and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
John S. Parkes, of the firm of Gardner, Peterson & Co., dry-goods and notions, was born in the city of Utica, Oneida Co., N. Y., on the 8th of January, 1828, and came West with his parents, who located in Des Moines County, in 1835. Here he grew to manhood, receiving such education as was afforded in subscription schools, taught in the typical frontier school-house with its puncheon floors and slab seats. Being ambitious to make a start in life, Mr. Parkes crossed the plains to the gold fields of California in 1850, and began mining near Georgetown, Eldorado County. After four years spent in the mines he returned to Burlington, but in 1861 again went back, this time with an ox team, locating in Stanislaus County, where he entered a claim with the intention of making a home. In 1870 he again returned to Burlington, where he has since been engaged in the dry-goods business.
On the 16th of April, 1856, Mr. Parkes led to the marriage alter Miss Sarah Rowcroft, who died after one year of a happy married life. By this union there was one child, Sarah, who died when eight months old. Mrs. Parkes was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a faithful and loving wife, and highly respected by all who knew her. In early life Mr. Parkes was a Democrat, but at the breaking out of the war he joined the ranks of the Republicans, and has since voted with that party. When sixteen years of age he was converted, joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and since that time has been one of its active members. He is one of the most highly respected citizens of Burlington.
Among the early settlers
of Des Moines County, and also of the State, is the subject of this
sketch. He not only witnessed the rapid transformation which has
taken place in Iowa, but stood at the front and bore his share of the
heat and burden of the day. He saw his adopted State leave the
ranks of the Territories and take its place as one of the fairest or
the States which form the bright galaxy of the Union. Richard
Parkes was born in Shropshire, England, and there grew to manhood, receiving
a liberal education. He wedded Miss Jane Hollis, also a native
of Shropshire, England. In 1821 he bade good-bye to his native
land, crossed the Atlantic and took up his residence in Chautauqua County,
N. Y., from which place he removed to Trumbull, Ohio, and was among
its pioneer settlers. In the fall of the same year he again removed,
taking up his residence in Greene County, Ill., and in the spring of
1835, he came to Des Moines County, which was then a part of Michigan
Territory. The first settlement was made six miles northwest of
Burlington, Mr. Parkes purchasing a claim of John Jackson and also taking
up a homestead. On the claim purchased there was a small log cabin,
12x12 feet, into which he moved his family. Indians at that time
roved over the country and would often stop at the home of Mr. Parkes
while on their way to Burlington for supplies. They were generally
friendly, and never quarrelsome, unless they had had too much "fire
Mr. and Mrs. Parkes
were the parents of nine children, five of whom are living: Jane,
widow of James McKinnie; John S., William, Henry and Benjamin F., all
of whom are residents of California with the exception of John S., who
is a merchant of Burlington. Mr. and Mrs. Parkes were members
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, sincere in their belief and highly
respected in the community where they resided. Politically, Mr.
Parkes was a Whig, a great admirer of the principles advocated by Henry
Clay and Daniel Webster. He died in Burlington, Iowa, in 1842.
Some years after his death Mrs. Parkes married a Mr. Mott, and is now
a resident of California, having attained the age of eighty-two, and
still hale and hearty.
Christopher B. Parsons, for over forty years a prominent merchant of Burlington, and a resident of this city since 1843, was born in Parsonfield, York Co., Me., on Jan. 16, 1825. His parents, Thomas and Hannah (Bullock) Parsons, were also natives of Maine, of English origin, and the Parsons family dates its settlement in America prior to the Revolution. Parsonfield, Me., which celebrated its centennial several years since, was founded by Thomas Parsons, an English emigrant, one of the ancestors of our subject.
Christopher B. Parsons received his academic education in his native State, and when eighteen years of age went to Georgeville, Province of Quebec, Canada, where he spent several months with an uncle and took his first lessons in mercantile business. In June, 1843, he first came to Burlington, Iowa, where he was engaged as a merchant's clerk in the general store of Copp & Parsons. In 1847, when twenty-two years of age, Mr. Parsons was admitted to partnership in the business, the firm name being Parsons, Copp & Parsons, but Mr. Copp retiring some years later, the name was again changed, becoming T. L. & C. B. Parsons. This connection continued several years, and was succeeded by certain changes in partnership, when in 1865 Mr. Parsons purchased his partner's interest and continued the business alone. The well-known dry-goods and carpets establishment of C. B. Parsons was one of the leading mercantile houses of Burlington till August, 1886, when a fire occurred, and his stock was seriously damaged by fire and water. He proceeded to close out the business at once, and has since retired from mercantile life.
At Burlington, Iowa, April 10, 1851, Mr. Parsons was married to Miss Anna Maria Adams, daughter of R. S. Adams, Esq., formally of Massachusetts, and a pioneer of that city. Mrs. Parsons was born in Massachusetts, was a sister of the late A. G. Adams, Mayor of Burlington, and came to this city when but six years of age. Seven children were born of their union, five of whom are living, viz: Charles A., the eldest, married Miss Minnie Duncan, a sister of Mayor G. A. Duncan, and resides at Burlington; Walter C. married Miss Lillie Conrad, whose death occurred Feb. 1, 1888, and the husband now resides in Burlington; the two younger brothers, George W. and Harry F., are partners in a stock ranch in Western Kansas, and are making a specialty of fine-blooded horses and cattle; the only daughter, Nellie M., resides with her father; two children died in infancy. Mrs. Parsons, an estimable lady, highly respected and esteemed for her many excellencies of character, died Sept. 5, 1881. Mr. Parsons and his daughter are members of the Congregational Church.
In politics Mr. Parsons has always been a Republican, but has never been an aspirant for public office. His only service in that direction has consisted of twelve years of gratuitous service in the Board of Education, nine years of which he served as President. His warm interest in the cause of education led to his taking an active part in advancing and improving the school system until it reached the high standard of perfection it now enjoys. Mr. Parsons has been identified with the mercantile interests of Burlington for many years; thus he has necessarily formed extended business and social relations, and it is no flattery to say of him what is so widely known to be a fact, that he has occupied a foremost place in business circles in this city, and that, while enterprising and progressive in his business methods, he was so conservative as to command the utmost confidence as to his stability. His success in life was won by patient and unremitting attention to details, and by the application of correct business principles. In his retirement from the scenes of business activity, where he was so long a prominent figure, Mr. Parsons carries with him the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens and a wide circle of acquaintances.
a pioneer merchant of Burlington, Iowa, and an honored resident of that
city for forty-five years, is a native of Parsonfield, York County,
Maine, was born on the 12th day of July, 1810. His parents, Thomas and
Anna (Lougee) Parsons, were residents of that town, where they were
highly respected as worthy Christian people. Mr. Parsons' father
was born in Effingham, N. H., and was descended from Thomas Parsons,
an English emigrant, who came to America in the early history of the
country, and settled in York County, Maine, at what is known as Parsonfield,
which was named in his honor. His mother was born at Parsonfield,
and was of Scotch descent.
subject was reared in his native town, and received such educational
advantages as the local schools afforded, which were supplemented by
self-instruction. When nineteen years of age Mr. Parsons went
to Canada, where he was engaged in teaching English and French schools,
pursuing his studies in the meantime, and thus perfecting and improving
his scholarship. On the 1st of January, 1838, he was united in marriage,
at Georgeville, District of St. Francis (then Lower Canada, now the
Province of Quebec), to Miss Abigail B. Copp. Mrs. Parsons was
born and reared at Georgeville, and eight children graced their union,
three sons and five daughters: Joshua, the eldest, died at the
age of two years; Hannah Annette is the wife of J. B. Davis, of Burlington,
Iowa; Victoria Louisa died in infancy; Edwin C. married Miss Christina
Dement, and resides at Dixon, Ill.; Mary, widow of S. F. Rouse, is a
resident of Denver, Col.; Abigail died at the age of ten years; Jennie
L. resides with her parents; William W., the youngest, married Miss
Grace Priddle, and is in business at Burlington.
1838 Mr. Parsons formed a partnership with his father-in-law in the
mercantile business under the firm name of Joshua Copp & Co.
They conducted the business at Georgeville till 1843, when, finding
the times in Canada to be dull, with no immediate prospect of improvement,
they came to the United States and located at Burlington, Iowa, where
they arrived June 9th of that year. They at once resumed business
in that city under the firm name of Copp & Parsons, dealing in general
merchandise. In 1847 Mr. Parsons' nephew, C. B. Parsons, who had
been in the employ of the firm both in Canada and since their removal
to Burlington, was admitted to partnership, under the firm name of Parsons,
Copp & Parsons. Several years later Mr. Copp retired from
the business, and the firm became T. L. & C. B. Parsons, but in
1867 Mr. Parsons' eldest son, Edwin C., became a member of the firm,
and the father retired from active merchandising about the same date,
after an experience of twenty-nine years of continuous mercantile life
five of which were spent at Georgeville, Canada, and twenty-four at
Burlington, Iowa. On coming to this city Messrs. Copp and Parsons
purchased considerable real estate, which included lots on the north
side of Jefferson street, between Fourth and Fifth. On the lot
cornering Jefferson and Fifth streets Mr. Parsons built his residence,
and made that his home till April, 1883, when he sold the property to
John M. Gregg, who erected what is known as the Masonic Block.
Having built the brick block, No. 412 Jefferson street, in 1870, he
removed from the old house in the spring of 1883, and occupied the second
and third floors as a residence till the spring of 1888, when he moved
to his present commodious and pleasant home, at No. 703 Summer street.
Mr. Parsons has always been independent in politics, voting for the
man whom he believed would prove the better officer, of on national
matters with the party most in accord with his views at the time.
The Democrats, he admits, have the greatest right to claim his allegiance.
Not being a partisan, he has never been ambitious of political honors,
nor time of inclination for much prominence in politics. During
the later years of his residence in Georgeville, Canada, he served as
Deputy Postmaster of that city, and since his residence at Burlington
has served in the City Council, on the Board of County Supervisors,
and as a member of the Board of Education. He always exhibited
a warm interest in educational matters, and served several years as
President of the Board of Education of this city. Mr. Parsons' parents
were consistent members of the Baptist Church, and reared their children
to habits of industry, integrity and morality. In early life he
was a member of that denomination, but later, when he had children of
his own, he preferred the system of religious instruction for youth
in use by the Episcopal Church, and placing his children in the Sunday-school,
he joined his wife in membership with that denomination, with which
they have since remained. Mr. Parsons has been a resident of Burlington
for forty-five years, twenty-four of which were spent in active and
successful mercantile business. Since 1867 he has employed his
time in improving his property, erecting substantial business blocks,
dealing in real estate, or in seeing to the otherwise profitable investment
of his capital. He has been largely identified with the growth
and improvement of the city, and worthy public enterprises have always
received his cordial support and hearty co-operation.
