Walker - Zickefoose

WalkerHD.jpg (97907 bytes)   H. D. Walker

HON. H. D. WALKER, Grand Keeper of the Records and Seal of the Knights of Pythias since 1874, and a member of the order since 1870, is engaged in the general insurance business, on the south side of the Public Square in Mt. Pleasant. He as born near Chambersburg, Pa., Oct. 16, 1831, his parents being William and Mary (Houghtelin) Walker. The father of William Walker was born in Ireland, and came to this country with his parents in his youth, the family settling near Carlisle, Pa., at an early day. His mother was born on the Island of Manhattan, N. Y., and was the daughter of Holland parents. William Walker was born in Franklin County, Pa., and learned the trade of shoemaking at Carlisle, in that State, carrying it on for many years in the borough of Newville, Cumberland Co., Pa.  He finally gave up the business, and bought a farm in the adjoining county of Adams, on which he lived until his death in 1854. His wife came to Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa, after her husband's decease, and lived with her son H. D. until the time of her demise, in 1878, at the ripe age of eighty-four years. Both were strict members of the United Presbyterian Church, and highly respected in the community where they resided. The subject of this sketch, H. D. Walker, was reared on a farm on the site of the battle of Gettysburg. When eighteen years of age he began an apprenticeship to the plasterer's trade, which he mastered, and traveled, working as a journeyman in several States, in Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas, until the autumn of 1854, when he located at Piqua, Miami Co., Ohio, where he was married, March 13, 1856, to Miss Isabella Redman, daughter of David and Esther Redman. Mrs. Walker was born at Cherrytown, Pa.  four children were born to them, all of whom except the youngest are living: Charles D. is married to Mamie Hobart, and is a plasterer by trade, residing at Mt. Pleasant; Minnie B. is the wife of H. B. Adams, of Aurora, Ill.; Hattie M. is the wife of H. J. DeLaubenfels, a civil engineer of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; William B., the youngest, died Feb. 14, 1886, aged twenty years and three months.

Mr. Walker has been for years prominently identified with the I. O. O. F. and Knights of Pythias, being initiated into the former in Piqua Lodge No. 8, under the Grand Jurisdiction of Ohio. He emigrated to Iowa in October, 1856, and located at Mt. Pleasant, where he has since resided. On coming to Mt. Pleasant he deposited his withdrawal card with Henry Lodge No. 10, I. O. O. F.  After filling all the minor offices in the lodge, he became a Past Grand Master in 1873. He became a Patriarch by uniting with Industry Encampment No. 18, at its institution in October, 1857, and was promoted to the Chair of Grand Patriarch in 1869. In 1870, having become much interested in the rapidly growing order of the Knights of Pythias, he joined with twenty-five others in a petition to the Supreme Lodge of the world for a dispensation to organize Eastern Star Lodge No. 6, K. of P., at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and was thereafter unanimously elected the first Chancellor Commander. He became a Past Chancellor on July 1, 1870, and in the year 1872 was duly elected a representative to the Grand Lodge, and at the session of that body at Burlington, Iowa, July 9 and 10, following, he was elected and duly installed Grand Vice Chancellor, and served in such capacity till Jan. 29, 1873, on which day he was elected Grand Chancellor and served one year. During his administration of the office the interests of the order were materially advanced. The ability and zeal displayed by him won for him a reputation that resulted in his election to the responsible position of Grand Keeper of Records and Seal of this jurisdiction. He was elected in 1874 to that office, and has been re-elected at each succeeding election to this date, covering a period of fourteen years. Lately his salary has been increased so that he can devote his attention almost exclusively to the interests of the order. In his relations to these two great charitable institutions Mr. Walker has borne a conspicuous part, and has developed peculiar ability as an administrative officer, that has won him the title of the "Model Knight." Mr. Walker is a Republican in politics, and has voted with that party since its organization.

On the adjoining page will be found the portrait of Mr. Walker, which will be rewarded with great gratification by his many friends.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 508-11.)


John H. Wallbank

JOHN H. WALLBANK, Postmaster of Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa, is one of that class of enterprising, energetic citizens who do much to insure the prosperity and development of the places where they make their homes, as he has in Mt. Pleasant. He was born near Manchester, England, Nov. 7, 1838, and is a son of James and Sophia (Hayhurst) Wallbank, both natives of England, who followed their son to the New World, emigrating in 1871, and settling in this county, where both died, the former in 1878 and his widow in 1884. They were people of excellent repute, who enjoyed the respect of those who knew them. They were the parents of two sons, one of whom, George, still lives in his native land. The other, John H., the subject of this sketch, received a good education in England, and for six years was employed in the revenue service of Great Britain, in the excise department. Leaving his native land he went to Australia, and lived there and in New Zealand between three and four years, and also visited many of the South Pacific Islands. He returned to England, and in 1867 emigrated to America, and coming to the West, located in Henry County, which has ever since been his home. His first business venture here was in Trenton, whence he went to Marshall, now called Wayland, where he staid until 1878, when he removed to Mt. Pleasant and engaged in the boot and shoe trade, which he carried on until Dec. 31, 1883, on which night the building in which he was doing business burned down, and Mr. Wallbank was a heavy loser. He then sold out the balance of his stock, and in 1885 opened a clothing store, in which he carries not only a full stock of clothing of all grades, but a complete line of gentlemen's furnishing goods and men's shoes. This is not Mr. Wallbank's only business enterprise, as he has a fine branch store at Winfield, known as Green & Wallbank, in this county, and is the owner of a 200-acre farm in Jefferson Township, all under cultivation.

