1914 Biographies

History of Franklin County, Iowa by I. L. Stuart. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1914.
Transcribed by Don Turner, former coordinator of this website.

Peter M. Damm

Peter M. Damm, who has operated a blacksmith shop in Latimer since 1883, was born in Denmark, December 13, 1847. He is a son of Jorgen and Christiana (Kofvald) Damm, also natives of that country. Peter M. Damm remained in Denmark until 1868 and then crossed the Atlantic to America, locating in Peru, Illinois, where he remained until 1873. He next went to Granville continuing there until 1875. In 1876 he started a shop in La Salle, Illinois, and conducted it until 1883, when he came to Franklin county, Iowa, and opened a blacksmith shop in Latimer, which he has since conducted. His work is of high quality and his business methods straightforward and honorable, and, therefore, his patronage has increased steadily through the years and has reached gratifying proportions at the present time. In addition to his shop Mr. Damm owns a home and two town lots in Latimer and a quarter section of valuable land in Wisner township.

Mr. Damm married Miss Anna Larson, and they have become the parents of four children: John, who is assisting his father; Jennie, at home; Gerty, the wife of J. E. Jenson, of Wisner township; and Annie, who married Roy Scott, of South Dakota. Mr. Damm is a member of the Methodist church and gives his political allegiance to the republican party, serving for two terms as township trustee. He is a man whose enterprise and industry have gained him an excellent reputation in the community, and he is justly numbered among the Representative citizens of Latimer.


R. C. Davenport

R. C. Davenport, whose residence in Franklin county covers more than four decades, holds the office of postmaster in Chapin and has ably discharged the duties devolving upon him in that connection for the past eighteen years. His birth occurred in New York on the 4th of September, 1848, his parents being J. B. and Cordelia (Saunders) Davenport, likewise natives of the Empire state. A genealogy of the family shows that the Davenports emigrated from England in the early part of the seventeenth ccntury. J. B. Davenport, who was a painter by trade and also followed farming, located in West Liberty, Iowa, at an early day and in 1872 took up his abode in Chapin. Here he spent the remainder of his life, passing away in 1905. The demise of his wife had occurred at Chapin in 1900. Mr. Davenport had lived in Franklin county for a third of a century and was well known and highly esteemed in his community.

R. C. Davenport spent his boyhood and youth in West Liberty and West Branch, Iowa, and was a young man of twenty-four years when he came with his parents to Chapin in 1872. For a number of years he devoted his attention to general agricultural pursuits. For the past eighteen years, however, he has served as postmaster of Chapin, having been appointed under President Cleveland and having proved an able and satisfactory incumbent since that time.

As a companion and helpmate on the journey of life Mr. Davenport chose Miss Mary Smith, a native of Pennsylvania, by whom he has three children, namely: Claudia, who is the wife of K. D. Hatch and resides in Oakfield, Wisconsin; Frank, who is employed in a bank at Geneva, Iowa; and Cecil, at home. Mr. Davenport gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has served as a member of the school board for several years, being now treasurer thereof. He has an extensive and favorable acquaintance throughout the community and enjoys an enviable reputation as a substantial and esteemed citizen.


Samuel A. Davis

Samuel A. Davis, a veteran of the Civil war living retired in Hampton after many years of close connection with agricultural interests of Franklin county, was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, March 8, 1834. He is a son of David and Mary (Woodle) Davis, also natives of the Keystone state. The parents went to Wisconsin in 1838, and there the father engaged in general farming. He and his wife have passed away. Eleven children were born to their union: Thomas, deceased; James, of Brodhead, Wisconsin; David and Joel, deceased; Samuel A., of this review; William, deceased; Doctor E., a farmer of Green county, Wisconsin; Zachariah, who was killed at the battle of Resaca, Georgia; Joseph, killed in the war; and Quincy and Levi, both of whom have passed away.

Samuel A. Davis was reared upon his father's farm and in August, 1862, enlisted in Company K, Twenty-second Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, for service in the Civil war. He was taken prisoner during the battle of Spring Hill, Tennessee, and was sent to Libby prison, where he was confined for three weeks. Following his discharge from the army he returned to Wisconsin and there remained until 1874, when he came to Iowa, locating on a farm near Hampton, in Mott township, which he still owns. Throughout the years which followed he steadily carried forward the work of improving and developing this property and became in time one of the leading agriculturists of the. township. Mr. Davis still owns one hundred and twenty acres, but in October, 1906, retired from active life, moving into Hampton, where he now resides.

