and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Hon. Alfred S. Fear, deceased, one of the pioneers of Des Moines County, Iowa, was born in Miami, Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1809, and there grew to manhood, receiving a very liberal education for the times. He was united in marriage, in the year 1832, with Miss Mary E. Wile, who was born in Miami, Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1815. In 1840 the family left Ohio, going to St. Louis, where Mr. Fear was employed as a clerk, but the following year he came to Burlington, leaving his family in St. Louis, and embarked in the mercantile business, returning for his family and bringing them to their new home during the following year. He continued in the mercantile business until 1853, at which time, his health failing, he had to abandon it.
A stanch Democrat in politics, he was nominated and elected to the State Legislature, during the time when its sessions were held in Iowa City. Mr. Fear was always of very studious habits and was a finished scholar, but few in Des Moines County being better posted in its history and affairs than was he. Ten children graced the union of this worthy couple, though all have passed away with the exception of two sons, John and Henry W., residents of Burlington. Those deceased are: Elizabeth, Mary Catherine, Alfred S., Jr., Albert, James Franklin, Alfred N., Mary E., and DeCourcey L. Mr. Fear departed this life in Burlington, April 5, 1857, his wife surviving him for five years, her death occuring in 1862. He was a man of more than ordinary ability, and at his death the county lost one of its best citizens.
Henry W. Fear, one of Burlington's most highly respected citizens, was born in Miami, Hamilton Co., Ohio, July 22, 1836. When but a babe, his parents moved to St. Louis, and in 1842 to Burlington, Iowa, which has ever since been been his home with the exception of a few years spent in the mines of Colorado and California. His boyhood years were passed in attending the common schools of Burlington and as a clerk in his father's store.
Returning from a trip to California in 1863, he was united in marriage the following year with Miss Mary Stewart, a daughter of Robert and Celinda Stewart, who were among the pioneers of Burlington, She is a native of Columbus, Ohio, born May 18, 1841. Two children grace their union--Alfred S. and Kimball S. In politics Mr. Fear has always been affiliated with the Democratic party, believing firmly that the principles advocated by Jefferson and Jackson are more conducive to the general welfare of the people than those advocated by any other party. As a citizen he is held in high esteem by all who know him.
T. Fleener, a prominent pioneer, who came to Des Moines County, Iowa,
in October, 1836, now resides on section 3, Pleasant Grove Township.
He was born in Rush County, Ind., Oct. 11, 1823, and when thirteen years
old emigrated to this county with his parents, settling in Pleasant
Grove Township. His father, Isaac Fleener, was born in Washington County,
Va., in 1790. In that State, his marriage with Lydia Fleener was celebrated.
She was a native of Washington County, Va., and a daughter of Gasper
Fleener, of Maryland. After making their home for some time in their
native State, they removed to Rush County, Ind., where they were among
the early pioneers, but later became residents of Des Moines County,
Iowa. The children born of their union were Joel, born March 27, 1810,
now residing in Pleasant Grove Township; Thompson, born Nov. 26, 1811,
makes his home in Pleasanton, Kansas; Mary Ann, born March 1, 1812,
died in childhood; Hiram, born July 26, 1818, is a resident of Pleasant
Grove Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa; John H., born June 24, 1820, died
in childhood; William P., our subject, is next in order of birth; Robert
C., born Oct. 8, 1826, died April 14, 1888; Elizabeth Jane, wife of
D. L. Portlock, of Pleasant Grove Township, Des Moines County, was born
June 22, 1827. Isaac Fleener, the father of these children, died in
Pleasant Grove Township, July 26, 1841.
subject remained upon the farm where his earlier years were passed until
the 10th of October, 1850, when he was united in marriage with Miss
Sarah McCune, daughter of William and Martha McCune, both of whom were
natives of Virginia, though they removed from there to Louisville, Ky.,
later became residents of Ohio, next made their home in Fayette County,
Ind., after which they became residents of Rush County, and then of
Marion County, and, lastly, settled permanently in Des Moines County,
Iowa. Mr. McCune was born Dec. 7, 1780, and died in August, 1862. His
wife was born March 29, 1788, and her death occurred Dec. 27, 1860.
Seven children graced the union of this worthy couple: Elizabeth, born
Dec. 15, 1803, is the wife of Franklin Booe, a resident of Marshall
County, Kan.; John, born Dec. 23, 1813, died in 1847; Andrew, born March
27, 1817, makes his home in Jackson County, Kan.; James, now deceased,
was born Sept. 15, 1820; Martha, born March 4, 1824, is also deceased;
William, born April 15, 1827, is living in Putnam County, Mo.; Sarah,
born July 1, 1830, is the wife of William P. Fleener.
domestic life of our subject and his young wife was begun upon the old
homestead where they still continue to reside. Mr. Fleener has held
various positions of honor and trust in his township, having been both
Trustee and School Director for many terms. His farm consists of 250
acres of well timbered and well watered land, and everything about his
place shows that he is a thrifty and enterprising farmer. He is a Democrat
in politics, and both he and his wife are members of the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church, in which they are earnest workers. In 1866, Mr.
and Mrs. Fleener adopted a son, Charles Lewis, whose parents were Alfred
and Martha Caloway. When but eleven months of age, his mother died,
and ever since he has been reared as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fleener.
Mr. Caloway is still living, and resides in Washington Territory. The
brothers and sisters of Charles are as follows: Fillmore; William Henry;
Sarah E., wife of Marshall Rankin; Benjamin, now a resident of Yarmouth,
Iowa; Mary Ellen, wife of Sanford Sharp, a resident of Middletown, Des
Moines Co., Iowa; and Charles Lewis, born in Burlington, Iowa, May 15,
1865, now the adopted son of Mr. and Mrs. William Fleener.
