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Henry County >> 1888 Index

Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa 
Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1888.


Unless otherwise specified, biographies submitted by Pat Ryan White.

HON. LOT ABRAHAM, section 35, Center Township, was born in Butler County, Ohio, April 18, 1838. In 1841, when but three years of age, he came with his parents to Henry County, Iowa, where he grew to manhood, and received his education in the common schools. In September, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company D, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and was mustered into the United States service at Camp Harlan. After remaining in camp for a short time, the company was ordered to Benton Barracks near St. Louis, from which place it was sent to Rolla and Springfield, Mo., and at Pea Ridge joined the command of Gen. Curtis. It was next ordered to Batesville, Ark., and then to Helena, in the same State, operating as scouts. From Helena the regiment was sent to Vicksburg, participating in the siege of that city. It was next ordered to Jackson, Miss., where it took part in two battles. Returning to Vicksburg, it was sent up the Yazoo River, and was on what is known as the Winslow raid, engaged in destroying railroads, being in the saddle thirteen days and nights, stopping only long enough to feed their horses, and returning north to Memphis, Tenn. In this raid 300 cars and fifty engines were captured, some of which they destroyed. From Memphis the regiment was sent by boat to Vicksburg, where it went into winter quarters. The Meridian raid next occupied their attention, from which they again returned to Vicksburg, where almost the entire regiment re-enlisted, after which they received a furlough to return home. Much of the credit for the re-enlistment of the regiment was due to Capt. Abraham, who worked hard among the men for that purpose.

On their return from veteran furlough, the regiment was sent on the raid to Bolivar and Guntown. Their next fight was at Tupelo, where they fought and defeated Forrest. Returning to Memphis, it was next sent to Holly Springs, and was there when Forrest made his raid. Sept. 2, 1864, they crossed the river and went to intercept Price, and participated in all the fights of that campaign. The regiment was next ordered to St. Louis, where it was supplied with new uniforms. Here Capt. Abraham was left in command of the regiment, and it was ordered to Nashville, Tenn., and subsequently was sent to Louisville, Ky., where they refitted, and later was on the Wilson raid. After the close of the war, and while the armistice was still pending, Capt. Abraham being at Macon, Ga., with his command, with Lieut. L. Mann and fifty enlisted men, he was sent to Washington, Ga., to parole Wheeler’s cavalry, which consisted of 4,000 men and eight Generals, among whom were Gen. John Vaughn, who had displeased Jeff Davis, and was under arrest, Gen. G.G. Gibbrel, Gen. Williams of Kentucky, and others. They arrived there the day after the last cabinet meeting of the Southern Confederacy was held. At Washington Capt. Abraham met Toombs and had a long talk with him, and was requested by the latter to come down and get some money which he had at his house. The Captain got the money and gave his receipt for $5,180, which he soon after turned over to the General Government. At Washington he remained for ten days, and they reported to Gen. Wilson at Macon, Ga., but was sent back with his company to look after rebel property, and there remained until the 4th of July. They were then sent to Atlanta, Ga., where they were mustered out Aug. 8, 1865, receiving their final discharge at Davenport, Iowa, August 24 of the same year.

On receiving his discharge, Capt. Abraham returned to Henry County, where, on the 13th day of September, 1865, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah C. Alden, a daughter of Zephaniah and Damaris (Thompson) Alden. She is a native of Guernsey County, Ohio, and came with her parents to Henry County, Iowa, in 1841. Four children have been born unto them: John G., now a student in the Ames Agricultural College, in the class of 1888; Sallie, also attending the same school; and Mary and Katie at home.

On her father’s side Mrs. Abraham traces her ancestry back to the celebrated John Alden, who came over from England in the “Mayflower”, in 1620, and who has been immortalized by Longfellow in his celebrated poem, “The Courtship of Miles Standish”, where John was pleading the cause of Miles to the beautiful and loving Priscilla, urging her to wed his friend, while at the same time his heart had been lost to the one with whom he was so eloquently pleading, and who, unknown to him, returned his love, and in reply said: “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” The result of this question was, that John did speak for himself, and of their union was born Joseph Alden, of Bridgewater, Mass., who was the father of a son, also named Joseph, and who died at the age of seventy-three. The second Joseph also lived in Bridgewater, and died at the age of eighty, leaving a son Daniel, who resided at Hartford, Conn., and who also lived to the ripe old age of eighty. He had a son Daniel, who made his home in Lebanon, Mass., and who lived to the age of seventy. Both Daniels were well known in their native State, and for many years held the honorable position of Justice of the Peace. Daniel, of Lebanon, had a son Barnabas, who died aged sixty, leaving a son bearing the same name, who passed away at the age of seventy. His son, Jonathan, lived to be eighty years of age. Jonathan was the father of Zephaniah, the father of Mrs. Abraham.