Charles T. Patterson, Superintendent of the Burlington Street Railway Company, office corner of Summer and Dodge streets. (See sketch of Railway Company elsewhere in this work.) Mr. Patterson is a native of Burlington, the son of Hon. John and Martha (Darbershire) Patterson. His father was born near Cumberland, Md., and was of English and Scotch descent. Charles T. was raised on a farm and continued in that work until 1874, when he accepted the position he now holds. He was married, at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, May 18, 1872, to Miss Nettie Arrowsmith, daughter of John Arrowsmith. She was born near Urbana, Ohio, and came with her parents to Iowa in childhood. Mr. Patterson is a Republican in politics, and has served one term in the City Council of Burlington. A good business man, he has made the street railway a success.
George W. Patterson, a soldier in the War of the Rebellion, now residing in Mediapolis, Iowa, was born in Vandalia, Hamilton County, Ohio, near the city of Cincinnati, June 13, 1834. His parents, Ellis and Hannah (Worrell) Patterson, were both natives of Pennsylvania, the father of Irish parentage, the mother of French descent. The paternal grandfather of our subject, was John Patterson, a native of Pennsylvania. In 1840 the father of George W. emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, settling six miles north of Burlington, where he resided for a year, and then took up his residence in the city, where he was in the employ of Mr. Albright, engaged in making brick. The following year, in 1842, he purchased a brick-yard of Samuel Pitt, and commenced the manufacture of brick, which he continued for a period of sixteen years, or until his death, which occurred in 1857. At the time of his death he was a partner of the Hon. E. D. Rand and Mr. Castor. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Patterson, but four died in childhood. Those living are George W., the subject of this sketch; Lydia A. became the wife of George True, whose death occurred in the hospital at St. Louis, from the effects of a wound received at Vicksburg, while fighting for his country, and after the death of her first husband she wedded Erwin Downer, a farmer residing near Kossuth, Iowa; Ira D. is a farmer of Benton Township, Des Moines County; and Mary Ellen is the wife of Owen Bandy of Kossuth. Ellis Patterson was a man who took great interest in public affairs, was a member of the Christian Church, and his wife belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Nearly the entire life of our subject has been spent in Des Moines County. He was reared in the city of Burlington, and at the age of seventeen began the study of photography, and carried on that business in both Burlington and in Kossuth. On the 13th of June, 1861, Mr. Patterson responded to his country's call for volunteers, enlisting in the 1st Iowa Cavalry, and serving for nearly three years. He participated in the battles of Prairie Grove and many other skirmishes; fought against the bushwhackers, was under fire at the battle of Little Rock, and received a slight wound in Arkansas, in a skirmish at Yellville. At that place was stored a considerable amount of commissary supplies, which the command destroyed by burning. Mr. Patterson was First Corporal and Guidon-Bearer, and should have been the first in place for the company to form on, but having stopped to assist two intoxicated comrades from a cellar, was not in place when the assembly sounded, and for this breach of discipline was ordered to report to the rear guard, instead of being in his usual position in the advance. The head of the column at once left the town, but before the rear guard got away, a rebel hospital, in which were many of their wounded, caught fire, and in assisting to rescue the unfortunate rebels. Mr. Patterson's eyes were so seriously injured by fire and smoke as to cause a total loss of sight. Thus liquor, which works so much injury and evil, was the indirect cause of his great calamity, though Mr. Patterson himself has always been one of the most strictly temperate of men. This affliction of course rendered him unfit for further service, and he was consequently discharged Nov. 2, 1863, after which he went to St. Louis, with the hope that medical treatment might there be obtained which would afford him some relief. After remaining at the Institution for the Education of the Blind in that city for a year, he entered the Iowa College for the Blind, at Vinton, the first of the kind established in the United States, and where he remained for six years, during which time, in addition to his scientific and literary studies, he learned mattress, brush and broom making.
Returning to Kossuth, Iowa, Mr. Patterson followed broom-making until 1878, when he removed to Mediapolis, and has since lived a retired life. He was married Sept. 28, 1877, to Lena Johnson, who was a native of Lee County, Iowa, and a daughter of John and Rebecca (Miller) Johnson, the father a native of Pennsylvania, whose people were members of the Society of Friends, and the mother a native of Kentucky. Mr. and Mrs. Patterson are the parents of three children--Winnetta, Ralph Wendell and Alice. Mrs. Patterson is a member of the Baptist Church and of the W. C. T. U. of Mediapolis, she being the first President of the latter organization, and its Secretary for the past three years. She is a most companionable, intelligent lady, and prior to her marriage was engaged in teaching. Mr. Patterson is also a member of the Baptist Church and of Sheppard Post, No. 157, G. A. R. One of the pioneer settlers of Des Moines County, he has witnessed its development from a wild, unbroken prairie, to a state of great cultivation. Since he became one of its residents, towns and villages have sprung up, schools and colleges been built, railroads cross and re-cross each other, and every advantage has been secured which tends to make it one of the best counties in the State. In all this work of civilization and progress, Mr. Patterson has borne an active part, and we are pleased to place on the pages of Des Moines County's history, the record of this worthy citizen, respected pioneer and brave soldier.
Samuel Peabody, a resident of Burlington, Iowa, was born in Canton, Oxford CO., Me., June 1, 1837, and is a son of Jesse and Mercy (Elliott) Peabody. He was reared and educated in his native State, and in July, 1862, enlisted in the 16th Maine Infantry, as a member of Company I, was mustered in at Augusta, Aug. 19, and later was sent with the regiment to Arlington Heights, near Washington. The first engagement in which he participated was Fredericksburg. At Chancellorsville the regiment was held in reserve, but at Gettysburg it went in 400 strong, coming out with less than thirty guns. In that battle Mr. Peabody received a slight wound. Among other engagements in which he participated were Funckstown, Mine Run, first battle of the Wilderness and Laurel Hill. In the latter engagement he received a severe gun shot in his neck, was taken prisoner and confined at Richmond, where he was paroled in November, 1864. After being exchanged, he was put on detached service at College Green Barracks, Md., and received his discharge June 26, 1865.
Socially, Mr. Peabody is a member of Matthes Post, G. A. R. of Burlington, of which he has served as Commander; also a member of Washington Lodge, No. 1, I. O. O. F., and of the A. O. U. W. In the fall of 1865, Mr. Peabody took up his residence in New York City, remaining there two years, and then went to Chicago, whence, after residing one year, he came to Burlington in 1868. The previous year (July 4, 1867) he had been united in marriage with Miss Lydia M. Delamar, a native of Albany, N. Y. Two children have been born to this marriage--U. S. Grant and Hattie M.
a leading farmer of Huron Township, who resides on section 34, was born
in Afton, Chenango Co., N. Y., Nov. 21, 1822, and is a son of Hezekiah
and Martha (Long) Peck, both of whom were of English descent.
The father was a millwright by trade, and lived in New York until 1833,
when he emigrated to Missouri, subsequently living in Illinois and Iowa,
where he spent most of the remainder of his life, his death occurring
in Andrew County, Mo., in 1848. After the death of her husband,
Mrs. Peck made her home principally with our subject, until her death,
which occurred in 1857. They reared a family of nine children:
Diana, deceased wife of John Johnson; Betsy, who died unmarried; Reed,
now residing at Afton, Chenango Co., N. Y., is a millwright; Malvina,
deceased; Mary, deceased wife of Charles Robinson, who is now a resident
of this county; George W., who was editor of the Auburn (N.Y.) Journal,
died in that city, in 1882; Matthew L., our subject; Mark, a farmer
residing in Louisa County; and Benjamin, who died in infancy. The father and mother were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
M. L. Peck,
our subject, was reared upon a farm, but learned the trade of a brick-mason,
though he followed if but a short time. When he was eleven years
of age his parents removed to Jackson County, Mo., and later to Andrew
County, where Matthew grew to manhood. In 1846 he was united in
marriage with Lillie A. Wainwright, a native of Delaware County, N.
Y., and a daughter of Hubbard and Nancy (Bodle) Wainwright, who were
of English descent, though born in New Jersey. The father died
when Mrs. Peck was a child, and the mother's death occurred Sept. 9,
1887, though, after the death of her first husband, she became the wife
of John Pearce, but was a widow at the time of her death.
marriage Mr. and Mrs. Peck began their domestic life upon a rented farm
in Andrew County, Mo., where they lived until 1852, and then came to
Des Moines County, Iowa, purchasing 120 acres of land on section 4,
Union Township. He made this his home until 1869, when he sold
and purchased ninety-seven acres on section 34, which is comprised in
his present farm, which was increased by subsequent purchase.
Mr. and Mrs. Peck have been the parents of five children: Marena
Ann died in 1872, at the age of twenty-nine years; Alice A. is the wife
of Frank Johnston, a resident of Sutter County, Cal.; Emma J., wife
of John Johnston, of Audubon County, Iowa; Albert F., a real-estate
agent, loan broker, collection agent and notary public, at Idalia, Arapahoe
Co., Colo.; and Luella K., still residing at home. For thirty
years Mr. Peck and his wife have been devoted members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, of which he is Trustee. In politics he is a
Republican. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1860, serving
two years, was Assessor for two terms, and held the position of Township
Clerk for two years. He was also Postmaster at Amityville, Huron
Township, for seven years, at the expiration of which time he resigned.
Mr. Peck is a conscientious and upright man, and is well known and universally
respected throughout the county.
R. M. Peckham, a pioneer of Des Moines
County, Iowa, of 1854, now residing on section 30, Washington Township,
was born June 15, 1812, in Washington, D. C., and is a son of Caleb
and Elizabeth Peckham, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter
of Rhode Island. They were the parents of six children, four sons
and two daughters, and four of the number lived to maturity. The
father was a soldier in the War of 1812, and during one of the battles
had three bullets shot through the hat which he was wearing. His occupation
was rope-making, which he carried on in Washington City until his death,
which occurred in 1820.
On the 22d of May, 1845, our subject
was united in marriage with Malvina Webb, a resident of Columbus, Ohio.
She was born in the State of New York, April 28, 1826, and her parents
were Zimry and Annie Webb. Several children have been born of
their union: Emma, who became the wife of Jerome Hull; Charles,
who wedded Libbie King; Fannie, who died at the age of one year; Mattie,
wife of David Willis Easton; Adda, who wedded Wesley Lotspatch; Caleb,
husband of Mary Lambert; Hugh, Sarah; Anna, who died at the age of twenty-four
years; Kate, wife of Thomas Colvert; Richard, and Lillie, who died in
infancy. The death of Mrs. Peckham occurred Feb. 26, 1872.
She was a member of the Baptist Church, to which her husband also belongs,
and was a most estimable lady. Mr. Peckham has held the office
of Deacon in the church, and is one of its active workers. In
early life, he was a Whig, but at the organization of the Republican
party joined its ranks and has since been one of its earnest supporters.
His first purchase of land it this country consisted of three quarter-sections,
but he has since disposed of part of it, and is now the owner of a fine
farm of 300 acres. Mr. Peckham has always been a great reader,
is well informed on all the important questions of the day, and is highly
esteemed in the community where he resides.
