History of Cerro Gordo County,
Biographies submitted by Kay Ehlers.
The lumber business of Plymouth, Iowa, is
represented by G. William Page, a partner in the L. A. Page Lumber Company and
manager of the branch office at Plymouth, the main office of the company being
at Mason City, Iowa.
G. William Page was born near Stoughton,
Wisconsin, in 1855, son of Benjamin and Clarinda (Brown) Page. His parents,
natives of Vermont, left the "Green Mountain State" about 1850 and
came west as far as Wisconsin, bringing with them their four little children.
They settled on a farm near Stoughton, and there reared their family, five more
children having been born to them after their removal to Wisconsin. Their eldest
son, Benjamin, died in 1875, at the age of thirty years. Of the others we record
that L. A. is president of the L. A. Page Lumber Company, with headquarters at
Mason City, Iowa ; N. L. of Auburn, Maine, conducts a lumber and box factory ;
Annette, wife of John Douglass, is a resident of Portland, Oregon ; Edgar E. is
a farmer and stock dealer of Stoughton, Wisconsin ; George William is the
subject of this review ; Frank owns and operates the old farm in Wisconsin ;
Ida, wife of James Pratt, lives at Edgarton, Wisconsin ; and Miss Stella, the
youngest, is a resident of Stoughton.
George William Page was reared on his father's
farm, and in his youth had good educational advantages. As a young man, in 1878,
he came to Plymouth, Iowa, and became interested in the lumber business with his
brother, L. A., and since 1880 has had entire charge of the business at this
point. Also he deals in coal and fuel.
In Wisconsin, Mr. Page married Miss Charity
Ayers, who was born and reared near Stoughton, and they have two daughters,
Ethel, wife of Clint E. Cooper of Plymouth, and Alice, attending Fayette
College, Fayette, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Cooper have one child, Lenore.
Politically, Mr. Page is a Republican, and while
he has never been a politician he has always taken an interest in local affairs
and has served in township offices. Both he and his wife are members of the
Methodist Episcopal church.
Upon the roll of substantial and representative
citizens of Clear Lake may well be inscribed the name of Dwight H. Palmeter,
senior member of the Palmeter Hardware Company, which is the oldest business
existing in Clear Lake today. It has a capital stock of twelve thousand dollars
and comprises everything necessary to complete a first class store of its kind,
the Palmeter brothers being thoroughly progressive in their ideas. They are also
large land holders, owning four hundred and forty choice acres of land in Lake
Dwight H Palmeter was born in Chautauqua county,
New York, Jun 21, 1845. He is the son of Theron and Ulrica (Bentley) Palmeter.
The father, who was a man of strong character and a successful farmer, was a
native of Chautauqua county, New York, his birth having occurred there March 31,
1817. It was his lot to almost complete the century, his death taking place
January 20, 1910, while on a visit at Sioux City, Iowa. Mr. Palmeter spent his
boyhood and young manhood upon his fathers' farm, and received but little
schooling after the twelfth year of his age. Realizing the fuller opportunities
of the newly opened west, the family decided to come to Iowa, young Dwight
coming in February, 1863, ahead of the rest, who followed in June of the same
year. The father purchased four hundred and eighty acres of raw land, and he and
his sons at once set to work to improve it. They were successful and in the
course of a few years Mr. Palmeter had accumulated a snug little capital. In
1875 he decided upon a radical change and came to Clear Lake, where he engaged
for eight months in the drug business. He sold this and he and his brother in
1876 bought out a hardware house, and several years afterward, when the brother,
H. E., entered the bank, Dwight H. assumed the management. His brother's
attention has since been devoted to the Cerro Gordo State Bank, of which he is
cashier. Mr. Palmeter's management of the Palmeter Hardware Company is thus of
nearly thirty-five years duration.
