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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 456~


N. H. Spears

N. H. Spears, a leading merchant of Westgate, engaged in the grocery and hardware business, was born in Birmingham, Erie County, Ohio, February 26, 1843. His father, Nathan W. Spears, was born in Pennfield, Monroe County, N. Y., October 29, 1806, and accompanied his parents, William and Love Spears, to the Western Reserve, Ohio, in 1817. He was twice married. On the 9th of April, 1828, he wedded Eliza Painter, by whom he had four children: William, Sabra Jane, James V. and Jesse, but the last named is the only one now living. Mrs. Spears died in December, 1836, and Mr. Spears was again married February 1, 1838, to Susan M. Toogood, who was born September 29, 1812, in Vienna, Madison County, N. Y., and died in this county, August 5, 1874.


Mr. Spears was a man of sterling integrity, possessing the confidence and esteem of all who knew him. He served as one of the County Commissioners in Ohio, and after coming to this county was a member of the County Board of Supervisors for several years. His counsel and advice were often sought and he exerted a powerful influence for good. He located in Fremont Township, in August, 1855, and is numbered among the honored settlers of the county. His death occurred in February, 1889, of paralysis of the heart. The children of his second marriage, seven in number are as follows: Charles G., who was born November 10, 1838, and is now engaged in hotel keeping in Sumner, married Elsie J. Hursh but only one of their three children is living; Eliza Jane, born September 16, 1840, is the wife of L. C. Head, a carpenter and joiner of Sumner, Iowa, by whom she had seven children, four now living; Francis M., who was born November 2, 1841, and married Cora S. Canfield, by whom he has two children, served for two terms as County Auditor of Fayette County, and is now employed in an abstract office of West Superior, Wis.; Niles H. of this sketch is the next younger; Mary Love, born September 25, 1845, is the wife of P. H. Winegar, a resident farmer of Fremont Township and the mother of five children; Hobart D., born April 23, 1847, enlisted in Company C, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and died of typhoid fever in Sedalia, Mo., while on a raid after the rebel Gen. Price, November 12, 1864; Sarah Emeline, born September 23, 1848, is the wife of L. B. Gillett, dealer in lumber and agricultural implements in Westgate, Iowa. They, however, reside in Sumner and have four children, three living. The five last named members of the family were born in Florence, Erie County, Ohio, and the two eldest in Hartlan, Huron County. The four brothers and also Jesse, the half brother, were soldiers during the late war and Hobart D. gave his life in defense of his country.


Our subject was only nineteen years of age when in 1861, he enlisted in Company C, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, serving for over four years. The regiment was assigned to duty with the Army of the Tennessee and he participated in all the engagements with his command, including the battles of Ft. Henry, Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, where the Twelfth lost twenty-one killed and one hundred and three wounded. They were in what was known as the Iowa Hornet's Brigade and took part in both battles of Corinth. At the latter, our subject was wounded by a musket ball, which caused him to lose the use of his first two fingers on the left hand; also an injured wrist adds to his inability to earn a livelihood by the sweat of his brow. He was sent to the hospital at Keokuk, where he remained six months, when he rejoined his regiment at St. Louis. He re-enlisted at Chewalla, Tenn., and went home on a veteran furlough of thirty days. Returning, he took part in the active campaign of 1864. The regiment was assigned to the command of Gen. A. J. Smith, having previously served under Gen. Sherman, but was now transferred from the Fifteenth to the Sixteenth Army Corps. The Twelfth took part in the siege of Jackson, Miss., the siege and capture of Vicksburg, the retaking of Jackson, and the battles of Raymond and Tupelo, where the wounded of the regiment were left on the field and captured by the enemy. Then came the raid through Missouri after Price. On this campaign the men were required to march thirty or forty miles a day and were all completely exhausted but did not overtake the retreating enemy. After Price's army disbanded, they marched back to St. Louis and took the boat for Nashville, arriving just in time to take part in the battle. After the victory, they followed the retreating troops to Eastport, Tenn., where the regiment remained a month. Here the boys suffered more from limited rations than at any other place, having to live on hulled corn and sassafras tea. Taking boat they next went to New Orleans, crossed the Gulf to Spanish Fort, which they captured and took part in the charge on Ft. Blakely. Thence they marched across to Montgomery, where the news of Lee's surrender reached them. On they marched to Selma, Ala., and took the train to Jacksonville, whence they were sent to Center and employed in dealing out rations to the disbanded rebel rebel soldiers. At Memphis, they were mustered out of service in February, 1866, and our hero returned to Fayette County and resumed the peaceful and less arduous and exciting occupation of farming.


On November 28, 1872, Mr. Spears was united in marriage with Miss Annie M. Bane, daughter of James and Anna W. (Richards) Bane. She was born December 29, 1848, and her parents were natives of Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively. In the family were Mary E., who was born March 21, 1846, married W. O. Sayles and died March 13, 1889, leaving a little daughter; Mrs. Spears is the next younger; John R., who was born June 17, 1852, and wedded Mary A. Jackson, is practicing law in West Superior, Wis.; Isaac W., born July 6, 1855, married Josephine Phillips in 1882 and is a practicing attorney in Newell, Iowa. To Mr. and Mrs. Spears have been born two children - Estella W., who was born June 4, 1875, and is now under the parental roof; and Willie, who was born April 28, 1882 and died in early infancy.


Mr. Spears is operating a general hardware and grocery store in the thriving little town of Westgate, on the Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City Railroad. This is the only hardware store in the town and he is doing a good business, having the respect and confidence of the best class of people as well as their patronage. Hart Spears is known to every old soldier in Fayette County, as a faithful comrade in time of need, a man of sterling worth and a gentleman whose business and social life are above reproach; he is a stanch Republican and a leader of his party in the township. He belongs to Reynolds Post, No. 45, G. A. R. of Maynard; also to Sunnyside Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and Sumner Lodge, No. 88, A. O. U. W. His wife is an honored member of the Women's Relief Corps and is also a worthy and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having many friends who esteem her highly for her excellent traits of character.




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