William L Pilcher
Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/11/2009 at 15:55:15
William L Pilcher No history of Boone county would be complete without mention of William L Pilcher, who was numbered among the honored pioneer men and took a very active part in the work of early progress and improvement here. He left the impress of his individuality upon the development of the county his labors were most effective in replacing primitive conditions with those of the civilization of the east.
Mr Pilcher was born in Stafford county, Virginia, on February 28, 1814, and represents an old family of that state. His father was Charles Pilcher, with whom he resided in Virginia until fourteen years of age, when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Ohio. For the succeeding thirty-four years the subject of this review was a resident of the Buckeye state.
It was in Ohio that Mr Pilcher was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jane Hamilton, who was born in Belmont county, Ohio July 7, 1819, and on May 4, 1842, gave her hand in marriage to the subject of this review. She was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Lafferty) Hamilton, the former born in Pennsylvania and the latter in Ohio. Her father as a farmer and miller and spent his entire life in the Buckeye state, where both he and his wife passed away. Unto the marriage of Mr and Mrs Pilcher were born six children, five of whom are yet living: James H born August 27, 1846, William M born January 26, 1852, Emily J born June 27, 1854, Charles F born December 25, 1856, ad Leonard D born October 9, 1859, Mrs Louisa E Hoyer, the eldest of the family, was born April 22, 1845, and died July 24, 1869.
Attracted by the possibilities and opportunities of the west, in the year 1848 Mr Pilcher left his Ohio home and with his wife and two children came to Iowa, settling first in Des Moines. Three years later, in 1851, he brought his family to Boone county, finding here a region which was situated on the very border of civilization. It was indeed a western frontier district, for wild game of many kinds abounded, including deer, turkeys and other lesser game, while
there were many wolves in the neighborhood. The nearest market was Des Moines, forty miles away, and the settlers had to go to Iowa City for flour and meal, for no mill had been built in this section of the state. Mr Pilcher purchased a claim of 320 acres and his first home was a little log cabin, which he erected. He then began the development of a farm and his untiring industry and unremitting diligence soon wrought a great transformation in the appearance of his land which was changed from a barren tract into one of rich fertility, making the place a very valuable one. In his farming operations Mr Pilcher met with a high degree of success, for as the years passed excellent crops brought to him a good income. He continued to reside upon his home farm until his death, and in the meantime he had placed excellent improvements upon it, including a substantial modern residence, good barns and other necessary buildings for the shelter of grain and stock. He passed away November 9, 1900, respected by all who knew him, for his life had ever been honorable and upright. He voted the Democratic ticket, but always declined to hold office. In his religious views he was a Baptist and his wife is a member of that church. In all matters of business he was reliable, honorable and straightforward, and his history proves conclusively the forces of integrity and industry in the active affairs of life. His labors were of the greatest benefit to the county along lines of improvement and progress and his name should be placed high upon the roll of honored pioneers.
Mrs Pilcher still survives her husband and is yet living upon the old home farm which he improved. She is one of the few pioneer women remaining that have for a half century been witnesses of the growth and development of the county. The work of the home farm is carried on by her grandson, Edward Hoyer, who carefully manages the property and keeps the land under a high state of cultivation.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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