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Edwin R. Follett


Posted By: Dorothy Gosse (email)
Date: 5/13/2004 at 09:25:51

Edwin R. Follett,one of the extensive landowners and stock-dealers of the county. His home is on section 1, Pleasant Valley Township, and the many improvements upon the place indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owners and stands as monuments to his energy and perseverance. He was born in Lake County, Ohio, September 8, 1826, and is a son of Ashly Follett, who was born July 14, 1800, and at the age of sixteen years went to Lake County, Ohio, where he followed the trade of a millwright until 1833, when he emigrated to St. Joseph, Mich., where he secured employment in the same line of work. He married Diantha Montogomery and unto them were born nine children. Eliphalet, Simon A., Thomas M., Mary, Mary E., Elbridge, W. G., Sarah A. and Otis O. Mary died at the age of two years, Elihalet enlisted in the Thirty-Eighth Iowa Infantry and was made Captain of Company H. He now resides at Willow Ranch, Modoe County, Cal., Simon A., a Carpenter and joiner went to Chickasay County, Iowa, in 1878, and there operated a farm for ten years, when in 1888, his death occurred in Alpha. Thomas, who served in Company H, Thirty-Eighth Iowa Infantry, is now living in Oregon. Mary E., is the wife of Elisha Downie, a resident farmer of Lyons County, Minn. Elbridge enlisted in Company F, third Iowa Infantry, and saw much hard service. He participated in the battle of Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg and at Jackson, Miss., was mortally wounded on the 12th of July, 1863, his death occurring at Jefferson Barracks, in September following, Sarah A., is the wife of Bradley Lyon who resides at Willow Branch, Modoc county, Cal. Otis O. is married and farms at Lake View, Oregon.

The subject of this sketch first come to Iowa in September, 1839, with his father, who in Clayton County began to build a sawmill but the enterprise failed and they went to Menomomee Falls, Wis., where Mr. Follett and Edwin R. built three sawmills amid the best 0pine lands in the State. Two of these he built for lumber companies, and in the third he owned a one-half interest. He returned to Clayton County, Iowa, in 1841, but subsequently became a resident of Grant County, Wis., where his death occurred June 3, 1845. His son, then again sought a home in Clayton County, and purchased a farm of forty acres, to which he afterward added one hundred and twenty acres. This farm he carried on with the help of a younger brother and also worked a part of the time in the milling business. He aided in the erection of the large mills at Elkader, Clermont and at Motor, all on the Turkey River.

Mr. Follett celebrated Independence Day of 1853, by his marriage with Miss Olive R. Angell, daughter of Peleg Angell, who was born in Rhode Island February 5, 1790. His father Nehemiah Angell, was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War. The mother of Mrs. Follett, was in her maidenhood Miss Mary Rouse. Mr. Angell lived the life of a pioneer and followed the occupation of coopering. He was one of the early settlers of Clayton County, Iowa, where his death occurred in 1842. His wife is still living in her eighty-eighth year and is well preserved for a lady of her age. She is a great reader and still maintains an active interest in matters of general importance or moment. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Angell were six sons and but only two are now living---Isaac G. who married and farmed in Clayton County, died in 1863; Henry H., is married and with his family resides in Baker City, Ore.; Stephen S. died in Minneapolis, Minn., at the age of Twenty-three; John C., was Second Lieutenant in the Ninth Virginia Infantry, followed school teaching for a number of years after the war and died in Missouri September 3, 1877; George W., who is married and has four sons, is a resident farmer of Mitchell County, Iowa; Herbert R. enlisted in Company H, Eightieth Iowa Infantry, and died in Missouri November 14, 1662, during the service.

Mr. Follett whose name heads this sketch, settled on his farm of four hundred and eighty acres in Pleasant Valley Township in 1860. The year previous twenty-four acres had been broken but the remainder was still in its primitive condition. He spent the next season in preparing rails for two miles of fence and by preparing and creating a log house 16x26 feet, two stories in height. He also cut hay with a scythe to winter thirty-eight head of cattle and four horses. All this work was done with hiring only seventeen days work and by December 1860, he had a good home stored with provisions for the winter and was ready to receive his family who came to him from Clayton County. In those days he planted a great deal of wheat and from fifty and seventy-five acres in corn, which averaged about sixty bushels per acres. When the war broke out his brothers all entered the army. No less patriotic than them, Mr. Follett was induced to remain at home as it was necessary for some one to do and look after the six families whom he had to help in the way of supplying flour, wood, hay, etc., while the husbands were at the front. His work would not be termed heroic yet his labors were not less faithfully performed than those of his brothers at the front, or really did they do more for their county. After the war he kept adding to his land and placing it under cultivation and also engaged more extensively in stock-raising. He is the owner of eight hundred and forty acres, all under fence and worth not less than $40 per acre. The improvements are substantial and many and consists of all of those found on a model farm of the ninetieth century. The family at one time were forced to bear the hardships and trials of pioneer life but are now surrounded with every comfort and many luxuries. In the early days the Indians were not infrequent callers at their homes and at one time one of the savages on being refused something that he had asked of Mrs. Follett raised an axe and was ready to strike her. Just then her sons rushed in, one seized the axe, while the other, our subject, quickly took down the gun and would have shot the Indian had not the mother prevented.

Unto our subject and his wife have been born four children---Helen M., who married Valentine Wohlheiter, a real-estate dealer of Sherburn, Minn.; Ida E., wife of John Waterworth, a farmer of Chickasaw County, Iowa; Edwin M., who married Annie Mattern, and is a farmer of Pleasant Valley Township; and Henry H., who aids in the management and cultivation of the home farm. Mr. Follett affiliates with the Republican party and has even taken an active interest in political affairs. He has been a member of the School Board and has served as its Treasurer for twenty-four years, which is evidence of that trust reposed in him by the people of the community. He is a leader in all that has been for the good of the township and his interest in its welfare is unabated.


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