Review of Henry County, Iowa
Biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.
Judge Washington Irwin Babb, lawyer, legislator and promoter of community interests whose activity in connection with affairs of state as well as with matters of local progress has made him a distinguished and representative citizen of Mount Pleasant , is particularly well known as a leader of the Henry county bar. He was born in what is now Sperry Station, Des Moines county, Iowa , October 2, 1844 , his parents being Miles and Mary ( Moyer ) Babb. His paternal grandparents were John and Susan Babb, the former a native of Wilkesbarre , Pennsylvania , and was descended from one of the oldest families of the Keystone state, his father being a soldier of the Revolutionary war.
He was reared and educated in the Keystone state and was married there. In 1837 he went to Des Moines county, Iowa , and was one of its early settlers. There he entered land from the government and purchased additional property until his holdings embraced twelve hundred acres at Sperry Station. In his business affairs he prospered, becoming one of the most successful and extensive farmers of his locality. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Methodist church, and the active part which he took in promoting the moral progress of his community. His son, Miles Babb, was born in Wilkesbarre , Pennsylvania , in 1818, and acquired his education in the public schools there. His father was owner of a coal mine and he became connected with mining interests.
In 1837 he accompanied the family on the removal to Iowa , where he was married in 1843 to Miss Mary Moyer. In 1850 he went to California , where he acted as superintendent of the Bay State Mining Company. There his death occurred in 1852, when he was killed by the caving in of a tunnel. He left a widow and two children, Washington I. and Bella A., who became Mrs. Mansfield and is dean of the Art and Musical College , at DePauw University , at Greencastle , Indiana . Mrs. Babb, the mother, was born in Harrisburg , Pennsylvania , and made her home in Sperry Station until 1860, when she came to Mount Pleasant , where her death occurred in March, 1895.
Judge Babb pursued his early education in the public schools of his native county and his more specifically literary education in the Iowa Wesleyan University , from which he was graduated in 1866, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the meantime, however, he had espoused the country's call for troops, enlisting as a member of Company E, Eighth Iowa Cavalry, in the spring of 1863 and served until the close of the war. He served in the Army of the Cumberland under General Thomas and participated in the Atlanta campaign and the battles of Franklin and Nashville . He was then under command of General Wilson in the spring of 1865, in the Alabama campaign taking part in the engagement at Selma and Montgomery , proceeded to Macon , Georgia , and was at that place when the war closed. He received an honorable discharge in August, 1865, with the rank of sergeant.
Following the close of his military service Judge Babb completed his collegiate course and then entered upon a preparation for the practice of law as a student in the office of H. & R. Ambler, then the leading attorneys of Mount Pleasant . Admitted to the bar, he began practice January 1, 1868, forming a partnership with his former preceptors under the firm style of Ambler & Babb, a connection which was continued until January, 1873, when he became a partner of John S. Woolson, afterward United States district judge, their business relations being maintained until Judge Babb went upon the bench, January 1, 1891. In their practice they had been very successful in both the state and United States courts, and on the bench Judge Babb made a record in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer distinguished by a masterful grasp of every problem which was presented for solution and by a fairness and impartiality in his decisions that won him high encomiums.
Following his retirement from the bench he entered upon active practice with Judge Withrow, and the firm of Babb & Withrow had a continuous existence until 1897, when the latter was appointed district judge. At that time the present law firm of Babb & Babb was established and in connection with the most important litigation tried in the courts of the district receives a liberal clientage.
Judge Babb has an analytical mind, is strong in argument and logical in his conclusions, and moreover he has continued the reading of law until he has a thorough mastery of the principles of both criminal and civil law, while before the courts and on the bench he has made a notable record and has at the same time extended his activities in other fields wherever the interests of the public have been conserved. A champion of democratic principles he was elected upon that ticket to the office of state legislator in 1883, serving in the twentieth general assembly, wherein he became connected with much important constructive legislation. He served on the judicial, road and school committees but on the minority side. He was instrumental in securing the appropriation for additional wings for the insane hospital and aside from party measures did effective service in the general assembly.
In 1895 he was nominated as democratic candidate for governor and received a strong party vote, while in 1896 he was the democratic nominee for United States senator. Elected to the bench for the second judicial district he had jurisdiction at that time over eight counties—Henry, Jefferson, Wapello, Monroe, Lucas, Appanoose, Davis, and Van Buren. He served for four years and the equity and soundness of his decisions were rarely called into question.
During the past eight years he has been one of the regents of the State University of Iowa, while in community affairs he has taken a most active and helpful part, contributing in substantial measure to the progress of his city. He has been president of the library board of Mount Pleasant from its organization and was active in securing the Carnegie library. For thirty-four years he was one of the trustees of the Iowa Wesleyan University and chairman of its executive committee. With a mind trained for close investigation, he readily comprehends the various sides of each question which affect the public welfare, and in his labors have been practical and far-reaching in result.
Judge Babb was married on the 9 th of October, 1873 , to Miss Alice Bird, a daughter of Dr. Bird, one of the prominent early physicians of Iowa , who arrived in Mount Pleasant in 1849. They have two sons and a daughter now living, one daughter, Clara Belle, having died some years ago: Max W., a practicing attorney, of Chicago , now general counsel for the Allis-Chalmers Company; Miles T., who is with the Western Wheel Scraper Company, of Aurora , Illinois , and Alice, at home.
Judge Babb attends and supports the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife and children are members. He holds membership relations in Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he has been worshipful master and also representative to the grand lodge. He belongs to Henry chapter, No. 8, Royal Arch Masons, Jerusalem commandery, Knights Templar, of which he has been eminent commander and has likewise been representative to the grand commandery and served as grand commander of the state in 1894. He affiliates with Kaaba temple of the Mystic Shrine at Davenport and with McFarland post, Grand Army of the Republic.
His varied public service, the extent of his influence, his activity in political and legal circles make him a prominent citizen of Henry county, and one to whom the state points with pride as an honored son.
William Baker, a representative of farming interest in Canaan township, who owns and operates seventy-nine acres of rich and productive land, is a native of Des Moines county, where his birth occurred on the 3 rd of October, 1860 . He is a son of John Baker, who was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and he married Catherine Miller, also a native of that kingdom. It was between the years of 1850 and 1855 that John Baker came to America , landing at New Orleans , whence he proceeded up the river to Burlington . The lady whom he afterward married was on the same trip and their wedding was celebrated in Des Moines county.
They afterward settled upon a farm about six miles southwest of Burlington , where their remaining days were passed. They were well known representatives of agricultural interests in their community and though never seeking to figure prominently in public life Mr. Baker displayed the sterling traits of character which in every land and clime awaken confidence and command respect. He died in the year 1895 and was for seven years survived by his wife, who passed away in 1902.
No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for William Baker in his boyhood days. He was a student in the district schools of his native county and through the periods of vacation aided in farm labor, remaining with his father on the old homestead until twenty-seven years of age. He was then married on the 9 th of January, 1888 , to Miss Laura Lauer, a native of Des Moines county, who was educated in the public schools. Her parents were Antone and Caroline ( Eckey ) Lauer, the former a native of Russia , and the latter of Germany . Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baker have been born three sons and two daughters: Clarence L., born March 1, 1889 ; Evelina, born June 19, 1891 ; Raymond G., born March 29, 1896 ; Della, on the 19 th of November, 1900 ; and William, in January, 1903.
After his marriage Mr. Baker lived upon the farm owned by his father-in-law, there residing until 1899, when he removed to a farm of his own, having in the meantime purchased seventy-nine acres of land on section 7, Canaan township. The improvements here were very meager, constituting an old house and a few outbuildings. Desiring better improvements he erected a good barn in the fall of 1897, the dimensions being thirty-eight by forty-six feet and thus affording ample shelter for his hay and horses. He has also built two double corn cribs, one thirty-two by thirty feet and the other, thirty-two by twenty-seven feet.
It was in the fall of 1898 that he removed to this farm and in that year he built a very good residence, containing eight rooms, hall and pantry with a cellar underneath. His farm is indeed well improved and in addition to the cultivation of his own land he also operates his father-in-law's farm, which lies just across the road. He tills the soil and annually harvests good crops of grain. He also raises about one hundred head of Poland China hogs each year and this proves to be a profitable source of income.
He is a republican in his political views and in 1898 was chosen township trustee, in which position he will continue (having been re-elected) until the fall of 1906. He is an active and earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as steward from 1895 until 1905. He does all in his power to promote the political principles in which he believes and his active aid in behalf of public progress and improvement has been a tangible and valuable factor in the work accomplished in Henry county.
Dr. J. O. Ball has attained more than local prominence as a representative of the dental fraternity and in other fields of labor his activity has been of a most beneficial nature in the development and progress of Henry county. With keen insight into business situations and affairs he has carefully utilized his opportunities and has made steady progress along the lines that ultimately reach the objective point.
A native of Jasper county, Illinois , Dr. Ball was born on the 28 th of January, 1860 , his parents being Amos and Eliza Jane ( Early ) Ball, the former of English and the latter of Irish lineage. The mother of George Washington was a great-great-aunt of Dr. Ball. His great-grandfather, whose name was either John or Caleb, served under Washington in the war of the Revolution and is supposed to have held the rank of lieutenant. The grandfather of Amos Ball was also one of the heroes of the war for independence and afterward served in the war of 1812. Following the close of hostilities in the second war with England he became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church and was well known in connection with the religious and educational work of that denomination. Amos Ball, father of our subject, died in 1890, his remains being interred in Pennsylvania , while his widow now resides in Bellingham , Washington .
Dr. J. O. Ball, whose name introduces this review, spent the days of his childhood in his parents home and supplemented his preliminary education by an academic normal course in Edinburgh , Pennsylvania . He afterward entered the State University of Iowa, from which he was graduated in the class of 1883. He pursued a partial course of study in the Western Reserve Dental School in Cleveland , Ohio . He began practice in the state of Pennsylvania in 1879, and after a year removed to Pike county, Illinois , remaining at Barry for one year. He then went to Hannibal , Missouri , where he spent a year and three months and since 1882 he has been engaged in practice in Mount Pleasant . Keeping abreast with the progress made by the dental fraternity he has become one of the leading representatives of his profession in the county and his reputation for superior skill and ability has also become known throughout the state. He has a remarkably extensive practice—a fact which indicates that his work has given uniform satisfaction. He is a member of the International and National dental associations and has been a contributor to some of the professional journals.
As Dr. Ball has prospered in his undertakings he has made judicious investments in property and now has valuable real estate interests in Henry county and Des Moines and also in Kansas. He likewise has petroleum lands in the latter state on which three producing wells have already been developed. He is the chief promoter and organizer of the Mount Pleasant and Washington Interurban Railway Company, of which he is secretary, while Joseph Green is president. This company expects to begin its survey and enter initial arrangements for the building of its line in the fall of 1906 and when carried forward to completion the line will prove of the greatest benefit to Mount Pleasant and the district through which it runs, also giving Mount Pleasant competitive freight facilities. He was one of the organizers of the Bell Oil & Gas Company, of which he is still a director. This company is conducting a successful business in Kansas .
In 1883 in this city Dr. Ball was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Allen, a daughter of J. N. Allen, who was clerk of the court here for twelve years and is widely known throughout Henry county. He died in 1881, his remains being interred in Forest Home cemetery and his widow now resides with Dr. and Mrs. Ball. Unto this marriage have been born three children. Helen, born July 7, 1884 , is a graduate of the high school of the class of 1901, and afterward spent a year and a half as a student in the Iowa Wesleyan University . She has given special attention to the study of music and is now assisting her father in the office. Florence , born April 9, 1892 , is a public-school student. Newton Allen, born September 29, 1897 , completes the family.