Zephaniah Alden was born in Massachusetts, in 1812, and there learned the trade of a stone-cutter. In 1837 he wedded Damaris Thompson, in Guernsey County, Ohio, to which place he had previously removed, and four years later the young couple removed to Henry County, Iowa, where Mr. Alden died in 1850, at the age of thirty-eight, being the youngest member of the family to ever pass away. On coming to this county, for a time he combined farming with his trade of stone-cutter, but in consequence of ill-health could not follow the plow, and therefore gave his attention solely to his trade. He dressed the first marble in Henry County, and put the first lettering on tombstones. He was a man of excellent character, and was respected by all who knew him. His widow is still living, and makes her home with her daughter. Of their six children, but two are now living: Mrs. Abraham and John B. Alden, the well-known book publisher of New York City. The latter, though yet comparatively a young man, has made his name a household word, his catalogue of publications comprising the best standard works, and all sold at a price bringing them within the reach of the very poorest.

The grandfather of Mrs. Abraham, on her mother’s side, was a well-known pioneer and minister. Samuel Thompson was a native of Maine, born in 1782. He grew to manhood in his native State, his early life being spent upon the farm, while his educational advantages were meager, indeed. Making the best use of all the advantages within his reach, reading little, and reflecting more, he became well posted upon all topics of general interest. At the age of twenty he made a profession of religion, and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and, showing an aptness for public speaking, he was at once licensed as an exhorter, and one year later united with the conference, was ordained, and assigned to the Cape Cod district. He continued to labor as a minister in his native State until about the close of the war with Great Britain, when he removed with his family to West Virginia, where he remained about five years, and then removed to Guernsey County, Ohio. In 1847 he came to Henry County, Iowa, and located in what is now Tippecanoe Township, where he combined farming with preaching, continuing actively in the latter work until within four years of his death, which occurred in 1866. In about 1803 he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Harrington, by whom he had twelve children, seven boys and five girls, of whom seven are yet living. For nineteen years he was a citizen of Henry County, and few among the older citizens but well remembered the good old man. Of that rugged nature peculiar to those born among the hills of Maine, he was not afraid to express himself freely upon all questions affecting the public interests. Living for a time in a slave State, and witnessing the beauties of the “peculiar institution”, he came to abhor slavery, and therefore determined to do all he could for its abolition. He was not afraid to be called an Abolitionist, but rather gloried in the name. He left the Methodist Episcopal Church, and united with the Protestant Methodists on account of the more radical position of the latter body on the slavery question. On the temperance question he was likewise radical, and believing the use of intoxicating liquors hurtful, he waged continual warfare against their use. No uncertain sound came from his lips on this question. As a minister of the Gospel, he believed in “declaring the whole counsels of God” as he understood them, and therefore was a most earnest laborer in the Lord’s vineyard. He was by nature an eloquent man, with a good command of language, and was eagerly listened to by the thousands who sat under the sound of his voice.

In early life Capt. Abraham was politically a Democrat, but since 1864 he has affiliated with the Republican party, at that time casting his vote for Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. In political matters he has usually taken an active part, and in 1881 received the nomination from his party to the State Senate, was elected and served in the Nineteenth and Twentieth General Assemblies with credit to himself and his constituents. A member of McFarland Post No. 20, G.A.R., he takes an active interest in all its works. In the temperance cause he is also quite active, and is never afraid to express his opinions freely upon that question. Capt. Abraham, with his family, occupies a beautiful home on section 35, Center Township, where he is the owner of 345 acres of land, all of which is under a high state of cultivation.

Isaac W. Allen

Of Henry Co., Iowa, he resides on Sect. 9, Jefferson Twp., and is engaged in farming. Jackson Allen, father of our subject, came with his family from Clarke Co., OH, in October 1846, and located in Henry County, and filed a claim upon land one mile south of where Wayland now stands. Braxton Benn had built a smll cabin and for this and his claim Mr. Allen traded a span of horses. In Ohio, Jackson Allen wedded Mary Ann Wade, and eleven children were born to them in that state, two of whom were twins who died in infancy, their names being Mary A. and Julia A.; John, who is married and resides near Stockton, CA; Maria became the wife of Erastus  Warren, who died in the army; Jesse, husband of Rachel Anderson is a farmer residing in Jefferson Twp.; Reece wedded Melissa J. Warren, and resides in Jefferson Twp; Ellen D. wedded J. N. Allen, now deceased, who was ex- County Clerk of Henry Co.; his widow resides in Mt. Pleasant; our subject then followed; then came Jane who died unmarried; Samantha, residing in Council Bluffs, is the wife of Edward Sayles, agent at the Union Depot in that city; Sarah E., is the widow of Dennis Warren, and Alvin S., husband of Ara Mahafsfy, resides in Wayland and was born in this county. Alvin was older than Sarah. The last three were born in Henry Co. 