On the 25th of January, 1866, Mr. Davis was united in marriage to Miss Casandra Taylor, a native of Pennsylvania, and both are well known in social circles of Hampton. Mr. Davis is a member of the Christian church, is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic and gives his political support to the republican party. His has been a creditable record as a soldier, as a citizen and as a business man, and he is highly esteemed in Hampton, where he is enjoying a period of well earned rest.


Frank De Forest

Frank De Forest, a progressive agriculturist of Franklin county, farms three hundred and twenty acres in Oakland township, making a specialty of raising polled Angus cattle and Poland China hogs. Mr. De Forest is a native of Fairfield county, Connecticut, where he was born on the 27th of February, 1859. He is a son of Harvey B. and Mary (Richards) De Forest, the former born in Connecticut, June 12, 1833, and the latter born February 18, 1836. Both parents have passed away, the father dying April 1, 1868, and the mother, long surviving him, August 9, 1910. The grandfather of our subject was Captain Charles De Forest, who was born in 1796 and participated in the War of 1812. His wife was Betsey Birchard, who died in 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Harvey B. De Forest were the parents of four children: Charles W., of Fairbury, Illinois; Edwin R., deceased; Frank; and Harvey W., of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who was born May 12, 1868.

Frank De Forest was nine years of age when his father passed away and for nine years after that made his home with an aunt. In 1877 he heeded the call of the west and came to Illinois. In that state he remained until December 25, 1895, which date marks his arrival in Iowa. After locating in this state he rented land for twelve years, his labors being attended with gratifying success. The tract which he now cultivates consists of three hundred and twenty acres on section 20, Oakland township, and is his property. The land was formerly owned by L. R. Fobes, who, having no children left the property to Mr. De Forest. Since becoming the owner Mr. De Forest has made many valuable improvements upon the farm. His buildings are kept well in repair, and his land is in a high state of cultivation. He makes a specialty of raising polled Angus cattle and augments his income from the breeding of Poland China hogs. Mr. De Forest is an up-to-date farmer, and while he has attained prosperity, has contributed toward raising the agricultural standards in Franklin county.

On April 19, 1888, Mr. De Forest was united in marriage to Miss Rosa Lockhart, a native of Hancock county, Illinois, where she was born October 30, 1863, a daughter of Arthur and Jennie (Sharp) Lockhart, natives of Ireland. The father, however, is of Scotch descent and the mother of English, although they were born on the Emerald isle. The parents emigrated to Canada, making their way across the ocean in a sailing vessel and from the Dominion, to Illinois. In that state the father passed away October 7, 1879, and the mother yet lives there. Of this union there were born nine children: Nelson, of Wellington, Illinois; Lilly, also of that city; William, who resides also at Wellington; Rosa, the wife of Mr. De Forest; and Robert, Arthur, John, Samuel and George, all of Wellington. To Mr. and Mrs. De Forest there have been born four children: Gertrude May, at home; Ruby L., attending the State University at Iowa Falls; and F. Ray and George R., at home.

Mr. and Mrs. De Forest are Presbyterians and take a laudable interest in church affairs. The former is politically a republican. He is reputed to have raised the first alfalfa in Franklin county and now has ten acres, from which he receives three crops yearly. These ,three cuttings will average about four tons per acre, a statement which plainly indicates the profit to be derived from alfalfa in this section. Although Mr. De Forest has never entered politics, he allies himself with such men as desire progress and exert their efforts for the benefit of the people. He is highly esteemed by all who know him and has many friends in the neighborhood.


Frank H. Dirst

Frank H. Dirst, who since 1892 has been connected with farming interests of Franklin county, owning two hundred and eight acres of excellent land on section 34, Reeve township, was born in Grundy county, Illinois, October 19, 1873. He is a son of Howard and Susan (Crawford) Dirst, natives of Ohio, who came to Franklin county in 1892. The father died August 28, 1893, and his wife survived him until November, 1910. In the family were two children: Clifford, deceased; and Frank H., of this review.