Dr. Ball is very prominent in Masonic circles, having taken the degrees of the lodge, chapter and commandery, and in the lodge has held all of the offices save that of worshipful master. He likewise belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Influential and active in community affairs his labors have been of direct and permanent good in the development of the city and in the management of its municipal interests. He was first elected alderman to represent the third ward in 1895. His principal work was in connection with the water and lighting departments, being chairman of the two committees, having these things in charge. From the beginning he stood for reform, progress and improvement and was much interested in electric lighting. He personally drew the plans and specifications for the electric light plant as it stands today. The agitation of this subject caused a contest such as the community had never witnessed, but the matter was brought before the people in a general election and the plans were adopted by an overwhelming majority, as the result of which there was established a municipal lighting plant second to none in the state. During the time of construction Dr. Ball had the full supervision of the work.
When this had been completed and its success proven he undertook the task of the establishment of a better water system for Mount Pleasant and again met with strong opposition, but after eighteen months of persistent effort gave to the city a water plant of which the city has every reason to be proud. Not only is the quality of the water unsurpassed the quantity is also sufficient for the public needs of Mount Pleasant should it grow far beyond the anticipation of its most enthusiastic adherents. The quality of the water has been pronounced by both the state chemist and the bacteriologist absolutely wholesome, having no substance of any kind detrimental to health. The consolidation of the light and water plants under one roof and management, the water being pumped by electricity carried from the electric light station, was another task which Dr. Ball undertook. To accomplish this required much hard work on his part and many days and nights spent at the plants. Having accomplished this, he has declined any further political honors. He established two newspapers to conduct his fight for municipal ownership—the Citizen' Daily Bulletin and the Mount Pleasant Record—editing and conducting both. The improvement in the streets of the city is also largely attributable to his efforts.
In his political affiliation he is independent but stands for integrity in politics and for opposition to all misrule in municipal affairs. He has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking. In fact, the position of councilman was forced upon him. After once selected, however, he entered heart and soul into the work and since the accomplishment of the purpose for which he stood he has declined any further political honors. He stands as a high type of American manhood, placing the general welfare before partisan measures and the advancement of his city's interest before personal aggrandizement.
He is a man of broad outlook, readily recognizing opportunities and bringing to bear the practical in the accomplishment of the ideal, at the same time marshaling his forces with the precision of a military commander. His fitness for leadership is widely recognized and he has left the impress of his individuality for good upon public thought and action. In 1892 Dr. Ball built a large and beautiful residence at No. 500 West Monroe street , his fine lawn embracing a quarter of a block. It is today one of the most attractive homes in the city and in fact was one of the first modern residences. Here Dr. Ball resides, surrounded by modern comforts.
That David Henry Barr is serving his eighth term as mayor of Wayland is ample proof of his popularity and the high regard in which he is held by his fellow townsmen. He is one of the foremost citizens of Wayland and enjoys the distinction of having been its first mayor. His term of office expires in the spring of 1906. Having retired from active farm life he is now in business in Wayland. He does collecting and is also agent for several fire insurance companies. He is also a notary public, having acquired that title in 1888, consequently with his municipal duties and his own private business affairs he is a busy man.
The home of his childhood was in Alleghany county, Pennsylvania , where he was born July 14, 1838 . His father was Alexander Barr, born in Pennsylvania , and his mother, Lydia ( Killen ) Barr, also a native of the Keystone state. The mother died when our subject was an infant, and his older sister became his foster-mother, caring for him until he was fifteen years of age. He then went to live in Jefferson county, Ohio , with his father, who married again. In 1855 the family moved to Henry county, Iowa , making the trip in a wagon and spending thirty days upon the journey. On the eve of All Saints' day they arrived at Mount Pleasant , where they ended their journey, making a home here for two years. Then they exchanged village life for that of the farm, having rented a tract of land four miles west of Mount Pleasant . The father, after years of service upon the farm, finally went to live with one of his sons, where he remained until his death, in 1868.
David Henry Barr began life for himself at the early age of seventeen years. For the first year he was employed by P. P. Ingalls, and later by Joseph McDowell, who was at that time presiding elder for the district.
In August, 1861, he responded to his country's call and enlisted in Company G, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Captain McFarland in command. He went first to St. Louis, thence to Jefferson City, Missouri, and from there to Pittsburg Landing, where on April 6 and 7, 1862, he participated in one of the fiercest combats of the Civil war—the battle of Shiloh. He was taken ill very soon after this and was sent to a hospital in Keokuk , Iowa , and on November 30, 1862 , was honorably discharged on account of disability.
He returned to Wayne township, Henry county, and began the work of a carpenter, this, however, proved too much for his impaired health, and he decided that an out-of-door existence would prove more beneficial in restoring his health, accordingly in 1870, he purchased a farm in Jefferson township. For ten years he devoted himself to the cultivation of this farm, then he sold it and purchased sixty acres in the same township. In 1889 he finally gave up the strenuous life of a farmer and moved to Wayland, where he became a pioneer in the newspaper business, bringing out the Wayland News in 1892. He conducted this enterprise until 1896, when he sold out to Manford Bolding and went into the business in which he is now engaged. In March, 1900, he took a journey to the far west and bought a farm in Lincoln county, Washington, where he lived eighteen months, then sold it and took up a homestead claim. He soon became owner of this land and improved it, then when a fitting opportunity presented itself, sold it and returned to his native town, where he has since resided.
On the 7 th of October, 1858 , Mr. Barr was united in marriage to Margaret Morganstern, whose birthplace was Boston , Massachusetts . She was a daughter of Adam Morganstern and early in her life the family went to Ohio , where she attended school. After gaining a common-school education, she went to Mount Pleasant and entered Howe's Academy, where she completed her work as a student. They have three children, one, Edward H., having died in infancy. Those now living are: George F., who now owns the old home farm, which he bought in 1890, and has since added to it one hundred and twenty acres; Charles O., is a farmer of Jefferson township; and Pearl P. living in Elmira, Washington.
Mr. Barr is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he joined in 1853, while residing in Ohio, and has filled many important and trustworthy offices in this church, having been recording steward since 1903, has been Sunday school superintendent for nine years, and has ever been a faithful and earnest worker in the cause.
He is a republican and a stanch supporter of the party to which he has given his allegiance. He was elected to the office of justice of the peace in 1887, a position which he held until 1900, when he resigned.
David Henry Barr is a man of genuine worth and an earnest Christian gentleman. He has been a faithful servant of his country in times of war, and has just as faithfully served his own village in times of peace and prosperity. It is a matter of pride with him that he belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a man who has worked out his own career and pushed he way steadily upward depending upon his own resources to make his own position in life. That he has been eminently successful is proved by his life history.
Lewis Godfrey Baugh, deceased, figured prominently for many years in business circles in Mount Pleasant , and his enterprise and capability won him a gratifying measure of success, while his straightforward dealing gained for him an honorable name. He was born in Loudon county, Virginia, January 9, 1827 , and represented an old family of that state. His father, Lewis K. Baugh, also a native of Loudon county, was born November 19, 1795 . The paternal grandfather was a millwright by trade, and died at the venerable age of ninety years. Lewis K. Baugh also learned and followed the millwright's trade. In his native state he was married to Miss Bradle, who was born in Alexandria , Virginia , January 31, 1797 . When their son Lewis was three years of age they removed to Ohio , settling in Miami county, whence they afterward went to Preble county, that state. About 1855 they came from Ohio to Iowa , and the father's death occurred in Lee county on the 10 th of September, 1862 . The mother, however, spent her last days in Clark county, Ohio , where she passed away on the 5 th of March, 1855.
Lewis G. Baugh acquired a public school education in Ohio , and under the direction of his father learned the millwright's trade and also mastered the trades of carpentering and cabinet-making. Before leaving the Buckeye state, he was married, on the 21 st of June, 1853 , to Miss Jane Darst, the wedding being celebrated in Miami county. Her father was the Rev. John Darst, a prominent minister of the Dunkard church. Her mother died when Mrs. Baugh was only three weeks old. In her parents' family were seven children, three sons and four daughters. Mrs. Hachenberg, who for a number of years has been a widow, is now living with Mrs. Baugh, and they are the only surviving daughters of the family.
In 1857 Lewis G. Baugh came with his family to Iowa , settling near West Point , Lee county, and in May, 1858, he removed to Mount Pleasant , where he began work at his trade. He was a natural mechanic, and was very successful in all the work which he undertook, giving excellent satisfaction by his capability and expert workmanship. In June, 1872, he entered into partnership with H. K. Leedham, now deceased, in the establishment and conduct of a planing mill, lumber yard and house furnishing, they having the leading business of its kind, giving employment to from fifteen to twenty men. They at the same time were extensively engaged in contracting and building, putting up many of the best houses in the city, and were associated in this business enterprise for more than twenty-nine years. From the beginning, this industrial concern proved a profitable investment, and they were accorded a liberal patronage, which constantly grew as the years went by, and brought to them a gratifying financial reward for their labor. They were both men of good business ability and executive force, Mr. Baugh having the superintendency of the mechanical part of the work, while Mr. Leedham attended to the business management of the office.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baugh were born five children: Florence, who died when about twenty years of age; Julia, who died August 4, 1874, at the age of seventeen years; John, who died July 9, 1874, when twelve years of age; Edith, who was drowned in 1884, when sixteen years of age; and Charles, who died in September, 1892, when about twenty-one years of age.
In his political views Mr. Baugh was an earnest republican, giving his support to that party throughout his entire life. For many years he held membership in Henry Lodge, No. 10, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Mount Pleasant , and filled all of its offices. In 1882 he built one of the finest residences of the city and therein spent his remaining days, his death occurring August 8, 1902 . His remains were interred in Forest Home cemetery, and his loss was deeply regretted by all who knew him, because of his splendid traits of character, his high and honorable manhood, his devotion to commendable principles, and his allegiance to the ties of friendship and of the home life.
His widow has in her possession a fine carbon portrait of her husband, made a short time prior to his death. It is not only a work of considerable artistic merit, but presents a splendid likeness of him, its fidelity to nature being the subject of much praise on the part of many friends who knew him. Mrs. Baugh is a lady of culture and pleasant manner, highly esteemed in the community where she has now made her home for almost a half century.
Frank E. Becker is the owner of four hundred and twenty acres of valuable land which constitutes the Locust Stock Farm, and is here engaged in general stock-raising and farming, in the purchase and sale of stock, in threshing and kindred employment. His entire life has been spent in Iowa, his birth having occurred in Des Moines county on the 30 th of January, 1866, his parents being John and Louisa ( Davis ) Becker, both natives of Lebanon county, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1850 they became residents of Danville township, Des Moines county, and were married shortly afterward. They settled upon a farm which Mr. Becker purchased and there resided until 1878, when he sold the property and then removed to Jackson township, Henry county, Iowa, where he purchased two hundred acres of land situated on section 5. To this he kept adding from time to time until he owned four hundred and twenty acres of very desirable land on sections 5 and 8. He improved the place, adding to it many equipments and carried on general farming and stock-raising. His death occurred December 23, 1902 , while his wife passed away on the 24 th of December, 1893 . In their family were two children, the daughter being Samantha J. Becker, now the wife of Charles Noble, resident farmer of Jackson township.
Under the parental roof Frank Becker spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and his education was acquired in the district schools of Des Moines and Henry counties, where he became familiar with those branches of learning which qualify one for the practical duties of life. In the months of summer he aided his father in the work of the farm, continuing to give him the benefit of his services up to the time of his marriage. It was on the 1 st of September, 1889 , that he was joined in wedlock to Miss Annie L. Scott, who was born in Jackson township, Henry county, on the 9 th of September, 1869 , and was educated in the district schools. Her parents were Cornelius and Louisa ( Benbow ) Scott, the former a native of New York and the latter of England . Her paternal grandfather was John Scott, a native of New York and maternal grandparents were William and Annie ( Bagley ) Benbow, natives of Yorkshire , England . The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Becker has been blessed with four children: Louise, born April 12, 1890 ; Marion , September 15, 1891 ; Elijah J., March 15, 1893 ; and Norine N., July 25, 1902 .
Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Becker began their domestic life upon the old home farm where they lived for four years and then removed to Salem , where he engaged in merchandising, purchasing the stock of A. B. Marsh. He continued in business for three years and then sold out, after which he returned to the old homestead. He purchased four hundred and twenty acres of land and began general farming, not only tilling the fields, but also raising horses, shorthorn cattle, Poland China hogs and Shropshire sheep. He has good grades of stock upon his place and in addition to raising stock he also buys and sells. He is likewise engaged in threshing, in hulling and in wood-sawing, and is a man of enterprise and business ability, who carefully directs his business affairs. He has had an outfit of clover huller and threshing machine since 1898; and he also takes contracts within a radius of five miles for the sawing of wood. His home is a commodious and pleasant residence of eight rooms in the rear of which are good outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, including a large barn. Everything about the place is well kept and indicates his careful supervision, his labors being conducted in accordance with ideas of progressive farming.
In his political views Mr. Becker is a republican and has served three times as a member of the board of trustees in his township. In all matters of citizenship he is interested and his co-operation has been given to many measures for the public good. Whatever he undertakes he carries forward to successful completion and he deserves much credit for what he has accomplished in a business way, as his fine farm is the visible evidence of his industry and perseverance.
Captain Warren Beckwith, whose intense and well directed efforts have brought him into close connection with many lines of activity of far-reaching effect so that it is almost impossible to determine which has been the most important chapter in his life history, is now living retired in Mount Pleasant although he yet has financial investments in a number of paying enterprises. He was born at West Henrietta, Monroe county, New York , January 21, 1833 , and is a son of George L. and Sarah E. ( Winslow ) Beckwith. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to 1635, when the progenitor of the Beckwiths came to America and founded one of the early colonial families. In 1760 representatives of the name removed to New Brunswick , but later generations of the family returned to the United States . George L. Beckwith was a farmer at West Henrietta and there remained until the time of his death, devoting his entire life to agricultural pursuits.
Captain Beckwith of this review, one of a family of six children, was educated in the common schools of his native town until ten years of age, when he became a student in Monroe Academy , at East Henrietta, and subsequently attended Lima Seminary, where he completed his school life at the age of twenty years. Then entering upon his business career he joined an engineering party in the construction of the Genesee Valley Railroad, now that part of the Erie system extending northward from Corning. In December, 1854, on the opening of that state, Captain Beckwith went to Kansas and entered the employ of a town company of which General Lyons was the executive officer. For this company he laid out Pawnee City , near Fort Riley . Governor Reeder agreed to make the new town capital of the state if the company would erect a building in which the legislature elected in November could meet. The site of the town was one hundred and twenty-five miles from the Missouri river , and the company cut timber, quarried the stone and erected a building which was completed in June, 1855. It was a two-story stone structure, the ruins of which are still seen within the reservation at Fort Riley . The rebel legislature held a day session there but at that time the Kansas war was inaugurated and the building was not used further.
His work being completed in Kansas , Captain Beckwith came to Iowa in the spring of 1856, and assisted in locating the line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad from Ottumwa to the Missouri river , acting as transit man for a year. He was in the service of the company in the construction and train department until June, 1860, and was thus a factor in the early development of Iowa for no interest is of greater value toward the upbuilding of a state than railroad construction for rapid transportation facilities bring it into close touch with the older east and make possible the securing of advantages and privileges known to the older settled districts. At the date mentioned, however, Mr. Beckwith withdrew from railroad interests and with a partner purchased two thousand sheep and some horses, with which he started for Texas . Driving across the country they reached the vicinity of Houston in December, 1860, and remained there until July, 1861, when Captain Beckwith sold his interest. The venture, however, did not prove financially successful. He got out of it money enough to bring him home, and to take passage on a flatboat from Galveston to New Orleans, where he landed on the 4 th of July, thence proceeding by rail to Cairo, where he arrived on the 8 th of the same month. He was the first northern man to make his way through for a month for the Civil war had been inaugurated.
In September following, Captain Beckwith responding to his county's need enlisted for service in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and in November of the same year was promoted to the rank of battalion adjutant. In April, 1862, he joined General Curtis in Missouri and marched with him through Batesville and Jackson Port to Hannibal , Missouri , arriving at the latter place in the middle of July. In August he was made regimental adjutant and in October regimental quartermaster, and his promotion to the captaincy of Company C came on the 1 st of January, 1863 . The regiment went with Grant to Vicksburg , crossing below Grand Gulf and coming up in the rear of the city. Captain Beckwith was thus in service in Vicksburg and throughout the state, and remained there until the 1 st of March, 1864, engaging in the meantime in various raids including the Meridian raid and the raid eight hundred miles to Memphis, Tennessee, in September, 1863.
After being granted a veteran furlough he returned to Memphis in May, 1864, and was engaged in frustrating the advance of Forest , who attempted to approach in the rear of Sherman 's army then on the march to Atlanta . He also participated in pursuit of Pierce through Missouri , the regiment marching two thousand miles in ninety days and following the rebel commander from St. Louis westward to Kansas City and on past Fort Scott , Fayetteville , Arkansas and the Arkansas river . The Union troops then returned to St. Louis , capturing two division generals, Marmaduke and Cable, also two thousand prisoners in a grand mounted charge on the prairie. After this event they then joined General Wilson on the Tennessee river , reaching Gravelly Plains in February, where the united forces formed a guard of fifteen thousand mounted men. They then started on a march southward through Alabama , captured Selma , Montgomery , Columbus and Macon and participated in the last battle east of the Mississippi at Columbus , on the 15 th of April, 1865 . This was after Lee surrendered and they reached Macon on the 20 th of the month, where news of the fall of the Confederates was received.
Following the surrender of the rebel forces, the Union troops were stationed at Atlanta until the last of August, when Captain Beckwith and his entire regiment were mustered out. He had the usual experiences that are meted out to the soldier, taking part in long, hard marches, difficult skirmishes and hotly contested engagements, in which his valor was many times put to the test.
Following his arrival home Captain Beckwith was immediately appointed as roadmaster for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, and served in that capacity until its consolidation with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system in 1872. He was then made superintendent of the work of the consolidated road and thus served until 1879, when on account of ill health he resigned. In that year he turned his attention to contracting and manufacturing the famous western wheel scraper, erecting a factory for this purpose at Mount Pleasant . The business had already become an extensive one and Captain Beckwith was the owner of one-half of the original patent. A company was organized consisting of C. H. Smith, Warren Beckwith and Dr. A. W. McClure, and the manufacture was for some years carried on in Mount Pleasant , and was the largest enterprise ever conducted here, and on the removal took about two hundred families with it.
In 1892, however, the business was removed to Aurora , because of the interstate commerce law. There an extensive plant was erected and in fact it is the largest factory in the world manufacturing grading machinery, giving employment to five hundred men for eleven hours per day, while its output is shipped to all parts of the world. At the present time the company is building cars for the Panama canal . They also have a plant at Harvey , Illinois , employing four hundred men in the same line. Captain Beckwith is secretary and one of the directors of the company which is a close corporation. It is a splendidly successful factory, the business having gained world-wide fame and recognized as a most important and valuable enterprise. Its successful management and conduct is attributable in no small degree to the business sagacity, keen discrimination and enterprise of Captain Beckwith who has realized therefrom a handsome fortune.
He has likewise aided in organizing the Inland Coal Company, of which he is director and which is operating a mine in Lucas county, Iowa . He is a director of the Western Clay Ballast Company and other important industrial and commercial enterprises, making judicious investment in business interests which have yielded a paying return. He is not active in the management of any of these at the present time, but for his own diversion and occupation he has a fine farm of six hundred acres in Mount Pleasant , on which are found about one hundred and fifty head of pure-bred Hereford cattle and standard trotting horses. He employs a regular trainer and has an excellent track. His Herefords are considered one of the finest herds in the state, and his interest in agricultural pursuits gives him a pleasing source of recreation.
Captain Beckwith is likewise the owner of a beautiful home on West Monroe street . He was married in 1863 to Miss Luzenia W. Porter, of Mount Pleasant , a daughter of Colonel A. B. Porter, one of the pioneer residents of this city, and whose sketch appears on another page of this work. Mrs. Beckwith passed away in 1880, leaving five children, who reached mature years: Everett, who is now in Chicago , connected with the Austin Manufacturing Company; Orville, who is engaged in the quarry business at Mount Pleasant ; Emily, at home; Florence , who died in 1896; and Warren W., of Green Bay , Wisconsin .
In 1882 Captain Beckwith was again married, his second union being with Miss Sarah E. Porter, a sister of his former wife. She has become well known as a member of the library board and also as editor of the Mount Pleasant Republican. Captain and Mrs. Beckwith hold membership in the Episcopal church, in which he is serving as vestryman and he also belongs to Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is a member of the commandery of Iowa, of the Loyal Legion and of the Grand Army of the Republic.
In politics a stalwart republican, he has been active in the work of the party and has frequently attended its conventions and served on its executive committees. In 1900 he was made a delegate to the national convention which met at Philadelphia , and nominated McKinley and Roosevelt . He has, however, never been an aspirant for office himself, preferring to perform his public service as a private citizen. His life has been one of signal usefulness and activity. He who formulates a plan or institutes a work that has effect upon the general welfare, the business development, the political stability or the social or moral progress is of use to his fellow men and his value is reckoned by the extent to which his services reach out. Judged in this light Captain Beckwith has lived a most useful life, being connected with or promoter of business industries of far-reaching effect. In citizenship being equally loyal and interested he stands today as a representative of a high type of American manhood and his career is an honor to the state and to the people who know him.
Later Captain Beckwith died after a brief illness, July 17, 1905 , and was interred on his family lot at Forest home cemetery.
Enoch Beery is the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land in Salem township, located on section 22 and as a general agriculturist and stock-raiser he has become well known by reason of his practical enterprising methods and his enviable success. He was born in Baltimore township, Henry county, on the 6 th of October, 1856, and is a son of Levi L. and Margaret (Short) Beery, both of whom were natives of Fairfield county, Ohio. The paternal grandfather was Isaac Beery. It was the year 1842 that Levi L. Beery came to this county and had located, after which his wife and two children joined him, he having been married in Fairfield county, Ohio. He purchased land in Baltimore township, securing a tract of timber situated on Big Creek.
Only a few acres had been cleared and he at once began the difficult task of cutting away the timber, clearing out the brush and grubbing out the stumps. He cleared many acres and thus aided in subduing the wilderness and transforming a wild tract into a valuable possession. His first purchase comprised one hundred and sixty acres of land, but as he prospered in his undertakings and his financial resources were increased he also increased his acreage until he had about one thousand acres in Henry county. He also made judicious investments in real estate in Nebraska, having one thousand acres in Fillmore and Valley counties. He died in the year 1893, having for about two years survived his wife, who died in 1891.
Enoch Beery was the youngest in a family of seven children, three of whom were sons. He pursued his early education in the district schools and afterward attended Howe's Academy at Mount Pleasant, thus acquiring a good English education which well equipped him for the performance of life's practical and responsible duties. He spent his boyhood days in Baltimore township, living with his parents until twenty-eight years of age, when he was married and established a home of his own.
It was on the 27 th of November, 1883, that he wedded Miss Susan Rains, who was born in New London township and was a student in the public schools in her girlhood days. Her parents were Zebbedee and Phebe (Hamell) Rains, both of whom were natives of Indiana and her paternal grandfather was Samuel Rains and her maternal grandmother Dorcas Hamell. Three children were born of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Beery; Levi L., born September 7, 1888; Floyd R., born November 26, 1891; and Mary H., August 27, 1894.
Following his marriage Enoch Beery took up his abode upon a farm of two hundred and twenty acres on section 22, Salem township. He came into possession of this tract at his father's death and later he added one hundred acres, so that he now has a valuable farm of three hundred and twenty acres. This tract, like much of Iowa's land, is very productive, responding readily to cultivation and he carries on general farming and stock-raising, keeping horses, cattle, hogs and sheep upon his place. Mr. Beery is an extensive and successful stock-dealer, his principal business being buying and selling stock cattle, selling to the feeders mainly. He raises only good grades and he therefore finds a ready sale for his stock upon the market.
In matters of business his judgment is rarely, if ever, at fault and in the control of his interests he has found that keen discrimination, capable management, close application and indefatigable energy form a splendid foundation upon which to rear the super-structure of success. In those relations of life which indicate personal views and tendencies of character, Mr. Beery is found on the side of improvement and progress. He is an exemplary representative of the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the degrees of the lodge, chapter and commandery at Mount Pleasant and he is also a member of the Knights of Pythias fraternity, while politically he is an earnest republican.
William H. Beery, one of the trustees of Center township, who is extensively engaged in farming and is also a director of the Henry County Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, was born in Baltimore township, this county, on the 12 th of March, 1846, a son of Levi L. and Margaret (Short) Beery. The father, a pioneer settler of this state, was born in Lancaster county, Ohio, in 1814, and was a son of Isaac Beery, a native of Germany, who came to Ohio on crossing the Atlantic to America.
Levi Beery was reared in the Buckeye state and there wedded Miss Margaret Short, who was a native of Pennsylvania. He was a tanner by trade and followed that pursuit until 1840, when he visited Iowa on a prospecting tour and purchased land in Henry county. In 1842 he removed with his family to his farm in Baltimore township, transforming the wild and unimproved land into a rich and productive tract. In the course of years his place became a valuable farm and remained his home up to the time of his death.
He also had one of the first saw and grist mills of the county on Big Creek and was a promoter of the substantial improvement and material welfare of the county for many years. As his financial resources increased he made judicious investment in property until he owned between seven and eight hundred acres of land at the time of his demise. He held different township offices, the duties of which he discharged in a capable manner and his death, which occurred in 1892, was the occasion of deep and widespread regret. His wife, a most estimable lady, passed away in 1890.
William H. Beery is indebted to the district schools of Baltimore township for the early education he acquired but later he attended Howe's Academy in Mount Pleasant, then one of the leading academic schools of the country. When he put aside his text-books he gave his attention to farm work on the old homestead until twenty-one years of age, when he made a trip through the west, visiting California, Nevada, the Black Hills and other districts. He was one of the first in the Black Hills country, where he engaged in prospecting and mining. He opened up a mine there and was very successful in its operation. He was also in Colorado and subsequently in New Mexico and on selling his interests there he returned to Henry county and purchased a farm in Center township comprising two hundred and fifty acres of land and constituting one of the best farm properties here.
He has prospered in his management of his agricultural interests and in addition to the home place he owns eighty acres of land in Bath township. All of the improvements upon his property have been made by him and in 1904 he erected a beautiful residence with all modern equipments. It is lighted by gas and he has his own gas and water plant upon the place. The home is conveniently situated two miles from the city and is a most desirable and attractive residence. Mr. Beery is an extensive stock-feeder as well as general agriculturist and both branches of his business are proving profitable.
In 1882 Mr. Beery was married to Lillie A. Brittain, a native of Baltimore township and a daughter of Robert Brittain. They now have two children; Agnes, a student in Iowa Wesleyan University; and Wilbur H., at home. Mr. Beery has been an active republican and has served on both the township and county central committees, acting on the latter when President McKinley was elected. He has frequently been a delegate to party conventions and has been called to public office, serving now as township trustee, in which office he has been the incumbent for fifteen consecutive years. During that time many permanent improvements have been made in the roads and in installing cement culverts.
He has likewise been the champion of advancement along educational lines and the schools find in him a stalwart friend. He belongs to Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he was senior warden for a number of years and he affiliates with Mystic Lodge, Independent Order Odd Fellows. For twenty years he has been an officer and director of the Henry County Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, of which his father was one of the charter members and Mr. Beery is now serving as vice president. His work in behalf of public progress has been of a practical and beneficial character, while in his business life he has achieved prosperity and at the same time has made an honorable name.
Frank S. Bell, a member of the bar of Henry county engaged in practice in Salem and also connected with the firm of Bell & Percival, maintaining an office in Winterset, Iowa, was born in Lee county on the 20 th of October, 1867, and is descended from one of the old families of Pennsylvania. Still further back, however, the ancestry can be traced to the great-great-grandfather, William Bell, and his wife, Elizabeth (Stewart) Bell. William Bell was born in Ireland of Scotch ancestry in 1731, and died April 5, 1819, and there he married Elizabeth Stewart, who was born in Scotland in 1737, died October 17, 1825, a member of the Stewart clan and if legend can be proven was of royal blood.
In religious belief they were United Presbyterians. They emigrated from Ireland to the new world, settling in Tuscorora valley, Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, prior to the year 1757. This William Bell was with Washington at the time of Braddock's defeat, and later served as an officer of the Revolutionary war, being a member of the Pennsylvania line. He was also one of the organizers of the Huntington (Pennsylvania) presbytery and was a most prominent and influential member of the Presbyterian church, serving as a ruling elder of his local church in the Keystone state at that early day. He died in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania as did David Bell, the great-grandfather of our subject. The latter's wife bore the maiden name of Alice Allen.
David Stewart Bell, grandfather of our subject, was born on Bell's Island in the Juniata river in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, and in the spring of 1837 he came to Fort Madison, casting in his lot with the pioneer settlers of that place. He was the first deputy recorder of Lee county and became a member of the twentieth general assembly of Iowa, the building of the new capitol being among the measures before the house during this session. He was well fitted for leadership and did much to mold public thought and action in his community. A very prominent and influential citizen, he continued his residence in Lee county up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1877, his remains being interred in Sharon cemetery. At Fort Madison he married Sarah Stewart Rail, of Fort Madison, a daughter of Benjamin and Ann (Mohler) Rail, who were pioneer residents coming from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bell were prominent early members of the Presbyterian church of Fort Madison.
Thomas Allen Bell, father of F. S. Bell, was born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, was a farmer by occupation and in 1845 came to the middle west, settling in Cedar township, Lee county, where he inherited a part of the home farm. Here he resided until 1888, when he removed to Salem and for some years was engaged in the grocery business. He was one of the patriotic sons of Iowa and attempted to enlist several times but was rejected each time on account of his youth and size. He later was accepted and served his country as a soldier of the Union army in the Civil war, joining Company E, Forty-fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry for one hundred days. In politics he was an earnest republican but unlike his father, he eschewed public office, preferring to give his attention to his business interests and other duties. He belonged to the Odd Fellows lodge at Salem, also to the Grand Army of the Republic and he held membership in the Congregational church, and his wife belongs to the Christian church. She bore the maiden name of Elvira C. Harlan and is a native of Ohio and a member of the well known Harlan family. Mr. Bell passed away on the 5 th of January, 1893, but Mrs. Bell still survives and is now residing in Salem at the age of sixty years.
In the family of this worthy couple were two daughters and a son, Frank S. being the eldest of the family. The others are: Cora E., the wife of John Byers, a resident of Birmingham, Iowa, by whom she has five children, Earl, Ethel, Rhea, Thelma and Frank Stewart, all born in Birmingham; and Grace E., who is at home with her mother. She is a graduate of the Iowa Wesleyan University and is a successful piano teacher in Salem.
Frank S. Bell pursued his early education in the public schools and afterward attended Whittier College in Salem and Howe's Academy in Mount Pleasant. Having thus acquired a good literary education to serve as a foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of professional knowledge, he entered the law department of Drake University at Des Moines from which he was graduated with the class of 1894 with the degree of L.L. B., and was admitted to the bar by examination, standing second in a class of fifty-three members, it being the largest class before the supreme court until that time.
He returned at once to Salem and for six months engaged in teaching school near the city. He then opened his law office and is still practicing here, being the only practicing attorney in Salem. He is also a member of the firm of Bell & Percival, of Winterset, Iowa. In a profession where advancement depends upon intellectual and individual merit he has gradually worked his way upward and is regarded as one of the rising lawyers of Henry county and has represented the leading financial interests of Salem in a legal way. His understanding of the law is broad and comprehensive and accurate and in the trial of his case he shows keen discernment, logical reasoning and forceful presentation of his cause.
Mr. Bell is a member of the Odd Fellows society and of the Knights of Pythias fraternity. He is a republican but has neither sought nor desired office. He belongs to the Congregational church and lives on Jackson street in Salem with his mother, who is a most estimable lady, having a large circle of warm friends here. Mr. Bell is popular both socially and professionally and his business qualifications have gained him a creditable name and are bringing him the substantial rewards of earnest and close application.
George W. Bird owns, occupies and operates a valuable farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres situated on sections 25 and 36, Marion township. The place is known as the Spring Brook farm, and is a valuable property, which in its neat and thrifty appearance indicates the careful supervision and progressive methods of the owner. His birth occurred in Marion township, August 25, 1868, his parents being James W. and Deborah Elizabeth (White) Bird. The father, Rev. James Bird, was born in Pennsylvania, February 14, 1820, and was raised and educated in the same community. Upon leaving the Keystone state he removed to Ohio, and in 1844 came to Iowa, settling in Marion township, Henry county. He cast in his lot with the pioneer residents and was deeply interested in the growth and progress of the community as it developed from primitive conditions and took on all the improvements of an advanced civilization. Mr. Bird was a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church, and at different times held both the Washington and Eureka circuits, besides preaching many times to fill vacancies. He was called upon very frequently to officiate at funerals and has performed innumerable marriage ceremonies, many still living in this community for whom he tied the nuptial knot. He also preached in Ohio before his removal to the middle west.
His study of the political issues of the day led him to give his support to the Republican party, and he was likewise interested in the public schools, being school trustee, school director, and president of the board. On November 3, 1865, he was united in marriage to Deborah E. White, born in Virginia, January 4, 1834. Her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Kibbler) White, with their family, drove through from Virginia to Iowa in 1846, and settled in Jefferson township, when neighbors were few and far between. In religious belief Mr. White was a Quaker, and politically a whig. Death claimed him in 1856, and his widow in 1875. Miss White was raised in Jefferson township and finished her education in the Iowa Wesleyan University, later teaching in the country schools for fourteen years. Unto Mr. And Mrs. Bird were born six children, of whom five are yet living: Pearl I. married to Miss Clara Deal and resides in Scott township, near Mount Union, Iowa; George W., of this review; Mary Bessie, married to L.W. Clutter and living at Shell Lake, Wisconsin; Frank A., who married Blanche Augusta Courtney and resides in Mount Pleasant; and Jennie L., who makes her home with her mother, in Mount Pleasant. Mr. Bird was claimed by death in May, 1893, but his widow is still living, and at the age of seventy-two years is enjoying excellent health for a person of her age.
George W. Bird is indebted to the public school system of Marion township for the educational privileges he enjoyed. Through the months of vacation he assisted in the labors of the fields and devoted his attention to the further improvement of the home property. After leaving school he continued with his father until the time of his marriage. That important event in his life occurred on the 3d of March, 1891, Miss Letitia Heston becoming his wife. She was born in Batavia, New York, October 3, 1863, and is a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Canby) Heston. The father followed farming in the east, and after removing to the west, in 1874, settled upon a farm in Marion township, Henry county, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits up to the time of his death, on the 24th of May, 1891. His widow still survives him and is now living in Albany, Oregon, at the age of about seventy-seven years, her birth having occurred in 1829, while Mr. Heston was born in 1820.
Mr. Heston endorsed republican principles, served as a school officer, and for fifteen or twenty years acted as school treasurer in Marion township. He held membership in the Episcopal church, of which Mrs. Heston is still a communicant. In their family were eight children, of whom six are living: Rachel, who resides with her brother in Seattle, Washington; Mary, the wife of Edward Price, of Albany, Oregon; Esther, who for ten years has been employed in the pension office at Des Moines; Letitia, now Mrs. Bird; George, who married Lizzie Leonard (now deceased), residing in Seattle; and Elizabeth, the wife of Reuben Golden, of Shell Lake.
Mr. and Mrs. Bird have three children, and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death. These are: Florence, born October 22, 1892; Esther, born June 4, 1896; and Ralph, born April 29, 1902. The family home stands in a finely improved tract of land of one hundred and seventy-five acres, well known in this part of the state as the Spring Brook farm. The place is attractive in its many improvements and well kept appearance, and Mr. Bird has here carried in general agricultural pursuits since 1893. He is also a stock raiser buys and sells cattle and hogs, and deals quite extensively in horses, and his unfaltering perseverance constitute the secret of his unvarying and unbounded success.
Mr. Bird votes with the Republican party and has served as township trustee, but is not a politician in the sense of office seeking, although he keeps well informed on the questions of the day and is loyal to the principles in which he believes. He belongs to Henry Lodge, No. 10, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Mount Pleasant, and also to the Modern Woodmen of America Camp, No. 625. Mrs. Bird is a member of the Episcopal church. They are highly esteemed people of the community, and Mr. Bird is a worthy son of Henry county, being a typically representative citizen, possessing the enterprise which has been the dominant factor in the upbuilding of the middle west.
Hiram T. Bird, who for a quarter of a century has been engaged in the furniture and undertaking business in Mount Pleasant, where his position in commercial circles is among the foremost because of his unremitting diligence and his employment of methods that neither seek nor require disguise, was born in Knox county, Ohio, July 14, 1846.
His parents were Dr. Wellington and Sarah (Thornton) Bird, who came to this state with their son Hiram in his early boyhood days and here he acquired his early education, afterward attending the Iowa Wesleyan University until 1863.
He then enlisted for service in the medical department of the Eighth Iowa Cavalry as surgeon’s steward, joining his regiment at Davenport, going south with that command, which was attached to Sherman’s army and went with him on the celebrated march to the sea. Mr. Bird was captured at Atlanta, on the 30th of July, 1864, and was imprisoned at both Macon and Charleston, but afterward was released with a number of surgeons at the latter place and again joined his regiment, which was stationed on the Tennessee river, just before Hood crossed that stream on his way to Nashville. Mr. Bird participated with his regiment in the battles of Franklin and Nashville, and in the following spring took part in the Wilson Cavalry raid through Alabama and Georgia, being engaged on that raid at the time of the close of the war. He was then mustered out at Macon, Georgia, in the fall of 1865. Part of the cavalry corps captured Jefferson Davis.
With a creditable military record Mr. Bird returned to his home to enter business life in Mount Pleasant, where he has since figured as a leading and trustworthy representative of commercial interests. He first engaged in the drug business, with which he was connected for fourteen years, conducting a store on the Brazelton House corner. On selling out there he purchased an old-established business on North Jefferson street that has now been conducted as a furniture store for fifty years. Since 1879 he has been alone in his mercantile operations there, occupying the three floors of the store on Jefferson street opposite the Harlan House, the store being one hundred and fifty feet deep. The undertaking business was also established previous to the time of his purchase, but he has made improvements along that line and now has a fine chapel, in which funeral services may be held by those who are residing temporarily in the city.
In the face of competition and not without difficulties and obstacles, Mr. Bird has succeeded in building up a business of great volume and importance, having a thoroughly equipped furniture store, in which he carries a large line of furniture of various grades, meeting the varied tastes of his patrons. As the years have passed he has added largely to his furniture stock, keeping in touch with the modern progress of the trade, and his annual sales are represented by a large figure.
He has also made a study of embalming, and is the possessor of certificate No. 25, which was accorded to the first class examined according to state law in 1898. During the quarter of a century with which he has been connected with the undertaking business he has superintended nearly four thousand interments, and there are now almost as many names upon his books as there are living inhabitants in the city.
On the 18th of August, 1868, Mr. Bird was united in marriage to Miss Florence McLaran, of Mount Pleasant, a daughter of James McLaran, one of the early merchants of this city. They have one daughter, Clara, now the wife of W. F. Kopp, a rising young attorney and postmaster of Mount Pleasant. The parents are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which Mr. Bird has served as steward and also as treasurer of the board of trustees. Identified with various social organizations, he now belongs to Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Mystic Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and McFarland Post, Grand Army of the Republic. In politics an earnest republican, he has twice served as a member of the city council of the second ward.
His home is on North Main street and he has lived within on block of the present site for fifty-six years. His parents’ old home site is now occupied by the public library building. There is perhaps no resident of Mount Pleasant who has more intimate knowledge of the history of the city, its advantages, improvements and advancement than has Mr. Bird, who for more than a half century has witnessed its growth and through long years has taken an active part in the progress that conserves commercial development and the general prosperity of the community. He has made a business record as creditable as it is honorable, and in the healthful growth of trade has won the success which constitutes the goal of all business endeavor.
No biographical review of Henry county would be complete without mention of Dr. Wellington Bird, deceased, who for many years was a leading representative of the medical fraternity in Mount Pleasant and the surrounding districts. He came here at a day when the practice of medicine was fraught with many personal hardships and difficulties, necessitating long rides with sparsely settled districts over poor roads.
He was born in Columbiana county, Pennsylvania, in 1817. His paternal grandfather was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. William Bird, the father, was a resident of Columbiana county, Pennsylvania, and there followed the blacksmith's trade for many years but in old age he and his wife came to the west and died at the home of their son, Dr. Bird, in Mount Pleasant.
In the county of his nativity Dr. Bird began his education. His father desired that he should learn and follow the blacksmith's trade but this did not prove congenial and giving up the work he entered a store. While thus employed he devoted every leisure moment to reading and studying. His employer noticing this asked his purpose, and finding that he wished to become a physician, said that he would give him the necessary assistance, and did so, sending him to Jefferson Medical College, at Philadelphia, from which institution he was graduated about 1840.
He then located for practice at Fredericktown, Ohio, and his capability in accordance with the standard of medical practice at that time brought him a good patronage. He was married to Miss Thornton, of Columbiana county, Pennsylvania, and they began their domestic life at Fredericktown, where they resided for a brief period, after which they came to Mount Pleasant, arriving here in the year 1849. He was the first regularly educated physician to enter upon practice here, and for many years he continued as a follower of his chosen calling, devoting his time and energies to the active work of the profession until within a few years of his death.
As is usual in a frontier community he had a large country practice which called him to the four corners of the county, occasioning him to make long drives through the hot summer sun or the winter's cold. He regarded no personal discomfort or sacrifice on his part too great if it would enable him to alleviate human suffering or restore health and through his scientific interest in the profession and his desire to gain a competence through years of practice he displayed broad humanitarian principles and deep sympathy. At the time of the Civil war he became assistant surgeon in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry but late resigned on account of his age.
Dr. Bird was one of the organizers of the Forest Home cemetery, securing the plans for this and personally superintending their adoption and in the practical work of laying out the cemetery, which is still in use. At that time it was owned by a corporate concern but now belongs to the city. Dr. Bird was also one of the active trustees of the Iowa Wesleyan University and acted in that capacity when it needed the helpful co-operation of its board in order to place it upon a paying basis. Both he and his wife held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and he was also one of its officers and a liberal contributor toward its first house of worship. His life was indeed filled with good deeds and worthy actions and was characterized by high and manly principles.
His wife, who was born in 1818, passed away August 13, 1895, at the age of seventy-seven years, while he survived until August, 1897, having reached the age of eighty years when called to his final rest. His memory, however, is enshrined in the hearts of many who knew him and who benefited by his professional services or his charity and enjoyed his companionship and friendship.
Cyrus A. Boal, has spent all his life in Henry county and is numbered among its old settlers. His birth occurred in Trenton township, May 7, 1856, his parents being Robert and Lydia A. (Foster) Boal. They were natives of Pennsylvania, the father born in 1826, and the mother in 1834. Removing to Ohio with his parents in his boyhood days, Robert Boal was there reared, and in 1854 he removed from Muskingum county, Ohio, to Henry county, Iowa, settling upon a tract of land in Trenton township, and after a few years moved to Wayne township, where he actively carried on farm work until his sons were old enough to relieve him of the care of the fields, after which he gave his attention to work at his trade as a stone mason.
He long supported the Republican party and for many years served on the school board and was also township clerk for two terms. His interest in the community was deep and sincere, and he did everything in his power to promote the work of public progress along lines of permanent improvement. He was a Mason, holding membership at Wayland, and he and his estimable wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, taking an active and helpful part in its work. He served as superintendent of the Sunday-school and was zealous in his devotion to the cause of Christian education among the youth, realizing the truth of the old adage, “Train a child up in a way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart therefrom.” An honorable and useful life was ended, when, in 1881, Robert Boal was called to his final rest.
He was survived for some years by his wife, who passed away March 8, 1893, and was held in equally high regard and esteem in the community. In their family were six children, of whom four are now living: C. A., of this review; George A., who married Elizabeth Wertemberger and resides in Wayne township; Nevada, the wife of W. B. Lyons, of Wyoming; and Clara, the wife of John Seay, of Indianola, Iowa. One child died in infancy and one at the age of nineteen years.
C. A. Boal was educated in the schools of Wayne township, and when fourteen or fifteen years of age started out in life on his own account, working by the month as a farm hand. At the age of twenty-two years he rented a farm in Marion township and has since devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits, with the result that his labors have gained him his present position.
On the 8 th of January, 1882, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Boal and Miss Dolly Anderson, who born May 12, 1862, in Marion township, a daughter of John and Sarah (Sprague) Anderson. Her father was born in Pennsylvania, was a farmer by occupation, and in 1844 came to Iowa, settling at Mount Pleasant upon the site of the university. His home was in the midst of a dense forest tract and he was one of the pioneer residents of the community, who aided in replacing the natural conditions of the tract by the evidences of an advanced civilization. Mr. Anderson was a republican in his political views and for many years followed farming in Marion township. He now makes his home with Mr. and Mrs. Boal, and is the oldest man in the township, having attained the age of ninety years. His wife, who was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church and who was born in 1822, died in Kansas, January 6, 1887, her remains being interred in Floral cemetery in that state.
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were parents of twelve children, eleven of whom reached adult age, namely: Ann, now the wife of Joel Ogg, of Mount Pleasant; David, who married Lizzie Hull, of Marion township; Serena, the wife of James Van Osdel, of Kansas; Joseph, who married Martha Van Osdel; Emily, wife of John Van Osdel; William, who wedded Mattie Thompson, of this county; Cornelius, who married Clara Shepherd and is living in Dexter, Iowa; James, who married Ollie Carter, of Henry county; Alfred, who wedded Effie Carter and lives in this county; Mrs. Boal, of this review, and Carrie, the wife of Leonard Thompson. The eldest brother of the family, David Anderson, was a soldier of the Union army, enlisting in 1861 in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, with which he served throughout the period of hostilities and was once wounded in the neck.
Mr. Boal has always been an earnest advocate of republican principles, supporting the party since age gave to him the right of franchise. He was also elected justice of the peace, but would not qualify, as he does not desire office as a reward for party fealty. He belongs to the Odd Fellows society, holding membership in Swedesburg Lodge, No. 347, and the encampment at Mount Pleasant, and he has passed all of the chairs in the local lodge. Both he and his wife are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as steward.
Having no children of their own, they have adopted a son, Foster Boal, who was born November 26, 1889. Mr. Boal's success in life is attributable to his own efforts. He is a genial and pleasant man, and his wife possesses many excellent qualities, so that they are highly esteemed in the community where they reside. He is a well read man, keeping informed on the questions of general interest of the day, and his entire life has been passed in Henry county, where he is numbered among the worthy early settlers.
