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Greene County >> 1887 Index

Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties, Iowa
Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago  1887

Greene County


Biographies submitted by Nancee Seifert.

JAMES H. TALLMAN, farmer, section 20 Paton Township, was born at Canal Winchester, Ohio. His father, John Tallman, of Jones County, Iowa, came west in the fall of 1845, all the way by wagon, and settled on Government land, which was then in its wild state, where our subject was reared on a farm and received an elementary education in the common school. During the late war he enlisted in Company E, Thirty-first Iowa Infantry, for three years. He participated in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, second battle at Jackson, Canton, Cherokee Station, Tuscumbia, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Ringgold, Resaca, Dallas, Big and Little Kenesaw, Atlanta, capture of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, Savannah, Congaree Creek, Columbia and Bentonville. After the war he attended school at Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and taught school for three years. December 31, 1868, he was married to Landora J. Ristine, daughter of John Ristine, now deceased. Their children are -- Wilbur M., Gertie P. and James O. Mr. Tallman came to this country in the spring of 1874. He owns 110 acres of good land, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. In the spring of 1868 he went to Denver, Colorado, and taught school near there for a time, then traveled among the mines in the mountains, returning in the fall of that same year. He was one of the prime movers in having the political township of Paton set off, and was appointed by the county officers to call the first election in the township. The original portion of Paton village is situated on his land. He served as township trustee two years. He was not wounded during his service in the army, except receiving a small scratch on the thumb by a rifle ball. He had the measles and afterward was very sick, with but little hope of recovery. His iron will carried him through.

SAMUEL M. TAYLOR, section 27, Grant Township, is one of the prominent pioneers of Greene County. His father, Joshua Taylor, settled in this county in June, 1855, buying a tract of wild land on which a log cabin had been built and one acre had been cleared and planted to potatoes. Joshua Taylor was born in Logan County, Kentucky, December 1, 1805, and September 27, 1827, married Nancy More, also a native of Logan County, Kentucky, born May 12, 1809. Several years later they moved to Champaign County, Illinois, and thence to Iowa. Joshua Taylor was a man highly esteemed by all who knew him. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church many years, and in politics was a Jackson Democrat. At his death he left a widow and seven children, three children having preceded him to the other world. Those living at the time of his death were -- Mrs. Martha J. Collins, Mary N., James H., Mrs Sarah Winkleman, Samuel M., Joshua G. and Matilda Kooder. Of this family Samuel M. is the only one living. After the father's death the mother married Wilkins Taylor (not a relative). He also died and she then married Job C. Stiles. She died January 21, 1884, after a brief illness. Samuel M. Taylor was born in Champaign County, Illinois, March 25, 1838. He has been twice married. His first wife was Mrs. Frances Correy, daughter of Joseph Collins. To them were born two children -- Rosettie C. and Nancy A. His present wife was Ann Elizabeth Tilton, daughter of David Tilton. She was born in Ohio in 185l, and accompanied her parents to Illinois when a child, where her father died in 1865. In 1870 she and her mother came to Greene County. Her mother returned to Illinois, where she died in September, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor have three children -- Samuel M., William Arthur and Ariel Adolphus. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics is a Democrat.

THOMAS M. TERRILL, a prosperous agriculturist of Washington Township, residing on section 30, is a native of Ohio County, West Virginia, born near Wheeling, May 18, 1850, his father, Daniel Terrill, who is now deceased, being born in the same county. The father brought his family to Iowa in 1853 when he settled in Cedar County, dying there the same year. The mother of our subject, Tabitha (Hamphill) Terrill, died in September, 1861. After his mother's death he lived with a Mr. Blaylock six years and a half, four years of this time in Keokuk County, Iowa, to which Mr. Blaylock had removed. At the age of eighteen he returned to his father's old homestead in Cedar County, Iowa, where he lived three and a half years with Amos Barnard, who had bought the place. In the fall of 1871 he located near State Center, in Marshall County, where he spent two and a half months and the same fall came to Grand Junction. He soon after began working on the farm of James Thompson, where he remained almost three years. He then worked one year for S. Gilliland of Dallas County, and in the spring 1876 engaged in farming on his own account, he having bought a farm in 1872. In 1879 he settled on his farm in Washington Township, which contains 240 acres of choice land, where he has since followed farming and stock-raising. November 6, 1879, Mr. Terrill was united in marriage to Miss Lydia M. Hill, a daughter of the late John Hill of Iowa County. Four children have been born to this union -- Katie M., Otis W., Geneva I. and William D.

