IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Bradshaw W. Rathbun


An excellent farming property of one hundred and thirty acres stood as an evidence of the industry and well directed efforts of Bradshaw W. Rathbun when on March 4, 1910, he was called to his final rest after many years devoted to agricultural pursuits. Practically his entire life was spent in this part of Iowa, in either Winneshiek or Allamakee counties, for he came here as a child, grew to manhood here and became known as a man of excellent business ability, sound judgment and high standards of honor and integrity.

He was born in New York state in February, 1836, but when still a mere boy was brought by his parents to Iowa, the family settling on a farm three miles west of Postville. In the district schools of Winneshiek county he acquired his education, studying during the winter months and in the summers aiding his father with the operation of the homestead. In this way he early became familiar with the best agricultural methods and was a practical farmer before he reached maturity. After the death of his parents he became the sole owner of the farm and continued to carry forward the work of its development, his success coming as the logical result of industry, energy and perseverance. As he was able he added to his property holdings until at the time of his death he was the owner of one hundred and thirty acres of rich and valuable land. He also owned extensive tracts in Canada which, however, he sold before he died. He early realized the fact that labor is the basis of all success and his close application and sound judgment enabled him to acquire a competency which left his family in the comfortable circumstances they now enjoy.

Mr. Rathbun was twice married. He wedded first Miss Libbie Hall and six children were born to their union: May, who resides in Los Angeles where she is assisting her brother who is in the mercantile business; Hall, a merchant in Los Angeles; Fred, who makes his home near Ossian where he works in the employ of others; Bessie, who became the wife of Welton Cornell, a farmer near Ossian; Blake, who resides on the home farm; and Charles Herbert, who is engaged in general farming five miles northwest of Postville. Mr. Rathbum married for the second time in July, 1900, when he wedded Mrs. Florence Lorette (Clark) Miller, who was born in Waukon, a daughter of John Thompson and Elizabeth (Blakesley) Clark, natives of New York. The parents were married in that state and in the late ‘30s came west to Iowa, where the father took up the study of law. He was admitted to the bar and took up the practice of his profession in Waukon where he remained until 1849 when he went to California, making the journey overland. After two years, however, he returned to Iowa, having been unsuccessful in the California gold fields, and in this state again began practicing law, being located at different times at Lansing, Decorah, Fort Atkinson and Waukon. He never made a permanent location always following where favoring opportunity led the way, and thus he became well known throughout the state, building up a large, representative and lucrative practice in criminal law of which he made a specialty. That he was well known and favorably regarded in professional and public circles of the state is evidenced by the fact that he was chosen a member of the committee appointed to draw up the first Iowa constitution. Until within a short time before his death he was practicing at Cresco but when be became ill he came to Postville where he died about the year 1883. He was at one time an extensive landowner in this part of the state, but before he passed away disposed of all of his holdings. His wife survived him for four years, dying in 1887. In their family were ten children  of whom Mrs. Rathbun is the youngest in the order of birth. She was reared in this section of Iowa and in 1880 married Thomas M. Miller, a native of Ohio, born February 29, 1848. When he was a mere boy he came to Iowa with an older sister and her family and in this state grew to manhood, learning the carpenter’s trade which he followed for many years. He afterward turned his attention to sawmilling and engaged in this occupation until his death which occurred in May, 1881. He was at that time a resident of Postville, where he owned a comfortable home, a number of town lots and the mill property. By this marriage Mrs. Rathbun had three children: Emma, who was born January 10, 1881, and who became the wife of Frank Handgartner, a farmer residing five miles southwest of Postville; Katie, who was born August 16, 1883, and who married John Laros, who with his father and brothers owns a carriage factory in Grinnell; and Florence, who was born January 10, 1887, and who is a teacher in the Onawa high school, making her home with her mother. Fraternally Mr. Miller was affiliated the knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Legion of Honor and the Modern Woodmen.

Mr. Rathbun gave his allegiance to the democratic party but he never desired political honors, as his interest centered in his farming operations, which under his able management brought him a gratifying and richly deserved success. His great business ability would have won him prosperity in any vocation that attracted his interest and in the one which he chose he made substantial contribution to growth and development. He was a kind parent, a true friend and a firm upholder of the law-a citizen whose life and work made a lasting impression upon those with whom he came   in contact and upon the progress of the region where he had so long resided.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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