
The Doctor privately
informed the lawyers that he believed he had a clue to the
robbers, who had not then been identified; that in the struggle with the
one he had attacked he had torn off his suspenders and a button with a
strip of cloth attached, which he still possessed, and proceeded to produce
it from under his pillow. The
trophy was examined and it was thought
it might lead to the identity of the culprits.
Next morning the tracks of
the robbers and their horses were discovered in the snow. With a team driven by Joseph Doner, the Doctor's hired man, Mr.
Andrews and Mr. Griggs followed the
trail several miles into Cass county, when a snow
storm obliterated the tracks and the trail was lost.
Returning to the Doctor's
place, the captured suspenders and bit of cloth were again examined.
It was thought that the cloth looked familiar and resembled the
pants usually worn by the Doctor and which usually hung near his bed.
Search was made for them without success and it was concluded that the
robber had also stolen the Doctor's pants, and that the Doctor had pulled
off the suspenders from his own pants in the struggle with him, which
in the end proved true. The stolen
valise and the pants were afterward
found together not far from the residence, where they had been left
by some one other than the robbers. In
following the trail of the escaped
robbers, the saddle cloth of one of them, which had been lost by them,
was fortunately discovered, and it subsequently led to their identity;
other facts developed which identified them beyond reasonable doubt.
It appeared that others were associated with them and that the money
was divided between the gang of villains who participated in the nefarious
affair. One man who was killed in
the county soon afterwards was said
to have received a fine span of horses for taking the rogues from the county. The
principal robbers soon left the community, but the money was never recovered.
Doctor Ballard soon went to Council Bluffs and died there shortly afterward.
Nothing further was done about the crime. Near the
time of his death, the Doctor informed the writer that the amount of his losses by thieves, trespassers, robbers,
etc., in the past twenty years
would aggregate fully twenty thousand dollars.
And he also said: "Andrews, I am living among the wolves."
Hon. William F. Smith, late of Farrall, Wyoming, a few years
since described some scenes in the
home life of Doctor Ballard. He
said: "In 1854 Dr. S. M.
Ballard came from Iowa to Ohio to place his sons, Byron and
Osceola, in school, and while my parents were visiting the family of Frederick
Ballard they met the Doctor. I
should say that one of the objects
of the Doctor's visit was to purchase machinery for a saw-mill. My parents were wanting to locate where land was cheap and secure a
Doctor Ballard gave a very glowing account of Iowa, and of Audubon
county in particular, and offered them work at good wages until they
could establish a home of their own, which was accepted.
So, in the spring of 1854,
we started down the Ohio river by way of St. Louis, and
then up the Missouri river to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
On account of low water, we
were a long time making the trip, and then went to Doctor Ballard's place with teams.
We had expected to find a fine, large house in good shape; but the house was a small log cabin of one
room, eighteen by eighteen feet,
and he had a fairly large log barn, where the men slept.
When we arrived there, my brothers and myself went to the house and
looked in at the door and the sight gave us a fright.
The doctor was eating his
supper out a pan, and a woman, one of Mr. Hyatt's family, was waiting on him. The
Doctor spoke to us in a loud voice and said: "Come in, boys."
But when we saw those long white whiskers and the strange
surroundings we beat a hasty retreat for the wagons and told what
we had seen. Our parents had to
tell the Doctor about it, and we had
a good laugh over it. We stopped at
the Doctor's place. My father worked on the farm and my mother and sisters cooked for hired
help. That fall my folks and the Doctor disagreed, and we quit him
and moved to "Uncle
Johnny" Jenkins's house, and soon afterward to Jimmy Bird's place in Cass county, where we lived that winter.
Early the next spring we
went back to the Doctor's place. The
machinery for the saw-mill had arrived.
With the farmhands and our own family and the mill crew, my poor
mother and sisters had to work early and late to cook and wash for the
outfit, making butter and caring for the milk from several cows, etc.
The Doctor had put up several other buildings, so we had more room.
Myself and brothers and the hired men slept in the haymow above the
horses. * * * About this period the wife and family of Doctor Ballard
came out from Iowa City to the farm in Audubon county.
(The sons of Doctor Ballard
came to Audubon county in 1852.)