JOHN R. THOMAS, general merchant, Angus, Iowa, is a native of Wales, born April 7, 1849, his father, John T. Thomas, who is now deceased, being born in the same country. Our subject immigrated to the United States in 1866, locating first in Mahoning City, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in mining coal till 1868. He then went to Audenried, Pennsylvania and in 1869 went to California. In 1871 he returned to Pennsylvania, and attended school at Charleston for two years. In the spring of 1873 he went to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and in 1874 went to Shawnee, Ohio. He returned to Audenried, Pennsylvania, in 1875, where he had charge of the outside works of the Pension mines for eighteen months. He then went to Selma, Alabama, where he took charge of the entire works of the Cahaba mines, remaining there for eighteen months. He then resided in Rosedale, Wisconsin, for eighteen months, when he went to Bangor, Wisconsin, and engaged in the mercantile business, which he had followed a short time before leaving Rosedale. In the fall of 1882 he came to Angus, Boone County, Iowa, and engaged in his present business, carrying a full line of dry goods, flour, feed, glassware, etc., and by his genial and accommodating manners and strict attention to the wants of his customers, he has established a good trade, and gained the confidence and respect of all who know him. He is at present filling the office of justice of the peace for Angus and Union Township, serving as such with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. he is a member of the Congregational Church. He is also a member of the Odd Fellows order, belonging to both lodge and encampment at Angus.

LEWIS B. THOMAS, general merchant and proprietor of Thomas' Opera House at Angus, was born in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, November 26, 1833. His father, Benjamin D. Thomas, deceased, was a native of Wales, and came to America in 1833, settling in Pennsylvania. He was a miner by occupation, and our subject was reared in the mining districts of Luzerne, Carbon and Schuylkill counties, receiving a common school education. In the fall of 1853 he went to California and mined gold until 186l, and in the fall of that year came to Coal Valley, Rock Island County, and followed the mercantile trade for twenty years. He then came to Angus and built his present store, 40 x 80 feet. In 1884 he built an addition of eighty feet, making it 40 x 120 feet. An opera hall extends over the whole building. He carries a capital stock of $15,000 to $18,000, consisting of dry goods, clothing, groceries, hats and caps, boots and shoes, queen's-ware, glassware, woodenware, miner's supplies, provisions, notions, wall paper, trunks and valises, and everything usually kept in a first-class general store. He does an annual business of $40,000 to $50,000. Three of his sons assist in the store besides two other clerks. He was married December 25, 1862, to Mary M. Jones, daughter of Thomas T. Jones, of Montana. Six of their nine children are living -- Harvey L., Ira B., Albert E., Orville, Edna M. and Lewis J. March 11, 1885, Mrs. Thomas passed away to the life beyond loved and lamented by all. She was a member of the Methodist Church and a good Christian. Mr. Thomas is a member of the Masonic order, chapter and commandery, the Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows encampment, and Ancient Order of United Workmen. His sons, Harvey and Ira, are members of the Knights of Pythias. Mr. Thomas served as city treasurer one term, and is now treasurer of the Masonic lodge. Harvey is chancellor commander in Knights of Pythias. Harvey, Ira and Orville are members of the Angus band.

