Search billions of records on

Henry County >> 1906 Index

Biographical Review of Henry County, Iowa
Chicago: Hobart Publishing Company, 1906.


Biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.

MRS. ALICE FAIRCHILD, who is engaged in the millinery business in Mount Pleasant, was born on a farm near Trenton, in Henry county, Iowa, October 22, 1858, a daughter of A. R. and Anna (Rhykert) Halliwill. Her father was born in Starke county, Ohio, April 1, 1823, and there resided upon a farm until he had attained adult age. In early manhood he learned the carpenter's trade, and in the latter part of the ‘40's he removed from Ohio to Illinois. Subsequently he came to Iowa, settling on a farm in Henry county, and for the three years prior to 1906 he lived retired in Mount Pleasant. In 1906 he removed to Alma, Michigan, where he inherited a farm. His wife, who was born in New York, February 16, 1828, came to the Mississippi valley in pioneer times with her parents, who settled upon a large farm near Galesburg, Illinois. There both her father and mother died. Mrs. Halliwill is now living upon the old homestead farm, about nine miles from Mount Pleasant, and one of her grandchildren is always with her. In the Halliwill family were seven children. Eliza is the wife of John Ackles, a farmer of Trenton, Iowa; James died when about three years old; A. O., of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, married Miss Lola Chambers, and has seven children. Cornelia is the wife of John Messer, a farmer living about three miles from Mount Pleasant, and they have five children. Mrs. Fairchild is the fifth of the family. Alonzo, living in Des Moines, Iowa, married Miss Sibbie Chambers, and they have six children; Myron married Miss Lizzie Scott, and they reside in Des Moines. Both parents are members of the Methodist church.

Mrs. Fairchild acquired her early education in the public schools of Mount Pleasant, and afterward attended Howe's academy of this city. Subsequently, she engaged in teaching for four years, spending that entire time in two country schools in Henry county. On the 22d of November, 1879, she gave her hand in marriage to Samuel G. Scarff, a son of John and Laura (Guiten) Scarff. He was born in Ohio in 1842, and when six years of age was brought by his parents to Iowa. He was one of a family of nine children, but only two are now living. W. O. Scarff is a farmer, owning and operating land near Mount Pleasant, but makes his home in the city. He married Miss Eliza Manning, and has five children. James Scarff, who resides near the old home farm, married Miss Mary Messer, and they had eleven children, of whom eight are living.

Samuel G. Scarff was reared in Iowa, acquired his education in the public schools, and early became familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He made farming his life work and died in Henry county in 1891. His political allegiance was given to the democracy, and he was a member of the Methodist church, his remains being interred in the church cemetery, known as White Oak, he and his brother having given the ground for this purpose. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Scarff were born five children. Ralph C., born March 11, 1881, died in 1901, at the age of twenty years. Howard G., born February 10, 1883, died at the age of three years. Cora G., born June 14, 1885, is living with her mother. Nina G., born August 21, 1887, is a student in Howe's academy, in Mount Pleasant. Rueben Gerald, born April 29, 1889, died in 1892, when two and a half years old. All the children were born upon the farm in Henry county.

On the 27 th of June, 1895, Mrs. Scarff was married to Linus Fairchild, a son of Linus Fairchild, of Rome, Iowa. The parents both died on a farm near Rome. In their family were six children. Mrs. Harriet Ainsworth, who has two children, spends the summer months in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the winter season in Florida. Alfred, a merchant of Stockport, Iowa, has three children. Perry is living in the west. Mrs. Elizabeth Craff is a resident of Lockridge, Iowa; Amos is also living in the west. Linus Fairchild, the other son of the family, was a farmer by occupation, devoting his life to agricultural pursuits near Mount Pleasant. He was a democrat in his political views, but never sought office as a reward for party fealty. In matters of citizenship, however, he was always progressive and public spirited, and rejoiced in what was accomplished in the county for public progress and improvement. For one year he was ill, and then passed away on the 22d of December, 1901, his remains being interred in Forest cemetery at Rome, Iowa. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were born two children: Ora Harriet, born March 29, 1896, and Elizabeth, born May 1, 1897.

In November, 1904, Mrs. Fairchild opened a millinery store on the corner of Jefferson and Washington streets, in Mount Pleasant. Here she had one of the largest millinery establishments in the county, carrying a carefully selected line of goods, and was regarded as a most enterprising and intelligent business woman, displaying keen discrimination in the conduct of her commercial interests. She sold her business in December, 1905, and is not now in business. She owns a residence property north of the railroad, and also a residence and vacant lots at Marsh, Iowa. She is a member of the Congregational church, and is a lady of excellent traits of character and pleasing social qualities.


The Teutonic race has ever been an important one in the civilization and development of the new world. The sons of the fatherland have come to America, where they adapted themselves to changed conditions and new surroundings but have brought the same spirit of energy and determination which they manifested in the old country and by reason of these qualities they have become successful and valued residents of various parts of the United States. To this class of citizens Fred Feldman belongs. He resides upon a farm in Scott township and has been a resident of America since the age of twenty years.

He was born in Hanover, Germany, a son of August Feldman, also a native of that land. His education was acquired in the schools of Germany and in 1875 he bade adieu to friends and native country and sailed for New York, from which point he made his way westward to St. Louis, Missouri. He had learned the trade of a soapmaker in Germany and he secured employment in a soap factory in St. Louis. He afterward rented a farm in Franklin township, Des Moines county, upon which he lived for seven years, when he bought seventy-eight acres of land, the greater part of which was covered with timber. He cleared all but twenty acres of this and uses most of it for pasture. He built a house of five rooms and barn with stall space for six horses. He continued the further improvement of that property until the spring of 1896, when he removed to Scott township, Henry county, and bought about one hundred and sixty acres of land from William J. Mullen in the northeast corner of section I. Taking up his abode upon this place, he has remodeled the house until it is a good residence of eight rooms and in 1903 he remodeled the barn. He has recently erected a large corn crib and has placed many rods of tiling upon his land, so that it is well drained and therefore very productive.

On the 20 th of March, 1866, Mr. Feldman was united in marriage to Miss Fredericka Vollmer, who was born in Prussia, Germany, and is a daughter of Henry and Louise (Hoffmeier) Vollmer, who, in the year 1866, crossed the Atlantic to America, becoming residents of St. Louis, where they lived with their children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Feldman have been born nine children: Annie, now the wife of Harry Kennedy, of Chicago, Henry, who is living in Burlington, Iowa; William, a resident of Ringgold county, Iowa; Carrie, the wife of F. Johansmeier, of Henry county; Fred, who is living in Louisa county; Louisa, Edward, and August, all at home; and Charles, who is attending school.

In January, 1903, Mr. Feldman was sent to the hospital at Mount Pleasant for a time, but though there have been some difficulties and obstacles in his path he has perservered in his work and steadily advanced toward the goal of success. He deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, as he had no assistance when he started out in life on his own account. He realized, however, that earnest labor is the basis of all prosperity and because of his indefatigable diligence he has gained a place among the substantial agriculturists of Henry county.

WILLIAM E. FERREE, postmaster of Hillsboro, is a citizen uniformly esteemed and his life history forms an integral chapter in the annals of Henry county. He is descended from French Huguenot ancestry in the paternal line. At an early period in the colonization of the new world Mrs. Mary Ferree, with her sons, crossed the Atlantic to America to escape religious persecution in France. She secured a land grant here. She had two sons, one of whom settled east of the Allegheny mountains and the other west, and it is from the latter that William E. Ferree of this review is descended. His parents were Isaac and Harriet ( Baldwin ) Ferree, both natives of Pennsylvania, the former born in Allegheny county, January 25, 1813, while the latter was born in Fayette county on the 15 th of August, 1822. Isaac Ferree was a coal miner in the state of his nativity and following his removal to Iowa in 1858 he engaged in farming. His political support was given to the Republican party and he was a member of the Freewill Baptist church, to which his widow still belongs. His death occurred in Hillsboro in 1901, but Mrs. Ferree is still living at the advanced age of eighty-three years, making her home with her son William.

In the family of this worthy couple were seven children, five of whom are now living. John C., the eldest, married Nancy Stamm and resides in Virginia. Laura A. became the wife of William Hopkirk, who was a soldier of the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry and died in the Civil war. She is now the wife of Dr. Joseph I. Doughart, of Pratt county, Kansas, who was a member of the Fourth Iowa Infantry. William E. is the third of the family. Emmett married Miss Clara Chapman and resides in Mahaska county, Iowa. Sarah Belle is the wife of R. J. Pope, a resident of Kansas City, Missouri. Annetta died in 1858. Eliza J. became the wife of John Dudley and they and all their family perished in the Galveston flood. The eldest son of this family was a member of Company K, Sixth Iowa Infantry and participated in the battles of Shiloh and Missionary Ridge. He was seriously wounded three times and has since been a cripple.

