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Charles Baldwin


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 07:46:26

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties Ė 1890


Charles Baldwin and his wife, who are now residing in Keosauqua, rank among the pioneers of Van Buren County, the husband dating his residence from March 1841, and Mrs. Baldwin from the spring of 1840. They have thus been witnesses of almost its entire growth and development, and having taken an active interest in its progress are certainly deserving of a representation in its history.

Mr. Baldwin was born in Guernsey County Ohio, July 18, 1818, and is a son of David and Lavina Wheeler Baldwin, both of whom were natives of Connecticut, the former born in Weston in 1792, the latter in Bridgeport in 1795. The Baldwins are of English descent and the family was founded in Connecticut at a very early day. Six children constituted the family of David and Lavina Baldwin and are as follows: Julia, who is now the wife of Josiah Allison, of Elmira, Salinas County California; Mary, widow of Judge Johnston, an eminent scholar and lawyer of ability, who was elected judge of his district and honored with a seat in the State Senate; George, who was a young man of great promise and a warm personal friend of Senator Stanfordís died in California about 1861; Harriet is the wife of O.D. Tisdale, a retired merchant of Ottumwa Iowa; Lavina married Darwin Degalio and both died in California. By trade, David Baldwin was a tanner and followed that business as a life occupation. He was a man well posted on all affairs of State and county and took an active part in politics, although he never sought or was desirous of holding office, Throughout the community he was known as Deacon Baldwin, having been a Deacon in the Congregational Church for many years. In 1817 he immigrated to Ohio, locating in Waterford, Washington County, when it was a vast wilderness and there made a home in which he and his wife spent their remaining days. Like her husband, Mrs. Baldwin was greatly beloved for her many excellent qualities of heart and hand. She lived the life of a consistent Christian and her lot was cast in a settlement where ministers were few, on Sunday she would often take her place behind the desk in the old log schoolhouse and read a sermon to the pioneers there assembled. She died at the age of thirty-six years, mourned by all who knew her.

Much work and little play was the rule of our subjectís early life. His education was acquired in a log schoolhouse in his native state, where he conned the rudimentary studies for about two months in the year, the remaining ten months, being devoted to assisting his father in the tannery, but by study in leisure hours, he gained knowledge sufficient to teach at the age of nineteen years. After a year spent in that vocation he went to Morgan County, Ohio, where he repaired a tannery remaining a couple of years, but the following March he turned his face Westward and in the Territory of Iowa found a home. Locating in Van Buren County, he made a contract with the firm of Lyon & Games to operate a tannery for five years, the profits of the same to be equally divided, but on the failure of those gentlemen to comply with the terms of the contract he abandoned the enterprise and entered the office of Hon. James B. Howell, under whose direction he studied law for a year. At the expiration of that time he erected a tannery of his own which he operated for ten years with good success, when he disposed of his business, having, in 1852, been elected Clerk of the District Court. He served one term but refused to be nominated again considering the duties too confining. His next venture was in the mercantile business as a partner of Thomas Rankin, whose interest he purchased after a year and continued the business alone until 1858, when on account of the financial depression felt throughout the country he found it impossible to make collections and discontinued business. Out of employment he once more turned his attention to law and was admitted to the bar in 1859, but the gold excitement, caused by discoveries at Pikeís Peak, was then at its height and he made a journey to that region, spending the summer in the mountains. On returning to Keosauqua, he formed a law partnership with Judge George G. Wright, under the firm name of Wright and Baldwin which connection continued until 1861 when the Judge was called to the bench to fill a vacancy. Mr. Baldwin was then alone in the practice of his profession until his retirement from that pursuit in 1884. He won prominence at the bar, and by his professional brethren was regarded as an able lawyer, while his popularity with the people was evinced by the liberal patronage he received.

On September 28, 1844, in Van Buren County, Mr. Baldwin and Miss Rachel daughter of John and Rachel Seaman Wright, were united in marriage. Their union has been blessed with six children: William W., who graduated from the Iowa University and became an attorney-at-law, was for a time connected with the Hon J. b. Hall, of Burlington, Iowa, and is now attorney for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, with headquarters in Burlington; Charles Jr., who was educated in the State University, is a practicing attorney of Salt Lake City, Utah; Lavina is the wife of Rev. J.W. Cheney, of Missouri; Lutie is the wife of Charles Lefferts, a loan and real-estate agent of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Julia is the wife of Dr. McKibben, a practicing physician of Keosauqua; and Edward died at the age of fifteen years.

During Clevelandís administration Mr. Baldwin served as Postmaster of Keosauqua and since resigning in 1888, has lived a retired life. The succeeding winter he and Mrs. Baldwin spent in the West, passing a portion of their time in Salt Lake City and the remainder in California. They are now living in retirement at the pleasant home in Keosauqua resting from the labors of former years and enjoying the fruits of past toil. In early life Mr. Baldwin was a Whig and cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, but on the dissolution of that party he joined the ranks of the Democratic Party, with which he has since affiliated.

I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.

Note: From descendant Jack de Golia 18 Sep 2012: "My information is that David Baldwin married Lavinia (not Lavina) Wheeler. One of their children is my great-great-grandmother, Lavinia Wheeler Baldwin (1829-1887). She married Darwin De Golia (not Degalio) and died on Oct. 14, 1887, in Oakland, Alameda County, Calif."

Jack de Golia
Henderson, Nevada

Note: From descendent Julie Johnson-Jeung - "Mary Baldwin was married to James Johnson (not Johnston). They are my great-great grandparents." juliejeung@gmail.com


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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