Thomas Peel, captain and pilot of the steamer "Park Bluffs," residing at 1226 S. Tenth st., Burlington, was born in Allegheny Co., Pa., in 1841, and is a son of Allen P. and Margaret (Nevill) Peel. The former was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1808, receiving there a common-school education and remaining upon the farm until 1831, when, bidding good-bye to the Emerald Isle, he crossed the Atlantic, landed in America and took up his residence in Allegheny County, Pa. He there became acquainted with and married Margaret Nevill, and to them there were born thirteen children, only five of whom are yet living: Samuel, a resident farmer of Lee County, Iowa; Vincent, a steam-boat captain, residing at Burlington; Thomas, the subject of this sketch; Allen, a resident of Washington Territory, is engaged in farming; and Margaret, wife of Charles Davis, a resident farmer of Lee County, Iowa. After coming to America Mr. Peel was for some time engaged in running upon the Monongahela River, but, after the locks were placed in, this business was discontinued. He then was engaged in farming and was also quite an extensive coal dealer, in which business he continued until coming West in 1854. Taking up his residence in Keokuk, he at once purchased a farm in Montrose Township, making that his home until 1856, when, disposing of his land, he became the owner of 325 acres of timber land and eighty acres for farming purposes in Green Bay Township. By care and cultivation it became one of the best farms in the community, and there Mr. Peel resided until his death, which occurred May 30, 1886, at the age of seventy-eight years and three months. He was a member of the Christian Church for thirty years, uniting with that body in 1856, and his earnest Christian life may well be an example to others. His wife yet survives him, residing at the old home in Lee County, and she, too, is a member of the Christian Church. Prior to coming West they had both been members of the Baptist Church, but in after life had united with the Christian.
Residing upon his father's farm during his early life, Capt. Peel attended the common schools until the age of fourteen, when he was employed in the wood-yard at Peel's Landing, which was situated on the Mississippi River ten miles below Burlington, continuing in that employment with his father until 1865. He then followed steamboating in summer, returning again to the wood-yard in winter, and he was thus engaged alternately until 1874, being then employed solely upon the steamboat for six years. He became captain and pilot in 1880, and now owns an interest in the steamers "Prescott" and "Park Bluffs." Capt. Peel's reputation since attaining to that position is unspotted, his care and attention are given exclusively to the labors to be performed, and since his life began as captain he has never had an accident happen, and the public feel safe when Capt. Peel is at the wheel. On the 23d of November, 1869, the marriage of Thomas Peel and Mary L. Burke was celebrated. She is a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of D. W. and Julia A. (Nolton) Burke. Her father died about the year 1867; the mother still survives him and is a resident of Burlington. Six children grace the union of this worthy couple: Minnie, Ella, George, Charles, Thomas and Lee. In his political views Capt. Peel is liberal, though generally casting his ballot with the Democratic party. He is a strong advocate of temperance principles, believing in the enforcement of the prohibitory law, and takes a special interest in religious and educational advancement, while the furtherance of any enterprise for the public good finds in him a ready supporter.
Socially, he is a member of the A. O. U. W. and V. A. S. Capt. Peel and wife are both members of the Christian Church, and as citizens and neighbors are highly respected by all.
Hon. John Scott Penney, one of the leading citizens of Des Moines County, Iowa, residing on section 29, Benton Township, was born on the farm which is still his home. His father, John Penney, was born Sept. 13, 1802, in Washington County, Pa. He was reared upon a farm, and on the 12th of September, 1822, was united in marriage with Rebecca Webbell, who was born Dec. 21, 1804, in Westmoreland County, Pa. After their marriage Mr. Penney rented a farm, and also engaged in milling until 1844, when they decided to take up their residence in this county. Starting for the West they crossed the Mississippi Nov. 14, of that year, settling on section 29, Benton Township, which is still the home of our subject. A farm of 285 acres was purchased, the only improvements being a small log cabin and a few plowed acres. Immediately the work of cultivation was begun, and in a short time it became one of the finest farms in the township. Mr. and Mrs. Penney reared a family of seven children, two having died in infancy; Joseph, a resident of West Burlington, owns and operates a farm in Flint River Township; Thomas J. is a Baptist minister at Ashland, Neb.; Sarah, wife of M. H. Jackson, a resident farmer of Benton Township; Phoebe, wife of Alvin Todd, a resident farmer of Plattsmouth, Neb.; Lydia, wife of W. B. Kaster, of Benton Township; Amanda, still at home with her mother; and our subject, who has charge of the home place.
John Penney departed this life Dec. 14, 1886, aged eighty-four years. He was a devoted member of the Baptist Church, always took an active part in Church work, and contributed liberally to the upbuilding of the cause of Christ during his entire life. He aided largely in the building of the old Pisgah Church, and labored faithfully in raising funds for its erection. From 1846 until the time of his death he served as Senior Deacon. Not only in religious, but also in educational matters he was greatly interested, and gave his children the best possible advantages. In his political views he was a Democrat, an earnest worker for his party, and by that organization was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace and to the Board of Supervisors. In 1848 he became a member of the General Assembly, serving one term. Mrs. Penney, the mother of our subject, is now in her eighty-fourth year, and is a remarkably well preserved lady. Since her childhood she has been an active worker in the Church and Sunday-school. The fiftieth wedding anniversary of this worthy couple was celebrated Sept. 12, 1872, at their own home, and was largely attended, people being present from six different States, and several were present who witnessed their union a half-century before. Their anniversary day has always been a glad day for their children, who have now all grown to be Christian men and women, and do honor to their parents' name.
Our subject, Hon. John Scott Penney, was reared upon a farm and educated in the common schools of this county. Being the youngest of the family he remained with his parents until his marriage with Miss Irene Hixson, which occurred Sept. 28, 1881. Mrs. Penney is a native of this county, and is a daughter of Leroy Hixson. Two children were born to their union--Eugene Guy and Hubert Graham. Mr. and Mrs. Penney are members of the Baptist Church, of which he is Treasurer. Politically he is a Democrat, and was elected by that party a member of the Twenty-first General Assembly in 1886. He was a candidate for County Recorder in 1880, but was defeated. Mr. Penney is a practical farmer and operates about 300 acres of land. He makes a specialty of raising small fruits, taking great interest in studying the habits of the plants, and every year ships several thousand quarts of berries to the North. Everything on his land denotes thrift and industry, and as a business man and citizen he receives the respect of all.
C. Pennington, a resident of
West Burlington, and foreman of the freight-car department of the East
Iowa Division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy shops, was born
Nov. 2, 1843, in Lancaster County, Pa., and is a son of John and Ann
(Musser) Pennington, both of whom were natives of Sussex County, Del.
To them were born eight children: James, a farmer of Lancaster County,
Pa.; William, editor of the Morning Call, residing near the Susquehanna
River, at Port Deposit; our subject; Sarah, wife of William Wilkins,
a resident of Wellington, Del.; Thomas F., a sewing-machine agent, of
Dover, Del.; John, a blacksmith of Chester County, Pa.; Delia, with
of Martin Veadnkoph, a resident of Wellington, Del.; and Benjamin S.,
a painter engaged in the carshops of West Burlington. John Pennington
was a shoemaker by trade. Honest, upright and industrious, he was highly
respected by all. He was always ready to aid in any educational or religious
interests, and especially in the latter cause his labors were unceasing.
In 1862 he was obliged to leave home, and while on his return journey
was taken sick within two miles of his own home, and died at the house
of a friend, where he had stopped. His wife still survives him, making
her home with her daughter, Mrs. Veadnkoph, of Wellington, Del., and
is also a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The early life of our subject was spent
in Lancaster County, Pa., where he was educated, and worked upon a farm,
also aiding his father in the manufacture of shoes for the trade in
Wellington, Del. At the age of seventeen years Mr. Pennington learned
the trade of wheelwright, serving an apprenticeship of three years,
and then went to Dover, Del., where he was in an undertaker's establishment,
and then went to Philadelphia, Pa., where he was employed in the erection
of the freight depot on Market street, in that city, and after its completion
was engaged in building bridges for the Philadelphia & Baltimore
Railroad. Later, going to Cecil County, Md., Mr. Pennington leased a
farm, which he operated for one year, after which he worked at his trade
in Farmington, Md., and the following spring started a wagon-shop in
Rising Sun, Md. Failing health caused him to abandon this, and so, in
1865, he decided to go West. Reaching Galesburg, Ill., he there engaged
in the carpenter trade, and in October, 1865, secured work in the freight-car
department of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy shops, where he was
placed in charge of building freight cars. He was subsequently sent
by the company to Buda, Ill., having charge of the flat-car works in
that city, and also from Kewanee to Mendota. In January, 1875, Mr. Pennington
was appointed to the responsible position of foreman of the freight-car
building, which position he has held continuously since. He is a first-class
mechanic, and has been in the employ of the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy for nearly quarter of a century, which fact is a splendid testimonial
of his skill and labor, as the company hires none but efficient workmen.
In the month of September, 1869, Mr.
Pennington was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Albrose, who was
born in Henry County, Ill., in 1844, and is a daughter of Stephen Ambrose.
On child has graced this union--John S., a machinist. Mr. Pennington
is a member of the A. F. & A. M. He has been a resident of Des Moines
County since 1875, has held the office of School Director, and is one
of the honored and respected citizens of the county.
Albert A. Perkins, of the firm
of Perkins & Peterson, wholesale and retail dealers in china, glassware
and pottery from all countries, No. 401 Jefferson street, Burlington,
Iowa. This business was established by the present proprietor
in August, 1865, in the retail line, in company with his brother, J.
L. Perkins, under the firm name of J. L. & A. A. Perkins.
They began jobbing and wholesaling in the winter of 1867-68. The
partnership was terminated in 1871, by the death of the brother, at
which time Maj. Perkins purchased his brother's interest of the heirs,
continuing the business alone until the spring of 1888. The Major
built up a fine trade there, which is being increased by the present
firm, their store being one of the most elegant in the State, the stock
of the best and most complete in its quality and assortment to be found
west of the Mississippi.
Maj. Perkins was born in Rushville,
Schuyler Co., Ill., Jan. 22, 1840, and is a son of Moses and Sarah V.
(Bergen) Perkins. His father, a native of New Hampshire, was born
May 9, 1800, and was a descendant of an old Puritan family. He
immigrated to Virginia in early life, from thence going to Illinois,
settling near Beardstown, but subsequently removed to Rushville, where
he became intimately acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, of whom he was
a great admirer. He came to Burlington, Iowa, in 1845, and engaged
in hotel-keeping. His death occurred March 4, 1879. The
major's mother was born in New Jersey, where her family had lived for
many generations. He ancestors were form Holland, and were among
the original settlers of New Amsterdam, now New York, and at one time
owned a large portion of Manhattan Island. Some of the family
settled in Illinois while it was yet a Territory, since which time they
have become a numerous and influential family of that region.
One member was a distinguished Presbyterian divine of that State.
