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

MATTHEW S. UTLEY, residing in Garrison, was born in Birmingham, Huntingdon Co., Pa., Oct. 7, 1826. He is a son of Matthew and Catherine (Watson) Utley. His early life was spent on a farm, and at the age of fifteen years he was apprenticed to a blacksmith to learn that trade. After completing the trade he went to Laurelville, Pa., where he carried on a shop for about two years, then moved to Logan Valley, where he remained about four years; he then went to Altoona, where he worked in the machine-shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad two and a half years. At the expiration of this time there was an intended strike among the employes (sic) of the car-works. By means of a spy the company obtained the names of those preparing to strike and discharged 300 men, Mr. Utley being of the number. Believing that his chances as a mechanic would be better in the West, he came to Benton County, where he had a brother residing. Being well pleased with the country, he concluded to make it his home. At that time there was no railroad west of the Mississippi, save a line running from Davenport to Iowa City. This was in the year 1858. Coming by the railroad to Iowa City, he there took stage to Vinton, and shortly afterward located about one mile south of the present village of Garrison, Jackson Township. The next summer he went to Pike's Peak, but was gone only two months, when he returned and worked at his trade and farming until Jan. 1, 1864, when he enlisted in the 13th Iowa Infantry and served until the close of the war. He participated in the siege of Atlanta and Savannah. At Savannah he was taken sick and sent home on a sick-furlough, and was discharged at Davenport, in July, 1865. After his discharge he returned home and engaged in blacksmithing and farming until 1879, though he still continued to manage his farm until 1883, when he retired from active life and removed to the village of Garrison.

Mr. Utley was married, April 14, 1848, to Mary McClure, a native of Huntingdon County, Pa. They are the parents of eight children — Florence, wife of Lawrence Purcell, of Jackson Township; Ellen, wife of Frank Smith, of Davenport, Iowa; Jane, wife of Luther Purcell, of Jackson Township; David, street-car conductor in Chicago; Harry L., street-car conductor in Chicago: William Edgar, engaged in farming in O'Brien County, Iowa; John Edwin and Frank W., at home. The father of Mr. Utley died in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1836, and his mother in Altoona, Pa., in 1872.

Among the local offices Mr. Utley has held are those of Township Trustee two years; School Trustee six years, and Road Supervisor two years. He is a member of the G. A. R. and of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His wife is also a member of that church. When Mr. Utley came to this county he had but $200 and a wife and five children to support. He has been quite successful in a financial way, having a fine farm of 160 acres on section 24, Monroe Township, and his residence and half a square in Garrison.

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. 225.
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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