John J. Fleming, Cashier of the National State Bank of Burlington, Iowa, was born in Donaldsonville, La., March 19, 1851. His parents, Michael and Bridget Fleming, are natives of Ireland, and emigrated from that country to America in 1844, settling in Louisiana, and subsequently removed to Burlington, Iowa, in 1856, where they now reside. The father is the present Police Judge of the city. John J. Fleming was educated at Notre Dame University, Indiana, and on his return to Burlington was employed by the wholesale dry-goods house of Howard, Miller & Co., continuing with that firm and its successor, L. H. Dalhoff & Co., until 1871, and the accepted a clerkship in the Treasurer's office of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad Company. In 1873 he entered the National State Bank of Burlington as assistant book-keeper, and was promoted to the position of book-keeper, then Assistant Cashier, and in May, 1887, was chosen Cashier, which position he now holds. Mr. Fleming has proved competent and faithful in the discharge of all duties devolving upon him, has earned and enjoys the highest respect and confidence of the officers, stockholders and patrons of the bank. Mr. Fleming has taken an active part in the local affairs of the city, is a member of the Board of Trade, President of the Roman Catholic Protective Union, and has served for several years as President of the Burlington Boat Club. He is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and a Democrat in politics. On the 15th of May, 1884, Mr. Fleming was married at Parker City, Pa., to Miss Mary G. Bracken, daughter of P. Bracken, of that city. Mrs. Fleming was born near Pittsburgh, Pa. They have two children, a daughter and son--Esther aged two years, and Philip, an infant.
Judge Michael Fleming, one of Burlington's early and respected citizens, was born in County Cork, Ireland, Sept. 17, 1823, and is a son of John and Margaret Fleming. They were natives of the same county and the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters, six of whom are living: Mary, wife of Daniel Foley, of Columbus, Ga.; Ellen, wife of John O'Brien, who is deceased, is a resident of Ireland; Michael, our subject; Elizabeth, residing in New Orleans; John, who lives in St. Louis; Bridget, a widow, also residing in New Orleans. John Fleming, the father of these children, died in 1832.
Michael Fleming, of whom we write, grew to manhood in his native country, there receiving a common-school education, and at the age of seventeen he went to New Brunswick, arriving Jan. 1, 1840, where he spent two years, then went to Boston. He landed in the city of Boston in 1842, where he was employed as a journeyman in a cooper shop, and while in that city attended the celebration of Bunker Hill Monument. On hte 4th of October, 1843, he left Boston for New Orleans in search of his brother, who was working on the Big Black Bridge on the L. & C. R. R., arriving on hte 29th of the same month. Early in the following June he took steamer for Vicksburg, where his brother was employed. From Vicksburg he went to Madison, Ind., remaining one summer; from there to Donaldsonville, La. (seventy-five miles above New Orleans), remaining in that latter place also a year, and then going to New Orleans, in which city he was residing at the time of the cholera. In May, 1849, he came to Burlington, where he has since made his home.
In 1850 the Judge returned to New Orleans, where he wedded Margaret Mahar, a native of Ireland, and after the young couple arrived at their home he embarked in the cooper business, which he followed for many years. Nine children were born to them, four sons and five daughters: John J., Cashier of the State National Bank of Burlington; Daniel married and lives in New Orleans, La.; Mary C., who is employed in the Burlington post-office; Elizabeth, who is Mother Superior of a convent at Kansas City, Mo.; Johanna, a Sister of Charity in Chicago; Agnes, also a Sister of Charity, in Kansas City; Edmund K., clerk in the Auditor's office of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, with headquarters at Chicago; William, clerk in the National State Bank of Burlington; Margaret married William McDonald, and lives in Concordia, Kan.
Judge Fleming is a Democrat in politics, and is a man well posted in the affairs of the county and State. He has been honored with the following official positions; Justice of the Peace, being in that office for five years, and Judge of the Police Court, being elected in 1886, and re-elected in 1888. Judge Fleming has always been a warm friend to education, giving his children the best advantages, and the family holds a high position in the city.
Rev. J. M. Flodin, of Burlington, Iowa, is a native of Sweden, and was born Sept. 29, 1848, at Wisby, Gothland. His earlier life was spent in his native country and there he received his education, attending school at St. Petersburg, Russia, and later at Stockholm, Sweden. He is a son of John P. Erickson and Ulricka Berglund. On the 2d of July, 1881, the same day on which President Garfield was shot, Mr. Flodin landed in America. He was ordained for the ministry at Rock Island, Ill., in the winter of 1881, J. Stradling and A. B. Argren of the Council officiating. At Princeton, Ill., Rev. Flodin first began preaching the gospel, and from there went to Willis Creek, Iowa, then to Lucas, later to Creston, and coming from the latter place to Burlington. He has been very successful in his ministry, and also in church-building, houses of worship being erected both at Lucas and Creston, while he was pastor. Under his present ministry the congregation are erecting a beautiful brick church edifice on Etna and Angular streets, at a cost of over $4,000. Mr. Flodin being instrumental in securing its erection. He is a very successful pastor and in church extension he excels.
On the 15th of November, 1872, Mr. Flodin was united in marriage with Margarita Anderson, who was born at Bones, Mora Dalarna, Sweden, June 27, 1849, and is a daughter of Anders and Margarita (Mattdatter) Anderson. Two children grace their union: Walldamer, now thirteen years of age, and Alida, aged eleven years.
Hon. John Graham Foote, is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Burlington of 1843. He was born in Middlebury, Vt., on the 21st day of April, 1814. His parents were Justus and Harriet S. (Graham) Foot, of Connecticut, the former born June 24, 1782, the latter March 9, 1789. They were married at Middlebury, Vt., April 15, 1810. When a young man Justus Foot learned the trade of saddler, which he followed for many years in Middlebury, where he resided until his death, which occurred June 10, 1829. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Foot came to Burlington, Iowa, and died at her son's home, April 20, 1865. She was a member of the Congregational Church, a sincere Christian, loved and respected by all.
