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Posted By: Nettie Mae (email)
Date: 1/29/2019 at 13:05:07


The subject of this sketch, Homer Carpenter, now living retired at Camanche, is one of the few men now living who has been prominently identified with the early settlement, development and growth of Clinton county. Mr. Carpenter was born in the town of Moriah, Essex county, New York, on the 29th day of November, 1818. His father, Elijah Carpenter, was a native of the Green Mountain state, having been born in Clarendon, Rutland county, November 8, 1787, and he in turn was a son of Jabez and Mary Carpenter, natives of Connecticut. By trade his father was a carpenter, and was a soldier in the French and Indian wars. He was a pioneer of Essex county, having settled there in 1803. Thus it will be seen that the Carpenters were of New England extraction, descending from those grand old fathers of our republic who exerted in so signal a manner their wisdom and energy in planting the seeds of freedom, piety and learning, the fruits of which are so richly enjoyed from the Atlantic to the Pacific today.

The father of our subject married Abigail Parsons, a native of New Hampshire. She was born in Chesterfield, March 9, 1794, and was the daughter of Benjamin Parsons, one of Washington's veterans in the Revolutionary war. Thus it may be seen that on both sides of the family of our subject comes the best stock of our country. From his father Elijah Carpenter inherited a tract of land where he built a log cabin, and where his children were born. Here he remained a resident of New York until 1851, when he removed to Iowa and located in Scott county, where he died in the fall of that year; his wife died March 16, 1871. To this union nine children were born, our subject being the second son.

Mr. Carpenter acquired his early education at the subscription schools in the winter time, and the remainder of the year assisted his father upon the farm. On January 5, 1843, our subject chose as a helpmate and companion through life's journey a Miss Samanthy Draper, a native of western New York; she is the daughter of Sarah (Wire) Draper. Mrs. Carpenter's parents were very poor, and after she was fourteen years of age she earned her own living, being employed in one family for four years, receiving for the first three years seventy-five cents a week for her services, the last year one dollar. She had no assistance in making her way in the world but her own willing hands and her excellent health.

In September following their marriage they engaged with parties to go to the lumber regions, he to cut and measure logs and she to cook, receiving as a compensation eighteen dollars the first year and twenty dollars per month. They were very frugal and saved their small earnings, with which they soon purchased a pair of horses and a wagon, and in June, 1845, they started for the territory of Iowa, taking their household goods with them. Arriving at Buffalo they embarked on a vessel for Chicago, and came thence to Scott county, Iowa, crossing the Mississippi at Davenport. When Mr. Carpenter paid his bill at Chicago he lacked just one cent of the amount necessary. On the way to Iowa they did their own cooking and slept in a wagon, and arriving at Davenport they possessed one dollar and ten cents and managed to get four dollars in debt. Arriving here, he rented a part of Jeremiah Payne's farm near Le Claire, and used a slab shanty that was on the place for a dwelling. He secured employment at sacking grain, for which he received seventy-five cents a day, taking as pay meat and produce. Mrs. Carpenter, by working at the home of Mr. Payne, earned money enough to buy the first hog they ever owned, and also assisted in paying for a cow, but misfortunte [sic] overtook them and the cow and pig both died. Mr. Carpenter replaced them and promised to pay for them in plowing, but here again misfortune confronted them, as he was taken sick and unable to do any work during the fall. The old saying that troubles rarely come singly certainly proved true in this case, as one misfortune after another fell upon them. The scarcity of money prevented him from buying a hat for winter, and he tells with much gusto and apparent enjoyment the length of time he spent trying to pursuade his wife to cover his old straw hat with a portion of the wagon cover, which was painted red; this, he says, not only served me for common use, but was my Sunday-go-to-meeting "tile."

In 1846 he took up forty acres of land in Le Claire township, Scott county, and in 1847 sold one of his horses and entered another forty acres adjoining, and while renting land he was making improvements on his own. He broke a few acres, split a few hundred rails, and in 1850 sold out for six hundred dollars and bought an improved eighty in the same township for twelve hundred dollars. Mr. Carpenter kept steadily at work and by the aid of his worthy and helpful wife they were able to add each year to their worldly possessions. They worked that farm, with the exception of four years which they lived in the city of Le Claire, until 1865, when they sold out and moved to Camanche. There he bought property for which he paid eight thousand dollars, the farm containing one hundred and sixty acres and a good set of first-class farm buildings. In 1871 he sold that place for ten thousand five hundred dollars and bought a half section of land in Eden township, which he has also disposed of. At different times he purchased small pieces of land in Camanche, until finally he had about eighty acres, but a few years ago he sold that and purchased a house and two lots, where he now resides.

Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter both enjoy good health and feel that in the luxury which surrounds them and in the joys of happy old age they are reaping the reward for the early privations and struggles endured by them. Five children have blessed their union and grown up about them. Sarah A. married Hial Farnsworth, and they reside in Camanche; Mary E. became the wife of William H. Hanke, and they are now residing in Michigan; Emily, the widow of J. B. Horsfield, was twice married, her first husband being a brother of her last; Helen P., who married R. C. Dannett, and they reside about fifty miles north of Storm Lake, Iowa; Orville H., now resides. at Iowa City.

Mr. Carpenter has always taken an active interest in public affairs, and has served for four years as supervisor in Scott county and two years since coming here. In politics he is a Republican. Mrs. Carpenter in her religious connections is a member of the Baptist church.

Source: The 1901 Biographical Record of Clinton Co., Iowa, Illustrated published: Chicago : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1901.


Clinton Biographies maintained by Nettie Mae Lucas.
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