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Kossuth County >> 1913 Index

History of Kossuth County Iowa
by Benjamin F Reed. Vol. II Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913. 


Unless noted, biographies submitted by Sharon Mooney.

Ambrose A. Call, whose record is closely interwoven with the history of Kossuth county, passed away on the 22d of October, 1908, after a residence of more than a half century within its borders.  He and his brother, Asa C. Call, founded the town of Algona and he was likewise the founder of Bancroft.  He owned over two thousand acres of Iowa at the time of his demise and was a prominent factor in financial circles as the president of the First National Bank.  His birth occurred in Huron county, Ohio, on the 9th of June, 1833, his parents being Asa and Mary (Metcalf) Call.  His father participated in the War of 1812 and his grandfather was a patriot of the Revolution.  Asa Call passed away when his son Ambrose was but a few months old, and the widowed mother then took up her abode among friends in Cattaraugus county, New York.  Five years later, however, she returned to the west, going beyond her old home in Ohio and locating at South Bend, Indiana, where she remained for many years.

Ambrose A. Call received a common-school education in early life and left home when a youth of fifteen.  In the summer of 1850 he established a news depot at Dayton, Ohio, delivering the Cincinnati dailies ahead of the mails.  During the fall and winter of the same year he attended a commercial college in Cincinnati.  In the spring of 1854, when a young man  of twenty-one years, he made his way westward to Iowa and, in company with his elder brother, who had just returned from the gold fields of California, he came north from Fort Des Moines (as it was then called) into Kossuth county, arriving here on the 9th of July.  In 1861 he established the first newspaper in the county, the Algona Pioneer Press, which he continued to edit for several years.  For over forty years he was a government mail contractor, controlling a number of routes throughout the northwest.  As above stated, he founded the city of Algona with his brother, Asa C. Call, and was also the founder of Bancroft, the second town of importance in Kossuth county.  He devoted considerable attention to farming and at the time of his death had over two thousand acres of Iowa land.  Mr. Call was conservative in business and had the good fortune to accumulate a comfortable competence by shrewd investments and as a result of his mail business.  When he passed away the First National Bank lost its chief executive officer, in which capacity he had ably directed the affairs of that institution, and Kossuth county lost one of its most prominent and highly respected citizens.

In October, 1859, Mr. Call was united in marriage to Miss Nancy E. Henderson of Oskaloosa, Iowa, whose ancestors were prominent in the settlement of Kentucky.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. Call were born seven children, namely: Florence M., Edith, Etta L., Bertha A., Chester C., Roscoe and Myrtle.  The two last named are twins.

In politics Mr. Call was a stanch republican, at all times desiring the success of that party and the men and measures it advocated.  Although frequently solicited to become a candidate, he persistently refused political preferment and was never an office seeker or holder.  He was a prominent Mason and exemplified the teachings of the craft in his daily life, doing unto others as he would have others do unto him.

Judge Asa C. Call

Practically a quarter of a century has passed since the death of Judge Asa C. Call, one of the founders of Algona.  His labors were a potent element in the development and growth of Kossuth county and from the time of his settlement here his life record is synonymous with its history.  He was born in Lake county, Ohio, on the 26th of September, 1825, and obtained his more advanced education at Oberlin College in that state.  He lost his father when yet a child and accompanied his widowed mother on her removal to western New York.  In 1840 he went to South Bend, Indiana, and in 1850 drove a herd of cattle across the plains to California, where he spent four years, being appointed Indian commissioner to treat with some tribes of Indians in what are now the states of Washington and Idaho.  While on the Pacific coast he was a correspondent of the National Era, and many of his letters were copied in the New York Tribune and other eastern papers.  In 1854 he married Sarah Heckart and settled in Iowa City, Iowa, which was then the capital of the state, but he regarded this location as temporary, having decided to select some eligible site for a new town.  After exploring the upper Mississippi, where every available site was already occupied, and the western shores of Lake Superior, where he found good harbors but no land, he decided to forego navigable waters and look inland, and in the month of July he selected the site of Algona, which was then forty miles from the nearest house, though the massacre of Mr. Lott had just occurred and the Indians were extremely hostile.  At the next session of the general assembly he secured the passage of an act locating the county seat of Kossuth county.  In 1857, in association with others, he organized the McGregor Railroad Company, which he ultimately brought through the county.  He was also identified with the Northwestern road, of which he secured a branch.  The period of his residence in Algona covered a third of a century and during that time he was actively and helpfully interested in every enterprise looking toward the progress and development of the community.  His demise occurred on the 6th of January, 1888, and his loss was deeply felt by friends and acquaintances as well as business associates.