John G. Foote, the subject of our sketch, received his education in the Academy and College at Middlebury, Vt. In 1835 he left his native State, going to St. Louis, where he was employed as clerk, remaining there until 1843, when he came to Burlington, Iowa, and embarked in the hardware business, near where C. P. Squire's drug house now stands, successfully prosecuting the same for thirty-three years.
Mr. Foote has been twice married; first on Aug. 20, 1845, to Miss Eliza J., daughter of William B. Ewing, of Indiana. Mrs. Foote died Aug. 5, 1853, leaving a daughter, Harriet M., who, on Dec. 23, 1869, became the wife of Frank R. Dunham, of Burlington. On June 27, 1855, Mr. Foote was married to Miss Mary E., daughter of Stevens Merrill, of Plymouth, N. H. They are the parents of one son, now living, Graham Merrill, connected wih the Haxton Steam Heater Company, of which he is a member. The company is located at Kewanee, Ill., and is doing a large business. He was married, Nov. 9, 1881, to Miss Anna W. Joy, of Muscatine, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Foote are members of the First Congregational Church at Burlington, and are counted among the worthiest and most respected people of the city of their adoption. Mr. Foote has been an active worker in all interests of benefit to Burlington, and has been connected with many of its leading enterprises. He was connected with its first railroad, the Burlington and Missouri River, and was Treasurer of that company for a time, He was also a Director of the Peoria & Oquawka and the Carthage & Burlington Railroads. He was a Director of the first telegraph line to Burlington, and was one of the organizers, and afterward one of the Directors of the First National Bank. In early life Mr. Foote was a Whig, and at the breaking up of that party joined the Republicans, with whom he has since affiliated. In 1861 he was nominated by the Republican party for the State Senate and elected, serving from 1862 to 1865, inclusive, making a most efficient member. He was appointed and served as one of the Commissioners for the construction of the new and beautiful State Capitol of Iowa.
John G. Foote has been a successful business man, his success being due to patient toil, perseverance, prudence and good management, added to quickness of perception and promptness in action. In the life of such a man there is a lesson to be learned, and it is with pleasure that we present this brief sketch of his life, together with the excellent portrait of Mr. Foote found upon the opposite page.
Mark Sylvester Foote, a brother of the Hon. John G. Foote, one of Burlington's most prominent citizens, was born in Middlebury, Vt., Aug. 21, 1823. When twelve years of age he went to Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., where he received his education in the Potsdam Academy, of which his brother-in-law, Prof. D. S. Sheldon, was Principal. In the fall of 1840 he went west to St. Louis, from thence to the South, spending the winter in Mobile, Ala., and returned to St. Louis in the spring, there remaining until February, 1845. He was in the employ of J. & W. Vandeventer until that time, when he came to Burlington, Iowa, where he has since continued to reside.
On the 10th of September, 1851, while in St. Louis, Mr. Foote was united in marriage with Mary Stelle Mauro, daughter of W. H. Mauro, Esq., an old settler of Burlington. Eight children have been born unto them, six of whom are yet living--Clara G., Mark M., Helen S., Eliza W., Moses S. and Henry Gear. Mary A. died at the age of four years, and Susan W. died when five years old.
After coming to Burlington Mr. Foote, in 1846, entered into partnership with Charles Hendrie, they becoming proprietors of a foundry and machine-shop, located where the Union Depot now stands. Two years later, in company with E. D. Rand, Charles Hendrie and Moses Foote, he built the first planing-mill in Iowa, on the site of the present Derby Roller Mill, and in 1852, selling out his interest in the foundry, bought out Hendrie and Rand's interest in the planing-mill, and opened a lumber business, dealing entirely in Chicago lumber. During the panic of 1857 he was forced to close out, and entered into the wholesale grocery business with his brother-in-law, John H. Gear, which he continued until 1870. Selling out to his partner, in company with others, Mr. Foote bought the old Hendrie foundry, but as the building of railroads had caused machine-shops to be built all over that State, thereby depriving the foundry of its former patronage, he was forced to close out that business after two years. In 1873 he embarked in the wholesale paper and stationery business, but not being successful closed it out in 1876, at which time he resolved never again to engage in wholesaling in Burlington. The year 1877 was spent in aiding Judge Mason and others in organizing the Burlington Water Company, he being employed by the Holly Company to superintend their interest during the construction of the works, which were completed and delivered to the Water Company in June, 1878. He originated the building of the Steam Supply Company in 1880, and constructed and managed the works for three years, after which, in 1883, he aided in building the Rolling and Ripe Mills of the Hoxteen Steam Heater Company, at Kewanee, Ill. In 1884 he started the Burlington Rolling Mill project, planned and arranged the entire works, but when it was completed in January, 1885, he withdrew from the company on account of the incompatibility of the Directors. The construction of this mill has been complimented by almost every practical iron man who has examined the works. Since leaving the Rolling Mills he has been employed in constructing various buildings, and in putting in steam apparatus for warming purposes.
The great effort of Mr. Foote's life has been to build up manufactures. He has sunk a fortune in his efforts to make the many enterprises with which he has been identified successful. His money was made and spent in Burlington, and the amount of money he has paid for over forty years as National, State, county, school and city taxes, would enable him to live a comfortable, if not a luxurious life, if he now possessed it. There are few enterprises in Burlington that have not had his aid and support. He helped to build the first foundry and the first planing-mill in Iowa; was a stockholder in the Burlington & Mt. Pleasant Plank Road, in the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, in the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, in the Burlington & Carthage Railroad, the Des Moines County Agricultural Society, and in the Gas Works Company, and was a stockholder and Director in the First National Bank, of Burlington, and in the Burlington Iron Works; also Superintendent of the construction of the Hawkeye Woolen Mill, of the Burlington Water-Works, the Steam Supply Works and the Rolling Mill. The shrinkage in value of real estate, and his inability to hold in for a favorable time to sell, compelled him to sacrifice what would have been a paying investment in a more growing city.