C. W. THOMPSON, farmer, section 28, Kendrick Township , is one of the enterprising and intelligent citizens of Greene County .  He was born in Westmoreland County , Pennsylvania , April 26, 1840 , son of James and Jane (Park) Thompson, who were the parents of twelve children, our subject being the fourth child.  When he was eleven years of age his parents removed to Linn County , this State, where he was reared a farmer, and received his preliminary education in the common schools.  Later he attended Cornell College at Mount Vernon , Iowa .  At the breaking out of the civil war Mr. Thompson took up arms in defense of union and liberty.  He enlisted October 11, 1861 , in Company A, Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, and took an active part in several important battles.  He participated in the battle of Shiloh , siege of Vicksburg , in Sherman 's march to the sea.  His regiment was in fifty engagements.  He was honorably discharged July 21, 1865 , at Louisville , Kentucky , and received his final discharge, together with his pay, at Davenport , Iowa , and returned to Linn County .  In 1866 he came to Greene County , his first location being in Kendrick Township .  He came to his present farm in 1868, where he has since resided.  August 12, 1866 , he was united in marriage with Miss Matilda Latimer, a native of Indiana .  To this union six children have been born -- Maggie Belle, Josie A., Charlie W., Pleasie, Henry S., Lizzie, and an infant son unnamed.  Mr. Thompson owns 250 acres of excellent land, which is in a good state of cultivation, commodious buildings, a fine orchard, and everything that tends to make a comfortable and pleasant home.  Politically he affiliates with the Republican party.  He is a zealous member of the Free Methodist church, and is considered one of Greene County 's most worthy citizens.

GEORGE W. THOMPSON resides on the southeast quarter of section 32, Grant Township , where he settled in 1883.  He purchased his farm of 160 acres of O.W. Park , who made the first improvements.  Mr. Thompson was born in Jackson County, Indiana, in 1850.  His parents were James H. and Ann Thompson, the father dying when George was eleven years of age, after the family had removed to Hancock County , Illinois .  The family remained in that county until 1865, when they removed to La Salle County , same State.  In 1874 George W. came to Greene County and purchased a farm in Franklin Township , and in 1879 the family settled upon that farm.  In 1882 he purchased his present farm, and the following year the family settled upon it.  James H. Thompson and wife had ten children, only two of whom are living -- Mrs. Elizabeth Giddons and our subject.  The mother died March 14, 1886 , at the house of her son George.  One of the sons was a soldier in the war of the Rebellion, being a member of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Illinois.  He died at Memphis in the spring of 1864.  Our subject was married in Illinois to Ella Meath, a daughter of Thomas and Anna Meath.  The father died in Mendota November 1, 1879 , and the mother resides in Chicago .  Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have six children -- Blanche, May, Albert, Augusta, Anna and Ellen.  Harry, the eldest, died at the age of sixteen months, and Paul died at the age of seven years.

LINDEN S. THOMPSON, one of the early settlers of Scranton Township, resides on section 1, where he owns 106 acres of the northeast quarter. Mr. Thompson was born in North Carolina, July 20, 1839, a son of Berry and Mary Thompson. When he was six years old his parents moved to Morgan County, Indiana, where the father died. In 1856 the family came to Iowa and settled in Polk County, and there the mother died. In July, 1862, Mr. Thompson enlisted in the defense of his country, and was assigned to Company C, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry, but owing to protracted illness, the result of typhoid fever, he was discharged the following October. He continued to reside in Polk County until April 15, 1867, when he moved to Greene County and located on his present farm. Mr. Thompson was married at Des Moines, Iowa, February 17, 1859, to Miss A. Gibson, a native of Delaware County, Indiana, born August 9, 1842, a daughter of Elisha and Betsey Gibson, early settlers of Greene County. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have had a family of eleven children, six of whom are living -- John Wesley, Nathan E., Betsey A., William E., Edith A. and Levi W. Calista J. and Julia Ann died of diphtheria, the former aged fourteen and the latter seven years. Joseph P., Sarah E. and Mary L. died in early childhood. In politics Mr. Thompson has always affiliated with the Republican party.

WILLIAM A. THOMPSON, farmer, Grant Township, resides on section 22, where he owns 200 acres of land on sections 22 and 23.  This farm was entered by Mr. Reece, who made the first improvements.  Mr. Thompson purchased the place in 1875.  It is one of the most desirable farms in the township, 160 acres being in a fine state of cultivation and the remaining well timbered.  Mr. Thompson has been a resident of Greene County since 1867, when he settled in what was then Junction Township, on an unimproved farm.  He still owns the farm and has made many improvements.  He is a native of the Buckeye State, having been born in Richland County, Ohio, in 1837, where he lived until nine years of age, when his parents removed to Cedar County, Iowa.  His father, John Thompson, was one of the pioneers of that county, having settled there in 1846.  He removed to Junction Township, this county, in 1874, where he passed the remainder of his days, surviving his wife two years.  They were the parents of ten children, five sons and five daughters; one son and one daughter are deceased.  When William A. started out for himself he located in Keokuk County, where he improved a farm and resided until he came to Greene County.  He has been twice married.  His first wife was Martha J. Wright, a native of Lee County, Iowa, who died in this county, August 11, 1879.  His present wife was formerly Mrs. Matilda Richardson, nee Nuterfee, who came to Washington County with her parents in 1842.  Her father, Golston S. Nuterfee, is now deceased.  By his first marriage, Mr. Thompson had four children -- August C., Mary I., William H., and Bessie Centennial.  Politically, he is a Republican and cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860.  In 1886 he was assessor of Grant Township.

