PIPER, MOCK, SMITH, CROOKS
Posted By: Karen Brewer
Date: 3/3/2009 at 08:04:53
Clarke County Historical and Biographical Record, by Lewis Publishing, 1886. p. 70.
JOHN PIPER, an active and successful agriculturist of Ward Township, was born in Frederick County, Virginia, near Winchester, the date of his birth being June 10, 1820. When he was six years old he was taken by his parents, Elisha and Elizabeth Piper, to Morgan County, Ohio, who removed to Muskingum County, Ohio, four years later, the father dying in the latter county when our subject was fourteen years of age. John Piper was reared to manhood on a farm in Muskingum County, receiving his education in the common schools.
After the death of his father he began working on the farm, which he followed till attaining his majority. He was then variously engaged for a time when he went to the State of Illinois, remaining there four years.
In 1856 he became a resident of Clarke County, Iowa. In 1854 he was married to Martha A. Mock, a resident of Edgar County, Illinois, daughter of George and Lucinda Mock, from North Carolina. They have eight children-- Lucinda E., Mary E., Elisha M., John H., Mattie A., George W., Iona V. and Emma V.
In the fall of 1856 Mr. Piper removed to his present farm on section 15, Ward Township, Clarke County, where he has 720 acres of choice land. Since coming to Clarke County he has been successfully engaged in farming and stock-raising, making a specialty of cattle and hogs. He has some specimens of short-horn cattle on his farm, and 100 head of Poland-China hogs. He is an industrious and enterprising citizen, and during his long residence in the county has won the confidence of a large number of friends and acquaintances.
Being an early settler he was several times chased by prairie fire. The most serious one being the 5th of November, 1861. While gathering corn he saw a smoke some distance west, the prairie being on fire. About 10 o’clock he and neighbor Smith went out to protect themselves, and in a short time neighbor Crooks came in to assist them. After noon Mrs. Smith, thinking there was no danger, started to take them some provisions as they had gone without their dinner. By this time seeing they could affect nothing by back firing they gave it up, and all started for Mr. Crooks’, which was nearly a half mile south. After traveling some distance Mr. Smith concluded he would go home, which was east one half mile, and told his wife to go to Mr. Crooks’. Before reaching Mr. Crooks’ place they were cut off by this western fire, but seeing a place some twenty feet square where the sod had been taken off, Mr. Piper stopped there and tried to persuade the others to stop too, but they went on and were burned. Mrs. Smith was found on the ground. Mrs. Crooks died that night, and Mr. Piper was burned pretty badly.
Note: See the newspaper article, Prairies on Fire, posted by Ken Wright on January 24, 2009 under the heading DOCUMENTS.
Clarke Biographies maintained by David Dinham.
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