[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

Benjamin Brock (1827-1903)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/24/2022 at 11:42:49

Benjamin Brock
(March 4, 1827 – September 7, 1903)

Benjamin Brock is a retired farmer living in Manson, and through many years he has not only witnessed the upbuilding and development of Calhoun County, but has been associated with its progress through his connection with agricultural and commercial interests. He was born in Newberry, Orange County, Vermont, March 4, 1827. His father, William Brock, was also a native of the Green Mountain state, and when he had arrived at years of maturity wedded Ann Wallace, whose birth occurred in Orange County and who was a daughter of William Wallace, a native of Scotland, a descendant of the old Wallace family. The father of our subject turned his attention to farming, clearing a tract of timber land, built a home and remained in Vermont until his removal to Lowell, Massachusetts, where he became connected with the hotel business. Subsequently he resided in Manchester, New Hampshire, and then returned to the old home farm in his native state, spending his remaining days thereon. After the father's death the mother of our subject removed to Freeport, Illinois, and made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Alvira Emmett. In the family were the following: Wallace, who married Sophia Taplin, now deceased, and resides at Newberry, Orange County, Vermont; Flora Ann, deceased wife of Kinsman Robins, of New York, who has also
passed away; Benjamin, of this review; Robert, who died in infancy; R. G., who married Franke Doe, and resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Alvira, who died in infancy; Alvira, the wife of Martin Emmett, a resident of Beloit, Kansas; and Henry, who was married and resided in Nora Springs, Iowa, but who was killed in a railroad accident at McAlister, in Indian Territory. The subscription schools of his native
town afforded to Benjamin Brock his educational privileges. When a youth of nineteen he put aside his text-books and entered upon an active business career. For a short time he followed farming and then removed to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he began work as an apprentice in a machine shop, serving a term of three years. He afterward was employed as a journeyman machinist at three dollars per day. He and his brother, R. G., assisted in constructing
the first engine made in the works at Manchester. Subsequently he secured a situation in a cotton factory, where he remained for two years, after which time he spent a similar period in a cotton print manufactory. He next worked on the railroad for a time, but his health failed him and his physician advised him to return to the old farm in Vermont. Two years were then spent on the old homestead, during which time his health was completely restored.
It was on the 13th of January, 1852, — a most bitterly cold day, — in Manchester, New Hampshire, that Mr. Brock led to the marriage altar Miss Alma Bliss, a distant relative of Senator Bliss. She was born on the bank of the Connecticut river in Fairly, Vermont, April 18, 1828, a daughter of Phelps Bliss, whose birth occurred on the same farm where his daughter was born. Her mother bore the maiden name of Lucy Putnam and was also a native of Vermont. Mr. and Mrs. Bliss were married in that state, and the father carried on agricultural pursuits on the beautiful farm bordering the Connecticut river. Subsequently he removed to Wolcott, Lemoille County, where he engaged in farming until his emigration to the west. He took up his abode in Cresco, Iowa, in 1870, having purchased land there in 1866. He followed farming until his death, and both he and his wife passed away in that locality. Mr. Bliss was a most prominent, influential and distinguished citizen. He held all of the township and county offices and for
many years represented his district in the state legislature. Mrs. Brock is a relative of Senator J. P. Dolliver, who married the daughter of George Pearsons, of Fort Dodge, a cousin of Mrs. Brock. Her grandfather was General Putnam, one of the distinguished officers of the Revolutionary war, and her mother's brother blew the bugle which announced the capture of Black Hawk in the war of 1832. That Indian chieftain was then taken to Washington and through the country that he might gain a knowledge of the strength of the "pale faces" and their modes of living. Both of the brothers of Mrs. Brock, Samuel P. and Carlos Bliss, took part in the Civil war. The latter was wounded in the right leg in the battle of the Wilderness and died from his injury. In the Bliss family were nine children, namely: Alma, the wife of our subject; Martha, the wife of M. M. Smith, a prominent farmer of Center Township; Mary, deceased wife of Otis Griswold, who, after her death, married again and resided in Hardwick, Vermont,
