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1915 Index

Iowa: Its History and Its Foremost Citizens
Original Edition.  3 Vols.  Des Moines, IA: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915-1916.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

PETER RASMUSSEN, a pioneer merchant and banker of Milford , from early days has been a prominent figure in the business circles of that city, where for twenty-five years he has been at the head of the First National Bank. His name is synonymous with business enterprise and integrity and the course which he has followed in the conduct of the bank has been one which has safeguarded the interests of its depositors.

Mr. Rasmussen was born in Denmark , May 2l, 1844, a son of Rasmus and Karen Rasmussen. His education was acquired in the schools of Denmark and he came alone to America in 1865, about the time he attained his majority. Making his way to Wisconsin , he settled in Racine and spent twelve or fourteen years in Wisconsin and Michigan at various pursuits. In 1878, having saved some money, he went to Plymouth county, Iowa, where he purchased a farm, there residing for four years, on the expiration of which period he sold that property and removed to Milford in 1882. At that time there were no houses in the town, but he believed that it had opportunity for progress and development, and he identified his interests with its upbuilding. Establishing a lumberyard, he prospered in that undertaking, building up a trade of large and gratifying proportions. In 1893, however, he sold his lumber interests and entered the grain business.

Mr. Rasmussen is perhaps even more widely known in connection with his activities in financial circles, for he became a stockholder and director in the first bank organized in Milford . It was originally a private bank conducted under the firm name of Smith & Goodrich, but later was reorganized under the style of the Commercial Savings Bank, which in 1900 was changed to the First National Bank. Mr. Rasmussen has served as the president of this bank for twenty-five years and still continues as its chief executive head. He is regarded as one of the most successful bankers of northwestern Iowa , his progressiveness being tempered by a safe conservatism that carefully protects the interests of the institution and its depositors. He is also a stockholder in the Mason City Trust & Loan Company and his name is indeed an honored one on commercial paper in his part of Iowa .

Mr. Rasmussen was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jepperson and they became parents of four children, two of whom are deceased. Those still living are: Frieda, the wife of Charles F. Mauss, cashier of the First National Bank of Milford; and Ernest R., also of Milford. The family attend the Danish Lutheran church and Mr. Rasmussen gives his political allegiance to the republican party, of which he is a stalwart advocate. He has served for many years on the board of county supervisors, ever exercising his official prerogatives in support of plans and measures directly beneficial to the public. He has been an active member of the school board and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. In a word, he is a public-spirited citizen whose cooperation is at all times an element for the welfare and upbuilding of town and county. His life is an indication of the fact that it is not the accident of birth that determines one's future career but the characteristics of the individual. He early recognized that there is no success in life without effort and that in America opportunities are afforded to everyone who is willing to embrace them. He saw, too, that opportunities slip away from the sluggard, tauntingly play before the dreamer and surrender to the individual with high purpose, undaunted courage and indefatigable determination. It was such qualities, therefore, that Mr. Rasmussen cultivated, and they have brought him to a prominent position among the business men of his adopted county.

Judge Joseph Rea Reed is one of the venerable representatives of the bar of Council Bluffs, having attained the age of eighty years. Nature endowed him with keen intellectuality and he wisely used his time and talents, steadily advancing in a profession where progress depends entirely upon individual merit and ability. Acquaintance with him has ever stamped him as a representative of the highest type of American manhood and chivalry.

He was born in Ashland county, Ohio , March 12, 1835 , and his parents, William and Rosannah (Lyle) Reed, were natives of Pennsylvania , the ancestry being traced back in direct line to Joseph Reed, who at an early epoch in the settlement of the Keystone state became a resident of Chanceford, York county. he was a member of the convention of the colony of Pennsylvania at its session in Carpenter Hall at the same time the convention which formulated the Declaration of Independence was in session in Independence hall. He commanded a regiment of patriots in the Revolutionary war and still later formulated the policy of the state as a member of the general assembly, in which he introduced and secured the passage of a bill for the manumission of slaves in Pennsylvania . This was adopted about 1793-4. His business activities were along the lines of farming and milling, and his wife, during her husband's absence in the army, operated the mill and ground flour to feed the soldiers. They were both members of the Presbyterian church and in that faith reared their large family, which included James Reed, who removed to Washington county, Pennsylvania , where he carried on agricultural pursuits. He wedded Elizabeth Reed, a distant relative, and they had a family of four sons and two daughters, among whom was William Reed. The latter wedded Rosannah Lyle, daughter of Robert Lyle, also an American soldier in the Revolutionary war. In 1829 William Reed removed to Ashland county, Ohio , and upon the farm which he there developed he and his wife spent their remaining days. They were the parents of three sons and three daughters who reached majority.

