[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]

Jeffrey, William R.


Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 6/30/2021 at 11:55:31

William R. Jeffrey, capitalist, came to Washington County when a small boy, and has since made it his home. He was born in Fayette County, Ind., Feb. 22, 1836, and is the son of Asahel and Nancy (Stephens) Jeffrey. His father was born on Long Island in 1812 and moved to Indiana at a very early day, and there married Nancy Stephens, March 16, 1835. They were the parents of seven children, five of whom are yet living, as follows: William R., of Washington, Iowa; Marion, a farmer: Jeremiah, a resident of Wymore, Neb.; Jane, the wife of Frank James, express agent, Greenfield, Adair Co., Iowa; Hiram, stock and grain dealer in Page County, this State. Asahel Jeffrey in early life was a Democrat, but in consequence of the position of the party on the slavery question became a Republican casting his first vote with that party in favor of Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and died in March, 1887, at his home in Washington. He came to this county in 1843 and located in Oregon Township, where he entered 200 acres of land with a land warrant, and where he resided until his death. Few men were better known or more highly respected by those who knew him than Asahel Jeffrey. A sketch of him will appear in this work.

William R. Jeffrey was the first child of Asahel and Nancy Jeffrey, and came with his parents to this county when a lad of seven years. Notwithstanding his tender years, he helped haul the logs to build the first school-house in Oregon Township, and attended the first school. It was three miles from his home, but for three months in winter he was daily in attendance. Here he grew to manhood, assisted his father on the farm, and by home study as well as in the school, obtained a fair education. He engaged in teaching school himself until the call of President Lincoln in 1862 for “300,000 more” when he dropped his books and enrolled as a member of Co. C, 19th Iowa Vol. Inf., was appointed Color Sergeant, and as such marched with the regiment to the front. The regiment rendezvoused and was mustered into the service at Keokuk, from which place it was sent to St. Louis and from there to Springfield, Mo., on a raid after the bushwhackers infesting that portion of the State, and who were commanded by Marmaduke, who in 1884, was elected Governor of Missouri.

While on the battle-field where Gen. Lyon was killed a few months previously, the regiment received orders for a forward movement, and with others engaged the rebel army at Prairie Grove, Dec. 7, 1862, where Mr. Jeffrey was wounded by a piece of shell near the knee, carrying away a portion of the flesh, and with it the nerve, thus disabling him for life. While lying upon the field one of his toes was shot off. The battle raged until night, the men sleeping upon their arms, expecting to renew the engagement the next morning. When daylight came the rebels were not to be seen, having disappeared in the night. Mr. Jeffrey had his wounds dressed in the field hospital, where he remained for a short time and was then sent to Fayetteville, then to Springfield, Mo., and then to St. Louis, where he remained until Nov. 2, 1863, when he was honorably discharged.

Returning home and being incapacitated for outdoor employment, he began teaching school, in which profession he continued until the fall of 1864, when he was elected Recorder of Washington County, and was re-elected in 1866, serving for four years. While Recorder he compiled the first abstract books of Washington County, and on the expiration of his term of office engaged in the abstract and real-estate business, in which he continued until 1882 with good success. In the organization of the Washington County Savings Bank, Mr. Jeffrey took and active interest and was one of its principal stockholders. He was elected its first Vice President, a position which he yet holds, and is also one of its Directors.
Mr. Jeffrey was first married in Louisa County, Iowa, in 1860, to Miss May Olds. By this union there were four children: Lillie, the wife of S. R. Wallace, of Washington, William R., Jr., a student at Mt. Pleasant; Hiram G., of Harlington, Neb., and A.P., a farmer in this county. Mrs. Jeffrey died March 9, 1869. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a sincere Christian woman. Mr. Jeffrey’s second wife was formerly Miss Lida Wright, by whom he has four children – Mertie, Kate, Jessie and John H. In politics, Mr. Jeffrey is a Republican, and is a member of the G. A. R.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of William R. Jeffrey, pages 616-617.


Washington Biographies maintained by Joanne L. Breen.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

[ Return to Index ] [ Read Prev Msg ] [ Read Next Msg ]