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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.

Daniel Eicher submitted by Dick Barton

Daniel Eicher is a prominent farmer, residing on section 5, Jefferson Township, Henry County, for among those who have become noted personages in this and Washington Counties are the brothers, Daniel and Rev. Benjamin Eicher, the later a resident of Washington County. Daniel was born in Alsace, France, now a part of the German Empire, April 22, 1825, and is the son of Rev. John and Margaretta (Conrad) Eicher. There the Rev. John Eicher had charge of a Mennonite congregation, and for many years was engaged not only in the ministry, but in farming. Only a part of his children came to America, and all came singly. First came Jacob, then John Jr., Christian, then our subject, Martin Benjamin, followed by a sister Annie, who was married in Alsace to John W. Wittmer, who also came, and settled in Wayne County, Ohio. Jacob later returned to the home of his boyhood, and married his playmate, Mary Summer, whom he brought to America. Three of the boys, after trying awhile a life in Ohio, concluded to make a location in Canada, John, Daniel and Christian, locating in Waterloo County, and all remained for three years with the exception of our subject. He staid six years, and then followed his brothers to Iowa. Three of these had located in Washington County, and John and Daniel in Henry. Martin was the only one who entered any land, he doing this in 1850. After coming to Iowa, all the sons married: Martin wedded Barbara Roth; Christian married Annie Wenger; Jacob became the husband of Catherine Rich; and Rev. Benjamin Eicher married Lydia Summers. All these children did well in America, but only three are now living - Benjamin, Christian and our subject.

In Alsace the parents remained, also their other children: Joseph, who married Elizabeth Kropf; Fannie, wife of Jacob Summer; and Peter, husband of Catherine Summer. The parents lived to a ripe old age, and were buried in the country that gave them birth. Our subject went back to Germany, intending to bring them over, but the old people preferred to remain in their native land.

In 1854 Miss Magdalena Rich became the wife of Daniel Eicher. She bore no heirs, and her death occurred one year after the marriage. His second wife was Magdalena Klopfenstine, to whom he was wedded in 1856. Daniel saw hard times with small returns. He was$500 in debt, but he persevered, and his first purchase of forty acres he paid for in cash. His good-nature put him under such obligation to his fellowmen, to whom he loaned his hard earned dollars, that during the commencement of the war he was in straitened circumstances. Little by little he recovered, and long ago those losses were regained, and instead of a poor man struggling to provide for a family, he is now the father of a large and interesting family, and the owner of 341 broad acres, that have for years brought him and his sons a large revenue.

Since the last marriage the following children have been born: Peter, the husband of Lydia Eash; John, Franklin, Martin, Catherine, Jacob and Mary. Martin received his education at Washington, Iowa, and intends following a mechanical occupation. Perhaps no man a resident of Jefferson Township has accomplished more in the same length of time than Daniel Eicher, who came to Iowa a young man without money, but with his own hands, and by he united labor of himself and family, now enjoys a competence, and his children are of the same energetic class to which their parents belong. Their house is one of those hospitable homes for which Henry County is noted, and from Daniel Eicher and his good wife, the stranger, neighbor or friend, receives a cordial welcome. Both himself and wife were members of the first Mennonite Church organized in this part of the country, and to this they yet belong. For twelve years Mr. Eicher has been connected with the public schools of Jefferson Township, and for a number of years he has been School Treasurer. To such families the morality, social standing and enterprise of Henry County are due, and among those who have made it a noted name none have contributed more than the Eichers.

John Elliott, M.D.

He is one of the well-known practicing physicians of Mt. Pleasant, and was born in Jefferson Co., OH on Sept. 17, 1832, the son of Elisha and Susan (Carter) Elliott, both of whom were natives of Ohio where the former had been engaged in farming for many years.

They were the parents of six children, of whom the following are now living: Thomas, a resident of Canton, Stark Co., IL; Charles, living in  Rome in this county; George in Carroll Co., OH; and Dr. John.

The father died in 1840 and Mrs. Elliott married William Felson by whom she had one child, Mary,now the wife of John Watt of Carroll Co., OH. Mrs. Felson was a life-long member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and died in Carroll Co., in 1880.

On the death of his father, Dr. John was raised by an aunt. He emigrated to Henry County, IA in 1855. He began reading medicine in Ohio with a Dr. Vance. He came back to Henry Co. in 1880.

Dr. Elliott was married in Carroll Co., Oh, to Miss Letitia Noble, daughter of David Noble.  Their children now living are: Elihu N., a doctor in practices with his father; and Lellie Maud, who resides with her parents.

Rueben Eshelman

Rueben Eshelman, merchant tailor, dealer in ready-made clothing, gents' furnishing goods, hats and caps, etc., commenced business in Mt. Pleasant in 1848, and has carried it on continuously ever since, while his wife is at present engaged in the millinery business in the same establishment.  Mr. Eshelman was born in Union County, Pa., July 10, 1829, and is the son of John and Elizabeth (Snavely) Eshelman, who were also born in Pennsylvania, the family having resided there for several successive generations, and being descendants of the original German settlers of that colony.  His maternal grandfather was a soldier of the Revolutionary War.

