and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
R. M. Raab & Bro. are leading clothiers, tailors and furnishers of Burlington, Iowa. Their place of business is situated at Nos. 217 and 219 Jefferson street, the house occupying the full three stories, forty feet front by eighty feet deep, and there they employ between twenty and thirty hands and clerks. The first and second floors are used as salesrooms, and are heavily stocked with the best goods of every description in their line, while the third story is used for manufacturing purposes. This is the leading house of its kind in the State, both as to quality of work and goods, and the amount of business done. The business was established by the senior partner, R. M. Raab, in September, 1862, with a silent partner. In 1867 his brother, Emanuel, joined him in the business, which they continued until 1883, when, in consequence of Emanuel's departure, Mr. Samuel Herschler was admitted to a share in the business, though without any change of firm name. Mr. Herschler had been book-keeper and office man for the firm for a number of years. Mr. Emanuel Raab went that year (1883) to Richmond, Va., where he engaged in the tobacco business with a brother-in-law, L. L. Strause, though still retaining his interest in the clothing house at Burlington, while R. M. Raab also took an equal interest in the tobacco business with his brother. The company manufacture and deal in Virginia and North Carolina bright leaf tobacco, and do an annual business of about $250,000. In 1883 the Raab brothers assisted in organizing the Illinois Live Stock & Land Co., located at Greeley, Col., of which R. M. Raab is Vice President. This business represents a cash paid up capital of $150,000.
R. M. Raab was born in Hanover, Pa., Aug. 15, 1840, of Hebrew parentage. He is the son of Moses and Rachel (Strause) Raab, and when eight years of age removed with his parents to Baltimore, Md., where he received a common-school education. When thirteen years of age he engaged as a clerk in a clothing manufacturing establishment, and learned the rudiments of business. Three years later he quit his employers to join an uncle at Salem, Va., where he was employed as a clerk until the breaking out of the Civil War. Mr. Raab was a member of a local artillery company which offered its services to Gov. Letcher, of Virginia, and was accepted, but not liking the idea of serving in the Confederate army, he took his departure for his home in Baltimore on the last train North previous to the cutting off of communication between the two sections. He spent a few months at his Baltimore home, where he joined a battalion known as the Baltimore City Guards. In the summer of 1861 he came to Burlington, where he was employed as merchant's clerk until September, 1862, at which time he bought out S. H. Greenebaum's tailoring establishment. The investment proved a remarkably fortunate one, as he purchased just on the eve of the inflated war prices, and his stock doubled in value in a few months. As he had gone in debt for a large proportion of the purchase money, he was enabled to meet his obligations and still have a good share of property left. From that time Mr. Raab's success was assured. He possessed superior business capacity, industrious and frugal habits, and that essential element of success--a genius for details, and untiring application. Commencing business with a limited cash capital, he has now, as the records show, acquired a large property and is prominently interested in three different enterprises, where the annual business is reckoned by hundreds of thousands each. Mr. Raab is a Democrat in politics, but has had no time or inclination for office-seeking, his undivided attention having been devoted to his business, and he is justly regarded as one of the substantial and enterprising citizens of Burlington.
January 29, 1873, Mr. Raab was married in Philadelphia, Pa., to Julia, daughter of Henry and Mary Simpson. Mrs. Raab is a native of Philadelphia. A portrait of Mr. Raab accompanies this sketch.
B. Ramp, Superintendent of the foundry department of the Murray Iron Works, located at
West Burlington, was born in New York City, Nov. 13, 1830, and is a son of Henry
and Eliza (Horn) Ramp, the former a native of the Empire State and the latter of
Connecticut. To them were born six children, three of whom are
deceased--Henry, Rachel and Mary. Those living are Joseph B.; John A.,
Superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls Iron Works, of which Vaughn & Turner
are the proprietors; and Julia, wife of Andrew Vogt, proprietor of the Perry
Street Hotel, of Newark, N. J. The mother of these children was called to
her final rest Oct. 3, 1880. The father was a molder by trade, and
followed that occupation for over a half-century, retiring from active life in
1870, and now makes his home with his daughter in Newark. He has reached
his eighty-ninth year.
The subject of this sketch
received his education in New York City, and at the age of thirteen began
learning his chosen occupation, that of a molder, serving an apprenticeship of
five years and four months in Trenton, N. J. At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Ramp
was promoted to the position of foreman and remained in Trenton for some time,
but later went to Philadelphia, Pa., and subsequently to Newark, N. J., where he
had charge of the Globe Iron Works, of which Jerome B. Ward was the proprietor
and manager. At the breaking out of the Civil War, he gave up his
situation to enlist in his country's service, becoming a member of the 7th New
Jersey Volunteer Infantry for three years. He participated in the battles
of Williamsburg, White House Landing, Harrison Landing, and while on the trip to
the latter place was hurt by a horse and discharged. He decided to return
home, but while on the road he again enlisted in the 20th New York Cavalry at
Baltimore, serving two years in that regiment, not reaching home until after the
close of the war in 1865. At the evacuation of Richmond he aided in
putting out the fire, and then was discharged at Sacket's Harbor.
Mr. Ramp returned to New
York, but in the meantime his parents had removed to Newark, N. J., at which
city he made them a visit, and while there received an offer of a situation in
the Turner & Vaughn Iron Works, at Cuyahoga Falls. While engaged at
Turner & Vaughn's he married Miss Lizzie Deeds, the mother of his three
oldest children--Herbert, Paul and Effie. From Cuyahoga Falls he went to Keokuk,
Iowa, where he was employed in the Buckeye Iron Works. After being
employed for awhile in that city, he went to Cedar Rapids for the purpose of
overseeing the erection of the Whiting Bros.' shops, 40x80 feet. This
consumed about eight months' time, and, when they were all completed, he went to
Ft. Madison where he entered into a partnership with Charles Gableman, remaining
there for about eight months, and then selling his interest, he accepted the
position he now occupies, March 16, 1882. Under his able management the
work has proved a financial success, the company having secured the right man
for the place, one who has good business ability and thoroughly understands his
The first wife of our
subject died in the year 1879. On the 10th of November, 1879, Mr. Ramp was
united in marriage with Miss Laura Beatty, of Mexico, Mo., a daughter of John P.
and Elizabeth Beatty, the former a native of Kentucky, in which State his wife
was also born. Mr. and Mrs. Ramp have one child, Oliver. They are
both members of the Congregational Church, of West Burlington, in which he is a
Deacon. Mr. Ramp is also a member of Western Star Lodge, No. 21, A. F.
& A. M., of Youngstown, and is a Republican in politics
Charles W. Rand, junior partner of the firm Wyman & Rand, wholesale and retail dealers in carpets, furniture, wall paper, etc., was born in Burlington, Iowa, Feb. 12, 1855, and was the son of Hon. E. D. and Carrie A. (Sherfey) Rand. His parents were among the early settlers of Burlington, taking up their residence there in 1839, and his father was one of the most prominent business men in Iowa. (See sketch elsewhere in this work.) Charles W. Rand received his primary education in the city schools, took a regular course in the High School, and subsequently a two years' course in Burlington College. His business training was received in the well-known wholesale mercantile house of Marshall Field & Co., of Chicago, where he spent five years. At the expiration of that time he returned to Burlington and became a partner with Mr. Wyman in the carpet and furniture business in 1879. This firm does an annual business of $150,000, and is the largest house of the kind in the West. The salesrooms floors aggregate 60,000 square feet. They also have a branch house in Keokuk, under the name of Wyman-Rand Carpet Company, where they carry an average stock of $25,000 in value.
Mr. Rand was instrumental in incorporating the Northwestern Manufacturing Company of Burlington, in May, 1886. He is president of the company, which has a working capital of $26,000, a surplus of $14,000, and employs an average of 110 hands, with an annual output of $100,000 worth of stock. The buildings and site are the individual property of Messrs. Rand and Leopold, and are valued at about $35,000. Mr. Rand is identified with various local corporations, and although comparatively a young man, is rapidly acquiring extensive and important business relations. He is a Director in the National State Bank, Director of the Burlington Opera House, and Trustee in the Congregational Church. He was married in Chicago, Sept. 4, 1886, to Miss Lilian C. Higgins, a daughter of Hiram Higgins, of this city. Mrs. Rand was born in Mendota, Ill. In his political sentiments Mr. Rand is an Independent Republican, and a supporter of the present Administration.
Hon. Elbridge D. Rand, deceased, an honored pioneer of Burlington, Iowa, of 1839, and the most prominent business man of this region, was a native of Massachusetts, born in Watertown of that State, July 22, 1814, and was the eldest son of Samuel and Mary (Carter) Rand. By the death of his father in his childhood, he was thrown upon his own resources at a tender age, and worked out until he had attained the age of fifteen years, getting such education as was possible in the district schools, and doing chores nights and mornings for his board. He then went to Providence, R. I., where he served an apprenticeship to the candle and soap business, and continued at that employment until 1835, when he went to Hamilton, Ohio, in the employ of J. & N. Fisher, as superintendent of their packing-house at that place. After spending two years at Hamilton, he started for Lacon, Ill., with the intention of engaging in the pork-packing business with the brother of one of his former employers. While en route, Mr. Rand learned that the people of Lacon were afflicted with fever and ague, and therefore changed his plans, going to Quincy, Ill., instead, where he engaged in farming, stock-raising and pork-packing. While in the city, he had the misfortune to lose heavily by a government contract and by fire. He closed up his business at Quincy, paying a hundred cents on the dollar, but had nothing left. He then came to Iowa in the spring of 1839, and located on the Des Moines River, on what was then known as the "Black Hawk purchase," and near the present town of Keosauqua. He made a claim, which he improved and got forty acres in crops, but did not remain to harvest it, as he became dissatisfied with his surroundings and sold out. It was now midsummer, and he determined to accept Mr. Fisher's former offer of starting in business at Lacon, Ill. "Man proposes and God disposes," and fate had an entirely different programme marked out for him, as the sequel will show. He had started eastward with a team, intending to cross the Mississippi at Burlington. It happened that in shoeing his horses before starting, the blacksmith has pricked a foot of one of them, which caused him to go lame, and the injury became so serious that when he had reached the old cemetery on the hill, near the present site of Burlington College, the animal gave out, and a forced halt was called. there the weary traveler camped under his wagon, little dreaming that spread out before him lay the field of his future operations; that wealth and honors, a happy and luxurious home with wife and children about him, were palpable realities, only closely veiled by the hand of time. On the following day, the village blacksmith removed the cause of the horse's lameness, but was certain that several weeks at least, must elapse before the traveler could proceed on his journey. Being destitute of means, Mr. Rand was obliged to turn his horses out and seek employment. He secured a place with Bridgeman & Partridge, who had but just started in the pork-packing business. The packing-house was made by remodeling an old blacksmith shop, which stood on the site afterward occupied by the Union Hall. During a lull in the packing business the following winter, Mr. Rand purchased a horse and dray, which he hired a man to drive, assisting in the work himself as business permitted.