He was married in England, in 1860, to Miss Martha Whitman, a native of that country. They are the happy parents of six children, now living, namely: Sophia E., Nellie, Anna, James and Arthur.

Mr. Wallbank is a leading man in the Democratic party in the county, and in August, 1886, was appointed Postmaster of Mt. Pleasant, under President Cleveland's administration. Since coming to the county he has been one of the most efficient workers in the party, and his appointment over a number of competitors was a well-merited recognition of his zeal in the cause. Not only in political affairs is Mr. Wallbank a leader. In business circles he is recognized as an enterprising citizen, and is always to be found in the ranks of those who encourage all movements tending to the advancement and prosperity of the county and city, in whose affairs he keeps thoroughly posted.

Mr. Wallbank belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and is a member of Adoniram Lodge No. 120, A. F.& A. M., of Wayland, and also of Henry Lodge No. 10, I. O. O. F., of Mt. Pleasant. His wife and eldest daughter are members of the Presbyterian Church. He has proved himself an enterprising, go-ahead and capable citizen, and is justly entitled to representation in this volume.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 361-62.)


Peter P. Walz

PETER P. WALZ, a prominent farmer of Baltimore Township, was born in this county, June 29, 1858, and is the son of Dennis and Caroline (Herrmann) Walz. Both parents came from Baden, Germany, where they were schoolmates and friends from childhood. Dennis Walz came alone to America in 1852, and located in Canton, Ohio. He secured employment in the coal mines there, and after working for two years, his heart went out to the bonny girl whom he learned to love in the German home across the sea, to whom his troth was plighted before he left his native land. He had accumulated a few dollars, and decided to send for his betrothed. She came, and was met by her lover in Canton, where they were married, and where for two years the young couple remained. Their hearts were gladdened by the birth of a little daughter, Julia A., born in the Buckeye State. Two years after Caroline Herrmann came to America, they emigrated to the Far West with their darling daughter and $60 in cash. They came direct to Des Moines County, and the husband engaged with Dennis Melcher, who gave him work in the woods at fifty cents per day. Mr. Walz worked early and late until he accumulated a small sum, and with that he purchased forty acres of land, upon which his son Peter P. now resides. He erected a small cabin in the brush, which stands a few rods from where the fine farmhouse is situated, and in this cabin the young wife with her baby was installed as mistress. Mr. Walz grubbed and otherwise improved his lands, and prosperity came as the days went by. His first team was a partnership one, he owning one steer, and his neighbor, B. Bleinkopt, the other, and in turn their lands were plowed and cultivated. Mr. Walz later purchased Kleinkopf's ox, and then had a team which was the beginning of his good fortune. Day by day the gains increased, and other acres became his. In the little cabin their first son, Peter P., was born, and the delighted father blessed the day when he first saw the light. While he was yet a baby the good mother had aid the husband in tilling the land, and placing her baby in a secure place, would lead the ox while he guided the plow. The third birth gave them another daughter, Mary L.  The three children came near getting killed at one time, being in the wagon when the oxen ran away, but becoming entangled in the trees, the children were rescued by their frightened parents, who believed they had met a horrible death.

Other acres were added to the first forty, and when Dennis Walz and his wife left the old farm he was owner of 250 acres of land, which are handsomely improved, and upon which grand buildings stand. There never was a man of greater energy than Dennis Walz, and as he became wealthy by his own labor and that of his good wife, they are entitled to much credit in the history of this county.

Their family is composed of the children mentioned and Mary, who married Frank X. Ferry, a merchant of Rochester, N. Y.; Frances, the wife of John Walz, a business man in Burlington, and John, who is a partner with his father in the grocery business in Burlington.

Peter P. Walz was married to Miss Celestine M. Widerspoch, Feb. 10, 1885, who takes the place of her kind mother-in-law as mistress of the mansion. Celestine was born in Washington County, Iowa, Nov. 24, 1865, and is the daughter of Charles and Mary (Brum) Widerspoch, both of whom were natives of France. Her father came to America a single man, and his wife came when twelve years of age. They were married in Des Moines County, Iowa, and are the parents of six children, three of whom are now living - Celestine, Louisa and Edna.

We greet the young couple, who have taken the place of the fine family who did so much to improve and beautify this county, and ere their heads becomes silvered with gray, they may be as noted as were their ancestors.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 352 & 355.)


Samuel Waters 

SAMUEL WATERS, a prominent farmer and early settler of Henry County, Iowa, resides on section 9, New London Township, where he has 120 acres of well-improved land, and also has another farm of 200 acres on sections 28 and 33 of the same township. His post-office address is New London. Mr. Waters first located in this township in the fall of 1847, but did not move his family here until and the spring of 1848. He is a native of New York State, and was born in Genesee County, Sept. 15, 1822. His parents were William and Rachel (Cox) Waters, who were also born in New York, the father in 1795, and the mother May 15, 1802.

