IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Ray F. Topliff, D.D.S.


One of the most able and progressive dentists in Allamakee county is Dr. Ray F. Topliff, now practicing in Postville, He is a native of this county, born two miles west of the city, May 19,1884 a son of John Nelson and Rachel Elizabeth (Reed) Topliff. The father was born in Newark, New Jersey, on the 24th of July, 1836, his parents being Elias and Sarah (Woodworth) Topliff, the former of whom was born August 30, 1801, and died November 26, 1860, while his wife died on the 4th of May, 1854. It was in the fall of 1847 that John Nelson Topliff accompanied his parents on their removal from Milford, Ohio, to Iowa, the journey being made with two two-horse teams and one single horse. They arrived at Monona on the 26th of November, 1847, that being just south of the Winnebago reservation, and Elias Topliff took up the first claim on that reservation before it was surveyed and before they had the protection of the government for the Indians, as the red men did not move from the territory until the following June. In the family of Elias Topliff were six sons and four daughters, of whom three sons and two daughters are still living.

In early life John Nelson Topliff engaged in teaming prior to the advent of the railroad, and during those pioneer days he experienced many of the hardships and difficulties which came to those who settled on the frontier. For two years after his marriage he made his home in Waukon and then removed to the old homestead farm two miles west of Postville, where he resided until 1891, since which time he has lived retired in Decorah, Iowa. In connection with general farming he also engaged in the nursery and fruit business and met with excellent success in his under takings. On the 2d of January, 1869, he became a Master Mason, joining the lodge at Postville and has since been an exemplary member of that order.

On the 1st of July, 1860, in Waukon, John N. Topliff was united in marriage to Miss Rachel Elizabeth Reed, who was born in Ohio, June 21, 1841, a daughter of David and Mary (Allen) Reed, the former of whom was born June 27, 1799, and died in March, 1880, while the latter was born May 9, 1814, and died February 4, 1866. Mr. and Mrs. Topliff became the parents of the following children: Charles Louis, born December 28, 1862: John Nelson, Jr., born November 11, 1863; Anna Grace, who was born July 3, 1868, and died November 25, 1877; Frank Rolla, who was born February 6, 1875, and died October 25, 1877; and Ray F., the subject of this interview.

In the acquirement of an education Dr. Topliff attended the Decorah public schools and after graduating from the high school entered the dental college of the Northwestern University at Chicago, graduating with the degree of D.D.S., in 1906. He began the practice of his profession in West Union, but after one year came to Postville, where he has since engaged in practice. His office is one of the most modern and best equipped in this part of the state and his practice is very large, requiring the constant services of an assistant. He is at present furnishing and equipping a new office in the bank building on Main street and expects shortly to move to his new location. He is a constant student of the modern and advanced methods which are being at all times introduced into the practice of dentistry and he is today one of the most able exponents of these methods. His large patronage is a proof of the excellent results he has already accomplished and in his ability and knowledge he possesses a guarantee of further professional progress.

Dr. Topliff was married on the 10th of November, 1910, to Miss Josephine M. Lennon, who was born in Decorah, August 26, 1885, a daughter of Joseph M. and Alice (Webster) Lennon, the former a native of Racine, Wisconsin, and the latter of Decorah. Her father, who followed farming during all of his active life, came to Iowa in early times and grew to manhood in this state, acquiring his education in the public schools in the vicinity of Decorah. He began his independent career by purchasing land between Decorah and Frankville and became in time an extensive landowner. He retired from active life about the year 1897 and removed into Decorah, where he and his wife still reside, but he still supervises the management of his landed interests.

Dr. Topliff is a member of the Iowa State Dental Society, of the Alumni Association of Northwestern University and of Xi Psi Phi. He belongs to Brotherly Love Lodge, No. 204, A. F. & A. M., and is identified also with the Order of Eastern Star. He is connected with the Modern Woodmen of American and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is well known in social and fraternal circles of the city, where his many fine qualities have gained him high regard, while in his profession he has won that prominence which comes only in recognition of merit and ability.

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

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