Frank H. Dirst was reared in Grundy county, Illinois, and acquired his education in the public schools. He came to Franklin county with his parents in March, 1892, and immediately began operating the farm which his father had previously purchased. He now owns this property, which comprises two hundred and eight acres on section 34, Reeve township. He engages in general farming and also feeds sheep on an extensive scale, his animals commanding high prices on the local market.

On the 2d of December, 1896, Mr. Dirst was united in marriage to Miss Ella J. Marble, a native of Franklin county, and they have become the parents of four children: Harold, Maude, Howard and Charles. Mr. Dirst is a member of the Baptist church, is connected fraternally with the Knights of Pythias and gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He is a man who, through industry and enterprise, has acquired an excellent reputation in the community, standing in the front ranks of progressive and representative agriculturists.


Frank E. Dodd

Frank E. Dodd has not only been successful as an agriculturist but is also interested in the grain elevator business as a member of the firm of Dodd & Schlosser, and the prosperous condition of the .business is largely due to his ability and energy. Mr. Dodd was born in Carroll county, Illinois, January 26, 1854, and is a son of Jesse R. and Lucinda (Shepard) Dodd, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of New York. The parents came to Franklin county in 1856, locating in Oakland township. There the father operated a sawmill and engaged iii farming, following these occupations until his death in 1872. In his time he was prominent and participated in the government of the district as a member of the board of supervisors. His wife preceded him in death, passing away in 1870. To their union were born seven children: Emma, deceased; Frank E.; Clarence, of Popejoy; Lily, the wife of Charles Segar, of Clear Lake, Iowa; Lucinda, who married H. F. Stoffer, of Popejoy; Jessie, the wife of Frank Holton, also of Popejoy; and Annie, who married J. C. Long, of Lee township.

Frank E..Dodd came with his parents to Franklin county in his childhood. At the age of seventeen he began farming and successfully continued along that line until 1900, when he turned his attention to other pursuits. However, he still owns two hundred acres near Popejoy. He is now interested in two elevators which are conducted by the firm of Dodd & Schlosser. Mr. Dodd's long experience as an agriculturist stands him in good stead in the conduct of his present business.

On August 22, 1880, Frank E. Dodd was united in marriage to Miss Lucretia Hills, a native of Illinois, and they have four children: Jay C., at home; Roy M., of Oakland township; Mae, the wife of William Scott, of Waterloo; and Harry, at home. Roy M. Dodd is now living on the homestead in Oakland township and is cultivating his father's acres.

Frank E. Dodd is a republican, stanchly upholding the candidates and measures of that party. He has held a number of township offices and in his public-spirited execution of his duties has promoted the general welfare. Fraternally, he is a Knight of Pythias. Mr. Dodd has contributed toward agricultural standards and since leaving farm labor to younger hands has been successful in business in Popejoy. He enjoys a splendid reputation as a farmer, while as a business man he stands high in the estimation of the community.


Frederick D. Dohrmann

Frederick D. Dohrmann, engaged in general farming and stock-raising on one hundred and twenty acres of land in Marion township, was born in Hanover, Germany, September 28, 1867. He is a son of George H. and Louisa (Mueller) Dohrmann, natives of Germany, who came to America in 1870 and located in Du Page county, Illinois. There the mother died October 12, 1872, and four years later the father came with his family to Franklin county, Iowa, locating in Marion township, where he now resides, having reached the age of eighty-six years. He and his wife had five children: A. H, a resident of Marion township; C. F., of Dodge county, Minnesota; Sophia, the wife of Louis Jacobs, of Alexander, Iowa; Frederick D., of this review; and Louis, who died in infancy.

Frederick D. Dohrmann came to Franklin county with his father in 1876 and remained upon the homestead until he was twenty-two years of age. He then rented one hundred and twenty acres on section 17, Marion township, from his father, and after operating this property for four years purchased it. He has erected a fine modern nine-room home upon it and has provided it with substantial barns and outbuildings and also modern machinery. His general farming and stock-raising interests have increased yearly and have reached extensive proportions at the present time.