In the way above stated Mr. Rand commenced his business life in Burlington, clearing about $200, with which he purchased a house and lot opposite Union Hall. He continued his connection with Bridgeman & Partridge until 1843, when he formed a partnership with Peasley & Brooks in the provision, lumber and pork-packing business, which was continued for a period of three years. He had purchased a tract of fifteen acres in the meantime (the site of the packing-houses and residence), for which he paid the sum of $50 per acre. The investment was considered at the time, by some of the sagacious ones, to have been very foolish, but as time went on it was conceded to have been a very good speculation. The land is now very valuable. His connection with the firm of Peasley & Brooks was terminated on account of heavy losses sustained through large investments in grain, made by the advice of the senior partner. Once more Mr. Rand saw his accumulated capital swept away, his only remaining property being the land previously mentioned. Nothing daunted, he borrowed money, erected a cheap packing-house of his own, which was constructed of slabs, and again engaged in pork-packing. That year his profits amounted to $7,000, and the following year he erected a brick packing-house, conducting the business on a more extensive scale. He had also engaged in the lumber business in a small way in 1842. This business he gradually increased, and in 1850 abandoned pork-packing, concentrating his capital in the lumber trade. He had formed a partnership with Dr. William B. Chamberlain in this line at an early day, and later bought out the Doctor's interest.
In 1838, on the banks of the Mississippi River at Lower Town, Burlington, a sawmill was built by James McKell, which, after numerous changed of ownership, became the property of W. S. Berry and Dr. Hill, about the time he closed out of the pork-packing business. Mr. Rand purchased Dr. Hill's interest, and out of that investment grew the Burlington Lumber Company, one of he heaviest lumber firms on the middle Mississippi. In 1852 Mr. Rand formed an alliance with Messrs Carson & Eaton in this line, under the firm name of Carson, Eaton & Rand, in Wisconsin, and E. D. Rand & Co., Burlington, Iowa. Mr. Carson resided in Wisconsin, where the company's mills were located, and where he and Mr. Rand were largely interested in pine lands. Messrs. Rand & Carson subsequently bought out Mr. Eaton's interest, the firm name becoming Carson & Rand, and continued the business. Mr. Rand helped to organize the Valley Lumber Company of Wisconsin, in which he held a large interest. The concern is still flourishing. In January, 1877, Mr. Rand organized the Burlington Lumber Company, of which he was elected President, a position now held by his son, Horace S. In 1879 he organized the Rand Lumber Company, of which he was the first President. His son-in-law, John M. Sherfey, has succeeded to the position. This is one of the leading lumber firms in the State, and has branch yards at Bedford, Villisca, Corning, Afton and Mediapolis, Iowa. During Mr. Rand's lifetime, the company handled upwarf of 20,000,000 feet of lumber annually, besides immense quantities of lath, shingles, etc. Their employes numbered 100 men, while their yards covered sixty-four lots. The Burlington Lumber Company, of which Mr. Rand was President at the same time, was handling about 22,000,000 feet of lumber, 18,000,000 of which was manufactured at the mill in Burlington. But the largest of all the lumber corporations with which Mr. Rand was identified is the Carson & Rand Lumber Company of Keokuk, Iowa, which was organized in 1881, and of which he was President, his oldest son, George D., now being the President. More recently the Keithsburg Lumber Company was organized, and Mr. Rand was also President of it at the time of his death, and his son, E. D. Rand, Jr., now holds that position.
In addition to the above mentioned important enterprises of which Mr. Rand was the originator and controlling mind, he was prominently identified with a variety of other institutions of more of less magnitude. He became associated with the State Bank in 1862, when it was a branch of the Iowa State Bank, and on its organization into a National Bank, in 1865, he was elected a member of its first Board of Directors. which position he retained during the remainder of his life. He was elected President of the bank in 1869, and served two years, when he retired, and was succeeded by Mr. Peasley, whom he in turn succeeded in 1881, serving until 1883. He was also one of the incorporators of the Iowa State Savings Bank, of which he was a Director and Vice President until his death. The history of the First National Bank shows that he was also identified with that institution, and served as a member of its Board of Directors.
When the Narrow Guage Railroad was built, he contributed largely to its support and also took an active part in the building of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad. He aided materially in the improvement of the city, both in a private and public way. He caused to be erected some of the finest business blocks in the city, besides numerous residences, including his own beautiful mansion, known as the "Pines," where his wife and younger children still reside, and which he embellished to his fancy. He established a nursery at his home, and was warmly interested in the propagation of fruit and ornamental trees. The effect of his care and management is still shown in the beautiful grounds surrounding his old home. In 1852 he purchased a valuable tract of land comprising about fifty-five acres. Lying adjacent to his former purchase, which he laid out into lots and blocks, and which constitutes an important addition to Burlington, as on it are located numerous extensive manufacturing establishments.
In early life Mr. Rand was an ardent Whig, and on the organization of the Republican party, he joined its ranks and supported its policy for many years, but later in life he shook off party ties, and was known as a "Liberal Republican." He was never ambitious in a political sense and preferred to devote his attention to his important business interests, rather than accept public office. He was chosen a member of the Iowa Legislature in 1856, and served under the administration of his old friend, Gov. Grimes. He also served several years in the City Council in 1856-57, and 1860-62-63; since which time he held no public official position.
Mr. Rand united with the Congregational Society of Burlington in 1844, and always contributed liberally to its support, as well as remembering generously the claims of other Societies. His was a practical, open-handed Christianity, that enlisted his sympathies in every good cause, and left people better and happier for their connection with him. He was twice married; first to Miss Sarah A. Proud, of Centerville, Ohio, in April, 1837. Six children were born to them, of whom only two are living, a daughter and son: Mary A., wife of John M. Sherfey, President of the Rand Lumber Company, of Burlington, Iowa; and George D., who married Miss Sarah McGauhey, and resides at Keokuk, Iowa--he has been Mayor of that city several terms, and is President of the Carson & Rand Lumber Company. Mrs. Rand died at Burlington, in June, 1850. Mr. Rand was married again, June 13, 1852, at Burlington, to Mrs. Caroline A. Roberts, widow of J. W. Roberts, and daughter of S. Sherfey, Esq., a pioneer of Burlington of 1837. Mrs. Rand was born in Hagerstown, Md. Four children were born of their union, three sons and a daughter: Elbridge D., born at Burlington, Aug. 11, 1853, now Vice President of the Rand Lumber Company; Charles W., who was born at Burlington, Feb. 12, 1855, and is junior partner of the firm of Wyman & Rand, wholesale dealers in carpets and furniture, and President of the Northwestern Furniture Company, married Miss Lilian C. Higgins, daughter of Hiram Higgins, Esq., of Chicago; Horace S., born May 11, 1861, at Burlington, is President of the Burlington Lumber Company, and married Miss Ruth Gear, daughter of Gov. Gear; Carrie, the only daughter, was born at Burlington, March 17, 1867, and resided with her mother at the "Pines."
Mr. Rand's death occurred at his home in Burlington, April 10, 1887, after a short illness, and in the seventy-third year of his age. His death marked a sad event in the history of the city that had so long been his home and his pride, and to the prosperity and growth of which he had so liberally contributed. It may be truthfully said that he was no man's enemy and that in all his long years of varied and extensive business experience, he was never known to intentionally wrong anyone. Just and prompt, courteous and considerate, he possessed the confidence and kindly regard of all with whom he came in contact, from the humblest laborer in his yards to the highest official and wealthiest capitalist. He was essentially a self-made man, and while he was generally successful in his business ventures, and accumulated a large and valuable property, he met his reverses and saw many a dark day in the earlier years of his life. Naturally hopeful, energetic and methodical, of untiring industry and perseverance, he never knew what it was to give up. When failure overtook him in one line, he closed the chapter and struck out anew, shaping his course more carefully from the lessons of the past, until success, to a degree far beyond the expectations of the average business man, crowned his efforts. In his manner, he was plain and unassuming, free from all ostentation or display, earnest in his devotion to his family and friends, sympathetic and warm-hearted. Many a poor man has reason to hold his memory in veneration for substantial favors in the hour of need.
The story of the life of such a man as Elbridge D. Rand is both interesting and instructive, and teaches a lesson that may well be studied by the young men of coming generations as well as the present, encouraging them to renewed effort when reverses overtake them, and pointing the way to success like a beacon star in the sky of the future. For the exceedingly fine portrait of this good man, given at the commencement of this sketch, every patron of this work will be thankful.
George Randall is a grocer of Burlington, Iowa, situated at No. 1103 North Oak street. He is a Des Moines County pioneer, of 1847, as was born in Frederick County, Va., June 28, 1818. His parents were Nicholas and Catherine (Snodagall) Randall, the former a native of Virginia, of Scotch and Welsh parentage, the latter of Hagerstown, Md., and of Dutch ancestry. Nicholas Randall was a cooper by trade, at which he worked in connection with his farming. He was born Oct 14, 1787, and died July 8, 1834, when forty-seven years of age. His wife survived him for many years, and died in Ohio. They were the parents of six children: Eliza, who wedded George Albert, both dying in Pratt County, Ill.; Sarah A. became the wife of Solomon Jones, and both died in Chillicothe, Ohio; Margaret S. wedded James Bothel, and afterward David Baldwin became her husband; our subject is fourth in order of birth; Peter died in Chillicothe, Ohio; and Emily, deceased wife of James Howard. The parents were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
George Randall was reared upon a farm and educated at the
subscription schools. At the age of twenty, June 13, 1839, he was united in marriage
with Miss Lucy P. Percell; a native of Virginia, and daughter of Hansford and Rebecca
Percell, also natives of that State. In 1836 Mr. Randall emigrated from his native state
to Fairfield, Ohio, remaining there until 1838, when he removed to Ross County, and
subsequently to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was engaged in the cooper's trade until 1847.
Again deciding to move further west, he settled in
Eight children blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Randall: John W., who died in 1848, when nine years of age; James M., a resident of Ottumwa, Iowa; Isabelle, wife of Thomas Johnson, a resident of Nebraska; George W., residing in New London, Iowa; Charles, who died in infancy; Margaret, who died in childhood; Allen, a farmer near Corning, Iowa; and Ellen, deceased. The mother of these children died Oct. 8, 1852, and Mr. Randall was again married Aug. 10, 1854, to Miss Isabel Turk, a native of Tennessee, and a daughter of William Turk. By this union there was one son, William who died at the age of eight. The second wife died Feb. 19, 1862, and Mr. Randall was a third time married, Oct. 5, 1870, Mrs. Ellen Burris, the widow of Coles Burris, becoming his wife. She was a native of Indiana, a daughter of Mr. Ballard. Her death occurred Dec. 21, 1881.
Mr. Randall is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for fifty-eight years has been one of its earnest workers. He has held the offices of Steward and Class-Leader for many years, during which time he has taken an active part in Sunday-school work. As a friend and citizen he is highly respected by all who know him. Mr. Randall owns a comfortable and elegant city residence. He has been a life-long Democrat.
