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The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 441-443

WILLIAM JEWITT and ISAAC PICKERING are two of the most substantial citizens and prosperous farmers of Van Horne and Benton county. They are cousins by blood, but grew up in all the intimacy and affection of true brothers, and since attaining manhood have always been associated in large and profitable ventures in agriculture and business. The latter, who is a few years the younger, lost his father at an early age, and was reared as an inmate of the Jewitt household. They are both Yorkshire men of sound abilities, have always been Republicans, and the only noteworthy difference in their lives is that Mr. Jewitt has remained single, while his life long associate is a married man and father of two honored citizens of Union township.

William Jewitt, who is president of the Farmers' Savings Bank of Van Horne, was born in Yorkshire, England, on the 12th of October, 1843, and is a son of George and Jane (Stubbs) Jewitt, both natives of that country. Of the seven children born to them only one other member of the family is now alive, Stephen Jewitt, a farmer of Big Grove township, this county. The father died in England in 1865, aged sixty years, and soon afterward the widow emigrated to the United States with her children. The family first located in Chicago, were victims of the great fire of October, 1871, and in 1872 located on section 8, Union township, this county, and in the little house on the seventy-acre farm which then comprised the family homestead commenced a hard campaign, against poverty, pluckily fought by the widow and her sons (including Isaac Pickering). It had been a struggle from the first, as the father of the family had been a common laborer in England, and when the widow and her children landed in New York the household treasury contained but five dollars. The Chicago fire almost wiped out the small savings of the succeeding six years, and when the farm in Union township was occupied, the outlook was dark indeed. But persistent and united efforts after a few years brought security and comparative comfort, and the brave and faithful mother lived to see bright days of prosperity. She died on the Union township homestead January 17, 1890, at the age of eighty-eight years.

Being the oldest of the children, Mr. Jewitt was always the mainstay at home, and his mother leaned upon him to the last. With his foster brother, Isaac Pickering, he gradually amassed large tracts of land and became engaged in large business ventures related to his agricultural pursuits. When they retired to Van Horne, in March, 1909, rented their lands and withdrew from active business and agriculture, they held seven hundred and fifty-six acres in Benton county and a quarter section in Brule county, South Dakota. They had also become such heavy feeders of livestock, and not only was all the grain raised on their land thus consumed, but they were buying from twelve to fourteen thousand bushels annually of outside parties.

Many years ago Mr. Jewitt assisted in the organization of the Farmers' Co-operative Lumber and Grain Company of Van Horne, of which he has remained a leading stockholder. He was also one of the founders of the Farmers' Savings Bank, of which he was elected vice president in 1902 and president in 1904. Mr. Jewitt has invariably conducted his business and financial ventures to a successful conclusion; has also served as assessor and clerk of Union township, and acquitted himself in every private and public relation as a man who knew not the meaning of unfaithfulness or loose management.

Isaac Pickering was born in Yorkshire, England, September 28, 1848, and is a son of Isaac and Ann (Stubbs) Pickering. His father left the mother country in 1847, before the son was born, but nothing was ever heard of him again, and the fatherless infant was taken into the Jewitt family and reared as one of its own. When Mr. Jewitt died in 1865, as a youth of seventeen Isaac accompanied the widow and her own family to Chicago, and, as has been mentioned in the sketch of William Jewitt, was an active factor in advancing the fortunes of the struggling household and in forwarding the associated interests of himself and his lifelong friend, Mr. Jewitt.

On May 1, 1882, Mr. Pickering married Miss Hannah Janss, born in Germany November 9, 1859, daughter of Peter and Margaretta (Francburg) Janss. The seven of the ten children born to them who are still living are as follows: Cornelius, a resident of Belle Plaine; Dr. John A. Janss, a practicing physician of Malcolm, Minnesota; Peter and Herman, who live in Los Angeles, California; Henry, a Missouri physician; Alvenia, now Mrs. Welch, of Joplin, that state; and Mrs. Pickering. Peter Janss came to the United States in 1870, and located at Belle Plaine to follow his profession as a musician. His wife joined him in 1872, and in the following year his daughter, then fourteen years of age, became the wife of Mr. Pickering. Subsequently the father moved to Grand Island, Nebraska, and Los Angeles, California, dying in the latter place in August, 1900, at the age of seventy years. His widow still survives, aged seventy-four. Mr. and Mrs. Pickering are the parents of two sons, William and George, both farmers of Union township.

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