Unto Judge and Mrs. Call were born seven children, as follows:  Asa Frank and Joseph Harry, both of whom are lawyers by profession at Los Angeles;  George C., who is engaged in the real-estate business at Sioux City; May E.; Sarah Stella, deceased; Nina Vesta; and Zada C.

F.I. Chapman submitted by LB Krause

F. I. Chapman has for nineteen years been conducting a blacksmith shop in Luverne, and during a large portion of that time he has been more or less actively identified from local political affairs. He was born in Lesueur county, Minnesota, on the 23rd of June, 1970, and is a son of Lovell and Elizabeth (Robinson) Chapman. The parents were born, reared and married in Boston, Massachusetts, whence they removed to Minnesota. The mother passed away in Portland, Oregon, while on a health seeking trip in 1905, but the father is living and now makes his home in Portland, Oregon. He has always been identified with either agricultural pursuits or the lumber business. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Chapman numbers nine, all of whom are living with the exception of the youngest, who died in infancy. Etta, who is the widow of J.M. Preston, of Walnut, Illinois; Waldo, who is a resident of Portland, Oregon; Ernest, who make his home in Waterville, Minnesota; Charles, a resident of Oklahoma; F.I., our subject; Marshall, who is living Clarkesville, Iowa; Myrtle, the wife of Frank Burgess; and Minnie, of Portland, Oregon.

The early boyhood of F.I. Chapman was passed in his native state where he began his education, but when a lad of nine years he came to Luverne with a brother-in-law, with whom he thereafter made his home. He continued to attend the public schools until he completed his course of study and when not engaged with his lessons assisted his brother-in-law, who a blacksmith, in his shop. They were associated together until 1893, when Mr. Chapman established a shop and engaged in business for himself. He does general blacksmithing and also repairs automobiles, wagon, and other vehicles, and as he is a good mechanic and is thoroughly trustworthy and reliable he has built up a good trade. In 1920 he decided to extend the scope of his activities and on February 1, of that year, he opened a hardware store in connection with which he also maintains a tin shop. This has also proven to be a profitable undertaking and he is enjoying a good patronage. Mr. Chapman deserves much credit for his achievements as he began with nothing and is now the owner not only of a profitable business but of some good property. He has four lots with a frontage of one hundred and fourteen and a half feed where his store is located, in addition to which he owns two lots and a very comfortable residence in the east part of town. The front part of the building his store now occupies was on the lot when he bought it, but he subsequently built on in the rear and the later added a new ship, using the old one for implements.

In 1894, Mr. Chapman was married to Miss Emma Patterson, a native of Delaware county, Iowa, and to them have been born two sons, Irvin H. and Leo C., both of whom are attending the public school.

The parents are members of the Presbyterian church, and fraternally Mr. Chapman is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Odd Fellows of Luverne, and the Encampment of Algona, while both he and Mrs. Chapman are members of the Rebekahs. He give his political allegiance to the democratic party and has on several occasions been called to public office. For twelve years he was a member of the town council and for five or six he has been on the school board. Mr. Chapman is highly esteemed by his fellow townsmen, as in both his business transactions and the discharge of his official duties he has maintained a standard of conduct that has left his integrity and honor above question.