Our subject moved to Ashtabula County, Ohio, with his parents in 1823, and from there to Warrick County, Ind., in 1839. He was married in that county, Dec. 2, 1844, to Miss Mary Ketcham, daughter of John and Nancy Ketcham. Mrs. Waters was born in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Nine children have been born into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Waters, seven of whom are now living: William B., was born Dec. 22, 1845, and died May 22, 1850; Winfield S. was born Jan. 13, 1847, married Annie Fry, lives in Northwestern Nebraska, and has four children, three boys and a girl. Rachel A., born Nov. 20, 1848, keeps house for her father; Nancy K. was born April 5, 1852, and is the wife of Frank Jackson, resides in Rooks County, Kan., and has three sons and two daughters. John N., born Dec. 10, 1854, married Sarah Moon, now resides in Canaan Township, Henry County, and has two children, a son and a daughter. James M., born April 29, 1856, married Alice Cornwall, and resides in New London Township; Samuel T., born Jan. 26, 1859, married Belle McGrue, and has one child, a daughter, and resides in Kansas; Robert H., born Oct. 9, 1863, died Aug. 21, 1864, and Charles E., born July 1, 1866, makes his home with his father.

Mrs. Waters, who was a consistent and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a devoted wife and mother, passed away on the 11th of April, 1876. All the children, except the two elder, were born in New London Township. The two elder brothers were born in Warrick County, Ind., prior to the removal of the family to Iowa. Mr. Waters has made farming his business through life. Since making his home in New London Township he has held various local offices. He has served three terms as Township Trustee, has been a member of the School Board nearly the whole time of his residence here, and for twenty-eight years has served as Road Supervisor. He was a Whig in early life, and since the dissolution of that party has been associated with the Republican party. He is a Master Mason, a member of New London Lodge No. 28, A. F. & A. M., and is also a member of Charity Lodge No. 56, I. O. O. F.  Mr. Waters and all his family, except two sons, are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His father, who was a resident of New London Township, died in Oregon in 1874, and his mother died in New London Township in April, 1846.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 575-76.)


William Waugh

WILLIAM WAUGH is a prominent farmer and stock-raiser of New London Township, and resides on section 30, where he has a well-improved and valuable farm of 235 acres; his post-office is Mt. Pleasant. His father, David B. Waugh, a worthy citizen of Henry County from 1864 until his death on May 15, 1881, was born in Washington County, Pa., Feb. 17, 1801, and was the son of William and Sarah (Boyd) Waugh, his ancestors being of Scotch-Irish descent, and residents of America from Colonial times.

David B. Waugh was married in his native county, Feb. 18, 1830, to Miss Maria Moore, daughter of William Moore. Mrs. Waugh was born in the same county in which her husband was born. Eight children were born of this union, seven of whom lived to be men and women: Jane was born Dec. 6, 1830, and is now the widow of Thomas Dodds, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Sarah was born Oct. 1, 1832, and is the wife of O. H. P. Buchanan, of Nebraska; John M. was born Aug. 20, 1834, mar�ried Miss Jane Waugh, and resides in Shenandoah, Page Co., Iowa; William is the subject of this sketch; Robert, born March 3, 1838, married Elizabeth Shiveley, and is a farmer of Center Township, Henry County; Caroline, born May 14, 1840, in Virginia, is the wife of A. W. Shelton, of Dc Kalb County, Ill.; Richard, born in Brooke County, Va., Oct. 3, 1842, married Anna McDonald, and resides in Furnas County, Neb.; James R., born June 12, 1846, died in infancy. All of the children older than Caroline were born in Washington County, Pa.

Mr. Waugh moved to Brooke County, Va., now West Virginia in 1840, where his youngest children were born and where his wife died July 29, 1846. Mr. Waugh was married again, Oct. 2, 1849, to Mrs. Jane B. Miller, nee Blair, and emigrated from Virginia to Henry County, Iowa, and located in Center Township, where he was engaged in farming until his death. His oldest son, Robert, served in the late war as a member of Company B, 1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry, U. S. A. In early life Mr. Waugh voted with the Whig party, and on the organization of the Republican party became a warm supporter of that body, and his sons followed his example. His two wives and himself were members of the Presbyterian Church, as are several of his children. Mr. Waugh was an upright, industrious man of unquestioned integrity and morality. His life was a bright example for his children, who have profited well by his teachings.

