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Cerro Gordo County >> 1910 Index

History of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Ed. and comp. by J. H. Wheeler. 2 vols. Chicago: Lewis Pub Co., 1910


Biographies submitted by Kay Ehlers


Conspicuous among the leading citizens of Mason City is Joseph W. Adams, vice president of the Commercial Savings Bank, actively identified with various enterprises, and is prominent in business, social and fraternal circles. A native of Illinois , he was born, November 8, 1862 , in Rock Island county. His father, the late E. W. Adams was born in Kentucky about 1825, and there grew to man's estate. In 1842 he migrated to Rock Island county, Illinois and there spent his remaining years on the farm which he improved, dying in Hampton, Illinois, in 1888, aged sixty-three years. He married Ann D. Willis, who was born, July 26, 1829 in Maryland , and is now a resident of Rock Island , Illinois . Of the five children born of their union, four are living, as follows : Clara, widow of George B. Holland, of Rock Island, Illinois ; Joseph W. ; Myra, wife of R. S. Silvis, of Rock Island ; and Harry B., of Wapato, Washington.

Brought up on the home farm, Joseph W. Adams attended the common schools throughout his boyhood and youth, studying with diligence. In 1880 he began working in a drug store, and finding the employment congenial determined to fit himself for a druggist. Going, therefore, to Chicago , Illinois , in 1881, he entered the Chicago School of Pharmacy, from which he was graduated in 1884. In December, 1885, Mr. Adams accepted a position with Winter & Cushing, druggists in Princeton , Illinois , with whom he remained until September, 1887, acquiring a practical knowledge of the business. Coming from there to Mason City , Iowa , he embarked in the drug business on his own account, being junior member of the firm of Atkinson & Adams, which existed until March 1, 1896 , when Mr. Adams bought out his partner. In May, 1902 having conducted the business alone for six years, he sold out his interests in the establishment and became assistant cashier in the Commercial Savings Bank. He proved himself eminently capable and trustworthy in that capacity, and was made vice president of this institution in 1903, and has since filled the position most satisfactorily. He is also officially connected with other important industrial enterprises of this city, being treasurer of the North Iowa Brick and Tile Company, of which he was once of the organizers ; and secretary and treasurer of the Commercial Bank Block Company.

On May 26, 1886 , Mr. Adams married Alice S. Vincent, who was born, August 13, 1865 , in Hampton , Illinois , being one of the six children of Dr. George I. and Mary (Thomas) Vincent. Her father, who located in Rock Island county, Illinois , about 1854, as a pioneer physician, was born and bred in Vermont , and died, in 1889, in Illinois , while her mother, now residing at rock Island , was a native of Massachusetts . Mr. and Mrs. Adams are the parents of two children, namely : Joseph W., attending Harvard University ; and Stella B.

Fraternally Mr. Adams is a member of Benevolence Lodge, No. 145, A. F. and A. M.; of Cerro Gordo Lodge, No. 70, K. of P.; of Mason City Lodge, No. 375, B. P. O. E. ; of Midland Lodge, No. 226, M. B. A.; and both he and his wife are member of Unity Chapter, No. 58. O. E. S. Mrs. Adams is a most estimable woman and a conscientious member of the Congregational church. Politically, Mr. Adams is a Democrat, but has never been an aspirant for official favors.


Widely known as a prominent and prosperous agriculturist of Portland township, Almeron M. Avery also superintends the management of his father's estate in Mason township, known as “Averydale.” He is one of the most extensive farmers and stock raisers of Cerro Gordo county, and is numbered among its citizens of good repute and high standing. A son of Myron K. Avery, he was born June 7, 1868 , in Boone county, Illinois .

A Pennsylvanian by birth, Myron K. Avery was born at Tunkhannock , Wyoming county, August 20, 1826 . Going with his parents to Boone county, Illinois , in 1838, he there grew to manhood. In 1850, following the lure of the bright and shining metal, he crossed the plains to California , where he dug for gold for fourteen months, using the pick and shovel to little advantage. He subsequently made some money in ranching and teaming, remaining on the Pacific coast four years in all. Returning to Illinois , where he had previously bought forty acres of land, he continued a resident of Boone county until the spring of 1884, when he moved with his family to Missouri . Two years later he settled in Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, which has since been his home. Buying land in Mason township, he began raising thoroughbred stock, including the better grades of horses, cattle and hogs, and improved one of the finest estates in northern Iowa . He is now living retired from active pursuits in the village of Portland , his estate being well managed by his son Almeron. He married Abigail Tongue, who was born in Cortland county, New York , December 9, 1830 , and died at her home in Portland , Cerro Gordo county, December 9, 1898 , at sixty-eight years of age.

Living in Boone county, Illinois , until sixteen years of age. Almeron M. Avery obtained his early education in the district schools. Going with the family westward in 1884, he spent two years in Missouri, in 1886 coming with his parents to Cerro Gordo county. He ably assisted his father in the improvement of the land he bought in Mason township, and after a few years bought his present farm in Portland township. Since the retirement of his father from active pursuits, in 1895, Mr. Avery has had the entire charge of both estates, operating altogether two hundred and sixty acres of as rich and productive land as can be found in this part of the state. “Averydale” is a model farm for a stock raiser, being well supplied with pure water from Lime creek and from an overflowing well on the place. Mr. Avery makes a speciality [sic] of raising fine stock, an industry in which he has in reality been engaged since he was fifteen years old. At one time he was an extensive breeder of thoroughbred Shire and Percheron horses but is now devoting his time to the raising of Duroe-Jersey hogs, handling about one hundred and fifty a year ; to breeding Shropshire sheep, keeping about one hundred, and having also a herd of Shorthorn cattle numbering about seventy-five. The farms superintended by Mr. Avery are among the best to be found in their appointments and improvements ; the buildings being substantial and commodious, the new barn on the Mason township estate being a fac-simile of the original one, which was destroyed by fire in 1898.

Mr. Avery married, in November, 1890, Gertrude C. Adams, a daughter of J. R. and Mary (Brown) Adams, pioneer residents of Mason City . Her parents are now living in Los Angeles , California , although they retain their home in Mason City . They have three children, Mrs. Avery, and two sons, Arthur and Earl, both of Mason City , Iowa . Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Avery, namely, Lloyd Everett, Ruth Mary, Russ Clifton, Merrill Kasson, Bertrand Adams and Alice , but the latter lived only four brief years. Politically Mr. Avery is a Prohibitionist. Socially he belongs to the Yeoman of America. Religiously he is a member of the Baptist church.