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Thomas Lowery / Lowry Iles


Posted By: Carol Bawden (email)
Date: 5/2/2007 at 16:07:06

Mary Terrill Bawden was born 9 May 1851 in Norristown, Montgomery County, PA, daughter of Stephen and Mary Terrill. She moved to Rockingham Twnshp with her parents at 9 yo in the summer of 1860. After attending Davenport schools, she married John Lowery Iles in Davenport on 7 February 1871.

He was born 15 September 1848, in Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky to Dr. Thomas Jefferson and Maria Louisa Nuckols Iles. John was the fourth of eight children, seven boys and a girl. John and Mary and the children lived at 614 E. 13th Street.

Mr. Iles is a typical representative of that clan of men who by their energy and perseverance have won conspicuous and enviable positions for themselves in business circles. He was surrounded in youth by the influences which tend to develop the best in a boy’s character, and received a good education in the public schools and at a commercial college, after which he was obliged by circumstances to depend upon his own efforts for his advancement.

His parents were natives of Kentucky and descendants of English and Scotch ancestry. The late Dr. Iles was a successful physician in Midway, and raised his family in the enjoyment of the necessaries of life, accumulating a comfortable competence, after which he retired from active business and spent the greater portion of his fortune in the enjoyment of a quiet old age. His children grew up with the knowledge that they must be the architects of their own fortunes, with comparatively little financial assistance from him.

In 1862, Dr. Iles removed his family to Davenport and it was here that John L., then but fourteen years of age, completed his education in the public schools and at the commercial college. A desire to become a farmer and to enjoy the independent life which that occupation would afford prompted him to journey to Boone County, Missouri, soon after leaving school, and to take up a piece of land containing about one hundred and sixty acres. He was successful in this venture, but remained in Missouri for a couple of years only, disposing of his land in 1870 in such a manner as to realize a handsome profit.

He came to Scott County and on the seventh day of February, 1871, was married to Miss Mary Terrill Bawden, a native of Norristown, Pennsylvania, but a resident here at the time of her marriage. Mr. Iles decided to remain in this section after he had taken unto himself a partner for life, because his family and that of his wife resided here, and also because opportunities for making money seemed as good here as elsewhere. He rented a farm in Davenport Township, afterward purchasing the adjoining farm and continued in agricultural pursuits for about five years. This undertaking proved successful. However, in spite of his success in agriculture, his ambition to be a farmer had been satisfied, and he gave up the occupation, coming to Davenport some time in 1876, where he purchased stock in the Davenport Force Pump Company. In this he met with failure – the first and only reverse which has overtaken him in his business career. He is not the kind of man, however to become disheartened on account of misfortune, and although he had lost the greater part of his savings, he began the battle of life anew, this time in an entirely new field of labor. An opportunity presented itself for him to enter in the grocery establishment of R. T. Miller. In these positions he was occupied for about two years, and in each proved himself faithful in the discharge of his duties and valuable to his employers.

He next found employment as traveling salesman for the Davenport Mills Company. In this he was more than ordinarily successful, and for eight years was a trusted and energetic representative of the concern mentioned. From 1888 to 1889 he sold flour for the Union Mills Company of Waterloo, Iowa, but feeling that he would prefer to do business on his own responsibility, he engaged in a new venture, having accumulated sufficient capital for the enterprise. In partnership with Messrs. William Finch and W. C. Hayward in 1889 he opened a flour, feed and grand store on the property adjoining that on which the Riverside mills now stand, on Front Street, and the firm was known as J. L. Iles & Co. In this business Mr. Iles has enjoyed a greater degree of prosperity than he had anticipated.

When the Riverside Mills Company was organized in the spring of 1892 he became a stockholder and was made treasurer of the company. The others interested were: William Finch, president; William C. Hayward, secretary; H. C. Johnson, manager; J. R. Lane, Lindsay, J. R. Phelps and Colonel Egbert. The capital of the concern was placed at sixty thousand dollars. Persons in Davenport who are familiar with its manufacturing interests know that the Riverside Mills Company has been one of the most prosperous institutions in all this section. The mill is among the largest, and the volume of business transacted there every year is as great, perhaps as that of any similar concern in this portion of the State. Mr. Iles has always been treasurer of this company, and during the spring of 1894 he secured the controlling interest, purchasing Mr. Finch’s shares of stock, and since that time has not only been the company’s treasurer, but has been its general manager as well. The business in which he is now engaged is one with which he is thoroughly conversant and in which he has the ability to be very successful. He thoroughly understands the manufacture of flour and is familiar with all the details of the business.

As a citizen Mr. Iles is held in high esteem; as a business man he bears the reputation of being scrupulously honest and fair in all his dealings with other men. He is genial and courteous, and numbers among his friends scores and scores of the best people in the community. The respect him for his sterling worth, and admire him for the determination and perseverance he has displayed in pushing himself to the front rank as a man of affairs. He is an enterprising man, interested in everything pertaining to the advancement of the city, and although he is not a public man in any sense of the word, he takes a lively interest in the welfare of the Republican party, in which political faith he has always believed. His friends have repeatedly waited upon him, urging him to be a candidate for office, but he has steadfastly declined, having neither the time nor the inclination to enter public life. His business has required his attention, and the fact that he has been successful shows that he has applied himself with great diligence.

Mary cared for her mother after the death of her father in 1881. Mary died 6 February 1894 at age 43.

On February 6, 1894, sorrow visited his house, and his wife, who had been an invalid for nearly two years, was summoned by the angel of death. She had suffered a stroke of paralysis, and during her long and tedious illness was a patient sufferer as she had been a true and noble wife and mother. There have been three children born into the home of Mr. Iles, the eldest being Mary Lou, the next Alice, who died at the age of five years, and the other John Thomas. Mr. Iles is fond of his home and family, and spends the greater part of the time which he gives to recreation among those most dear to him.

He lived in the family home at 614 E. 13th St. until 1917 when he moved to Magnolia Springs, Baldwin County, A, where he died 17 December 1939. The Iles were members of the Methodist Church. They are buried in Davenport's Oakdale Memorial Gardens with 9 family members in Section 2, Lots 69-70

1. Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County, Iowa, American Biographical Publishing Co, Chicago, IL H. C. Cooper, Jr. proprietors, 1895, pps 201-204

2. The Eldridge-Bawden Families, genealogy study compiled by Alice Richardson-Sloane, CG, Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, IA 1986 pps 146-47


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