Sanford Boyd, who is engaged in general farming in Tippecanoe township, is a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred in Guernsey county on the 11 th of April, 1852. His father, Thomas Boyd, was a native of Pennsylvania and when he had arrived at years of maturity was married to Miss Elizabeth Abels, who was born in Ohio, and whose father, John Abels, became one of the earliest settlers of Tippecanoe township, Henry county, Iowa. He was well known as a pioneer resident and contributed in substantial measure to the work of early development and improvement here.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Boyd was celebrated in Ohio, where they owned a farm, which he continued to operate up to the time of his death. He passed away April 29, 1869, at the age of sixty-four years, his birth having occurred March 10, 1805. His wife, who was born January 24, 1812, died on the 27 th of February, 1892, having reached the advanced age of eighty years. In their family were eleven children, six sons and five daughters, of whom Sanford Boyd is the youngest.
In the public schools of Ohio he pursued a limited education, but his opportunities in that direction were somewhat meager for his services were needed upon the home farm. He remained at home until sixteen years of age, when he left Ohio and came to Henry county, Iowa, with his sister-in-law. Since that time he has been dependent entirely upon his own resources and whatever success he has achieved is attributable entirely to his labors. He was employed for a few months in various capacities and then took up farm work for he believed that the outdoor existence would prove beneficial to his health, which was in a somewhat precarious condition, his lungs seeming to be affected. He continued to labor as a farm hand for three and a half years and was greatly benefited by this life in the open air.
On the expiration of that period Mr. Boyd was married on the 26 th of September, 1878, to Miss Elizabeth Wilson, who was born in Jackson township, Henry county, and is a daughter of John M. and Sallie (Davis) Wilson, the former a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, and the latter of Ohio. Her paternal grandfather was John Wilson and her maternal grandfather John Davis, a native of Pennsylvania.
After his marriage Mr. Boyd rented a tract of land in Baltimore township, whereon he lived for a year and a half, and then engaged in the cultivation of a farm in Center township for one year. He next removed two miles south of Mount Pleasant in the same township, making his home upon that property for three years, when his savings justified his purchase of land and he became the owner of a farm of forty acres in the southern part of Center township. To this he added twenty acres and he improved the place by additions to the house and barn and in other ways, at the same time keeping his fields under a high state of cultivation, so that as the years passed he prospered. He continued to reside upon this place until 1893, when he sold and removed to Mount Pleasant, where he remained for three years.
In 1896 he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 12, Tippecanoe township. This had been improved and with characteristic energy he began its further cultivation and development. Later he added to it sixty-four acres and a further purchase extended the boundaries of the farm to include forty more acres. He has since remodeled the house, making a modern residence with good cellar underneath. He has also built barns and remodeled the other buildings upon the place and his farm is now neat and thrifty in appearance and gives evidence of the careful supervision of a painstaking and progressive owner.
While living in Mount Pleasant he was the owner of a good residence on Locust street, which he occupied for three years and then sold upon returning to farm life. Again, however, he went to Mount Pleasant in 1902, and bought a home at the corner of Jay and Henry streets, where he lived for two years, when he once more sold out and in the fall of 1904 again took up his abode upon his farm.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Boyd have been born seven children: Myrtle, who was born August 28, 1881; Ralph, who was born January 24, 1883, and is now engaged in teaming in Mount Pleasant, where he makes his home; Grace, born February 18, 1885; Earl S., October 13, 1891; Walter, September 8, 1894; Gladys, May 8, 1897; and Edith, on the 5 th of January, 1899. The youngest daughter was badly burned by an accident, from which she did not recover for seven months. A small boy in trying to light a candle put a taper into the stove and thereby set fire to the dress of little Edith, and but for the timely arrival of her mother and a neighbor she would have been burned to death. She has, however, now recovered from her injuries.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Boyd have a wide and favorable acquaintance in this county, where her entire life has been passed and where Mr. Boyd has lived for about thirty-seven years. Throughout this period he has commanded the respect and confidence of his fellow men who class him with the citizens of genuine worth, whose reliability, business integrity and loyalty to the general good have made them prominent residents of their community. Mr. Boyd has served as school director in Center township, and fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows lodge at Mount Pleasant maintaining pleasant relationship with his brethren of that organization.
William Boyd, a leading and successful farmer of Center township, owning and operating one hundred and seventy-three acres of land and who is prominent in community affairs, serving now as township trustee, was born near Cambridge, Guernsey county, Ohio, January 27, 1844, his parents being Thomas and Elizabeth (Abel) Boyd. The grandfather, who also bore the name of Thomas Boyd, was a pioneer settler of Ohio, and there the father lived and died.
William Boyd was reared in the state of his nativity and acquired a good education in the public schools. He remained with his father on the home farm until he had attained his majority and assisted him in the general work of tilling the soil and caring for the stock and the crops. He came to Henry county in 1867, locating first in Center township, where he has since spent his life as a farmer.
In 1892 he purchased his present place, comprising one hundred and seventy-three acres in Center township and has erected all of the buildings here including a fine modern residence and good barns. He has also set out all of the decorative trees about the place and has made his home most attractive in its appearance. He carries on general agricultural pursuits and has been very successful in his work, which is conducted along practical and progressive lines. He uses the latest improved machinery in caring for the fields and everything about his farm is neat and thrifty in appearance.
In March, 1865, Mr. Boyd in response to his country's call for troops, having just attained his twenty-first year, enlisted in Company D, Fiftieth Iowa Infantry, and served until honorably discharged in October following. He was not in any engagement, however.
A republican in politics, he is recognized as one of the strong and stalwart supporters of that party and in 1893 was township assessor. Not long afterward he was elected township trustee and has filled the position to the present time, serving now for the fourth term with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. There have been many permanent improvements made in the roads and bridges during his incumbency in the office and he has been an active worker for improvement along this line. He is also recognized as a most capable and ardent supporter of the republican party in his township, and has attended many of the conventions as a delegate. Fraternally he is connected with Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
On the 16 th of August, 1868, Mr. Boyd was married to Miss Elizabeth Coiner, of Center township, a daughter of Christian and Elizabeth (Teeter) Coiner, the former a native of Virginia. He was married in Ohio, and in 1848 came to Iowa, bringing his daughter here as an infant. They lived near Mediapolis, Des Moines county, but in 1858 removed to Mount Pleasant, where the father retired from active business life. His daughter, Mrs. Boyd, was educated in that city. By this marriage there have been born six children; Cora, now the wife of C. W. Lawrence, a resident of Utah; Alberta, the wife of George C. Bayles, of Seattle, Washington; Maud and Hattie, at home; Mattie, the wife of J. J. Allen, of Wayland, Iowa; and Ross C., at home. The parents are members of the Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal church, and enjoy the warm and favorable regard of many friends in this locality.
Mr. Boyd belongs to that class of representative citizens who have made steady advancement in the business world by means of close application and unremitting diligence and as an agriculturist and republican leader deserves mention with the representative men of Henry county.
August Brink, who is engaged in the manufacture of brick and tile in New London and is also successfully engaged in farming and stock-raising, belongs to that class of representative Swedish-American citizens who have come from their native country to the new world to enjoy its better business opportunities and have here steadily progressed until they have gained a position of prominence among the substantial citizens of their respective communities.
Mr. Brink was born in the western part of Sweden, November 13, 1843. His father was Larson Swanson and his mother was Mary Anderson. He was educated in the public schools and was reared to the occupation of farming, which pursuit he followed in his native country until he came to America. On the 17 th of June, 1865, he left Sweden, thinking to enjoy better business opportunities and advantages in the new world, for he had heard much concerning the improved conditions here. Crossing the Atlantic he proceeded into the interior of the country and made his first location in Galesburg, Illinois, where he remained for two and a half years.
He then went to Burlington and entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, working on the track and also assisting in bridge-building, continuing with that corporation for about five years. He also spent about a year and a half in Peoria, Illinois, where he worked at carpentering, after which he returned to Sweden, where he continued for another year and a half. In 1876, however, he again came to the United States and visited the exposition in Philadelphia, after which he continued his journey to Burlington, where he remained until January, 1877.
He then bought forty acres of land on section 2, New London township, from Henry Shoemaker, who had erected a tile factory, which has since been operated by Mr. Brink. He makes tile of all sizes up to eight inches and is also engaged in the manufacture of brick. He made the brick for his own residence, which he rebuilt in 1891, it being a veneered building and one of the pretty homes of the township. He has continuously made brick and tile since he has been here except one year—in 1897—when the factory burned. This is one of the good productive industries of the community and is being profitably conducted by Mr. Brink.
He has also added to his landed estate until he now owns two hundred acres, all of which is cultivated and improved under his own supervision. He has seventy acres on section 2, eighty acres on section 11, and fifty acres on section 12, New London township. He raises and feeds about thirty head of cattle annually and about twenty head of hogs. He now has sixty-five acres of his land under cultivation, while the remainder is devoted to pasturage. He has put all of the improvements on his property and has cleared much of it for cultivation.
On the 18 th of June, 1891, Mr. Brink was united in marriage to Miss Mary L. Anderson, a daughter of Andrus Peter and Martha (Carlson) Anderson. Two children have been born of this union: Paul Reynold, born May 24, 1892; and Ruby Victoria, born May 20, 1894. Both are students in the public schools.
In his political affiliation Mr. Brink is a stalwart republican, keeping well informed on the questions and issues of the day, but has never sought nor desired office. He is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church, in which he has served as trustee and deacon, holding both positions at the present time. He is a very energetic man of resolute will and strong purpose and in his life the statement that “Sweden is the home of the honest man,” finds exemplification, for at all times this worthy son of Sweden is thoroughly reliable and trustworthy.
His business success has come to him through the utilization of opportunities and the recognition of the fact that the present and not the future is the time to put forth one's best energies for the attainment of success.
Capt. Allen T. Brooks is a veteran of the Civil War who has been equally loyal to his country in days of peace and in the discharge of various official duties in Mount Pleasant has shown that he fully merits the trust and confidence reposed in him. He is regarded as one of the representative residents of this city, esteemed by all who know him.
His birth occurred in Springfield, Ohio, April 23, 1826, so that he has reached the eightieth milestone on life's journey. His parents were William and Elizabeth (Stitt) Brooks. The father was born in Pennsylvania in 1779 and lived to be eighty-seven years of age, while his mother's birth occurred in Kentucky in 1785. In early manhood, William Brooks followed farming in the Keystone state and afterward in Logan county, Ohio. In 1838 he came to Iowa, settling on a farm in Van Buren county. He was one of its pioneer residents and assisted in the early material development and progress of his portion of the state. He belonged to that class of representative American men, who, while advancing individual interests, also contribute to the public welfare.
His attention was devoted to farming until about fifteen years prior to his death, when he retired and went to live with his son, A. T. Brooks, upon his farm, there passing away in April, 1866. He had served as a soldier of the war of 1812, and his early political support was given to the democracy, but his six sons were all whigs, and at the time of the organization of the new republican party the father and sons all joined its ranks. Mr. Brooks and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church, taking an active and interested part in its work and Mr. Brooks was an elder and preacher who traveled from place to place in the performance of his ministerial duties. His wife survived him for but a brief period, passing away in the fall of 1866, her great grief at the loss of her husband undoubtedly hastening her own death. Their remains were interred side by side in the cemetery in Van Buren county.
In their family were eight children, but only two are living. Benjamin, Samuel, James, Rachel, John and William have all passed away. Mary Ann became the wife of Martin Fate and resides in Van Buren county, but her husband is deceased. A. T. Brooks completes the family. Two of the sons, James and John, were soldiers of the Civil war, also two sons of James, two sons of John, two sons of Samuel and two sons of Benjamin, making two brothers and eight nephews of our subject who were in the great Civil conflict. John Brooks was a member of the Third Iowa Cavalry, while James served in the Eighth Iowa Infantry and A. T. Brooks of this review was a member of the Second Iowa Infantry, to which four of his nephews also belonged, while two of the nephews were members of the Third Iowa Cavalry. Both brothers of our subject were disabled in the war, and James died soon after his return home, but John lingered until a few years ago.
