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Linn County >> 1887 Index

Portraits and Biographical Album of Linn County
Chapman Bros., 1887.


Wilson, Thomas submitted by Linda

Thomas Wilson, deceased. This gentleman was one of Linn County's most valued citizens, whose place it will be difficult to fill. He died at his home in College Township, May 25, 1872, at the age of fifty-six years. His name was a familiar one throughout the county, he having been more than ordinarily successful, and a man whose character was above reproach. He was an earnest and sincere Christian, and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which organization he was identified for many years, both as a lay member and an officer, and holding other positions of responsibility and trust. To this society his death is an almost irreparable loss, for he was looked up to in confidence as a wise counselor and disinterested friend.

Thomas Wilson was born May 5, 1815, and was a native of New Jersey. The name of his father was John Wilson; he was a native of New England, and his ancestry were natives of this country for at least the space of three centuries, and farther back trace their lineage to Scotland. John Wilson contracted a matrimonial alliance with a New Jersey lady, Miss Elizabeth Martin, by whom he became the father of eleven children, Thomas Wilson, the subject of this sketch, being the fifth in order of birth. They carried on the peaceful occupation of agriculture, and when Thomas was a child of three years his parents cast their eyes westward and determined to seek their fortunes among the hills of the Buckeye State. They selected Belmont County for their location, and upon a farm there followed their vocation for a number of years. Previous to his marriage, the father, a member of the Quaker community, but marrying outside of the community was obliged to surrender his claims as a member of this organization. He lived to a good old age, and his life terminated in Belmont County, as did also that of the mother, when she was well stricken in years. Thomas Wilson remained with his parents in Belmont County until his marriage, which occurred August 15, 1842, the lady of his choice being Miss Sarah Livingston. She was a native of Pennsylvania, born in Fayette County, Nov. 8, 1815. When seven years of age, she came with her parents to Ohio, and they settled in Belmont County while the country in that vicinity was but a wilderness. The land was covered with a growth of heavy timber, and wild game was plentiful. This however, suited the disposition of her family, who were peculiarly quiet in their tastes, and they really enjoyed the solitude amid which they lived. The father of Mrs. Wilson was Cyrus Livingston, and the maiden name of her mother was Berthenia Taylor. The latter, like her husband, was born and reared in Pennsylvania. She came to Ohio with her husband, and died in Belmont County, Sept. 7, 1844. After her decease the father came west, making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Wilson, where he died in 1865, at the age of nearly seventy-eight years. Mrs. Wilson lived under the parental roof, assisting in the home duties, until her marriage to our subject. She came west with her husband in March, 1851, the trip being made partly by water and partly overland. Mr. Wilson purchased of the Government 160 acres of land, and this constituted the homestead where he passed his life, and where his decease took place. It was a wild and unbroken tract of land when he took possession of it. Their neighbors were few and far between, and Mr. Wilson broke the first land on section 15, in this township. The site was then near what was designated as Pilot Grove, a high ridge of land, which constituted a mark or "pilot" for the early traveler through the country, and in the early days was frequently occupied as a camping place by the Indians. Mr. Wilson was compelled to haul his lumber a great distance to build his first house, steammills being then almost unknown, and the country over which he came nearly pathless. From its wild and primitive condition, he lived to see a prosperous community grow up around him, and the march of civilization not only approaching him, but, in the course of time, passing far beyond. He was well fitted for the duties and obligations of a pioneer, for upon the men who first made settlement in this wild country depended the extent and rapidity of its growth and progress. He industriously labored to improve his farm, and increased his acreage as time progressed and his means permitted. The location proved a fortunate one, and the homestead is now surrounded by other fine farms and all the evidence of modern thrift and luxury. Eight children came to brighten the home of this worthy pair, only three of whom survived to be a comfort to their parents. Since the deaths of her husband, Mrs. Wilson has resided with her son John, who is now the main possessor of the homestead. This kindly old lady retains her physical and mental powers to a remarkable degree, and is regarded with warm and kindly affection by the friends and neighbors among whom she has passed the greater part of her life. Of her children, John M. was reared under the parental roof, and educated at Western College, in College Township. He remained at home until his marriage with Miss Ellen Eastman, which occurred Sept. 9, 1870. She was a native of Washington County, Ohio born Feb. 14, 1845. At the age of nine years she came with her parents to Linn County. Her father, Timothy R. Eastman, was born in Windsor County, Vt., in 1807, and removed with this mother and her family to Morgan County, Ohio, the death of his father having occurred when he was a child of two years old. At that early day the facilities for education were very limited, but the mother early discovered that her son was inclined to be studious, and she accordingly encouraged this taste by every means in her power. He traveled long distances to the nearest schools, where he spent the day, and at night, by the light of burning pine knots, pursued his studies, which in time became of a highly scientific nature. In his reading he developed a taste for the very best books, which could be obtained, embracing history, philosophy, and biographies of the good and great. Arriving at the age of manhood, he married Elizabeth Gould, a descendant from the celebrated Alden family, who came over with the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower. She was born in Marietta, Ohio, and for many years was a teacher in the public schools of that place. Of this genial union were born twelve children, seven of whom followed in the footsteps of their parents and became accomplished teachers. Under the early encouragement of his mother, and the later encouragement of an accomplished and refined wife, Mr. Eastman became a finely educated man, a teacher, and for two years Superintendent of the Schools of Linn County. He was a Normal instructor, and taught in the various institutes where the teachers of the county assembled to receive instruction in the best methods of our country districts. This gentleman died in 1876. He was a man of influence in his community, and highly respected both for his cultivation of mind and his genial disposition. The accomplished wife of this gentleman survived her husband but just three years, dying in 1879. Mrs. Wilson received her education under the careful instruction of her father, and by her accomplishments does great honor to her revered teacher. At the age of sixteen years she became engaged as a teacher, which calling she pursued successfully for thirty terms. She was considered a most excellent instructor, and was very popular. By the union of this lady with John Wilson, she has become the mother of two children, Thomas E. and Raymond E. She takes and interest in the agricultural pursuits of her husband, and assists him materially in his operation on the homestead, which are conducted successfully, and in a manner reflecting great credit upon him as a practical farmer and manager of important interests. The remaining members of the family are, Philip M., who now resides in Humboldt, and is engaged in the livery business; he married Miss Carrie Benjamin. Robert R. is a newspaper man, and editor of the Aurora at Avalon, Mo.; he was united in marriage with Miss Alice Singly. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and this son is a Democrat in politics.