In early life Mr. Foote was a Henry Clay Whig. At the age of seventeen years, when but a student, he spent the summer in the cause of Harrison and Tyler in the stronghold of Senator Silas Wright, in St. Lawrence County, N. Y. The year 1856 found him a supporter of the Republican party, of which he has remained a member to this day.
William Fordney, one of the prominent pioneer settlers of Burlington, was born in McConnellsburg, Pa., Jan. 31, 1818. He is a son of Daniel and Mary Magdaline (Berline) Fordney, the former born in Lancaster City, Pa., Aug. 18, 1784, and the latter in Eastern Pennsylvania, Nov. 11, 1787. They were married in Chambersburg, Pa., by the Rev. John Moeller, Jan. 31, 1808. Daniel Fordney was a soldier in the War of 1812, and was under the command of Gen. Harrison at Lake Erie. He and his wife settled in McConnellsburg, where six children were born to them: Adam, born April 26, 1809, learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner when a young man, and first settled in Wheeling, Va., where he was married to Miss Mary A. Richards, who was born Sept. 19, 1808. In 1837 he came to Burlington, being among the early settlers of the county, but subsequently removed to Chicago, then to St. Louis and later to Los Angeles, Cal. He afterward returned to Burlington, where he died in 1885. Margaret, born March 5, 1811, was married at Wheeling, Va., to Richard Baldwin. They afterward removed to Harrisonville, Ohio, where they both died. Catherine J., born June 4, 1813, wedded John Shell; David, born Oct. 8, 1815, died Oct. 29, 1825; William, of this sketch; and Ann Maria, born Feb. 11, 1820, married L. J. Gilbert. Of the six children, William is the only surviving one. In 1851 Daniel Fordney came to Burlington, where he remained until his death, which occurred Dec. 17, 1856. Mrs. Fordney died July 31, 1856. She was reared as a Lutheran, and lived a consistent Christian life. Mr. Fordney was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
William Fordney, the subject of this sketch, received his education in the district schools. As soon as he had attained a sufficient age, he was apprenticed to the trade of cabinet-making for three years, but not liking this business, his father bound him to the carpenter's and joiner's trade with Samuel Seibert, of Chambersburg. He served under his instruction for four years, receiving $2 per month and board, and clothing himself out of his own wages.
Mr. Fordney was united in marriage by the Rev. John N. Hoffman, at Chambersburg, Pa., Sept. 3, 1840, with Miss Elizabeth Grove, a native of Chambersburg, born May 7, 1822. In 1840 Mr. Fordney emigrated to Burlington, then a small village, and the following year purchased the lot on which he now resides. He erected a frame building, but this has since been supplanted by a fine substantial brick, his present residence. Being an excellent workman, Mr. Fordney soon had plenty of employment, but money being so scarce, he hardly received enough to pay the postage on his letters, which at that time was twenty-five cents. He has aided largely in building up the city, his handiwork being seen throughout the country. He has drawn the plans and superintended the erection of many of the substantial buildings of Burlington, and probably there is not a man living to-day who has done more to build up Des Moines County.
In politics he was first a Whig. In voting for this party, he did not follow the teachings of his father, who was a stanch Jackson Democrat, but, having a mind of his own, and comparing the two parties, he decided to cast his lot with the Whigs. He is not what would be called a politician, though he has held several offices in his adopted city.
Mr. and Mrs. Fordney are the parents of four living children: Maria, wife of Jacob Pieffer; Henrietta, wife of Ebenezer Campbell; Jennie E. and William. Mr. Fordney is a member of the Ancient Order of Druids, and has filled all the chairs of the same. He is at present Treasurer, having held that position for many years. He is a man of sound practical judgment and logical common-sense, and is greatly respected for his straightforward, upright dealings, both in public and private life. Mrs. Fordney was called to her final home in 1864. She was an earnest, sincere Christian, and a most estimable lady.
James M. Forney, one of the early settlers and enterprising business men of Burlington, was born in Cumberland County, Pa., Feb. 21, 1822. His parents, John and Mary (Martin) Forney, were natives of Lebanon County, Pa., the former born in 1788, the latter in 1793. They were married in Lebanon County, but soon after settled in Cumberland County, where five children were born, three sons and two daughters, James N. being the only surviving one. John and Mary Forney were people highly respected for their many good qualities, and were members of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Forney died in Cumberland County, in 1823. Soon after his death his wife returned to Lebanon County, where she died in 1872.
James N. Forney is the youngest child of the family. He was educated at the common schools of Lebanon County, and at the age of seventeen was apprenticed to the cabinet-making trade, serving three years, receiving his board, and $35 at the expiration of the time. In 1844 he married Sarah Mellinger, of Lebanon County, and two years later moved to Dauphin County, where he embarked in the cabinet-making business. Leaving Pennsylvania to seek his fortune in the far West, he settled in Burlington, Iowa, May 1, 1850, where he operated a sawmill. In 1857, Mr. Forney, in company with Samuel Mellinger, engaged in the tin-ware and stove business, under the firm name of Mellinger & Co., continuing the same until 1866, when he retired from the firm. In 1875 he became a member of the firm of Buffington & Forney, proprietor of the wheel business, and out of this has grown one of the leading establishments of Burlington. In 1882 it became an incorporated company, under the name of the Buffington Wheel Company, with the following officers: M. C. Buffington, President, and William M. Forney, Secretary and Treasurer. Mr. Forney's former partner, the late M. C. Buffington, was the inventor and patentee of the celebrated Buffington wheel, but having little or no means with which to manufacture and put his valuable improvement on the market, Mr. Forney with characteristic enterprise generously furnished the capital to start the business, and took Mr. Buffington into partnership with him. Their trade in this valuable wheel now extends from Illinois to the Pacific Coast, and their works give employment to about seventy-five hands the year around.