Judge Reed of this review spent his youth to the age of eighteen years as a farm lad and later divided his time between attendance at school and teaching, his professional activities providing him the means which enabled him to pursue an academic course of study. After leaving the Hayesville Academy in Ohio he entered the law office of Dodge & Boyle, attorneys at Adel , Iowa , to which city he had removed when twenty-one years of age. He was there admitted to the bar in 1859 and at once entered upon active practice but put aside all professional and personal interests in order to espouse the cause of the Union . He joined the Second Iowa Battery of Light Artillery and was commissioned first lieutenant. He commanded the battery in all of its engagements after the 1st of December, 1862 , but was not mustered in as captain until the 1st of October, 1864 . The battery was engaged against New Madrid, Island No. 10, and in Halleck's advance on Corinth , in which were fought the two battles of Farmington . With his command he was also in the engagements at Iuka, Corinth , Jackson and the siege of Vicksburg , where the flag of the Second Iowa Battery was for many days the colors nearest to the Confederate works. Later came the battles of Tupelo , Hurricane Creek, Abbeville, Nashville and the siege and capture of Mobile .

Following the close of his military service in June, 1865, Captain Reed returned home to again engage in law practice in Adel. His ability in that direction and his public spirit led to his election to office in 1866, when the republican party carried him to victory as state senator for a four years' term. His residence in Council Bluffs dates from 1869. For a year he practiced law as a member of the firm of Montgomery, Reed & James and became senior partner in the firm of Reed & James following the withdrawal of Mr. Montgomery.

Concerning his residence in Council Bluffs a contemporary writer has said: No dreary novitiate awaited Mr. Reed in Council Bluffs . On the contrary he won almost immediate success and in 1872 he was appointed to fill the vacancy on the bench of the third judicial district. The ability with which he discharged his duties as judge led to his election at three successive terms and his continuance upon the bench as district judge until 1884. He was then elected to the supreme bench of Iowa and his record of appeals was in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer, of every question which was presented for solution. After five years' service as a member of the supreme court, Judge Reed was elected to congress from the ninth Iowa district and further political honors awaited him on the expiration of his term in Washington , for in 1891 he was appointed chief justice of the court of private land claims by President Harrison. This court had jurisdiction of claims of lands received under grants from Spain and Mexico in the territory acquired by the United States from Mexico under the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty of 1848 and the Gadsden purchase in 1853. Upon his retirement from that office Judge Reed resumed the private practice of law in Council Bluffs and is numbered among the most successful and distinguished members of the Iowa bar. In 1901 he was elected president of the Commercial Bank of Council Bluffs ."

The home life of Judge Reed has been particularly happy. He was married November 1, 1865 , to Jeanette E. Dinsmore, of Ashland County , Ohio , who died on the 27th of July, 1887 . For his second wife he chose Edith M. Evans, of Malvern , Iowa , whom he wedded on the 8th of February, 1893 . There is one daughter by this union.

Judge Reed belongs to the Masonic fraternity and exemplifies in his life its beneficent spirit. Viewing his public career, it is seen that he has ever had regard for practical results rather than for glittering generalities. The turn of his mind is eminently judicial and free from the bias of animosity. He has studied the lessons of actual life, arriving at his conclusions as a result of what may be called his post-graduate studies in the school of affairs. He is today one of the most venerable members of the Iowa bar, honored wherever known and most of all by those who have been his close associates in professional and public life and have had every opportunity to know his career. They have recognized that it has been the embodiment of high ideals, the characterization of noble purpose.

J. Brown Reeve belongs to that class of men who have based their business advancement upon industry and close application and success has followed his well directed efforts, bringing him to a creditable and gratifying position among the leading real-estate men of Des Moines. He was born in Franklin county, Iowa, September 15, 1859, his parents being Colonel Arthur T. and Lavinia (Soper) Reeve. The family was founded in New England in colonial days, the first of the name coming to America in 1641, at which time he settled on Long Island. An early ancestor, Luther Reeve, served in a Connecticut regiment in the Revolutionary war and representatives of the family are now to be found in almost every state of the Union.

Colonel Arthur T. Reeve and his brother James became pioneers of Iowa, the latter establishing his home in Franklin county in 1852. Colonel Reeve, who was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, September 29, 1834, and spent his youth there as a farm lad, became a lawyer and in 1854 removed from Ohio to Iowa, casting in his lot with the early settlers of Franklin county. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil war he joined the army, enlisting September 6, 1861, in Captain John Brown Jr.'s Company of the Seventy Kansas Cavalry. Later he was transferred as captain to Company D, Fifty-fifth United States Colored Infantry, and during the battle of Guntown, Mississippi, when the regiment was almost annihilated and the commanding officer, Major Lowe, after about twenty minutes fighting, was wounded, Captain Reeve took charge and directed the movement of the regiment throughout the remainder of the battle. He was promoted to the rank of major and subsequently was advanced to lieutenant colonel of the Eighty-eighth United States Colored Regiment, which he helped to organize. When hostilities had ceased he was made first chief of the Freedmen's Bureau, with headquarters at Memphis, Tennessee, and did effective work during the reconstruction period. He then returned to Iowa and for many years was a member of the board of regents of the State University. As a lawyer and citizen he ranked with the leading men of the state. Eventually he went to Washington as chief of the seed division of the department of agriculture and there passed away, October 26, 1889. His wife, who was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, September 18, 1839, died April 9, 1888, at Hampton, Iowa.

