1883 Biographies
From the History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa; Springfield, Ill. Union Publishing Co., 1883

Transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall



John L. James was born in Council Hill, Jo Daviess Co., Ill., on the 8th of March, 1859. His parents, Richard T. and Mary (Combellick) James, were natives of England, and were among the early settlers of Jo Daviess Co., Ill. The family remained in that county until April, 1881, when they removed to Franklin Co., Iowa, and settled on a farm in Clinton township. Richard James died in January, 1882, leaving a wife and nine children, six of whom reside on the farm. John L. James conducts the farm devoting his time to the raising of stock, for which the place is well adapted. He has forty head of cattle, forty hogs and four horses. The farm comprises 120 acres of fine land, worth $40 per acre, and adjoins the village of Sheffield on the west. Mr James is an industrious and energetic young man, and is meeting with well deserved success. (Chapter 18, Clinton twp., pg 322)
Byron Jeffers, one of the reliable men of the county, came when fifteen years of age, first settling in Washington township, where he remained until the fall of 1875, when he moved to Chapin, in the same county, and soon after to Marion township, where he purchased eighty acres on section 36, where he has a pleasant home, nicely situated about three and a half miles from Hampton. He is the oldest son of Robert and Elizabeth (Day) Jeffers, and was born in LaFayette Co., Wis., May 4, 1855, where he spent his boyhood, receiving a good common school education. Mr. Jeffers married Miss Edith Day, Oct. 10, 1875, and they now have two children living — Lyle, aged five, and Clyde Garfield, who was born the day President Garfield was assassinated, July 2, 1881. Mr. Jeffers is regarded as an excellent citizen, having held the office of town treasurer, and several local offices of trust. In connection with farming, he is interested in a creamery, gathering about 1,200 pounds of cream daily, and is raising a large amount of cattle. (Chapter 25, Marion twp., pg 462-463)
Robert Jeffers is now the oldest dealer in agricultural implements at Hampton. He was born in Henry Co., Ky., June 4, 1830. When he was eight years old his parents moved to southern Illinois, and afterwards to Rock Co., Wis., where Mr. Jeffers worked on his father's farm. In 1852, he settled on a farm in LaFayette Co., Wis., where he lived until 1870, and then moved to Franklin Co., Iowa, and settled upon a farm near Hampton. In 1874, he abandoned agricultural pursuits to follow his present business, but still owns a farm of 320 acres in Marion township. Mr. Jeffers is one of the trustees of Washington township, and has been a member of the school board of the independent district of Hampton for nine years. He was a charter member of the Hampton Lodge, No. 218, I. O. O. F. Mr. Jeffers was married in 1854, at Shellsburg, Wis., to Elizabeth Day, a native of Illinois. They have seven children now living — Byron L., W. P., Nancy L., Sarah J., Sherman C., George W. and Robert F. (Chapter 22, Hampton & Washington twp., pg 410)
John Jenkins, merchant at Dows, was born in Wales, in 1846. After completing his education, he engaged in teaching and later as a bookkeeper in a wholesale house, remaining there six years. In 1871, he came to the United States and settled in Crystal township, Tama Co., Iowa, where he engaged in farming. In the fall of 1877, he went to Abbott, Hardin county, and engaged in the mercantile business, where he remained until 1880, and then removed to Dows and engaged in the same business, which, in 1883, he was carrying on in company with A. E. Johnson. He was married at Abbott, Iowa, in 1879, to Cordelia Dourte, of German extraction, born in Grundy Co., Iowa. They have been blessed with three children, two of whom are living — William L., Pearl and Melinda, (deceased). Both Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. (Chapter 26, Morgan twp., pg 475)
