WILLIAM H. WALLER has been identified with the life and interests of Benton county since 1867, and he resides at the old home farm purchased by his father in 1866, in the pioneer period of the county. He was born in Lincolnshire, England, April 5, 1844, a son of Robert and Mary (Hewitt) Waller. Lincolnshire was the family home of the Waller family for many generations, and Robert Waller was the first to come to America, arriving here with his family in 1852. His home was at Belvidere, Illinois, for a short time, and he moved from there to Pecatonica of the same state. His first employment in this country was at railroading, but later taking up farming he continued that vocation in Benton county until his death, dying at his old home in Homer township in 1886, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife, also born in Lincolnshire, England, and a member of an old family there, is yet living, having reached her ninety-fourth year. She was born in 1816. Mr. Waller is one of their three living children, Mrs. E. A. Stamp being a resident of South Dakota, and John P. Waller, a veteran of the Civil war, is living in Cherokee county, Iowa.
William H. Waller was reared from the age of nine years in Pecatonica, Illinois, attending the common schools there, and he worked out for others considerably until enlisting in the summer of 1862 for three months' service in the Civil war, but he continued on for nine months, engaged in guarding prisoners at Camp Douglas, Chicago. Re-enlisting in December, 1863, in Company C, Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, he served in the western army, his services extending through Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas, and he was honorably discharged at Houston of the latter state in July of 1866. Although never wounded his army service somewhat impaired his health, and he returned to his home in Winnebago county, Illinois. From there in 1867 he came to Benton county, Iowa, and has since been one of the leading farmers of Homer township. He married in this county in 1869 Miss Mary M. Sowders, who was born in Jackson county, Indiana, in 1848, a daughter of Thomas and Lydia (Urmy) Sowders, who made the journey with wagons to this state in the early '50s and located in Iowa county, their home until death. Both passed away in the year of 1860, in early life, leaving three children: Mrs. D. W. Utley, who died at Chicago, Illinois, in November, 1896, and Jacob W. Sowders, who died at St. Paul, Minnesota, but both were residents of Benton county. The three children, including Mrs. Waller, came after the death of their parents to the home of their grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Urmy, in Monroe township, Benton county. The grandparents were early pioneers here. Jacob W. Sowders at the age of nineteen years enlisted in Company G, Second Iowa Infantry, and was soon made an orderly under Generals Custer and Shane, having been one of the most daring members of his regiment. While delivering dispatches he was attacked by sharpshooters at the battle of Lookout Mountain and was severely wounded. Rejoining his regiment he remained with it until the close of the war, and resided for some years afterward in Waterloo, Iowa. He was later engaged in business at St. Paul, Minnesota, his home for about thirty years before his death.
Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Waller located at their present home, and here their six children have been born. Cora B. is the wife of Sherman Barber, a mechanic and engineer at Dysart, and they have a son Glenn. Before her marriage Mrs. Barber attended the Dysart high school and became one of Benton county's prominent teachers. Lillian died in September, 1891, at the age of eighteen years. Oscar R., a Tama county farmer, married Miss Orpha Chase and has two children, Earl and Irene. He was a student at the State Normal school at Cedar Falls and his wife attended Tilford Academy. Arthur E. is at home. Daisy Pearl, attended Tilford Academy at Vinton but is at home now. Roy W. is also at home. Mr. Waller and his sons vote with the Republican party, and during twenty-two years the former served as secretary of school district No. 3, resigning from that position just recently. He was formerly connected with P. M. Coder Post, No. 98, G. A. R., of Vinton, but afterward transferred his membership to H. M. Miller Post, No. 261, at Dysart. The family for many years have attended the Methodist church at either Rogerville or Dysart. They are numbered among the representative citizens of Homer township.