He has always played a prominent part in the
civic life of Clear Lake and in the affairs of the county. He served on the
school board for twelve years, held the office of county supervisor for three
years, and before his removal to Clear Lake was clerk of Lake township. He
assisted in the organization of the Clear Lake Independent Telephone Company, of
which his is now president. He has given a life-long allegiance to the
Republican party and gives an intelligent attention to all affairs of public
nature. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias and his wife of the
Mr. Palmeter married, October 7, 1875, Miss Ada
S. Armstrong, who was born at Potosi, Wisconsin, April 15, 1849. They are the
parents of four children as follows : Roy A., of Fessenden, South Dakota ; Maud,
wife of W. W. Choate, of Clear Lake ; and Gladys and Paul at home.
A man of considerable importance in the manifold
affairs of Clear Lake is H. E. Palmeter, cashier of the Cerro Gordo State Bank.
He has owned this bank since 1892 and particular credit is due to him for his
success, for he is essentially a self-made man. It was his good fortune,
however, to be the son of a father whose ideals were high and who gained the
respect of any community in which he resided. Mr. Palmeter was born in
Chautauqua county, New York, May 21, 1849, his parents being Theron and Ulrica
(Bentley) Palmeter. The Palmeter's residence in this part of New York dated
almost from the first of the nineteenth century, the father's birth having
occurred there March 31, 1817. He lived to a great age, his death taking place
on January 20, 1910, which he was visiting in Sioux City, Iowa. The father came
west to Illinois in 1856 in lived in Ogle and McHenry counties until 1863, in
which year he came to Cerro Gordo county and located in Lake township, where he
purchased land. He was a man of admirable character, a deep reader and always
deeply interested in all matters of public importance and remarkably active and
virile almost to the time of his death. In the early days he served on the
county board of supervisors. He was a radical temperance man and from boyhood an
earnest member of the Congregational church. His wife died in 1887. There were
three children : D. H. Palmeter, of Clear Lake, of whom mention is made on other
pages of this volume ; Mr. Palmeter of this review ; and Mary, wife of E. I.
McGraw, of Sioux City, Iowa.
Mr. Palmeter's boyhood days were spent upon his
father's farm in New York state and his education was obtained in the schools
afforded by the district. In 1863, after a few years' residence in Illinois, the
family cam on to Cerro Gordo county, and he came with them and for some time
devoted his energies to clearing the large tract of new land which his father
had bought. In 1874 he and his brother, D. H. Palmeter, purchased a hardware
store in Clear Lake from J. H. Sweney, which they continue to own and manage to
the present day. It was in 1887 the H. E. Palmeter became connected with the
banking business. The bank of which he is now cashier was first organized in
1885 by Bush and Hurn. It was a private bank and was known as the Cerro Gordo
County Bank. In 1892 it was purchased by Mr. Palmeter and others, reorganized
with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars, and given its present name of
the Cerro Gordo State Bank. His start in the banking business was made almost
without capital and his substantial success is an eloquent comment on his
ability. Mr. Palmeter was elected councilman of Clear Lake in 1876, and since
then he has served continuously with the exception of two years. In his
fraternal associations he is connected with the Mason order and the Knights of
Mr. Palmeter was married March 10, 1874, to Miss
Emily Fletcher, who was born December 5, 1851, in Rock county, Wisconsin. This
union was blessed by the birth of two children, John F., of Spokane, Washington,
and Lora, wife of Willis T. Carpenter, of East Orange, New Jersey. The wife's
death occurred May 22, 1882. On January 9, 1884, Mr. Palmeter was a second time
married, the lady to become his wife being Miss Janetta Coleman, born in
Lexington, Michigan, September 25, 1861. Her parents were Charles and Rosabelle
(Dimond) Coleman, the father a native of Canada, the mother of Vermont. The
father came to Michigan as a young man and married. In 1862 he enlisted in the
Sixth Michigan Cavalry and in April, 1863, was wounded and taken prisoner at
Trevillion Station Virginia, that being the last that was ever heard of him. At
the close of the war the widow and her young daughter removed to Arcola, Douglas
county, Illinois, and in 1882 took up their residence in Clear Lake. Here the
mother's death occurred in December, 1896, her age being 57 years. Mr. Palmeter
has had two children by his second marriage, these being Charles C. and Cecil,
both of whom are at home.
