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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  

Daniel Cahalan

The substantial and well-to-do citizens of Mason City have no more worthy representative [than] Daniel Cahalan, a retired farmer who was for many years actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cerro Gordo county, in the prosecution of his independent calling meeting with far more than average success. A son of the late James Cahalan, he was born, September 29, 1840, in the county Kerry, Ireland, and there spent his childhood days.

Born and reared on the Emerald Isle, James Cahalan, whose birth occurred in February, 1808, remained in the old country until 1847. Wishing then to prove for himself the truth concerning the [wonderful] advantages given the laboring man in America, he bade farewell to his family and after a voyage of eight weeks landed in New York. He spent a brief time in Vermont, from there going to Washington county, New York, where he worked at any honest labor. There, in 1850, he was joined by his wife and children ; four years later he removed with his family to Rhode Island, and from there, in 1863, located in Fayette county, Iowa. Buying a tract of raw land, he erected a log cabin, and during the years that followed succeeded in clearing a good farm, on which he resided until his death, at the age of sixty-eight years. His wife, whose maiden name was Sarah Griffin, was born in Ireland in 1816, and died in Fayette county, Iowa, at the age of sixty-nine years. They became the parents of nine children, seven of whom are now living, namely : Daniel, the special subject of this sketch ; M. P. H., of Dougherty township ; Kate, wife of John Carr, of Minnesota ; Margaret, wife of Patrick O'Neal, of Mason City ; James H., of Minneapolis, Minnesota ; Mary, wife of A. Nelson, of Devil's Lake, Minnesota ; and Sarah, wife of Thomas Hl Moriarty, of Minnesota.

A sturdy lad of ten years when he came with his mother to the United States, Daniel Cahalan received limited educational advantages in the commons schools of Washington county, New York. Beginning the struggle of life for himself in 1866, he bought one hundred acres of grub land in Fayette county, paying down twenty-five dollars in cash, his entire capital. Devoting his energies to the improvement of his property, he met with encouraging success from the start, and in course of time bought adjoining land until he had a farm of two hundred and twelve acres. Selling his estate in 1891 for forty-two dollars and fifty cents an acre, Mr. [Cahalan] came to Cerro Gordo county to invest his money, buying first two hundred and eighty acres of improved land in section thirty-three, Bath township. The land yielding profitable harvest each year, he bought more land from time to time, his farm in 1900 containing five hundred and eighteen acres of rich and fertile land, and being one of the most attractive and desirable in the vicinity. He also owns four hundred acres of valuable land in Minnesota.

Retiring from active labor in that year, Mr. Cahalan located at Rockwell, Cerro Gordo county, where he resided seven years, being one of the most active and prominent citizens of the place. Since 1907 he has been a resident of Mason City, and has here gained an assured position among the highly esteemed and respected citizens.

Public spirited and energetic, Mr. Cahalan has never shirked the responsibilities of public office, but while a resident of Fayette county was township assessor twelve years and township trustee a number of terms. He likewise served as trustee of Bath township, in Cerro Gordo county, and was township clerk four years. He was subsequently elected mayor of Rockwell, a position that he resigned on coming to Mason City. While living in Rockwell he was vice president of the Farmers' Co-operative Company, and has since assisted in the organization of a dozen such companies in different parts of the county. Mr. Cahalan and his family are consistent member of Saint Joseph's Catholic church.

On February 5, 1868, Mr. Cahalan married in Clayton county, Iowa, Mary Ann Phelan, who was born in May, 1849 in Clayton County, Iowa, where her parents, John and Mary (Delaheney) Phelan, settled on coming to this country from Ireland in the early forties. Twelve children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Cahalan, nine of whom are living, namely : James P. of Bath township ; Daniel Jr., of Dougherty township ; Anna, wife of Thomas Fleming of Cartersville, Iowa ; Patrick F., of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota ; Nellie ; Theresa ; May ; Thomas H. ; and George W.

P. H. Cahalan

One of Dougherty township's good citizens and a man who has attained to a substantial competence through his own intelligent efforts is P. H. Cahalan, a farmer whose productive acres are situated in section 2. He was born in Washington county, New York, March 2, 1852, and is of Irish extraction. He was eleven years of age when his parents moved westward from New York and took up their residence in Fayette county, Iowa. There he received a good common school education and grew to young manhood, receiving a very practical training in agriculture upon his father's farm. In 1875, when he was about twenty-three years of age, he believed himself to be sufficiently well versed to make an independent venture and accordingly rented land of ex-Governor Larrabee. He afterward purchased a small farm but lost it on account of the bad wheat failure of 1878. He soon rallied from his discouragement and borrowed five hundred dollars, with which he went to buying calves and cattle and from that time on things came his way and he found it easy to make money.

Mr. Cahalan married in 1889 [sic] and he brought his to Cerro Gordo county, where he bought about one hundred and sixty acres in section 2 of Dougherty township. This was wild land and there were no buildings upon it, but he set to work diligently to improve it and soon had the soil in very productive condition. He has added to his holdings from time to time until he has twelve hundred acres in Dougherty township, all of which he operates with the exception of one hundred and sixty acres which he has rented. He keeps two hundred head of cattle and two hundred head of hogs on the place and is one of the most extensive stock men in the county. Mr. Cahalan has given a life-long allegiance to the principles of Democracy and enjoys the confidence of his neighbors. He is now serving his third term as township trustee, has been township assessor and held various school offices. He and his family are members of St. Patrick's Catholic church at Dougherty. He is a stock-holder in the Cartersville Supply Company and has connection with the Farmers' Co-operative Society.

Mr. Cahalan was married, April 3, 1877 [sic], in Fayette county, Iowa, to Bridget McGaheran, born April 4, 1847, in county Cavan, Ireland. She is the daughter of Michael and Rose (Sherdin) McGaheran, who came to the United State in 1848, their voyage across being of six weeks duration. They first located at Galena, Illinois, the father securing employment in the lead mines, and in 1855 came to Fayette county, Iowa, where for the remainder of their lives they engaged in farming. The father died in February, 1893, aged eighty years, and the mother survived until August 1907, her age at the time of her death being eighty-eight years. Mr. and Mrs. Cahalan have five children, Sarah, James, William, Harry and Fred, all of whom are still sheltered beneath the home roof tree.

Mr. Cahalan is especially to be congratulated upon his success when it is remembered that he started out in life not only without a competence but five hundred dollars in debt.

Philip W. Carmany

Philip W. Carmany, mayor of Plymouth, Iowa, was born in Summit county, Ohio, December 18, 1838. His parents, John and Rebecca (Harter) Carmany, natives of Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively, were married in the latter state, reared their family, passed their lives and died there, the father dying in 1890, at the age of seventy-seven years, the mother, March 2, 1906, at the age of eighty-four. They led the quite, honest life of farmers, and were worthy members of the Lutheran church. Of their eleven children nine grew to maturity and six are still living and scattered in five states. Mrs. Catherine Powless, a widow, resides in Michigan ; Levi, at Massilon, Ohio ; Frank, near Akron, Ohio ; Mrs. Rohanna Allen, in Nebraska ; Mrs. Emma Werzbaugher, in Idaho ; and Philip W. in Plymouth, Iowa.

Philip W. Carmany spent his youth and early manhood on his father's farm in Ohio, and at the age of twenty-four years came west as far as Plainfield, Will county, Illinois. There on the 13th of August, 1862, he enlisted as a member of Company C, One Hundredth Illinois Volunteers. He served with this command until the close of the war, almost three years, when he was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee, after which he returned to Plainfield, landing there July 11, 1865. The following year he married and settled down to farming in Will county, and made that place his home until 1876, when he moved to Iowa. He purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Lime Creek township, Cerro Gordo county, and established his home on it, and here he lived and carried on agricultural pursuits until 1892, when he removed to Plymouth. Two years later he sold his farm. For three or four years after coming to Plymouth he was engaged in the coal business, but sold that and became a hardware dealer. After conducting a hardware store for eleven years he was succeeded in business by Charles Sheldon. On March 1, 1909, he was elected may of Plymouth, the office he now fills, and aside from the duties of this position he lives retired from active life.

Mrs. Carmany, formerly Miss Tina Deepe [sic], was born at Defiance, Ohio, May 25, 1842, daughter of Henry Deppe. She and Mr. Carmany are the parents of seven children : Arnold, engaged in farming at Rice Lake, Wisconsin, is married and has nine children ; John, of Joliet, Illinois, has a wife and four children ; Charles of Chicago, engaged in insurance and mercantile business, has two children ; Mary, wife of John Montgomery, resides at Houston, Texas ; Jennie and Jesse, at home, the latter in the employ of the Farmer's Telephone Company at Plymouth ; and Daisy, wife of W. F. Jacobs, resides at Deer Creek, Minnesota.

Reared by Lutheran parents, Mr. Carmany identified himself with the Lutheran church and is a consistent member of the same.


Father Michael Carolan, dean of the St. Joseph's church at Mason City, is one the influential and honored representatives of the priesthood of the Catholic church in Iowa, where he has labored with all of consecrated zeal and devotion for a period of more than thirty-three years and where his efforts have been potent in the upbuilding of the parish that is especially prosperous both in spiritual and temporal affairs.  The original church of this parish was erected in 1871, by Rev. Father Feeley, of Charles City, Iowa, and occupied the site of the present substantial and beautiful edifice, which was erected in 1901 and which stands as one of the concrete results of the effective efforts of the present pastor.  The first priest to assume regular charge of the parish was Rev. Father Daniel Flannery, who assumed the pastorate in 1873, and was finally succeeded by Rev. Father Thomas O'Reilly.  The latter was succeeded by the present incumbent, Dean Carolan, in October, 1877, and during the long intervening years the latter has continued his zealous labors in the field, proving a faithful servant in the vineyard of the divine Master.  At the time of Dean Carolan's assumption of the pastorate of this parish the membership comprised not more than seventy-five families and the splendid growth of the parish is shown in the fact that it now has a membership of more than three hundred families.

Dean Carolan was born in county Longford , Ireland , on the 2nd of December, 1844 , and his parents Patrick and May (Werd) Carolan, passed the entire lives in the Emerald Isle.  He was reared to maturity in his native land and there received his educational discipline, which included the classical and ecclesiastical courses in Carlow College, where he was ordained to the priesthood on the 26th of May, 1877.  Immediately after his ordination Father Carolan came to America and made Iowa his destination.  In October of the same year he assumed the pastoral charge of his present parish and here he has since remained, one of the valued and honored members of the priesthood of his church in this state.  His zeal and self-abnegation have been equaled by his genial and courteous bearing in his associations with his fellow men and he holds the unqualified esteem of the community in which he has so long lived and labored as well as the affectionate regard of the members of his flock.  In the early days the service of the church were attended to by none too many priests and thus Father Carolan found it incumbent upon him to administer, in addition to the work of his Mason City parish, to the church people at Rockwell, Sheffield, Dougherty, Plymouth, Grafton, Manly Junction, Kensett, Northwood, Bristow, Lake Mills, Forest City, Clear Lake and Garner.  He thus found ample scope for his labors in holding services and attending to the spiritual needs of the settlers throughout a wide area of country.  The first parochial school of his home parish was erected in 1878 and was in charge of the Sisters of St. Francis from the convent schools at Clinton.  The parochial school building was destroyed by fire on February 28, 1898, and on the same site was erected the present substantial and commodious modern building, representing an investment of thirty thousand dollars.  This building has been in practical use since the 1st of September, 1910. The present fine parochial church was divided in 1908 and Rev. Edward Dougherty, a native of Cerro Gordo county, is now pastor of the adjunct parish.  Father Carolan has held the distinguished position of dean of the archdiocese of Dubuque since 1890, and he is one of the influential factors in the generic work of this state and is now an irremovable rector.


John Chilson, manager of the livery, dray and bus line of the Cadwell & Cadwell Company, Mason City , Iowa , has been connected with the business the past thirty-four years, his identity with the company dating from 1876. Mr. Chilson resides with his family at 221 North Michigan street , and is recognized as one of the representative men of the town. Briefly, a review of his life is as follows:

John Chilson was born in Schoharie county, New York , December 4, 1850 , son of John and Matilda (Rector) Chilson. Early in ‘50s the Chilson family moved west to Walworth county, Wisconsin , and in 1859 came from there to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa , and settled near Mason City , where the father acquired title to some land. At that time Mason City was a small village containing only two stores. About ten years later the father, having improved his land to some extent, sold it and purchased a farm near Clear Lake . To this farm he added until he had three hundred and twenty acres, and here he made his home until shortly before his death, which occurred in 1893, at the age of eighty years. Previous to his coming west he had resided at different times in three counties of his native state, New York . The closing years of his life were spent at the home of a son in Mason township, Cerro Gordo county. His wife died in 1902, also at the age of eighty years. During his early life here John Chilson Sr. was a great hunter and trapper. He voted for Abraham Lincoln, and maintained his allegiance with the Republican party all the rest of his days, at times filling local office, such a township trustee, etc. In his family were six sons and one daughter, of whom two are deceased. Mrs. J. A. Baumgardner is a widow residing at Mason City . Amos died in December, 1909, at his home in Minnesota , at the age of seventy-two years. Jerome is a farmer and stock dealer at Lake Mills , Iowa . Lawson, a veteran of the Civil war, with an experience of nine months in Andersonville and Libby prisons, died shortly after the close of the war, in 1869. Albert went to the far west in 1865 and his exact whereabouts are not known. John was next to the youngest, and the youngest, Delfonzo, is a farmer of Mason City , Iowa .

John Chilson married Miss Eliza Jesanore [Jesmore], a native of Marble Rock, Iowa , where her parents resided for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Chilson have one daughter, Mrs. George O. Haugh, of Minneapolis , Mr. Haugh being connected with the Palace Clothing store of that place. They have one son and one daughter.

Politically Mr. Chilson casts his franchise with the same party his father supported for son many years. Fraternally he is identified with the I. O. O. F. and the K. of P., and both he and his wife belong to the Yeomen. She is also a member of the Rebekahs and Pythian Sisters, and she and her daughter have membership in the Congregational church.


For more than a quarter of a century a resident of Mason City, Alburtus S. Clark, county auditor of Cerro Gordo county, has ever taken a warm interest in local affairs, serving his fellow men in various capacities, in the performance of his public duties devoting his time and attention in generous measure.  He was born June 4, 1846 , in Madison county, New York , a son of Stephen and Susan (Popple) Clark.  His father, a native of New York state, died in Green Lake county, Wisconsin , in 1892, aged seventy-four years.  His wife, who was born in Rhode Island , in 1822, is now living in Wisconsin .  Five children were born of their union, as follows : Mary, widow of George Thompson, of Berlin, Wisconsin; Helen, wife of H. C. Smith, of Jamestown, North Dakota; Alburtus S., the subject of this brief biographical sketch; George of Green Lake county, Wisconsin; and Wallace, a resident of the same county.  The parents were among the early pioneers of the county, and while busy clearing and improving their own homestead were important factors in advancing the material interests of the community in which they spent the best years of their lives.

