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

REV. JOHN SUMMERS, deceased, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 25, 1808. He was educated in the schools of his native city, and in 1841 was ordained as minister in the Presbyterian Church. In 1828 he was united in marriage with Ann Brown, also a native of Philadelphia. Immediately after his ordination as minister of the Gospel, he emigrated to Illinois, and for eleven years served as an itinerant preacher in Fulton and Knox Counties. In 1852 he came to Iowa and located near the present site of Shellsburg, preaching in the neighborhood, and also supplied the church at Vinton for two years. In 1868 he removed to Marshall County, and was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Albion until his death, which took place in 1873. His wife survives him and is now residing at Marshalltown. Mr. and Mrs. Summers were the parents of eight children, one of whom, William H., enlisted in Co. D. 28th Iowa Vol. Inf., and was killed at the battle of Champion Hills. Four are now living — Charles L.; Anna L., married to Al Runyon; Lucy, married to Andrew Loree; Harriet married to Anderson Elson. Mr. Summers gave his whole attention to the ministry, and his unceasing labors for many years in the vineyard of the Master, and his humble piety and Christian life endeared him to those who from time to time listened to his eloquent discourses and fervent prayer, as he told the story of the Cross, and pointed his hearers to Him who "taketh away the sin of the world." He was bitterly opposed to slavery, believing that all men are born with equal rights, regardless of race, and before the organization of the Republican party was known as an Abolitionist.

CHARLES L. SUMMERS, son of Rev. John and Ann (Brown) Summers, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 8, 1829. He came West with the family in 1841, and located in Knox County, Ill. He was reared on a farm and received an academic education at Galesburg. When he attained his majority, he commenced his business life as clerk in a mercantile establishment, and for two years engaged in the book trade at Abingdon, Ill. In 1859 he came to Iowa and became a resident of Benton County, locating near Shellsburg. When the Civil War broke out he at once responded to the call for troops by enlisting in Co. G, 5th Iowa Vol. Inf., and was mustered into the service July 15, 1861, as Orderly Sergeant. On the 1st day of February, 1862, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant, which position he resigned Sept. 29, 1862, having been injured during a march to such an extent as to disable him from active service. Returning to Benton County, he established a general mercantile business at Shellsburg, and was engaged in the same the greater part of the time until 1884, when he sold his business. On the 31st day of December, 1862, Mr. Summers was married to Hannah White, a native of Ohio. They have three children — Frank, Ella and Anna.

Politically Mr. Summers was early in life an Abolitionist, casting his first vote for John P. Hale, in 1852. In 1856 he voted for John C. Fremont, and has since voted for every Republican candidate for the Presidency. He was appointed Postmaster of Shellsburg, April 1, 1864, and continued to hold the office until January, 1884, when he resigned and James Elson was appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr. Summers also served as County Supervisor for four years; he was Justice of the Peace several years, and has held several other local offices. In 1884 he was appointed aid-de-camp on Gen. Sherman's staff, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, the duties of which were faithfully and conscientiously discharged. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the I. O. O. F., the G. A. R. and 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. 252-253.
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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