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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 367~


Francis Joseph Carter


Francis Joseph Carter, an early settler of Fayette County, who since 1859 has resided in West Union, is familiar with the history of the growth and progress of the county and has done not a little to aid in its upbuilding and advancement. To those early settlers who bore the hardships and trials of pioneer life, we should pay all honor, and it is but meet that they should be represented in this volume devoted to the history of the best and most prominent citizens of the county.


Mr. Carter is a native of England. He was born in Manchester, on the 25th of March, 1819, being a son of Francis and Nancy (Hurley) Carter. His father was born in County Leitrim, Connaught, Ireland, and in his youth removed to England, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Hurley, who was a native of that country and died during the infancy of her son, Francis J. Our subject had practically no advantages of education, as at the early age of seven years, when children usually are beginning their school days and enjoying their games with playmates, he was put to work on a shoemaker's bench in his father's shop and set


to learning the trade; so, pegging away for seven long years, at the age of fourteen, he became a full fledged journeyman shoemaker and an expert one at that. Having started in the business of life so early, to be consistent with his former record he was married at the age of eighteen, on the 1st of May, 1837, to Miss Ann Whitfield, who was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1819, and was a daughter of William Whitfield. Her death occurred within seven months after her marriage.


At the age of nineteen Mr. Carter was made foreman of a shop and at twenty-five began business for himself. He was again married on the 1st of June, 1844, his second union being with Miss Mary Swale, a native of Wicksley, England. One child was born of the second marriage, Elvina, who was born in Wakefield, England, November 13, 1847. After attaining to years of womanhood, she became the wife of Joseph Gardener of Auburn, Iowa, and unto them have been born five children, three sons and two daughters - William, Minnie, Fred, Joseph and Gracie. Mr. Carter lost his wife in 1885, her death occurring on the 5th of July of that year. On the 5th of September, 1888, he wedded Mrs. Mary Yock, widow of Charles Yock, and a daughter of Mr. Hartman.


Desiring to try his fortune in the new world, in 1857, accompanied by his family, Mr. Carter emigrated to America and settled in Auburn, Fayette County, Iowa, where he carried on business in the boot and shoe line until 1859, when he came to West Union, since which time he has been in business here continuously, covering a period of thirty-two consecutive years. In religious belief he is a Catholic and his wife is a member of the Lutheran Church. Formerly he was a supporter of the Democratic party but during the past four years has voted with the Republicans on account of the position of that party on the subject of a protective tariff, which principle he strongly advocates. He is one of the present trustees for the poor of the city of West Union, but has never sought or desired political preferment, content to devote his time and energies to his business. He has been a member of the Odd Fellows lodge ever since he was eighteen years old, which makes him a member fifty-four years, probably the oldest Odd Fellow in the State. For sixty-five years he has been at work as a shoemaker, probably a longer period than any other citizen in Iowa has devoted to any trade. He has a wide reputation for proficiency in his line and has made a specialty of fine work. He is a man of superior natural ability, and had his early educational advantages been equal to his mental capacity, he would no doubt have won honorable prominence in the business or professional world. As it is, he had to depend entirely on his own unaided efforts to learn to read and master the rudiments of education. He has been a great reader of miscellaneous works and the current news of the day, and is unusually well-informed for a man of his opportunities. During his long residence in Fayette County he has been known as an industrious, honorable man, who is entitled to the general respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens.




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