Eight years of age when his parents migrated to Wisconsin , Alburtus S. Clark grew up on the farm, attending the short sessions of the district school, in the meantime becoming familiar with the various branches of mixed husbandry.  In February, 1864, he enlisted as a bugler in the First Wisconsin Cavalry, and served in that position until the close of the conflict.  Returning to the parental roof-tree, he assisted in the care of the farm during the ensuing two years, after which he was clerk in a shoe store for a year.  Becoming a traveling salesman, then for a shoe firm, Mr. Clark continued on the road nine years, in the meantime, in 1874, purchasing a half interest in a shoe and grocery store at Waupun, Wisconsin.  Leaving the road in 1881, he had charge of the Waupon shoe establishment for three years.

Coming to Mason City in the fall of 1884, Mr. Clark embarked in the stock and grazing business.  Opening a meat market in 1892, he managed it successfully for three and on-half years, when it burned out, and he did not rebuild.  Being elected city assessor, he served faithfully for six years, afterwards being engaged in the real estate and insurance business as junior member of the firm of Crossley & Clark.  In the fall of 1906, Mr. Clark was elected county auditor of Cerro Gordo county, and served so ably and satisfactorily that in 1908 he was re-elected for another term of two years.  He was again the candidate for the third term, without opposition, on the Republican ticket, for the November election of 1910.  While living on the home farm in Wisconsin , when little more than a boy, he was made road master, and about the same time was elected school treasurer.  While serving in the latter capacity Mr. Clark tells of his experience in caring for the money entrusted to him. He carefully spread the bills over the bottom of his trunk, covered them with a newspaper, and then put his clothes on top of the papers, his trunk proving a very safe bank deposit.

Politically Mr. Clark in an unswerving Republican.  Fraternally he belongs to C. H. Huntley Post, No. 42, G. A. R.; to Benevolence Lodge No. 145, A. F. & A. M. to Benevolence Chapter No. 46, R. A. M., and both he and his wife are members of Unity Chapter No. 58, O. E. S.

Mr. Clark married November 27, 1872, Elizabeth Stanton, who was born in Piscataquis county, Maine, February 21, 1854, a daughter of George W. and Hannah (Lord) Stanton, both natives of Maine.  Her parents moved from  Maine to Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1856, and there her father was for many years successfully engaged in farming, later, however, embarking in the grain business at Waupun, where he resided until his death, at the age of seventy-nine years, in 1893.  His wife preceded him to the better world, dying in 1885, when but fifty-nine years of age.  Of the six children born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Stanton but three survive, namely : Joseph E. Stanton, of Appleton , Wisconsin; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Clark; and George W., of Seattle , Washington .  Mrs. And Mrs. Clark are the parents of four children, namely : Edith L., wife of Frank Kirsh, of Everett , Washington; George J., teller in the First National Bank of Los Angeles , California; William B.; and S. Beatrice.


Progressive, energetic, and public spirited, there are few if any who play a more vital role in the affairs of the municipality than Samuel J. Clausen, grain and coal dealer of Clear Lake and former mayor of the place. Absolutely by his own efforts he has established himself securely, building up a fine business and enjoying the consideration of the community. He was born on the Isle of Fano off the coast of Denmark , August 22, 1852 , and the record of his earlier years has many of the elements of romance. He is a son of J. P. and Dorothea (Gregersen) Clausen, and one of nine children, six of whom are living. They are Mrs. Karen Nelsen, of Denmark ; Henry, living in Wisconsin ; Jens J., a citizen of Denmark ; Mr. Clausen and his twin brother, Peter J., who resides in Germany , and Mrs. Maria Martinsen of Wisconsin . When Mr. Clausen was fourteen years of age he left the parental roof and went to sea as a cabin boy, following that calling for the next seven years. The first two years were spent on the Baltic and North Seas and after that he was on the greater oceans. Three times he doubled Cape Horn and once Cape of Good Hope . When the seven years were up he returned home, where he remained a few months. In 1874 he and a friend left for America , with the intention of finding employment on the boats plying the Great Lakes . When Mr. Clausen arrived in New York he found himself without a penny and was under the necessity of borrowing twenty dollars from his companion. He suddenly changed his mind and decided to join the ranks of the “land lubbers.” He purchased a ticket to Milwaukee , Wisconsin , where he remained about one month, then going to Fox Lake , that state, where he found work with his brother Henry, who was engaged in the grain business. Two years later the brothers went into partnership, and in 1882, having been successful, they concluded to broaden out and Mr. Clausen purchased from H. M. Messer the Clear Lake elevator. In 1893 they dissolved partnership, Mr. Clausen retaining the Clear Lake business. The present buildings were erected by him, the elevator having a capacity of 25,000 bushels. On an average of 100,000 bushels of grain are handled a year, not to mention quantities of coal, fee and seeds. During his business career Mr. Clausen has bought out five competitors, who have started up at different times. He also owns an elevator on the Mason City and Clear Lake Electric Road .

Mr. Clausen has served in several of the most important offices in the bestowal of the people of the community. He served on the council nine years, on the school board for twelve and was mayor of Clear Lake for two years. He was one of the organizers of the Cerro Gordo State Bank in 1892, has been a director since that time and vice president since 1906. He owns two hundred and thirty acres in Clear Lake township on the lake shore, which he has nicely improved and he has bought and sold numerous other farms and town property. He is interested in the Western Lakes Resort and since 1893 has been secretary of the organization which controls it. When the Clear Lake Congregational church was erected at Clear Lake he was one of a committee of three in whose hands lay the responsibility. Mr. Clausen and John Holversen [Halvorson] built the Clear Lake opera house in 1890, but the former afterward sold his interest in the same. The first strictly modern dwelling in Clear Lake was built by this enterprising gentleman in 1891.

In his political conviction Mr. Clausen was formerly a stanch Democrat but is now independent, believe in the infallibility of neither party. He belongs to Verity Lodge, No. 250, A. F. & A. M., and also to Chivalrie Lodge, No. 82, Knights of Pythias.

On August 11, 1879 , at Madison , Wisconsin , Mr. Clausen was united in marriage to Miss Carrie W. Suckow, who was born in Pennsylvania , November 24, 1853 . Five children are growing up beneath their roof, Dora E., Henry W., Bertle J., Samuel J., Jr., in the School of Mines in Golden Colorado, and C. Louise, attending the state university at Madison , Wisconsin .

John Cliggitt

Numbered among the most distinguished members of the bar of Cerro Gordo county and where he has been engaged in the practice of his profession for nearly forty years, Mr. Cliggitt has not only attained to marked precedence in his profession but he has also been an influential factor in public affairs in his county and state. He has given the full force of his influence to advancing the civil and material development and progress of his home city and county, and no citizen has a more secure vantage place in the popular confidence and esteem of the community. His career has been one of close and consecutive application to the work of his profession and he has ever stood the exponent of liberal and public-spirited practice.

John Cliggitt was born in Montgomery county, New York, on the 25th of August, 1840. When he was one year old his parents moved to Burlington, Vermont, where he secured his rudimentary education in the public school, which he there continued to attend until May, 1850, when the family removed to the west and located in Madison, the capital of the state of Wisconsin, where they remained until the following autumn, when the removed to Naperville, Du Page county, Illinois, where they remained until December, 1851. They next removed to Kendall county, that state.

John Cliggitt, the immediate subject of this review, contributed his quota to the work of the home farming and continued his residence in Kendall county, Illinois, until his removal to Iowa in 1871. He duly availed himself of the advantages of the common schools in Illinois, attending the same during the winter terms and assisting in the work of the farm during the summer months. He applied himself diligently and finally was able to complete the prescribed course in the high school at Oswego, Illinois. He taught several terms of school and in 1865 he began the study of law, to which he devoted his attention at all spare times during his pedagogic and other work. IN the autumn of 1868, he entered the Chicago Law School, in which institution he finished his work in 1869. In February of that year he was admitted to practice in the supreme court of Illinois and in June, 1871, shortly after his arrival in Mason City, Iowa, he was admitted to practice in the district court of Cerro Gordo county. Here he has continued to devote his attention to the work of his profession during the long intervening years. In 1873 he was admitted to the supreme court of the state at its term held in April of that year in the city of Dubuque, and he later was admitted to the United States district and circuit courts of Iowa.

In September, 1871, Mr. Cliggitt entered into a partnership alliance with Charles Husted, and the firm of Husted & Cliggitt continued in practice in Mason City until the spring of 1875, when Mr. Husted moved elsewhere. Mr. Cliggitt thereupon became a member of the law firm of Miller & Cliggitt, the senior member of which was Captain George R. Miller who had been for several years previously a member of the firm of Card & Miller. The partnership alliance between Miller and Cliggitt proved most grateful and successful and was severed only by the death of Mr. Miller in October, 1886. In 1889 the firm of Cliggitt & Rule was formed, composed of the subject of this sketch and Duncan Rule, and both are now members of the strong and well known firm of Cliggitt, Rule, Keeler & Smith. B. C. Keeler entered the firm in 1898 and Earl Smith became a member therof in April, 1908. Mr. Cliggitt's life and labors in Iowa have been devoted to the study and practice of law. For a short time each he held the offices of justice of the peace, recorder of the incorporated town of Mason City, and secretary of the independent school district of Mason City. In March, 1880, he assumed the office of mayor of his home city and he continued as the chief executive of the municipal government until March, 1884. During his incumbency of the office of mayor, in 1882, he directed the work of changing the municipal organization of Mason City from that of an incorporated town to that of a city of the second class, in which position it has since been assigned. In politics Mr. Cliggitt has been and is a Democrat, believing in the great generic and fundamental principles of the Democratic party as taught by its great leaders from Jefferson to Cleveland and Carlisle. He was a delegate to the national convention which in 1884 met in Chicago and nominated Grover Cleveland as candidate for the presidency and he supported the policies of Mr. Cleveland through his two presidential terms. He much regretted what he judged to be a great and serious error of the party in pledging itself to the unlimited coinage of silver at the ratio of sixteen to one. This he believed to have been historically and logically a doctrine of the Republican party, and he maintained that that party should have been left to cherish and support it or abandon it as the case might be. On account of the radical silver issue wrongfully imposed on the party, as he believed, Mr. Cliggitt refused to give his support to William J. Bryan as the presidential candidate of the Democratic party and he therefore gave his support to Palmer and Buckner, commonly designated as the Gold Democratic ticket. Circumstances called him from his home state at election time and consequently he was unable to exercise his franchise in support of the ticket mentioned. Since 1896 he has voted for the presidential nominees of the party as the issues advocated by the party since that time have in most respects been acceptable to him and met the approval of his judgment.

Mr. Cliggitt has been nominee of his party as candidate for representative in congress, district judge and judge of the supreme court of his state, but on each occasion he has met defeat with the party ticket in general, under the heavy, normal majority of Republican votes. In 1897 the convention of gold-standard Democrats, desiring to restore the party in Iowa to "sane and safe" Democratic policies and doctrines, nominated a full state ticket and Mr. Cliggitt was named as its candidate for governor. The nominees for this ticket received but a small vote at the election but they still believed that their efforts toward the restoration of the party in great measure to proper principles have borne good results.

Mr. Cliggitt has ever had great interest and faith in our common school system and its great and beneficent influence and calling. He strongly believes in keeping and supporting it for the education and uplifting of the many,--the children of the poor as well as those of the wealthy. He is not affiliated with any of the church denominations but has been a free contributor and attendant most of them. He believes in a supreme being, the immortality of the soul and the basic doctrines of Christianity and he has a deep reverence for the spiritual verities. Besides his law studies he has kept in line a course of general reading and study so far as his time and strength have permitted and this has been directed along historical, literary and scientific channels. He has taken great pride in the growth and progress of Mason City, where he fully intends to pass the residue of his life and which has for so many years represented the scene of his trials and labors as well as that of his generous measure of success.

On the 1st of September, 1879, Mr. Cliggitt was united in marriage to Miss Ella C. Brightman, who was born and reared in the state of New York, and in the attractive home, at 216 East Ninth street, they delight in dispensing hospitality to their wide circle of friends.

Edward Cobb, a retired farmer and venerable citizen of Clear Lake, Iowa, has resided here during the past twenty-two years.  The greater part of his active life was spent in Lincoln township, Cerro Gordo county, where he still owns a fine farm which he improved. Also he improved another farm in that township, which he sold. His identity with this county dates from 1865, when he came here from Jackson county, this state, he having come to Iowa with his parents when he was a child.
Mr. Cobb is a native of the "Empire State."  He was born in Essex county, New York, August 1, 1830, eldest of a family of nine children, all of whom are still living and enjoying good health.  In 1838 his parents moved to Illinois and the year following came over into Iowa and settled on a farm in Monmouth township, Jackson county, near what was known as the Big Woods.  On this farm they reared their large family, and here the father and mother died when well advanced in years. Both are buried in Buckhorn cemetery, near the old home.  Thus Edward was reared from his ninth year in Iowa.  Before coming to Cerro Gordo county he spent a year and a half in Minnesota.  He had married some years previously, and in 1865, with wife and children, four horses and five head of cattle, he landed in Lincoln township and took up his residence here, having little capital at the time but possessing a good share of pluck and energy.  With borrowed money he bought his first eighty acres of land.  To this he added until at one time he owned three-quarters of a section, the result of hard work and good management.
On February 13, 1853, at Millrock, Jackson county, Iowa, Edward Cobb and Lucy Taylor were united in marriage, and at this writing, 1910, they have traveled life's pathway together for a period of fifty-seven years.  Mrs. Cobb, like her husband, is a native of New York state, born July 29, 1835.  She accompanied her parents to Iowa about 1851, and was reared on a farm in Jackson county.  Of the children born to Mr. and Mrs. Cobb, eight in number, two died young and two when they had reached young manhood. Those living are: Mrs. A. C. Brown, a widow of Mason City; E. T., a farmer of Lincoln township; Mrs. Addie A. Mason, a widow residing in Dakota, where she has a claim; and Mrs. W. J. McGowen, whose husband is a hardware merchant of Clear Lake.  The grandchildren number nine and there is one great-grandchild in the family - a grandson of Mrs. Brown.
Politically Mr. Cobb is a Republican.  In his prime he served in various township and school offices.  He was a member of the Sons of Temperance many years ago, but he has never allied himself with any of the fraternal organizations.


Full of vim and energy, wide-awake and enterprising, William M. Colby holds a high position among the influential citizens of Mason City , and as a promoter is among the foremost to forward all enterprises conducive to the general welfare and advancement. He was born, March 14, 1875 , in Dane county, Wisconsin , which was the birthplace of his father, Colburn Colby.

Spending his early life in Wisconsin , Colburn Colby came with his family to Iowa in 1876, locating in Lake township, Cerro Gordo county, where he purchased land and was subsequently engaged in general farming and stock raising until his death, in 1904, at the age of sixty-six years. He married Annie Oscar, who died in Lake township on the home farm in 1906, aged sixty-seven years. Fourteen children were born to them, William M. being the third child in succession of birth of the seven now living.

Brought up on a farm and receiving a practical common school education, William M. Colby began his active career as agent for the Plano Harvester Company, for which he traveled ten years. He afterwards represented a life insurance company in the states of North Dakota , South Dakota and Minnesota , being first located at Minneapolis and later at Sioux Falls . In connections with the Cowan Company Mr. Colby located at Mason City in 1906, and here built the Northwestern States Portland Cement Company, after which he started in business on his own account, becoming one of the leading promoters of northern Iowa .

Since 1907 Mr. Colby has promoted the North Iowa Brick and Tile Company of Mason City ; the Fort Dodge, Iowa, Brick and Tile Company ; has promoted and built the Lehigh Sewer Pipe Company at Lehigh, Iowa, a two hundred thousand dollar corporation ; promoted and built the Farmers' Co-operative Brick and Tile Company of Mason City, of which he was president until resigning the office in March, 1910 ; was promoter, in 1909, of the Washington Brick, Tile, and Sewer Pipe Company, a two million dollar corporation in Spokane, Washington ; and was one of the organizers of the People's State Bank of Mason City, and served as a director until his resignation, in March, 1910. In 1910 he promoted and organized the Colby Motor Company of Mason City , capitalized at one million dollars and he is president of the same. The Colby Motor Company manufactures automobiles, and are now at work erecting their factory. Starting in life when married with forty dollars worthy of furniture, given him by his home people, as his only wealth, Mr. Colby has surely made a grand success in life, being already near the topmost rung of the ladder, and if his life and health be spared, will doubtless be associated with many important enterprises yet to be established in this and other states. He has accumulated considerable property, and is the owner of six hundred and forty acres of land in Geneseo and Dougherty townships.

Mr. Colby married Mary Agnes Boyle, who was born in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, June 22, 1876, a daughter of Neal and Magdalena (Campbell) Boyle, who came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in 1877, and are now living in Rockwell. Mr. and Mrs. Colby are the parents of six children, namely : Colburn, Marjorie, Mary, Joseph, David and William. Politically Mr. Colby is identified with the Democratic party, and fraternally he belongs to the Knights of Columbus ; the Catholic Order of Foresters ; and to Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Religiously he and his wife are esteemed members of the Holy Family Catholic church.

Emory Cooper  

The subject of this sketch is representative of one of the pioneer families of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa-the Coopers. Josephus Cooper, the father of Emory, was born and reared in Virginia. At the age of twenty-one years he left the "Old Dominion" and came west as far as Illinois, where he subsequently married Miss Ibbey Tucker, and where, In Stephenson county, he was for several years engaged in farming. From there he came to Iowa, spend some time in Dubuque, Bremer and Floyd counties, and in the spring of 1865 took up his residence in Cerro Gordo county. Here, on section 1, Lime Creek township, he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, and on this place passed the rest of his life and died, his death occurring in 1879, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife died in Floyd county, Iowa, in 1860, at the age of thirty years. They were the parents of three sons and five daughters, namely : Jesse M., born in 1848, resides in Worth county, Iowa; Emory, whose name introduces this sketch ; J. C., born in 1860, now owns and occupies the one hundred and sixty acres in Lime Creek township which his father purchased on coming to the county, as above stated ; Aletha Jane, who died in 1908, in Minnesota, at the age of sixty years ; Emeline, born in 1840, is the widow of J. A. Boutell, and resides in Worth county, Iowa ; Betsey Ann, born in 1842, became the wife of Jacob Kuapp, and she died in the '70s, leaving two children ; Eliza, born in 1844, died in the '70s ; and Rebecca born in 1853, is the wife of Albert Goldthorp, and a resident of Lime Creek township. 

Emory Cooper was born in 1851 in Stephenson county, Illinois. He was reared there and in Iowa, having accompanied his parents on their removal to this state, and with other members of the family he landed in Lime Creek township, Cerro Gordo county, March 5, 1865. Here he has since lived, with the exception of about ten years spent in Worth county, this state. He remained a member of the home circle until he was twenty-six years of age, when he went to Worth county and settled down to farming on his own account. He bought and sold a farm there, and he has since bought and sold several farms in Cerro Gordo county ; also at one time he owned two hundred acres of land in Minnesota. After his father's death he was administrator of the estate. Now, partially retired from active work, he resides on a fine little farm of twenty-two acres in section 1, Lime Creek township, which has been his home since 1898. 

In Worth county, Iowa, in 1878, Mr. Cooper married Miss Maggie Breneman, a native of Clarion county, Pennsylvania, born October 8, 1852, a daughter of George and Ebeline (Campbell) Breneman, and third in a family of four, the others being : Mattie, wife of George Debell, died at Washburn, Wisconsin, May 1, 1906, at the age of fifty-eight years ; Anna, wife of A. C. Abbey, of Northwood, Iowa, and D. E. Breneman, born in 1857, is a millwright, and foreman in a saw mill at Bemidji, Minnesota. Mrs. Cooper's parents went to Minnesota in 1856 and settle in Houston county where they died some years ago, the date of the father's death being 1885. Mrs. Cooper came as a young woman from Minnesota to Iowa, and was soon afterward married here. She and Mr. Cooper have one son, Clinton E., born in Cerro Gordo county in 1882. He married Miss Ethel Page, at Plymouth, Iowa, and they have a little daughter, Alice Laura, born May 26, 1906.  