Randall, M. D., a prominent physician
of Des Moines County, Iowa, resides in the village of Augusta, which had been
his home since 1862. He is a native of Wilton, Me., born in 1832, his parents,
Esek and Edith (Pickens) Randall, being also natives of that place. Until
sixteen years of age, our subject had the privilege of attending the public
schools of his native town, securing therein a fair English education, and a
limited knowledge of mathematics. He then went to the village of Upton,
Mass., where he learned the shoemaker's trade, at which he worked until he had
accumulated a small sum of money, when he determined to secure a better
education, and thus prepare himself for greater usefulness in life. For
one and one-half years he attended an Academy in Thetford, Vt., then engaged in
teaching, and during his spare moments read medicine, subsequently attending
lectures at the Medical College in Castleton, Vt., from which institution he was
graduated in 1857. Shortly after his graduation the young Doctor left the
East and located in Clay County, Ill., where he actively engaged in practice
until 1863. The great Rebellion had now been in progress nearly three
years, and the patriotic heart of Dr. Randall could no longer withstand the
appeals of his country for more men. Returning East, he enlisted as a
private in the 11th Massachusetts Infantry, and with gun and knapsack marched to
the front. He was soon, however, given a commission as Second Assistant
Surgeon of the 19th Maine Infantry, but was quickly promoted Surgeon of his
regiment, with the rank of Major, serving as such until the close of the war.
On receiving his discharge Dr. Randall located in
Richland County, Ohio, where he remained until 1869, when he came to Des Moines
County, Iowa, locating in Augusta, where he has since continued to reside.
In the twenty years of his residence in Augusta, he has built up an excellent
practice, and has won the confidence of the entire community, both as a
physician and a surgeon. His practice extends into Lee and Henry Counties,
as well as in Des Moines, and comprises many of the best people within a radius
of ten miles in each of the three counties. Since his residence here,
prosperity has attended him, and he is now the owner, in addition to his village
property, of 185 acres of land near the village, all of which is under a high
state of cultivation.
In 1860 Dr. Randall was united in marriage with
Miss Martha Fowler, a native of Massachusetts. Two children were born to
them--Anna is now the wife of W. A. Murphy, a farmer residing in Lee County,
Iowa; the other died at he age of seven years. Politically, Dr. Randall is
a stanch Republican, one of the kind who firmly believes in the principles of
the party and that its days of usefulness were not numbered when slavery was
destroyed and the Union restored. He believes that much yet remains to be
done by the Grand Old Party, and that it must always take advanced position upon
every great civil or moral question that agitates the people. In the
temperance cause the Doctor has always been quite active, and believes in the
entire abolition of the liquor traffic. As a temperance man he has
advocated prohibition, speaking his sentiments freely, even though surrounded by
many who do not agree with him upon the question. Few men enjoy the
respect and confidence of the community in which they reside to a greater degree
than Dr. Randall. His good wife is a worthy helpmate to him, and together
they exert a good influence in the social circle and wherever known.
Archibald Rankin, one of the pioneer settlers of Des Moines County, of 1836, now residing in Kossuth, was born in Franklin County, Pa., Aug. 1, 1819, and is the son of David and Frances (Campbell) Rankin, both of whom were natives of Franklin County, and of Scotch-Irish parentage. They reared a family of nine children: Betsy, now residing with our subject, at the advanced age of eighty-six years; Martha became the wife of Joseph Swaney, of Ft. Wayne, Ind., and both are now deceased; William, who was one of the pioneers of 1836, died in Des Moines County, in 1872; Mary, deceased wife of Hon. James Bruce, of Mediapolis; Campbell died in Yellow Spring Township, in 1885, at the age of seventy-five years; Frances became the wife of James Waddle, and both are now deceased; David H. died in Kansas in 1873; Archibald; and John, who departed this life at the age of twenty-one years in 1838. Mr. and Mrs. Rankin were both members of the Presbyterian Church, and all their children also belonged to that denomination. Mr. Rankin departed this life in 1853, at the age of seventy-seven years, his wife preceding him to her final home, her death occurring in 1834, aged fifty-eight years, in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Our subject came to Des Moines County in the fall of 1836, with his parents, who settled in what is now Huron Township, section 28, where the father resided until his death, and where Archibald lived until December, 1887, when he removed to the village of Kossuth, and there has since made his home. On the 30th of May, 1853, Mr. Rankin was united in marriage with Lydia Blair, a native of Cass County, Ill., born March 24, 1822, and a daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Job) Blair, the father a native of Kentucky, and the mother of Baltimore, Md. Mr. and Mrs. Blair were among the early settlers of Des Moines County, locating here in 1835.
Mr. and Mrs. Rankin have been parents of five children: John Calvin, who died at the age of two and a half years; Elizabeth J., wife of William B. Reed, of Abingdon, Ill.; Frances M. is engaged in teaching, and lives at home; Lydia Ann died in infancy; and Martha C., who is also a teacher. Mr. Rankin and his wife and family are all members of the Presbyterian Church, in which he holds the office of Deacon. Politically, he is a Republican, and a strong advocate of prohibition principles. The fact that he has held the office of Trustee of Huron Township for seventeen years, will show in what confidence and respect he is held by the citizens of the county. He is the owner of 105 acres of land in Huron Township, and also a house and lot in the village of Kossuth. Few men are yet alive who for a half-century have been residents of Des Moines County, yet as such a one, and as a kindly neighbor and upright citizen, Mr. Rankin receives the respect of all, and we are pleased to present this sketch among those of other prominent citizens of the county.
C. Rankin, deceased, was
one of the pioneer settlers of Des Moines County, Iowa, having been a resident
from 1836 until the time of his death, in 1885. For almost a half-century
he not only witnessed, but aided largely in its growth and development.
Any enterprise for the public good always found in him a ready supporter, and in
the work of progress and civilization he was among the first. Mr. Rankin
was a native of Franklin County, Pa., born in 1811, and a son of Judge David
Rankin, also a native of that State. He was reared upon his father's farm, and,
as before stated, emigrated to Des Moines County with his parents in 1836,
settling on section 28 of Huron Township. In 1851 he was united in
marriage with Miss Mary Jane Johnson, who was a native of Washington County, Pa.
Five children were born of their union, four of whom are now living: D.
C., Jr.; H. J., who is a practicing physician of Windom, Iowa; Sarah F.,
residing with her brother, D. C.; J. W., a stock-raiser of Ness County, Kan.;
and Martha, who died in infancy. In his early life, Mr. Rankin was a Whig,
though at the organization of the Republican party he joined its ranks. He
was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, and an earnest worker in the
temperance cause. His wife was also a member of the Presbyterian Church,
and her death occurred in September, 1865. Mr. Rankin held the
office of Township Trustee and other minor positions. He was a great
reader and a well-informed man, and strong in his convictions of right and
wrong, yet modest and conservative. In educational matters he took great
interest, was always ready to take a step in advance, and gave his children good
educations. He was also a man of good business ability, energetic, yet
careful in the management of his farm, which, at the time of his death,
consisted of 125 acres of land. One by one the pioneers of the county have
passed away, and on the 21st of February, 1885, Mr. Rankin was called to his
final home, his death being mourned by a large circle of friends and
D. C. Rankin, Jr., son of
our subject, residing on section 28, Huron Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa, is a
native of this county, and was reared upon his father's farm. His primary
education, which was received at the district schools, was supplemented by a
course in the Academy at Kossuth. With the exception of three years, which were
passed in Greene County, Mr. Rankin has always been a resident of Huron
Township. His whole life has been spent as a farmer, and since his
father's death, in 1885, he has assumed the management of the homestead, and
makes a specialty of raising horses. In his political views he is a
Republican, and believes in the strict enforcement of the prohibitory law.
He has held various township offices, and at present fills the position of
R. Rankin, an early
settler of Des Moines County, and a member of the firm of Rankin & Dodge,
commission merchants and wholesale dealers in fresh fruits and vegetables, was
born in East Tennessee, Dec. 11, 1827, and is the son of William C. and
Catherine (Gault) Rankin. His father, who is now living at the age of
ninety-three, lives where the grandfather of our subject had settled, in company
with three brothers, in Tennessee, after being mustered out of the service in
the Revolutionary War. The mother was born in Tennessee of Scotch-Irish
descent, and died while Thomas was yet a child.
Our subject went to North
Carolina with his father in 1833, remaining there for four years, when they
removed to Indiana, and after residing in that State for another four years he
came to Iowa in the year 1841. They reached Yellow Spring Township, Des
Moines County, in September of that year. Thomas was sent to the school at
Quincy, Ill., and the family removed to that city in 1845. His father was
a minister of the Presbyterian Church, and continued to serve in that capacity
until late in life. Thomas came to Burlington in 1852, and engaged in his
present business of dealing in fruits and vegetables, and is also a wholesale
and retail dealer in ice. A history of the business appears under the
mercantile department of this work. In early life Mr. Rankin was a Whig,
but joined the Republican party at the time of its organization, and still votes
with it. He is a temperance man, and believes in the enforcement of the
laws for the suppression of the liquor traffic.
In Schuyler County, Ill.,
April 10, 1851, Mr. Rankin was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth A.
Houston, a daughter of Caleb Houston, who is a distant relative of the late
Senator Sam Houston, of Texas. Mrs. Rankin is a native of Columbus, Ohio.
They have an adopted daughter, Emma G., wife of J. W. Cornic, a conductor on the
California Central Railroad, and resides at Los Angeles, Cal. Mr. Rankin
and his wife are both members of the First Congregational Church of this city.
He is also a member of Burlington Council, No. 530, Royal Arcanum, and is one of
the conservative, reliable business men of the thriving city of Burlington.
a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Des Moines County, Iowa, residing on
section 7, Pleasant Grove Township, is a pioneer of 1840. He was born in North
Carolina, Dec. 7, 1820, and his parents, Isaac and Nancy Redfearn, were also
natives of the same State, but emigrated to Illinois in 1823, settling in Bond
County, where the father purchased land and resided until his death. Mr.
and Mrs. Redfearn were the parents of ten children, of whom our subject was the
fourth. Of the family but two others are now living--John, a farmer of
Henry County, Iowa, and Jemima, wife of James Long of Bond County, Ill.
At the age of
seventeen our subject ran away from his home and came to Iowa, settling in
Burlington, where he remained until 1846, working as a farmhand or at any odd
jobs which he could find to do. In May, 1846, he enlisted as a private in
Company E, 3d Illinois Infantry, in the Mexican War, serving fourteen months and
participating in the battles of Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo. He was elected
Second Lieutenant of the company in July, 1846, and served as such until the
close of the war, when he was mustered out at New Orleans in June, 1847.
The same year he returned to Burlington and made his first purchase of land,
consisting of 140 acres on section 7, Pleasant Grove Township.
On the 8th of
February, 1849, Mr. Redfearn was united in marriage with Almira Lee, a native of
Macoupin County, Ill., and a daughter of John Lee. That fall the gold-fever
broke out, and the following spring, equipped with an ox team, Mr. Redfearn
started on an overland trip to California, reaching Sacramento after traveling
for five months across the plains. After engaging in mining for four
months he returned home by water, again engaging in farming on the land which is
still his home. From time to time he has added to his original farm of 140
acres until now 600 acres of fine land pay a good tribute to his care and labor.
Five children were
born unto Mr. and Mrs. Redfearn: Oliver, now a farmer of Washington
Township, Des Moines County; Jennie, wife of Jerome Steele, residing at
Beatrice, Neb.; Ira, a resident farmer of Pleasant Grove Township; John L., also
a farmer of Pleasant Grove Township; and James, still residing at home.