Doctor Ballard was first receiver of the United States land
office at Kanesville (Council
Bluffs), Iowa, in 1853. It is said
that he once carried a large amount
of public funds in specie from Kanesville to Iowa City
in the false bottom of his buggy to conceal it and escape robbery. He was one of the proprietors of the Council Bluffs and Nebraska
Ferry Company in 1853-54. He was a Whig, and a prominent man. The Iowa Standard
was begun in 1841 at Iowa City, and suspended publication in 1848.
It was bought about that time by Doctor Ballard, the name changed to
the Iowa City Republican, and he continued its publication as the Whig
organ of the party in Iowa. Among
those employed on the paper were William
P. Hepburn, Tom Ballard, a natural son of the Doctor; Clay Johnson,
and others. We are not fully
advised as to the history of the paper
under management of Ballard, or when he severed his connection with
Ballard was one of the founders of the Republican party in
Iowa, along with such men as
Grimes, Lowe, Kirkwood and others of that period.
He was a member of the
Republic state central committee in 1856. In
1859 he appears on the ticket for
representative. He was of ability
to have graced high political
offices, but does not appear to have sought such preferment.
He was patriotic and a sound Union man during the war, so far
as his voice and vote went, but did not contribute financially to the party campaign expenses while residing in Audubon county.
He sometimes attended state,
district and county conventions as a delegate. During the war at one time he was sent by Governor Kirkwood on some
mission to the Iowa soldiers in the
army down the Mississippi river.
A remarkable instance occurred in the Republican state
convention of 1875, when Doctor
Ballard was chiefly responsible for the nomination of Hon. Samuel J. Kirkwood for governor for the third term.
Probably no man ever went into a convention more confident of success than
did Hon. James B. Weaver on that
occasion. He had been a brilliant,
gallant soldier, was justly popular
as a politician, especially with the old soldier
element of the party, and richly deserved the office as governor of
Iowa. Doctor Ballard was a delegate
to the convention. He and some of the old-guard Republicans did not take kindly to the
candidacy of General Weaver, or,
perhaps, Weaver did not sufficiently court their support.
Their importance and influence was probably overlooked, or not properly
considered. Some of the old-timers
decided to give Kirkwood a complimentary
vote for governor. When the
nominations came on, and after the
name of Weaver had been presented as a candidate, Doctor Ballard arose, a majestic figure, with snowy-white hair, long
flowing beard and eagle eye, his
giant form towering above the assembly. With
his powerful, leonine voice, he
announced: "I nominate for governor that old
war hoss, Sam J. Kirkwood." The
magical effect attracted every eye and
ear present. An alert supporter of
General Weaver demanded: "By what
authority does the gentleman from Audubon present the name of Governor
Kirkwood?" Others shouted: "Governor Kirkwood is not a candidate.
He won't have the office," etc.
The Doctor impressively responded: "By authority of the great Republican party of Iowa."
The psychological effect
produced was instantaneous. That
patriarchal figure and voice in the
midst of Iowa's sons assembled won the contest beyond
recall, and Kirkwood was promptly nominated, to the disappointment and chagrin of General Weaver and his
followers. Never has
a parallel to that act, of such momentous importance, occurred in the
political history of Iowa. The
shock was directed by the extemporaneous
act of a single man - Doctor Ballard. It
was a powerfully dramatic scene,
which arose spontaneously, without preparation,
on the spur of the moment.
Who can say that but for this act of Doctor Ballard, Hon.
James B. Weaver would not have
continued an ornament to the Republican party.
Many years ago, at the Walker house in Audubon, during court
time, Doctor Ballard, Judge Reed,
Judge Maxwell, the writer and others were having
a pleasant evening together. The
Doctor, being in a reminiscent mood,
related a thrilling account of the experience of himself and "Uncle" John Jenkins, who were once lost in a snowstorm while out hunting.
