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Clayton County >> 1916 Index

History of Clayton County, Iowa:...
edited by Realto E. Price. Chicago: Robert O. Law Co., 1916.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

George Cassutt, a well-known citizen and successful business man residing in the city of Elkader, became a resident of Clayton county when he was a boy of nine years and through his own well directed endeavors he has proved himself one of the world's productive workers and has gained worthy independence and prosperity, together with secure place in the confidence and esteem of the people of the county that has represented his home for more than half a century. Mr. Cassutt takes justifiable pride in reverting to the fine little republic of Switzerland as the place of his nativity, and there his birth occurred on the 8th of February, 1851. He is a son of John and Margaret Cassutt, who immigrated to America and established their home in Clayton county, Iowa, in 1860, the subject of this review having thus gained his rudimentary education in his native land and having been a lad of nine years at the time when the family home was established in Clayton county, where he continued to attend school when opportunity afforded. His father engaged in farming in Boardman township and continued as one of the substantial and honored citizens of that township until his death, which occurred February 27, 1877, his devoted wife having passed to the life eternal on the 24th of August, 1874. Of their children two died in infancy, prior to the family immigration to the United States; George, of this review, was the third child; Christina is deceased; Mary Ann is a resident of Elkader, Iowa; Joseph is a prosperous farmer in Boardman township; and Mary and her husband maintain their home in the city of San Bernardino, California. George Cassutt assisted his father in the work of the home farm and in 1870, as a youth of about twenty years, he formed a partnership with two other men and engaged in the operation of a threshing outfit. He possesses marked natural talent as a mechanic and found both satisfaction and profit in his association with the operation of the threshing machine, besides which he purchased a second-hand outfit of blacksmith tools and accessories and established on the home farm a blacksmith shop, in which he found much requisition for his work after the close of the threshing season. Later he became sole proprietor of the threshing outfit and business, by buying the interest of his partners. He successfully operated the outfit until 1878, when the machine was destroyed by fire, but within the same year he put his mechanical skill to good use by building a new threshing machine, in which he utilized all the available parts saved from the old machine and purchased such new parts as were demanded to place the machine in good working order. After operating the outfit two seasons he sold the same and also severed his association with direct farm enterprise. Removing to Elkader, the county seat, he here rented a vacant blacksmith shop and operated the same about eighteen months, giving special attention to the repairing of farm machinery and implements. Impaired health compelled him to retire from this field of enterprise, and, to recuperate his powers, he passed a few months in the state of California. In the spring of 1883 Mr. Cassutt purchased a well-drilling outfit, besides which he acquired also a good farm of one hundred and forty acres, in Boardman township, his brother Joseph being given the active supervision and control of the farm, on which they both maintained their home. Mr. Cassutt proved very successful in his business of constructing drilled wells, and in 1886 he purchased a new and improved drilling outfit, to the operation of which he still continues to give his attention, his services having been given in the construction of wells throughout wide area of country in this part of the state and a prosperous business having been developed also by him in the selling and installing of wind mills. He still owns the well improved farm and in 1887 he purchased his present attractive home at Elkader. He is a Democrat in his political allegiance and has served as a member of the city council of Elkader. Mr. Cassutt is known as a loyal and public-spirited citizen and he still permits his name to be enrolled on the list of eligible bachelors in Clayton county.

Mrs. MINNIE CLOUGH has been a resident of Clayton county since her childhood and here she has shown splendid energy and resourcefulness as a business woman, her success having been the result of her well-ordered efforts and personal popularity and having given her a place of prominence and influence in business circles in this county. She owns and conducts at Strawberry Point the well-equipped general merchandise store known as the Bee Hive, and the same has the best of facilities for meeting the demands placed upon it by a large and appreciative patronage. Mrs. Clough owns not only the modern brick building in which her store is located but also a well-improved farm of one hundred and eighty acres in Cass township. She is essentially one of the representative business women of Clayton county and her gracious personality has gained to her a circle of friends whose number is virtually equal to that of her acquaintances. She was born in Dubuque county, Iowa , and is a daughter of Gottlieb and Minnie (Heisler) Steinhulber. Her parents were born in Germany and were children at the time of the immigration of the respective families to America , where they were reared and educated and where their marriage was solemnized in Iowa . In the pioneer days Mr. Steinhulber was engaged in the mercantile business in Dubuque for a number of years, and in 1860 he came with his family to Clayton county and purchased a farm in Sperry township. He became one of the prosperous agriculturalists and highly esteemed citizens of this county and here continued to maintain his residence on his old homestead until his death, though he was visiting his sister in the city of New York at the time of his demise, which occurred in 1906. His cherished and devote wife did not long survive him, as she was summoned to the life eternal in 1908. They became the parents of six children, all of them are living, and all were carefully reared in the faith of the Lutheran church, of which her parents were lifelong and devout communicants. Mrs. Clough continued her studies in the public schools of Clayton county until she had completed an effective course in the high school at Elkader. In 1885 she engaged in the mercantile business as Strawberry Point, and here her Bee Hive Store is now one of the principal mercantile establishments of the progressive village, with a substantial trade that has been developed through effective service and fair and honorable dealings. Mrs. Clough is an earnest communicant of the Lutheran church and is liberal in the support of the various departments of its work. She has a pleasant home in which she finds pleasure in extending cordial hospitality to her many friends, and in which she is lovingly rearing two little girls whom she has taken under her benignant care and one of whom is the daughter of one of her kinsfolk.

Rebecca Clues

It is at about this time [1841] that we find the first of a long series of appropriations for the care of Rebecca Clues who was the first "county charge." W. W. Wayman was a member of the board and it is said that he was responsible for her coming to the county and just how it happened that he allowed her to be maintained at county expense is not explained. Eliphalet Price, who did more than any other man to preserve the history of the county and who wrote in a delightful vein that was real literature, has this to say of Rebecca Clues: "She was for many years a county charge, and all this time passed for a white person. Formerly she was a dark mulatto, and the slave and property of Governor Clarke of Missouri who emancipated her after change of color. This change of color from a mulatto to a white took place immediately after her recovery from a severe attack of billious fever. She was the head, or principal, cook in the family of Governor Clarke, who lived in great style in St. Louis, and was the owner of many slaves. As a cook she had few superiors. When she first came to the mines she could speak the French and Spanish languages as well as the English, but in after years she lost all knowledge of the French and Spanish, and began to speak the English with the Negro dialect. Aunt Becky, as she was called, had experienced many of the vicissitudes of frontier life. She had been a slave and a free woman; a mulatto and a white woman; she could speak at one time three languages; she was the first woman that came into Clayton county, and, after a residence here of twenty-four years, was the first woman in the county who died a pauper, after having attained the age of about eighty years."


The following year, in March, occurred the death of Lemuel g. Collins, a resident of Giard since 1851 and a member of the legislature from Clayton county in 1856. But a month later, in April, 1876, the county lost one of its dearest friends in the death of Horace D. Bronson. A sketch of Mr. Bronson, who was one of the earliest pioneers, appears in another chapter.