Iowa: Its History and Its Foremost Citizens
Revised, Home and School Edition by Brigham Johnson.
2 Vols. Des Moines,
IA: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918.
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Tamara Jorstad.
Hero of Clear Creek
Another citizen of Dubuque who took his life in his hands when the call to service
came was Herman H. Heath. A New Yorker by birth, he early made Dubuque, Iowa, his home. At
the age of thirty-nine, he was elected first lieutenant of Company G, and later he was
chosen captain of Company L, First Iowa Cavalry. Early in August, 1862, he was wounded in
one of the many small engagements which tested the bravery of the soldier quite as
severely as the great battles. The hypnosis of large numbers leads men on into the smoke
which conceals the imminence of danger; but the perils of the skirmish-line are seen and
Col. FitzHenry Warren in this report of a skirmish on Clear Creek, Missouri, on the 1st
of August, 1862, relates that a detachment under Captains Caldwell and Heath consisting of
135 men attached from 400 to 500 guerrillas who were strongly posted in the edge of the
timber. Captain Heath encountered an ambush and had to run the gauntlet of the entire
line. The whole front blazed with the flash of fire. Four men were killed and nine,
including Heath, were wounded.
In this engagement, the colonel reports, all the offices and men "behaved with
great gallantry, but Captain Heaths charge was of the Six Hundred style;
but he received them [the guerrillas] warmly, in his experiment of running a flank along a
double line of shotguns and minie muskets at thirty yards."
Captain Heath was promoted to major of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, January 8, 1863, and
to colonel of the regiment, May 3, 1965. Later, he was transferred to the field and staff
of the Seventh reorganized Cavalry, and on the 13th of March following he
received his brevet as brigadier-general. During nearly all his term of service, General
Heath was engaged in defense of the frontier from the Indians. He was mustered out May 17,
A Hero of Atlanta Member of the Court Martial that tried the
At the mention of the name "General Hedrick," there rises
in the memory of many a veteran the vision of a tall, square-shouldered, thin but muscular
man, with swarthy complexion and eyes which expressed firm will and unflinching courage.
Born in Rush county, Indiana, December 16, 1832, John Morrow Hedrick came to Iowa in 1845.
At seventeen he qualified himself for teaching, and until he became of age taught school
winters and worked on his fathers farm summers. In 1853, he married Matilda C.
Haines. His father, J. W. Hedrick, was an influential farmer of Wapello county. John was
for several years a partner in a mercantile business in Ottumwa, Iowa, and for a time
incidentally served in a militia company, first as lieutenant and then as captain, thus
unconsciously fitting himself for the crisis of 1861.
The Iowa Roster mentions Hedricks appointment as quartermaster
of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, December 23, 1861, and promoted to first lieutenant of
Company D of that regiment. He was soon promoted to the captaincy of his company. Wounded
and captured at Shiloh, in April, he was sent from one southern prison to another and was
not exchanged until the October following. First making a visit to his Ottumwa home, he
joined his regiment in Tennessee in February, 1863. In the battle of Atlanta, July 22,
1864, he was so severely wounded in the hip that he was obliged to use crutches for many
months thereafter. He was promoted to a colonelcy, August 18, 1864.
Detailed for special duty as a member of a general court martial in
Washington, D.C., Hedrick was retained in that service until August 11, 1866, when he was
mustered out. While serving in that capacity he heard the case of the conspirators against
the lives of Lincoln and Seward. On the 13th of March, 1865, he received his
brevet as brigadier-general.
A staunch republican in politics, General Hedrick was a frequent
attendant on party conventions. In 1864, while in the service, he was chosen a delegate to
the Baltimore convention which re-nominated Lincoln. He was also a delegate to the Grant
convention of 1868.
In 1866 the stockholders of the Ottumwa Courier chose him as editor
of that journal. In 1869 he and Maj. A. H. Hamilton became joint owners of the Courier.
After nine years of partnership he sold his interest to his partner. In 1866 General
Hedrick was appointed postmaster of Ottumwa. In 1870 he resigned to take the
supervisorship of internal revenue in Iowa and four other states. He held this office for
six years. While supervisor he took charge of the big whisky fraud cases in Milwaukee and
Chicago, handling them so firmly and discreetly as to win high praise from the secretary
of the treasury. During the eight years prior to his death he built and operated
Ottumwas street railroad. He was for many years preeminently the public-spirited
citizen, foremost in work and contribution for the development of the city and state.