The story ran substantially in this way: "In December, 1852, the
United States surveyors, including myself, were camped at Blue Cross Grove
engaged in sudividing township 80, range 35 (now Leroy township). My friend John S. Jenkins, and his son John came up from the Big
Grove to our camp for a hunt with
me, game being plentiful. We two
started off together, westward from
camp. During the day a heavy
snowstorm came on; we got
bewildered, lost all idea of direction and wandered around long
into the night, completely lost. At
one time we heard a strange noise
near us, as of many large animals running through the snow, making the
peculiar whistling sound of the elk when startled. We supposed we had
run into and startled a band of those animals, but it was too dark to
see them. (The writer has heard
this sound made by elk. By old hunters
it is called 'Bugling,' and is made by the bull elk as a challenge or note of defiance.
It is a peculiar sound and somewhat resembles the notes of a bugle.)
Continuing our tramp later into the night, we entered a brush patch and stopped to rest, being
tired out and hungry.
Mr. Jenkins was in worse plight than myself and complained that
his feet were hurting him. I
suspected that his feet were frozen, which
afterwards proved to be the case. We
gathered fuel and started a fire.
Mr. Jenkins proposed to remove his boots and examine his feet; but
I persuaded him not to do so, as he would have difficulty in putting them on again. We
made a bed of brush and dried grass and he laid down and slept, while I watched and tended the fire.
Towards morning the clouds
parted and I got a fair view of the Great Handled Dipper and the North
star, and so fixed the direction in my mind.
When morning came it was
still cloudy and the sun was obscured all day.
Jenkins awoke very much
discouraged, still complaining of his feet, and expressed doubt that
we should ever reach home again. I
tried to encourage him and pointed
out the direction I thought we should travel.
He disputed me and said he
thought we should travel in nearly the opposite course.
I said, 'There is north,'
pointing, as I believed, in that direction.
He had no idea that I knew
the direction any better than he did, and he replied:
'And who in h---, sir, told you that was north?' I explained to
him of my seeing the North star while he had slept, and he cooled down,
but apparently not convinced and despondent; said we were lost beyond
hope of discovery; that no one would know where to search for us, and
that if anyone attempted to find us there was hardly a chance of success,
and that he believed we must perish. I
urged that we should succeed by
following the course I suggested. He
admitted that he was in doubt what
direction we ought to travel, and finally consented to follow me
that day, but did not hope to succeed. We
took up the march towards the east,
as it afterwards proved. We came
out on what must have been the main
divide between the waters of the East and West Botna rivers, and
there Mr. Jenkins rebelled and became more obstinate than before. He insisted we were traveling the wrong direction, and that we
should change our course and
proceed northwest along the divide. I
was confident we were on the right
course, but pleaded with him in vain. We shook hands, parted, and each pursued his chosen course, he to
the northwest, along the divide,
and I took a southeast course down a ridge,
until nearly out of sight of each other, when, turning to take a parting
look at him, I saw him wave his hat. I
made a similar response and waited
for him to return. When he joined
me he said he had forgotten his
promise to follow during the day, apologized and promised to make his word good. We
proceeded again until Mr. Jenkins became more discouraged and complained.
I carried his rifle to relieve him and took him by the arm to encourage him to proceed.
Late in the afternoon, in crossing
a slough, his feet became entangled in the long, wet grass, matted
down by the heavy snow, and he fell. I
offered to assist him to arise, but
he refused; said it was useless; that we were lost beyond help; that his feet were used up; that we were without food or
fire and must perish; that he might
as well stop where he was to punish himself by attempting to travel farther.
I stooped down and struck him a smart blow with the back of my hand on his face.
The effect was instantaneous. He
sprang to his feet like a steel trap and demanded why I had insulted him. I
told him it was to show him that he was not so near dead as he imagined, and that I had proved it.
He accepted my explanation and we again proceeded. Upon reaching the top of another ridge I thought the surrounding country and lay of the land
looked familiar. I believed we were in the vicinity of our camp and so informed
my companion. I then remembered my
dog, a favorite white hound, who
was at the camp, and told Mr. Jenkins that if I could make 'Zack'
hear my voice he would come to us. So
I began to shout and halloo, long
and loud, and kept it up. Soon I
heard the hound bay and called the
attention of Mr. Jenkins to it, but he was not convinced.
He said we could not be near
camp, and that I must have heard a wolf howl. But soon the dog came over the hill in full cry.
