Davis County, Iowa
Des Moines: Iowa Historical Company,
Unless noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
T. O., editor and proprietor of the Bloomfield Democrat; was born June 3, 1844,
in Claremont, Sullivan county, New Hampshire.
In the spring of 1859 his parents removed to Iowa, settling near
Mitchelville, in Polk county.
Two years later young Walker was teaching school in Greene county, and
the two following winters in Polk and Warren counties.
In 1863 he entered the preparatory department of the State University,
completed a two year's course in one, and until 1866 pursued an elective course
in that institution.
Forced to abandon the completion of his collegiate education through lack
of funds, he studied law in the office of J. Y. Blackwell doing clerical work
meanwhile for his board, and was admitted to the bar in 1867.
In December of the same year he began journalistic work upon the Iowa
City State Press, continuing here until January, 1869, when he took the position
of city editor of the Des Moines Daily Statesman, now Leader.
In the following July he severed his connection with the Statesman to
arrange for the publication of the Democrat in Bloomfield, which was begun
September 15, 1869. In
October, 1870, he married Miss Henrietta A. Hoyt, of Koshkonong, Wis.
The remarkable voice possessed by Mr. Walker led to his selection as
secretary and reading clerk of the Democratic State Convention of Iowa in 1868,
and for each succeeding year since.
It also secured for him the position of reading clerk at the National
Democratic Conventions of 1876 and 1880, where at the former he earned his
national sobriquet, "Alabama."
In 1880 he was made the nominee of his party for the State senate from
the district composed of Van Buren and Davis counties, and in 1881 was nominated
for the lower house of the legislature.
In both these contests he was unsuccessful, the opposition polling more
votes than his own party.
In October, 1881, he was offered and accepted the position of editor, of
the Burlington Daily Gazette, retaining, however, editorial control of the
In January, 1882, he was tendered the managing editorship of the Ottumwa
Daily Democrat which place he now holds.
Mr. Walter is essentially a self-made man, one of the representatives of
our western civilization.
His education gotten in the intervals of hard work, has been largely
supplemented by an exhaustive reading, for he is still a student, and his
pleasing address, genial manners and musical voice cause him to be in frequent
demand for lectures and public addresses.
For the last twelve years no man has done more to make history for Davis
county than T. O. Walker.
by Lois G. Cossel McMillin
J A, Postoffice Bloomfield. His father Benjamin is descended from the
Warrington's of NJ., and they are from a very old and titled English family. His
father started for California in 1851, and drowned in the Platte River. In June
1861, he enlisted in Co F, " Black Hawk Cavalry" of Illinois, but
mustered as Missouri troops, being the 7th Mo. He was appointed Sgt Major of the
regiment and at his own expense, for the 11th Mo. Calv. recruited a new unit.
The captain sold his farm, moving nearer to town to allow better educational
facilities for his children. While in the Army, he was wounded in the knee, from
which he still suffers. He is a Mason, and an Oddfellow, and a member of the
B. submitted by
Washburn, Selah B., farmer and stock-raiser,
section 11, postoffice Milton; was born April 8, 1825, in Putnam county, New
York. And at the age of ten moved with his parents to Madison county,
Illinois, where his father died three weeks after; since which time he has had
to fight his own battles. He learned blacksmithing and picked up an
education; coming to Iowa and locating in Lee county in 1844, where he opened
the pioneer blacksmithshop in Primrose. He came to this county in 1862,
locating where he now lives; he has a fine farm of 240 acres, well improved.
He was married October 16, 1847, to Miss Vashti Jane Kelley, a native of New
York. They have six children: Horton S., Melvin E., Lewis T.,
Irvine, Ida and Retta. He was burned out October 1, 1875, the house and
contents being totally destroyed; a loss of about $1,300. Mr. W. is a
self-made man; he intends removing to Milton and quitting hard work; he is now
township trustee, and treasurer of the school board.
Woodward, A. submitted by
Woodward, A., farmer and dairy-man, postoffice
Milton; was born July 29, 1829, in Summit county, Ohio; he grew to manhood
in the western reserve, and was educated in the common schools; and
learned the coopers trade. Carried on a shop two years, then came
to Iowa in 1851, locating near Stringtown in this county, where he engaged
in brick making. He bought a farm in Van Buren county in 1853,
and July 6, 1854, married Miss Lucy Wilson, daughter of Byram Wilson,
a pioneer of this county. This lady enjoys the distinction of
being the first white child born in Davis county, being born in Stringtown,
October 10, 1838. She was educated at the early pioneer schools,
and is a lady of refined tastes and cultured mind. They have a family
of six children, Retta, Allen, Scott B., Aggie, Eva and Harry; and have
given them a good education. Mr. W. bought the farm he now owns
in 1870, consisting of eighty acres of well improved land, with good
buildings fine orchard, and nicely situated near to Fox River timber.
