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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 837~


T. J. Capper


"The department store of the cities had its precursor, and still has its lesser prototype, in the general store of the country community, where in former days anything from a tack to a coffin could be bought, and which today exposes for sale a range of articles almost equal to that of the department store. In older times the store was the center of social life. In the daytime in the busy seasons of the year the customers were mostly women and children, but in the winter and in the evenings the farmers came in for the mail and brought their marketing and usually had more or less time to discuss the weather, crops and politics. This phase of the general store is changing with changing conditions of life, but it still has its useful place to fill, and has incidentally lifted many a man far up the path of prosperity.

T. J. Capper was born in Pleasant Valley township, Fayette county, Iowa, in February, 1857, the son of John and Dorinda (Brooks) Capper, who were born in Carroll county, Ohio. His paternal grandfather was also John Capper, the son of John Capper of Virginia, and Susannah (Morrison) Capper, born in Ireland. The second John Capper was a miller and was killed before the birth of his son John, father of the subject of this sketch. His maternal grandfather was John Brooks, born in Ireland, who married a Miss Fawcett there, came to America in 1818 and located as a pioneer farmer in Carroll county, Ohio. John Capper, the third, was educated in Carroll county, and farmed as a young man, he and his mother owning a farm and carrying on general farming. In 1854 he came to section 17, Pleasant Valley township, bought one hundred sixty acres and improved it, living there until 1890, when he retired, lived for a while in West Union and Elgin, then moved to Benton county, Iowa, in 1908. He was a Republican until Greenback times in 1878, and after that a Democrat, always active in politics and held several township offices. He reared eight children, six of whom are still living, one daughter having died in 1872 and another in 1875. The latter, Susan M., wife of Ezra Patterson, was killed by a runaway team near Elgin on July 31, 1875.

T. J. Capper was educated in the common schools of this township. As a young man he farmed in the summer and taught school in the winter, later remained on the old place and added to the original farm, following general farming. In 1896 he sold out and bought A. Benson's general store at Elgin and has since carried on that business very successfully. In 1882 he was married to Emeline L. Shaffer (sister to J. D. Shaffer mentioned in this work). Their children are: Frank L., clerk in a general store at Dike, Iowa, who married Nellie Pfeifer: Susie, Boies, Flossie M. and Charles L. Mrs. Capper is a member of the United Brethren church. Mr. Capper is a Mason and an Odd Fellow. He is a Democrat, has been on the school board of Elgin ever since coming here, and served as councilman for several years. He has the reputation of being progressive and up to date in every particular, being always ready to assist in undertaking any thing for the general benefit. He has prospered as a merchant from the start, thanks to his fitness for the calling."

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Richard Smith


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