Jackson Allen entered 40 acres and purchased the claim mentioned. After a long lifetime spent on the farm, he sold the first purchase, and removed to Wayland. Mrs. Allen died at the age of 67, and Mr. Allen is in his 80th year. He was for several years  in the early history of the county, Assessor, and Township Trustee. He was active in the erection of the M. E. Church at Wayland, of which his wife was a member. He was by birth and profession a Friend, worshipping at their church in Wayland. 

Isaac Allen was born in 1844, and since age two has been a resident of Henry Co., with the exception of three years in California. He was educated, married, and has reared a family on her soil and is one of her best known men. In 1867 he married Miss Keziah Musgrove of this county. She was born and raised in Clark Co., IL. Her people have all removed from that State to KS, and her father, John Musgrove, a member of Co. H, 25th Infantry, died in the service. Reece Allen was a member of the same company and regiment, and also Erastus Warren.

Since the marriage of Isaac Allen and Miss Musgrove five children have graced their home: Cora B.; Ella M. who married C. C. Wenger, Jr., of Wayland, Dec.8, 1887; John Jackson, Bessie I., and Anna. Mr. Allen resides on the farm 1st purchased by his father, adjoining the town of Wayland, known as the R. M. Pickle farm, and a portion of which comprises the village plat of Wayland. When a young man he learned the blacksmithing trade of M. C. McCormick & Son, and started a shop of his own in Wayland, at which trade he worked 20 years, then bought his present farm and went to farming.

HENRY AMBLER, who was for many years a leading member of the bar of Henry County, has now retired from the active practice of his profession, devoting his time and attention mainly to his large real-estate and other interests in Omaha, but retaining his residence in Mt. Pleasant, where he and his family are highly esteemed. He is of English ancestry and was born in 1821. His early life was spent in Allegheny County, Pa.; he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1848, and practiced in Southeastern Ohio, residing in Salem. He has been a resident of Henry County since 1856, and was actively engaged in the practice of his profession until 1885. In 1862 he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and was as successful in his practice before that court as in the State courts. For a number of years he was Professor of Law in the Iowa Wesleyan University. His family consists of his wife, Louisa P. Ambler (formerly Phillips), and their children—Nellie Ambler Campbell, Fannie Ambler Higley, Jane Ambler, Pauline Ambler (deceased), Glaucus S. Ambler and Louie Ambler Janes.

RICHARD AMBLER, of the firm of R. Ambler & Son, is a well-known and successful attorney of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, of thirty years’ practice in this city. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1831, and is the son of Henry and Hannah M. (Spright) Ambler. He received a liberal education, and engaged in the study of law in New Philadelphia, Ohio, and was admitted to the bar in 1855. In 1857 he came to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and entered upon the practice of his profession, and in 1862 formed a partnership with his brother Henry, which connection continued for twenty-three years. The existing partnership with his son Harry was formed in 1886, under the firm name of R. Ambler & Son. Mr. Ambler was married in Henry County, Iowa, in the fall of 1858, to Miss N.H. Andrews, born in Trumbull County, Ohio, and a daughter of D.G. Andrews. Four children were born of this union, one son and three daughters, all of whom were born in Mt. Pleasant, namely: Sarah, Harry, Lulu and Dolly. Harry was educated at the Iowa Wesleyan University, at Mt. Pleasant, studied law with his father, and has since pursued the practice of his profession at this place. The children are living with their parents.

Mr. Ambler has been a Republican since the inception of the party. He is a Knight Templar Mason, a member of Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 8, A.F. & A.M., of Henry Chapter No. 8, R.A.M., and of Jerusalem Commandery No. 7, K.T.

William Archibald, a farmer of Baltimore Township, residing on section 20, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, and is a son of Edmund and Belinda (Calhoun) Archibald. The sire was a native of Massachusetts, and Belinda Calhoun was a relative of the noted John C. Calhoun. In Indiana the parents of our subject were married, and their eldest child, Alva, was born in that State. Later the family removed to Hamilton County, Ohio, where Mr. Archibald worked at his trade, that of wagon-making, in connection with farming. While residing there Laura, now deceased, was born, as was also our subject. In the autumn of 1837 the Archibald family emigrated to Iowa, and settled on Skunk River, where Edmund took a claim adjoining the present village of Lowell on the west. He entered this land later, improved it, and upon this spot both himself and wife lived and died.

