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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

F[rederick] D. TONNEY, hardware merchant, Vinton, Iowa, established his present business in the spring of 1878. He occupies a store-room, 22 x 112 feet, three stories high with basement and French plate-glass windows. It is heated by steam and has an elevator running from the basement, to the upper stories. The tinshop is 40 x 22 feet. Mr. Tonney carries a large line of shelf hardware, together with a full line of stoves and wagon material, and employs three clerks. In his tinshop he manufactures spouting, tin roofing and cornice-work, and all the tinware sold in his store, and employs three tinners. Mr. Tonney started in a small retail business, but now does a large jobbing as well as retail trade, having customers for 200 miles west.

F. D. Tonney is a native of Jackson County, Ind., born Feb. 4, 1845. He is a son of Frederick and Elizabeth (Cross) Tonney, who emigrated to America from Germany in an early day, locating in Cincinnati, subsequently moving to Jackson County, Ind., where they settled in the heavy timber. Like many others who emigrated to America from the old country, they were honest and industrious, and were determined to succeed, and by hard work and strict economy they accumulated a competency. In early life his parents were members of the Lutheran Church, but afterward connected themselves with the German Methodists. They are both deceased.

Our subject was reared on a farm in a new country, and therefore his advantages for obtaining an education were limited, but he made the most of his opportunities. When eighteen years of age he was employed as a clerk in a general store, and after business hours pursued his studies, in that way securing a liberal education. He remained in this store five years, the last two of which he kept the books of the firm. At the time of Morgan's raid into Indiana, during the Rebellion, he shouldered his gun and helped to drive him out of the country. In 1868 he settled in Flora, Clay Co., Ill., where he embarked in the hardware business and continued the same for ten years with good success. He then came to Vinton, as already stated, and engaged in his present business, in which he has been successful beyond his most sanguine expectations. He is a thorough business man and understands all the branches of his trade. He is a stockholder in the Vinton Washing-Machine Company, and occupies the position of Vice-President and Director. He is also dealing some in Western lands. He owns 160 acres of land in Thomas County, Kan., and eleven lots in the county seat, Colby; also four lots in Wichita. He owns his present fine residence on Jefferson street.

Mr. Tonney was married in Flora, Ill., Oct. 25, 1870, to Miss Hattie Webster, a native of Clay County, Ill., born Jan. 13, 1848. They are the parents of two children — Francis Arthur, born in Clay County, Ill., June 22, 1874; and Frederick Oscar, born in Vinton, March 7, 1881. Mr. and Mrs. Tonney are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Vinton and take an active interest in all its affairs, and are earnest, energetic workers in all efforts put forth to advance the moral, educational and social interests of the community. In politics Mr. Tonney is a Republican. He is a member of the A. O. U. W.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 203-204.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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