General Hedricks death occurred October 3, 1886, in his
fifty-fourth year. He had been seriously affected with asthma, but the immediate cause of
his death was a partial paralysis. His funeral was attended by many comrades and friends.
The funeral oration at the grave, delivered by General Belknap, was an eloquent tribute to
a brave, true man. The generals obituary, written by Major Hamilton of the Courier,
is such as is rarely paid in all honesty by the survivor of a long period of business
intimacy. The general left a widow and five children: Mrs. Kate M. Ladd, Howard L.,
Charles M., Harry M. and Carita B. Hedrick.
Sylvester Gardner Hill, Who Fell at Nashville
Though comparatively unknown to fame, Colonel Hill, of the Thirty-fifth Iowa Infantry, deserves a high place on the scroll of fame, for, while others risked their lives, his life was actually sacrificed for the cause of the Union.
Sylvester Gardner Hill was born in North Kingston , R.I. , on the 10 th of June, 1820 . He married Martha J. Dyer in Cincinnati , October 15, 1843 . In 1840, he engaged in the lumber business in Cincinnati and in 1849 he joined the army of gold-seekers who migrated to California . He came east in 1850 and located in Muscatine . In the early summer of 1862, at the age of forty-two, he recruited a company in Muscatine , which company was assigned to the Thirty-fifth Iowa Infantry. On July 14, he was promoted from captain to colonel. He led his regiment in the Vicksburg campaign, in McPherson's expedition to Brownsville , in the ill-fated Red River campaign and finally in the Atlanta campaign.
In the Red River campaign he commanded a brigade, and bore an important part, conspicuously at Pleasant Hill . At Yellow Bayou, the colonel was wounded; but his most serious blow in this engagement was the death of his son, Frederick, as he stood at his father's side.
In the battle at Nashville , December 15, 1864, while gallantly leading the Third Brigade, First Division, of the Army of the Tennessee to an assault upon the Confederate battlements, Colonel Hill was shot through the head and fell from his horse, having been almost instantly killed. The men rushed forward to avenge the death of their brave commander. Colonel Hill's well-earned brevet as brigadier-general was gazetted two days after his death, on the recommendation of General McArthur.
General Hill was in his forty-fifth year when his untimely death occurred. The funeral services were held in Muscatine , Iowa , December 23, 1864. Rev. A. B. Robbins, pastor of the Congregational Church, delivered an impressive sermon followed with remarks by Bishop Vial, of the Episcopal Church. In the long procession to the grave there were two platoons of soldiers, and between the two was borne the old battle flag of the Thirty-fifth Iowa. From Mr. Robbins' eulogy the reader is impressed with General Hill's stalwart manhood and sterling patriotism, his keen love of family and home, his kindness of heart and unassuming courtesy, his public spirit which when his country called blossomed out into patriotism.
Colonel Marshall of the Seventh Minnesota, who succeeded Colonel Stibbs as commander of the brigade, in his report of the battle said: “The service lost in Colonel Hill's death one of the bravest and best officers.”
Maj.-Gen. A. J. Smith in his report expressed deep regret at “the loss of one gallant brigade commander, Col. S. G. Hill, who was killed in the charge on the 15 th .” “Long with the command,” the general added, “he has endeared himself to every member of it, brave and courteous; the service has lost a gallant officer and society a gentleman, by his untimely death.”
General Hill's patriotism was shared not alone by his son Fred, who died in battle, but also by an older son, Henry, who served for three years in the Seventh Iowa. His daughter, Martha Ann, years afterward became the wife of John C. Kelly, the well-known Iowa journalist, editor and publisher of the Sioux City Tribune. She died in 1896.
David Burk Hillis
Distinguished at Jackson and Champion's Hill
Born in Jefferson County, Indiana, July 24, 1825, son of David Hillis,
lieutenant-governor of Indiana; educated at the University of South
Hanover, and a practicing physician in his native state, David Burk
Hillis came to Bloomfield, Iowa, in 1858, where he successfully practiced
his profession. In 1869 he located in Keokuk. In 1861 he became aide-de-camp
to Governor Kirkwood. In March, 1862, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel
of the Seventeenth Iowa. In August, 1862, he was promoted to colonel.