William Waugh, the subject of this sketch, was born in Washington County, Pa., Feb. 16, 1836. He received a liberal education and was reared to the vocation of a farmer. He was united in marriage in his native county in Pennsylvania, Oct. 26, 1865, to Miss Rebecca Hamilton, daughter of Alexander and Matilda (Thompson) Hamilton. Mrs. Waugh was also born in Washington County, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Waugh have four children, all sons, born in New London Township, and named respectively: William Howard, born Dec. 6, 1866; Charles Hamilton, born Dec. 26, 1868; Harry Buchanan, born Aug. 8, 1871, and Herbert Tappan, born Aug. 6, 1873. The parents and three sons belong to the First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Pleasant. Mr. Waugh has been an earnest Republican since the organization of that party. His first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln, and he has never wavered in his allegiance to the party since. He is one of the substantial farmers of Henry County, and does an extensive business in stock-raising and dairying. He is held in good repute as a neighbor and citizen, and is eminently worthy of the highest respect and confidence.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 348-349) (JC)


Henry Clay Weir

HENRY CLAY WEIR, residing on section 29, Marion Township, was born in Washington County, Pa., June 24, 1835. His parents, Adam and Mary (Carter) Weir, were natives of Pennsylvania, though of Scotch descent. They were the parents of ten children: Elizabeth, the deceased wife of Abel Evans, resided in Washington County, Pa.; Sarah, wife of George McKanna, neither of whom are now living; Jane, the widow of J. N. Ringland, resides in Keokuk, Iowa; Maria, deceased; Charlotte, deceased, was the wife of Daniel F. Humphrey, who still resides at Saginaw, Mich.; John B. is living at Wymore, Neb., and is engaged quite extensively in the grain and stock business at that place; William C., deceased; Henry Clay, subject of this sketch; Caleb B., who when his country called for men to defend her, enlisted in the 11th Iowa Infantry, and was First Lieutenant of Company G, but acted as aide to Gen. McPherson. Returning home on a sick furlough he was seriously injured in a railroad accident at Chattanooga, Tenn., which, together with his impaired health, caused his death in August, 1864; James P. and family live in Marion Township.

Adam Weir, with his family, moved to Lee County, Iowa, in 1851, and settled near Pilot Grove. In 1854 he bought eighty acres of land in that township, and added to it from time until he owned 120 acres of splendid land and in a good state of cultivation, he died Dec. 1, 1874, at the advanced age of eighty-four years, having been born in 1790; his wife died in 1868. They were both members of the Presbyterian Church, of which he was an Elder, and always took an active part in matters pertaining to the church, and those of general interest to the community. They were highly respected by the citizens of both Washington County, Pa., and Lee County, Iowa, where they resided.

Henry Clay Weir, the subject of this sketch, continued at home with his parents, working on the farm and attending the district school. On the 12th of June, 1862, he was married to Maggie Potter, who was a daughter of Andrew and Katharine Potter, being born in Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 18, 1842. Her father was a native of Ireland, and died about the year 1881, at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. His wife is still living in Mt. Pleasant.

Mr. and Mrs. Weir are the parents of five children: William, who died in infancy; Edward, May, Charles F. and Adam. After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Weir, they still remained at the old homestead until 1866, when he bought 130 acres in Marion Township, Lee Co., Iowa, and moved on to it. He added to his first purchase until he owned 280 acres. In the fall of 1875 he sold his farm in Lee County, and bought 262 acres in Marion Township, Henry County, where he now resides, and has from time to time added to his original purchase until he now owns 500 acres, and it is not only one of the largest and finest but it is also one of the best cultivated farms in the county, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that he has made it all by his own industry. In politics he is a Republican, and was elected, in 1886, by the party as a member of the Board of Supervisors. Although a man of reserved habits, he is always willing to lend a helping hand to promote all public enterprises.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 334 & 337) (JC)



Wenger Bros.

Wenger Bros., general merchants. The most enterprising firm of young men in the village of Wayland are the brothers, Joseph and Christian C. Wenger, both born in Washington County, Iowa, and are the two eldest sons of Christian and Elizabeth (Goldsmith) Wenger. Christian was born in Switzerland and is a son of Christian and Mary (Roth) Wenger, who emigrated from Germany to Hamburg, Canada, and thence to Washington County, Iowa, making the journey with a team passing through Chicago when that now great city was a village but a trifle larger than Wayland. Settling in 1832, in Marion Township, Washington Co., Iowa, the grandsire of our subject purchased a claim, upon which stood a small cabin and later entered the lands. This family were among the first settlers in that county, and both lived and died upon the farm which they had put in fine cultivation. His wife reached sixty, and Christian Wenger, Sr., the ripe age of eighty-three years. All their children but the three eldest were born in Canada, and came with them to Iowa, and perhaps no better family has ever settled in her boundary. We are pleased to make separate mention of each: John married Mary Ernst; Christian, father of our subject, wedded Elizabeth Goldsmith; Nicholas died unmarried; Joseph married Elizabeth Roth; Benjamin became the husband of Lena Gengerich; Annie married Christian Eicher; Mary wedded Joseph Rich; Lena wedded Christian Ernst, a brother of John's wife; Katie became the wife of John Miller, of Davis County; and Barbara became the wife of Christian Schlatter, the proprietor of the Wayland sawmills. Under the name of Christian Wenger the further history of the family is given. His five eldest children were born in Washington County and are: Joseph, Christian, Samuel, Jacob and Lizzie, the latter the wife of Jacob Kabel. On the farm in Henry County, John, Daniel, Henry, Ella and Levi, were born. Samuel was educated at Howe's Academy, and has taught in the public schools of this county. The two eldest sons were educated in the schools of the township, but are brilliant business men, and their retail trade is successfully managed.