Mr. and Mrs. Forney are the parents of eight children, five living: J. H., manager of a branch wheel business at Wickliffe, Ky.; Mary, wife of Seth Eggleston, Topeka, Kan.; Annie; Carrie; and Emma, wife of D. J. Sickles, of Kansas City. Politically, Mr. Forney is a Republican, though he could not be termed a politician, preferring rather to give his whole attention to his business. Mr. and Mrs. Forney are members of the United Brethren Church, and none are more worthy the respect and confidence of their fellow-citizens.
Chilon Foster, an honored pioneer of Des Moines County, Iowa, residing on section 34, Benton Township, was born in Franklin County, Ind., Dec. 19, 1816, and is a son of Chilon and Sarah (Neron) Foster, the father a native of New Jersey, and the mother of Pennsylvania. They were among the first settlers of Franklin County, Ind., where Mr. Foster owned and operated one of the first mills erected in the county until his death, which occurred in 1829, when our subject was but thirteen years old. His mother afterward came to this county, making it her home until called to her final rest, in 1845. To this worthy couple were born six children, of whom our subject was the fifth in order of birth.
Chilon Foster, our subject, learned the miller's trade in his younger days, but since attaining his majority he has followed the occupation of farming. In 1838 his marriage with Miss Elizabeth Hendrickson was celebrated, and in 1841 the young couple emigrated to Des Moines County, where a farm of 150 acres, partly improved, was purchased. The following year the family removed to the farm on section 34, Benton Township, where they still reside. Mr. Foster's farm now comprises 209 acres of valuable land, is one of the best improved in the township, and everything upon his land denotes thrift and industry.
To this worthy couple nine children have been born, six of whom are still living: William, whose home is in Mediapolis; John, died March 29, 1867, aged twenty-four years and ten months; Mary, who is engaged at dressmaking in Mediapolis; George, a resident of Wapello County, Iowa; Sarah, still residing at home; Robert, a resident of Keokuk County, Iowa; and Charlie, who has the management of the home farm. Since 1842 Mr. and Mrs. Foster have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has always taken an active interest in Church work, is a liberal contributor to its support, for many years was Class-leader and Steward, and at present is one of the Trustees. Believing that the sale and use of intoxicants is wrong, he is strongly in favor of the strict enforcement of the prohibitory law, and in him the temperance work finds an earnest advocate. During his entire life Mr. Foster has never had a lawsuit, which statement can be made of but few men. In his political views he is a Democrat, though liberal, and has held the office of Justice of the Peace for several years. He is one of the pioneers who have helped to place Des Moines County in the front rank which it occupies in the State. He has aided largely in its development, has assisted in its progress and civilization, and has ever been a public-spirited man. We are pleased to record his sketch among the other prominent and representative men of Des Moines County.
Robert Foster, a retired farmer residing at Kingston, Des Moines County, Iowa, was born in Albermarle County, Va., in October, 1835, and is a son of Washington and Betsy (Hamler) Foster, who were also natives of Virginia. The father was a farmer, and our subject was early trained to hard work. At the age of nineteen he served an apprenticeship at the blacksmith's trade, and later he made his first purchase of land, comprising 111 acres, in Lewis County, Va., where he made his home until 1850. At the expiration of that time he emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, settling in Franklin Township, where he purchased forty acres of land. After a number of years he sold that farm and removed to Dodgeville, but after a short residence there he became the owner of 120 acres of land in Huron Township, which continued to be his home until the spring of 1885, when he removed to the village of Kingston, where he is now living a retired life. He is now the owner of 275 acres of finely-improved land, which he secured through his own energy, industry and good management.
Mr. Foster was united in marriage with Miss Edith Martin, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of Isaac Martin, also of Virginia. By this marriage six children were born--Isaac, now a farmer near Stuart, Iowa; Joseph, a locomotive engineer, residing in Idaho; William, who is also an engineer; Ellen, wife of Theodore Ogle, an engineer, whose headquarters are at Stuart, Iowa; Livena, wife of Bert Burcomb, a merchant of Stuart, Iowa; Leona, also residing at Stuart. The mother of these children, who was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died in March, 1872, at the age of thirty-eight. In November, 1877 Mr. Foster was again married, Keziah Henson becoming his wife. Mrs. Foster is a native of Des Moines County, and a daughter of Joab Henson, who was born in Ohio, and was one of the first settlers of this county. In 1860 Mr. Foster went across the plains to Pike's Peak, where he remained one year, engaging in mining. In politics he is a Democrat, and one of the highly-respected citizens of this county.
Among those who have been engaged in agriculture for many years in Danville Township, we mention R. B. Foster, who may justly claim to be not only a pioneer, but one of the most successful men of this township. He was born in Culpeper County, Va., Jan. 22, 1819, and is a son of William and Sarah (Cooper) Foster, both of whom were natives of the same county. The great-grandsire, Kellis Foster, was born in Scotland, and came to America long before the Revolutionary War. His son, William, the grandfather of our subject, was born on the James River, in Virginia. He married Nancy Blackwell, in Culpeper County, while on a furlough during the Revolutionary War. The entire campaign was participated in by William Foster, who served as a private, and was a warm personal friend or both Washington and La Fayette. He was at the front and an eye-witness of the escape of La Fayette from the British soldiers, who were in hot pursuit, and as the former passed the lines, now being safe from further pursuit, he alighted from his worn-out beast, and, throwing himself upon the ground, awaited the approach of Gen. Washington, who was out with his soldiers, to prevent, if possible, the capture. The last meeting of William Foster with Gen. La Fayette was a very affecting one, taking place when the Marquis was on his last visit to the United States. La Fayette made a tour of the Colonial States, and in passing from one country town to another, invited all his old soldiers to be present, and in the old Culpeper Court House, among all the veterans, Mr. Foster was recognized by La Fayette as one of the men who headed the column at the time mentioned. Tears filled the eyes of both those patriots as they grasped each other by the hand and memories of the scene came back. The venerable grandfather often related the story to our subject, then a lad in Old Virginia.