William Jenkins came with his father's family to Frankin Co., Iowa, in 1860. He now lives on section 7, West Fork township, where he owns eighty acres of land, valued at $25 per acre. He was a resident of section 18 until 1870, when he came to his present home. He was one of the pioneers of West Fork. He was born in Linn Co, Iowa, in 1849, and was among the first white children born in that county. His father, James Jenkins, was one of the first settlers in West Fork, and is now living with one of his sons. The father is now eighty years of age, and still enjoys excellent health. William resided in Linn county until 1860,when he came to Franklin county. Mr. Jenkins married Mary C. Knesel, of Ross township. They have four children — Elmer W., Ethe, Albert and Blanche. Mrs. Jenkins is a member of the M. E. Church. Mr. Jenkins has held the offices of school director, constable and road supervisor. (Chapter 34, West Fork twp., pg 575-576)
C.D. John owns a farm of ninety-eight acres on section 4, on which he has resided since 1875, at which date he came to West Fork. His farm is a valuable one and is believed to contain extensive beds of coal. When sinking a shaft for a well, indications proved the presence of a coal formation which was pronounced by experienced miners to be of first class quality. Mr. John contemplates future prospecting. He was born in Northumberland Co., Penn., Sept. 23, 1841. Ten years later his parents removed to Winnebago Co., Ill., where on the advent of civil war, Mr. John enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry, serving three months, after which he was discharged for disability. He enlisted again in August, 1862, enrolling in company F, 74th Illinois Infantry, where he was in service three years. He was in action at Perryville, Chattanooga, Mission Ridge, Nashville, Franklin, etc. At Atlanta he was promoted to second sergeant. On his discharge he returned to Illinois where he lived until his removal to Franklin county. Mr. John was married Aug. 5, 1871, to Elizabeth McGregor of Winnebago Co., Ill. Their children are — Grace, Marian, Rhoda and Nellie. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. John has acted three terms as justice of the peace and as school director. He is a republican in political faith. (Chapter 34, West Fork twp., pg 584)
E.J. John made a trip to Franklin county in 1865 and found the county so little improved and settled that he retraced his steps. He was born in Schuylkill Co., Penn., Oct. 5, 1848. His parents removed to Winnebago Co., Ill., when he was one year old, and he remained there until 1873. At that date he went to Kansas. Four years later he settled in West Fork township. He owns 120 acres of land on which he has made the best improvements. He was married in September, 1872, to Sarah McKinstry, a native of Pennsylvania. They have three children — Patience, Hortense and Walter. Mr. and Mrs. John are members of the M. E. Church. He has held the offices of school director and road supervisor and is a republican in political faith. (Chapter 34, West Fork twp., pg 585)
Jacob P. Johnson came to Franklin Co., Iowa, in 1879, and settled on section 22, Scott township. He was born in Denmark, June 18, 1854, and came to America with his parents in 1857, settling in Waushara Co., Wis. They remained there nine years, and then moved into Green Lake county, same State, and the year after they came to Grundy Co., Iowa. Jacob P. Johnson is at present town clerk and secretary of the school board. Oct. 22, 1881, he married Inger K. Nelson, of Cedar Falls, Iowa. (Chapter 33, Scott twp., pg 566)
Simon Johnson settled on his present farm in 1862. For thirty-three years of his life he has been a blacksmith, but at present is engaged in farming. He has a fine farm of 307 acres of valuable land, and a commodious house, built in 1882.