Public-spirited, progressive and influential,
Alanson T. Parker, of Mason City, is a worthy representative of all that
constitutes an exemplary citizen, being active and interested in the public
welfare, pleasant and genial in social circles, and in business life an honored
and trusted man, one with whom it is a pleasure to deal. He was born, May 14,
1840, in Herkimer county, New York, which was also the birthplace of his father,
Archibald Parker. Archibald Parker spent his entire life in the Empire state,
his birth occurring in 1808, and his death seventy-seven years later. He married
Cassandra Hoxie, who was born in Madison county, New York, in 1809, and died at
the age of fifty-three years. Of their seven children, but two survive, Peter,
of Oswego county, New York; and Alanson T.
Brought up on the home farm, Alanson T. Parker
was educated in the common schools and the village academy. In 1870, following
the advice of Horace Greeley, he started westward in search of more promising
opportunities for increasing his finances and came direct to Cerro Gordo county.
Locating in Mason City, Mr. Parker embarked in the milling business with his
cousin, H. G. Parker, with whom he was associated as a miller for a quarter of a
century, during which time these two enterprising gentlemen built Parker's Opera
House, a three-story building at the corner of Sixth and Main streets, in which
Mr. Parker still retains his interest. Mr. Parker was subsequently engaged in
the grocery business here for ten years, but sold out and is now devoting his
time to his business as a real estate dealer and to the care of his private
interests, which are quite extensive. He owns property of value in Mason City
and has also a large ranch in Wisconsin.
When Mr. Parker came to Mason City it was a mere
hamlet, containing by six hundred souls. He foresaw its possibilities, and
bravely putting his shoulder to the wheel of progress has been a prime mover in
the inauguration of beneficial improvements, development into one of the most
enterprising and thriving cities of northern Iowa. He is an uncompromising
Republican in his political affiliations, and fraternally is a member of Cerro
Gordo Lodge, No. 70, K. of P., and of Mason City Lodge, No. 375, B. P. O. E.
Mr. Parker has been twice married. He married
first, in 1874, Belle L. Wilcox. She died in 1881, aged thirty-three years,
leaving one child, Belle L. Mr. Parker married for his second wife, in 1884,
Martha J. Forsythe, who was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1853. Mrs. Parker
is a member of the Congregational church.
Silas G. Parker, an enterprising and successful
farmer of Lime Creek township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, where he owns on
hundred and sixty acres of well improved land in section 17, has made all the
improvements and erected the buildings on his property. He was born in Lake
county, Illinois, December 30, 1852, a son of Levi and Martha C. (Vandermark)
Parker. The father was born in Franklin county, Vermont, April 2, 1822, and died
May 15, 1907, and the mother, a native of New York, born in 1827, died in August
1908. They were parents of seven children, of whom five survive, namely :
Martha, wife of Edward Brown, of Rolfe, Iowa ; Silas ; Stephen, of Lime Creek
township ; Alonzo, of Mason City ; John of Minnesota.
The boyhood of Levi Parker was spent in Vermont
and he came west with his parents in 1840. They settled in Lake county,
Illinois, where [t]he father purchased government land and placed it under
cultivation, living on it until his death.. Levi Parker also purchased
government land, erected a house, and lived in it until 1860, then sold out and
moved with a wagon to Cerro Gordo county, where he purchased school land in
section 16, Lime Creek township. For the first few years the family lived in a
log house. The father retired to live in Mason City in 1897.
