Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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HISTORY of CERRO GORDO COUNTY, IOWA
WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 417-18. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910

BIOGRAPHY ~ THOMAS GOODWILLIE EMSLEY

Thomas G. Emsley, deceased, was a resident of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, from 1858 until his death, June 7, 1886, and was prominently identified with its interests. A review of his life and that of his helpmate is appropriately presented in this work.

Thomas G. Emsley was born in Carroll county, Ohio, December 23, 1843, son of W. W. and Beatrice H. (Donaldson) Emsley, the former a native of Yorkshire, England, the latter of Vermont and of Scotch descent. The death of his father in 1849 left Thomas G. an orphan at the age of six years, and from his early boyhood he made his own way in the world. When he was fifteen he came to Iowa. Here at the outbreak of the Civil war his sympathies were aroused in favor of the north, and in 1864, on reaching his majority, he showed his loyalty to his country by offering his service to help defend it. He enlisted in Company I, Second Iowa Cavalry, the fortunes of which he shared until the war was over and he was honorably discharged.

Returning to Mason City, Iowa, in 1865, Mr. Emsley was that year elected treasurer of Cerro Gordo county, and on December 19th of the same year he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Church, daughter of Rev. Jesse E. Church. She was born [October 8, 1839, Springboro PA] and lived at Spring, Pennsylvania, until she came to Mason City, Iowa, in the summer of 1864 to spend a year as a visitor with her brother, J. S. Church, who then resided here. While on this visit she began to work in the postoffice for her brother. The attractions of a new country for a boy or girl who were willing to take advantage of the opportunity for self reliance appealed so strongly to her independent nature that she gained her father's consent to remain longer than she had at first expected, and from working in the office she turned her attention to teaching, and taught a few terms at twenty-five dollars a month. Living with her brother, he expenses were comparatively nothing, and she saved her earnings and made investment. Her first venture in speculation was buying tax title land, and in this way a hundred and sixty acres of wild prairie land came into her possession. At the time of their marriage the young couple had this land and four hundred dollars in money. They went to housekeeping in a two-room rented house, and every year thereafter found their assets somewhat increased. Mr. Emsley held the office of treasurer for four years. This gave him familiarity with all the land in Cerro Gordo county, also in adjoining counties, and for ten years he bought a sold land to advantage, until, for this country, they found themselves in reasonably good circumstances. In connection with his real estate, in 1873, Mr. Emsley, seeing an opening for a banking business at Mason City, established the City Bank. Both he and his enterprising wife worked hard to make this a success, he as president, she as cashier. The City National Bank is the outcome of their efforts. After the death of Mr. Emsley, which occurred in 1886 (sic), she managed the business and estate. She succeeded him as president of the bank, and continued as such until its re-organization and the formation of City National Bank. In all that pertains to the welfare of Mason City, both educational and otherwise, she has contributed according to her means. For many years she gave her best efforts toward the establishment of a free public library. Her creed is that of the Unitarian church, and she is an outspoken equal suffragist.

On March 9, 1905, Mrs. Emsley became the wife of Charles A. (sic) Adams, ex-county recorder and court reporter of Cerro Gordo county, having served in the last named capacity for over thirty years. Mr. Adams was born at Worcester, Massachusetts, in [December 29, 1843 according to his gravestone] 1844, and when about nine years old came west with his parents. They stopped for a time in Illinois, and from there came to Iowa and settled at Mason City. Here Mr. Adams grew to manhood. During the Civil war he was a member of Company B., Thirty-second Infantry, and most of his service was as a clerk at headquarters. He is a member of Huntly Post, G. A. R., and is also identified with the Masons and the Elks. Mrs. Adams has membership in the O. E. S. at Mason City, and also in Maria Mitchell Club, the oldest woman's club in the town.

By her first marriage, Mrs. Adams has two daughters, Mrs. Mabel Emsley Gale and Mrs. Lillie Emsley Markley.

NOTE: Thomas G. Emsley died on June 7, 1885. Mary Ann (Church) Emsley Adams died on March 21, 1931, Mason City IA. Charles Morrill Adams died in Mason City on June 6, 1926. Mable Emily (Emsley) Gale was born in 1868,and died on July 27, 1904. Her husband, Absalom H. Gale, was born in 1864, and died in 1923. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City IA.

Mary Ann (Church) Emsley Adams was an active Suffragette. She worked to establish a free public library in Mason City.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014

 

 

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