He has held the offices of trustee, road supervisor and school director. In politics he is a republican, and has been a member of the Masonic lodge at Hampton thirteen years. He was born in Norway, in 1822; emigrated to Wisconsin in 1853, where he spent one year, then went to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and from thence to Butler county, where he remained until he came to Franklin county. He was married, in 1850, to Genie Berson, also a native of Norway. They have three children — Julia S., the wife of P. J. Olson, of Moline, Ill.; Martimus B. and Hibert A. (Chapter 31, Ross twp., pg 543; portraits pgs 538 & 539)

W. B. Johnson settled in the township in 1874. His parents were W.B. and Lydia H. Johnson, who came from Vermont to the wild west, in 1846, and remained a short time in Walworth Co., Wis., removing thence to Linn Co., Iowa. In 1855 they came to Franklin county, and settled in Geneva township. The site of their location is now that of the depot in the village of Geneva. The senior Johnson was the first mail carrier from Maysville to Cedar Falls. Mr. Johnson, the subject of this sketch, was born Oct. 6, 1844, in Vermont. He came to Iowa with his parents, and attained his majority under his father's supervision. In August, 1863, he enlisted in the 9th Iowa Cavalry, and remained in the service until Feb. 16, 1866. He returned to Geneva after his discharge. He was married Dec. 6, 1866, to Hester Van Kirk, of Franklin county. In the spring of 1874, the family settled in Grant township, and now reside on section 6. Their four children are Addie E., Mary I., Jason A. and Earl W. Mr. Johnson is a radical republican. The family attend the Methodist church at Pleasant Ridge, in Hamilton township. (Chapter 20, Grant twp., pg 370-371)
James J. Johnston, a native of Ireland, came to America at the age of sixteen, in company with a cousin, going first to Canada. He then spent three years in New York, took a trip to New Orleans, and in 1855 went to Washington Co., Iowa. In the fall of 1855 he came to Franklin county and located on section 2, Reeve township, where he has since resided. He was born in 1823 in Ireland, where his parents remained until their death. James was married Aug. 31, 1854, to Elizabeth Bradsute, born in Green Co, Ohio, Oct. 8, 1829. They have had seven children — John E., David F., Ralph W., James H., Charles F., George A. and Jennie E. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston are members of the Congregational Church at Hampton. He is a republican in politics and his neighbors have, at different times, honored him with local offices. In speaking of pioneer days, Mr. Johnston gives the following: "When I came to Iowa, in the spring of 1855, there was not a mile of railroad west of Dubuque, and when we wanted flour we usually had to go to Cedar Falls, a three days journey, and when we raised anything to sell it had to be taken to that place. We also had to dress our own pork and haul it to Cedar Falls or Waterloo. I sold pork, the year before the war, at that town, for $2- per hundred and my wheat for thirty-three and one-third cents per bushel. These are facts, which perhaps my grandchildren will hardly believe, unless I here record it in history." (Chapter 30, Reeve twp., pg 517)
Benjamin Jones, a pioneer of Franklin county, came here with his father and brother in 1854, and together, they entered 320 acres of land in Geneva township, beside buying eighty acres of school land. Mr. Jones, Sr., remained a resident of Geneva until his death in February, 1882. Benjamin Jones bought eighty acres of land in Ingham township in 1879, and removed hither in 1881. His land is located on section 35, and valued at $30 per acre. Mr. Jones was married, in 1845, to Sarah Thorp of Delaware Co., Ind. She was born in Ross Co., Ohio, in 1821, and removed to Indiana in 1831. Mr. Jones was born in West Virginia in 1813. His father, Jabish Jones, was born in Virginia in 1792. His mother, Mary (Llewellyn) Jones, was a native of Pennsylvania. They moved to to Indiana in 1834, and bought land in Delaware county. While residing there, Mr. Jones learned the trade of carpenter, which he pursued several years. His household includes eight children — Beersheba, William H., Alexander, Nancy, Andrew, Samuel, Emeline and Amanda. Two children are deceased. Alexander was a soldier for the Union, and enlisted in company H, 32d Iowa Infantry, and served through the war. The homestead farm is under the management of Andrew, third son. (Chapter 23, Ingham twp., pg 434)

In 1854, Benjamin Jones came to Franklin county with his father and brother, and together entered 200 acres in Geneva township, also eighty acres of school land, where the father lived until his death in 1882. Benjamin was a resident of that township until the fall of 1881, when he moved to his present farm in Ingham, which he had purchased in 1879. He also owns eighty acres on section 35, valued at $30 per acre. He was born in West Virginia in 1813, being the son of Jabish Jones, born in Virginia in 1792, and Mary (Llewellyn) Jones, a native of Pennsylvania. In 1834, the family emigrated to Delaware Co., Ind., where he learned the carpenter trade, which he followed several years, and then removed to Iowa. He married, in 1845, Sarah Thorpe of Delaware Co., Ind., a native of Ross Co., Ohio, born in 1821, and who removed to Indiana in 1831. They have had ten children, eight of whom are living — Beersheba, William H., Alexander, Nancy, Andrew, Samuel, Emeline and Amanda. The farm is under the management of their son Andrew. Alexander was a member of company H, 32d Iowa Infantry, and served through the war. (Chapter 23, Ingham twp., pg 447)