Silas G. Parker worked on his father's farm
summers and attended the district school winters. After his marriage he engaged
in farming in Worth county, Iowa, there renting land for three years. He
purchased eighty acres o his present farm in 1876 and settled on it, improving
it as fast as he was able and adding to his possessions as he could. He is
industrious and ambitious and has been successful through his own efforts. He is
highly esteemed by his fellow citizens and has a multitude of friends. In
politics Mr. Parker is a Republican, and he is affiliated with the M. B. A., the
Yeoman, the I. O. O. F. and the Rebekahs. Mrs. Parker was also a member of the
order of Rebekahs during her lifetime.
On March 17, 1873, Mr. Parker married Frances
Guild [Gile], who was born in Vermont. She died August 3, 1906, at the age of
forty-seven years, having borne two children : Clarence, of Mason City, and
Herbert, at home. She was a woman of high character, a loving wife and mother,
and had many warm personal friends. Her loss has been felt in many circles where
her place can never be filled.
Thomas Perrett, whose death occurred in Rock Falls, Iowa, May 13, 1889, is still well remembered by those who knew and cared for him, and his presence has been sadly missed from many circles. Mr. Perrett was born in Stogursey Parish, Somersetshire, England, May 27, 1827, the fourth child and oldest son of Thomas Perrett and his wife, Ann Rawlings Perrett. When the boy was eighteen years of age his father died. His parents were well-to-do and sent him to school at Minehead, where he received a liberal education. On November 1, 1854, he sailed from Liverpool for New York, where he landed on November 10, the boat making one of the swiftest voyages of the times. He proceeded directly to Chicago, where he met a younger brother, J. C. Perrett, who was a sailor on the great lakes and had been a resident of Chicago two years. Thomas had left his youngest brother, William to manage the farm and care for his mother and sisters. His cousin, Joseph Perrett, was also a sailor on the great lakes, having come to the United States in the spring of 1854. These three young men moved to Iowa, spending the winter in Delaware and Dubuque counties and assisting in the survey in the town of Manchester. In the spring of 1855 J. C. and Joseph Perrett returned to the lakes and Thomas went to Falls township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, walking a good part of the way and making part of the journey by stage. He was looking for a location near a stream where timber could be easily obtained, as wood and water were then very essential for a farm, and found what he considered a suitable place to settle, along the Shell Rock river in Falls township. He entered three eighty acre tracts in section 27, one of these being for his brother, J. C. and one for his cousin Joseph. He also purchased eighty acres of timber land in section 16. He made the trip to Des Moines on foot to make these entries of land. The first summer he worked for A. J. Glover and helped erect a saw-mill. During the winter of 1855-56 he was joined by his brother and cousin and they spent the winter in a little log cabin built on the edge of the timber in section 16. As all were unmarried this home was called "Bachelor's Retreat," and the next winter they spent in a similar manner.
In the spring of 1857 Thomas Perrett erected a log house on his own eighty acres of land, on the banks of Shell Rock river, in section 27, where John Cortes and his wife lived with him and kept house for him until his marriage. At Christmas time, in 1858, Thomas Perrett met his brother and a cousin in Chicago and together they visited cousins in Grass Lake, Illinois, and Thomas and his cousin there met their future wives. Thomas Perrett was married on March 25, 1859, to Mary Jane Brown, second daughter of Thomas and Harriet (Newell-Jewett) Brown. They met and were married at Bradford, Iowa, Miss Brown coming with her sister and brother-in-law (Joseph Perrett) in a wagon. Thomas Perrett and his wife lived in the log house until 1871, when he erected a handsome stone house. Three daughters and one son blessed their union, namely ; Elizabeth ; Harriet A. ; Laura J. who died November 16, 1892 ; and Thomas Rawlings. Joseph Perrett and his wife also located on their farm, but in the fall of 1883 they moved to Rock Falls and in 1897 moved to Mason City, where he died Dec. 3, 1902. He spent the years of 1864-65-66 in Chicago, where he again engaged in sailing on the lakes, then settled on his farm. His wife, who was Sarah Hanford Brown, died March 4, 1905.