Mr. Redfearn is a self-made man financially. Commencing life a poor boy, earning
his first money by day labor, he has steadily worked his way up until he has now
a comfortable competence. He makes a specialty of raising fine
thoroughbred horses, and has many fine animals on his farm. Politically,
he is a Democrat. Mrs. Redfearn is a member of the Methodist Episcopal
On the opposite page
is a view of the residence of Mr. Redfearn, with a portion of his fine stock
shown in the foreground.
Maj. William B. Remey, one of the pioneers of Des Moines County, Iowa, was born in Kentucky, and when a small boy went to St. Charles, near St. Louis, Mo., where he grew to manhood and received a liberal education. In 1837 he came to Burlington, Iowa, then a small village, and soon after his arrival embarked in the mercantile business, as one of the firm of Webber & Remey, the partnership continuing for a few years, Mr. Webber then withdrawing, and Mr. Remey continued the business alone for several years. The first important business building in the city was erected by him, and until the big fire in 1874 was one of the oldest landmarks. Mr. Remey in early life was an old-line Whig, a great admirer of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, and continued to act with that party until the organization of the Republican party, with which he became identified and with which he affiliated until his death. He was honored with many local offices, including City Clerk, City Treasurer and Alderman, serving in the latter office several terms. In 1861 he was nominated by the Republican party for the office of County Treasurer, was elected, and filled that office for three terms with credit to himself and his constituents. He was a man well posted in the affairs of the State and county, of fine social qualities, and made many warm friends in the county where he so long resided.
In the fall of 1837, soon after coming to Burlington, Mr. Remey was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Howland, a native of Woodstock, Vt., by whom he had five children, three of whom are living: George C., a Captain in the United States Navy, is now stationed at the Norfolk Navy Yard, of which post he has charge; Col. William B. is Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Marine Corps, at Washington, D. C. John T. Remey, the third son of William B. and Eliza (Howland) Remey, is the President of the National State Bank, at Burlington, Iowa. He was born in Burlington, June 4, 1844, grew to manhood in his native city, and received a good literary and business education in the Baptist College, of Burlington. He began his business career as a clerk in the store of John H. Gear & Co. When nineteen years of age he was employed as messenger in the bank of W. F. Coolbaugh & Co., in the city of Chicago, where he remained for a term of eight years, occupying different positions in the bank, which in the meantime had been re-organized as the Union National Bank. By strict attention to business he won the confidence of his employers, and was promoted to paying teller of the bank. He remained in the Chicago institution for eight years, becoming thoroughly posted in bank affairs. Returning to Burlington in 1871, he was made Cashier of the National State Bank, which position he held until 1883, when he was elected President of the National State Bank, which position he still retains. In 1872 Mr. Remey was married, in Burlington, to Miss Mary Rorer, a daughter of Judge Rorer, who was one of the most prominent men of Burlington. They have one son, David Rorer Remey.
John T. Remey is yet in the prime of life, and deserves much credit for the high position he has obtained, working his way from a subordinate position to the head of one of the largest banking institutions in the State. In the discharge of his official duties he combines caution with his desire to please, and has made many warm personal friends. He has the perfect confidence of the business men of the city, and of all persons with whom he has been brought in contact. In all matters of public interest he has always been ready to do his part.
James H. Reynolds, photographer, situated at 211 1/2 Jefferson street, Burlington, Iowa, established his gallery in that city in 1872, and has now been in business there for a period of sixteen years. He does all styles of work known to the trade, from a tintype to a life-size crayon portrait, and his cabinet-size photographs are particularly well executed, and all of his work gives the best of satisfaction.
Mr. Reynolds was born in Warren County, N. Y., June 8, 1842, and is the son of David and Belle (Gallup) Reynolds. Deciding to come West, he left his native State in 1863, and located at Oshkosh, Wis., where he began learning photography, but abandoned that peaceful pursuit for the tented field, during the great war of the Rebellion. He enlisted in the fall of 1863 as a private of Company H, 8th Wisconsin Infantry, known as the Eagle Regiment, from there carrying the historic eagle, "Old Abe," through the war. Mr. Reynolds participated in the Red River campaign under Gen. Banks, and then returned to Vicksburg. While lying in the swamps of Louisiana he contracted disease, and was discharged in the fall of 1864 for physical disability. After being mustered out he went to New York City, where he perfected himself in the art of photography, continuing in business in that city for six years. In 1872 he came to Burlington and opened a gallery, in which he has been very successful.
On the 2d of September, 1873, at Burlington, Iowa, Mr. Reynolds was united in marriage with Miss May Wheeler, daughter of C. A. Wheeler. Mrs. Reynolds is a native of Iowa, born at Mt. Vernon, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Three children were born of their union, two daughters and one son: Pearl, aged thirteen; Blanche, aged eight; and James H., now six years of age, all born at Burlington. Mr. Reynolds is a Royal Arch Mason, a member of Malta Lodge, No. 319, A. F. & A. M., of Burlington, and of Metropolitan Chapter of New York City. He is also a member of Flint Hills Lodge, No. 39, Knight of Pythias, of Burlington.
Rice, of Danville
Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in
Fayette County, that State, May 1, 1846, of German ancestry. His parents,
William Jacob and Nancy Rice, are still living. Abram was reared on the
home farm in his native State, and received such an education as the common
schools of the county afforded. On the 26th of October, 1871, he was
married to Miss Elizabeth Sherrick, a daughter of Jacob and Margaret Sherrick,
who were also both natives of Pennsylvania. After his marriage Mr. Rice engaged
in farming for about a year in Fayette County, and was then employed in the
manufacture of coke near Scottdale, Pa. At the end of two years he removed to
Westmoreland County, Pa., again engaging in farming, and resided in that county
for five years. In December, 1880, he came to Iowa and located on the farm
where he now resides, owning 160 acres of the best soil of Danville Township,
upon which are erected substantial and comfortable buildings.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice are the
parents of six children, viz: Mamie, George S., Jacob S., Maggie S., Edgar
S. and Nettie. The two youngest were born in Iowa, and the four eldest in
Pennsylvania. Mr. Rice is one of the enterprising and successful farmers
of the county. In politics he is a Democrat, but is not much of a
politician, and has never been as aspirant for political honors. He is a
public-spirited, enterprising man, who feels an active interest in all matters
pertaining to the public good and in the education of the young of the land.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice are consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
are highly respected in the community for their industry, frugality, and
integrity of character.
Richter is a druggist of Burlington, Iowa. Frederick O., his father, was a
native of Colberg, Germany, born Aug. 1, 1799, and during his life was a
minister, being engaged principally in evangelistic work. For a time he
was the pastor and teacher in a military school, and forty years of his life
were spent in this way. In 1826 he wedded Johanna Zaabel, and they reared
a family of eight children: Otto F., now residing in Graudenz, Prussia, is
Judge of the court of that place, having held the office for eighteen years;
Maria, widow of Adelbert Ballertedt, resides in Dantzic, Germany; Johanna, wife
of Paul Hermann, of Berlin, and our subject. At the age of thirteen years Adolph
Richter went to the Tourhimstahl gymnasium at Berlin, remaining there for five
years, and at the end of that time he went as a sailor to England.
Returning from his trip he entered the academy at Dantzic, Germany, and after a
course of a year and a half he received his diploma of graduation from that
noted school. After completing his school life Mr. Richter engaged both as
clerk and book-keeper in several of the business houses in that city, and in
1867 he went to Stettin, Germany, where he was employed as a shipping clerk in a
large oil refining establishment. After remaining in that employ till the
fall of 1869, he again went to Berlin, and engaged as a book-keeper in a
wholesale wine house until April, 1870. Thinking that better opportunity for
labor could be secured in the New World, he then bade his kindred and friends
good-by, and after being on the waters for a month, landed in New York in May of
that year. Six days later we find him in his adopted city, Burlington.
After being employed as a farm hand for two months, he then engaged on the first
German Democratic paper, the Iowa Journal, having charge of most of the
editorial work. A short time after the firm becoming insolvent, he was
again out of employment, and a position being offered him as a runner for a
boarding-house, he accepted the same, but shortly afterward entered the Iowa
Tribune office as assistant editor and clerk. Mr. Richter was engaged in
that labor until June, 1871, though during the previous March he opened a
drug-store on Oak street, which he still continues, and is doing a fine
On the 17th of
December, 1870, Mr. Richter formed a matrimonial alliance with Lydia Bauer, a
native of Germany. By this marriage eleven children were born, of whom
seven are living--Maria, Johanna, Frederick, Adolph, George, Thusnelda and
Rudolph. Mr. Richter and his wife are both members of the society known as
the Latter-Day Saints. In politics he is a Democrat, though very liberal
in his views.
H. Riepe, a farmer and
stock-raiser residing on section 10, Franklin Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa,
and one of the Nation's brave defenders, was born in Prussia, June 15, 1843.
He emigrated with his parents, Henry and Mary (Wallbrick) Riepe, to America in
1851, landing in New York, where they remained for four years, and then came to
Des Moines County, Iowa. For about six months they resided in the city of
Burlington, and then the father purchased a farm of fifty-four acres of land in
Benton Township, where Mrs. Riepe died in 1863, at the age of fifty-three.
She and her husband were both members of the Lutheran Church. Mr. Riepe is
yet living, at the age of sixty-eight years, and is a well preserved man.
He makes his home in Flint River Township. To Mr. and Mrs. Riepe were born
three children: John H., of this sketch; Harmon H., a farmer of Franklin
Township, Des Moines County; and William, a resident of St. Louis, Mo.
John H. Riepe was educated
in the common schools of this county, and remained at home until the breaking
out of the Rebellion, when he enlisted for three years in defense of the Stars
and Stripes, becoming a member of the 30th Iowa Infantry, participating in the
battles of Resaca, Ga., and Kingston, Ga. He was taken sick with the
measles at Davenport, Iowa, and has never regained his former health. When
partly recovered he rejoined his regiment at Woodville, Ala., and was with them
on the march to Chattanooga, Tenn., and was also with Sherman on his famous
March to the Sea. Again Mr. Riepe was taken sick and sent back to
Chattanooga, Tenn., where he lay in the hospital for eight months; was then sent
to Rolla, S. C., and from there to Washington, where he took part in the grand
review. Later he was sent to Louisville, Ky., and from there to Davenport,
Iowa, where he was discharged in 1865, after which he returned home, again
giving his attention to farming.
On the 16th of October,
1867, the marriage of John H. Riepe and Miss Amanda Minnic was celebrated.
Mrs. Riepe is a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Charles and Catherine
(Smith) Minnic. Eight children were born of this union--Norah, Mary, John,
Frederick, Elizabeth, Edward, Robert and Charles. Politically, Mr. Riepe
is a Democrat, though liberal in his views. He has held various township offices
of trust, and as a citizen is highly respected.