John C. Jones, by occupation a contractor and house builder, is the son of an old settler of Franklin county, and was born in West Virginia, July 30, 1835. They moved to Indiana, and from thence to Reeve township. John C. enlisted in company E, 12th Iowa, in October, 1861, serving until July 26, 1865. He was promoted to the captaincy in the militia service, afterwards commissioned 1st lieutenant in the 88th regular United States colored troops. He participated in many of the prominent battles of the war, including Jackson and Vicksburg. On receiving his discharge, he returned to his home, where he remained one year, then went to southern Nebraska and Kansas, prosecuting his business. He was married to Mary J. Creighton, Nov. 16, 1856, born in Shelby Co., Ohio, Jan. 20, 1839. Seven children children have been born to them, five of whom are now living — William R., Margaret A., Christena R., Schuyler C. and Hattie A. He has held offices of trust, and is a republican in politics. (Chapter 30, Reeve twp., pg 521)
Levi S. Jones, , an old settler of the township, was born in West Virginia, in 1808. His parents were Benjamin and Elizabeth (Bell) Jones, who were also natives of West Virginia, where the father died. After the father's death, the mother emigrated with her family to Delaware Co., Ind., where she afterward died. They had a family of fourteen children, the subject of this sketch being the fifth child. He was married, in Virginia, in 1829, to Jane Snider, born in West Vrginia, in 1806. In 1838, in company with his mother's family, he went to Indiana, and there engaged in blacksmithing, which he followed until he came to Franklin county in 1854, where he engaged in farming and blacksmithing. In politics he is a republican, and was a member of the first board of supervisors. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are members of the Methodist Church at Geneva. His education was received in a log school house with holes bored in the slabs, in which were inserted pegs for legs. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have had ten children, seven of whom are living — Athalia, Alpheus, Thomas W., J. F., Martin B., Elizabeth and Benjamin. (Chapter 30, Reeve twp., pg 513)

Early Days, by Levi S. Jones
"On the 12th of September, 1854, myself and family left Indiana to come to Iowa. We came through with horse teams, also bringing several head of cattle, and were twenty-two days on the road. The trip was a long one, and the roads were so bad on account of much rain that we had a hard time getting here. We located first in Buchanan county, where we spent the winter. During the winter I hunted for a permanent location, and finally found my way to Franklin county, where, in Reeve township, we found just the location we desired. On the 1st of March, 1855, we left Buchanan county, and after a week's hard driving through mud and slush, we reached our destination. About this time hay was very scarce, and we had to go to Hardin county to get hay for the horses and cattle. Hay was high, and for a small wagon box full we had to pay five dollars. Grass soon came, however, and we had no more hay to buy. Market was a long way from us. For provisions we had to go to Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, and thought we were living in fine style if we had plenty of corn cakes. During our first winter here a great amount of snow fell, making it almost impossible to get about with horses, so everything had to be hauled on hand sleds. This same winter we had the good fortune to kill a large elk that furnished us with the finest steaks and broils all winter. Our dog, a great strong fellow, chased the elk about five miles and finally got it down and stood guard until we came up. Our first crop was a lot of sod corn. We broke twelve acres of our land and chopped in the seed. We had a good crop, and some said the corn was as sound and firm as any they had ever seen in the east. We first lived in a rude cabin made of rough logs, and I have often said that that old log cabin was just as good as a mansion. In 1860, I built a more modern house in which I now live. (Chapter 10, Early Days, pg 210-211)

Martin B. Jones. In October, 1877, M. B. Jones was elected sheriff, and two years later was reelected, serving until January, 1882. M. B. Jones is a son of Levi Jones, one of the pioneers of Reeve township, and is a native of Delaware Co., Ind., born Sept. 16,1841. In the fall of 1854 became with his parents to Franklin county, and has made this his home since that time. In August, 1861, he enlisted in company I, 9th Iowa Infantry, and served until the close of the war, in 1865. In the battle of Kennesaw Mountain he received a gunshot wound in the leg; and was wounded in the head in the battle of Pea Ridge. After receiving his discharge he returned to Franklin county, and on the 16th of May, 1866, was married to Martha A. Butterfield, who was born in Vermilion Co., Ill., Sept. 11,1847. She died Oct. 14, 1879, and on the 16th of December, 1881, Mr. Jones was married to Carrie Smith, a native of Burlington, Vt., born Sept. 16, 1848. By this union there is one son — Martin L. In politics Mr. Jones is a staunch republican. He is a member of the I. O. O. F., at Hampton, and of the Masonic lodge at Geneva. (Chapter 12, Representation, pg 260)

