Alonzo J Barkley
Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 5/13/2010 at 16:46:40
An attractive residence erected in 1893 at No 326 Boone street is the home of Alonzo J Barkley, who at different times has been connected with the real estate, telephone and banking business at Boone. His activities have been of a character which ahs contributed to public progress and prosperity, as well as to individual success. He retired fro the presidency of the Boone County Bank on February 10, 1911, after twenty-seven years’ labor at the head of that institution.
Mr Barkley is a representative of one of the pioneer families of the state and was born in Linn county, Iowa March27, 1842, his parents being James Newton and Lydia (Hobson) Barkley, natives of Virginia and of North Carolina respectively. In this youthful days the father accompanied his parents to Kentucky and afterward to Lawrence county, Indiana, and as soon as he attained his majority they came to Iowa and took up a claim in Linn county until 1856, when he removed with is family to Boone county, settling on land in Dodge township, about eight miles from Boonesboro, on thee then unbroken prairie, whose rich black sod soon began to answer his daily prayer for bread. He joined the ranks of the republican party when it required courage to announce one’s political convictions along that line. His religious faith was that of the Methodist church and in that belief he passed away April 6, 1866. It was at Bedford, Indiana, that he married Miss Hobson, who was a Quaker as were her ancestors. She passed away in 1887 at the age of seventy-four years, enjoying to the fullest degree the love of her children and the confidence and high regard of all who knew her. Unto Mr and Mrs Barkley were born the following named: Mary, deceased, A J, Harriet M, the widow of Eugene Favre, Levina, Linzy, who has passed away, Mazzini C and Henry deceased.
A cotemporary biographer has written: “The boy Alonzo derived his primary education chiefly through contact with nature and form the Bible, interpreted at this mother’s knee, and illustrated by applications to the moral questions which arise into progress s of a young life.” The school house a Ridgeport was seven miles form his home and thus it was impossible for him to pursue this studies there. The winter months were largely spent in the woods, among rails and posts, which he hauled with ox teams to the farm. In 1861, however he divided his time between chopping cord wood, farming and attending school at Boonesboro. IN the spring he concentrated his energies upon the farm work, while his father spent his time in building pioneer homes for new arrivals. As the went into the fields Alonzo Barkley would carry with him a principle in grammar or a problem in mathematics for study along the way. He mastered everything thoroughly and while he practically had none of the training of the schoolroom, he began to show a knowledge superior to that of many whose opportunities were far greater than his own. As he followed the plow his mind was taken up with questions that developed in him that have a way of thinking clearly and of arriving at correct deductions. Each lesson of his life has been thoroughly learned. At times experience has been to him a hard taskmaster, but he has never faltered in the face of duty, whether in the performance of a task for his own benefit or in the broader field of duty toward city and country.
He was but twenty years of age when he enlisted on August 11, 1862, as a member of Company D, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was organized at Camp Franklin, Dubuque, and a detachment of four companies, A, F, G and D commanded by Major G A Eberhart, went to Cape Girardeau and spent the fall, winter and succeeding spring moths in southern Missouri, building fortifications of the Cape and at Bloomfield. This detachment assisted in defeating Marmaduke’s army at Cape Girardeau and driving it into Arkansas, returning in time to accompany General Davidson’s cavalry division on its famous five hundred mile march through Missouri and Arkansas to Little Rock, where Price’s army was defeated and driven out. Speaking of Mr Barkley’s military experience another writher has said: “Mr Barkley was one of the sixty men hat went up the river form Clarendon to Searcy and burned the pontoon bridge across the Little Red river after a portion of Marmaduke’s army had crossed. There sixty men captured two small steamers, “ the Tom Sugg’ and Easkaskia, ‘ and returned to Clarendon, one third of their number having been killed or wounded before their return to the company. He also took part in the fight at Bayou Metoe, where one of his company was killed and two severely wounded.