In 1881 Christian C. left the farm and in 1882, in company with Benjamin Gardiner, engaged in the mercantile trade. Their new store building was erected in 1883, but prior to its completion Joseph purchased the interest of Mr. Gardiner, and the firm was changed to Wenger Bros. The firm carry a full line of general merchandise and the largest stock in the northern part of the county, their stock invoicing over $6,000. Everything is of the best, and selling goods at the lowest living profit has given these young men a trade of over $10,000 per annum, and located as they are in the midst of an excellent agricultural region, their trade is constantly increasing. They are an honor to their parents, their village and their country, and to men of such business enterprise the growth and prosperity of Henry County is due.

The wedding of Joseph, the elder member of this firm, was a brilliant affair, and was celebrated on Thursday, Oct. 27, 1887, the bride being Miss Katie, the handsome daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Henss, the veteran wagon-maker, and one of the wealthy men of Wayland. The young couple took a pleasant bridal tour, and are now cosily settled in Wayland, the birthplace of the bride, who has one of the best of husbands and a man in whom the public repose confidence.

Christian C., the younger member of the firm, but the original partner of Mr. Gardiner, is also happily married, having, on Dec. 8, 1887, been united to Miss Ella, daughter of Isaac and Keziah Allen, of Wayland, of which place she is a native. She was educated in the schools of the village, and has always been regarded as one of the brightest and best of its daughters, as her husband is known as one of its most honorable and enterprising merchants. Christian Wenger, a farmer residing on section 10, Jefferson Township, was born in Switzerland in 1833, and is a son of Christian and Mary (Roth) Wenger. In 1852 he became a citizen of Washington County, Iowa, his father at that time being a man of limited means, who had worked hard in Canada to make a home. He reared a large family, and his descendants are worthy and most highly respected.

Christian Wenger was married in this county to Elizabeth Goldsmith, in 1850, and at that time he had only money enough to buy what was needed to furnish his home, and pay the wedding expenses. His first farming was done in Washington County on rented land, and the next year he purchased 100 acres, going in debt for the whole amount, $1,600. Eight years he remained on that tract, paid for it and saved $1,000 more, with which he bought the eighty acres on which he now resides. From 1858 he has accumulated, by the hardest labor, 605 acres in this county, and the same farm in Washington County, upon which his first start in life was made. Mr. Wenger knows what hard times are, having sold wheat for forty cents, taking one-half in trade, hogs for $2, and corn by the thousands of bushels, at fifteen cents per bushel. His lands were bought at from $20 to $40 per acre, and the farms averaged $33 per acre. He began to raise stock soon after he commenced farming, but the first two years he had not enough to sell to pay the interest on his debts. Now all this is changed; on one of the best farms in the township he has erected fine buildings, and his farm almost resembles a village in itself from the number of barns and out-buildings, and the brick mansion was erected in 1875. Mr. Wenger is a large breeder of horses, and now owns thirty head. His stallions are all imported and are four in number, three of them prize winners. They are valued at $6,000. Prefer, a four-year-old gray, took at the exposition in France, when one year old, the gold medal, which Mr. Wenger has in his possession. Duke, a Clyde stallion, likewise took the medal in Canada, from which place Mr. Wenger brought him. In fact, he is owner of more fine stallions than any farmer in Henry County.

Mr. Wenger is the largest land-owner, and the heaviest taxpayer in Jefferson Township, which is saying much for a man who came a few years ago from Switzerland without a dollar, and his sons are rapidly developing into the best of business men. A new daughter was recently welcomed into the family, Katie Henss, who wedded Joseph, the eldest son, mention of whom is elsewhere made.

To complete the history of the family, we add the sketch of Joseph Goldsmith, the father of Mrs. Wenger. Rev. Joseph Goldsmith was one of the first ministers of the Mennonite faith in Iowa, and was the second in Lee, and the first in this county to organize a church. The Trenton Church is made mention of in the sketch of the Rev. Sebastian Gerig, and no man was more widely known in this part of the State, during his lifetime, than

Rev. Goldsmith. For more than a half century he was an active and faithful member in the cause of religion, much of which time was spent as an itinerant minister. In Canada West he began preaching, having united with the church in Lancaster County, Pa. Both himself and his wife were born in Germany, were married in Lancaster County, Pa., and were the parents of twelve children, of whom one is now deceased. Elizabeth Miller became the wife of Joseph Goldsmith in 1823, and for fifty-three years she was to him a loving and devoted wife. The death of Rev. Joseph Goldsmith occurred in April, 1876; his widow, yet surviving, is now in her eighty-first year. The family first left Pennsylvania and located in Canada; from thence they removed to Butler County, Ohio. From that county and State they came to Iowa, making first a home in Lee County, settling there in the spring of 1837. The last residence of the family was in Trenton Township. The Rev. Goldsmith made a fine farm in Lee County, placing every stick upon it, and erected fine buildings.