He distinguished himself at Jackson and Champion's Hill. May 30, 1863,
he resigned and returned to Keokuk, afterward receiving a brevet as
brigadier-general. He died in Keokuk, September 9, 1900.
HERBERT CLARK HOOVER
submitted by Dick Barton
- WORLD-ENCIRCLING PROMOTER - PHILANTHROPIST - CHIEF CONSERVER OF THE
NATION'S FOOD RESOURCES. 1874 -
The latest great
Iowan to acquire a world-reputation is Herbert Clark Hoover. Of all
the Iowans who have won wealth and fame, not one has made for himself
a career quite as cosmopolitan as the Quaker-bred youth who, early in
the nineties, went forth from Cedar county, Iowa, to seek his fortune
in the far West,Ña fortune that, receding as he went, led him
on until the West became the East, and still on until the East merged
into the WestÑ a world-encircling career, a cumulative career,
and the greatest phase of it the last.
Let us try to follow
this rapidly progressing man-of-the-hour round the globe..
Born in West Branch,
Iowa, August 10, 1874, son of Jesse Clark and Hulda (Randall) Hoover,
an orphan in early infancy, reared by Quaker relatives, when a mere
youth he parted company with his relatives and friends and) in far-off
Portland, Oregon, spent two years and a half in preparation for a course
in higher mathematics and the physical sciences. In 1891, at the age
of seventeen, he knocked at the doors of the new Stanford University-Ñthe
first student to enroll in that institution. In 1895, he won his degree
in the department of mining engineering. During his preparatory and
college course, instead of idling away his vacations, he worked in neighboring
After his graduation he again became a miner; but soon rose to the dignity
of-a shift-boss. His thorough scholarship and rare capacity for work
made opportunities for him. He was soon appointed government geologist
on the Sierra Nevada survey. Next, assistant manager of the Carlisle
mines of New Mexico and the Morning Star mines of California. Early
in 1898, the young engineer found himself in Australia, chief of the
mining staff of Bewick, Moreing & Company and manager of extensive
mines in that island empire. In 1899, he accepted the position of chief
engineer of the Chinese Imperial Mines. On his way to China, via America,
he stopped off in California to wed Miss Lou Henry, of Monterey. Arriving
in China, he entered upon extensive explorations in the interior. He
spent a profitable year examining the latent resources of the Empire,
and high honors were paid him by the government; but when it came to
the point of acting on his recommendations he learned, for the first
time, the well- nigh insuperable inertia of a people to whom a thousand
years of waiting is as one day. Next he was caught in the Boxer uprising
and during the long imprisonment his engineering skill and practical
experience in handling men were of acknowledged service to the imperiled
Mr. Hoover's first direct experience with German diplomacy occurred
in far-off China and during his own imprisonment with the German legation.
Mr. Hugh Gibson, long intimately associated with Mr. Hoover, relates
an amusing incident. (Herbert C. Hoover, by Hugh Gibson. Century Magazine,
August, 1917.) One day Hoover, then as now a conserver of food, found
his favorite cow had been stolen. That night, by the light of a lantern,
he led the motherless calf about the streets, in the hope that its loud
cry for its mother might lead to the discovery of the missing cow. As
he neared the barracks of the German contingent, he heard the answering
" Moo, " and proceeded to claim his property. The sentry aired
his "Ollendorff" by asking, "Is that the calf of the
cow inside!!" To this' Hoover answered, "yes." With that
the sentry coolly confiscated the calf 1 The sequel to this abbreviated
story may be guessed. The Germans afterward paid well for the cow and
calf they had commandeered.
After a variety
of interesting experiences in China, Hoover accepted a flattering offer
of a partnership in a great London house, and in 1902 he took up the
office side of an engineer's career. A heavy defalcation seriously taxed
the company's resources, and tested Hoover's staying powers. Sixteen
of the hardest years of his life were spent in making good the obligations
which he had insisted should be met to the last dollar.