A. T. Brooks was educated in the seminary at Farmington, Iowa, and in the college at Greencastle, Indiana, and after his student days were over he engaged in teaching school for nineteen years in Van Buren county, dividing his time between Bloomfield and Keosauqua. He was also city superintendent of schools at the latter place for a number of years and was county superintendent of schools in Van Buren county for one year. His educational labors, however, were interrupted by his service in the Civil war, for after the outbreak of hostilities he responded to his country's call, enlisting in Company F, Second Iowa Infantry and fully sustaining the splendid family record for bravery and loyalty. The first important engagement in which he participated was at Fort Donelson, his regiment storming the fort. He was also in the battle of Shiloh and although he was never wounded he suffered from a sun stroke which disabled him and caused him to be honorably discharged at Keokuk in 1862.
In the spring of 1866, Mr. Brooks came to Mount Pleasant and was called to public office here as a candidate of the republican party. He filled the position of internal revenue assessor from 1867 until 1873, and subsequently was mayor of the city for five years. His administration was business like, public spirited, practical and progressive and under his guidance many valuable reforms and improvements were wrought. He afterward served as justice of the peace for three terms of one year each and following his retirement from office he engaged in buying and selling fine horses until 1899. In that year he went to live in Chicago, spending two years with three of his children there, after which he returned to his old home in Mount Pleasant and has been the efficient weighmaster of the city since 1903.
On the 8 th of December, 1847, Mr. Brooks was united in marriage to Miss Mary C. Vinson, who was born in St. Mary's, Ohio, in 1825, a daughter of Cuthbert and Deborah (Sewers) Vinson. Her father was born on the eastern shore of Maryland and the mother's birth occurred in the same locality. Mr. Vinson gave his attention to farming and from Maryland removed to Ohio, where he carried on agricultural pursuits until his death in 1846. His wife had died about 1835. He and all of his ancestors were whigs and in religious faith were Methodists.
Mr. and Mrs. Vinson were the parents of thirteen children. Malachai died at the home of Mr. Brooks in 1896 and one of his sons was killed at the battle of Fort Donelson in the Civil war. Deborah married Lorenzo Roebuck and both are now deceased. They had two sons in the war, one of whom returned to the north, but the other was starved to death in Libby prison. Cuthbert and Greenberry Vinson are both deceased. William A. was killed by Spaniards in Californian. Nancy is the widow of John Brooks, brother of our subject, and now resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. Amanda died, the widow of William Hollingsworth. Hester Ann married William Payne and both are deceased. They had one son who is a lawyer of Bloomfield, Iowa. Mary C., now Mrs. Brooks, is the ninth of the family. Clara is the wife of Colonel J. B. Weaver, of Colfax, Iowa. He was a member of the Second Iowa Infantry, served for three years in the Civil war and came out with the rank of Colonel and was a general by brevet. There is no account of the other members of the Vinson family.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brooks were born five children, all of whom are yet living. Alice Carey, born in 1849, in Davis county, Iowa, is now the wife of A. J. Briggs. They are well-to-do people and travel about for health and pleasure, being now in California. They have one son, George A., who is living in Elkhart, Indiana. Belle F., born in Van Buren county in 1852, is the wife of T. Y. Lynch, owner of a lumber yard at Holton, Kansas. They have two sons, William and Elmer, both of whom are married and the former has a daughter. May Ella, born in Van Buren county, Iowa, in 1856, is the wife of Howard E. Snider, of Mount Pleasant, and they have two daughters: Stella, who is a stenographer; and Bertha, who is a music teacher in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Elmer, born in Van Buren county, Iowa, in 1863, married Miss Fannie Bond and is living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have two children, Bennice and Margaret. M. B. Brooks, born in Van Buren county in 1865, was married to Fannie Snyder and lives in Elkhart, Indiana. They have three children: Ruby, Florence and Allen, the last mentioned being the only namesake of his Grandfather Brooks and the only male child in the family.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Brooks are earnest and faithful members of the Methodist church, in which for forty-five years he has held office, serving as treasurer and as steward. He is also deeply interested in the Grand Army of the Republic, with which he holds membership. He has lived for forty years in his present home and he and his wife have now traveled life's journey together for fifty-nine years, sharing in all their joys and sorrows and though reverses have come to them and they have met obstacles, they are contented and happy that their children are still being spared to them.
Mr. Brooks is a self-made man, who started out in life empty-handed, but by willing hands, laudable ambition and strong determination he has secured for his family all the necessities and many of the comforts of life. As a citizen, as a soldier, as a public officer, he holds the entire respect of those who knew him because of his plain and unostentatious demeanor, his honest methods, his kindly spirit and because of the hospitality which is so characteristic of his home. He is known everywhere as Captain Brooks and his place of business on the public square is a favorite resort with many of his friends who congregate there to talk over the events of the past and of the marvelous improvements of the present.
D. W. Brown, president and general manager of the Brown Mercantile Company of New London, is closely identified with the most thriving business interests of the village. He is a man who through his energy and executive ability has made himself an enviable place in the world.
The Brown Mercantile Company occupy the large building owned by D. W. Brown, M. C. Parrott and C. E. Hampton, of Mount Pleasant. They have a stock consisting of general merchandise and light hardware.
It was in 1897 that Mr. Brown first entered into business in New London. For one year he kept a stock of groceries exclusively, then added another department to his business, introducing a line of shoes and finally adding a stock of dry goods. He was sole proprietor and manager of this department store until 1901, when he sold a half interest to H. G. Graham, of Birmingham, Iowa, and took him as a partner. The firm continued under this management until September of 1901, when a stock company was formed with a capital of $12, 000. The business was incorporated with three stockholders, W. D. Brown, H. G. Graham and M. C. Parrott. Mr. Graham and Mr. Parrott then sold their stock to W. D. Miller and C. M. Miller and the capital stock was increased to $18,000. In March, 1904, Mr. W. W. Cunningham purchased the stock of the Miller brothers and the stockholders are now D. W. Brown, president; W. W. Cunningham, secretary and treasurer; and I. Redfern vice-president, the last named holds $2,000 worth of stock.
D. W. Brown is a son of John G. and Sarah (Walker) Brown and was born in Birmingham, Van Buren county, Iowa, December 20, 1865. He was educated in the public schools of the town of his birth and after finishing his education worked for three years upon a farm. At the end of this time he secured a position as grain buyer for Bryant & Rittenhouse, of Winfield, Iowa, with headquarters at Marsh, Iowa. He remained with this company for two years then went to Sante Fe, New Mexico, where he entered the employment of the Sante Fe Railroad Company as clerk and telegraph operator. At the expiration of one year of employment in this capacity, he became a clerk for E. Manning, of Cantrill, Iowa. For ten years he remained with Mr. Manning, then engaged in business for himself in Bonaparte, Iowa, conducting a general store with a stock of groceries and shoes. In 1897 he transferred his interest to New London, where he has since been a loyal and earnest citizen.
Mr. Brown is a member of various social and fraternal organizations, being connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge, No. 288, and Knights of Pythias and the Unity Lodge. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
On June 25, 1894, Mr. Brown was wedded to Maggie E. Moore, a daughter of David H. and Luella (McCartney) Moore. She was also a native of Birmingham. They have three children, Walter G., Louella, and Craig.
Mr. Brown's father was a native of York county, Pennsylvania. In his youth he went to Ohio to reside, then later removed to Iowa, where he resided permanently. The grandfather served in the war of 1812; he was of Irish descent, the family originally coming from Ireland.
Mr. Brown though still a young man has behind him an enviable career, worthy of emulation by all young men who would succeed in life and he has before him the reaping of the harvest of his early labors. He has grasped the opportunities that have come to him and has made his life a financial as well as a social success. He has won by his achievements the respected honor of his fellow men.
Joseph Brown, a son of Isaac and Rebecca (Besen) Brown, was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 18 th of May, 1807, and after many years' residence in Henry county reparted this life honored and respected by all who knew him because of an upright, straightforward career. In his early life he became a resident of Harrison county, Ohio, and afterward took up his abode in Jefferson county, Ohio. In 1842 he arrived in Iowa, locating near Lowell, where he built a home and mill, which he operated for many years, being thus closely associated with industrial interests. He had previously learned the trade of cabinet-making, and while residing in Jefferson county, Ohio, had engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods, so that at different times he has been connected with varied industrial interests. He continued as a woolen manufacturer for eight years, and following his removal to Iowa he engaged in the operation of a feed mill and also in the conduct of a sawmill. At a later day he built a larger grist mill across the river, now owned by Mr. Lewis. He gave strict attention to his business affairs, neglecting no detail and his enterprising efforts resulted in the acquirement of success. As he prospered he invested in land and became the owner of two hundred and forty acres, which he divided between his heirs and widow.
It was in 1837 that Mr. Brown was united in marriage to Miss Jane Alexander, who was born in Maryland in 1808 and who died in Ohio in October, 1840. For his second wife he chose Mary Smith, whom he wedded on the 10 th of August, 1843. She was born in North Carolina in 1808 and was called to her final rest in January, 1860, leaving one daughter, Elizabeth, who is now the wife of John Jackman. For his third wife our subject chose Hannah Brown, who was born in Jefferson county, Ohio, October 20, 1825, a daughter of Joel and Leah (Hester) Brown. This wedding was celebrated on the 7 th of April, 1862, and was blessed with two children: Justus, born July 27, 1864, and Amelia, who was born May 14, 1869, and is the wife of William Morrow, a merchant of Lowell.
Mr. Brown was very prominent and influential in community affairs. He held all of the school offices and in 1860 was elected county supervisor for Baltimore township, to which position he was re-elected in 1861, serving in all for three years. The name of McCarverstown was originally given to the village of Lowell, but Mr. Brown proposed changing the name to Lowell because of the superior water privileges here found, and this was done in the fall of 1842. He was led to the choice of Lowell as a place of residence because of its facilities for the conduct of manufacturing plants supplied by its water power. Mr. Brown had been reared in the faith of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, but left that organization because of trouble which arose among the sect. He then became identified with the Presbyterian church in 1838, and after establishing his home in Lowell joined the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he held various offices. His life was ever upright and honorable and in all his business dealings he was straightforward and reliable. His political allegiance was given to the democracy and he was very deeply interested in his party and its success. He took a very helpful and active part in promoting public progress and improvement in this county in an early day, and indeed continued a valued factor in public life up to the time of his demise.
His son, Justus Brown, lives with his mother and is superintending the farming interests. The home farm, which is now owned by Mrs. Joseph Brown, comprises sixty acres and Mr. Morrow owns twenty acres that were taken from the original tract. No history of this section of the state would be complete without mention of the Brown family, for from early pioneer times its representatives have been prominent in the work of development and upbuilding here.
Roderick Brown, who is conducting a meat market in Mount Pleasant as a member of the firm of Brown & McMillan and who also has farming and stock-raising interests in Henry county, has led a life of intense and well directed activity, for without pecuniary advantages at the outset of his career he started out empty-handed and has by strong and earnest purpose worked his way steadily upward and is now one of the substantial citizens of his locality.
His birth occurred in Canada, December 7, 1851, his parents being George and Ann (Cross) Brown. The father was born in Lincolnshire and the mother in Sheffield, England, and about 1846 or 1847 they crossed the Atlantic to Canada, making their way to Ontario, in the county of Durham. The father was a tailor by trade, following that pursuit throughout his entire life and his death occurred in Toronto in 1887. His wife and all of her people were members of the Methodist church and she is still living in Toronto, making her home with her youngest daughter. George Brown was a stanch advocate of the cause of temperance and did everything in his power to promote its growth and insure a favorable reception of its principles. In the family were nine children, all of whom are living: Margaret, a widow residing in Toronto; Robert, also living in that city; Roderick; Louisa, the wife of Charles Watson, of Chicago, Illinois; Jennie, who is living in Ripley, Canada; Georgiana, a resident of Newcastle county, Canada; Anna, the wife of a Mr. Ripley, of Toronto; Thomas, also living in Toronto; and John, who like his brother Thomas, is a tailor and also resides in Toronto.