William Archibald was born in 1834, and was only a little past three years of age at the time his father located here, and the Black Hawk tribe yet had their village located upon his father's claim, and their old wigwams were still standing, and the same were used when sugar-making time came in the spring. But little of the Indian language was learned by our subject, but he remembers well the band of Indians who passed through on their way east, in 1838, for the chief's son, John Black Hawk, made a speech, in which he denounced bitterly the building of the dam across the river. He said: "I am mad at this thing, the dam is mad; hear it roar." The homes which the Indians knew are now peopled by white men, and their choice hunting-grounds have brought back large returns of wealth to the white man who settled in this fertile valley. After all the other Indians had gone, one lone savage was loath to leave the forests where he had passed so many happy days. By name he was known as Dr. Jim, and for a long time he brought in lead or ore and sold to the settlers, who would make him drunk and try to learn the place where it was obtained, but Dr. Jim was too shrewd for them, and to this day no trace of the ore has ever been discovered, although he would bring in supplies two hours after he had found a customer. He went to the second purchase near the Osage Agency, and it is currently reported that his own tribe killed him.

After Mr. Archibald settled here one other child was born, Sarah E., now the wife of John W. Grigg, of Lowell, Iowa. Edmund Archibald studied medicine after he came to this county, and became one of the most successful men of his profession in his day, and enjoyed a reputation, both far and near, which was truly an enviable one. He amassed a large fortune during his life, and left his children wealthy. He died at the age of seventy-three, respected alike by rich and poor, old and young. His wife died in her sixty-eighth year.

Our subject was married when twenty years of age, to Miss Sarah A. Hufstedler, the daughter of Martin and Mary Hufstedler, who came from Indiana in 1852, and settled in Van Buren County, Iowa, and in 1857 became residents of Henry County. Her father died near Hillsboro, and her mother now resides in Osceola, Clarke County, at the age of eighty-four. Mr. and Mrs. Archibald are the parents of eight children, some of whom are deceased. They are named: William M., the husband of Kate Flenor, resides near Clarinda, Page County; George W. is engaged in railroading; Mary F. is the wife of Howard Root, of Marion County; Ola, Albert, Harry and Ernest are unmarried. William Archibald has been a resident of the county for half a century, and during his business life has been a successful farmer. Declining all official positions, his time has been given to the furtherance of his business, and almost within sight of his boyhood home he has lived and reared his family, and the name of Archibald is as widely known in Henry County as any of the many names which have given her a desired prominence.

Nathaniel E. Armstrong

A prominent and well-known citizen of Henry County, he resides on Sect. 24, Tippecanoe Twp., and was born in Hamilton Co., OH, the son of Leonard and Rebecca (Riggs) Armstrong, the former a native of VA, and the latter of NC, the father being of Scots descent and the mother of German descent.

Leonard Armstrong settled at Columbia, OH, in 1796 near where Cincinnati now stands, though at that time there was no settlement there. He lived here a short time and moved  a few miles east to the Little Miami River, where he and three brothers, John, Thomas, and Nathaniel each claimed a mill-site and built a mill. They were visited by the settlers from 100 miles around. The mills were known as the Armstrong Mills. One mill was used for the manufacture of cotton, and the others were saw and flouring mills.

They reared a family of 11 children, 4 sons and 7 daughters: Nathaniel, our subject; William F. who resides in MO, a miller by trade; John R., a miller, who resides in IL; Hannah Ann, wife of John C. Webb of Hamilton Co., OH, both deceased; Harriet, wife of John W. Millspaugh, a carpenter of Winfield, KS; Philomelia, wife of Thomas Spellman, a resident of KS; Selena, wife of Andrew Riggs, residing in Eddyville, IA;, Frances V., wife of Alfred Riggs, of Mahaska Co.; Amanda, wife of John Slemmons, residing at Council Bluffs; Zelie Jane, married B. K. Pharr, of this  county, and died in Salem in 1868, he dying in the same place in 1865; and Clayton W., who died in Win- field, KS at age 65.

Our subject was educated at the public schools and Parker's Academy in Clermont Co., OH. At age 27, in 1843 he married Miss Charlotte Millspaugh, born in 1826 in Clermont Co., OH, the daughter of James and Cynthia (Corwin) Millspaugh. The latter was a cousin to Thomas Corwin the orator and Statesman of Ohio. In 1844, Mr. Corwin and wife went to Warrick Co., IN and bought 80 acres in the forest on which was a log cabin. They lived there for 4 years, and he next  bought 76 acres of land near Boonville, IN, residing there for 10 years, farming and running a mill. He came to Henry Co., in 1858 and purchased the Oakland mills and 320 acres in connection with his brothers- in-law, Riggs, Spellman and Millspaugh. He still owns his interest with his partner John P. Stringer.   Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong have 6 children: Marcellus, who resides in Center Twp.; Sarah Belle died age 15; Alice died at age 18; T. N., who resides with his father; Eugenia, wife of John P. Stringer of this Co.; Milton, resides in CO, is in the mercantile business; and Josephine at home, and an artist of considerable ability.

Mr. Armstrong endorses the principles of the Union Labor Party. He is a free thinker.