Stephen Riggs, deceased, one of the very earliest pioneers of Des Moines County, Iowa, was a native of Maryland, and when but a small child went with his parents to Kentucky, where his early life was spent upon a farm. In that State he was united in marriage with Elizabeth Riggs, a distant relative, who was a native of Kentucky, and a daughter of William Riggs of Maryland. In 1836, they left that State and emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, settling in Franklin Township, where Mr. Riggs purchased land and developed a fine farm. Here they endured all the trials of pioneer life, for at the time of their settlement the country was an unbroken wilderness, deer and wild game were to be seen on the prairies, bands of Indians were often in the neighborhood, and the dreaded howl of wolves was frequently heard at night. Mr. Riggs was prominent among those who helped to build up Des Moines County. He was one of the surveyors of the city of Burlington, and his energy and enterprise aided largely in all public interests, and in the progress and development of the county he was prominent among the foremost workers. He resided upon his farm in Franklin Township, until about the year 1848, when he removed to Sullivan County, Mo., where his death occurred about 1867. His wife died about one year later, and both were members of the Christian Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Riggs reared a family of fourteen children, all of whom were honorable men and women. Only two now reside in this county--Martha Ann, wife of George Ibbotson; and Lutitia, wife of A. Dillon, of New London, Iowa. In early life, Mr. Riggs was a member of the Whig party; he always opposed slavery, and at the organization of the Republican party joined its ranks. He was a resolute and conservative man, and highly respected in the community where he resided.
John Ripley, deceased, was a highly respected pioneer of Des Moines County of
1839, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., March 14, 1792, and was a son of
Lewis Ripley. He was of German descent, was liberally educated, joined the
Methodist Episcopal Church in his youth, and being earnest in his religion and
possessing a good command of language, became an exhorter and licensed preacher.
Mr. Ripley did not, however, confine his attention exclusively to the ministry,
but engaged in merchandising, and being a practical business man, his assistance
was much in request by his neighbors in settling matters of dispute and in doing
various services that require business tact and knowledge. He was a
Democrat in politics, and was chosen three times to represent his district in
the Virginia Legislature. Serving two terms, he resigned before completing the
third, in order to emigrate to Iowa.
Mr. Ripley was united in marriage, near
Parkersburg, Va., with Miss Rachel Bennett. Mrs. Ripley was born in
Virginia of Welch parentage, Sept. 13, 1793. Twelve children have blessed
the union, six sons and six daughters, all but one of whom grew to be men and
women: Mary Ann, the eldest, was the wife of George Hathhorn, and died in
1855 leaving five children; Nancy, who resided with her brother-in-law, Robert
Allen, of Dodgeville, Iowa, died March 4, 1888; Elias died in 1841; Elizabeth
married Robert Todd in 1854, and died in 1855; Lewis resided at Burlington, was
twice married, and has children by both unions--one of his sons, W. H., is a
traveling saleman for John Blaul & Sons, wholesale grocers of Burlington,
and another son, David, is a farmer of Nebraska, while another is a conductor in
the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; Catherine is the
wife of Hon. Robert Allen, and they have one son, Frank, aged twenty-two years;
Dorinda, who was the wife of A. M. Root, died March 4, 1887, leaving one son, W.
H. Root, who served as Police Clerk of Burlington for several years; John, who
was the husband of Melinda Smith, died in Chicago, April 19, 1887, leaving seven
children, three sons and four daughters--one son, Leffingwell, is a prominent
postoffice official of Chicago, while another, Frank, is employed in the leading
abstract office of Chicago; Amy died when ten years of age; David W., who
married Catherine Jackson, was a farmer of Des Moines County until March, 1887,
when he removed to Hastings, Neb.; Isaac Newton was twice married, and is a
large real-estate owner of Burlington (see sketch elsewhere); Edmund, now
residing at Burlington, married Susan Overstreet, of Canton, Mo., and two sons
and two daughters graced their union.
Mr. Ripley came to Iowa on horseback in 1838
to choose a site for a new home, deciding on Des Moines County, and then
returned to Virginia for his family. It was two years later, however,
before he succeeded in getting them all settled in their new home. Some of
the children were married at this time, but all emigrated to this State.
Mr. Ripley settled within two and a half miles of Burlington to the westward,
temporarily. The next spring they removed to Kaiser Prairie, in Flint
River Township, and the same year Mr. Ripley bought the farm that became his
permanent home, and which was situated six miles from Burlington, on the
Dodgeville road. He purchased ninety acres, greatly improving the land and
residing upon it the remainder of his days, his death occurring on March 30,
1872. His wife, a worthy and highly respected Christian lady, had died in
March, 1867. Mr. Ripley was actively engaged in public affairs here, as he
had been in Virginia. He was twice elected County Commissioner when the
county was governed by three men acting in that capacity. He was a
delegate to the Constitutional Convention that framed the Constitution of Iowa,
and was twice elected a member of the Territorial Legislature. He was also
useful to the community in filling minor offices, such as that of Justice of the
peace, member of the School Board, etc. He was indefatigable in the
discharge of what he felt to be his duty. Just and upright in public as
well as in private life, he was so generally popular that in all his public
career he was never but once defeated when a candidate for office, and that time
his party ticket was defeated entirely. Mr. Ripley was a consistent
Christian, charitable and kind-hearted, and might be said not to have had an
enemy in the world.
Ripley, capitalist, residence 408
South Ninth street, Burlington, and a pioneer of Des Moines County, of 1840, was
born in Tyler County, Va., July 1, 1838, and is a son of Hon. John A. and Rachel
(Bennett) Ripley. His father was a native of Westmoreland County, Pa., and of
Pennsylvania German descent. His mother was a native of Wales. Isaac N. came to
Burlington with his parents in 1840, was brought up on a farm and educated at
the public schools, and when fifteen years of age engaged in teaching school,
but taught only one year. When seventeen years of age he engaged with J. W. & W. D. Gilbert, lumber dealers, as clerk and salesman. In 1866 he bought an
interest in the business, but sold out to his partners the following year, but
continued with the firm, which had become Gilbert, Hedge & Co., until 1879
as book-keeper, and served at times on outside business. While with this company
he was dealing extensively in real estate, erecting buildings and speculating.
Since 1879 he has devoted his attention to the care of his property and private
business. He is now proprietor of twenty dwellings and three stores in the city
of Burlington. He also owns farming lands in Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois,
aggregating about 750 acres.
Mr. Ripley has been twice married. His first
marriage was in June, 1862, to Miss Anna C. Darrow, by whom he had one child, a
son, Charles D., who was drowned in the Mississippi River when eleven years of
age. Mrs. Ripley died in 1866. Mr. Ripley was married again in 1874, at Mt.
Pleasant, Iowa, to Miss Mary H. Millspaugh, a daughter of John and Harriet
Millspaugh. Mrs. Ripley was born at Booneville, Ind. Four children were born of
this marriage--Geneva, born Sept. 16, 1879; Blanche, Nov. 11, 1882; Bennett A.,
June 8, 1884, and died Feb. 15, 1885; and Hellen, born Sept. 28, 1886. Mrs.
Ripley is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was for several years
a popular teacher in the Burlington city schools. Mr. Ripley is a member of Des
Moines Lodge, No. 1, A. F. & A. M., is a member of the Select Knights of the
Legion and of Lincoln Lodge, No. 125, A. O. U. W. His is also a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been actively identified with the
administration of Church business for many years. He has served on the official
board, and has held at various times nearly all the offices of the Church and
Sabbath-school. He is a pronounced Democrat in politics, having always taken an
active part in local and State politics. While he has never been an office
seeker, he has served five terms as a member of the City Council of Burlington.
He was a prominent candidate for the Burlington postoffice at the time the
present incumbent was appointed. Mr. Ripley is an enterprising, practical
business man, having by good management and judicious investment of his capital
acquired a large and valuable property. By his enterprise he has aided
materially in developing and improving the city. He has always been a friend of
education, and taken an active interest in the public schools, having served
five years of the School Board, and was instrumental in locating the West
Madison school building, and during his time of office some of the other fine
city school buildings were erected.
a prominent farmer of Des Moines County, Iowa, residing on section 8, Pleasant
Grove Township, was born in Sangamon County, Ill., Dec. 19, 1825, and is a son
of John and Margaret (Drannan) Ritchey. The parents were both natives of
Caldwell County, Ky., though the father was of Irish descent. He emigrated
to Sangamon County, Ill., about the year 1820, there entered a tract of land and
developed a fine farm. In Sangamon County he was united in marriage with
Margaret Drannan, the young couple making that their home until 1839, when they
emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa. At that early day the county was
almost an unbroken wilderness, with but a few log cabins, no railroads and but
scarcely any cultivated land, and to such pioneers as Mr. Ritchey the
improvement and cultivation which have made such rapid changes is largely due.
Purchasing a claim on section 22, Pleasant Grove Township, Mr. Ritchey
immediately began its improvement, making that farm his home until his death,
which occurred in December, 1869. His wife survived him for about five
years, her death occurring at the age of sixty-six. They reared a family
of five children: Our subject is the first in order of birth; Mary Jane,
deceased wife of William DeSpain, a resident of Pleasant Grove Township; Thomas,
who is engaged in farming in the same township; Martha Ann wedded John Matthews,
of Pleasant Grove Township, but both are now deceased; William is a resident
farmer of Keith County, Neb. The early life of our subject was spent upon his
father's farm in the township where he yet resides, and being the eldest son, he
aided largely in the work of improving the first homestead. Until
twenty-eight years of age, he remained with his parents, but on the 4th of
October, 1853, he was united in marriage with Martha Webster, and made a home
for himself. Mrs. Ritchey was born in Cayuga County, Ohio, in 1834, and
was a daughter of Asa and Nancy (Covert) Webster, the father a native of New
York and the mother of Ohio. They were pioneers of Lee County, Iowa,
having settled there in 1837, and both are yet living. Mr. Webster was a
farmer throughout his active life. He moved to Washington County, Iowa,
settling near Brighton, where he resided until 1864, when, with his family, he
became a resident of Des Moines County. He purchased the farm upon which
our subject now resides, living there until the infirmities of age caused them
to break up housekeeping, Mr. Webster now residing in Wapello County and his
wife making her home with our subject.
marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Ritchey began their domestic life upon a farm of 123
acres on section 20, Pleasant Grove Township, and there resided for eleven
years, living in the true pioneer style. Their house consisted of a small
cabin only 14x16 feet, a yoke of oxen was the team which drew their burdens.
In 1864 this farm was traded for one of 190 acres on section 8, of the same
township, which still continues to be their home. As time passed, Mr.
Ritchey was enabled to add to his possessions until he now owns 498 acres of
land, comprising one of the finest farms in the township, and upon which, in
1875, was erected an elegant country residence, two stories in height, the
dimensions being 26x36 feet, and an "L," 24x24, the whole cost being
$4,000. All other improvements which are necessary to a well-regulated
farm have been made, and Mr. Ritchey is a most successful farmer. The
change from the pioneer life to their present mode of living was accomplished by
his own energy and enterprise, with the assistance of his estimable wife.
Eight children have
been born to Mr. and Mrs. Ritchey: William D., born July 16, 1854, still
resides at home; Emily, born Oct. 21, 1855, at home; John, born May 7, 1857, is
a resident of Pleasant Grove Township; James, born Dec. 5, 1858, is engaged in
farming in Unadilla County, Ore.; Margaret, born April 29, 1860, is the wife of
Verdon Portlock; Asa, born Jan. 18, 1862, died Sept. 26, 1862; Robert, born Oct.
