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Rose Divider Bar

This enterprising and successful farmer of Cass township, this county, who from his youth has been a resident of the county and most of the time engaged actively in some of its productive industries, is a native of the State of New York, born in Madison county on May 31, 1861. His parents were Richard H. and Elizabeth (Eastman) Willoughby, the former a native of Ireland and the latter, of New York.

The father was brought to New York in his infancy by his parents, and grew to manhood in the Metropolis, obtaining a good education in its public schools. After leaving school he was engaged in teaching for a time and then became a proof reader on the "New York Tribune," in which capacity he was employed until 1861, when he enlisted in the Union army as a member of the Thirty-first New York Infantry. As an evidence of the character and value of his service to the cause he so ardently espoused, he entered the army as a private and rose to the rank of colonel in command of a colored regiment. He took part in all of the battles of the various Virginia campaigns and saw a great deal of active service throughout the war. After the close of the war he edited a newspaper in the South during the days of Reconstruction, but later returned to New York and there did editorial work until 1900, when he was accidentally killed on the elevated railroad. The mother died in this county in 1902. They had three children, two of whom are living--William in Cass township and his brother, Eastman, at Massena, this county. It was in 1876, after the death of her husband, that the mother came to Iowa with her two sons, and choosing this county as her home, located at what was then Whitneyville, now Messena, on land bought for the family by the grandfather.

William P. Willoughby remained at Whitneyville until 1889, when he moved to Cass township and bought the farm on which he has since lived and which is his present home. This he has improved with good buildings and other required structures, and by systematic cultivation has brought the land to a high state of development and productiveness. In 1883 he was married in this county to Henrietta Auxier, a native of Illinois. They have five children: Myrtle, wife of John Walden of this county; and Mamie, William, Bernell and Jennings, who are living at home. The father, although not fond of public life and never seeking office, has rendered valued service to his district as a member of the school board; and by active participation in all worthy projects for the improvement of the township and county, he has endeared himself to his fellow men as a good and useful citizen. His farm in its general condition and appearance is a standing tribute to his enterprise and skill as a farmer, and his position in the estimation of the general public is proof enough of the excellence and usefulness of his citizenship. While by no means oblivious of the glorious traditions of the land of his paternal ancestors, Mr. Willoughby knows nothing in human history that surpasses the claims of the land of his nativity on public regard, and he is unwaveringly loyal to it under all circumstances.

From "Compendium and History of Cass County, Iowa." Chicago: Henry and Taylor & Co., 1906, pp. 558-559.

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