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Des Moines County >> 1888 Index

Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.


A. S. Yohe, a farmer residing on section 10, Washington Township, is a pioneer of Des Moines County, Iowa, of 1861. His first purchase of land in this county consisted of forty acres on section 15, of the same township, which he greatly improved. He afterward sold that tract and purchased eighty acres on section 10, which he has put under a high state of cultivation and upon which he has built one of the best residences in the township. He was born in Washington County, Pa., June 6, 1827, and is a son of Isaac and Elizabeth (Stecher) Yohe, who were natives of Pennsylvania. The paternal grandfather was eight years old when he emigrated from Germany to America, and several of his sons were soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

Our subject is the sixth son and the seventh child in a family of eleven children. His opportunities for securing an education was limited, though he attended the district schools of his native county whenever he could be spared from the farm. Having a great desire to secure an education, he has been a constant reader all his life and a close observer of facts and men. Mr. Yohe learned the trade of a wagon-maker and machinist, at which he worked for several years, having a number of men in his employ. His success in this line of work was quite marked in his native State, but he left it to be a pioneer of the State of Iowa.

On the 8th of March, 1849, Mr. Yohe was united in marriage with Miss Glovinia Perry, a native of Allegheny County, Pa., born in 1828. Her parents, John A. and Jane (Eastep) Perry, were also natives of that State and of Irish and German origin. To Mr. and Mrs. Yohe have been born seven children: J. C. E., who married Lizzie Jones; Edna G., who married Henry Selser; Jennie, who became the wife of J. H. Giffin; Cecelia, who wedded McCloud Hayes; Lizzie, who died in infancy; Perry and Harry, yet single and under the parental roof.

Mr. and Mrs. Yohe are members of the Presbyterian Church at Morning Sun, in which he has held various offices. Politically he is a Republican and has been Supervisor of the county for two years. Mr. Yohe is a citizen in every way worthy the confidence and esteem of all who know him. By his integrity, zela and enthusium as a true American, he has done a great deal for his township and county. His example is worthy of emulation by any young man who has an ambition to be an honored citizen--"not great, but good."

Isaac J. Yohe, a prominent and representative farmer, residing on section 4, Franklin Township, Des Moines Co., Iowa, is the subject of this sketch. He was born in Washington County, Pa., June 16, 1849, and is a son of Daniel and Margaret (McPherson) Yohe, the father a native of Washington County, the mother of Maryland.  They were the parents of ten children, seven of whom are yet living:  Robert, an extensive farmer and breeder of Holstein cattle, residing in Wayne County, Iowa; Daniel, a farmer of Nuckolls County, Neb.; William, who is engaged in farming in Kearney County, Neb.; Thomas a locomotive engineer on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; Margaret, wife of Robert Baird, who is engaged in farming in Nuckolls County, Neb.; Ada, wife of George Ringley, an extensive farmer of Wayne County, Iowa; and Isaac J.  On the 4th of May, 1866, when forty-two years of age, Mrs. Yohe was called to her final home.  The following year the family removed to Wayne County, Iowa, and there the father improved a farm, upon which he resided until the past few years, since which time he has lived a retired life, making his home near Allerton, Iowa.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Yohe were members of the Lutheran Church, in which he has been an elder for many years.  He has been one of the active and progressive men of the country, was Captain in the Pennsylvania State Militia for some time, and filled the office of Justice of the Peace in that State for twenty consecutive years. In all public affairs Mr. Yohe stands in the front rank.  In earlier years he strongly opposed slavery, and in his political predilections he is a Democrat.

Isaac J. Yohe received his education in his native county, and in early life learned the art of painting in its different branches, being both a sign and ornamental painter.  He became very proficient in this work, always receiving the best prices for his labor, and under his supervision the finishing touches have been put to many of the finest residences in Des Moines County.  When twenty years of age Mr. Yohe decided to follow the advice of Horace Greeley:  "Go West, young man, go West," and started for Des Moines County, Iowa.  Upon reaching his destination, he at once secured employment at his chosen vocation, which he continued until 1876, when Mr. Yohe laid aside the brush and commenced farming, purchasing eighty acres of land on section 4 and forty acres on section 16 of Franklin Township. On the 24th of November, 1875, Mr. Yohe was married to Miss Mary J. McDonald, a native of Montour County, Pa., born Nov. 4, 1851.  She is a daughter of James and Penelope (Ball) McDonald, her father being now a farmer of Franklin Township.  Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Yohe--Raymond, James, Margaret and Leslie.  In his political views, Mr. Yohe is a Democrat, though very liberal in his ideas; he takes an active interest in all public enterprises, being one of Des Moines County's best citizens, and is a member of Diamond Lodge, No. 326, I. O. O. F., at Sperry; was one of its first initiated members, and has filled the various chairs in the lodge.  Mr. and Mrs. Yohe are both members of the Catholic Church.  Mr. Yohe descended from the good old Revolutionary stock, his grandfather having served in the War for Independence, and also in the War of 1812.  He is regarded as a valuable citizen of the county, and an honorable and upright man.