I was him, with the black
spot on his head, coming towards us, and no mistake, and he soon reached
us, plainly expressing his pleasure at seeing us.
A little later Uncle Ben
Hyatt, our cook, came following on the dog's track. When he got near enough I shouted for him to hurry back to camp and
prepare some food for us.
Uncle John clasped the dog around the neck and burst into tears, and ever afterwards declared that the
dog saved our lives."
I had previously heard the Doctor tell the story, and Mr.
Jenkins had also told it to me.
When the Doctor's narrative was finished and his hearers
had expressed their appreciation, I said to him:
"Doctor, I think you
told the story to a party of gentlemen at Exira several years ago."
"Why do you say so?" said he.
"Since I first heard you tell it, I have heard Mr. Jenkins tell it." "And don't he tell it as I do?" "Yes, with one exception."
"And what is that?" "He
didn't mention that you slapped him
in the face." "But I
did," said the Doctor. John T.
Jenkins, of Brayton, says that he
was at the camp at the time mentioned and
well remembers the incident. He
says that the people at the camp, Ben
Hyatt, Byron Ballard, the Doctor's son, and others, were alarmed for the
safety of his father and the Doctor, and were anxiously hoping all day
for their return; that old "Zack" was uneasy and whined at times, and
that all of a sudden he bawled out and broke away from camp on the run
over the hills. No one in camp had
heard the Doctor's call, but the dog
evidently had a keener ear, and dashed away to find his lost master. Neither of the participants knew exactly where their wanderings had
The writer surveyed land in this county for years in earlier
times and became well acquainted
with the lands in the west part of the county where
this adventure took place. There
used to be a little clump of hickory
saplings in a deep ravine near the line between Douglas and Sharon
townships near the west part of the county, which was, perhaps, the
spot where Ballard and Jenkins stopped on the night as related.
Mr. Jenkins more than once
referred to this adventure with gratitude towards Doctor
Ballard, and invariably expressed his belief that the Doctor had saved
his life on that occasion. He was
financially interested with Captain
Perry and the Hendersons in contracts for the survey of several townships
of government lands in Audubon county and perhaps elsewhere. His son Byron was actually engaged in the work as flagman and
chainman. The Doctor was
probably overseer of the working party.
During the last winter of his life he spoke about his son, "Bolly," as he was
familiarly called, and, like King David of old, lamenting over his son Absalom, said that he could be a prince if he would
be, intimating that he would be
pleased for him to have the home place, but feared
that if he should give it to him he would squander it. He suggested
that there might be some of his descendants some time who might make good use of his property, if he only knew to whom
to leave it. The terms of his will indicate that it was perhaps framed
with such ideas in view.
He left a handsome estate. Besides
his lands and property here, he had
large possessions in other places. At
his death he gave his son Osceola a
life estate in four hundred acres of land in Cass
county, which he soon lost. To his
daughter, Mrs. Robinson, he gave a
life estate in nearly two thousand acres of land near Marne, Iowa, with remainder to her children after her death.
The residue of his fortune went to his wife.
The home place here has passed entirely out of possession of his descendants. Doctor Ballard was unfortunate in his family. Byron
was killed the falling of a tree; Eugene was drowned, and two daughters died young.
He was the first senior warden of Iowa City Lodge No. 4, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, which was
chartered on January 8, 1844.
Old settlers will recall the heroic figure of the old Doctor,
with his black plug hat, mounted on
his favorite saddle horse, "Old Tige," as he, in former times, rode about the county. He died at Council Bluffs in 1883. Mrs.
Ballard survived him, but has been dead many years.
Their children were: Byron,
unmarried; Virginia, who married
George Robinson and is dead;
Osceola is dead; Oletippe and
another daughter are both dead.
David B. Beers and his father lived together many years, until his father's death. He married, first, late in life, Mrs. Lowly A., widow of Amherst Heath. For his second wife, he married Mrs. Leigan. He was a farmer and a school teacher. He succeeded to his father's farm. After marriage he lived in section 29, Exira township, on his wife's estate, but is now living in Brayton, Iowa. He is a Democrat and served as county superintendent and county surveyor. His children are, Eva, who married Calvin Dimick; Nellie, married Mr. Badd, and Lona C., also married.