Albert A. Perkins was educated at the
public and private schools of Burlington, and when but a lad began clerking
in a mercantile store. He was employed for a time with Maj. William
H. Mauro, then by P. Perkins, and later by J. S. Kimball & Co.
Leaving the latter he entered the army Aug. 28, 1862, and was commissioned
Second Lieutenant of Company D, 25th Iowa Infantry. He was promoted
to the rank of First Lieutenant in February, 1863, and to that of Captain
May 9 of the same year. He was in active service with his company
and regiment until January, 1864, when he was detached by Gen. P. J.
Osterhaus, commanding the 1st Division, 15th Army Corps, as Provost
Marshal General of the division. He was soon called by the General
to accept the position of Assistant Inspector General of the division,
and in November, 1864, was detached as Acting Inspector General of the
15th Army Corps, occupying that position during the celebrated march
to the sea. He was with Gen. Sherman in all his campaigns up to
January, 1865, when he was detached as aid-de-camp and chief of staff,
with the rank of Major, on the staff of Maj. Gen. Osterhaus. He
accompanied the General through the campaign of Mobile, having had the
honor of carrying the dispatches, under the flag of truce, to Meriden,
Miss., demanding the surrender of Gen. Dick Taylor's army. He
remained on the staff of Gen. Osterhaus until June 13, 1865, when he
was ordered to report to his regiment, and was mustered out.
He returned to Burlington the latter
part of June and in August following formed a partnership with his brother
in the china and crockery business, as before mentioned. The Major
was twice complimented by Gov. Gear, during his first and second administration,
by being appointed Military Secretary on his staff.
Maj. Perkins was married at Chicago,
Sept. 30, 1869, to Miss Kittie W. Skinkle, a native of Muscatine, Iowa,
and a daughter of Lambert V. Skinkle, of Chicago. One child was
born of their union, a son, Albert Belknap, born at Burlington, July
11, 1871. The Major is an active, enterprising business man, and
has always taken a warm interest in matters pertaining to the welfare
of the city that has so long been his home. He is Vice-President
of the Burlington Board of Trade, and a Trustee of the Public Library.
Maj. Perkins is prominently identified with the G. A. R., and was the
first Department Commander of Iowa under the new organization, and held
that position from August, 1876, until January, 1879.
B. Pettit, member
of the firm of Pettit & Son, proprietors of the City Steam Laundry,
and manufacturers of washing-machines and boxes for commercial business,
was born at Malta, Morgan Co., Ohio, Sept. 27, 1832. His parents were
William and Laura (Benjamin) Pettit, the father a native of New York
State, and the mother of Vermont.
Our subject was reared
in the Buckeye State, where he learned the trades of carpenter and mill-wright.
In 1850 he came to Iowa and settled in Van Buren County, where he worked
at his trade until 1874, when he came to Burlington and continued in
the same business. In the spring of 1883 he established his box
factory, at the corner of South Fifth and Market streets, and soon added
to the manufacture of boxes that of washing-machines, in company with
his sons. In 1884 they started their steam laundry and carpet
renovating works, and have carried on the business continuously since.
The excellence of their laundrying has won them the reputation of doing
the best work in this line in the city. The son of our subject,
A. F., is his only partner, and a young man of more than ordinary business
Mr. Pettit was married
in Ohio, in May, 1851, to Miss Deborah, daughter of Henry Steele, of
Zanesville, where Mrs. P. was born. This marriage resulted in
the birth of seven children, two sons and five daughters: Laura
is the wife of Z. B. Foley, of Denver, Col.; Jennie, Mrs. Wright Clark,
lives in Burlington; Hannah is the wife of Winfield Smith; Alfred married
Miss Anna Gross; Carrie is the wife of George Brown; John R. married
Miss Martha Reedy. With the exception of the eldest daughter all
the children are residents of Burlington.
, Judge of the First Judicial District of Iowa, is a native of Middlebury, Addison Co., Vt., and was born March 27, 1825. His father, Hon. Samuel S. Phelps, a distinguished statesman and eminent lawyer, was born at Litchfield, Conn., in 1793, and was descended from English ancestors. The first of the Phelps family to settle in America were three brothers, who emigrated from England about ten years later than the advent of the Plymouth colony, and they effected a settlement at three different points in Connecticut. The direct ancestor of our subject located at Litchfield, the birthplace of Samuel S., and the home of numerous descendants of the emigrant ancestor. It is said to have been the custom of this branch of the Phelps family to name the eldest sons alternately Edward and John, the present United States Minister to England, son of Samuel S. and brother of Judge C. H. Phelps, being the only one to whom both of those historic names were ever given. Samuel S. Phelps moved from Litchfield, Conn., to Middlebury, Vt., in early life, where he established a law practice, and being a man of superior ability, soon became prominent in public affairs. He was chosen Judge of the Supreme Court of Vermont in 1831, and served until 1839, at which date he was elected to the United States Senate, where he was a colleague of Webster, Calhoun and Clay. He was elected his own successor and served two terms, or until 1851. Three years later he was appointed to the same position by the Governor, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Hon. William Upham. While in receipt of a good income from law practice and official salary, Mr. Phelps never accumulated wealth, for he had a large family and spent lavishly for their education and comfort, the results justifying his course, as his children were all thoroughly educated, and his sons have won prominence as statesmen and jurists. Edward J., of Vermont, the present minister to England, is one of the most talented and distinguished citizens of the United States; James S. is in the Government employ at Washington; Egbert is a prominent lawyer of Joliet, Ill.; D. W. and Frank are deceased, the latter being well known to the citizens of Burlington as a journalist of bright talent and rare literary ability. The sister, Hattie, is the wife of Elias Lyman, of Burlington, Vt.
Charles H. Phelps graduated at Middlebury College, Vt., in the class of '45, and soon afterward proceeded to Fredericksburg and taught one year, and the next year entered the law office, at Middlebury, of Hon. Horatio Seymour, who was a relative of his father, and an ex-United States Senator from Vermont. Having familiarized himself with the fundamental principles of law, Mr. Phelps commenced the study of telegraphy, and was appointed telegraph operator at Vergennes, then the only city in Vermont. During his term of service as telegraph operator he was pursuing his law studies, and in 1849 was admitted to the bar. Very shortly after that important event in his life, he anticipated Mr. Greeley's advice and went West, landing in Burlington in May, 1850. where he formed a law partnership with Hon. J. C. Hall, and afterward with Hon. Henry W. Starr, an eminent lawyer of that city. Subsequently Judge Phelps became associated with Gen. S. L. Glasgow, and with he pursued the practice of his profession until 1878, when he was appointed to the Circuit Judgeship of the First Judicial District of Iowa, to fill a vacancy. In the fall of the following year he was elected to the same position, and was re-elected each succeeding time until 1886, when he was elected District Judge. The first official position that he was called upon to fill was that of City Solicitor, to which he was elected in the early days of his residence at Burlington, in 1851 and 1852, and again held that position in 1858 and 1864. In early life Judge Phelps was a Republican, and continued to act with that party until 1882, since which time he has affiliated with the Democracy.
On the 22d of November, 1853, Judge Phelps was united in marriage with Miss Eunice A. Webb, daughter of Nathan and Sally Webb, of La Fayette, Ind. Five children were born of their union, three of whom are living: Francis, the eldest, died in childhood; Edward S., born at Burlington, Iowa, April 21, 2858, was educated at the city schools and the Burlington University, was appointed Deputy Collector of the United States Internal Revenue in 1874, which position he still holds, is also engaged in the insurance business, and was married, May 29, 1883, to Miss Jessie Garrett, daughter of William Garrett, Esq., of Burlington; Minnie Webb died at the age of eleven years; Charles E., born Jan. 14, 1863, was educated at Burlington, Iowa, and is the present assistant purchasing agent of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, at Omaha, Neb.; Eunice A., the only surviving daughter, resides with her father at Burlington. Mrs. Phelps, who was an estimable Christian lady, died March 27, 1883.
Milo W. Phillips, of Burlington, Iowa, is a native of Jennings County, Ind., born Dec. 11, 1834. His parents, Brannock and Eliza (Wells) Phillips, went to Indiana from Mt. Sterling, Ky., being originally from Dorchester, Md., though of English and German descent. His father was a merchant, and trained his son in the same profession. In 1856 Mr. M. W. Phillips came to Iowa and worked on a salary as salesman for two years, and in 1859 started a general store at Moravia, Iowa. On the 4th of January, 1860, he wedded Miss Elizabeth J. Combs, a daughter of Rev. Michael Combs, of Albia, Iowa. Mrs. Phillips was born near Terre Haute, Ind. She died Oct 4, 1874, leaving three sons--Grant V., Cyrus C. and Paul H. Mr. Phillips enlisted in the late was as a private, in Company G, 46th Iowa Infantry, in May, 1864, and served until March, 1865.
While in the service Mr. Phillips continued his business in Moravia, leaving it in the care of his family and employes. On his return from the South he resumed charge of his store, continuing the business until 1866, when he sold out and engaged in his present business at Burlington, which is that of a wholesale dealer in hats, caps, furs, gloves, etc., the only wholesale house in this line in the city. They occupy the handsome brick structure at the southeast corner of Third and Jefferson streets. The three sons of Mr. Phillips, now aged respectively twenty-four, twenty-two and sixteen years, are employed with their father in his business at Burlington. Mr. Phillips is a Master Mason, a member of Burlington Lodge No. 1, A. F. & A. M.; is also a member of Flint Hills Lodge No. 29, K. of P.; of Phoenix Lodge, A. O. U. W.; and of the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Phillips is an active but conservative business man, of broad views, self-reliant and earnest in whatever he undertakes, enterprising and reliable in all matters of business, and is justly classed among the leading citizens of Burlington. In politics he is a Republican.
The business carried on by M. W. Phillips & Co. is deserving of more extended notice. They are the only wholesale dealers in hats, caps, furs, gloves, etc., in Burlington. The large brick structure occupied by them is four stories high, with a basement, and is forty-five feet front on Jefferson street, and eighty feet deep on Third. The entire building, except a portion of the ground floor, is occupied by this house. The business was established by M. W. Phillips in 1866, and in 1867 S. S. Hawkins bought into it, and maintained his connection for a term of ten years. In 1871 they opened a retail store in addition to the wholesale business, and in 1877 Mr. Philips bought out his partner, and for one year operated both stores alone. The existing partnership with J. B. Clayton was formed in 1878 in the wholesale trade, under the firm name of M. W. Phillips & Co. This is the largest store of its kind in the State. They do an annual business of $150,000, and their trade extends through Iowa and into Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Dakota. They employ six traveling salesmen, and from six to eight local employes. In 1887 Mr. Phillips admitted A. B. Hawkins as a partner in the retail store, under the firm name of Phillips & Hawkins. They do an annual trade of $30,000, and have one of the best stocked establishments in the line of hats, caps, furs and furnishing goods in the city, and also in the State, and are known as a thoroughly reliable house. Mr. Phillips has, during his more than twenty years' business in Burlington, acquired and sustained the reputation of an honest, trustworthy business man.
a gardener and farmer residing on section 14, Flint River Township,
Des Moines Co., Iowa, was born in Saxony, Germany, March 3, 1838, and
is a son of Alexander and Bertha (Bonitz) Pietzsch, both of whom were
also natives of Saxony. They were the parents of twelve children,
and with the exception of one who died in infancy, all came to America
in 1851. Those now living besides Herman are: Moritz, a grocer
of St. Louis, Mo.; Hermine, wife of August Weidertz, a blacksmith of
Burlington; Ferdinand, a dry-goods merchant of Burlington; Rosa, widow
of John Mathis, resides in Nashville, Tenn.; Ernest, a dairyman, also
of Nashville; and Annie, wife of Henry Potthoff, a plasterer of Burlington,
Iowa. The family bade good-by to their native land in 1851, set
sail for the New World, and after a long and tedious voyage of fifty-one
days, landed in New Orleans. They proceeded up the Mississippi
River by steamboat to St. Louis, and in March, 1852, came to Burlington,
Iowa, and in Des Moines County the father rented a farm on the Ft. Madison
road. Before coming to America, his occupation had been that of
a merchant, and, in order that his farm life might be successful, he
overtaxed his strength, was taken sick and died before the harvest of
1852 was reaped. Mr. Pietzsch was an upright and industrious man.
He was educated in Germany in accordance with the laws of that land,
and, had his life been spared, would have proved to be as valuable a
citizen of America as he was of his native country. Mrs. Pietzsch,
mother of our subject, is yet living at the age of seventy, and makes
her home with her son Herman. Both the husband and wife were members
of the First Evangelical Church. The subject of this sketch was educated
in his native land, and at the age of thirteen came with his family
to America. He remained upon the home farm until 1864, when he
purchased eighty-four acres of land on sections 14 and 23, Flint River
Township. In November, 1868, the marriage of Herman Pietzsch and
Miss Elizabeth Dewein was celebrated in Burlington, Des Moines County.
Mrs. Pietzsch was born Dec. 24, 1848, and is a daughter of Jacob and
Catherine (Mayes) Dewein, natives of Hessen, Germany. They were
married in Cincinnati, Ohio, and came by team to Burlington in 1840,
being among the pioneers of Des Moines County. Mr. Dewein died
about the year 1872, and his wife has since made her home with her son-in-law,
John Blaul, of Burlington. Immediately after their marriage, our subject
and his young wife began their domestic life upon the farm in Flint
River Township. The little frame building into which they first
moved was replaced in 1876 by a handsome two-story brick residence,
28x30 feet, and in 1887, a fine barn, 30x42 feet with 18-foot posts,
was built. The farm is one of the best in the township and the
garden contains all kinds of small fruit.
Mr. and Mrs. Pietzsch
have been the parents of ten children, eight of whom are living, namely:
Laura, born April 1, 1871; Louis, born Jan. 14, 1873; Rosa, born May
5, 1875; Catherine, born May 9, 1879; Emma B., born May 15, 1881; John
R., born Sept. 19, 1883; Martha, born Nov. 23, 1885; Louise, born Nov.
7, 1887. Albert and Robert died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs.
Pietzsch have given their children good educations, and are both members
of the First Evangelical Church. Mr. Pietzsch stands in the front
rank as a citizen, and is always ready to aid in the advancement of
any public enterprise.
deceased, one of the pioneers of Des Moines County, Iowa, was born in
Babanhausen, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, May 10, 1817, and was a son of
Ernst and Philippina Pilger. He grew to manhood in his native
country, receiving a liberal education, and in 1838 came with his parents
to America, locating in Seneca County, Ohio, and subsequently, in 1847,
removing to Burlington. Aug. 8, 1839, at Columbus, Ohio, the marriage
of Jacob Pilger and Caroline Bertsch, also a native of Germany, was
celebrated. In January, 1840, the young couple left Ohio for Burlington,
crossing the river on the 4th of that month, but not being satisfied
with the class of people and surroundings, went to Louisville, Ky.
Remaining in that State until April, Mr. Pilger again came to Burlington,
remaining a couple of months, then returned to Kentucky, and after a
residence there of three years went back to Burlington, where he soon
after embarked in the mercantile business, keeping a general stock of
goods. In 1859, on account of ill-health, he was obligated to
close out his business and embarked in a vineyard, purchasing eighty
acres on what is now known as Sunnyside. For the last few years
he lived a retired life.
Mr. Pilger was a man
of general information, being quite a student, and was well posted on
the affairs of the country. Politically, he was in early life
a supporter of the Democratic party, but on the formation of the Republican
party became a member of it, though not what is called a politician,
having never aspired to public office.
Mr. and Mrs. Pilger are the parents of eight children: Ernst, who died in Germany, in 1885, was a brilliant business man, having accumulated a large property, and had he lived would have been one of Burlington's wealthy citizens; William, one of the firm of Pilger Bros., wholesale grocers of Burlington; Jacob, also of that firm, is an enterprising business man; Theodore L., a merchant of Loop City, Neb.; Lewis, a resident of Burlington, Iowa; Philippina, wife of Adolph Bosch, of Burlington; Henrietta, wife of Frank Cooper, a hardware merchant of that city; Emma, wife of Charles Cooper, an engineer residing at Argentine, Kan. Mr. Pilger died of paralysis, at his home at Sunnyside, March 30, 1888, leaving a widow and seven children to mourn their loss.
Pilling, magnetic and homeopathic physician of Burlington, Iowa, is
a native of Yorkshire, England, born Dec. 1, 1821. His parents
were Elias and Elizabeth (Haight) Pilling, who emigrated to America
in 1827, locating in Missouri, and subsequently removing to Galena,
Ill., where the father was engaged in the smelting business, accumulating
a large property, but losing a greater part of it in the panic of 1837.
From Galena he removed to Willow Springs, La Fayette Co., Wis., during
the year of 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Pilling were the parents of eleven children,
seven of whom are living: Joseph, of Willow Springs, Wis.; Abraham
H., the subject of this sketch; John, deceased; George, of Neligh, Neb.,
is a partner in the hardware firm of Estes & Pilling; Isaac, deceased;
Elias, deceased; Nancy, wife of Joseph Monaham, now deceased; Robert,
who died from exposure in the late war; Frances J., wife of Joseph Warren,
deceased; Mary, wife of Thomas Sheldon, of La Fayette County, Wis.;
and Henry, a practicing physician of Arizona. Mr. and Mrs. Pilling
were people highly respected in the community where they resided.
Mrs. Pilling was called to her final home on 1871, her husband surviving
her until 1874. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
and in the early history of the Northwest their house was the home of
the pioneer preachers.
subject of this sketch grew to manhood in his native country, receiving
a liberal education. In 1840, leaving his native land, he crossed
the ocean and took up his residence at Willow Springs, Wis. Previous
to coming to America he had chosen the practice of medicine as his profession.
He entered the regular school but became convinced that the homeopathic
system was the better, and consequently began to study the same under
Dr. Otis, of Darling, Wis., and in the meantime attended lectures at
the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago. He subsequently attended
the Magnetic Homeopathic Institute under Prof. W. R. Wells, at Mt. Morris,
N. Y., graduating from that school in 1866.
Pilling was united in marriage with Miss Julia Ray, in 1848, at Willow
Springs, Wis. She was born in that city, Dec. 15, 1830, and is
a daughter of John and Lucy (Wentworth) Ray, the latter being a relative
of John Wentworth, of Chicago, better known as Long John Wentworth.
Mr. Ray was one of a company of six white men who first crossed the
Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa, remaining some weeks, having nothing
to subsist upon except parched corn. Mr. and Mrs. Ray were married
at Galena, Ill., and to them were born eleven children: Jackson
A. J., a resident of North San Juan, Cal.; Julia E., the honored wife
of Dr. Pilling; William, who died in infancy; Samuel E., a resident
of California; George B., who laid down his life for his country during
the late Rebellion; Thomas B., who died in Burlington, April 29, 1827;
William W., residing in Chicago; Lucy, wife of Arthur Camberland, of
Willow Springs, Wis.; Henry H., a banker at Oakdale, Neb.; Hiram W.,
a dentist residing at St. Joe, Mich.; Jennie, wife of Lewis King, of
Mineral Point, Wis. Mr. and Mrs. Ray settled at Willow Springs
at an early day. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, Mrs. Ray being a woman of more than ordinary ability, taking
an active interest in the Sunday-school and everything of a religious
wife of Dr. Pilling graduated in medicine at the same school of which
her husband is a graduate. In 1871 they came to Burlington, and
here they both practiced, doing a large and lucrative business among
the better classes of the city. They are members of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, of Burlington, and none stand higher in the profession,
or socially, than the Doctor and his estimable lady. Four children
blessed the union of this worthy couple: John and Bessie, deceased;
Eva L., wife of J. W. Wright, of Cimarron, Kan.; and William E., attorney
at law at Oakdale, Neb., are living.
one of Des Moines County's pioneers, and a prominent citizen of Mediapolis,
was born in Clarke County, Ohio, Aug. 3, 1817, and is a son of Robert
and Nancy (Davison) Pool, both of whom were natives of Virginia.
Our subject was never permitted to see his father, who died before the
birth of R. D. His mother subsequently married McCally Rowan,
and after his death, John S. Rayburn. The early life of R. D.
Pool was spent upon a farm, being part of the time engaged in milling.
On the 21st of August, 1839, he married Lydia Sadler, a native of Pennsylvania,
and a daughter of William Sadler, who was also a native of that State.
In 1841 the young couple emigrated to Des Moines County, and rented
a farm in Flint River Township. At that time the country was in a very
wild state, the land was unbroken, and deer and wolves roamed over the
prairie. The following year Mr. Pool purchased 360 acres of partly
improved land, in Benton Township, and upon this farm he and his wife
lived in a log cabin in true pioneer style for ten years, at the expiration
of which time the commodious residence which now stands upon the farm
was erected. The old farm has many associations which render it
dear, the early years of the happy wedded life of this worthy couple
were there passed, there the children were born, and every improvement
was placed there by the hands of Mr. Pool. More land was afterward
purchased, until the farm consisted of 400 acres.
Mr. and Mrs.
Pool have been the parents of five children: William H., who died
in infancy; Nancy E., wife of William Foster, of Mediapolis; Thomas
S., who was educated at a select school in Burlington, and also attended
the Commercial College in Chicago, is a minister of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, stationed in Bentonsport, Iowa, and was ordained in 1878; Lydia,
wife of John W. Van Osdol, who resides on the home farm in Benton Township;
Eliza Josephine is the wife of Samuel V. McCallaster, of Pike County,
Ohio, where he is a merchant, and also Treasurer of that county.
has been member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1841, and his
wife since her fifteenth year. They have been active workers in
both Church and Sunday-school, and assisted in organizing the first
Sunday-school at Tamatown, Benton Township. He also helped to
build the first church, probably doing more for that work than any other
man. His mother was a devoted Christian woman, and the early Christian
instructions received he has endeavored to follow through life, and
well has he performed his part. His children too have followed the example
of their parents, and are all earnest Christian men and women.
Mr. Pool held the office of Justice of the Peace for twenty years, and
for a number of years was Township Clerk. Looking back over the years
of toil of a well-spent life, he can rest in the assurance that the
money gained for his later years was all earned by his own honest efforts.
Happy in the devotion of a most estimable wife, the love and affection
of four children, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and
sincerely respected and highly honored by many friends, his is indeed
a happy lot. Mr. Pool was a Steward in his Church for forty years,
and in 1884 represented the district as Lay Delegate to the Iowa Annual
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In early times,
in Iowa, he was a candidate for the Legislature on the Whig ticket,
and after the organization of the Republican party, he became a member
of that body. Mr. Pool now resides in a comfortable residence
in Mediapolis, and is at present the General Agent for the Farmers'
Mutual Insurance Company. Always ready to aid the needy and afflicted,
to aid in the advancement of any public enterprise, liberal, generous
and respected by all, we are pleased to give a sketch of so worthy a
pioneer in the history of Des Moines County.
has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1856, and a member
of the I. O. O. F. for the past fifteen years.
Cornelius L. Poor, attorney-at-law, Parsons Block, No. 307 Jefferson street, Burlington, Iowa, was born in Venango County, Pa., May 13, 1845, and is a son of Alonzo and Elizabeth (Henderson) Poor. His father was born in the same county, Jan. 1, 1818, of an old New England family, descended from John Poor, of Newburyport, Mass., whose ancestors were of English origin, and first settled at Newburyport in 1640. The old homestead of the family, 240 years old, is still intact at that place. The family of Mr. Poor's mother were Pennsylvanians of Scotch-Irish descent, and date their settlement in that State back to early Colonial days. Her death occurred at the homestead in Venango County, Pa., April 3, 1883. Her husband survives her, and resides at the old home.
Cornelius L. was educated at the State Normal School, of Edinboro, Pa., and soon after leaving school entered upon the study of law in the office of Taylor & Mackey, a prominent law firm of Franklin, Pa. He was admitted to practice in the courts of Pennsylvania in 1874, and established himself in business in Franklin, Pa., and was admitted to partnership with one of his preceptors, Hon. C. W. Mackey. In 1875 he came to Burlington, Iowa, and established an office for the firm in this city. The senior member of the firm failed to remove to Burlington as he had contemplated, and in 1876 the firm was dissolved. Mr. Poor then formed a partnership with Mr. E. A. Millspaugh, under the firm name of Poor & Millspaugh. This connection continued from 1877 to August, 1880, when it was dissolved by mutual consent. He next formed a partnership with Charles Baldwin, under the name of Poor & Baldwin, which continued until Mr. Baldwin removed to Salt Lake City in August 1887, since which time Mr. Poor has been alone in business. He is a Republican in politics and has been identified with that party since becoming a voter. He was united in marriage, in Erie County, Pa., March 20, 1867, to Miss Sarah M., daughter of William and Margaret Goodbau. Mrs. Poor was born in Erie County, Pa. Four children were born of their union, two sons and two daughters: Fred L., born Jan. 8, 1868, at Franklin, Pa.; Cora E., born Feb. 15, 1870, also of Franklin, Pa.; Elizabeth, born Jan. 5, 1876, at Burlington, Iowa; and Ben Perley, born March 31, 1881, at Burlington. Mr. Poor has built up an extensive practice, and has won a leading place among the members of the Des Moines County bar. Industrious as a student of current court decisions, and the best authorities in the profession, careful and methodical in the preparation of cases, his clients have learned to have the utmost confidence that their best interests will be guarded with care and their cases ably conducted. He was four times elected City Solicitor of the city of Burlington, and served in that capacity from 1878 to 1882, during which time some of the most important litigations in which the city was ever concerned were conducted to a successful termination. In addition to his law practice Mr. Poor is identified with the manufacturing interests of the city, and is Vice President of the Buffington Wheel Company. As a citizen and neighbor he is highly esteemed, and possesses the respect and kindly regard of those with whom he has business or social relations.
L. Portlock, one
of the leading farmers of Pleasant Grove Township, residing on section
11, is a pioneer of Des Moines County of 1836, and is a native of Rush
County, Ind., where he was born Jan. 4, 1825. His father, Barnett
D. Portlock, was a native of Bath County, Va., and his mother, Sarah
(Lyons) Portlock, a native of Indiana, the father settling in Rush County
in 1721, where he was united in marriage. He was a millwright
by trade, and in the year 1836 emigrated to Iowa, settling in Burlington,
where he was engaged at his trade at the time of his death, which occurred
on the 11th of February, 1842. Mr. Portlock was a man who took
an active interest in all public affairs; he served as Captain of a
company in the border trouble with Missouri about 1838, and for many
years held the office of Justice of the Peace, in Indiana, and was appointed
to the position by Gov. Lucas in Iowa, when it was a Territory.
Mr. and Mrs. Portlock reared a family of eight children. They
were members of the Baptist Church and highly-respected citizens. After the death of her husband Mrs. Portlock moved to Pleasant Grove,
and made her home with our subject until her death, which occurred Nov.
When but eleven years
of age, our subject came with his parents to Des Moines County, and
here he has resided continuously since. As a pioneer he has aided
largely in the growth and development of the progress and civilization
which have placed Des Moines County in the front rank in the State of
Iowa. In October, 1850, the marriage of D. L. Portlock and Elizabeth
J. Fleenor was celebrated. Mrs. Portlock is a native of Rush County,
Ind., and a daughter of Isaac Fleenor, who was one of the first to represent
this county in the State Legislature. Five children grace the
union of this worthy couple: Verdon, born April 27, 1852, is a
resident of Pleasant Grove Township; Lydia, born Oct. 9, 1854, is the
wife of Charles Kemrey, of Washington Township; Clara Ann, born Jan.
26, 1859, is the wife of Henry Beckman, of Danville Township; Sarah,
born Sept. 27, 1863, is the wife of J. L. Jones, of Yellow Spring Township;
Elzorah, born Nov. 22, 1866, still resides with her parents.
On becoming a resident
of Des Moines County, Mr. Portlock entered a claim in Pleasant Grove
Township, but later sold that and became the owner of 200 acres of land,
which is still in his possession. This land is highly cultivated,
being one of the best improved farms in Pleasant Grove Township, upon
which is a fine residence. Mr. Portlock has held various township
offices, served as Justice of the Peace for twelve years, was Deputy
Provost Marshal during the war, and held the position of County Supervisor
for two terms. He has always taken an active part in public affairs,
is a strong advocate of the temperance cause, and in his political views
is a Democrat. One of the leading men of the township, he is universally
respected by the people of Des Moines County. He is a successful
farmer and stock-raiser, is systematic in his business life, and for
the last few years has with his son, fed for shipping from seventy-five
to eighty head of cattle annually. A fine view of the residence and
farm of Mr. Portlock is given on next preceding page.
Thomas J. Potter, late Vice President and General Manager of the Union Pacific Railroad, and formerly serving in like capacity for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, was probably the most widely known of all the citizens of Burlington. In the following short sketch of his life a bare outline can only be given; but, such as it is, it will show to the rising generation what may be accomplished by one endowed with a steadfast purpose to do well every work undertaken and to be faithful to every trust reposed in him.
Thomas Jefferson Potter was of Irish descent, his father, John Potter, being a native of the Green Isle, while his mother, Nancy (Mitchell) Potter, though born in Washington County, Pa., was of Irish parentage. They were married in this country, and for many years resided in Ohio, from which State they removed to Iowa, locating at Ottumwa, where they engaged in the hotel business for a number of years. His father died in that city in July, 1883, and his mother June 18, 1884. Both were highly esteemed for their many excellent qualities of head and heart. Of their family, the subject of this sketch was the only son that grew to maturity. He was born in Carroll County, Ohio, Aug. 16, 1840, and his early years were spent upon a farm. In 1853, he came to Iowa with his parents, remaining with them for some years thereafter. A limited common-school education alone was given him, and, like many of the great men of this land, the public district school was his only Alma Mater. In his youth he had a fund of effervescing animal spirits, which, says a local chronicler, continually boiled and bubbled over his boyish pranks, which made him one of the characters of the town, and a character who was regarded with a genuine affection almost akin to love. He was popular, but he was also sensible, and therefore not spoiled.
In 1862 he engaged with a surveying party employed to survey the route from Ottumwa to Council Bluffs, a continuation of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad. He continued in that employment until January, 1863, when he could no longer resist the impulse to enter the army and help restore the Union. Enlisting in the 7th Iowa Cavalry as a private in Company A, he was subsequently promoted to Second Lieutenant, then First Lieutenant and Captain, being discharged with the latter rank in 1866. The regiment was sent West instead of South, and while its work was arduous, it was not such as to bring it glory or renown, its main duty being to protect the stage line which carried the United States Mail to the Pacific coast. George C. Bonner, who had served with Mr. Potter while in the service, says of him: "During these days of privation and suffering while serving on the plains, he was always one of the pleasantest and most cheerful officers in the command, and, by his genial disposition and courteous manners to all with whom he came in contact, won their love and respect. There was no contingency in Indian warfare that he was not able successfully to cope with, and no duty too arduous for him to perform. He was a most meritorious officer, and faithful to every trust while serving in the capacity in which he was placed by the orders of his superiors.
After having been in the service but a few months, Mr. Potter secured a furlough, returned home, and, May 21, 1863, married Miss Urdilla Jane Wood, of Ottumwa, the eldest daughter of William and Rebecca (Cross) Wood, who were natives of Ohio, but who settled near Ottumwa in 1851, residing on a farm for about two years, then moving into the city where they continued to reside until the time of their death. The families were of good old Revolutionary stock, the grandfathers of Mrs. Potter, both on the paternal and maternal side, serving in that war. The wedding ceremony performed, Mr. Potter at once returned to the front, taking with him his young bride, who remained by his side, as a loyal wife and woman, until his discharge in 1866. Five children came to bless their home, two of whom preceded their father to the better world. Fannie A. died in infancy, and Nettie E. at Burlington, when thirteen years of age. Those living are William S., Fannie H. and Mary E.
Soon after returning home from the army, Mr. Potter entered the service of Fish & Wightman, commission merchants at Eddyville. In 1867 he was appointed Station Agent of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, at Albia, Iowa, and there began his career as a railroad man, a career in which he achieved a success hardly paralleled in the history of the railroad business in this country or in the world. At the time of his death he was undoubtedly the best known, and at the same time one of the most popular, railroad officials in the country. His promotion from one position to another was quite rapid, but in every instance it was earned. While at Albia he drew to himself the notice of his superiors by the manner in which he averted loss and litigation by the company on account of damages inflicted upon the occupants of an emigrant train which was wrecked at a washout near that place. As station agent he had small authority to act in such matters, but he went to the wreck with all promptness, cared for the wounded and the bodies of the dead, and settled upon the spot all claims against the company for damages. It was a vast assumption on his part to do this, but the set was so obvious a stroke of excellent policy for the company, that Charles E. Perkins, then Superintendent, recognized at once his capacity and foresight, and called him to a higher position, that of chief clerk in the Roadmaster's Department, under Captain Warren Beckwith, with headquarters in Burlington, from which position he was advanced to Fuel and Claim Agent, occupying that position until January, 1873, when he was made Fuel and Stock Agent of the road, with headquarters at Creston. In August, 1873, he was made Assistant Superintendent of the Iowa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, with headquarters at Creston, and remained there until February, 1875, when he was promoted to the Superintendency of that division, comprising the various lines operated in Iowa. In June, 1878, he became General Superintendent of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, with headquarters in Burlington, and in December, 1879, was Assistant General Manager at Chicago. In November, 1880, he was made General Manager, and in November, 1881, was also made Third Vice President. In September, 1884, he was made First Vice President and General Manager. While holding these positions with the "Q," he was General Manager of the St. Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern, Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs, the Council Bluffs & Kansas City, the Chicago & Iowa, and Vice President of the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad.
When Mr. Potter became General Manager of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, that corporation took formal possession of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad in Iowa under a perpetual lease, and over this Mr. Potter exercised his general management, and two years after the Legislature accomplished the consolidation of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Burlington & Missouri Railroads in Iowa. In 1880, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy acquired the property of the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska.
From January, 1883, when Mr. Potter became General Manager, until December, 1884, the increase in length of road operated by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad corporation, was from 706 miles to 3,687 miles. The net earnings for 1883 were $2,619,176.83, and in 1884, they were increased to the enormous sum of $12,753,045.58, nearly $3,000,000 more than the earnings of any other road centering in Chicago.
In January, 1887, the "Bee Line" was in need of a President, and it made Mr. Potter various offers to accept the position, but he was resolute and resisted the handsome financial temptations tendered him. Alexander Mitchell, the President of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, having died, the position of President of that road was also tendered him.
About this time, Charles Francis Adams, President of the Union Pacific Railroad, opened negotiations with Mr. Potter, and finally succeeded in securing his services. The Union Pacific had learned from experience the value of his services. A few years ago the Union Pacific and the lines running east from the Missouri River, formed a combination against the Burlington road, known as the tripartite agreement. It was designed to checkmate the Burlington in making farther extensions of its lines in the West and punish it for building the line to Denver. Mr. Potter made a great reputation by successfully defeating the scheme. This brought him more than ever before the railroad world as a manager of vast interests, and therefore the great desire of the various corporations to secure his services. He was loath to leave the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, but the tempting offer of $30,000 per year, together with a bonus of $35,000, secured him to the Union Pacific and the Oregon Railway & Navigation Companies, being made Vice President and General Manager of both organizations.
The story of his labors after he left the Burlington for the Union Pacific is briefly told. He was always a man with whom thoroughness was a leading characteristic. Whatever he took hold of he studied until he knew all about it, to the smallest details. He was competent to judge of the work done by any man in any branch of the service, and set himself at the gigantic task of learning the vast system in all its parts. Taking his private car, he went over the whole road, placing himself under a tremendous strain in doing so. He set himself at the task of lopping off a small army of unnecessary employes and effecting other radical and greatly needed reforms. In an incredibly short space of time he had completely re-organized his forces in nearly every department. The result of his labors was renewed confidence in him and his road, and the commencement of a radical change in its affairs. But the strain was too much for him. In less than one year from the day he entered the new service, he laid down the work forever. In relation to the final end, from the Burlington Hawkeye, of March 10, 1888, the following extract is taken:
"For several years past, Mr. Potter had been more of less troubled with a nervous affliction, coupled with forbidding symptoms of serious stomach and heart disease. They were not so serious as to prevent him attending to his duties in his usual tireless manner. He was well advised, nevertheless, that he might expect trouble from them in the future. In the early portion of this winter, he was taken very seriously ill in Chicago, while there on business for his road, and for two or three days lay near death's door. He rallied, however, and returned to his work in the West, determined, against all conviction and persuasion, to continue his managerial duties at whatever cost. He did not remain there long, but soon came back to his family at their home in this city, in order to obey the injunctions of his physician and secure something like the rest he was needing. But he did not rest. He was not the kind of a man who could rest while vast interests demanded his attention, and so it was that his private secretary accompanied him to his home here. Through the medium of telegraph and mail, Mr. Potter managed the Union Pacific system from his home in the city, much of the time too sick a man to be doing anything whatever. He continued his stay here, gradually growing worse and worse, until it was decided to remove him to Chicago, thence to New York, and from there to the South. He outwardly seemed cheerful and confident of recovery, but he was all the time assured that death was not far distant. The day before he left on that last trip he expressed his belief that he probably never would see Burlington again. He left here January 27, in his private car, accompanied by his wife, his son William, and his daughter Mary, his private secretary, Mr. Cuykendall, and Dr. H. B. Ransom, his medical advisor. He remained at Chicago a few days, and then proceeded to New York. His condition was becoming gradually worse, but the approach of his last moments did not prevent him from going to Washington, D. C., to look after important matters for the company. He was too ill to leave that place, although it was his earnest desire to return to Burlington and die amid the familiar scenes and surroundings. It was the intention to leave Washington Tuesday evening, but the start was not made. The flame of life burned lower and dimmer, until at last it flickered and went out. He died at 11:15, Friday morning, March 9, 1888, his bedside surrounded by weeping family and friends."
Mr. Potter was a remarkable man in more than one respect. He had a memory that was little less than marvelous, and never, no matter how complicated or numerous the matters demanding his attention, did he made notes, relying fully upon his memory to recall any point at the proper time. He had a phenomenal faculty of seeing into and through a perplexing situation, and he had the coolness and good judgment to enable him to disentangle the difficulty. A face once seen was never forgotten, and notwithstanding the changed condition of his life, from comparative poverty to affluence, he never forgot the friends of his youth, nor shunned their society. When making his last trip over the Burlington road, his train was frequently stopped that he might speak to men who had long been in his employ, many of whom were occupying the lowest positions in the railroad service. Few of them but he knew by name, and by all he was beloved. No man in like position was so implicitly trusted by the employes, not one of whom but would have risked his life to do him a favor.
Not alone in his public life did true character of the man shine out, but in the home-circle as well. He was ardently devoted to his family, and strongly attached to his home. He was continually giving expressions of his regret that his busy life would not allow him to stay with them more than it did, and always coupled with the hope that some day he would be able to relax his vigilance and stay at home a little more. He loved and trusted his wife, relying much upon her judgment. It was his custom to consult with her upon all matters of business, even those which would be considered by some men of trifling importance. His great sorrow came upon him in May, 1880, in the death of his daughter Nettie. She was a bright and beautiful girl, with winning ways and a cheerful, sunshiny disposition, being fairly idolized by her parents. One day she drove him to the depot that he might take the west bound train. The next morning she was taken sick with scarlet fever, and at two o'clock the next morning she was dead. Mr. Potter was at Council Bluffs and knew not that she was ill, until he was almost overwhelmed by the intelligence of her death. To his remaining children he was always the most loving of fathers, while his heart-broken wife knew the fondest love and the greatest loyalty and devotion that can be given to a woman to know in this life.
When Mr. Potter first went to Albia in the employ of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, his salary was $60 per month; this was increased to $100 per month, when he was made Fuel and Supply Agent. Afterward, in the higher positions with the Burlington road, he received $10,000, then $15,000, and finally $25,000 per year. On leaving that road and entering the service of the Union Pacific, he was given a bonus of $35,000 and a salary of $30,000 per year. In the management of his private affairs, he exercised the same prudence as in public business, and therefore, at his death, left his family in comfortable circumstances. For some time he was Vice President of the First National Bank at Creston. He was the owner of two fine farms near Creston, one containing 700 acres, and the other 360. A lover of fine horses, he gave considerable attention to their breeding and management, and at the time of his death had eighty head of fine thoroughbreds. He also had considerable property in Ottumwa and other places. An elegant steamboat on the Columbia River bears his name. It was built for him when he assumed the management of the Union Pacific Railroad.
While his business interests would not admit of his giving much of his attention to political matters, he yet felt an ardent interest in all political questions, and was an enthusiastic Democrat, having an abiding faith in the principles of that party as enunciated by its founders and leaders. Had he lived his name would doubtless have been presented to the National Democratic Convention for the office of Vice President, on the ticket with Grover Cleveland, and there could be little doubt of his securing the nomination. For years he was the most liberal contributor to the Democratic campaign fund in Iowa, literally bearing almost the entire burden.
As a citizen, a business man, a husband and a father, the life of Thomas J. Potter is worthy of emulation. An excellent portrait of Mr. Potter is given upon a preceding page.
B. Power, M. D.,
of Mediapolis, Iowa, is a native of Mt. Vernon, Knox Co., Ohio, born
Jan. 14, 1838, and is a son of Rev. John H. and Mary Neil (Beard) Power,
the former a native of Montgomery County, Ky., born March 15, 1798,
and the latter of Leesburg, Loudoun Co., Va., born April 28, 1806. The
Powers were among the early settlers of Kentucky, the grandfather of
our subject being a companion of Daniel Boone. When quite young
John H. Power united with the Methodist Church, and by that body was
licensed as a minister of the Gospel. While yet a young man he
moved to Northern Ohio, and united with the Northern Ohio Conference,
with which he remained until 1848, when he was appointed agent of the
Methodist Book Concern, and removed to Cincinnati. In the
latter place he resided until 1856, when he removed to Iowa, united
with the Iowa Conference, and was appointed Presiding Elder of the Burlington
district. With the Iowa Conference he remained until his death,
which occurred at Burlington, Jan. 26, 1873. His wife survived
him nearly three years, dying Jan. 1, 1876. They reared a family
of ten children: George N. is Presiding Elder of the Keokuk district
of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Sarah E. died July 3, 1849, aged
nineteen years; Ann H. is the wife of Wesley Dennett, now Presiding
Elder of the San Francisco (Cal.) district of the Methodist Episcopal
Church; Mary L. wedded E. L. Morrison, and died in Cincinnati, Ohio,
in 1881; Martha J. is the wife of Rev. Ross, a Methodist Episcopal minister
in California; Lewis B. is our subject; John C. resides in Burlington,
and is an ex-Judge of the Circuit Court; Lydia E. is the wife of R.
S. McIntire, of Topeka, Kan.; Edward R. and Cornelia A. died in infancy.
The early life of
our subject was spent in his Northern Ohio home, and in Cincinnati.
At Woodward College, in the latter place, his literary education was
principally received. Coming with his parents to Burlington in
1856, he soon afterward went to Dodgeville, read medicine in the office
of F. G. Pollock, M. D., and in company with his preceptor engaged in
practice until September, 1860, when he entered the Medical College
of Ohio, at Cincinnati, graduating from there in March, 1861.