N. S. Young, a general contractor, of Burlington, Iowa, is a native of Pettelange, France, where he was born Sept. 21, 1835.  His parents, John and Magdalene Young, were both natives of that country, and were the parents of eight children, five sons and three daughters.  Soon after the birth of our subject the family moved to Belgium, where they resided until 1845, when they left that country and emigrated to America, to try their fortunes in the New World.  After a tedious and uneventful journey of forty-two days' duration, they landed at New York City.  Soon after their arrival they settled in Western New York, where they resided for about four years, and while there Mrs. Young died, and Mr. Young again married, a Mrs. Heffner becoming his wife.  In 1849 the family removed to Watertown, Wis., and there engaged in farming.

 Our subject received most of his education in New York City, and enjoyed many good advantages during the comparatively short time he attended school. He remained at home on the farm with his father's family until he was nineteen years of age, when, having an aversion to farm life, and actuated by a spirit of independence and a desire to seek his own fortune, he left the parental roof.  In 1853 he went on foot to Milwaukee, and then took passage on a steamboat to Chicago, thence by rail to Michigan City, and so on to Reynolds Station, Ind., where he obtained employment and was engaged in the construction of the Toledo, Wabash & Peoria Railroad until the following April, when, owing to lack of funds, the work was suspended.  He then went to Warsaw, Ill., going by way of Chicago and Rock Island, taking passage from the latter place on the steamer "Lady Franklin."  While there he worked on the Warsaw, Rock Island & Rockford Railroad for three months, at the end of which time the contractor with whom he was employed failed, and all the compensation Mr. Young received was an old watch, the first one he ever owned, and doubtless the most dearly bought, which may account for his carrying it several years.  During the remainder of the summer and succeeding winter he did odd jobs and such honorable work as he could find to do, and the following summer, work having been resumed on the Warsaw, Rock Island & Rockford Railroad, he obtained employment from his brother, who had a contract for grading near Dallas, Ill., and remained there until lack of money again caused the work to stop.  The next year (1856) work was again resumed, and he worked for his brother near Lomax, Ill.  In the fall of that year he went to Wisconsin to visit his father's family, and remained nearly all winter, when he joined a surveying party under a Mr. Van Manein, helping to locate the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad from Milton to Minnesota Junction.

 Illinois next became the scene of his labors, as he went to Joliet, and there became overseer for Kent & Parshall, contractors for the St. Louis Railroad, and remained there during the summer.  At this time his first business venture was made, when he took a small contract from the railroad company and made $200 in eight days.  This was so much better than working for a salary of $60 per month that he then decided to become a contractor, whenever an opportunity occurred.  The winter was again spent in Wisconsin with his parents, and the following spring, 1858, he went to Minnesota, where he became foreman on railroad construction, making his home during the winter at St. Paul.  In the spring of 1859 he engaged with a contractor to take his teams and outfit back to Reynolds Station, Ind., and complete the work begun there six years previously.  He finished his contract in the fall, and then went to Albany on the Ohio River, and took passage on a steamboat for Vicksburg, intending to spend the winter in the Sunny South. He got a situation as foreman, taking charge of the construction of a levee during the winter of 1859-60, and during the following summer he spent most of his time at his old home in Wisconsin.  In the winter of 1860-61 Mr. Young had a contract to get out ties for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and was at Corinth, Miss., when the news came of the fall of Ft. Sumter.  He finished his contract there, and for some time after engaged on railroad work near Paducah, Ky.  Being strongly in sympathy with the Union cause, and having the courage of his convictions, he soon found that if he remained in the South he must do so at the risk of losing his life, so he again returned to his home in Wisconsin.  In 1862 he was employed as overseer on the railroad at Kaukauna, near Green Bay, Wis., and in the fall he went to Downer's Grove, Ill., where he had a contract.  The next summer was spent at Escanaba on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, and in the fall he returned to Downer's Grove to finish that contract, and then went to Milwaukee, Wis., and took a contract near the city, on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. Near Milwaukee, Wis., on the 17th of September, 1864, he was united in marriage with Miss Kate Slenger, a German by birth, and a daughter of George and Maria J. Slenger, who emigrated to the United States when Mrs. Young was but four years of age.  Mr. and Mrs. Young have had nine children born unto them, two of whom are deceased,  Those living are:  Viola E., George J., Josephine E., Mary C., William H., Arthur Le Roy and Earl H. About a year after their marriage, they located for a time at Chillicothe, Iowa, where Mr. Young had a contract on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad.  In 1866 they removed to Burlington, where they have since resided.  During his residence here Mr. Young's business has been that of a general contractor, and his operations have not been confined to this locality but have extended into different States.

 In 1873 he built the first street-car line in Burlington, the South Hill street railroad, and many of the city's other improvements have been superintended by him.  Mr. Young is one of the self-made men of the community, who has made the most of his opportunities.  He began life as a poor boy, but by honesty, industry and perseverance, he has been successful, not only in acquiring a handsome competence, but in making for himself an honored name among the enterprising and successful business men of Burlington.  He takes an active interest in all matters pertaining to the public good, and is a liberal supporter of any deserving public enterprise. He not only gives his children good educational advantages, but encourages them in the study of music and other useful accomplishments. He is an ardent supporter of the Republican party, but not an aspirant for political preferment himself.  He is President of the Crystal Lake Club, and has held that position since its formation, and was one of the prime movers in organizing that institution, which has for its object recreation, hunting, fishing, and social intercourse among its members.  Mr. and Mrs. Young are consistent members of the Congregational Church, of Burlington. A portrait of Mr. Young is given in connection with this brief sketch.