JAMES THORNTON, farmer, of Grant Township, is one of the pioneers of Greene County, coming in June, 1857. He settled where he now lives, on section 26, although his farm of 240 acres is mostly on section 23. At that time there were but few families in what is now Grant Township, and their mill and postoffice was at Fort Des Moines. Mr. Thornton has witnessed and materially assisted in advancing all the enterprises that have changed Greene County from a wilderness to its present prosperous condition. He was born in Ohio in 1815, and when a young man went to Cass County, Michigan, where he lived until his removal to Iowa. He was married in Michigan to Jane Parker, a native of Ohio, born in 1825. They have had seven children -- Jesse, of Greenbrier Township; Mary Ann, wife of Charles Mattison, died and left two children; J. Parker, Lydia, Nathan, James and George.

ISOM TOLIVER, one of Greene County's worthy farmers, resides on section 33, Bristol Township.  He came to the county April 16, 1854, locating first on section 11, Franklin Township, at the south end of the Raccoon Valley, where he bought 240 acres of Government land, his being one of the very first entries made in the county. At that time the nearest mill was at Panora, Guthrie County, and their trading was done at Des Moines.  Mr. Toliver lived on his farm in Franklin Township until 1869, when he moved to Bristol Township, buying the farm where he now lives, which contains 180 acres of choice land.  From a small capital of $400 brought to Greene County, he has accumulated a large and valuable estate.  Mr. Toliver was born on the top of Big Bald Mountain, in Ashe County, North Carolina, July 29, 1814, the son of John and Anna Toliver.  His grandfather, Jessie Toliver, was a man of great force of character and ability, and served seven years in the war of the Revolution, five years as a Captain of the line.  His father, John Toliver, died in North Carolina, and in 1834, the mother with her family moved to Owen County, Indiana.  Isom was the second of twelve children.  He was married in Owen County in 1836 to Matilda Reynolds, a native of North Carolina, born in 1819.  Her mother was Sally Greene, a granddaughter of General Greene, the friend of General Washington.  In 1847 Mr. Toliver moved from Indiana to Richland County, Illinois, and thence to Greene County, Iowa, in 1854.  Mr. and Mrs. Toliver have had eleven children, nine sons and two daughters.  Four sons and one daughter died before coming to their majority.  The following are the names and order of birth of those who lived to maturity: John H., Gillum S., Jacob M., James C., Doctor R., Tarry J. and Isom M.  Four of the brothers served their country during the war of the Rebellion.  John H. was a member of company E, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry Volunteers, and Fife-Major of his regiment.  He died at Davenport, Iowa, soon after enlisting.  Jacob M. was Second Lieutenant of the same company.  He has served eight years as District Attorney in Northwestern Iowa, and is now practicing law at Lake City, Iowa.  Gillum S. was a member of Company H, Tenth Iowa Infantry Volunteers.  He was three years county surveyor, two years county treasurer, and a member of the Thirteenth General Assembly of Iowa, but his true sphere was rather that of a lawyer than of a politician.  In the spring of 1870 he formed a law partnership with the Hon. John J. Russell, at Jefferson, Iowa, under the firm name of Russell and Toliver.  The firm soon built up a large and lucrative practice, which they have ever since maintained.  James C. was a member of Company H, Tenth Iowa Infantry Volunteers.  He was two years deputy sheriff, and four years county recorder of Greene County, Iowa.  After that he was engaged in the real estate and abstract business at Rockwell City, Iowa, and is now a real estate dealer at Ainsworth, Nebraska.  Doctor R., the seventh son, is a substantial farmer, now living in Bristol Township, Greene County, Iowa.  Tarry J. and Isom M., the two younger children, are living at home, unmarried.  Isom Toliver loved a new country, and always kept his family on the border, if not sometimes beyond, of what may be called the limits of civilization, so that his older sons possessed few educational advantages, but became thoroughly familiar with the arts and hardships of pioneer life. They are all self-made men.