Thomas Perrett was a man of large, strong frame, also large hearted and broad minded, honest, upright, true and genuinely charitable. He held many township offices, and served many years as county supervisor. He health failed him in the spring of 1885, and which time he left his farm and built a house in the village of Rock Falls, where he remained until his death, May 13, 1889, living these few years retired from active life. He wife, who was born April 23, 1840, at Hampden, Ohio, died April 22, 1905. His youngest daughter, Laura J., who was born January 24, 1870, died November 16, 1892. The two older daughters, Elizabeth and Harriet, live in the village of Rock Falls in the old home. Both are graduates of Ames, class 1882, and both have taught for several years. Thomas R. also lives in Rock Falls, a stock dealer. He married Chloe M. Cochonour, and they have a daughter, Doris C.
The present generation have but a dim perception of the hardships and trials of pioneer life-what it meant to walk to Des Moines and enter land, after having settled upon same to be obliged to go with an ox team to Dyersville for the winter supply of provisions, thinly clad, the weather at zero, and with the fear of encountering one of the severe blizzards. Thomas Perrett never shirked his duty, whether public or private, and contributed his share to developing the country. He was a charter member of the Masonic lodge organized in Mason City, also of Benevolence Chapter. At the time of his death he owned four hundred and fifty acres of land in Falls township.
A. B. Phillips, M. D., one of the prominent young physicians of Clear Lake , Iowa , was born on a farm in Lincoln township, Cerro Gordo county, this state, March 25, 1877 , a member of the Phillips family that settled here in pioneer days and of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume.
Doctor Phillips passed his boyhood days on his father's farm and received his early education at Nora Springs Seminary, where he graduated in 1896. He then entered the State University of Iowa, from which in 1900 he received the degree of B. S. During this time his studies had been selected with the medical profession in view, and he then went to Chicago and pursued his medical studies at Northwestern University Medical School , where he graduated in 1902. Six months later he opened an office at Clear Lake , where he soon proved his natural ability and acquired skill in the line of work he had chosen, and where he has established a successful practice.
He has membership in the Cerro Gordo County , Austin Flint, Cedar Valley , American Medical and the State Medical Societies, and by constant research and study keeps himself informed in regard to every advancement made in the science and practice of medicine. Politically he is identified with the Republicans and he takes and active interest in local affairs and has served as a school director. Fraternally he maintains membership in the A. F. & A. M., the K. of P., and the B. P. O. E. He and his wife attend worship at the Congregational church.
Mrs. Phillips, formerly Miss Agnes Allen, is a native of Ames , Iowa , and a member of one of the old families of that place. She and the doctor are the parents of two children, Robert A., and Albin B.
An eminently useful and highful [sic] esteemed citizen of Mason City , Lambert W. Phillips is a man of undisputed integrity, and during his long residence in this vicinity has won the confidence of his fellow townsmen, whom he is now serving acceptably as county treasurer of Cerro Gordo county. A son of the late Charles H. Phillips, he was born April 16, 1855 , in Cattaraugus county, New York , coming on the paternal side of good old New England stock.
A native of Massachusetts , Charles H. Phillips spent a part of his earlier life in New York state. In the summer of 1865 he moved with his family to Ripon , Wisconsin , where he remained just about a year. In June, 1866, again taking up the line of march, he made an overland trip to Iowa, making the journey, according to the custom of that day, with teams of horses and oxen, one of which, loaded with household goods, was driven up Main street, Mason City, by his son, Lambert W., a lad of eleven years. Locating on section nine, Lincoln township, he purchased one hundred acres of land that was still for the most part in its virgin wildness and began the arduous task of establishing a home in a new and undeveloped country. He succeeded well in his efforts, bought additional land, and was there prosperously employed in agricultural pursuits until his death, in 1898. His wife, whose maiden name was Almira Blackmore, was born in 1836, in New York state, and is now living in Clear Lake , Iowa . To them nine children were born, seven of whom survive, as follows: Lambert W., the special subject of this brief personal notice ; Lester E., residing in Michigan ; Norman W., a successful physician in Clear Lake, Iowa ; Cora, wife of W. H. Heniman, of Clear Lake ; Nina, wife of I. L. Paulson, of Clear Lake ; Edwin, of Lincoln township ; and A. B., one of the leading physicians of Clear Lake.