W.B. Jones (sic), another son of the pioneer, Levi Jones, came with his parents to Franklin county in 1854. He was born in Delaware Co., Ind., Sept., 16, 1841. He grew to manhood in Franklin county, receiving a common school education. In August, 1861, he enlisted in company I, 9th Iowa Infantry, serving until July, 1865, when he was discharged. He received a gunshot wound in the leg at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, and was also wounded in the head at the battle of Pea Ridge. He was married May 16, 1866, to Martha A. Butterfield, who was born in Vermilion Co., Ill., Sept. 11, 1847. They have one child — Martin L. Mr. Jones is a staunch republican in politics and was sheriff of Franklin county for two terms. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. society at Geneva, and of the Hampton Masonic lodge. (Chapter 30, Reeve twp., pg 513)

Transcriber's note: although the two biographies appear in the book under the names M.B. Jones and W.B. Jones, both appear to be for Martin B. Jones - who is named in the Levi Jones bio as one of the children of the elder Jones...sf

Steven M. Jones, postmaster at Hampton, is the pioneer newspaper man of Franklin county. He was born in Essex Co., N.Y., Sept. 8, 1837. His parents, Russell and Amy (Calkin) Jones, came to Johnson Co., Iowa, in 1845. Five years later they removed to Cedar Rapids, where Mr. Jones subsequently learned the printer's trade and assisted in printing the first copy of the Progressive Era, the first newspaper published in Linn county. In 1853, Fred Lyman started the Vinton Eagle, the first newspaper published in Benton county, which Mr. Jones assisted in the establishment of, and on which he worked most of the time until his removal to Franklin county, in March, 1859. Immediately after his arrival here he began the publication of the Franklin Record, the initial newspaper of the county. He disposed of his interests therein in 1866 and engaged in the dry goods trade. In 1871, he was appointed to his present position. Mr. Jones has been a republican from the outset of his political life. He was married, March 1, 1858, to Adelia Jones, a native of New York. Their children are — Cora, Nettie, Paul and Amy. The second daughter is the wife of Frank P. Morgan, editor of the Sheffield Press. (Chapter 22, Hampton & Washington twp., pg 429-430)
T.W. Jones, son of Levi Jones, came to the county in 1854. He was born in West Virginia, March 5, 1837. When one year old his parents moved to Indiana, where he grew to manhood and received a common school education. He was married April 11, 1865, to Mary J. St. Clair, born in New York, April 28, 1837. They have eight children, seven of whom were living in 1883 — Wentworth C., Jay F., Martin A., Roy W., Bertrand, Vinna E. and Hugh L. Mrs. Jones is a member of the Baptist Church at Hampton. In politics Mr. Jones is a republican and has held local offices. (Chapter 30, Reeve twp., pg 513)
Quincy A. Jordan, from Illinois, came and taking the claim where Rufus Benson resides, built a large log house there. Jordan was pretty well-to-do in this world's goods and had furniture and family clothing, considerably ahead of the average of his neighbors. Jordan's people brought with them a little Swiss girl, apparently ten or twelve years of age, of whom they made a sort of a menial. The child could not speak a word of the English language, but seemed unhappy and wretched, and in a couple of months after the arrival of the family here, two men, dressed and appearing like gentlemen, came on and took the child away. No explanations were made to the neighbors, but it was reported in the community at the time, that Jordan was compelled to pay the men quite a respectable sum as damages. Nothing further was ever known about the matter. (Chapter 10, Early Days, pg 223-224)

Q. A. Jordan came from Illinois in 1854 or early in 1855, locating on section 16. He remained until just prior to the war, when he moved to Kansas. While a resident of the township he saw what he supposed to be some elk in the distance; having a fleet footed mare he mounted her, with his gun, and started for them. Upon nearing the objects he found them to be two horses, with a man riding one of them and leading the other. The man put whip and spur to the horses and tried to make good his escape, but when Jordan got within shooting distance, he called upon him to halt, saying he would shoot if he did not. The man did not obey, and, good as his word, Jordan fired and wounded him. He then brought him back a prisoner, when it was found that he was a horse thief. Shortly afterwards parties came from Fort Dodge, claimed the horses, and took charge of this pioneer thief, who was dealt with according to law. (Chapter 19, Geneva twp., pg 346)


1883 Biography Index


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