The death of that old Revolutionary soldier occurred at his home in Virginia in 1834, he having reached the ripe age of eighty-seven. His widow died eight years later, also aged eighty-seven. They were the parents of eleven children, four sons and seven daughters, and of these William Foster, the father of our subject, was the eldest son, and the only one of the sons who reared a son. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, a Sergeant under Capt. Allen, and served until the close. After the war ended he returned home, and later was married to Sarah Cooper, they removing to Muskingum County, Ohio, in 1830, where the father died Oct. 16, 1848. His widow came to Iowa after the removal hither of her son Robert, and died in this county in 1867, aged seventy-one years. She was the mother of fourteen children, eleven of whom grew to be men and women--Jane, deceased, married Middleton Smith, who removed to Gentry County, Mo.; our subject, who wedded Susan E. Smith; Ann, who wedded Rev. S. Martin, a Calvinistic minister, died in Sangamon County, Ill., he then returning to Ohio; Elizabeth married Levi Grant, a farmer of Danville Township; Louisa wedded Calvin Woodruff, the present Sheriff of Mahaska County, Iowa, and her death occurred in 1887; Franklin, husband of Elizabeth Riley, resides in Henry County; Sarah C. married Daniel Reberger, who died in this county, and she now resides in Sterling, Kan.; Mary V. became the wife of Edward Worstall, of Bucks County, Pa., and they reside near Green Valley, Tazewell County, Ill.; Susan was the first of the family born in Ohio, and her death occurred in childhood; William married Margaret Waters, and they reside in Muskingum County, Ohio; James K. died in childhood; George M., who died in September, 1887, was the husband of Catherine Barnett, who is now living in Reelsville, Ind.; Martha S. died in infancy; Hannah wedded William Sawyer, of Villisca, Iowa. In 1844 Robert B. Foster, our subject, visited Iowa, but thought it a plain to vast to become populated in a lifetime. Returning to Ohio, he remained until 1852, when a removal was made to this county, and in Danville Township lands were purchased. All the lands were taken at the time, and improvements had been made upon the farm where Mr. Foster now resides. The log cabin was built north of he present family residence which was erected in 1861. Our subject, although an early settler, has never endured the hardships which were realized by the Ohio or Indiana pioneer, whose farms had to be made in the dense woods, but on a broad and fertile prairie he selected lands, and, although placing most of it under cultivation, yet all came easy, and from the beginning he has prospered, to-day living the life of a country gentleman who has secured a competence for old age.
Mrs. Foster was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, and is a daughter of Michael and Rebecca (Umbenhauer) Smith. The father was a native of Pennsylvania, and the mother of Virginia, born of German parents. Of fourteen children born to Robert Foster and his good wife, five died in infancy, Charles, aged nineteen, and Cora, aged fourteen, also are deceased, leaving seven children yet living. Kellis W., a member of Company E, 8th Iowa Cavalry, serving two and one-half years in the Army of the Tennessee, was under Gen. Sherman, beginning at the battle of Dalton, Ga., and continuing until the close of the war. His regiment was nearly all captured while on the Stonewall raid below Atlanta, but Kellis was among the fortunate ones who escaped. The Sergeant and six men, he one of the number, were on detached duty at the time, and the regiment was reorganized and remounted at Nashville, being mustered out of service at the close of the war at Macon, Ga. Eliza F. wedded Aaron Clingman, who resides in Jewel County, Kan.; Alameda wedded David Ritner, a resident of Shenandoah, Iowa, and grandson of Gov. Ritner, of Pennsylvania; Columbia is the wife of Nat Brown, of Omaha, proprietor of the Merchants Hotel; Warren, a farmer of Danville Township, is the husband of Emma Cardin; Howard, residing on part of the old homestead, is the husband of Sallie Hurlbut; Rob is unmarried, and takes charge of the farm work, in which he has been carefully educated by his father.
Since his marriage to Susan E. Smith, Dec. 31, 1840, in Moxahala, Ohio, Mr. and Mrs. Foster have reared a large family, have been at all times and under all circumstances a devoted couple, respected by their neighbors, and since 1871 have been active members of the Danville Baptist Church, of which he is a Deacon. Mr. Foster has served his township in numerous official positions, and for five years was a member of the Board of County Supervisors. One of the founders of the Republican party in this county, Mr. Foster remains true to his principles. His first vote for President was polled for Gen. Harrison. A fine oil portrait of his Revolutionary grandsire ornaments his parlor, and is esteemed as one of his most valuable heirlooms. Mr. and Mrs. Foster are both aged people, yet hale and hearty, and bid fair to enjoy many more years of life and happiness.
William Franken, of the firm of William Franken & Co., painters, and the present Chief of the Burlington Fire Department, is a native of Germany, and was born near Cologne, Rhenish Prussia, June 29, 1845. When but three years of age he came to America with his parents, Peter and Mary (Kueser) Franken, and his brothers and sisters, and of these children only one besides himself is living--Charles, who wedded Miss Mary Schmitel, and resides in Burlington. The family spent one year in New York City, and then removed to Buffalo, N. Y., where the husband and father died. In 1854 Mrs. Franken removed with her children to Milwaukee, Wis., where she was subsequently married to Gerhard Coenenberg, who died in that city in 1863. Four children were born of the second marriage, three or whom are living: Joseph, the eldest, died, aged seventeen years; John married Miss Lizzie McCallon, and is a farmer of Des Moines County, Iowa; Robert is supposed to be in the West; Lena, the only daughter, is the wife of Henry Brune, of Burlington, Iowa.