Mr. Cooper's father voted the Republican ticket and was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in both politics and religion the son follows in the footsteps of the father. He is a member of the fraternal organization of Yeoman.


One of Cerro Gordo county's substantial and well known farmers is Walter V. Crapser, whose fertile acres are located in Pleasant Valley township. He was born in Franklin county, Iowa , December 4, 1863 , and is the son of Albert and Adaline Crapser. The former, a native of New York , died in 1905, at the age of seventy-three years, and the mother is now living in Thornton . They cam to Iowa from the east and located in Franklin county in 1874, later removing to Grimes township, Cerro Gordo county.

Walter V. Crapser was reared upon his father's farm and learned in the school of practical experience those many lessons which have made of him a most successful agriculturist. He attended the common school and when nineteen years of age began to teach school, acting for seven terms as a pedagogue in Pleasant Valley township. After his marriage in 1886 he began farming on rented land. Two years later he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of his present farm. This had only a shack of a house upon it and only fifteen acres of it was broken ground. He now owns and operates three hundred and sixty acres, all finely improved.

Mr. Crapser subscribes to the men and measures of the Republican party and has played a prominent part in the affairs of the county. He has served as road superintendent and was assessor for six years. He was eight years a member of the school board and seven years a member of the county board of supervisors. He was appointed to the latter capacity in April, 1910, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Superintendent J. H. Brown. He assisted in the organization and was a director of the first Farmers' Co-operative Society in the state of Iowa , located at Swaledale. He is now, and has been for four years, president of the Farmers' Co-operative Society of Thornton. The social side of Mr. Crapser's nature is not undeveloped, and he has several fraternal affiliations, being a member of the Elks at Mason City ; of the I. O. O. F. at Thornton and of the M. W. A. at Swaledale. This is one means by which he has become widely known in the county.

Mr. Crapser was married, March 23, 1886 , to Miss Kate I. Updike, born in Fayette county July 8, 1868. They are the parents of three children, Guy, Gladys and Grace, all of whom are at home.

Amasa A. Crossley

A. A. Crossley

A man of intelligence and ability, Amasa A. Crossley, of Mason City, has always been the encourager and supporter of everything calculated to advance the welfare of his community, intellectually, socially and morally, and is held in high respect as a man and as a citizen. A son of A. A. Crossley, he was born January 29, 1848 in Crawford county, Pennsylvania. His father died four months previous to that event, in September, 1847, at the age of twenty-two years. Mr. Crossley's mother, whose maiden name was Delila Curtis, married for her second husband Ansel Harron, and in 1855 the family came westward to Wisconsin, where they lived three years. Coming to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in 1868, Mr. Harron bought wild land in Lime Creek township, and on the farm which he improved both he and his wife spent their remaining days, Mrs. Harron passing away in November 1887, at the age of sixty-five years, while Mr. Harron died in 1895, aged eighty-three years. By her second marriage Mrs. Harron had three children, as follows: Fred, living in Washington ; L. C., of North Dakota ; and Minnie, wife of Willard Pense, of Minnesota.

The only child of his parents, Amasa A. Crossley was reared to agricultural pursuits, after the age of eight years attending school but two terms. At the age of twelve years he was forced to shift for himself, being sent out to work among strangers. Becoming skilled in the various branches of agriculture, he began farming on his own account after his marriage, renting land in Olmstead county, Minnesota, for four years. Settling then in Lyon county, Minnesota, he took up a claim, but after battling with the grasshoppers for four years he gave up in despair and in the fall of 1876 came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in search of a favorable location. Mr. Crossley here bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in section one, Bath township, a part of the land being broken but no further improvements on it. After carrying on general farming there for seven years he rented his property and took up his residence in Mason City, where he dealt extensively and profitably in live stock until 1898. Since that time, Mr. Crossley has been actively interested in the real estate and insurance business. A man of good business judgment, he has been uniformly successful in his operations, and is quite an extensive landholder, owning three hundred and twenty acres in Mason township.

Taking a warm interest in local affairs, Mr. Crossley was elected county supervisor in 1900, and served in that capacity seven years, during which time much money was wisely expended. The present county court house and county jail was erected at that time, with a record of expenditure probably unequaled, as under the direct supervision of Mr. Crossley ten thousand dollars less than the appropriation was expended on the two buildings, and not one dollar was given for extras in either. The concrete bridge on East State street was also built under his supervision, it being the third bridge of its kind erected in Iowa. Mr. Crossley having been the first to advocate the use of that material for country work in Cerro Gordo county. Mr. Crossley has also served as a member of the City Council.

Fraternally he is a member of Mason City Lodge, No. 224, I. O. O. F., of which he has been treasurer for twenty years, and of Anchor Encampment, No. 102. He is very prominent in the order, and as a trustee of the Odd Fellows' and Orphans' Home had the supervision of the erection of the present building, which was erected in 1904 to replace the one destroyed in that year by fire.

Mr. Crossley married, July 12, 1869, Gertrude T. Van Fleet, who was born in Auburn, New York, April 7, 1850. Their only child, Frankie M., is the wife of Harry E. Evans, of Callaway, Nebraska.