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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Amos F. Coon


Delaware Township




AMOS F. COON.  June, 1854, is the date when Amos F. Coon first came to Delaware county. He was then on a prospecting tour, but acquired interests here which, three years later, led to his becoming a resident of the county, and he has remained a resident since. He may justly be called an old settler, and, as he has been an unusually successful citizen, a sketch of him fills an appropriate place in this work.


     Mr. Coon is a native of New York, as were also his parents, Samuel W. and Phoebe (Freeman) Coon. Of his father’s ancestry, little or nothing has been preserved in the traditions of the family. It is known, however, that the mother was a daughter of Stephen Freeman, a patriotic citizen and soldier in the American Revolution. The elder Coon was reared, and probably born, in Washington county, N. Y.  He lived there and in Wyoming county, that state, the greater part of his life, spending his last twenty years, however, in the home of his son, our subject, partly in Indiana and partly in Iowa, dying in Allen county, Ind., while on a visit there, August 2, 1865, aged eighty five years and a few months. He was a carpenter and joiner, and in his earlier years worked actively at his trade. He was a plain, unostentatious man, leading an industrious, useful life, and leaving at his

death a reputation for which his descendants had no reason to be ashamed of.  The mother Phoebe Coon, passed away in middle life, dying at the age of thirty-seven, in 1825, while the family was still residing in New York.


      In the family to which Amos F. Coon belonged there were nine children, seven of whom reached maturity, but only one of whom is now living, that being the subject of this sketch. The eldest, Francis, died at the age of twenty-two. Annie, who afterwards became the wife of David Battey, died, leaving no family. William, who spent the most of his life in Washington county, N. Y., engaged at his trade as a carpenter, died September 28, 1887, well advanced in years. Preserved B. became an early settler of Washington county, Iowa, and died at his home in that county, June 24, 1887, having been an industrious, successful farmer all his life. Elisha entered the Union army in 1861, and died in the service of his country, at Vicksburg, Miss., two years later. Phoebe became the wife of Galutia Potter, and died June 14, 1888, in Allen county, Ind., where she had spent most of her wedded life. And the two who never reached maturity died unnamed in infancy. Amos. F., our subject, was the fourth child of the family in point of age. He was born in Washington county, N. Y., April 8, 1815. When he was two years old his parents moved to Genesee, now Wyoming, county, that state, where his childhood and youth were passed. He grew up on the farm and, in accordance with the custom of the times, resided with his father, giving him the benefit of his labors till he was twenty one years old having learned the tanner and currier’s trade when a youth, he began work at that when he left home to seek his fortunes in the world, receiving for his services as a journeyman workman $12 per month. He worked at his trade only a few months, saving, how ever, all his earnings, and, in the mean time, having borrowed enough to swell his funds to $100, he started West, casting his lot in Allen county, Ind., where, September 17, 1836, he entered eighty acres of government land, on which he located and lived for twenty years, adding other lands thereto by purchase, until he succeeded in making a large and valuable farm. Coming to this county from Indiana in 1854, Mr. Coon entered under the laws of that date a full section, it being according to the government survey sec­tion 23, township 89, range 5 west, lying in Delaware township, and being four miles east and north of the present town of Manchester. He paid yearly visits to this county to look after his land till 1857, when, tiring of these visits, he decided to come and locate permanently on his place, and having done this has resided there since. He did not sell his farm in Indiana on coming to Iowa, but held and traded it some years later for a farm in this county, lying three miles south of Manchester in Milo township. Mr. Coon has acquired considerable landed interests since coming to Delaware county, owning now as much as a thousand acres in this county, besides six hundred and forty acres in Dickinson county, this state, having also purchased smaller tracts from time to time, which he has given to his children as they have become grown and required to be settled off in life. It is not necessary to add any thing in this connection as to his success, since these facts speak fully and to the point in reference to that. But it is proper to say that Mr. Coon has not given his whole energies to the business of accumulating land possessions. He has contributed his full share to the development of his adopted county, never having owned a tract of land, however small, which he has not made the better by reason of his proprietorship. His home place, already mentioned as lying four miles east and north of Manchester, is one of the handsomest and best improved farms in Delaware county. All of it is under cultivation, furnished with neat and comfortable buildings and surrounded by a splendid artificial grove of about eighteen acres, the cultivated part being divided into plow lands, pastures and hay land, and yielding an abundance of Iowa’s sovereign products, corn and grass. Mr. Coon has taken much interest in local matters in his township, having held one office or another in connection with the administration of the civil affairs of his township for the past twenty years. Being head of a family, he, of course, has taken much interest in the schools of his locality and all the social organizations affecting the peace and happiness of his home. He has taken but little part in politics, none further than every good citizen is expected to take. He is an uncompromising democrat, and has voted the democratic ticket all his life. Indeed it is doubtful if any man in the coun­ty can show such a record of steady allegiance to his party as he can. Mr. Coon cast his first presidential vote for Martin Van Buren in 1836. He voted for him again in 1840. He voted for James K. Polk in 1844; for Lewis Cass in 1848; he failed to get a vote in 1852, being West on a prospecting tour; in 1836 he voted for Buchanan; in 1860 for Douglas; in 1864 for McClellan; in 1868 for Seymour; in 1872 for Greeley; in 1876 for Tilden; in 1880 for Hancock; and in 1884 and 1888 for Cleveland. Fifty-four years a democrat! A fact that he has emphasized in a quiet but effectual manner.



   January 5, 1837, Mr. Coon married, taking to wife Miss Susanna Wheeler, then of Wyoming county, N. Y., but a native of Otsego county, that state. The wife of his youth bore him an affectionate companionship for fifty one years, sharing his fortunes in all his early struggles and giving him that aid which only a good wife can give. She died January 6, 1888. To this union were born six children, only four (two sons and two daughters) reaching maturity. The eldest was a daughter, Phoebe Ann, who was horn October 31, 1838, in Allen county, Ind. She married Stephen J. Edmunds, April 26, 1862, and died February 1, 1875. The eldest son, Elisha Spaulding, was born March 3, 1840, in Allen county, Ind. He married Sarah Hunt, of Delaware county, Iowa, April 26, 1863, and now resides near the old homestead in Delaware township, being one of this county’s most enterprising and successful farmers. The second son, Allen S., was born in Allen county, Ind., Oc­tober 5, 1843, married Delilah Andrews, January 19, 1875, his wife being a native also of Allen county, Ind., born September 15, 1851, and the mother of three children: Luella A., now deceased; Theron A. and Harlow. Mr. Coon’s youngest child, who became grown, was a daughter, Adelia who was born July 2, 1850, and died May 6, 1875. Two children died in infancy unnamed.



     In all the relations of life, whether as parent, neighbor, or citizen, Mr. Coon comes up to the full stature of a man, and the people of his adopted county point to him as one whose character and career are in every way worthy of emulation.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 439, 441-445; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson