Review of Henry County, Iowa
Biographies submitted by Polly Eckles.
NESTOR A. J. YOUNG, who has lived in Henry county for sixty years, a veteran of the Civil war, is now living retired in Mount Pleasant, having passed the seventy-seventh milestone on life’s journey. He is therefore enjoying the rest which should ever come with advanced years, when life’s duties at and earlier date have been ably and faithfully performed.
He was born in Pennsylvania, October 22, 1828, his parents being Nestor and Abigail (Emerson) Young, both of whom were natives of New Hampshire, where they were reared. The father was a house carpenter by trade and also became a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1846, when his son, N. A. J. Young, was seventeen years of age the father came west to Iowa, settling in Henry county on a farm three and a half miles northeast of Mount Pleasant. The land was then raw and unimproved, but he at once began its development and cultivation and made a good home for his family there. He engaged in preaching as a local minister of the Methodist church, devoting the week days to the labors of his farm, while on Sunday he took his place in the pulpit, thus continuing in active life until February, 1863, when he was called to his final rest. He was a gallant soldier of the war of 1812 and was always loyal in citizenship. In his political views he was a democrat until a short time prior to his death, when he became a republican. Fraternally he was an Odd Fellow and both he and his wife were life-long members of the Methodist church. The death of Mrs. Young occurred in 1863. After their sons went to the war the parents returned to Cincinnati, where they had a daughter living, and both are buried in Spring Grove cemetery of that city.
In their family were fourteen children, twelve of whom reached adult age, ten of the number being girls. The eldest child died unnamed in infancy. The other were: Charles F. C., a sailor; Elmira and Jane, twins, both deceased; Jonathan E. C., Mary Ann, Susan M. G., and Harriet, her remains now lying buried in the old cemetery at Mount Pleasant, all of whom have passed away; N. A. J., of this review; Eliza and Julie, both deceased; Arthur M. B., who served for ten months in the Civil war and then because of injuries had to return home, is now a resident of Colorado City, Colorado; Helen, who became the wife of a Mr. Tracy and after his death wedded a Mr. Thompson, while her third husband is Mr. Jordan, with whom she is now living in Kansas City, Missouri, and Fanny, who died when four year of age.
Nestor A. J. Young is largely self-educated, having acquired the greater part of his knowledge through reading and experience. He spent six or eight months in study in a district school in Ohio and he remained on a farm with his father until about the time he attained his majority. In the meantime, however, he learned and followed the carpenter’s trade in connection with the work of the fields. He was afterward employed by his brother-in-law in Ohio in a men’s furnishing goods store and as the years passed he embraced every opportunity that he believed was for his own advancement in the business world.
On the 18th of July, 1850, Mr. Young was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth J. Willbourn, a daughter of Zachariah and Ellen (Plunkett) Willbourn and a native of Sangamon county, Illinois, born May 29, 1831. Her father was born in Kentucky and her mother in Georgia. They were farming people and Mr. Willbourn also conducted a stone yard. In 1833 he came to Iowa, when the Indians were far more numerous than the white settlers and wild deer roamed at will over the prairies or through the forests. He engaged in farming in Henry county, aiding in the reclamation of the district for the uses of civilization. He operated the first horse power grist mill in the county, also had a water power sawmill, while from his quarry he furnished much of the stone for the State Asylum. In 1840 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, and his death occurred on the 14th of September, 1879, both being interred near their old home in this county. Mr. Willbourn was a stalwart democrat, but at the time of the Civil war was an advocate of the Union cause and was very generous in his assistance to the soldiers. He was also charitable to those in need and freely extended a helping hand to those who were worthy of assistance. He held membership in the Baptist church, while his wife belonged to the Presbyterian church.
In their family were eight children: Matilda, who is the widow of Mathew Wilson and resides in Cass county, Iowa; Mrs. Elizabeth Young; Allen K., deceased; Robert Randolph; Margaret, the wife of John Danbrun, of Des Moines; Nancy Ellen, had one child, deceased; two who died in infancy.