William Franken learned the painter's trade in Milwaukee, came to Burlington, Iowa, in 1863, where he pursued that occupation successfully, and in 1882, formed the existing partnership with H. J. Somers, under the firm name of William Franken & Co., house and sign painters, at 110 North Fifth street. This firm do an extensive business, in neighboring towns as well as in Burlington, makes paper hanging and graining a specialty, and gives employment to fifteen or twenty men. They have recently painted the Keokuk Hotel, of Keokuk, and the Santa Fe Hospital, at Ft. Madison. Mr. Franken became identified with the Burlington Fire Department the same year he came to the city, in 1863, and was a member of the old Eagle Company, under John H. Gear, as chief. In 1872, when the Department was organized as paid companies he was employed as a minute-man, and served as such until 1875, when he was promoted to Assistant Chief. In 1880 he was chosen Chief, and served during that year and the following one. He was out of office in 1882, but was re-elected in 1883, which position he has held continually since. Mr. Franken has made a most efficient and popular Chief, and under his management the Department has won the confidence and respect of the community, for the prompt and faithful discharge of arduous duties.
On the 15th of April, 1873, Mr. Franken was united in marriage at Burlington, to Miss Martha McCallon, daughter of Owen McCallon, an early settler of Des Moines County. Mrs. Franken was born in Burlington, and two children have graced their union, a son and daughter--Emma, born June 10, 1874, and John William, June 8, 1879. Mr. Franken is a Democrat in politics, and he and his wife are members of the German Catholic Church.
George Frazer, a practicing attorney at Burlington, Iowa, since 1849, and a prominent member of the Des Moines County bar, was born in New York City, April 1, 1821, and is the son of William and Betsy (Dennan) Frazer. His father was also a native of New York City, of Scottish ancestry, his forefathers being among the early Scotch emigrants who settled in what is known as Scotch Plains, N. J. His mother's family was originally from the same region, and her father was a Major in the war for independence.
The subject of this sketch attended the public schools until about fourteen years of age. In 1843 he removed to Danville, Ky., where he studied law and was admitted to the bar, there pursuing the practice of his profession until 1849, when he emigrated to Iowa, locating at Burlington, where he has since resided. Mr. Frazer has held various public offices, having served as Justice of the Peace, United States Court Commissioner, and collector of custom duties of this port. He was Surveyor of Customs for eight years. He has been editorially connected with the Burlington Press for many years, and among other papers with which he has been associated was the Hawkeye Telegraph. In early life Mr. Frazer was a Whig but at the formation of the Republican party became one of its most earnest supporters.
November 12, 1848, at Danville, Ky., the marriage of Mr. Frazer and Miss Nancy Parke Martin was celebrated. Mrs. Frazer was born in Rhode Island, and is a daughter of Col. Edward Martin, also of that State. Six children were born of their union, of whom only two are now living--Fannie and Florence. Laura, Augustine and George died in childhood, and Edward Martin died when between fifteen and sixteen years of age. Mrs. Frazer died Feb. 9, 1882, at Burlington, Iowa.
Capt. Thomas French, a very prominent citizen of Burlington,
Iowa, now deceased, was born in Old Brighton, in Beaver County, Pa.,
Oct. 4, 1815 of Quaker parentage, and when he was a year old his parents
removed to Beaver, the county seat. His early education was received
in the public schools of the latter city, and there he remained until
nearly sixteen years of age, when he went to Pittsburgh to learn mechanical
engineering. After becoming proficient in that branch he engaged as
engineer on one of the Ohio River steamers, running from Pittsburgh
to Louisville, Ky., and continued in that employment on the Ohio and
other rivers of the Southwest until 1841, when he came to Burlington,
Iowa. Traveling by wagon across the States of Indiana and Illinois to
St. Louis, Capt. French there took a stage for this city. In the spring
of 1842, he operated the Burlington ferry for Messrs. Gales & Seaton,
of Washington, D. C., proprietors of the National Intelligencer, continuing
in that employ for twelve years, and also acting as general agent for
those gentlemen, attending to all their extensive business in this locality.
During the year 1854, in company with Gen. Fitz Henry Warren and others,
Mr. French went to Washington, D. C., where he negotiated for and purchased
about 700 acres of land, including the ferry property on the Illinois
side of the river. He then superintended the construction of four steamboats,
three of which were to be used for the ferry and one for the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and which were built at different
points, viz: Cincinnati, St. Louis and Brownsville, Pa. In the fall
of 1856, Capt. French sold his interest in the ferry to Gen. Warren,
and was not again interested in this business until 1863.
During the year 1859, the Captain was elected a member
of the City Council, in which capacity he served seven years. For five
years, or during the entire war, he was Mayor of Burlington, and while
holding that office did effective service for the Government. He took
an energetic and prominent part in enlisting companies for service during
the Rebellion, particularly in enlisting and organizing the First Iowa
Battery, in which he met with the most violent opposition on the part
of the opponents of the war, but with the able assistance of Gen. Warren,
then in Washington, D. C., together with Dallman Gilbert and John Lahee
of Burlington, he succeeded, and by the aid of the Secretary of War
got the Government of the State to accept the battery on the 23d day
of July, 1861, two days after the disasterous battle of Bull Run. In
1861 and 1862, Capt. French was re-elected Mayor, and again in 1864
and 1865. He also acted as Postmaster for some months. He was a thorough
business man and an efficient city officer, and his terms of office
were marked by a wise, orderly and economical administration, not a
mob or single loss of life from violence marring the whole period. At
the beginning of the war, the citizens of Burlington organized a society
for the relief of the soldiers' families and widows, which organization
was continued during the entire war. It was managed by a committee of
three: G. C. Lauman, Mosly Ewing and Mr. French, who was President.
