Henry Atkinson

No history of pioneer times in Butler county would be complete without mention of Henry Atkinson, now deceased, who arrived here during the early period in the development of this part of the state. He was born in Yorkshire, England, October 3, 1831, a son of George and Margaret (Jackson) Atkinson, who spent their entire lives in their native land. Their family numbered three sons and three daughters, of whom three came to the United States. The brother of Henry Atkinson died, however, soon after his arrival in the new world and the sister became a resident of Kansas.

Henry Atkinson spent his boyhood and youth in England to the age of nineteen years, when he came with an uncle to America in 1850. A location was made at Niagara county, New York, where he worked for his uncle for a few years, before securing a home in the new but growing west. He arrived in Clarksville December, 1855, and spent the remaining days of his life in this county. He became the owner of two hundred and forty acres of rich and productive land six miles east of the town, which is still in possession of the family and for a long period he energetically and successfully carried on farming.

It was in 1860 that Mr. Atkinson was united in marriage to Miss Sophia Cloukey, who was born in Ontario, Canada, October 15, 1833. Her parents removed to Vermont and she was reared in the Green Mountain state, living there until 1857, when the family home was established in Butler county. The journey west was made by train to Dubuque, where they had to hire teams to bring them to their destination, as there were then no railroads through this part of the country. Many conditions of pioneer life still existed, and at the time of their arrival prairie fires were burning and things did not look very inviting. However, with courageous spirit they began the establishment of a home. The father entered land in Bennezette township, Butler county, and in this county Augustus and Mary Ann Cloukey, parents of Mrs. Atkinson and natives of Canada, spent their remaining days, passing away in Clarksville. Their family numbered seven children, two sons and five daughters.

Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson also had seven children: Viola, the wife of Arthur Downing of Kansas ; May, at home ; Francis,
living in Battle Creek, Michigan ; Lester, the principal of the schools at Kesley, Butler county, Iowa ; George, whose home is in South Dakota; Mrs. Clara Clock, deceased; and Hon. William I. Atkinson, of whom mention is made on another page of this work.

The death of Mr. Atkinson occurred Jiuie 10, 1889. His widow made her home in Clarksville. In politics he was a republican, but never sought nor desired office. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and his religious faith was manifest in all of the relations of life. As a pioneer he lived to see some remarkable changes as the wild prairie land was converted into rich  fields, as the log cabins were replaced by substantial and commodious modern residences and as the work of development and improvement was carried steadily forward, bringing about the prosperity and progress of the present day.