William E. Ferree, born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1846, was educated in the common schools of Iowa and Pennsylvania, after which he gave his attention to farming, remaining with his father until the latter's death. He was but seventeen years of age when, in November, 1863, he joined Company M, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, which was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee. He was under the command of Captain Whitney and Colonel Winslow and was honorably discharged at Atlanta, Georgia, August 8, 1865. He had participated in many hotly contested engagements, including the battles of Ripley, Tupelo, Guntown, Monta Valley, Selma and Columbus and numerous skirmishes. In his political affiliation Mr. Ferree has always been a stalwart republican and has been called to various offices. He has served as justice of the peace, as a member of the school board, as township trustee, and was census enumerator in 1890. In June, 1897, he was appointed postmaster of Hillsboro and is still filling that position, his son and daughter practically managing the office and conducting the business connected therewith.

In July, 1880, Mr. Ferree was married to Miss Lavina B. Isaman, who was born in Tuscarawas, Ohio, in 1855, and is a daughter of Daniel and Mary (Graham) Isaman, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, the father born in 1814 and the mother in 1815. It was in the year 1857 that Mr. Isaman came to Hillsboro and settled upon a farm, where he remained continuously until his death in 1902. His wife passed away in 1895 and both were interred in the Hillsboro cemetery. In his political views Mr. Isaman was a republican and both he and his wife were members of the Methodist church, in which he filled the office of steward. In their family were seven children: Frank married Alena Newhold and died in 1901, while his widow now resides in Aurora, Nebraska. Catherine is the wife of George Deeds, a resident of Colorado. Lafayette married Sarah White and lives in Aurora, Nebraska. David married Magdalene Beckley and is now deceased, while his widow resides in Hillsboro. Samuel married Emma Reynolds and resides in Lewiston, Idaho. Leah is the wife of Fred Beech, of Shipley, Nebraska. Lavina B. is now Mrs. Ferree. Of this family B. F. and Lafayette Isaman were both soldiers of the Civil war, serving in Company F, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Ferree have been born five children: Armatha, born in Henry county in 1881, is the wife of Craig Groves and resides in Hillsboro. William S., born in 1884, is in the Hillsboro postoffice. Paul G., born in 1887, also resides in Hillsboro and married Miss Bertha Wheatley, by whom he has one child, Zada Zordatha. Harriet E., born in December, 1890, is a high school student. Isaac Edgar, born in 1894, is also in school.

Mr. Ferree resides on Commerce street, Hillsboro, where he owns a pretty cottage. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow and has passed all of the chairs in lodge, No. 373. He also belongs to the Masonic Lodge, No. 541, and to the Grand Army of the Republic. Both he and his wife are members of the Baptist church and are people of the highest respectability, whose many excellent traits of heart and mind have won for them the unqualified esteem of those with whom they have been associated. Since returning from the war Mr. Ferree has suffered from ill health, but has a mind unimpaired and a wonderful memory, assimilating all he reads. He keeps well informed on the questions of general interest, political and otherwise, and has a mind well stored with comprehensive knowledge of facts in American history. There is no one residing here save Dr. Allen and Mrs. Mary Ellerton who have lived longer in Hillsboro than Mr. Ferree, and he has seen many changes in the village and in the county as the work of improvement and modern development have been carried forward.


John J. Fitzgerald

John J. Fitzgerald, a capitalist of Mount Pleasant, was born in Mason county, Kentucky, January 5, 1856, and is a son of John and Isabelle (Wallace) Fitzgerald, the former also a native of Kentucky, a son of Moses and Nancy (White) Fitzgerald. Moses was born in Kentucky, and Miss White in Pennsylvania. Moses served as a soldier in the war of 1812.

Isabelle Wallace is the daughter of David and Nancy ( Campbell ) Wallace, both born near Londonderry, Ireland, of Scotch ancestry.