J. Brown Reeve is one of a family of seven children, the others being: Theron, who died at the age of five years; Effie A., now the wife of E. A. Mallory, of Hampton, Iowa; Etta G., wife of Rev. William D. King, of Aurora, Nebraska; Delos M., who is married and is a practicing physician at Allison, Iowa; Lulu M. and Lena A., twins. The latter became the wife of A. W. Shunk, chief of division in the adjutant general's office at Washington, D. C., and died November 26, 1910. Her sister, Lulu M., became the wife of William D. Hoover, president of the national Trust & Savings Bank, of Washington, D. C. She was elected in 1909, and re-elected in 1911 as treasurer general of the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving in that position for two terms, or four years. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hoover are widely known and prominent in the social life of Washington.

At the usual age J. Brown Reeve began his education as a public-school student in Hampton, Iowa, passing through consecutive grades to the high school. He started out in the business world as a dealer in stock and continued active along that line for ten years, after which he went upon the road as a traveling salesman, devoting about fifteen years to that business. He then turned his attention to real-estate dealing in Omaha and in December, 1901, established a real-estate office in Des Moines, where he has since resided. He is extensively engaged in handling city property and he also deals largely in Iowa lands, the values of which are familiar to him through long experience and close study. His business methods are thoroughly reliable and he has gained an extensive clientage, being today recognized as one of the foremost real-estate dealers of Des Moines.

Mr. Reeve was married June 12, 1888, to Miss Eliza McGonigle, who was born in Linn county, Iowa, February 17, 1870, a daughter of William and Honora (Burns) McGonigle, both of whom were natives of Ireland. After living in Linn county, Iowa, they removed, about 1872, to Harrison county, where Mr. McGonigle died. His widow survived until February, 1908, when she passed away in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. McGonigle became a well known farmer of Linn county. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Reeve has been blessed with three children: Leona, who was born November 27, 1893; Geraldine, born March 29, 1899; and Arthur T., whose birth occurred February 20, 1905.

The religious faith of the family is that of the Christian Science church. Mr. Reeve is identified with the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Iowa State Traveling Men's Association, while his political allegiance is given to the republican party. He comes of an ancestry honorable and distinguished and is fortunate in that his lines of life have been cast in harmony therewith. In matters of citizenship he displays the same sprit of loyalty and patriotism which characterized his father and his aid and cooperation can always be counted upon to further plans and measures for the public good. He holds friendship inviolable and wherever he goes wins friends, for he his appreciative of true worth in others. In business life, too, his advancement has been continuous. He has closely studied business situations, has wisely used his time and opportunities and prompted by a laudable ambition has worked his way steadily upward.

Matthew Richmond submitted by James Richmond

Matthew Richmond, now living retired at Armstrong, has been a resident of Iowa for forty-eight years. A native of Scotland, he was but five years of age when his parents crossed the Atlantic with their family to

Canada, in which country he was reared upon a farm, having the usual experiences of the farm lad who at an early age begins work in the fields and when crops are harvested in the late autumn finds the opportunity to attend school. He has always made good use of his time, his talents and his opportunities and thus it is that he has advanced from a humble position until he ranks with the men of affluence in Armstrong.

As previously state, Mr. Richmond came to Iowa in 1867 and purchased a section of land in Armstrong township, Emmet county. The following year he removed his family from Ontario, Canada, to this state, a portion of the journey being made by train, while the last few hundred miles were covered by wagon. The tract which he had secured was raw land, not a furrow having been turned nor an improvement made upon the place. When he arrived with his family he learned of a farm on the river where there was timber and where a log house had been built. The farm was for sale and Mr. Richmond purchased it, the family at once moving into the little log cabin. Later he mproved that place, persistently and industriously

carrying on the work of development year after year until the land was brought under a high state of cultivation, yielding to him golden harvests. He added many of the modern equipments and accessories of the model farm and thereon resided until 1898. In the meantime he added to his holdings until he owned considerable land. In the early days he had to go to Algona to do his trading, for the town of Armstrong was not established until 1892. He has lived to see great changes wrought and in the development of the state along agricultural lines he has borne his full share.

In 1858 in Ontario, Canada, Mr. Richmond was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Cavers, a native of Scotland. They became the parents of six children: Jeanett, the wife of William Gibbs, a resident of Armstrong; Anna, the wife of John Dows, also of Armstrong; William, a resident farmer of Armstrong Grove; Robina E., at home; Walter A., a farmer of Emmet county; and John J., living at Swea City, Iowa.

Mr. Richmond has always voted the republican ticket since becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States. He served for nine years on the board of supervisors and was its chairman for eight years, doing

effective work during all that period for the benefit and improvement of the county along many lines. He has been justice of the peace and his decisions in that office have ever been strictly fair and impartial. He

has acted as trustee and director of the schools, the cause of education finding in him a stalwart champion. Upon the organization of the Presbyterian church of Armstrong in 1881 he became a charter member and

has since been one of its loyal adherents. His has been a well spent life, his fellow townsmen attesting their high regard, while the consensus of public opinion places him among the substantial and valued citizens of his adopted county.