Delorma F. Sawyer

Delorma F. and Helen (Russell) Sawyer

The name of Sawyer has been well known and highly honored in Franklin township since pioneer times and its present representative, Delorma F. Sawyer, owns and operates the homestead which his father took up as a government claim in 1852. He is one of the most progressive and prosperous farmers in this part of Allamakee county and has also for the past twenty-five years controlled important sawmilling interests here, his success coming as a natural result of his ability, energy and sound business judgment. He was born in Rock county, Wisconsin, on the 29th of August, 1852, and is a son of Cuyler Cornelius and Elizabeth (Wartenbe) Sawyer, natives of Ohio, the former born in 1822 and the latter about 1832. Cuyler C. Sawyer emigrated to Ohio when he was about twelve years of age and learned the blacksmith’s trade under his father, working for him for several years and finally turning his attention to general farming. He married in Williams county, Ohio, and on October 15, 1850, went with his wife to Wisconsin, coming from there in the fall of 1852 to Hardin, Clayton county, Iowa. He subsequently took up the tract of government land, whereon his son now resides, the old government deed signed by the president being still a highly valued family possession. The father moved on to his holdings in 1853 and began the improvement of his land, building a crude log cabin, sixteen by twenty feet in dimensions. Throughout the years which followed he steadily carried on the work of development, making his farm productive, profitable and well equipped and becoming widely known as a progressive and substantial agriculturist. He died upon the homestead November 4, 1883, and in his passing Allamakee county lost one of her pioneer settlers and a valued and representative citizen. His wife has also passed away, her death occurring April 2, 1896. In their family were five children, the subject of this review being the eldest. Two of these children died in infancy.

Delorma F. Sawyer attended district school No. 4, Franklin township, and also studied in the public schools of Hardin. Later he spent four and a half months in a school at Estherville, Emmet county, and was for two terms at Cherry Valley. After laying aside his books he continued to assist his father with the work of the homestead, becoming before he had attained his majority a practical and able agriculturist. At twenty-one he went to the western part of Iowa and entered government land, adding to his holdings one hundred and twenty acres which he purchased and remaining in that part of the state for four and a half years, during which period he clerked in a hotel for some time and also had charge of a mail and stage route. In addition to this he served as bookkeeper in a grist and sawmill and when not thus employed operated the mill in the interest of his employers. After four and a half years he returned to Franklin township and eventually traded the land which he had acquired in the west for property in this part of the county. After his return he engaged in general farming, assuming the management of the family homestead, and in connection with this he operated a threshing machine. In 1887 he formed a partnership with George Clark and they engaged in sawmilling on Yellow river for two years, Mr. Sawyer afterward continuing at this line of business in Franklin township. For the past quarter of a century he has operated a sawmill and a silo filler and in connection with this carries on the work of improving the cultivating his farm, the neat and attractive appearance of which indicates his ability along agricultural lines. He is a member of the Farmers Shipping Association of Luana and is connected with the Cooperative Creamery Company, besides being a stockholder in the Northeastern Iowa Farmers Cooperative Telephone Company, and is widely recognized as a discriminating, able and resourceful business man, who carried forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes.

On the 14th of April, 1887, Mr. Sawyer was united in marriage to Miss Helen Russell, born in St. Lawrence county, New York, August 31, 1866. She is a daughter of Wallace and Dora (Hutchins) Russell, natives of Vermont. They resided in New York for a number of years, the father conducting a large starch factory there, but in 1871 moved to Iowa, where Wallace Russell turned his attention farming. He also worked at the carpenter’s and painter’s trades, continuing in these lines of work until his death, which occurred in 1888. His wife survived him many years, dying in 1910. The father had been prominent and active in public affairs for many years, serving as justice of the peace and in various other local offices of trust and responsibility. Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer became the parents of seven children: Hazel Annetta, who was born February 10, 1889, and who is now a nurse in the Finley Hospital at Dubuque; Dora E., was born February 18, 1891, and who is attending school at Epworth, Iowa; Homer D., whose birth occurred October 16, 1892; Charles Cornelius, born March 18,1895; Lyle Russell, born July 8, 1897; Paul Millard, born August 12, 1901; and Donald Watson, born March 21, 1905.

Mr. Sawyer gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has done able and effective work as school director. He takes an intelligent interest in the development and growth of the section where he has resided since pioneer times and has made substantial contributions to its agricultural ad business progress, his name standing as a synonym for integrity and honesty and his record being a credit to a name that has long been an honored one in this community.

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

Return to 1913 biographies index