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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1291~


John W. Frost and William Frost


The subject of this sketch, (John W. Frost) a former prominent citizen of Fayette County, Iowa, but for some years an honored resident of Eureka, Montana, is a native of Illinois, and the third child and oldest son of William and Prudence Seward Frost, natives respectively of England and the state of New York. William Frost was born January 1,1816, at Longbuckby, near Rugby, in Northamptonshire, came to the United States in 1827 and later took up his residence in Warren county, Illinois, where he made his home until his removal to Iowa, in 1851. The year prior to that date he made a tour of observation through various parts of this state and, being pleased with the appearance of Fayette County, purchased a tract of government land in section 24, in what is now Illyria township, to which he brought his family the following year and which in due time he cleared and converted into a fine farm. Subsequently he purchased other lands in Clayton county, to which he changed his residence about 1864, but after spending a few years there he returned to Fayette county, locating on a farm in Westfield township, where his wife died on the 23rd day of February, 1894. Later he went to Montana, where he still resides, having reached a ripe old age.


The oldest child of William and Prudence Frost, Mrs. Sarah Jane Wennich, widow of Rev. David Wennich, lives at West Union, Iowa, where her two sons and one daughter also reside. Her sister, Mrs. Polly Ann Robb, a widow living in St. Paul, Minnesota, has three sons and four daughters, all grown to maturity. John W., of this review, as already indicated, is the third in order of birth and the oldest son.


William Frost, or "Uncle Bill," as he was familiarly known, is remembered by all the early settlers of Fayette County as a self-reliant, active, energetic pioneer, who wielded a wide influence among his fellow citizens and took a leading part in the development of the section of country in which he located. He has outlived most of his neighbors of the early day, but there are still a few who remember him in his prime, when as a typical pioneer of a period long past he acted well his part in life and did much to lay broad and deep the foundation upon which rests the prosperity of a county which is now one of the most advanced and prosperous in the state. "Uncle Bill" was a kind husband and father, a good neighbor and a faithful friend. He early manifested special interest in the cause of education and some of his children excelled those of other pioneer families in the matter of intellectual training and general culture. Like the majority of early settlers, he was fond of the cup that exhilarates, but did not indulge his taste to excess, as did so many whose downfall in those times was attributable to too frequently resorting to the flowing bowl. He was an expert horseman and had animals so trained that if for any cause he happened to fall to the ground, they would stand close and patiently wait until he was able to rise, remount and pursue his way; if, however, he saw fit to remain in a recumbent posture longer than usual, the faithful animal stayed close by and awaited the pleasure of its master. Mr. Frost lived to see Fayette county transformed from a wilderness to a very garden of plenty and beauty, and going farther west, has also witnessed many marvelous changes that of recent years have taken place in the new and rapidly growing state of Montana. Although nearing the century mark, he retains to a remarkable degree the possession of his faculties and nothing pleases him better than to recount his many experiences of the early days when he was in his prime and the great future before him bright with promise.


John W. Frost, to a brief review of whom the remainder of this sketch is devoted, was born in Warren county, Illinois, February 12, 1848, and when about three years old was brought to Fayette county, Iowa, where he grew to maturity and laid the foundation for what has since proven a career of signal usefulness and honor. After receiving his preliminary discipline in the public schools, he took a business course in a commercial college and on attaining his majority turned his attention to agriculture, which he followed for some years first in Clayton county and subsequently in the counties of Audubon and Dickinson. Later he removed to Flathead, now Lincoln county, Montana, where he has been located for the last ten years, devoting his attention the meanwhile to real estate, insurance and public loans, in which he has built up a large and lucrative business, his land deals, mostly in British Columbia, being very extensive and returning him a handsome income. His holdings in that country at the present time amount to ninety-two hundred acres of excellent land, which is rapidly increasing in value, in addition to which he owns a fine homestead at Eureka, Montana, which under his able management has been highly improved and brought to an excellent state of cultivation.


In his business affairs Mr. Frost is associated with his son, William M. Frost. a rising lawyer of Eureka, and one of the influential citizens of the community, the firm thus constituted being widely and favorably known and its patronage growing in magnitude and importance with each succeeding year. In all of his undertakings, Mr. Frost has been more than ordinarily successful, and he is today one of the solid men of the community in which he resides and a factor of considerable influence in his adopted county. In politics he has always voted with the Democratic party and from time to time has been elected to various local offices, including those of assessor, clerk, justice of the peace and alderman, having served in the last named capacity in Eureka, where he was instrumental in bringing about much important municipal legislation. He was made a Mason in 1873, and since that time has been an active and influential worker in the order, besides being honored at intervals with positions of responsibility and trust.


Mr. Frost, on January 13, 1876, was united in marriage with Marie J. McMullen, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Hershaw McMullen, natives respectively of Venango county, Pennsylvania, and county Armagh, Ireland, the father of Scotch ancestry, the mother of English parentage. After the death of Mr. McMullen, which occurred in Fayette county in the year 1860, his widow married Milton Grow, an early pioneer in Illyria township and a most exemplary Christian gentleman who proved a father indeed to the McMullen children, of whom there were three: William, who died in this county at the age of thirty, leaving a wife and six children, his death resulting from an accident; Maria and Mrs. E. J. Fenton, of Eureka, Montana, who is married and the mother of two offspring.


To Mr. and Mrs. Frost have been born seven children, of whom Prudence, Alma and Florence Ethel are deceased, the first at the age of eight months, the latter when eleven years old. The surviving members of the family are Sarah F., wife of Morgan Thomas, of Eureka, Montana; William M., who married Frances Thornburg and has one son and one daughter; Henrietta, whose marriage with Harvey Morgan has been blessed with two sons and one daughter; Anson J. married Pearl Reedy, and lives at Swift Current, Saskatchawan, British Columbia, and Vernie Irena, an intelligent young miss of twelve years of age.

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