Roderick Brown was educated in the common schools of Toronto, paying so much a month tuition. Soon after he put aside his text-books he came to Iowa, settling in Keokuk, when sixteen years of age. There he learned the butcher's trade and in 1873 he removed to Salem, Iowa, where he entered the employ of W. B. Banta, who conducted a general store. In 1877 with the capital that he had acquired through his own labor Mr. Brown engaged in the butchering business on his own account in Salem, there continuing until 1882, when he came to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He went to work for Mr. Troughton, a butcher, with whom he continued for four years, after which he spent a similar period in the employ of Mr. Harrison. He was for one year in the service of the firm of Waller & Speaker and in 1890 he entered into partnership with Mr. McMillan, since which time the relationship has been maintained with mutual pleasure and profit. They have a well stocked meat market at No. 132 North Main street, and the public accords them a liberal patronage in recognition of honorable business methods, straightforward dealing, reasonable prices and earnest desire to please his patrons. Mr. Brown also has other business interests, owning a farm and considerable valuable live stock and in the supervision of his market and his farming and stock-raising interests he displays excellent business ability and executive force.
On the 23 rd of December, 1875, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Sophia Cramer, of Keokuk, Iowa, who was born in Germany in 1852 and during her infancy was brought to America by her parents. Her father located in Donelson, Iowa, where in early days he engaged in teaching school. He has now departed this life, but the mother resides with a son in Keokuk. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cramer were born seven children, of whom three are living: Benjamin, a resident of Iowa; Tillie, the wife of William Vance, of Kansas City, Missouri; and Mrs. Sophia Brown.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brown have been born two children: George LeRoy, born in Salem, Iowa, September 28, 1876, married Miss Helen Zimmerman, and is a prominent physician residing in Chicago. He pursued a high school and collegiate course in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and then prepared for his profession in the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College. Forest Brown, born January 8, 1878, was educated in the public schools of Mount Pleasant and is managing his father's meat market at No. 310 Jefferson street. In manner Mr. Brown is plain and unpretentious but a gentleman of warm heart, of honest purpose, kindly spirit and devoted to the welfare of his wife and children. Moreover in his business career he has made a creditable record, winning a gratifying measure of prosperity.
Samuel Brown, living on section 17, Marion township, was reared to the occupation of farming. He has made it his life work, and is today accounted one of the leading and prosperous agriculturalists of the county. He was born January 23, 1830, in Rush county, Indiana, a son of Steward and Matilda (Kinton) Brown. His paternal grandparents, natives of England, came to America about 1805 and settled in Pennsylvania, where the grandfather, Steward Brown, followed his trade of coverlid weaver. After about ten years he removed with his family to Ohio. His son, Steward Brown, was born in Westmoreland, England, in 1799, and was about six years of age at the time of the emigration of his parents to the new world. At the age of fifteen years he accompanied them to Ohio and there he learned the trade of coverlid weaving from his father.
He wedded Miss Matilda Kinton, who was born in 1800. Her father, Thomas Kinton, was born and reared in Germany, and coming to the United States, became a soldier of the war of 1812. When thirty years of age Steward Brown removed to Indiana, where he carried on weaving, doing all kinds of work in that line. He was reared in the faith of the Democratic party, but afterward joined the ranks of the republican party. He died in Indiana in 1868, and his wife survived until September, 1881. In their family were thirteen children, twelve of whom reached adult age, while six are yet living, namely: Samuel; Robert, who married Miss Mary E. Bowen and lives in Center township, Henry county, Iowa; James H., who married Alice Lemons and resides in Pulaski county, Indiana; Nathaniel, who wedded Mary Rhodes and lives near Logansport; Richard is a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Phoebe A., of Indianapolis, whose husband was a soldier of the Civil war. Thomas Brown, a brother of our subject, now deceased, responded to the last call for troops and served with the Twenty-eighth Indiana Regiment until the close of hostilities. Martin, another brother, enlisted twice in the same regiment, serving throughout the period of hostilities and participating in the siege of Vicksburg and the battle of Chattanooga. John Brown, a third brother, served in the same regiment, but after two months in the army, died at Gallatin, Tennessee.
Samuel Brown never attended school except for six months in his life, but by study, investigation and observation he has acquired a good general knowledge, and in the school of experience has learned many valuable lessons. He remained upon his father's farm in his youth, and as he was the eldest, the labor and management of the place largely devolved upon him, while his father gave his attention to weaving. Subsequently, Mr. Brown of this review spent two years at work as a farm hand in Indiana, and then came to Henry county, Iowa, where he was employed for three years and three months, working with James Leech on his farm on the shares. This was opposite his present place of residence.
On the 8 th of January, 1856, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Jincy Ray, who was born in Indiana in 1832 and died in 1866. Mr. Brown made his way to Iowa first and earned a certain sum of money before he felt that he was justified in assuming the cares of married life. He soon accumulated this sum, however, and following his marriage settled in Shelby county, Indiana, where he lived until after the death of his wife. They were the parents of two children, of whom one is now living, Robert M., who was born January 2, 1857, Shelby county, Indiana, and who came with his father to Henry county, Iowa, in 1870. Here he has since carried on farming in Marion township, and in 1894 he built his present attractive home. He has one hundred and twenty acres of land, which constitute a valuable and productive farm, and he has made all of the improvements upon this property. He owns forty acres of land in Wayne township, and his father resides with him upon the farm in Marion township.
In politics he adheres to democratic principles, but at local elections where no issues are involved he votes independently. He has been a school director for several years and is an enterprising, wide-awake citizen, active and alert in business and in public affairs as well. Robert M. Brown is a member of the Methodist church, in which he is serving as steward. He was married on March, 1885, to Miss Mary E. Collins, who was born in Tippecanoe township, Henry county, in April, 1861, and is a daughter of John and Martha (Heck) Collins. Her father was born in Germany, February 7, 1825, and came to America when ten years of age. He was married in this country to Miss Martha Heck, whose birth occurred in Virginia, April 27, 1827. In the ‘40s he came to Iowa, settling upon a farm in Henry county, and his death occurred here in March, 1895. He was a republican in his political views and in religious faith a Friend, or Quaker, while his wife is a member of the Methodist church. She still survives her husband and is living upon the home farm in Tippecanoe township at the age of seventy-eight years. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Collins were ten children: Sarah, who married Joel Campbell and died January 26, 1873; Alice, the deceased wife of John Laird; Edward, who married Ella Wilmet and resides in Salem township; Eliza, who is the widow of Alfred Whittlesy and makes her home in Mount Pleasant; Mary E., the wife of Robert M. Brown, of Marion township; Cornelius S., who is living in West Oakland, Iowa; Lydia C., who married Joseph Needder, of Kansas; Harvey J., who resides with his mother; Della, the wife of John Gopin, of Danville, Iowa, and one who died in infancy.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Brown have been born three children: Ray C., born September 17, 1887; Florence Ruth, October 12, 1892; and Gilbert, December 29, 1899.
On the 28 th of September, 1868, Samuel Brown was a second time married, Mrs. Mary M. Jones becoming his wife. She was born in Virginia, June 5, 1828, and was the last surviving member of a family of six children, whose parents were George and Elizabeth Torronce, natives of Virginia and farming people, who died in Indiana. For her first husband Mary M. Torronce chose Wesley Jones, and after his death gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Brown. She died March 7, 1900, at the age of seventy-two years and her remains were interred in Nebraska.
Following the death of his first wife, Mr. Brown came to Iowa and for ten years resided upon a farm in Wayne township, Henry county. He then removed to Nebraska, settling upon a farm, where he lived until the death of his second wife. For fifty-nine summers he engaged in the cultivation of corn and then sold his farm and went to live with his son Robert, with whom he now finds a pleasant home. He casts his ballot for the presidential nominees of the democratic party, but at local elections votes independently. He first supported Franklin Pierce.
He and his second wife were members of the United Brethren church, but he has since joined the Methodist church. When he first came to Iowa there were no homes of any note in the county and straggling bands of Indians were frequently seen. Mount Pleasant was but a small village, in which there was no railroad and no telegraphic or telephonic communication. The settlers were widely scattered, but Mr. Brown has lived to witness the introduction of all modern invention and improvement, while the county has become thickly settled with a prosperous and contented people. He is entirely a self-made man, having never received but two hundred dollars as a gift in his life, his father giving him one hundred dollars and his father-in-law an equal amount. He has, however, made a good living as the years have gone by and has been generous of his means with others less fortunate. Honest and upright, his name is a synonym for integrity, and he is greatly respected by all who know him.
There are few men who have such a splendid record to their credit as has William S. Burton, who, though now eighty-five years of age, is filling the office of justice of the peace and also acting as secretary of the Odd Fellows lodge at Mount Pleasant. In spirit and interests he seems yet in his prime, and though the snow of many winters have whitened his hair, he has the vigor and energy of many a man of much younger years. He resides at No. 413 North Adams street in Mount Pleasant, and is numbered among the native sons of North Carolina, his birth having occurred in Guilford county, February 7, 1820. His parents were Emsley and Sarah (Clarke) Burton, who removed from Guilford to Davidson county, North Carolina, during the boyhood days of William S. Burton, who there learned the carriage-maker's trade. From 1842 until 1854 he was engaged in business in Randolph county, Missouri, and in the latter year came to Iowa, settling at Richmond, Keokuk county, where he was in the carriage-making business.
In 1865 he removed to Mount Pleasant and opened a carriage shop, which he conducted until 1882, when he was appointed clerk of the war department in Washington, D. C. He filled this office for several years, being appointed by Robert T. Lincoln. He has held various local positions, both in Missouri and Iowa, and in 1879 and 1880 was honored with the mayoralty of Mount Pleasant, giving to the city a public-spirited, businesslike and progressive administration, characterized by substantial advancement and reform, and later was again mayor for four years. He is now justice of the peace, and his decisions are strictly fair and impartial, neither fear nor favor influencing him in his decisions in the slightest degree.
He has always been a stanch republican since casting his presidential ballot for the early candidates of the party, and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. Fraternally, Mr. Burton is also locally prominent. He holds membership in the Mystic Lodge, No. 55, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and also with the encampment here, and has been both grand master and grand patriarch of the order in Iowa and representative of the grand lodge in Sovereign Grand Lodge of the United States in 1866 and 1867. He is now the valued secretary of the lodge in Mount Pleasant, although he has attained the age of eighty-five years.
In March, 1839, Mr. Burton was united in marriage to Miss Malinda Moffitt, a daughter of Robert and Lydia Moffitt, and a native of Davidson county, North Carolina. They became the parents of ten children: Lydia C., now the widow of James S. Pringle, of Richland, Iowa; Miss Sarah A., resides at home; William M., who married Miss Vaughn, and is living in Jefferson county, Arkansas; Robert A., who married Fannie S. Way, and for some years has been an attorney at Chicago; Constantine B., who lives in southern Missouri; James K., who resides in Mount Pleasant; Harriet M., at home; and three who are deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Burton are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he has served as steward, trustee and Sunday school superintendent. In various church activities they have taken a helpful part, and their efforts have resulted beneficially in the upbuilding and development of the church. Mr. Burton is as honest as the day is long, upright, careful and prudent, and is greatly beloved and respected by all. His granddaughter, Mae Burton, is a teacher in the public schools of Mount Pleasant, and another granddaughter, Hattie Burton, is the very efficient deputy auditor here.
Mr. Burton's health has been somewhat impaired for the past few years, still he able to attend to his daily duties, and his many friends hope that he will be spared as a citizen of Mount Pleasant for many years to come. He has ever manifested the sterling traits of character which command respect and regard in every land and clime, and his example, in its fidelity and trustworthiness, is indeed deserving of emulation.