28, 1864; and Henry, born Sept. 10, 1868, still resides at home.
Mr. Ritchey is one
of the self-made men of Des Moines County, his success in life all being due to
his own efforts. Everything about his farm denotes the thrift and industry
which have aided him in gaining a comfortable competence. As a pioneer who
has labored for the best interests of the county, he deserves and receives the
respect due him. In his political views, Mr. Ritchey is a supporter of the
Thomas Ritchey, residing on section 8, Pleasant Grove Township, is one of the pioneers of Des Moines County, having come to Iowa with his parents in 1839. He was born in Sangamon County, Ill., Oct. 29, 1839, the family shortly after removing to this county. For almost half a century he has lived in the same township, has witnessed the growth and development of the country, and has aided in the work of civilization and progress. He lived with his parents until twenty-four years of of (sic) age, when, on the 8th of January, 1863, he wedded Lenora Roberts who was born in Virginia and is a daughter of James Roberts. After their marriage they removed to a farm on section 8, Pleasant Grove Township, comprising 120 acres of land, which Mr. Ritchey had purchased, there making their home for eight years. At the expiration of that time he removed to the homestead of his father, and, after the death of John Ritchey, took care of his widowed mother until her death. He still resides on the old homestead, and is now the owner of 102 acres of fine land.
Mr. and Mrs. Ritchey have been the parents of eight children: John, who died in infancy; Elizabeth, Frank and Mary are still living with their parents; Leroy died in childhood; Carl, still at home; Ray and Lora, yet remaining with their parents. Mrs. Ritchey is a member of the Church of God. Socially, Mr. Ritchey is a member of the A. F. & A. M., while politically he is a Republican. He is now serving his third term as Township Trustee, and for fourteen years he has been a School Director. He is a self-educated, self-made man, one who takes an active interest in public affairs, and is highly respected by the citizens of the county.
A. Ritner, deceased. Far back in the history of Des Moines County we find the
name of this gentleman, who during his life was one of the most prominent
farmers in this part of the country. As his demise occurred long since,
the name can only live in history and his memory be perpetuated on historic
pages. Possessing the greatest personal merit, Henry A. Ritner, the second
son of Gov. Ritner, of Pennsylvania, endeared himself to the people of Des
Moines County, and a chapter devoted to personal mention of him and his family
is herewith presented. Mr. Ritner was born in Washington County, Pa.,
Dec. 16, 1803, and is a son of Gov. Joseph and Susan (Alter) Ritner, their
marriage being celebrated in Pennsylvania. The mother, and probably the
father, was a native of that State, but the history is not authentic. The
Ritners settled near Washington, Washington Co., Pa., at an early day, and after
becoming a prosperous farmer, beloved and respected by all, Joseph Ritner was
chosen to the highest office possible to be conferred upon him by the people of
the State. He was elected Governor in 1839, and served a term as chief of
the great State of Pennsylvania, retiring from the duties of his office with all
the honor that merit bestows upon a faithful servant.
children were eight in number, and our subject was the second son. Given the
educational advantages of those days, and stimulated by the example of a worthy
father, Henry Ritner grew to manhood and was married in his native county to
Miss Lucetta Alter, of whose people an extensive history is given in the sketch
of Jacob Alter, Secretary of the Burlington Insurance Company, and a resident of
Danville Township. She was born Aug. 22, 1807, and was married May 10,
1827. Her husband owned a farm near Washington, Pa., known as the
"Birch Farm," and for thirteen years the young couple led a happy life
in Pennsylvania. On this farm part of their children were born--Jacob,
Joseph, Henry, Eliza, Isaac and Susan. None are living of these except
Susan, who resides in a pleasant home in Danville Center. Jacob married
Emeline Berryman; Henry wedded Victoria L. Saunders; and Eliza married Jackson
Henry A. Ritner, with his family, emigrated to Iowa, embarking at Pittsburgh,
Pa., on a steamer, and, after a long and tedious journey down the Ohio and up
the Mississippi, landed at Burlington May 1, 1840. He purchased a large
tract of land and entered other lands in the vicinity, and upon these he lived
for many years in happiness and prosperity. The old mansion that stands on
the northeast quarter of section 11 was erected by him in 1845, and to-day is
one of the oldest landmarks in that part of Danville Township. The
towering elm trees are monuments to his memory and were planted by him the same
year the house was erected. In this county and on the old homestead the
remainder of the children were born: Lucetta, who died in childhood;
Judson, who enlisted when eighteen years of age in Company B, 25th Iowa
Infantry, died while in the service and was buried at Greenville, Miss.; Peter
married Isabella M. Leyburn; David wedded Almeda Foster; and Spencer became the
husband of Mary A. Lindley. Jacob and Isaac were also soldiers. The
former a member the 25th Iowa Infantry, serving as Captain of Company B from its
organization, was wounded during his service, but later recovered. Isaac
belonged to the 33d Regiment, Company G, of which he was Second Lieutenant.
This brave boy lost his life from the effects of wounds and disease contracted
in the army, and his remains were interred at Little Rock, Ark. Three of
the brave sons of our subject were given cheerfully for the preservation of the
Union, and only one returned to gladden the mother's heart, whose life was
doubly saddened by the death of her devoted husband in 1863. He was
returning from Burlington, where he had gone with a box of things for his
soldier sons, and while walking on the railroad track near Middletown was run
down by an engine and crushed to death. His last act was one of love and
affection, and was characteristic of his fatherly kindness. For many years
both himself and wife were members of the Baptist Church at Danville, of which,
for a long while, he was Deacon, and he was serving in that capacity at the time
of his death. Mr. Ritner was one of the founders of the Baptist College at
Pella, of which he was one of the Board of Directors and a Trustee. During
this time the family resided in Pella, and the three and a half years spent
there comprised their entire absence from the farm during his lifetime.
children--Jacob, Henry, Isaac, Peter, Eliza and Susan--were teachers, some of
them for many years. Peter is principal of the Commercial College at St.
Joseph, Mo. The aged widow and her daughter became residents of Danville
Center in February, 1879. For some time before her death Mrs. Ritner was
an invalid, and had reached the age of eighty-one years when she was called
home. Loving hands made the venerable lady comfortable, and the good
Christian people and friends of her early years were assiduous in their
attentions. With a competence left by her husband and in a home made
bright by all the comforts with which those in easy circumstances surround
themselves, she passed her last days, and, when her summons came, cheerfully
went to join her husband and children who had gone before.
Absalom R. Roads, deceased, was born in Hillsdale, Ohio, Nov. 10, 1810, and grew to manhood, receiving a liberal education. He engaged in the mercantile business in early life, in his native town, and subsequently went to Chillicothe, where he prosecuted the same business. In 1847 he wedded Miss Louisa J. Miller, daughter of Israel and Anna (Sours) Miller, both of whom were natives of Fayette County, Pa. In 1852 Mr. Roads removed with his family to Burlington, where he embarked in the real-estate and loaning business, continuing in the same for many years. Politically, he was an ardent supporter of the Whig party, though not a politician, and after the organization of the Republican party he gave his influence and votes for its interests until his death, which occurred Nov. 11, 1874. He was a member of the Episcopal Church of Burlington, and gave liberally to its support. Mr. Roads was a practical business man, honest and upright in his dealings, accumulating a large property and leaving his family in comfortable circumstances.
Mr. and Mrs. Roads were the parents of five children, three of whom are living: Laura, wife of William Pollock, of this city; Lillie, wife of W. J. Brooks, Assistant Cashier of the First National Bank of Burlington; and Ella. The deceased are Anna and Mary, the latter dying as the wife of E. E. Fayerweather. Mrs. Roads is living in Burlington, is a member of the Episcopal Church, and a lady highly esteemed by all.
Judge George Robertson was born in Jessamine County, Ky., May 9, 1831, and graduated from the law department of Transylvania College, in his native State, in the spring of 1854. In the fall of that year he came to Burlington and began the practice of his profession. Two years later he was joined in marriage with Miss Mary Belle Henry, a daughter of Dr. John F. Henry, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. By this union there were three children, two daughters and a son--Belle, Julia and George. Judge Robertson was in many ways a valuable citizen. Endowed with a high sense of honesty and integrity, splendidly equipped by education to take rank among men, possessing fine social qualities and the natural instincts of a gentleman, he gained and maintained the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens and associates in the professional business and official walks of life. He was always interested in the growth and development of the city, and in public affairs his counsel was frequently sought. He was elected Mayor of Burlington in 1872, on an independent ticket, serving two years, and when relieved of this honor was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors, serving as Chairman of that body. In the spring of 1882 he was again called to serve his fellow-citizens, being elected by a large majority as one of the Alderman-at-large, which office he held at the time of his death, Sept. 6, 1884. By the death of Judge Robertson, Burlington lost one of its most esteemed citizens, society a Christian gentleman and his family a loving husband and father.
At a bar meeting held at the court-house to pay their respects to the memory of their late deceased brother, Judge P. Henry Smyth was chosen Chairman, and Will R. Mooney, Secretary. On motion of B. J. Hall, a committee of three on resolutions was appointed by the Chair, consisting of B. J. Hall, S. K. Tracy and C. L. Poor, which reported the following: "Be it resolved by the bar of Des Moines County, That it is with profound sorrow that we have heard of the death of our brother, George Robertson, who, after a long and weary illness of several months, which he endured with patience and Christian fortitude, departed this life on the early morning of Saturday, on the 6th of September, 1884, in the fifty-fourth year of his age.
"Resolved, In his death the bar has lost an estimable and amiable friend, and an earnest and profound lawyer; that society has lost a worthy and public-spirited citizen, and his family a most kind and affectionate husband and father; and that to his bereaved widow and children we extend our most sincere and heart-felt condolence in their great affliction.
"Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting be requested to present copies of these resolutions to both district and circuit courts at their next session, to be spread upon the records, and that a copy be sent the widow of the deceased."
After the reading and adoption of the resolutions, S. K. Tracy arose and said: "I take sad pleasure in saying a few words as a tribute to the memory of my friend, George Robertson; and who that has formed his acquaintance would not do as much? As a student under his teachings, as an acquaintance and associate with him at the bar, I do not remember to have heard a harsh word spoken of him. His life was singularly marked with an absence of malice toward his fellow-men. As a husband and father he was an exemplar. As a lawyer he did not seek so much the combats of the court room, but rather preferred the better part of our profession, that of a student and counselor. He was a man incapable of fraud, and whose every movement seemed governed by principle. If our professional life is characterized with the honor that now lights back upon his path, then indeed will we have done our duty as citizens and lawyers.
D. Y. Overton then spoke as follows: "Again has death entered our diminishing circle and taken an honored member of the Des Moines bar. He whom we mourn was one of those who inherited from his sturdy, Scotch ancestry, a singleness of purpose and purity of aim in life, that led him to look more to the uprightness of his heart that to any mere success. He was first of all a good man, strong in the faith of a pious ancestry, who before him had sung the psalms of David on the fells and on the moors of Auld Scotia. He imbibed with his early teaching some of that sublime faith and acted it out in his life. He knew a good name was rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor than silver and gold. He died as he had lived, a consistent Christian, and that faith that he professed he exemplified in life. His daily walks with us were truly of peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, against which there is no law. Well might the heathen prophet say: 'Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.'"