This was an active institution, accomplishing much good. At the close
of the war there was $95 in the treasury, which they appropriated toward
a supper to the 25th Iowa Regiment on its return home from the field.
The reception was given with much enthusiasm at Market Hall, and was
a most enjoyable affair. Besides carrying on the ferry, Capt. French
was engaged in other business relations. He dealt in real estate, buying
and selling city and other valuable property, and at one time he owned
a farm of about 100 acres adjoining the city limits. In 1867, he again
purchased an interest in the ferry, which he continued to operate until
1874, and then sold. Two years previous, he purchased about three acres
of land on Angular street, near Warren, upon which is a large and elegant
residence, which is one of the most beautiful places in the city, with
a fine lawn, beautiful shade-trees and other attractions. In his political
views, throughout his life, Capt. French was a stanch Republican, believing
in humanity, justice and liberty for all classes, races and colors.
He cared little whether his views were popular or not if he considered
himself to be in the right, and in the days of slavery was not afraid
to be called a black abolitionist, and he declared that the act of Abraham
Lincoln in signing the Emancipation Proclamation was the greatest and
most just act of any man on this planet.
On the 2d of December, 1849, Capt. French was united
in marriage with Miss Delia E. Griffey, a daughter of William and Mary
(Spitzer) Griffey, who were early settlers of Burlington, having settled
here in 1837. She was one of a family of twelve children: Leannah, Henry
Lee, Leavara, William Lee, Mary Jane, Serena, Delia E., Ellen, Laura,
Martha, Charles and Caroline. Mr. French's father, Joseph, was born
Nov. 3, 1771, in Mt. Holly, N. J., and died April 2, 1847, and his mother,
Martha Newton, was born April 10, 1786, and died June 17, 1858. They
also reared a large family of children: Newton, James, Charles, Joseph,
Thomas, Samuel, Maria, Leander and Caroline. Six children have graced
the union of Mr. and Mrs. French: Clarence who died at the early age
of two and a half years; Cleon, born in Burlington, 27th of April, 1852,
wedded Maggie M. Mason of Chicago, resides in Maysville, Colo., and
they have two children, a son and daughter; Kate, born March 25, 1855,
in Burlington, became the wife of O. T. Hillhouse, a resident of Creighton,
and one son was born to them, Oscar, now deceased; Ida, born Oct. 14,
1860; Lee N., born June 26, 1864; and Laura L., born July 14, 1868,
are all natives of this city, where they yet reside. Capt. Thomas French
departed this life Nov. 2, 1886. He was a man who loved his home and
its relations intensely, and was a true and loyal friend. His integrity
of character and firmness of purpose were unsurpassed, and he justly
ranks high as a citizen and pioneer. His generous nature endeared him
to the community in which for so long he was a prominent personage.
Nixon Fullerton, Sheriff of Des Moines County, Iowa, and one of the early settlers of the same, was born in the County Tyrone, Ireland, on the 12th of July, 1827. His parents were John and Lucinda (Nixon) Fullerton, the father of Scotch and the mother of English descent. Nineteen children graced the union of this worthy couple, seven of whom are living, four daughters and three sons, all of whom hold respectable positions in the communities where they reside. In early life John Fullerton was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and Mrs. Fullerton was reared an Episcopalian, but later both became members of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, dying in that faith.
Nixon Fullerton grew to manhood in his native country, receiving a liberal education in the public schools. When nineteen years of age, being quite an extensive reader, and hearing of the chances in America, he decided to try his fortune in a free country. Bidding his father good-by, he started out for the New World. Landing in Charleston, and passing through the Southern States, where he saw the negroes held in bondage, he came to the conclusion that if this was what they call freedom, he was ready to return to Ireland. He was then on his way to Burlington, but while passing through the Slave States, he settled one point in his mind, and that was that he would never vote the Democratic ticket, and to this resolution he has always adhered. He was among the first to advocate the Republican principles, and cast his vote in 1856 for Fremont.
Mr. Fullerton was one of the early settlers of Burlington, taking up his residence there in 1846. Soon after coming to the city he was employed as clerk in the store of his brother John, remaining with him until, on account of the gold fever in 1849, the brother sold out and went to California. He soon after received employment with J. S. Kimball & Co., remaining with them until 1865. He was in the employ of C. B. Parsons for twenty years, from 1867 until 1887, at the end of which time he was nominated by the Republicans as Sheriff of Des Moines County, and was elected over the Democratic nominee by four hundred majority, overcoming a Democratic majority in the county of twelve hundred votes.
On the 11th of September 1855, the marriage of Mr. Fullerton with Miss Helen Clarke, a native of Louisville, Ky., was celebrated. She is the eldest daughter of Alfred Clarke, who came to this county some time in the "30's," settling near Danville. He subsequently removed to Burlington, where he was engaged in the mercantile and milling business. Mr. and Mrs. Fullerton have three living children--Margaret, Mary Grey and Jennie E. Mr. Fullerton is a member of the Irish-American Political Association and Vice President of the same. He is in every sense of thev word a gentleman, honest, straight-forward, and ready to extend a helping hand in any good cause. He has a host of solid friends, who consider him in the light of an excellent host, and will doubtless remember him into the far future. Mr. Fullerton, like the true-born Irishman he is, takes an active interest in all institutions calculated to ameliorate the condition of his countrymen in his native land and is an ardent supporter of home rule.