Both the Fitzgerald and Wallace families have the religious faith of the Presbyterian church, the former being established in Virginia at the early day of the colonization of the new world, and later becoming residents of Kentucky. The Fitzgerald's were very prominent in the Blue-grass state, were connected with many of the leading families, and were interested in many matters of public moment. The father of our subject is now deceased, having passed away in Kentucky, in August, 1855, of cholera, but the mother is still living, making her home in this city.

John J. Fitzgerald was brought to Iowa in his boyhood days and is a graduate of the Mount Pleasant high school. He won the degree of Bachelor of Arts upon graduation from the Iowa Wesleyan University in 1875, after which he entered the law office of Woolson & Babb, remaining until after his examination and admission to the bar in 1878. He practiced law for about one year, but studied the profession mainly for the purpose of using his knowledge in the management of his private business interests. Since coming to Iowa in his youth he has lived in Washington and Henry counties, and is the owner of six hundred acres of very valuable farming land in addition to his residence property in Mount Pleasant and a three-story business building on the square. He owns altogether about forty acres of land within the city limits. He has recently purchased three sections of land in Canada and he likewise has large property interests in Seattle, Washington. He is a lumber manufacturer of Florida, where he owns several thousand acres of land, and lumber. He has two saw mills near Argyle and there he gives employment to many men, while his Florida home is at De Funiak Springs, a beautiful resort location and also the location of the Florida Chautauqua, of which Mr. Fitzgerald is an active director. He is now one of the oldest directors in point of service, and has helped to build up one of the largest Chautauqua Associations in the United States. Mr. Fitzgerald, with two others, bought the State Normal College buildings and are now locating a Presbyterian college. Here Mr. Fitzgerald has made his winter home for twenty-one years.

He deals quite extensively in land in Henry county, and yet not in the line of real-estate operations, but rather as an investment.

On the 31 st of October, 1878, in Pekin, Illinois, Mr. Fitzgerald was married to Miss Anna Smith, a daughter of Henry Smith, who is now deceased. The father was an extensive manufacturer of wagons and farm implements, which business is still conducted under his name in Pekin. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald were born the following named: Isabelle, born December 1, 1879, a graduate of the State Normal School at De Funiak Springs, Florida, of the class of 1902, and is now the wife of L. D. Hathaway, of Brooksville, Florida.

Catherine, born August 3, 1881, the wife of W. T. Shepard, of Montgomery, Alabama, where he is engaged in the wholesale lumber business, and they have three children, Anna, and Vanna, twins, and Catherine.

John Wallace, born September 1, 1883, spent one year as a student in the Iowa Wesleyan University and one year in the Chicago University, and was about ready to graduate from the State Normal University, at De Funiak Springs, when his health failed and he is now in Montgomery, Alabama.

Anna, born June 9, 1889; Henry Paul, May 26, 1893; Ruth, October 19, 1895; and Donald C., August 13, 1897, are all at home. Mrs. Fitzgerald was in delicate health for twenty years and died at De Funiak Springs, Florida, August 27, 1903, her remains being interred there at the Valley church. For many years Mr. Fitzgerald devoted almost his entire attention to the care of his wife, doing all in his power to promote her comfort.

In public affairs relating to the progress and welfare of this community, Mr. Fitzgerald is deeply interested and his cooperation has been a potent element for good, along many lines of advancement. He is a trustee of the Iowa Wesleyan University, is an elder in the Presbyterian church at De Funiak Springs, and is the oldest director in the Chautauqua there. This is the third Chautauqua in point of importance in the United States, holding session for nine weeks and drawing its audiences from all parts of the United States. Mr. Fitzgerald has been connected therewith for fifteen years, and his wise counsel is an important element in its success. While in college he was a member of the Beta Theta Pi. In politics he is a stalwart republican and formerly was a member of the central county committee and frequently addressed audiences on the issues of the campaigns. His life stands for progress of material, intellectual and moral progress. His success is largely the result of his own efforts, for though he inherited property in later life, he had previously secured a considerable measure of prosperity, owing to his judicious investments and his careful control of his business interests. In his private life he is distinguished by all that marks the true gentleman. His is a noble character—one of the subordinates of public ambition to public good, and seeks rather the benefit of others than the aggrandizement of self. His many good works have won him generous commendation from his contemporaries, who unite in bearing testimony of his high character and superior mind.