After coming with his parents to Cerro Gordo county, Lambert W. Phillips attended the winter terms of the district schools, in the summer time assisting in the improvement of the parental homestead. He subsequently taught school a few winter terms, farming for himself the remainder of the year. Not at all caring to make farming his life work, he accepted a position in the Clear Lake Bank, where he was employed several years. In 1893 Mr. Phillips was made deputy county treasurer, and in 1897 was elected country treasurer of Cerro Gordo county, a position of responsibility to which he was re-elected in 1899, holding the office four years or two terms. He subsequently established himself in the real estate and insurance business in Mason City , and in April, 1909, on account of the death of the county treasurer, was appointed county treasurer to fill out the unexpired term.
On December 24, 1885 , Mr. Phillips was united in marriage with Alice A. Payne, who was born in Wisconsin September 15, 1863 , and of the children born of their union two are living, Laura and Clarence.
Politically Mr. Phillips has ever been a firm supporter of the principles of the Republican party. Fraternally he is a member of Benevolence Lodge, No. 156, A. F. & A. M. ; of Benevolence Chapter, No. 46, R. A. M. ; of Antioch Commandery, No. 43, K. T. ; and is a charter member of Cerro Gordo Lodge, No. 70, K. of P. Mr. and Mrs. Phillips attend the Congregational church.
Lavinius Alexander Prescott, a farmer and property owner of Cerro Gordo county, has spent the greater part of his life within its boundaries, having come in 1876 with his father. He owns one hundred and sixty acres in sections 10 and 15 in Grimes township, and rents the northeast quarter of section 9, thus having under operation three hundred and twenty acres, not to mention fifty-five elsewhere located. In addition to his general farming he raises stock. Mr. Prescott was born in Clinton township, DeKalb county, Illinois , in 1857, and is the son of Henry and Esther (McNish) Prescott. Upon coming here in 1876 they secured land in section 35, Grimes township. They were very isolated, the nearest town and market being Sheffield , Franklin county, and the nearest neighbor five miles away. The father ploughed the unbroken prairie and generally improved his land and there made his home until the fall of 1884, when he removed to another eighty acres, the north half of the northeast quarter of section 35. He paid three hundred dollars for it and it is now worth six thousand dollars. The father, a native of Vermont , lived previous to his coming to the county, in Illinois , and then in Marble Rock, Floyd county, Iowa , securing near the latter place a two hundred acre farm. He died August 22, 1894 , on the Cerro Gordo county homestead, at the age of sixty-five years. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, a stanch Republican, serving as assessor, and he and his family were members of the Baptist church at Marble rock, Floyd county. The mother is now aged seventy-four and makes her home in Lake Andes , Charles Mix county, South Dakota . There were four children besides Mr. Prescott. Ashel H. resides in South Dakota ; Jesse D. is in Cerro Gordo county ; Henrietta Jane married Oscar Rickard, and died October 14, 1893, in Boone county, Iowa ; Owen Melvin died March 15, 1885, at the age of nineteen years.
Since the age of three Mr. Prescott has been an Iowan. He received a common school education and early decided to follow the vocation of his father. In addition to his general farming he has been an extensive stock-raiser. He subscribes to the policies and principles of the Republican party and gives an intelligent consideration to affairs of public moment. He served as constable at one time.
On May 13, 1878 , in the Methodist church of Mason City , Mr. Prescott was untied in marriage to Inez Mary, daughter of Abraham Rickard, who came to Iowa about 1850. He lived in Davenport and at Cedar Rapids , and it was in Harrison county that Mrs. Prescott was born. Her first husband was William Medley, an early resident of Iowa , and who now resides in Oregon , and there are two children by this former union, Ida May and Mary Estella Medley.