DANIEL D. WOLFE submitted by Janet Wilkinson Schwartz

DANIEL D. WOLFE, one of the highly esteemed and prominent residents of Franklin Township, occupies a fine farm on section 31. He was born in Seneca County, Ohio, Oct. 4, 1837. His father, JOHN WOLFE, was also a native of Ohio, and emigrated to Iowa while it was still a Territory. His grandfather, also JOHN WOLFE, was a native of Pennsylvania and a descendant of German ancestry. He removed to Ohio at an early day, and located in Seneca County, where he remained the balance of his life and passed to his rest in 1855.

JOHN WOLFE, the father of our subject, was reared on his father's farm in Ohio, and married in the county of his birth, the maiden name of his bride being Miss ANNIE DILDINE, also a native of the Buckeye State, and born in Fairfield County. JOHN WOLFE came to the Territory of Iowa in 1839, and made a claim in Cedar County, where he remained until the following year, and then returned to Ohio for his family, which consisted of his wife and four children. They made the journey overland to their new home and located upon the claim, which, however, they only occupied for a short time. Mr. WOLFE had visited Linn County in the meantime, and concluded that he could secure a more desirable location there. He accordingly made a claim on section 12 of what is now Bertram Township, but removed the following year. He then made a third claim on Cedar River, which comprised a part of sections 27 and 31. He also purchased the ferry which was used to cross the river at this point, and as he surmised, a village soon sprang up at this point, which was named Ivanhoe. He erected a large boat-house, fitting up a part of it for a habitation, opened it to the public, and kept the first pioneer "hotel" in that region. He continued thus occupied the greater part of the time until his death. He entered his land from the Government, erected a dwelling-house on section 31, and when not engaged with his hotel business employed his time in the cultivation of his land. At the time of his death, in 1854, he was living at the brick hotel in Ivanhoe. His widow survived him several years, and died on the home farm on section 30. Mr. WOLFE was a prominent man in his community at that early day, and a leader among the early pioneers. He was the first Justice of the Peace in this section. The household of Mr. and Mrs. JOHN WOLFE included nine children, six of whom grew to be men and women: RHODA, the eldest daughter, married J.S.F. BRYNEY, and is now deceased; SARAH R. became the wife of G.W. HARVEY, and lives in Washington Territory; the next son was DANIEL D.; a daughter, MELISSA A., married ALECK GREGORY, and they live in Missouri; LAURA A. became the wife of GEORGE KLINICK, and they are residents of Linn Township; SQUIRE W. was the youngest son.

DANIEL D. WOLFE was a child of three years when he came with his parents to Iowa, and may properly be said to have grown up with his county. He was still but a boy when deprived of a father's care, and he made his home with his mother until his marriage, which occurred in January, 1860. The lady of his choice was Miss ELIZABETH E. DILL, a native of Knox County, Ill., and daughter of JOHN and MARY DILL. At the time of his marriage he was running the ferry across the river at Ivanhoe, carrying on business which his father had established there a number of years previously. In 1863 he sold his ferry and engaged in farming, three years later removing to Solon, Iowa, where he engaged in the grocery trade. After two years he went east to Seneca County, Ohio, having disposed of his grocery, and was there engaged in the timber tract, getting out ties for the railroad which was then being built, and at which he was occupied for a space of eighteen months. In the meantime his brother SQUIRE had purchased the ferry, with which he had heretofore been connected, and our subject going back to Iowa, became joint manager of the old business until the building of the bridge. It was again called into requisition on account of the bridge being carried away by high water, during which they ran the ferry one year. Since that time the brothers have been continuously engaged in agricultural pursuits, and have become joint proprietors of a farm which contains 480 acres, and comprises a part of sections 19, 30, 31 and 32.

Mr. and Mrs. DANIEL D. WOLFE have become the parents of four children
--JOHN D., ISA B., THOMAS L. and GRACIE G. SQUIRE W. WOLFE is unmarried, and has made his home with his brother DANIEL since he has been associated with him in business. He was born in Franklin Township in 1844, and remained with his mother on the old homestead until her death.

The brothers WOLFE are gentlemen still in the prime of life, and with a prospect of many years and continued usefulness. They are classed among the solid citizens of Franklin Township, and are among the leading men of the community. They are honorable and upright in their business transactions, and their farming operations are carried on with system and good order. Their homestead is a model one and an ornament to this section of country.