Mr. W. is putting in practice the knowledge of the dairy business gained
in his youth in the great dairy district of Ohio.
WRAY, G. W., lives
on section 7, postoffice Pulaski; was born in Giles county, Tenn., March
7, 1830. When he was quite young, his father moved to Adams county,
Ills., where they lived five years; then moved to Van Buren county,
Iowa. In 1845, they came to this county, settling in Wyacondah township.
He was raised a farmer and received a common school education. In 1852,
in company with his brother, he went to California, returned to this
county in 1855, and moved on his present farm in 1857. He was married
February 14, 1857, to Miss Louisiana Miller. They have six children:
Henry Frank, Mary E., Martha J., Reuben, Albert and John. He has a fine
farm of 140 acres, all in cultivation. Mr. W. is a Mason, belonging
to Quitman Lodge, No. 217, and also one of the standbys in the M. E.
JAMES M, farmer, section 2; was born in Davidson county, Tennessee, October
28, 1800, and there he resided until the fall of 1836, when he came
to Van Buren county, Iowa, and came to this county in April, 1845, where
he has since resided. He was in Quincy, Illinois, during the Black Hawk
War, and was in Burlington, Iowa, when there was only one store there.
When he staked out his claim in Van Buren county, there were 500 Indians
camped on the claim. Mr. w. is now located on one of the best farms
in the county, consisting of 520 acres, under good cultivation, with
good residence, barn and orchard. He was married June 3, 1826, to Jane
Birdwell, of Giles county, Tennessee, and they had eight children: Thomas
J., George, James Madison, William M., Mary Ellen, John, Albert and
one deceased, Franklin. Mrs. W. died in August, 1848, and Mr. W. married
again June 12, 1849, to Edie Somerland, of this county, and they have
had four children: Otway, Margaret, Harvey and Anna. Mr. W. has held
several offices; was a member of the board of township trustees, in
Van Buren county, and was elected to the legislature, in 1843, on the
democratic ticket; the district being composed of Van Buren, Davis and
Appanoose counties, where he served with entire credit to himself and
to the perfect satisfaction of his constituents. By an upright, honorable
life, he has secured the love and esteem of every one. He has been a
successful farmer, and has lived to see his children grow up, honored
and respected men and women.
on section 6, postoffice Stiles; was born in Giles county, Tenn., October
18, 1827. When he was four years old, his father moved to Adams county,
Ills., where he lived five years, then came to Van Buren county, Iowa,
where they lived about nine years. In the spring of 1845, he came to
Wyacondah township, and in the spring of 1852, he went to California,
being five months on the way. After mining three years, he returned
and purchased his present farm, and moved on it in 1857. He was married
to Miss Rebecca Radee of this county. Eight children have been born
to them, six now living: Effie Jane, Emma A., Ida May, Clara Francis,
Mary Elizabeth, J. Wm., and two deceased, Geo. B. and Minnie. Mr. Wray
has a good farm of 183 acres, a good house, barn and orchard. He was
raised a farmer and educated in the common schools. He is a member of
Masonic Lodge No. 217 and of the M. E. Church.
and stock-raiser, postoffice West Grove; was born in Van Buren county,
Iowa, December 3, 1840. When five years of age, his father, Hon. J.
M. Wray, moved to this county. Here he has since resided, being raised
a farmer, and educated in the common schools. He is the owner of a nice
farm of eighty acres, well improved. He was married march 20, 1864,
to Miss Cinta Reeves, of this county. They had two children, Minnie
C. and James R. Mrs. W. died August 3, 1867, and Mr. W. was married
again October 16, 1870, to Angeline F. Patterson, of this county. They
have four children: Almy J., Lola H., Lovina J. and Rose Olive. Mr.
and Mrs. Wray are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. W. is
an Odd Fellow, and in politics is a democrat. He has been township treasurer,
and gave entire satisfaction; being upright and square in his dealings,
he has the respect of every one.