The regiment was reunited at Vicksburg and in the spring of 1864, joined in Banks’ Red River expedition. It participated in skirmishes and battles of that disastrous campaign until Pleasant Hills reached on April 8, 1864. The next day a fierce conflict raged in Shaw’s brigade, with which was Colonel Scott’s Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, held the center until nightfall, when it was surrounded and obliged to cut its way out, losing more men in killed and wounded than did any other regiment in the engagement. Diligent inquire and a hasty examination it eh darkness so disclosed the result of that day’s battle and the condition of the survivors,. Mr Barkely’s would was bleeding so profusely that he went in search of surgical aid were prompt attention might stanch the flow of blood and possibly save his life. At the headquarters of General Banks he was given the necessary attention and the service of Surgeon Sanger, the distinguished medical director of the Nineteenth Army Corps The right shoulder was the enjointed and from the torn and mangled arm below the shattered bone was cut out and removed. Long before daylight Banks had left his dead unburied on the field and the wounded to be captured and held as prisoners of war for three months, when the survivors whose wounds forever unfitted them for military service, were taken on boats and paroled by said surgeon Sanger an spent to New Orleans. In order to escape the yellow fever they were sent up to Memphis , Tennessee, and in December 1864, while still a paroled prisoner, Mr Barkley was discharged and arrived at his father’s farm house in Christmas Day without notice, making a happy holiday for all.
Life’s experiences were teaching Mr Barkley the value of education and anxious to advance along that line, he entered Cornell College at Mount Vernon, Iowa, in March 1865, and remained until the death of his father in April 1866. Returning home, still carrying wounded arm in a sling, he engaged herding cattle. In the fall of that year he was made the republican nominee for county recorder, to which office he was chosen at the regular election in November, entering upon the duties of the position in January 1867. He was reelected 1868 and while acting in that capacity he competed a set of abstract books covering all lands in Boone county, doing the labor in what otherwise would have been “leisure hours” and devising his won system. Although he had never before seen a set of abstract records, he succeeded in making as compete a set as nay in Iowa. On his retirement from the position of recorder he entered the real estate and abstract business, becoming agent for the Iowa Railroad Land Company ad the Blair Town Lot & Land Company, and represented large transition central Iowa held by non resident landowners on his own account until 1882, when he sold out. He as connected in the telephone development, his initial step in this direction being made in 1889, later construction lines form Boone to Ames, Madrid, Ogden and Dayton. In 1891 he organized the Boone County Telephone Company and established a telephone exchange. He remained at the head of the business until 1892 when he sold out to the Bell system.
In the meantime he had become active in financial circles as one of the promoters and organizers of the Boone County Bank in February 1884. He was elected its first vice president with R J Hiatt as president, directing its affairs successfully until February 10, 1911, when he sold his stock and retired. Under his guidance the progressive policy of the bank was temped by a safe conservatism, and the success of the institution was built upon the enterprise, sound judgment and honorable methods of the president.
It is almost impossible for a man who has been as active in business as Mr Barkley not to be closely associated with affairs of public moment. He becomes a vital force in the community and has influence has much to do with the shaping public policy. Thus it has been with Mr Barkley who has twice represented his ward in the city council and who is 1899 was chosen to represent his district in the twenty-eighth general assembly. After serving for two years, endorsement of his first tem came in his reelection. During the first term he was a member of the library committee and assisted in preparing the bill creating the Iowa library commission, which became a law and has proven to be of much worth by advancing library development in this state. During he second term he was a member of the committee on appropriations, also in the ways and means committee and other important committees and was advanced to the chairmanship of the library committee. His bill became a law consolidating the traveling library with the Iowa library commission and the appropriation for the fore was largely increased. He has closely studied questions of public moment, and his endorsement of any measure arises form the fact that he has firm belief in its effectiveness as a factor for general good.
Mr Barkley was united in marriage November 6, 1866, in Boone county to Miss Henrietta Trickey, who died in 1889. About two years later, on July 8, 1891, he was married in Ainsworth, Nebraska to Miss Flora Spencer, who for a number of years was a successful educator in Waukon, her former home, and in the high school of Boone, Iowa. theirs is beautiful home, attractive by reason of its warm hearted hospitality which is greatly enjoyed by their many friends.
Mr Barkley has always been deeply interested in the cause of education and served for a number of years as one of the trustees of Cornell College. HE is prominent in Masonic circles, holding membership in the lodge, chapter and commandery and the Mystic Shrine, and for several terms he was master of the Lodge. He wears the little bronze button that proclaims his membership with the Grand Army of the Republic, and is a member of the J G Miller Post. He has many social qualities which render him popular. He is ever ready to listen to the arguments of others, but when once determining that his course is right, nothing can swerve him there from. It is said that the domestic animals about his place know him for their friend and that children love him. These things are indicative of a war heart and kindly nature.
1914 Boone County Histor Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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