As the children grew to maturity, they aided largely in the work. The farm in Trenton Township was partly improved, and the removal made in the spring of 1845. Their children were named: John, now husband of Barbara Slonecher; Catherine, who wedded Joseph Oxlenger, of Butler County, Ohio, is the only child deceased; Lydia yet unmarried, resides with her widowed mother at Wayland; Benjamin married Martha Houder, and resides in Trenton; Joseph married Magdalene Kinsinger, and resides in Butler County; Elizabeth is the wife of Christian Wenger, Sr.; Christian is married, and resides in Butler County, Ohio; Peter married Eva Summers, and resides near Cheyenne, Wyo.; Jacob married Lena Schonta, and resides in Wayne Township, Henry County; Nancy married Michael Roth, a resident of Jefferson Township; Magdalene is the wife of Rev. Sebastian Gerig, whose history appears elsewhere in this work; Fannie is the wife of Rev. Joseph Gengerich, of Johnson County, Iowa.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 605)(DB)



CHRISTIAN WENGER, a farmer residing on section 10, Jefferson Township, was born in Switzerland in 1833, and is a son of Christian and Mary (Roth) Wenger. In 1852 he became a citizen of Washington County, Iowa, his father at that time being a man of limited means, who had worked hard in Canada to make a home. He reared a large family, and his descendants are worthy and most highly respected. Christian Wenger was married in this county to Elizabeth Goldsmith, in 1850, and at that time he had only money enough to buy what was needed to furnish his home, and pay the wedding expenses. His first farming was done in Washington County on rented land, and the next year he purchased 100 acres, going in debt for the whole amount, $1,600. Eight years he remained on that tract, paid for it and saved $1,000 more, with which he bought the eighty acres on which he now resides. From 1858 he has accumulated, by the hardest labor, 605 acres in this county, and the same farm in Washington County, upon which his first start in life was made. Mr. Wenger knows what hard times are, having sold wheat for forty cents, taking one-half in trade, hogs for $2, and corn by the thousands of bushels, at fifteen cents per bushel. His lands were bought at from $20 to $40 per acre, and the farms averaged $33 per acre. He began to raise stock soon after he commenced farming, but the first two years he had not enough to sell to pay the interest on his debts. Now all this is changed; on one of the best farms in the township he has erected fine buildings, and his farm almost resembles a village in itself from the number of barns and out-buildings, and the brick mansion was erected in 1875. Mr. Wenger is a large breeder of horses, and now owns thirty head. His stallions are all imported and are four in number, three of them prize winners. They are valued at $6,000. Prefer, a four-year-old gray, took at the exposition in France, when one year old, the gold medal, which Mr. Wenger has in his possession. Duke, a Clyde stallion, likewise took the medal in Canada, from which place Mr. Wenger brought him. In fact, he is owner of more fine stallions than any farmer in Henry County. Mr. Wenger is the largest land-owner, and the heaviest taxpayer in Jefferson Township, which is saying much for a man who came a few years ago from Switzerland without a dollar, and his sons are rapidly developing into the best of business men. A new daughter was recently welcomed into the family, Katie Henss, who wedded Joseph, the eldest son, mention of whom is elsewhere made.

To complete the history of the family, we add the sketch of Joseph Goldsmith, the father of Mrs. Wenger. Rev. Joseph Goldsmith was one of the first ministers of the Mennonite faith in Iowa, and was the second in Lee, and the first in this county to organize a church. The Trenton Church is made mention of in the sketch of the Rev. Sebastian Gerig, and no man was more widely known in this part of the State, during his lifetime, than Rev. Goldsmith. For more than a half century he was an active and faithful member in the cause of religion, much of which time was spent as an itinerant minister. In Canada West he began preaching, having united with the church in Lancaster County, Pa. Both himself and his wife were born in Germany, were married in Lancaster County, Pa., and were the parents of twelve children, of whom one is now deceased. Elizabeth Miller became the wife of Joseph Goldsmith in 1823, and for fifty-three years she was to him a loving and devoted wife. The death of Rev. Joseph Goldsmith occurred in April, 1876; his widow, yet surviving, is now in her eighty-first year. The family first left Pennsylvania and located in Canada; from thence they removed to Butler County, Ohio. From that county and State they came to Iowa, making first a home in Lee County, settling there in the spring of 1837. The last residence of the family was in Trenton Township. The Rev. Goldsmith made a fine farm in Lee County, placing every stick upon it, and erected fine buildings. As the children grew to maturity, they aided largely in the work. The farm in Trenton Township was partly improved, and the removal made in the spring of 1845. Their children were named: John, now husband of Barbara Slonecher; Catherine, who wedded Joseph Oxlenger, of Butler County, Ohio, is the only child deceased; Lydia yet unmarried, resides with her widowed mother at Wayland; Benjamin married Martha Houder, and resides in Trenton; Joseph married Magdalene Kinsinger, and resides in Butler County; Elizabeth is the wife of Christian Wenger, Sr.; Christian is married, and resides in Butler County, Ohio; Peter married Eva Summers, and resides near Cheyenne, Wyo.; Jacob married Lena Schonta, and resides in Wayne Township, Henry County; Nancy married Michael Roth, a resident of Jefferson Township; Magdalene is the wife of Rev. Sebastian Gerig, whose history appears elsewhere in this work; Fannie is the wife of Rev. Joseph Gengerich, of Johnson County, Iowa.

Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa...Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1888. Evansville: Unigraphic, 1976 [Reprint] pp 605 (A.M.W.)


John Wheeler 

JOHN WHEELER, D. D.  In looking over the written sketches of the history of those we have honored and loved we are oft-times pained to find only the bony structures of characters that in life have shown themselves so rounded and beautiful, so complete in their fullness, so symmetrical in their development, that we scarcely recognize them from the meager touches of the pen. It is easy indeed to note the few statistics that survive the best, so difficult to trace the spirit that animated them, and see how it bent all influences to its own use in molding and shaping the character, and making the real man. The measure of one's life is not length of days, but wise use of opportunities, not strife for selfish ends, but steadfastness of purpose for the uplifting and upbuilding of our common humanity.

By all such standards of measurement John Wheeler stood a man among men. English by birth, though so early Americanized that no memory of his native land survived, he was in all but birth a loyal and true American. His father, John Wheeler, Sr., a ship-builder by trade, as his forefather had done before him, plied his trade industriously at Portsmouth, England. A devout and God-fearing race as far back as there is any knowledge of them, energetic and intelligent to a rare degree, they were fine representatives of the better class of English artisans.

But the spirit of the times then as now was leading many from the cramped opportunities and narrowing prospects of English life to the broader and brighter ones in America, and John Wheeler, with Mary Kingswell, his wife, and their three children, of whom the subject of this sketch was eldest, turned their faces toward the land of promise, landing in Baltimore, where a month later father and little ones stood at the open grave of the young mother -- so soon was he to learn the bitter lesson that disappointment and grief are impartial denizens of all lands.

From Baltimore the father went on to Bellefontaine, Ohio, with his motherless little ones, to rear a new home in a strange land. There the children grew up, sharing the hardships and privations of that early day.

Ten years later we find him running a country store, and also the post-office. In connection with the latter it was his duty to forward the mail to another point three days' ride distant. The ride was a dreary one even in pleasant weather, most of the way through dense forests, with little semblance to a road, and settlers' cabins few and widely separated, but when winter set in the task of finding any one willing to be in the saddle six days out of seven, braving the terrors of the forest - and at that early day they were real - together with the severity of the climate, the question of a mail carrier became a serious one. One by one the available men of the place tried it, and after one or two trips only a single man was left willing to undertake it. He started out bravely, but in a day or two returned, threw down the mail bags, crying like a child with fear and cold, and declaring that no one could do it. What was to be done? The Postmaster was responsible for the delivery of the mail. To leave himself was out of the question. John, then a boy of fourteen, threw himself into the breach. His father hesitated, but the urgency of the case compelled him to accept the offer, and he reluctantly consented. The winter proved to be an unusually severe one, but week after week this fourteen-year-old boy never once failed in his duty. But what he suffered that winter none except himself ever knew. It was not merely the physical suffering, sharp and severe as that often was, which he had to endure, but also the constant presence of peril as well. He was a boy of keen sensibilities, of strong religious bias, of quick and tender conscience, and day after day he rode along in solitude his mind was tossed with questions of the future, beset with fears and racked with doubts. Naturally disposed to "write bitter things against himself," as he rode along every childish fault assumed the form and proportion almost of crimes. So indelible was the impress of this period upon his nature that to his latest years he could not pass a dense forest without a shuddering remembrance of it.

The Sabbath at home was the one bright spot of the week, when, confiding to his father as much as it was possible for such a nature to reveal to any one, he received from him such instruction and comfort as few fathers ever give to sons. The discipline and conflicts of this winter were doubtless valuable though severe aids in developing the man of later years.

The circumstances by which he was surrounded offered no opportunities for acquiring a liberal education, and up to his twenty-first year he had but a few months' schooling, but deep within was the purpose to prepare himself for his life work by a thorough college education. With this end in view he became a student in 1835 at a Methodist seminary in Norwalk, Ohio, supporting himself by his own labors. Two years later he entered Alleghany College, at Meadville, Pa.  Here he formed the acquaintance and gained the friendship of Prof. Matthew Simpson, afterward Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and when two years later Prof. Simpson was appointed President of the Indiana Asbury University, he took with him his pupil, giving him work as tutor while completing his college course, which he did in 1840, being one of the first class ever graduated in that institution, the entire class numbering but three, two classical: John Wheeler and T. A. Goodwin, with, in the language of the latter, "one poor scientific sandwiched in between."

For nearly fifty years Asbury University has been sending out year by year its trained young men, and for nearly twenty its women too, and stands to-day rich in influence and endowment, rich in opportunities and in prospects, but richer far in memories of men, and not a few whose power has been felt and acknowledged in church and State throughout the length and breadth of our land, and some whose reputation and influence has been world-wide.

Two yeas later, having been in the meantime in charge of the Franklin Collegiate Institute at Indianapolis, Mr. Wheeler was elected to the chair of his Alma Mater, a position he filled most successfully for twelve years. In 1854 he resigned his position in the Indiana Asbury University, and went into business, but his love for his chosen profession led him to again accept college work in preference to commercial life, and he accepted the offer of the Presidency of Baldwin Institute, after University, at Berea, Ohio, where he spent the next fifteen years, and where the heaviest work of his life was done. The change in the status of the institution involved heavy responsibilities, while the limited endowments and straitened circumstances made the closest calculations necessary, and heavy demands upon the generosity of friends. Notwithstanding the pressure from these causes the school steadily grew, and assumed healthy proportions.