Those years of severe
discipline revealed the man. They also led on to well-deserved fame
and fortune. When the World War broke out, Herbert C'. Hoover's .lame
was on a long list of corporation directories; and Hoover, himself,
was actively engaged in the operation of gigantic enterprises in various
parts of the world. To his credit also were two books of conceded practical
value. He was a joint author of "The Economics of Mining,"
(1906), and author of "The Principles of Mining," (1909).
He had found time, also, to translate Agricola's "De Re Metallica,"
published in 1912, and to contribute numerous articles for scientific
This, in merest
outline, was the man whom Destiny found waiting for the larger opportunity
for service which in the fall of the fateful year, 1914, knocked at
his office-door in London. When the American Embassy found itself swamped
by thousands of panic-stricken tourists with plenty of checks and drafts
but no cash, a member telephoned Hoover to come over and help. 'Promptly
heeding the Macedonian cry, and, with customary force and efficiency,
calling around him the men who do things, he soon reduced the chaos
to a smoothly working system He speedily relieved the congestion' sending
thousands of Americans home in safety and with some degree of comfort.
In the course of a few busy days he restored much lost luggage, reunited
scattered families, cashed thousands of checks and drafts, and otherwise
made his organization useful.
Then came the piteous
cry of destitute Belgium. The situation was presented to Hoover. Like
Samuel of old he heard the voice and his response was prompt and whole-hearted.
On the 22nd of October the American Commission for Relief in Belgium
was organized with Hoover as its executive head. In an almost incredibly
short time he had picked his men and sent them to their several fields.
Without waiting for the generous response he knew would come from America,
he pledged his own credit and that of his associates to an extent almost
surpassing belief. Stores were bought, ships were chartered, red-tape
was eliminated, precedent was ignored, andÑthe prime essentialÑrelief
With an eloquence
he had not dreamt he possessedÑthe simple eloquence of earnestness,
he appealed to Americans for millions in aid of a suffering and perishing
people,Ñand the millions came. The appeal from northern France
next claimed his attention, and there are thousands in that long beleaguered
region who owe their lives to the timely aid extended by him. The reluctance
of German officials to cooperate with him was overcome by his clever
diplomacy. Ships laden with food were sunk; but they were succeeded
by others. Somehow, everybody trusted the Quaker- reared man from Iowa!
Somehow, capable men of affairs in England and America found themselves
unable to say no to his call for help! And the general testimony of
the men who "staid in," is that, with all their discomforts
and discouragements and sacrifice of ease and pleasure, they got more
real satisfaction out of their service with Hoover than they had ever
known before. And their chief - what of him? Much as he had enjoyed
his work as an engineer, and his successes as a promoter, it is doubtful
if he ever before found as much joy in his work as in the gigantic task
of relieving millions who, but for him would have starved.
Passing on to the
transfer of his activities from life-saving in Belgium and France to
food conservation in America, Herbert a. Hoover well knew that an acceptance
of the President's call to service as Food Administrator would invite
severe criticism, and much undeserved censure. He did not seek the position.
He accepted it as a call to duty. His one condition was that he should
be permitted to work without compensation. He waited patiently, silently,
while Congress debated the President's measure. His patriotic purpose
was questioned and the wisdom and even the disinterestedness of his
proposed campaign of food conservation was the subject of acrimonious
debate. He waited in silence, until the food conservation bill passed
and his appointment was announced.
by experience and by thorough study of the difficult problem, he proceeded
at once to put into practical operation the many activities he had planned,Ñactivities
which soon reached to every city, town and farm in America, activities
so revolutionary that, but for the world-necessity of which he was cognizant
long before the public comprehended it, must have resulted in humiliating
failure. So convincing have been his arguments and so eloquent have
been his pleas for the cooperation of the public that millions of men,
women and children who, three years before had not heard the name of
Hoover, voluntarily signed the Hoover Pledge to "help win the war"
by conserving such articles of food as are. prime necessities in the
feeding of the allied armies.
Few are the men
who by genuine service to the public have unwittingly contributed a
new word to the vocabulary of their people. There are now in America
uncounted millions to whom the new verb "Hooverize" tells
the story of a popular movement, begun in 1917, the one aim of which
is to conserve such food as is needed to feed the millions in arms.