On the 10th of July, 1891, Mr. Dohrmann was united in marriage to Miss Louisa Vahlsing, a native of Cedar county, Iowa, whose parents reside in Butler county. Mr. and Mrs. Dohrmann have become the parents of five children. Arnold, deceased; Frieda; Amanda; Emil; and Louisa.

Mr. Dohrmann is a member of the Evangelical church and gives his political allegiance to the progressive party, serving at the present time as a member of the school board of Latimer. He is well known in Marion township, where practically his entire life has been spent and where he is held in high honor and esteem by reason of his genuine personal worth.


William M. Dovey

William M. Dovey, one of the valued and representative citizens of Hampton, was born in England, December 27, 1834. He is a son of William M. and Mary (Palmer) Dovey, also natives of England, both of whom have passed away. In their family were eight children: Caroline, who is postmistress in a town in Australia; John, of Nebraska; William M., of this review; Betsy, deceased; Sophia, who has passed away; Mary, the widow of Mr. Nipper, of England; Henry, also a resident of England; and Sarah, deceased.

When William M. Dovey was ten years of age his father wished him to learn the shoemaking trade and in order to avoid this he ran away from home and secured a position as a farm laborer, working for one employer for ten years. In 1878 he came to Franklin county and four years afterward bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in Geneva township. To this he afterward added one hundred and sixty acres and he carried on general farming and stock-raising upon the property until 1902. In that year he bought eighteen acres inside the corporation limits of Hampton, and here he has since resided. He has greatly improved the place, has set out a fine orchard and ornamental trees and has made his home one of the most attractive in the city. He makes a specialty of raising Poland China hogs and his success is the natural result of his ability and enterprise.

Mr. Dovey was united in marriage to Miss Ann Day, a native of England, and they have become the parents of the following children., Mary, the wife of Joseph Petheran, of Chapin; James, operating the homestead in Reeve township; Henry, of Latimer; Theodore, of Reeve township; Sarah, the wife of William Seeger, of Ingham township; William, deceased; and two, who died in England. Mr. Dovey's first wife died in March, 1907, and he afterward married Mrs. Isabell (Bewley) Shinn, the widow of George Shinn.

Mr. Dovey is a member of the Congregational church and gives his political allegiance to the democratic party. A resident of Franklin county for thirty-five years, he is widely known within its borders, and the substantial qualities which he has displayed in citizenship and in his business relations have gained him a high place in the regard and esteem of his neighbors and friends.

William M. Dovey
William M. Dovey


Anton Duit

Anton Duit, a native son of Grant township and today one of the representative and successful farmers of his locality, operating one hundred and sixty acres of land, was born February 27, 1885. He is a son of John Gerald and Eliesa Jajjenetta (Grothaus) Duit, natives of Germany. For twenty-seven years the father followed the sea, and when he abandoned this occupation he came to America, settling in Franklin county, Iowa, about the year 1883. He turned his attention to general farming and has accumulated valuable landed holdings, owning today three hundred and sixty acres. He is living retired in Ackley and has survived his wife since March 10, 1905. To their union were born seven children: Gerald, deceased; Carl J., of Grant township; Anton, deceased; Tjode, who has passed away; Anton, of this review; Annie, who resides in Ackley; and Tjode, second of the name, the wife of John Ubben, of Garrison, Iowa.

Anton Duit acquired his education in the district schools of Franklin county and during his childhood and youth worked upon his father's farm. He is now operating one hundred and sixty acres of the homestead and has met with gratifying success in the conduct of his interests, for his methods are at all times practical and he possesses a thorough knowledge of the details of farm operation.

On the 12th of February, 1907, Mr. Duit married Miss Otillia Heinz, of Grant township, and they have become the parents of two children: Harry John, born July 13, 1909; and Selma Eliesa, Jajjenetta, born July 2, 1911. Mr. arid Mrs. Duit are members of the Lutheran church, and Mr. Duit is connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America. He gives his political allegiance to the democratic party and is interested in the growth and welfare of his native community. He is one of the progressive and successful young men of the township and holds the esteem and confidence of all who are associated with him.


