History of Butler and Bremer Counties,
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
Chauncey Carpenter, the father of the town, has done as much, if not more, than any citizen here toward making Sumner the thriving and enterprising town that it is, neither sparing time or money where it would further the general advantage of the town, often sacrificing his own financial interests for the purpose of encouraging and aiding the prosperity of Sumner.
Chauncey Carpenter was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, December 11, 1830. When he was about five years of age, his parents moved to DuPage county, Illinois; there he lived until he was twenty years of age, receiving but a limited education. In 1850 he went to Will county, Illinois, and in 1851, during the gold excitement in California, Mr. Carpenter was seized with the desire to go to the mountains, to make a fortune, but was obliged to borrow money to make the trip. He went overland with a team, making the trip in ninety days, a remarkably short time. After arriving there, he was engaged in mining for three years, and was very successful, returning with quite a little fortune. He has quite a collection of photographs of gold nuggets that he dug himself, ranging from $15 to $3,000; he also has kept as a memento, a nugget in the rough state, which he wears as a scarf pin, valued at $11. On his return from California, coming by water, via New York, he went to Will county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming until the spring of 1872, when he moved to Sumner having bought the present site of the village, in 1869. He has quite a number of lots yet unsold; owns a large farm and a fine residence in the village, which he occupies; also a store 20 x 70, two stories high, occupied by Clarke & Austin; the hardware store occupied by Copeland & Langmier; and several other buildings in the village. Mr. Carpenter is justly proud of the town he has been so instrumental in creating and building up; and well he may, for he has spared neither time nor money in making this a lively and progressive town. He has been identified with the educational interests of the town from the start; has taken an active part in the building of the fine school house, and has been, and is now, a member of the school board. In politics, a staunch republican; in religion, a Free-Will Baptist; a man of high moral standing, respected by all, disliked by none. Such a man as Mr. Carpenter is a credit to any community. He married, the first time, in 1854, to Miss Nancy Merwin, a native of Ohio. She died in October, 1863, leaving two children - Cordelia, who died when she was sixteen, and Alice, who was nineteen years of age the 23d of October. In July, 1864, Mr. Carpenter married Miss Agnes Parsons, a native of Ohio. They have four children - Hattie, Ella, Lottie and Guy.
Josiah Carpenter was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, in 1826. When he was eleven years of age his parents moved to Du Page county, Illinois, where he lived until he was twenty-five; then he went to Will county, Illinois, where he was justice of the peace for nineteen years, during four of which he was also associate county probate judge. He taught school seventeen winters in Will county, Illinois, and for six years was deputy school commissioner, In 1868, he came to Iowa and bought a farm of 360 acres in Sumner township. His brother, Washington, came to this place in 1861, and located near the present site of Sumner. He died in September, 1882. His brother, Chancey, platted the village of Sumner. their father died in DuPage county, Illinois, in 1848; also three brothers. After locating his farm, Mr. Carpenter returned to Will county, and remained there until 1875. In the year 1871, he was admitted to the Bar by the Supreme Court of Illinois, and practiced there until his return to Sumner, in 1875, where he settled and continued in the practice of law. At the same time he was busy in improving his farm. From 1861 to 1875, he was in the bounty and pension business, in connection with real estate and insurance; dealing in real estate in Chicago, Joliet and other places. He was also deputy provost marshal during the war of 1861 and 1865. Mr. Carpenter was married in 1852, to Miss Francis M. Hanadon, a native of Vermont. They have had four children - Sarah, who married the Rev. C. A. Hilton, now of East Kendall county, New York, where he has been located as pastor for seven years; Loren H., Chester H. and Willie I. Loren has been for seven years in Cass' store, he has also taught school for a number of years; was at the Fayette College one term. All of the boys have taught school more or less. Chester has taught several terms. Willie is now employed in the extensive lumber yard of James C. Garner. When Mr. Carpenter came to Iowa he anticipated that his three sons would find it pleasant to go with him on to the farm and improve and cultivate it for future use; but after attending school a few winters, they caught the "idea" of teaching school, and hence engaged in that business.
Philip Carpenter was born in Montgomery county, New York, on the 10th day of June, 1830. When he was about six years of age his parents moved to Jefferson county, and four years later, to St. Lawrence county, where his father died. Here Philip remained until about eighteen years of age, and then spent six years in other counties of the State, first going to Oswego county, thence to Onondago county, and, lastly, moving to Rensselaer county, where he remained until the spring of 1854. He then removed to Waukesha county, Wisconsin, where he lived one year, and then located in Fon du Lac county, where he engaged in farming for twelve years. He then farmed for three years in an adjoining part of Sheboygan county. In the fall of 1867, he came to Iowa and settled on the place where he has since resided. His farm consists of 120 acres of prairie land, on sections 30 and 31, and ten acres of timber land in Polk township. He was married in Rensselaer county, New York, on the 7th day of January, 1854, to Miss Catherine Miller, a native of that county, born on the 25th day of March, 1836. They have six children living, and one deceased - Ida J., born November 22, 1854, in the town of Vernon, Waukesha county, Wisconsin; Mary A., born February 11, 1858, in the town of Marshfield, Fon du Lac county, Wisconsin; Ella, born January 16, 1860, in the same place; Alice O., born August 28, 1864, in the same place; Wesley M., born April 11, 1866, in Greenbush, Sheboygan county, Wisconsin; Vernie E., born May 30, 1869, in Douglas township; Avery D., born February 17, 1871, in Douglas township. Ella A. died May I, 1863.
J. J. Cook, a son of Wyatt and Sophia (Root) Cook, was born in Huron county, Ohio, February 12, 1837. He received his education and grew to manhood in the county of his birth. In October, 1860, he came to Bremer county, and settled on section 1, Fremont township, where he now owns 400 acres of land, of which 300 are under cultivation. Mr. Cook has held the office of town trustee two terms. In 1869 he was united in marriage to Miss Julia Cormack, who was born in McHenry county, Illinois. Three children have been born to them - Ruth, Elma and Hattie.