Reuben Eshelman left his native State in 1848 for the West, traveling by boat and stage, and was twenty-two days on his way to Iowa.  Here he located at Mt. Pleasant, where he had a brother engaged in the merchant tailoring business.  After working for awhile for his brother he returned to Pennsylvania, and for the next few years he was rather migratory in his habits, traveling back and forth between the East and the West, the South and the North, until 1857, when he again settled at Mt. Pleasant and engaged in the clothing business.  His is the oldest established house in this line in the county.  In 1867 he started a branch house at Fairfield, Iowa, and others also in neighboring towns.  The store in Fairfield he sold out, after three years, to his business manager there.  He now has a branch store at Malvern, Iowa, where he carries a stock of goods valued at $7,000 or $8,000.  His Mt. Pleasant house is thirty-three feet front and 105 feet deep, and he carries an average stock of about $25,000.

Mr. Eshelman has held various local offices, and was Alderman from his ward three terms in succession.  He was one of the Directors of the St. L., K. & W.R.R., is at present one of the Directors of the National State Bank, and has been President of the Executive Committee of the Old Settlers' Association, and is at present Treasurer.  He was married at Mt. Pleasant, Jan. 10, 1866, to Miss Annie B. Hilderbrand, daughter of Michael Hilderbrand, and a native of Pennsylvania.  They had six children, four boys and two girls: Franklin Reuben, born Nov. 14, 1871, died Jan. 24, 1875; Daniel Frederick, born Feb. 8, 1874; Anna May and Hattie Mabel, twins, born May 16, 1877 and who are extremely bright; Reuben, born May 3, 1881, and Ralph, Oct. 24, 1884.

Mr. Eshelman is a member of the I.O.O.F., and in politics is a Democrat.  He is one of the most enterprising and successful citizens of Mt. Pleasant, liberal and public-spirited, and is genial and affable in his manners, and has won a safe place in the estimation and regard of his fellow-citizens.  The portrait of such a man is well worthy of a place in the PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM of Henry County, and it is with pleasure that we present it to the readers of this volume, knowing that it will be appreciated by all.

[Note: Portrait of Reuben Eshelman appears on Page 500]

JAMES W. EVELAND, a farmer of Henry County, Iowa, resides on section 32, Wayne Township. While our subject was not one of the first settlers of the county, yet he takes rank among the most prominent of his township, and by virtue of long years spent here is numbered as an old settler and one of Henry County's best citizens. He was born in Warren County, Va., Dec. 30, 1824, and is a son of John and Frances (McFarland) Eveland. both were natives of that State, he born in Loudoun and she in Warren County. In Virginia seven children were born: James W.; Mary J., who married Enoch Lemasters for her second husband, resides in Whitsell County, W. Va.; Sarah C., wife of George Marshall; Frances R., and Harriet B., who wedded Edward Williams, was one of a pair of twin sisters; Elizabeth, Frances and Martha Ann, who died young. The parents removed to Ohio in 1846 and located in Belmont County, where the mother died later.

Our subject came to Iowa in September, 1849, and took up his residence in the home of Abraham Lane, one of the first families of the county, a sketch of whom is given elsewhere. Mr. Eveland was not well suited in lands, as at that time all claims near streams or timber were taken. He owned a land warrant and later took a claim in Lucas County, also purchasing fifty-seven acres of timber adjoining. He returned to Mr. Lane's and was united in marriage with the daughter, Margaret E., Feb. 14, 1850, and their first three years of married life were passed upon the old George Miller farm in Trenton Township. Mr. Eveland was a poor man when he was married, and for several years made but slow progress, especially as times were hard and he owned not even a team. He began life with the determination to succeed, however, and this he has accomplished, although many long and wary days were passed before success was attained. Before they were finally settled the wife of Mr. Eveland died, leaving three small children---Helen, Jacob and Lois. Jacob is now the husband of Emma Meeker, and resides near Winfield. In 1855 the death of Mrs. Eveland occurred, and Mr. Eveland was married in 1857 to Miss Martha J. Gholson. They began life upon the farm, and with a few rods from where they now live. The old house in which so many happy and prosperous days have been passed still stands, and in it all the children, except the two last, were born. The farm of to-day was then a broad grassy plain. The fine house, the barn, the lofty trees, all stand as monuments to the enterprise of Mr. Eveland and his wife, both of whom have given the best years of their lives to making for themselves and children a home, which is second to none in the township. As the days went by prosperity came, and hard times of their early married life have been almost forgotten. Children and grandchildren have nestled in their arms, and the old house, now comparatively deserted, is yet thought of as the place in which their joys were the most complete. Under its roof Iowa, wife of George Dunn, of Baltimore Township; Mary J., wife of Edward Scott, of Colorado, and David Lewis, were born. William and Joseph A. were born in the brick home erected in 1868.

Thousands of dollars have been expended in improvements, all earned since Mr. Eveland became a resident of Wayne Township. His home is one of the finest, and his barns, that cover so many feet, were erected for the accommodation of large quantities of stock. Helen, the eldest daughter, died in 1875. Her husband was Francis McFeron, son of Wesley McFeron, of Trenton Township. They were the parents of one daughter, Helen, born a few days before her mother's death. For years Mr. Eveland has been a member of the School Board, and is one of the ardent advocates of education in its fullest sense.


Since the above was written this well-known and respected citizen has gone to his last home, having departed this life after a brief but severe illness, on Feb. 10, 1888. His death was greatly regretted by a wide circle of friends, to whom his manly and upright character had endeared him. He was a member of Star of Hope Lodge No. 34, I.O.O.F., of Swedesburg, who attended his funeral in a body. His remains were interred in Green Mount Cemetery.

We are pleased to give on an adjoining page a portrait of Mr. Eveland, as a tribute of respect to the memory of a good man, and a token of the filial respect and affection his children bear for his memory.