Several others made remarks in testimony of his good standing, and Judge P. Henry Smyth said he could not, as Chairman of the meeting, close it without saying a word in praise of his friend, now gone from earth forever. That his example was so worthy of emulation in certain particulars, that he could not but refer to it with those that had preceded; that Mr. Robertson was full of pride for his chosen profession, and looked upon it as an organized body for the guarantee of the people's liberties and the protection of their rights: that, rather than the grasping of fees and the provoking of litigation, he regarded the lawyer very much, in dignity and importance, as he did the court or an officer of the court, and one who should be above all tricks or dishonesty of any kind. The speaker said in all his experience he never knew the deceased to have a wrangle with a brother attorney, be charged with misplacing papers, or trying to take undue advantage of attorney's clients of with witnesses. The Judge was earnest and eloquent in his praise of the deceased, and closed, impressing upon the bar the full measure of the lessons of the life of Judge Robertson.
These brief extracts from the testimony given by his brother members of he Des Moines bar, show the estimation put upon his public character by those who were brought into the closest contact with him. In his private life he was no less respected, and in the domestic circle he was heartily loved for the many manly and kindly qualities which go to make the perfect gentleman. He was mourned sincerely, and the example of his upright and useful life is left as a priceless heritage to those who survive him.
Asa Robinson, a farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 31, Flint River Township, is one of the pioneer settlers of Des Moines County, coming to this county in 1844, when the country was almost an unbroken wilderness, and the settlements were few and far between. He was born in Dorchester County, Md., in 1811, and is a son of Andrew and Leah (Bradley) Robinson, who were also natives of that State. They reared a family of eleven children, only two of whom are now living: Perry H., a farmer of Chautauqua County, Kan., and our subject. Both parents died upon the old home farm, the father in 1816, the mother some years later. Our subject remained in his native county until eighteen years of age and there his education was partly obtained. Going to Jefferson County, Ky., in 1829, he there engaged as a farm-hand for three years and then returned to his native State, remaining eighteen months, when he went to Hamilton County, Ohio, making that his home for ten years. While in that county Mr. Robinson learned the carpenter'r trade. He was there united in marriage with Miss Martha Butler, who was born in New York, and was a daughter of Isaac H. and Eunice (Giddings) Butler, who were natives of Vermont. The mother died in the State of New York in 1818, the father in 1849, and both were members of the Presbyterian Church.
In 1841 Mr. and Mrs. Robinson left Hamilton County, Ohio, going to Dallas City, Hancock Co., Ill., where he again followed the carpenter's trade for three years, and then removed to Des Moines County, locating in Flint River Township. After following his trade for six years, Mr. Robinson there purchased forth acres of land on section 31, where he still resides, and since that time has followed farming. He now owns sixty-five acres, and all the improvements upon the farm have been placed there by his own labor. Even the trees that now spread forth their foliage over the once wild prairie were all planted by Mr. Robinson and his most estimable wife. To Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were born two children: Mary A. became the wife of William Clarke, and to them were born two children, Edith M. and Mattie M.; and Amanda J., wife of D. C. Rock, a farmer of Lamar County, Texas. One child graces this union, Mable B. On the 26th of July, 1883, Mrs. Robinson was called to her final home. She was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church and took great interest in all Church work. For a number of years Mr. Robinson has been identified with the Republican party, and his influence has always been given for the strict enforcement of the prohibition laws. As a neighbor, a friend and an honored citizen, no one more truly deserves the respect of all than our subject.
Moses W. Robinson, Roadmaster for the Keokuk and Quincy branches of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad since March, 1887, began railroading when seventeen years of age with the Burlington & Missouri road, now incorporated into the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. He served as brakesman on freight trains between Burlington and Ottumwa, was promoted to conductor in October, 1877, was made extra passenger conductor and served in that capacity until March, 1887, when he was appointed to his present position. Mr. Robinson is a native of the Hawkeye State and was born on his father's farm in Danville Township, Des Moines County, March 22, 1853. His parents, Robert and Frances (Brown) Robinson, were among the early settlers of this county, and their sketch appears elsewhere in this work.
Our subject was reared upon a farm, received his education in the district schools, when seventeen years of age began railroading, as before mentioned, and on the 25th of June, 1884, in Burlington, was united in marriage with Miss Lillian M. Garrison. Mrs. Robinson was born in Louisiana, Mo., and is a daughter of Isaac Garrison. One child was born of their union, a daughter, Bessie, who was born in this city. In politics Mr. Robinson is a Democrat. His wife is a member of the South Hill Baptist Church. Mr. Robinson is an efficient and faithful officer, and deserves and enjoys the confidence of his superior officers, as well as the respect and good will of all with whom business or pleasure brings him in contact. He did good service during the late strike in February, 1888, by aiding the management of the road in keeping lines under his care in operation.
Robinson, an honored
pioneer of Des Moines County, Iowa, of 1838, was born March 3, 1803, in
Washington County, Pa., and was a son of Henry and Phoebe Hollie (Wallace)
Robinson. He removed to Chillicothe, Ohio, with his parents in 1806, where
he received a common-school education, and when arrived at manhood began
business as a merchant. In 1838 he went to Platte County, Mo., remained a
short time in that locality, then came to Iowa, spending a few months in
Middletown, Des Moines County, and later returned to Missouri. Mr.
Robinson was elected Sheriff of Platte County, and in that county was united in
marriage, in 1841, with Miss Frances Brown, daughter of Judge Roland Brown, a
prominent lawyer and highly-respected citizen of that community. Mrs.
Robinson was born in Kentucky, though reared in Platte County, Mo.
Soon after their marriage
Mr. Robinson returned with his young bride to Middletown, Des Moines County, and
engaged in farming. By this union twelve children were born to them, of
whom seven are living: Phoebe Hollie is the wife of I. B. Day, of Van
Buren County, Iowa; Henry Roland married Alice Burgess, and resides at Golden
Colo.; Moses W. wedded Miss Lillian Garrison, and is a Roadmaster on the Keokuk
and Quincy branches of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; Clara
Belle is the wife of C. A. Rouse, a conductor on the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy Railroad, residing at Creston, Iowa; Fannie Brown, wife of Charles G.
Skinner, a former employee of the C. B. & Q., and now in the grain business
in Burlington; Robert Wilson, a conductor on the same road; Georgie Emily still
resides with her mother at Burlington.
Mr. Robinson was called upon
to fill various public offices of honor and trust. While in Platte County,
Mo., he served as its Sheriff, and after about nine years of farming in Des
Moines County, was appointed Indian agent, in 1850, by President Pierce, for
Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska. In 1853 he was appointed secret mail agent
for the two former States, which position he held until 1859, when he was
appointed route mail agent on the Mississippi River, between St. Louis and St.
Paul. On the change of administration in 1861, he retired to his farm in
Danville Township, where he was engaged in farming and stock-raising until 1875,
when he moved to Burlington, his death occurring in this city, May 1, 1877.
Mrs. Robinson survives him, and resides with her sons at Burlington. She
is a member of the Presbyterian Church, a bright and intelligent lady, of
cheerful, kindly manner, and is highly respected. Mr. Robinson was also a
member of the same Church, and was a Democrat in political opinions. A man
of superior mental force, upright and honorable in all his actions, he proved a
faithful and efficient public officer.
Robert W. Robinson, Conductor on the Iowa Division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad since 1880, is a native of Des Moines County, born near Middletown, Iowa, May 15, 1858. His parents, Robert and Frances (Brown) Robinson, were pioneers of this county in 1840. The former was born in Washington County, Pa., and when two years of age, removed with his parents to Ross County, Ohio, and in early manhood went to Missouri, where he married Miss Frances Brown, daughter of Judge Brown, of Kentucky, emigrating to Des Moines County, Iowa, in 1840, as before stated. He was a farmer by occupation for several years between 1850 and 1861, when he removed to Burlington, where his death occurred May 31, 1877. His wife and seven children, survive him. There are three sons and four daughters: Hollie, wife of Ira B. Day, of Van Buren County, Iowa; Henry R. married Miss Alice Bergess, of Golden, Col., and is engaged in mining in Colorado; Moses W. is now Roadmaster of the Keokuk, Burlington & Quincy branches of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, with headquarters at Burlington, and married Miss Lilliam M. Garrison, of Burlington; Clara B. is the wife of Clarence A. Rouse, of Creston, Iowa; Robert W., conductor of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, is a resident of Burlington; Fannie Brown, wife of Charles Skinner, resides in Burlington; Georgia resides with her mother in this city.
Robert W. Robinson, our subject, was reared on a farm until fourteen years of age, then came to this city with his parents, where he received a common-school education, and in 1878 entered the service of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad as brakesman. Two years later he was promoted to conductor, which position he has filled for the past eight years, and during the engineer's strike of 1888, he served as Assistant Trainmaster. Politically, Mr. Robinson is a Democrat.
Rockhold, the oldest passenger conductor of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids &
Northern Railroad, now in active service, is a native-born Iowan, his birthplace
being Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, and the date Oct. 5, 1846. His parents, Elijah
and Rebecca (Whip) Rockhold, were among the early settlers of that county.
His father was born in Highland County, Ohio, and was of German ancestry, and
the mother was born in Jessamine County, Ky. They were married in Ohio, and
removed to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, in 1844. His father was a contractor by
occupation, and continued to reside at Mt. Pleasant until his death, which
occurred April 15, 1870. The mother survives her husband and resides in
Decatur County, Iowa.
Our subject was
educated in the city schools and at the Iowa Wesleyan University. In
January, 1862, he enlisted in the late was as a private in Company K, 4th Iowa
Cavalry, and served until the close, participating in the battles of Guntown,
Miss., and the big Wilson raid, took part in the capture of Selma, Ala., and
Columbus, Ga., followed Price through Arkansas, besides participating in
numerous skirmishes. He was mustered out at Davenport, in 1865, and during
the following winter engaged with the Burlington & Missouri River R. R., as
brakesman. One year later he was promoted to conductor, and continued with
that road for four years. He then entered the service of the Burlington,
Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad Company, as conductor, and has now been
running a train on that line for fifteen years, being the oldest in years of
service of the conductors now actively employed on that road.
Mr. Rockhold was
married at St. Joseph, Mo., Oct. 26, 1870, to Miss Elva Tyler, daughter of James
Tyler. Mrs. Rockhold was born at St. Louis, and reared at St. Joseph, Mo.
Two children were born to this union: George Tyler, born at Burlington, Iowa,
Sept. 24, 1872; and Mabel Genevieve, also born in this city, Oct. 6, 1874.
Mr. Rockhold is a Republican in politics, and a thorough railroad man with an
experience of twenty-two years, enjoying the reputation of being one or the most
popular railroad conductors in Iowa. For the past twenty-two years he has
resided at Burlington.