A man who, still young in years, can do what Herbert C. Hoover has done
for a cause that needs assistance, has won for himself a permanent place
in history and in the hearts of millions.
Herbert C. Hoover
is not an orator and is far from his best as an after- dinner speaker
or in a formal address. But with an audience of one, and that one a
man whose influence and aid he regards as measurably essential, or in
a conference or committee room, he is convincing and therefore eloquent.
Wasting no time on the persiflage of the club, he proceeds at once to
the purpose he has at the front of his mind, and, prepared to meet all
possible questions or objections, he rarely fails to make his point
so convincingly as to win not only conviction but active support. He
is never caught napping. No new phase of a subject finds him unprepared.
He is armed and equipped with argument drawn from experience, observation
and concentrated thought, and with concrete eases illustrating the inevitableness
of his conclusions.
Primarily a doer,
he has been compelled, by the necessity of creating armies of doers,
to master the art of reaching the public by the use of words. In his
published utterances, there is an absence of camouflage. His sentences
are as free from verbiage as a dictionary definition. He writes with
a definite purpose. Scorning elaborate preface and rhetorical conclusion,
he plunges at once into the middle of his subject, and when his purpose
is accomplished he abruptly closes.
The National Geographic
Magazine for September, 1917, contained two articles by Herbert C. Hoover,
in fact two phases of his one purpose.
One is entitled
"The Food Armies of Liberty," the other, "The Weapon
of Food." In the first, he gives the reasons why he is "pleading
with the American people for stimulation of our food production; for
care, thought and economy in consumption, and the elimination of waste."
The whole argument is put in two short sentences:
are dependent upon us for food, and for quantities larger than we have
ever before exported. They are the first line or our defense; and our
money, and ships, and lifeblood, and, not least, our food supply must
be of common stock."
not generally sensed by the American masses early in 1917, is thus plainly
"If their [our
allies'] food fails, we shall be left alone in the fight, and the western
line will move to the Atlantic seaboard.
"It is thus
a matter of our own safety, and self-interest. It is more than this,
it is a matter of humanity, that we give of our abundance, that we relieve
The writer of these
"words of truth and soberness" then proceeds to demonstrate
"their needs, the volume of our obligation and the necessity of
great effort on our part."
Listen to his simple
and practical conclusion of the whole matter:
"It is this
multiplication of minute quantitiesÑteaspoonfuls, slices, scrapsÑby
100,000,000, and 365 days, that will save the world. Is there any one
in this land who cannot deny himself or herself something? Who cannot
prevent some waste? Is not your right to life and freedom worth this
In his second article,
Mr. Hoover at the outset affirms, and in the end proves that "
starvation, or sufficiency, will in the end determine the victor ....
The winning of the war is largely a problem of who can organize this
He points to the
fact that the zone of supply is gradually narrowing: that production
must be quickened, that "we must confine our exports to the most
concentrated foodstuffsÑ grain, beef, pork, dairy products, and
sugar. " After paying his respects to the profiteer; after pointing
out the dangerous drift toward socialism, the increasing factor and
large responsibility of the farm and of labor, and the patriotic duty
of the producer and the retailer, and after defining the legal and practical
limitations of Food Administration, dependent as it is upon the cooperation
of all the people, this inspired economist concludes with these earnest
must organize from the top down or from the bottom up. One is autocracy
itself; the other, democracy. If democracy cannot organize to accomplish
its economic as well as its military defense, it is a false faith and
should be abandoned.....
"If we succeed,
we shall have assisted our commercial institutions to their own stability
in after years; and, beyond this; they will have proved that democracy
is a faith worthy of defense.''
If America's entrance
into the war is to prove the salvation of democracy from barbarous onslaughts
of autocracy, the world will owe its salvation not alone to the brave
men who opportunely came to the relief of the allies, but also to the
pre-vision and unremitting activities of the Quaker-reared philanthropist
who first saw the light in Cedar County, Iowa.
Joseph O. Hudnut was born in New York, and resided in Waverly, Iowa.
On October 27, 1862, at the age of thirty-seven, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel
of the Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry. He was mustered out December 31,