Carl J. Duit

Carl J. Duit, a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of Franklin county, operating two hundred acres of excellent land on section 21, Grant township, was born in Germany, November 1, 1878. He is a son of John G. and Eliesa Jajjenetta (Grothaus) Duit, also natives of Germany. The father was a sailor for twenty-seven years and after abandoning a seafaring life came to America, locating about the year 1883 in Franklin. county, Iowa. He turned his attention to general farming and accumulated three hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, which, he still owns. He is living in retirement in Ackley and has survived his wife since March 10, 1905. To their union were born seven children: Gerald, deceased; Carl J., of this review; Anton, deceased; Tjode, who has also passed away; Anton, a resident of Franklin county; Annie, living in Ackley; and Tjode, the wife of John Ubben, of Garrison, Iowa.

Carl J. Duit came to America with his parents in 1883 and afterward remained on the home farm until he was twenty-three years of age, becoming familiar with the best agricultural methods through practical experience. When he left the homestead he rented one hundred and sixty acres on section 21, Grant township, and this he has since increased to two hundred acres. He engages in general farming and stock-raising and being energetic, capable and enterprising, has met with a gratifying degree of success.

On the. 22d of April, 1902, Mr. Duit married Miss Elizabeth Brass, a native of Grundy county, and they have become the parents of four children: John G., who was born June 16, 1903; Aeilt E., born June 8, 1905; Adeline Jajjenetta, born February 16, 1908; and Alvin William, born February 8, 1910. Mr. and Mrs. Duit are members of the Lutheran church, and he is connected fraternally with the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a democrat in his political beliefs and has held a number of township offices, proving capable and public-spirited in the discharge of his duties. He is well known and highly respected in Grant township, and his success places him among the representative agriculturists of his locality.


George Dunn

George Dunn, an enterprising, successful and representative young citizen of Alexander, holds the position of assistant cashier in the Alexander Savings Bank. His birth occurred in England on the 22d of August, 1885, his parents being John-and Annie (Cook) Dunn, who are still living in that country. Their children are eight in number as follows: Joseph, Sarah Ann, Harriet, Arthur John, Mary Jane, George, W. Fred and Ruth. After a visit in England, in 1906, George Dunn returned to this country, with his younger brother, W. Fred, who is now employed as bookkeeper in the Alexander Savings Bank. The six other children still reside in their native land.

George Dunn crossed the Atlantic to the United States in 1900, when a youth of fifteen, and making his way direct to Franklin county Iowa, here worked as a farm laborer for several years, also attending the common schools in Scott township and spending one year in study at Hampton. Subsequently he followed the profession of teaching in this county for two years and in 1907 became bookkeeper in the Alexander Savings Bank, later being promoted to the position of assistant cashier, in which capacity he has since served and has made a creditable record. Mr. Dunn has a financial interest in the institution and also owns a well furnished and attractive home in Alexander. In association with Mr. Cook, the cashier of the Alexander Savings Bank, he writes fire insurance in some of the best companies.

In 1908 Mr. Dunn was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Messelheiser, who was born in West Fork township, Franklin county, on the 25th of April, 1884, her parents being George and Hermena (Kugler) Messelheiser. The father, a native of Wisconsin, was successfully engaged in business at Hampton and Alexander, Iowa, for a number of years and is now a resident of California. The mother passed away in Hampton, this state, leaving an only child, Minnie. George Messelheiser was married a second time and he and his wife now reside in California. Mrs. Minnie Dunn grew to womanhood here and has always been a resident of this county. She acquired her early education in the common schools, completed a course in the Highland Park College of Des Moines and also attended the Iowa State Teachers College at Cedar Falls. Subsequently she taught in the rural schools of Franklin county and likewise in Alexander. By her marriage she has become the mother of three children, two sons, and a daughter, as follows: Margaret Ann, born August 14, 1909; Gordon Leland, whose natal day was August 5, 1911; and Stanley Livingston, whose birth occurred on the 19th of July,.1913. All are natives of Alexander.

In politics Mr. Dunn is a staunch republican. He has served as mayor of Alexander and gave the town a businesslike, progressive and beneficial administration. Both he and his wife are members of the Congregational church, and fraternally he is identified with the Alexander lodges of the Yeomen and the Modern Brotherhood of America and Windsor Lodge, No. 71, K. P., of Hampton.


1914 Biography Index


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