For some years, and especially during his attendance at the Medical
College, threats of Civil War were made, and preparations looking toward
that end were made by some of the Southern States. Resolutions
of secession were passed by representatives of seven of the Southern
States, before he received his diploma, and he anxiously awaited the
final outcome, determining if war should come to offer his services
to the General Government. The war did come, and the ink was scarcely
dry upon the paper on which President Lincoln issued his call for volunteers,
before Dr. Power offered his services, and was appointed Acting Assistant
Surgeon in the United States Army. He was soon afterward appointed
Surgeon of United States Volunteers, and was on duty at the battle of
Shiloh. From exposure during that engagement he was taken sick,
and was off duty until October, 1862, when he was assigned to the United
States Marine Hospital, at Cincinnati, Ohio, where he remained during
the winter, and in the spring of 1863 was placed in charge of Hospital
No. 2, at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, where he remained during the
summer of 1863. In the fall of that year he was assigned to duty
with the 9th Army Corps, in Kentucky and Tennessee, participating in
the various campaigns in those States, and also having charge of the
general hospital at Camp Nelson, near Lexington, Ky., remaining there
until July, 1864, when he was transferred to the staff of Gen. E. H.
Murray, as medical director of the district of Central Kentucky.
With Gen. Murray he remained until early in 1865, when he was again
transferred, to the staff of Gen. McArthur, as medical director of the
district of Western Kentucky, remaining in that connection until January,
1866, when he took charge of the Military Prison Hospital at Louisville,
remaining there until mustered out April 24, 1866. For five long years
he was in Government service, during which time he became familiar with
almost every disease and every form of surgery. The experience
thus gained was greater than could have been obtained in many more years
of general practice.
On receiving his discharge
Dr. Power returned to Iowa, and located at Muscatine, engaging in the
practice of his profession. Not being satisfied with the place,
at the expiration of a year's time he moved to Burlington, Iowa, and
here resumed practice, but on account of failing health, the result
of exposure while in service, he had to abandon it for some two years.
After measurably recovering his health he removed to Mediapolis, and
again engaged in practice. In his chosen profession he has been
successful, being a physician of experience and skill, one who ever
endeavors to keep abreast with the times.
Dr. Power was united
in marriage, at Burlington, Iowa, with Miss Mary E. Rice, the ceremony
taking place March 28, 1866. She is a daughter of David and Levara
Rice, the former a native of Washington County, Pa., and the latter
of Morgantown, Va. David Rice came with his family to Burlington,
Iowa, in 1836, and was therefore truly a pioneer. For many years
he was engaged in merchandising, in which he was reasonably successful.
He built the first two-story residence ever erected in Burlington.
It stood on the site of Drake's hardware store, on Main, between Valley
and Market streets. In the early days of Burlington he was one of its
leading citizens, and did much to advance its interests. A member
of the First Presbyterian Church, of Burlington, he was quite active
in the work, assisting in the erection of the first church building.
For many years he was one of its Ruling Elders. At different times he
was a member of the City Council, and held other local offices.
In every work in which he engaged he was conscientious, and whatever
he undertook he did with all his might. Father Rice died March
14, 1876, at the age of seventy-four years. His widow is yet living,
and resides in Waverly, Iowa, with one of her sons.
To Dr. and Mrs. Power
five children have been born: David L. died in 1882, at the age
of fifteen years; Alma M. resides at home; George R. died at the age
of two years, and Cora L. when five; Nellie M. is at home. Since
1875 Dr. Power had been local surgeon of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids
& Northern Railroad Company, a position he is well qualified to
fill, his long experience in the army fitting him for any service.
As a citizen he is well esteemed, and has been called upon to fill various
local offices, the duties of which he discharged with conscientious
fidelity. At present he is health officer of town and township.
Religiously, the Doctor is identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church,
of which body his wife is also a member, and in the cause of their Master
both take special delight.
Socially, the Doctor
is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and of Sheppard Post No. 157,
G. A. R., of which latter body he is the present Commander. The patriotic
ardor of his youth has never been allowed to grow cold, and believing
the G. A. R. a means to foster a spirit of patriotism, he takes great
interest in the success of the order.
Elias Prickett, a farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 31, Washington Township, came to Des Moines County, Iowa, in 1865 and purchased the quarter-section of land upon which he yet resides. At that time the land was only partially improved, but he immediately began the work of cultivation, has erected a good house and barn and has a mile and a half of hedge fence. The farm is one of the most pleasantly situated in the township and everything about the place denotes the thrift and enterprise of the owner.
Mr. Prickett was born in Bond County, Ill., Dec. 23, 1831, and is a son of Jacob and Jane (Lee) Prickett, the former a native of Georgia of Scotch-Irish origin, and the latter of Ohio, born of German parentage. One of Mrs. Prickett's brothers, John Lee, was a soldier in the Black Hawk War. The father of our subject was twice married, having nine children by his first union and seven by the second. He and his wife were pioneers of Bond County, Ill., where they resided for some time and then became residents of Iowa, settling in Henry County.
When the Civil War broke out, our subject enlisted in Company K, 1st Iowa Cavalry, and for three years gallantly fought in defense of the old flag that now floats so proudly over our nation. He participated in the battle of Prairie Grove, battle of Little Missouri, Prairie de Arm, Jenkins Ferry, Clear Creek, and numerous other skirmishes, receiving his discharge Sept. 9, 1864. In December of the following year he was united in marriage with Miss Caroline Martin, of Des Moines County, a daughter of James Martin, who was one of the pioneer settlers of this county, but originally a resident of Ohio. No children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Prickett. This worthy couple are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and socially he is a member of the New London Post, G. A. R. In his political views, he is a Republican, and is one of the well-informed and progressive farmers of Des Moines County, Iowa.
Richard Purcell, residing in section 8, Yellow Spring Township, is
one of the pioneers of Des Moines County, Iowa, having crossed the river on the 28th of
September, 1846. Thus, for over forty years, he has watched the growth and
development and has aided largely in the advancement and progress which have placed Des
Moines County among the first of the State. The prairies upon which were the waving
grass and the beautiful wild flowers have been transformed into cultivated farms, whose
broad acres pay tribute to the labor and care of the owners; towns and villages have
sprung up and churches and schoolhouses have been erected. This respected pioneer
was born in Frederick County, Va., Feb. 22, 1823, and is a son of Hansford and Rebecca
(Wood) Purcell, who were also natives of Virginia. When our subject was a lad of
twelve years, his parents emigrated to Chillicothe, Ohio, the father renting a farm near
that city, engaging both in farming and teaming, generally hauling freight across
the mountains. Upon that farm the family made their home until 1846, when they
The boyhood days of our subject were passed upon a farm, and his education was received in the subscription schools common to a new country. In 1844 he was united in marriage with Rebecca Kerr, a native of Ross County, Ohio, a daughter of Adam and Nancy (Hutchinson) Kerr, whose birthplace was in the State of South Carolina. Both of her parents, who were members of the Presbyterian Church, died in Ohio, the father at the age of seventy-two years, the mother at the age of eighty-four. After their marriage the young couple remained in Ohio for two years and then emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, where Mr. Purcell purchased a farm near the city of Burlington, consisting of 160 acres of partially improved land, upon which he made his home until 1855, when he removed to Yellow Spring Township. Purchasing 160 acres of land on section 8, he still makes that farm his home, though he has disposed of eighty acres of his land.
Mr. and Mrs. Purcell have been the parents of nine children: Louisa,
who died in childhood; John who now resides in Graham County, Kan.; James, a farmer of
Yellow Spring Township; Amanda, wife of Robert Scott, grocer, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Ida,
deceased wife of Bolen Payne, of Yellow Spring Township; Lillie is the wife of Oscar
Davis, of Huron Township; Louie A., residing with her parents; Albert R. and Mary B. both
died in childhood. Mr. Purcell began life a poor boy, and has made all he has by his
own efforts, and now has a competency for old age. In politics he is a Democrat.
Mrs. Purcell is a member of the Presbyterian
Hiram Purdy, who for thirty-one years has been a
prominent business man and highly respected citizen of Burlington, Iowa, was
born at White Plains, Westchester Co., N. Y., Sept. 12, 1814, and is a son of
Bartholomew and Sarah (Haight) Purdy. The Purdys are an old New England
family of English origin, and went from Connecticut to New York prior to the
Revolutionary War. The historical "White Plains" was the
property of one of the ancestors of the subject of this sketch in Colonial
times, and his father, Bartholomew Purdy, was born there. On his mother's
side, the Haights were also of English descent, and were among the early English
colonists of America. The first of the family to settle in this country
received a grant of a tract of land from the king, extending from Long Island
Sound to the Hudson River, covering an area thirty miles long by from ten to
twelve in width. In early childhood Mr. Purdy removed with his parents to New
York City, where he received an academic education, and learned the trade of
manufacturing sash, blinds and show-cases. When nineteen years of age he
was made foreman of the largest factory in that line in the country. In
1835 he engaged in business for himself, manufacturing the same articles. He was
an expert in his business and possessed a genius for invention, which he
exercised to a good purpose. Twelve patents were issued to him, covering
the following-named articles: one for gauging liquor, one for an odorizing
process, one for an improvement in the process of distilling, one for grain-car
doors, one for a cattle-bar for stock cars, one for a steam boiler, one for a
smoke consumer and draft producer, two for fruit jars, and one for an automatic
fire extinguisher for railroad cars, another for a cyclone heater, and the
latest an electric light reflector. Many of these have proved very useful
inventions and have gone into general use. Mr. Purdy was also the
projector for the first horse street railway system in New York City, the Bowery
and Third avenue street railway, it being the first in the world, having been
built in 1854,a according to the plans presented to him. He continued his
business in New York until 1857, being quite successful and accumulating a good
property, and then removed to Burlington, Iowa, forming the existing partnership
with Mr. Delahaye in the wholesale liquor business in 1857.
Mr. Purdy was twice married; first, in New York
City, in December, 1836, to Miss Lucinda Conrad. Three children were born to
them, two of whom died in infancy, and one, a daughter, Lucinda, is now the wife
of William Phyfe, of New York City. Mrs. Purdy died in 1843 in New York, and he
was married again in Burlington, in the fall of 1858, to Ellen Fitzgerald, a
daughter of M. Fitzgerald, Esq. She is a native of New York City.
Six children have graced their union: Hiram and Ellen died in childhood;
Sarah A. is the wife of David N. Prume, of Waterbury, Conn.; George A. died at
the age of twelve, and James B. and Horace I. are attending school.
Mr. Purdy is an ancient Odd Fellow, and was
initiated into the order in New York, in 1836, and is the second oldest Odd
Fellow in Iowa. He is a genial, unassuming man, of sound judgment, ripe in
experience of the world, and is held in high esteem by his fellow-citizens.
In politics, he was an earnest Whig in early
life, and has been equally as earnest a Republican since the organization of
that party. In religious matters he had been disposed to be liberal in his
views, and has never adopted any creed or orthodox belief. An original
thinker, he has reasoned from what he has found in nature, rather than the
theories of others. Possessing mental faculties of a superior force, and a mind
inclined to analysis and logic, he has never been able to content himself with
the conclusions of others, but has sought for light in his own way.
Genial, warn-hearted, and fond of the discussion of abstruse subjects, he is an
entertaining companion and reliable as a friend.