John W. Beers came with his father. He was one of the clerks at the first election in Audubon county in April, 1855, at which he was elected clerk of the district court and county surveyor. He died early.
Miles Beers, wife and family, came from Delaware county, New York, in 1854, and settled on section 18, Exira township. He was a farmer and a Democrat. He was the first treasurer and recorder of Audubon county in 1855. His farm is now owned by Owen F. Ide, Esq. He and his wife died many years ago. Their children were, John W., unmarried; David B. and Jane, who married Oliver Smith.
The proprietor of "Forest Home Farm," in Greeley township, this county, Samuel Beers, is a native son of Audubon county and is one of the substantial and progressive men, who have done so much to establish the present excellent conditions of living in this section of the proud state of Iowa.
Samuel Beers was born on a farm on the site of what later became the old town of Hamlin, in Hamlin township, Audubon county, Iowa, March 24, 1859, the son of Bradley and Hannah G. (Eles) Beers, natives of New York state, who came to this county from Delaware county, that state, and who spent the rest of their lives here, the former dying in March, 1878, and the latter on October 23, 1902.
Bradley Beers, who in his day was one of the best-known and most influential residents of Hamlin township, came to Audubon county about the first of the year 1856 and bought three hundred and twenty acres of virgin land in Hamlin township, where the town of Hamlin later sprung up, giving for the same one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. After erecting a house and a barn here, Mr. Beers returned to New York and brought back with him to their new home on the prairie, his wife and their child, Frank, the two other children, Samuel and Clara, the latter of whom married Edward Young, being born after the parents arrived here. On account of the distance from his home to a school house, Samuel Beers did not have an opportunity of attending school until he was ten years of age, after which he attended two or three terms of district school and one or two terms at Exira. His father dying when Samuel was but nineteen years of age, much of the responsibility of keeping up the farm was thrown upon the latter, who, upon his marriage, brought his wife to the home farm, which his father had purchased in Greeley township about three years before his death, and where his mother spent her last days.
On September 11, 1881, in the town of Exira, this county, Samuel Beers was united in marriage with Ora D. Herrick, who was born in Exira on October 28, 1863, the daughter of Urbane and Charlotte (Spurling) Herrick, natives of Wisconsin, who came to Audubon county in 1853 and settled on a farm where the town of Exira now stands. Urbane Herrick donated one acre of land to the town of Exira for a school building, one acre to the first minister who arrived in the place for parsonage grounds and also donated a tract of land for cemetery purposes. By his first marriage Urbane Herrick had four children, Scott, Ora D., Lorinda and Rose. Upon the death of the mother of these children, Mr. Herrick married Kezia Smith, by whom he had three children, Roby, Stella and Maggie.
To Samuel and Ora D. (Herrick) Beers two children were born, Homer L., born on October 4, 1885, who married Margaret May, a former school teacher, and who has one child, a daughter, Bernice May, born on August 11, 1912, and Ruth E., who was born on October 16, 1891, who married Glenn Scott and has one child, a son, Arnold Beers, born on February 21, 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Beers are members of the Evangelical church and are among the founders of that church in their neighborhood. They are active in local good works and are held in the highest esteem by all who know them.
Located on the most prominent corner of the town of Kimballton , Iowa , will be found the hardware and implement establishment owned by Hans P. Bonnesen, and over which he has presided since the spring of 1913. The business is a consolidation of the hardware store formerly owned by George J. Nelsen and the pump and windmill stock formerly owned by Nelsen & Nelsen. The consolidated business is housed in a handsome brick structure, twenty-five by eighty feet, with a basement under the entire building, and is filled to capacity with hardware and implements, such as carpenters' and builders' supplies, stoves, ranges, furnaces, cutlery, firearms, tinware, glass, buggies, wagons, washing machines, twine, pumps, windmills, motor trucks, cream separators, oil and gas engines, oil tractors, manure spreaders, ensilage cutters, hay, grain and corn machines. The stock is conveniently shelved and neatly arranged. The proprietor of this business employs two men, Wilhelm Larsen and Conrad Nielsen, who are kept busy attending to the wants of the increasing trade. Mr. Bonnesen makes a specialty of the pump business, and one of the employes devotes his entire time to this business. The subject of this sketch is one of the best advertisers of Kimballton, and his advertisements always appear in a readable form. Nothing is promised in advertising that is not carried out to the letter and this is one of the chief causes of his large and growing trade.