In 1862 Mr. Young left his family, feeling that his first duty was to his country in her hour of peril and was mustered into the United States service at Keokuk, Iowa, on the 23d of September of that year for a term of three years as a member of Company K, Thirtieth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Mr. Young had command of a company, serving with the rank of first lieutenant, the captain being detailed as assistant surgeon. He participated in the first attack on Vicksburg—the battle of Haines Bluff—and was also in the battle of Arkansas Post. After the last named battle he was in the hospital for two months, when on account of disability he was compelled to resign. The resignation was accepted, to take affect June 4, 1863.
Following his return from the war he was in very poor health for a year or two and remained upon his farm in Washington county, Iowa. Afterward, however, he sold this property and bought an improved farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Trenton township, in Henry county, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits for three years. He then rented that place and bought another farm, but he also rented that land, and has lived in Mount Pleasant since 1874, having in that year retired from active connection with agricultural interests, although still owning nearly two hundred acres in Salem township. In 1875, however, he became collector for Cole Brothers, his territory covering six counties near the center of the state. On the 16th of February, 1905, he purchased his present attractive home at No. 300 West Monroe street, where his is now living retired.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Young has been born one son, Emmet C., who was born July 21, 1851, in Henry county and is a farmer of Tippecanoe township. He married Miss Emma Virginia Scott and they had five children, of whom three are living. Genevieve M. is the wife of Malan Harshbarger, a farmer. Hubert Elmer, who is also a farmer, married Elizabeth Lee and has eight children, of whom seven are living: Anna May, Myrtle E., Mary, Masel, Andrew, Elsie and an infant daughter. Jessie E. married Manly Frazier, a farmer, and has two children, Emmet and Len. They celebrated their silver wedding when they had traveled life’s journey together for a quarter of a century.
In 1900 Mr. and Mrs. Young celebrated their golden wedding a their pleasant home on East Madison street, the Grand Army Post and Woman’s Relief Corps, as well as many other friends being in attendance, and now they have lived as man and wife for fifty-five years, sharing with each other in the joys and sorrows, adversity and prosperity which checker the careers of all. They are a most worthy, respected and esteemed couple of Henry county. They have seen many changes here as the county has emerged from pioneer conditions and taken on its present advantages and improvements. In politics Mr. Young has always been a democrat, his first office being that of road supervisor, while he resigned the office of justice of the peace in order to form his company and join the army at the time of the Civil war. He has also been school director, marshal and constable in Mount Pleasant. Both he and his wife are devoted members of the Methodist church and at one time he served as a member of the board of stewards.
His life has been honorable, his actions manly and sincere, and though he has never sought public notoriety that would gain him reputation outside of his home district, he has in the daily affairs of life, by faithful discharge of duty and by loyalty to right rules of conduct, won the regard and good will of all with whom he has been associated.
There is perhaps no line of business that demands more close and unremitting effort than does farming and yet there is none which yields more safe or sure returns than this same occupation if pursued in a district where the land is naturally rich and productive as it is in Iowa, responding readily to the care and labor bestowed upon it. Mr. Zickefoose has verified the truth of this assertion in the control and improvement of his excellent farm, which is situated on section 11, Wayne township. He is moreover a native son of this township, born October 17, 1860.
His father, Henry Clark Zickefoose, was born in Virginia and was a son of Benjamin Zickefoose, who was likewise a native of that state. Having reached adult age the grandfather married Susan Buzzard, who was also born in the Old Dominion. They came to Henry county among its pioneer settlers and their first dwelling was little more than a rail pen which furnished them shelter for a brief period until a log house could be built. In that pioneer structure they lived for many years and it was in this county amid pioneer surroundings and environments that Henry Clark Zickefoose was reared, sharing with the family in all the hardships and trials incident to frontier life. He wedded Miss Mary Ann Yancey, who was born in the state of Indiana, September 27, 1841, and was a daughter of Ambrose and Phebe Jane (Goff) Yancey, who were also natives of that state.
The Yancey family arrived in Henry county sometime after the arrival of the Zickefoose family and settled in Canaan township near Mount Pleasant, where the daughter, Mary Ann, remained with her parents until she gave her hand in marriage to Henry C. Zickefoose on the 11th of January, 1859. The young couple then removed to a farm in the northern part of Wayne township, where they lived until 1862, when Mr. Zickefoose responded to his country’s call for aid, his sympathies being with the Union cause. He joined Company H of the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry and was ever a brave and loyal soldier. Although he entered the army as a private he was serving as sergeant at the time of his death. He went to the south and laid down his life upon the altar of his country, being killed in the battle of Arkansas Post on the 11th January, 1863. His widow remained with her son John Wesley upon the old homestead property until February, 1902, when they sold a portion of that farm and bought one hundred and twenty-five acres of improved land on section 11, Wayne township, known as the Squire Hammond farm. Although that farm was in possession of different people at different times it was owned by J.W. Hammond for twelve years, during which time he erected thereon a splendid country residence containing nine rooms and heated with furnace. It is one of the finest homes in the township. The mother lived with her son John up to the time of her demise, which occurred on the 25th of April, 1902.
John Wesley Zickefoose, reared under the parental roof, acquired his education in the common schools and in Howe’s Academy at Mount Pleasant. He was less than two years of age at the time of his father’s death but he remained upon the old homestead with his mother and as he grew in years and strength relieved her more and more of the responsibilities and care connected with the home farm and in her declining years provided for her a good home. He has always followed farming and as before stated continued upon the farm which his father had purchased until February, 1902, when he removed to section 11, Wayne township, purchasing here one hundred and twenty-five acres of land. He has a splendidly improved property equipped with modern buildings. He remodeled the barn which is twenty-four by sixty feet with an L, eighteen by sixty feet. This was unroofed by the cyclone in 1903, but he at once repaired the damages. He has built a double corn crib and a granary, also sheds for hogs and he has a well upon the place on hundred and eighty feet deep. There is also a good carriage and implement house and he likewise has the latest improved machinery, with which he performs the work of the fields. He still retains the ownership of twenty-five acres of timberland in Crawford township, Washington county, which is valuable oak timber. This was a portion of the land which his grandfather originally owned and he uses the tract only for pasturage and also takes fence posts from it.
His labors are in the line of general agriculture and in addition to the tilling of the soil he raises some stock, now having ten head of Black Percheron and five head of Hambletonian horses, fifteen head of Durham cattle and one hundred and fifty-five head of Poland China hogs. He also raises about five hundred chickens each year and about sixty turkeys.
On the 19th of December, 1883, Mr. Zickefoose was married to Miss Olletha Jackson, a native of Louisa county, who was educated in the public schools there. Her parents were Elias Gibson and Margaret (Beauchamp) Jackson, the former a native of White county, Indiana, and the latter of Tippecanoe county, that state. Her paternal grandparents were Joseph and Phebe (Cox) Jackson and her maternal grandparents were John and Nancy (Wilson) Beauchamp.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Zickefoose have been born eight children: Henry Clark, born January 12, 1884; Alta May, April 13, 1888; Howard Gibson, April 8, 1890; William Ernest, January 18, 1893; Russell Asbury, April 10, 1895; John W., February 2, 1900; Mary Edna, November 10, 1902; and Fredrick Merle, born in 1906.
Mr. Zickefoose has spent his entire life in Henry county and the fact that many who have known him form his boyhood days to the present are numbered among his staunchest friends is an indication that his has been an honorable and upright career worthy the respect which is so uniformly tendered him. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Congregational church, while politically he is a republican and has served as assessor since 1904