but is also now deceased; Samuel P., who married Thankful Griswold. and after her death wedded Melissa Titus, who died in Manson, Iowa, where he is now living; Charlotte, who married Orlando Herbert and resides in Nebraska; Lucy, the wife of Nathaniel Durgin, of Cresco, Iowa; Etta, the wife of H. B. Stafford, who is engaged
in the insurance and real estate business in Lovina, Iowa; Carlos, who gave his life in defense of his country in the Civil war ; and Francis, who died at the age of six months. After his marriage Benjamin Brock removed to Wolcott, Vermont, and there engaged in farming, later following the same pursuit at Newberry, Vermont. In the year 1856 he became a resident of Wisconsin. On coming to Calhoun County. In 1870, lie purchased a quarter section of
land in Lincoln township. It was a tract of barren prairie on which no vegetation was found save the native prairie grass, the
plow had not yet made its way across the tract and the entire work of development and improvement devolved upon Mr. Brock. He
erected a frame house, sixteen by twenty feet, and a story and a half in height, and placed a picket fence in front of it, this being the first fence of the kind in the country, so that his place became known as "the picket fence farm." Thereon he remained for three years, at the end of which time he traded his farm for the restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa. There he conducted a very extensive business, and one Fourth of July he sold one hundred and ninety gallons of ice cream and everything else in proportion. After two years, however, he returned to Calhoun County, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land in Lincoln Township, for which he paid six dollars and a quarter per acre. His nearest neighbor was three miles away. Soon he enclosed his farm within a fence, built a good house, a barn and stock sheds, making his home upon the place for about five years, but his health failing he sold his farm and removed to Pomeroy, where he engaged in carpentering and contracting for a year. Returning then to Manson, he conducted the Seth Thomas Hotel, which stood on the site of Coon’s dry goods store. Subsequently he removed to the hotel owned by William Clark, which stood where the D. C. Wilson grocery house is now located, and for two years conducted that hostelry. He was afterward proprietor of the old Occidental hotel of Fort Dodge for a year and was very successful in his work there, clearing twelve hundred dollars the first year, which was considered very good profit owing to the size of the town and the amount of travel. Returning to Calhoun County, he was for two and one-half years associated with his son-in-law in the hardware business. He afterward purchased a piece of land in the town of Manson, which he sold at a large profit. He is now living retired at the home of his daughter, Mrs. John H. Harrison. In politics he is a stanch Republican, and has been a supporter of the party since its organization. Previous to that time he was a Whig and voted for William Henry Harrison. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Brock was blessed with three children. Eva J., the eldest, was born in Vermont and is the wife of Dr. J. M. Carroll, a resident of Laurens, Pocahontas County, by whom she has two daughters. The elder. Alma, is the wife of Edward Plumb, of Colorado, and they have two children, Carroll and Caroline. The younger daughter of Mrs. Carroll is Flora, the wife of Floyd Tool, of Laurens. Iowa, by whom she has one daughter, Helen. Lucy Ann, the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brock, was born in Rock County, Wisconsin, and is the wife of C. E. Cohoon, an attorney at Emmettsburg, Iowa, by whom she has one son, Brock. Hattie I., the youngest daughter of the family, was born on the edge of Rock prairie in Rock County, Wisconsin, and became the wife of J. T. Kelly. After his death she married J. H. Harrison and resides at Manson. Iowa. Her husband is engaged in merchandising at Rock Rapids. By her first marriage she had two children, Loie A. and D. J. Mr. Brock has led a very useful, honorable and active life. Starting out upon an independent business career, he had no capital and all that he possesses has been acquired through his own efforts. While he has gained success, it has been won through persistent and honorable purpose and over the record of his career there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He has passed the seventy-fifth milestone on life's journey and receives the veneration and respect which should ever be accorded to those who have reached an honorable old age. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S.J. Clarke, 1902, p.358]


Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]