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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.

FRANKLIN S. TAYLOR, for many years a respected farmer of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, died at his home in clear Lake, this county, April 6, 1900. Mr. Taylor was a native of the “Empire State.”  He was born in Lawrence county, New York, September 5, 1845, and when a boy of nine years accompanied his parents, Joseph and Sylvia (Chapman) Taylor, and other member of the family, to Iowa, their settlement being in Jackson county, where he grew to manhood on his father's farm.  He was one of seven children, of whom three are now living.  The father died in Jackson county.  The mother survived him about fifteen years and died in Cerro Gordo county.

When the civil war was inaugurated Franklin S. Taylor, a youth at work in his father's fields, was eager to respond to the call for soldiers to protect the Union. On July 19, 1862, he enlisted as  a member of Company A., Nineteenth Infantry, U. S. A., and was with his command until he was discharge on account of disability, after serving about eighteen months.  After the war he moved to Grant township, Cerro Gordo county, where he carried on farming and made his home for a number of years, finally moving to Clear Lake, where his death occurred.  The farm has since been sold.

On August 1, 1868, in Lincoln township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, Mr. Taylor married Miss Lydia Blackmore, who was born in Allegany, New York, February 4, 1850, a daughter of Edwin and Cynthia (Wetmore) Blakemore.  When she was a girl her parents moved west to Wisconsin , and four years later, after the death of her father, which occurred in Wisconsin , her mother and other members of the family came to Iowa and took up their residence in Cerro Gordo county.  That was in 1867.  Her mother died at the advanced age of ninety years.  In their family were seven children, whom five are still living.  To Mr. and Mrs. Taylor nine children were born, namely : Orion, of Oregon; Mabel, wife of W. J. Robinson, of Clear Lake; Miss Cynthia, a professional hairdresser; Fred, of Fargo, North Dakota; Edward, also of Fargo, married Miss Nettie Larson; Norman, of Bend, Oregon; Willett, of Clear Lake, Iowa, married miss Tina Beeber; Sylvia, wife of Ernest Dunsmore, of Mountain Lake, Minnesota; and Frank, of Anthon, Iowa.  Mrs. Dunsmore has a son, Leland Dunsmore, the only grandchild in the family.

Mr. Taylor was a stanch Republican, always maintained a deep interest in public affairs, and at different times filled local office, such as school director, assessor, census enumerator, etc.  He was a member of Thomas Howard Post, G. A. R, in which he filled all the chairs except that of commander.  He worshiped at the Methodist Episcopal church, with which the family have long been identified.  Mrs. Taylor is a member of the Relief Corps.


O. B. Thompson, a resident of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, since 1855, and for the past nine years of Mason City, occupies the pleasant and commodious home he built on West first street.  Recently he sold his fine farm of two hundred acres in Mason township, which was the family home from 1861 for a period of forty years. The orchard he planted on this farm was the first one planted in the vicinity, and he has always maintained a deep interest in horticulture in connection with his agricultural pursuits, in both of which he has been very successful.

Mr. Thompson was born in Cheshire county, New Hampshire , June 11, 1839 , son of Benjamin and Lucina (Gibbs) Thompson, both born and reared there, as were their parents before them, both families being of English origin.  His father died in the prime of early manhood ; his mother lived to a ripe old age.  After the death of his father Mr. Thompson, acting on the advice of an uncle, Silas Card, a pioneer of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa , came west, accompanied by his two brothers, Orrin and Adelbert M.   That was in 1855.  All three entered land here, at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, and all engaged in farming. Adelbert M. died about six years ago in California.  Orrin died in 1908 in Mason City.  O. B. Thompson after spending a few years in Mason City and Nora Springs , where he worked in a store, married and settled down on his farm, beginning with practically no capital but soon winning his way to a comfortable competency.

Mrs. Thompson, formerly Miss Emma Adams, was born in October 6, 1839 , in Worcester , Massachusetts .  In 1851 she came as far west as Rockford , Illinois , and four years later she came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, which has since been her home.  Here she met and in 1861 became the wife of O. B. Thompson.  She is a sister of Mr. Charles M. Adams, of whom personal mention is made elsewhere in this work.  To Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have been given two sons and two daughters, namely : Ella I., wife of D. M. Dean, of Harlan, Iowa, died January, 1910, at the age of forty-seven, leaving a little daughter, Shirley ; Charles B., a farmer residing in Mason City, married Miss Nettie Gillett, and has ten children ; Jennie E., died on the home farm in 1892, at the age of twenty years ; Shirley C., of Ames, Iowa, is engaged in the theatrical business.

Politically Mr. Thompson has always been a Republican and at different times has filled various local offices.  In their church relation Mrs. Thompson belong to the Congregational and the children to the Christian church.

James E. Treston

James E. Treston, cashier of the Farmers' State Bank of Rockwell and a former agriculturist of ability, is of Irish descent and shares in some of the most pleasing characteristics of his ancestors. He was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, April 23, 1862, his parents being Edward and Eliza (Dillon) Treston, both of whom were natives of county Mayo, Ireland. They were married in their native country and in 1850, shortly afterward, they came with two of their children to the United States and located in Wisconsin. The father engaged as a farm hand, chopped wood, and in various ways of like nature made his livelihood and at the time of the Rebellion served his newly adopted country in railroad building in the south. In 1865 the family moved to Pennsylvania and located near Hazleton, in Luzerne county, where the father took up the occupation of mining, his particular duties being the charge of the slate pickers. Also for several years he had charge of highway construction, repairing the roads in existence and opening up new ones in the township of Hazle.  

In 1884 the father came with his family to Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo county, where he had been previously and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of improved land. He built and addition to the house and a barn and outbuildings, and a little later bought eighty acres more and continued to make his home there until his death. He and his family held membership in the church of the Sacred Heath. In politics he was a Democrat and for some time served as school treasurer of the township. There was a family of ten children, seven of whom are living, as follows: Susan E., of Rockwell; Mrs. Kate Gallagher, of Dougherty township; Mrs. Marry Bonner of Utah; Mrs. Margaret Rader, of Rockwell; Mr. Treston; Mrs. Budger [Bridgett] Barragy of Dougherty township; and Mrs. Jennie Gaffney, of Rockwell. Eliza, who died in 1887, John and a daughter who died in infancy are the three who have passed on.  

James E. Treston received his education in the public schools of Hazle township, Pennsylvania. He came with his father to Iowa and worked upon the homestead until July 1902, when he was elected cashier of the Farmers' State Bank of Rockwell, which position he holds to the present time, his competency being of a high order. He gives an unfaltering support to the Democratic party and for several terms held the office of township clerk. He and his wife are members of the Sacred Heart Catholic church.  

Mr. Treston's wife before he marriage was Miss Julia Burke, of Dougherty township, their union being celebrated in November, 1891. Her parents, Michael and Julia Burke, came to Cerro Gordo county in 1878. The father acquired four hundred acres of land, most of which he improved himself. He died in 1902 and his wife in 1889. Mr. and Mrs. Treston are the parents of eight children: Edward, Mary, Martin, James, Elizabeth, Julia and Catherine (both deceased) and Julia.