Hans P. Bonnesen was born on April 17, 1870 , at Slagelse, on the Island of Zealand, Denmark, son of Lars Bonnesen and Christina Sorensen, both born on the above mentioned island. The father is a farmer and carpenter and he and his wife are still living in their native land. They were the parents of eight children, as follow: Mary lives in Denmark ; Hans P., the subject of this sketch; Christina lives in Denmark ; Catherine lives in Racine , Wisconsin ; Margaret lives in San Francisco , California ; Fred, a farmer in Sharon township, Audubon county; Otto lives at Fresno , California , and Carl lives in Denmark .
Mr. Bennesen attended the schools in his native land, and at the age of twelve began to make his own way in the world. After working for some time on the railroads in his native country, he came to America in 1892, at the age of twenty-two, and located in Cass county, Iowa , south of Elkhorn . While engaged in farming here he attended the Danish school at Elkhorn , and later became a teacher in Sharon township, Audubon county, continuing for two years.
After farming in Sharon township for four years, Mr. Bonnesen lived in Carroll county, Iowa, for two years, and then came back to Audubon county, living in Douglas township for six years. Renting his farm to a tenant he took a trip to his old home in Denmark during the summer of 1910, and upon his return bought a small farm in Sharon township, and lived on that farm for three years, until the spring of 1913, when he engaged in business at Kimballton. He has served as president of the Sharon Creamery Company, and also as president of the Kimballton Creamery Company for a time. While engaged in farming he was an extensive breeder of Shorthorn cattle. He now owns two hundred acres of land in Douglas township, and also property in Kimballton.
On March 2, 1898 , Hans P. Bonnesen was married to Signa Christensen, who was born in Sharon township, Audubon county, Iowa , the daughter of Peter Christiansen. To Mr. and Mrs. Hans P. Bonnesen have been born four children, namely: Esther, who is a student in the Audubon high school; Elmer, Inez and Evelyn.
Always a stanch Republican in politics, Mr. Bonnesen is at present a member of the Kimballton school board, and formerly served as a justice of the peace. He and his family are members of the Danish Lutheran church, and take an active part in the affairs of this congregation. Hans P. Bonnesen must be regarded as a self-made man and is well known and well liked in this section of Audubon county.
JOHN C. BONWELL submited by Earl Hoffman
John C. Bonwell was a valiant soldier in the great Civil War. He enlisted in 1862 in Company F, Sixtieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and having served three months, was taken prisoner at Harper's Ferry, and sent away to be exchanged. He came home after his parole and remained for two years or until 1864 when he re-enlisted in Company A, One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was engaged in the battles of Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee, and was mustered out of the service in June, 1865, at Nashville.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON BOWEN married Eliza Watson. In 1853 he, with Walter J. Jardine and John Seifford and families, came here from Jones county, Iowa . Mr. Bowen bought out the claim of Reuben Carpenter and was a farmer. He went to Pikes Peak in 1860 and moved to Colorado in 1862. He returned to Audubon county in 1865, but later, went to Nebraska , where he lived several years and then returned to Cass county, near his old home. He was a Republican, a member of the board of supervisors in 1871-2, and the first assessor of Audubon county. He married for his second wife, Josephine Smith. His son, the late Hugh Bowen, succeeded to the home place many years ago. To William and Eliza Bowen the following children were born: Nancy Jane, who married Hon. William Walker; Rachel Elizabeth , married William B. Stone; John Wesley, married Nancy Cannon; Anna L., died unmarried; Sarah E., married William Bales; Hugh, married Maggie Selladay; Juliette, married Joseph W. Walker ; Emma Caroline, married John Lorah; James W., died unmarried; Charles E., married Mary Allen. By his second wife, Mr. Bowen had four children, Kittie, who married Leonard J. Whitney, Burns, Harry and Edward.