HUGH HUMPHREY. A resident of Benton county since early boyhood, Hugh Humphrey, of Florence township, has not only continued the successful career in agriculture and business, which marked the life of his good, earnest father, but has devoted half a century of service to the public advancement of the township and county. Also active and liberal in church affairs, he has so ordered his life that it has contributed, to the limit of its strength and allotted time, to the comfort and happiness of those close to him and to the material and moral well-being of the community which has trusted and honored him. Mr. Humphrey is a native of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, born on the 23rd of September, 1845, to Joseph and Margaret (Gill) Humphrey, the latter being a daughter of Hugh Gill, of Butler county, that state. The father was a York state man, born January 19, 1816, who went to Pennsylvania with his parents in his early manhood, his industry and shrewdness soon making him a successful farmer and business man. In the spring of 1855 Joseph Humphrey converted his Pennsylvania property into money and settled in Florence township, this county, where he had purchased two hundred and forty-six acres of raw land. His first years in Iowa were filled with the hardships of a representative western pioneer, but hard and persistent work, with keen business insight and foresight, brought prosperity to the later years of his life. He sold his first farm and turned over his property several times before he finally purchased the four hundred acres which was his homestead at his death December 5, 1891. With his accumulation of money and property, the deceased developed in generosity, and was never happier than when he could help a deserving friend and neighbor. He was also liberal to general charities, and a stanch supporter of the Presbyterian church. In politics, he was a radical Republican, and it was often said that he would fight for his party, although he never asked a favor of it. His wife shared his honor and popularity, surviving her husband until May 28, 1900, when she died at the age of eighty-two.
Hugh Humphrey obtained a district school education in Pennsylvania and in Benton county and, although he was reared on a farm and has spent the years of his maturity in agricultural pursuits, he has never been a "farm hand." At the age of eighteen, when just commencing his course, he enlisted at old Western College, Linn county, in the Forty-fourth Iowa Infantry. He first went to Iowa City and was quartered for a time in the old state capitol, after which he went to Davenport, where he was mustered into the service. From Davenport he went to Cairo, Illinois, and was thence transferred to Memphis and LaGrange, Tennessee, and various points in Mississippi. The youth completed his hundred-day service, being chiefly occupied in guarding trains, railroads and bases of supplies at different points in Tennessee and Mississippi. Although this could not be called exciting, as war experiences go, he has always considered the trip as a valuable discipline and education for that period of his life.
In the fall of 1864 Mr. Humphrey received his honorable discharge from the Union service at Davenport, and returned to his home in Benton county. At the age of twenty-one he bought eighty acres of land from his father, and prospered from the first, his present fine homestead comprising a quarter section. He is also vice president of the Farmers' Savings Bank of Walford, Iowa. As to his political and public record, he cast his first vote as a Republican, the year after the war, and has never given his faith or his suffrage to any other party. He has served six years as a county supervisor, during which period the County Home and Court House were constructed under the contracts which he approved; was justice of the peace for sixteen years, and has been on the school board for more than thirty years. His broad and useful activity in local affairs also includes a liberal support of the Presbyterian church and all worthy charities.
On June 1, 1867, Mr. Humphrey married Miss Martha Leslie, daughter of Jacob and Mary Leslie, natives of Ohio. Mrs. Humphrey was educated in that state and at the Western College, Linn county, Iowa, and taught school in both Linn and Benton counties. Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey are the parents of three children; Lottie, who graduated from the academy at Blairstown, Iowa, is now the wife of J. F. Lust, of Hereford, Texas; Joseph is a farmer of this county; and Benton Wade, who graduated from Cornell and the Iowa State University, is cashier of the Farmers' Savings Bank at Walford, Iowa.