JAMES TOWERS, engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 14, Highland Township, is a son of Walter and Jane (Watson) Towers, natives of Scotland. James was born in that country May 3, 1839, remaining there till thirteen years of age. He sailed with his parents from Greenock in May, 1852, and landing at New York the following June. His parents settled in Columbia County, Wisconsin, where he lived with them till reaching the age of twenty-one years. He then began working by the month on a farm, which he followed until 1870, when he came to Greene County. He was married in the spring of 1862, in Wisconsin, to Margaret Wilson, who was born in Scotland, July 20, 1840, coming to America with her parents, John and Marion Wilson, in April, 1850. Eight children have been born to this union, their names in order of their birth being as follows -- Marion Blanch, John, James R., Walter, David W., Francis Harvey (died March 18, 1874), Lewis Watson and Margaret Jane. Mr. Towers came to Greene County in limited circumstances. He has experienced many of the hardships and privations incident to life in a new country, but is now comfortably situated in life, having by his own industry and persevering energy acquired his land, his farm being well watered by Hardin Creek. He improved his land from a state of nature, making it one of the finest in Highland Township. He has a commodious two-story residence, a good barn and other farm buildings, and a maple grove of about three acres. In politics Mr. Towers is a staunch Republican. Mrs. Towers is a member of the Baptist Church. They are classed among the well-to-do citizens of Highland Township, where they are held in high esteem by all who know them.

H. A. TURRILL, of Jefferson , is one of the former superintendents of the public schools of Greene County .  He was born in the town of Livonia , Livingston County , New York , in 1839.  In 1855 he removed with his father, J.G. Turrill, to Nunda, in the same county.  He was educated at the Literary Institute of that village, and began teaching at the age of seventeen years.  He continued attending and teaching school until 1861.  In April of that year he was made freight and ticket agent for the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad, in Warren County, Pennsylvania.  In September, 1864, he enlisted in Company G, two Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Infantry, and his regiment became a part of the Third Division of the Ninth Army Corps.  He served until the close of the war, and was discharged in June, 1865.  He participated in the capture of Fort Stedman , battle in front of Petersburg , taking part in the last charge made on the enemy's works at that place.  After the war he returned to Nunda , New York , and studied law with George Osgood, Esq., for about two years, but resumed teaching.  He came to Jefferson in October, 1867, and has been connected with school work nearly all the time since.  In the fall of 1877 he was elected superintendent of schools of Greene County , and served eight years.  Under his supervision the schools made rapid progress and approached a high standard.  April 14, 1868 , Mr. Turrill was married, at Nunda , New York , to Miss Mary E. Stilson, of that town, who was born in Burmah, Farther India, in 1843.  Her father, Rev. Lyman Stilson, was then a missionary in that far distant land and was accompanied by his family.  In 1853 when Mrs. Turrill was in her tenth year, the family returned to America .  She received excellent educational advantages, and began teaching at the age of seventeen years; she has devoted much of her life to that profession.  In the autumn of 1885 Mrs. Turrill succeeded her husband as superintendent of schools of Greene County .  Her long experience in the profession renders her eminently qualified for this position.  Previous to her marriage, she was for four years engaged as bookkeeper for a business house in Philadelphia .  Mr. and Mrs. Turrill have three children -- Gardner L., born in 1870; Mary L., born in 1872; and Willie, born in 1877.

Their third child, Boyd D., died in infancy, in 1874.  Nathan P. Stilson, a brother of Mrs. Turrill, was born in Burmah in 1845.  He was educated at Nunda , New York , and came West in 1849, where he engaged in teaching for a number of years.  He was county surveyor of Greene County from 1873 until 1877.  He is now in Union , Oregon , in the employ of the Government as civil engineer and surveyor.