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H.M. (Morgan) Chidester


Posted By: Linda (email)
Date: 7/20/2005 at 02:11:30

"Biographical & Genealogical History of Appanoose and Monroe Counties, Iowa - New York: Lewis Pub Co 1903

H. M. (Morgan) Chidester

No history of Monroe County would be complete without mention of the Chidester family. Fifty-seven years have passed since they first came to the county, having established their home within its borders in 1846, just as the Indians were leaving for the reservations assigned them. Great indeed was the difference in the conditions of the county at that time from what it is today, most of the land being still in it's primitive condition and few improvements having been made.
Mr. Chidester was born in Lewis County, West Virginia, October 28, 1837, a son of Zadok and Susannah (Tharp) Chedister, who were also natives of that county. His paternal grandfather, Holdridge Chidester, was born in Virginia of Scotch, English and Welsh ancestry, the family being early established in the Old Dominion. He was a soldier of the war of 1812. Zadok Chidester was reared, educated and married in the county of his nativity, his wife being the daughter of Hezekiah and Huldah (Cox) Tharp, who spent their last days in Van Buren County, Iowa. Her father was also a native of Virginia and of English descent.
It was in June, 1846, that Zadok Chidester brought his family to Iowa, making the journey by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers to Keokuk, Iowa, whence they proceeded by ox team to Monroe County, locating on the farm in Mantua township where his widow resided until her death on the 15th of February, 1903. There the father secured seven hundred acres of fertile and productive land, and after building a log house for the accommodation of his family, he at once set to work to clear, break and improve his place. Throughout his active business life he successfully engaged in general farming and stock-raising, but was at length compelled to relinquish active labor on account of rheumatism, from which he suffered for many years, but being a man of good business and executive ability he still managed his business with remarkable skill. After a useful and well-spent life he passed away at the age of eighty-six years, honored and respected by all who knew him. He was a most hospitable man, the latch-string on his door being always out, and no one was ever refused entertainment at his home. His word was ever considered as good as his bond and his advice was often sought by his friends and neighbors. In politics he was a Democrat. His estimable wife, who survived him, resided till her death in the pleasant home he erected upon his farm in later years, and was beloved by all who knew her.
To this worth couple were born fourteen children, of whom eleven are still living, namely" H.M. of this review; Mrs. Sarah Deyo, of Mountain Grove, Missouri; Mrs. Virginia Pittinger, of the same place; Leander and Floyd, both residents of Mantua township, this county; Mrs. Marietta Perrin, also of Mantua township; Mrs. Huldah Rogers, of Nuckolls County, Nebraska; Elliott, of Tacoma, Washington; Zadok, of Mantua township; Emery, a well known citizen and prominent stockman of Urbana township, Monroe County; and Frank, who lives on the old homestead farm.
The subject of this sketch was a lad of nine years when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Iowa, and being the oldest son he soon proved of great assistance to his father in the development of improvement of the farm. His education was acquired in an old log schoolhouse with slab seats and puncheon floor. He remained under the parental roof until twenty-six years of age, when he offered his services to the country to assist in crushing out the rebellion, enlisting in February 1863, in Company
A, Thirty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under the command of Colonel Kittridge, Lieutenant Colonel Drake and Captain Porter. He was in the battles of Elkins Ford, Camden, and at Marks Mills was taken prisoner. During the ten months he was in the hands of the enemy his rations consisted of but one pint of meal per day. After being exchanged he returned home on a furlough and later rejoined his regiment at White river, Arkansas. At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge from the service and returned home to resume farming and stock-raising.
At the age of twenty-five years Mr. Chidester married Miss Sarah Parry, who was born in England but was reared and educated at Cedar Creek in Guilford township, Monroe county, Iowa, her parents being David and Mary (Newman) Parry, also natives of England. By occupation her father was a stonemason and farmer. On coming to the new world in 1854, he located in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and in 1856 came to Iowa, making the journey by water, down the Ohio and up the Mississippi river to Keokuk. He settled in Guilford township, Monroe county, but his last days were spent in Union township, Iowa, where he died at the age of seventy-six years. He was an earnest member of the Christian church and a Republican in politics. His wife, who was a member of the same church, departed this life at the age of eight-five years. They had eight children, namely; David, who enlisted in the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Infantry during the Civil war and died in the service; Sarah, the wife of our subject; James M., Mrs. Mary McCauley, Emily, Jennie, Mrs. Martha Peck, Mrs. Maggie Turner. In his farming operations Mr. Chidester has steadily prospered and is today the owner of a fine fa5rm of four hundred acres, it being one of the most desirable tracts in the county. The buildings upon the place are of good and substantial character, and its neat and thrifty appearance indicates the supervision of a painstaking farmer and man of more than ordinary business ability. He follows stock-raising in connection with general farming.
Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Chidester: Leander, in business in Ottumwa, Iowa; Mrs. Clara Grooms, of Monroe County; William and James, both resident of Mantua township; Mrs. Anna Wilson, who is living in that township; and Ussie, who is now a student in Drake College of Des Moines, where she is taking the arts and sciences; she has been a popular and successful teacher and spent four years in the Ottumwa high school. Hezekiah died aged two years, six months.
Mr. Chidester maintains relations with his old army comrades by his membership in Castle Post No. 313, G.A.R. of Avery, and has held office in the same. Politically he is a strong Republican, never wavering in his allegiance to that party. As an honored pioneer and one of the representative men of his community, as well as a loyal defender of the country during the dark days of the Civil war, he is worthy of the high regard in which he is uniformly held.
This is all that I know of this man. He is of no relation to me.


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