Prominent among the pioneers of Burlington was the late Judge Rorer. David Rorer was a native of Pittsylvania County, Va., where he was born May 12, 1806, and was a son of Abram and Nancy (Cook) Rorer. His father, Abram, was born in Virginia, of German or Swiss ancestry, and his mother was a member of an old Virginia family, who traced its ancestry back to England. Abram Rorer was a farmer by occupation, and the early years of our subject were spent on his father's farm, and his primary education was received at the country schools of that neighborhood. Early in life he decided to prepare himself for the legal profession, and when about seventeen years of age he went to Franklin County, Va., and there studied law with a Mr. Claiborne, a prominent lawyer of that county, living with the family and teaching school at the same time he was pursuing his law course. He was admitted to practice in the spring of 1826, before he was quite of age. At this early time the country was new and there were no railroads, the principal means of traveling being on horseback, and in this way young David Rorer started West in the spring of 1826, to see the country and select some suitable place in which to commence the practice of his chosen profession. He located at Little Rock, Ark., and there succeeded in establishing a profitable practice, and there laid the foundation of his future successful and useful career. He remained there until 1835, when he sold out and decided to remove to the North and locate at Burlington, which was then but a small hamlet known as Flint Hills. He spent the following winter at St. Louis, waiting for a passage up the river. On the 9th of March, 1836, he left that city on the steamboat "Olive Branch," commanded by Capt. Strother. The river was full of floating ice, which made navigation almost impossible, but after a long and tedious journey of nineteen days' duration, he landed at Burlington. Immediately after his arrival he was admitted to the practice of law in the Territory.
At this early period what is now Iowa was then a part of the Territory of Michigan, afterward Wisconsin, and then Iowa. Intending to make this his future home, his first business was to cast about him and find a house in which to live. He bought a log cabin and some lots below the city, where he resided for a short time. In the summer of that year (1836) he built the brick house which formerly stood on the corner of Fourth and Columbia streets, which was the first brick building erected in the State of Iowa, and the first brick was laid in place by Mr. Rorer himself. He resided there one year, and then removed to another brick house he had just completed on Main street, adjoining the building now occupied by George Kriechbaum, as a stove and tin shop. In 1841 he built the old homestead on the corner of North Fourth and Washington streets, and moved into it in 1842, where he resided for forty-two years, his home there being the center of an ever ready hospitality.
The meeting called to incorporate the town of Burlington in 1836, was held in the office of Judge Rorer, and he wrote the articles of incorporation, and was elected one to the first Trustees of the town. He also wrote the first ordinances, assisted in laying out the streets, named many of them, and in various ways aided in the organization and development of the place. His ability as a lawyer soon became known and acknowledged, and he faithfully continued in the practice of his profession, which to him was an absorbing passion. He was an industrious, hard-working man, whose highest ambition was to make himself thoroughly master of his profession, and he justly took rank among the most eminent jurists of his time, and for many years enjoyed a large and lucrative law practice. As a railroad lawyer he was prominent, and was one of the early founders of the Burlington & Missouri River Road, in Iowa, having drawn its charter and given it its name. He remained the attorney, and afterward counselor of that road, and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, until the time of his death, a period of about a quarter of a century. As a counselor he was cautious and conscientious, and seldom gave an opinion on an important point of law that was not sustained by the highest courts in the land. As an advocate and orator he was distinguished, being a sound and logical reasoner, an easy, fluent and forcible speaker, at times indulging in the most withering sarcasm, sparkling with and tender pathos, as the occasion required. He was essentially a self-made man, who, by incessant study from his youth up, had become a thorough scholar and enjoyed a National reputation as an author, having written and published three most valuable law books, "Rorer on Judicial Sales," "Rorer on Inter-State Law" and Rorer on Railroads," the last an important work in two volumes. He also wrote and left in manuscript a number of interesting and valuable historical sketches of the early Northwest, for which he diligently searched the earliest records. All his time not occupied by his professional duties was spent in literary pursuits and historical research, both of which he was very fond of, and in his library may be found the writings of many of the ablest authors of the past and present. He was an ardent lover of nature, and was never more happy than when contemplating her beauties and grandeur. He possessed the genius of poetry in a marked degree, and left among his unpublished writings many beautiful original poems.
Though never an aspirant for political honors, he took a lively interest in the public questions of the day, and was ever ready to aid and encourage any public enterprise having for its object the common good of the community. An interesting item that deserves to be mentioned here, and which illustrates the interest he felt in his adopted State, is the fact that to him belongs the credit of having first given to the residents of Iowa the name "Hawkeyes." We learn from an article published in the Burlington Hawk-Eye in November, 1878, that the first mention of the name was in the Ft. Madison Patriot, in 1838, a paper published by James G. Edwards, the founder of the Hawk-Eye. At the suggestion of Judge Rorer, Mr. Edwards proposed in his paper that the people of the Iowa adopt the name of "Hawkeye." This was done to prevent citizens of other States giving the people of Iowa some more opprobrious title. The name was not adopted at this time, however, but early in 1839, after Mr. Edwards had moved his paper to Burlington, the question was again discussed, and it was decided to write a series of letters to the papers then published in Iowa, in which the people of Iowa were to be called "Hawkeyes." Judge Rorer, James G. Edwards and H. W. Starr were the principal parties to the transaction, and it was voted that Judge Rorer should write the letters. These letters were so written by him, and bore the signature of "A Wolverine among the Hawkeyes," and frequently referred to the people of Iowa as "Hawkeyes." The first letter appeared in the Dubuque Visitor, and others in several papers then published in the Territory. As they contained many criticisms of prominent and public men of the Territory, they created much interest, and the name "Hawkeye" was ever after adopted to designate the people of Iowa. In a short time after this Mr. Edwards changed the name of his paper to the Hawk-Eye, in honor of the people of the State of Iowa.
Though Judge Rorer was born in a slave State and brought up to own slaves, his feelings revolted at the injustice of slavery, and foreseeing in 1835 the trouble that must inevitably come to the Union, he on that account removed to the North. When the Civil War broke out, as he had foreseen twenty-six years before that it would, he espoused the Union cause, and although advanced in years he bent every power to aid the success of the Government, and no heart in the great Nation beat more loyally than did his. Early in the war he boldly advocated the emancipation of the slaves as the heroic remedy for the Nation's relief, and with all the firmness of his decided character, Southerner as he was, knew no middle ground between loyalty and disloyalty. He was bold and fearless in his advocacy of liberty and justice for all and oppression for none.
Previous to the war he was a Democrat in politics, but at that time he became a Republican, and was ever after a warm supporter of that party's principles. In religion he was an Episcopalian. He was one of the founders of the Historical Society, which was organized in Burlington in 1873, and was a life member of the Historical Societies of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, also an active and honored member of the Old Settlers' Society. He was very fond of his home and family ties, and always left them with reluctance with his business engagements. In his domestic relations he was exceedingly happy.
In 1827, at Little Rock, Ark., he married Mrs. Martin, nee Miss Daniel, a native of Georgia. By this marriage they had four children born unto them, two sons and two daughters, viz: Daniel, a lawyer residing at Worthington, Minn.; Martha, now Mrs. William Garrett, of Burlington; Claiborne, who was killed at the battle of Rivas, in Nicaragua, whither he went with the Walker expedition, and Frances, who is the wife of Mr. D. J. Crocker, a lawyer of Chicago, and resides at Hinsdale, Ill. Mrs. Rorer was called to her final rest in January, 1838. On the 21st of March, 1839, he was united in marriage with Miss Delia M. Viele, of Scott County, Iowa, who still survives, and is a native of Pittstown, Rensselaer Co., N. Y., a daughter of Abram and Hannah (Douglas) Viele, the former of French ancestry and the latter of Scotch origin. Three daughters have graced this last union: Virginia D., Delia M., and Mary L., now Mrs. John T. Remey, of Burlington.
The death of Judge Rorer occurred on the 7th of July, 1884, after a few hours' illness. By virtue of a strong constitution and temperate habits, he exceeded by several years man's allotted "three-score years and ten," and died with the honors of ripe age, without ever feeling its infirmities, more ripe than dead. His pure and lofty life was rewarded by his sudden and painless death at the old homestead, where he had lived only eight years less than half a century; his beautiful life rounded to its close while every faculty of his powerful mind was perfect, and every sense of happiness supreme.
We have thus briefly sketched the history of one of Burlington's most worthy pioneers, who are fast passing from among us, and we cheerfully commend it to the rising generation as a life worthy of emulation. In addition we give in this connection an excellent portrait of the honored Judge.
Russell, one of
the time-honored residents of Burlington, Iowa, and the seventh son of
Christopher and Jane (Bowman) Russell, who were natives of Pickering, Yorkshire,
England, was born in New Castle County, Delaware, Jan. 25, 1825. Here he
passed the first sixteen years of his life on a farm. In 1841 he went to
Maysville, Ky., where he learned the trade of a bricklayer. Returning to
Wilmington, Del., in 1845, he worked at his trade at that place until 1849, when
he went to Cincinnati, Ohio. After one year's residence there he went to
Maysville, Ky. In the spring of 1851 he decided to come West, and chose
Burlington as the scene of his future home. His residence is on North Seventh
street, where he has lived for thirty-four years.
marriage of Simeon Russell and Elizabeth Whitaker took place at the residence of
her parents in Henry County, Iowa, on Sept. 19, 1854. Mrs. Russell came to
America with her parents, George and Jane (Wood) Whitaker, from Leeds,
Yorkshire, England, in 1849, and to Burlington March 3, 1850. Seven children
have graced the union of this worthy couple: Angela W., who died in 1856,
aged one year; George S., residing at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he is employed
as Car Accountant by the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad; Emma
J. resides at home; William C. is employed as operator and ticket agent for the
Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad at Burlington; Clara E. and S.
Lillian are employed as teachers in the city schools, the former at North Oak
School and the latter at South Hill School; and John B., who died in 1872, aged
thirteen months. His children received good educations in the public
schools, four having graduated from the Burlington High School.
coming to Burlington Mr. Russell has erected many of the finest buildings in
town. He worked on the North Hill School, which was the first brick
school-house in Burlington. He built the Germania, South Boundary, and
Prospect Hill Schools. In 1855 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was
erected under his guidance and management, and St. Paul Church during the
following year. Many of the leading business houses of the city were built
by him, and in no direction can one look without seeing grand buildings which
stand as testimonials of his skill and labor. Among the other buildings
erected by him and his partner, Frank Orm, is the elegant and substantial German
Bank Block, built in 1885.
Mr. Russell is a Democrat, and though never soliciting public office, his skill
won for him the position of City Building Commissioner during the years of 1885
and 1886. Mr. Russell, wife and family attend the First Baptist Church in
Burlington, of which Mr. Russell has been a member since February, 1854.
and Mrs. George Whitaker, father and mother of Mrs. Russell, came from England
to America in 1849, and resided in Iowa till the time of his death, which
occurred March 26, 1887, at the age of seventy-eight years. By his death
the State lost one of its best citizens, and the family a kind and loving
father. Four weeks later, April 23, 1887, the mother, broken down by her
grief, was also called to her final rest, she, too, being seventy-eight years of
age when her death occurred. Six children of a family of nine were left to
mourn this double affliction.
Russell, father of our subject, came to America in the early pioneer days.
He was called to his final home in 1847, at the age of sixty-eight years, his
wife preceding him to the unknown world many years, dying in 1826, when Simeon
was but a year old. They reared a family of seven sons.