In connection with this work his keen eye saw another line of influence, unheeded by any college in the land, viz: the number of young German-Americans who were practically barred an education of higher grade, and the necessity to the church of having the means of meeting the emigrant as he comes among us with his old-world sentiments, with ministers educated in the most thorough manner, and able to present the truth in the mother tongue. With this end in view he organized a German department in Baldwin University, and later secured the necessary means to establish the German Wallace College, in connection with the existing university. For nearly twenty-five years this school has been in successful operation, fully justifying in its work the hopes and faith of its projectors, a power for good in the German Methodist Episcopal Church, whose influence can scarcely by over-estimated.

The life and labors of Dr. Wheeler in Iowa commenced in 1870, and were closed by death June 18, 1881. Five years of this time he was President of the Iowa Wesleyan University, during which time the influence of the institution was strengthened and increased in many directions, including the location of the German College, secured through his influence and labor in this place, one year in the pastoral work, and five in the Presiding Eldership, make up so far as records go his life in Iowa, but they give but slight indices of his faithful devotion to every interest committed to his trust. With him no opportunity was suffered to pass unimproved, no known duty neglected. His motto: "I must work, night cometh," seemed a constant inspiration to him, not in the line of college work alone, but for every cause that looked to the elevation of mankind. For every moral reform his sympathies were quick and lasting. In church work his heart went out especially toward the missionary cause, and at two different periods of life he was chosen and accepted the appointment to take charge of foreign fields, but each time a change in the plans by those in authority left him to complete his life work here in his adopted country. His appreciation of the value of the press led him to establish a college paper at each of the three colleges he served, viz: The Asbury Notes, College Gazette and Iowa Classics. In the cause of temperance he was both tireless and fearless. The training of his early life, and his experience at Asbury, alike lay in the line of colleges for mean alone, and indeed up to that time the co-education of the sexes was hardly a mooted question; but when appointed to the Presidency of Baldwin Institute he found himself at the head of a school which for years and been educated on equal footing the sons and daughters of North Ohio, he confessed himself astonished at the high grade of scholarship maintained by both, thus educated in the same institution.

In the few months that passed before the change of grade he was thoroughly convinced of the value of such an arrangement. Later, at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana University, now "De Pauw," when the question was being hotly discussed as to the prosperity of throwing open its doors to daughters as well as sons, his opinion was asked, and, to the amazement of some, he was fond an earnest and unequivocal advocate of the movement, and we venture to say no more important step has ever been taken toward the permanent success of that institution than was settled that day.

Circumstances doubtless do much to shape and develop the characters of men. The difficulties of his early life were not without their fruits. The warm, generous heart never ceased to feel for those who, like himself, were struggling against difficulties to obtain that preparation for life that would enable them best to fulfill its duties and meet its responsibilities, and no poor student ever sought counsel or aid from him in vain.

In the pulpit, or on the rostrum, his strong convictions, close research, wide information, ripe scholarships, and earnest representation of a subject, made him an impressive speaker, one who would challenge thought and create an abiding interest in any theme to which he gave his attention. In these respects he had comparatively few equals. In his domestic life he was at his best, and to the home circle brought freely and constantly his choicest gifts of mind and heart. It is not often that even good men's lives will bear unsullied too close scrutiny at their own fireside. But none who knew Dr. Wheeler in his own home could fail to yield him their ready reverence and love. He was so uniformly courteous and affectionate to each member of his household, so watchful of their interests, so devoted to their training, especially to their religious instruction, in such cordial sympathy with their plans, their joys or sorrows, as to make him the trusted and loved confidant of every member of the family circle, as well as its authoritative head.

He was twice married. His first wife was Miss Mary Yandes, of Indianapolis, who died in September, 1854, leaving five children, of whom three sons survive. His second wife was Miss Clara S. Hulet, of Berea, Ohio, who survives him, with two sons and three daughters.

Briefly to sum up his character we may say: His wise foresight, his indomitable perseverance, his untiring industry, his scholarly habits, his gentlemanly bearing, his pure and irreproachable Christian character, his unflinching integrity, and his scorn of trickery in church or State, were well-known characteristics of the man. In public life he sought no honors, he shunned no responsibilities.

As he had been found faithful in life so was he fearless in death, leaving as his dying testimony, "My Redeemer liveth," and adding with upraised hand, and solemn emphasis, the oath of a dying man. For such as he

          "There is no death,

           What seems so is transition."

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 635-38.)


Charles White 

CHARLES WHITE, residing on section 17, Center Township, one of the pioneer settlers of Henry County, was born in Ohio, in 1844, and when but an infant came with his parents, George and Mary (Kuany) White, to Henry County.  They were natives of Germany, but emigrated to America in 1842.  Herein this county the boyhood days of Charles were passed, and here he received his education in the common schools.  He formed a matrimonial alliance with Miss Lizzie Strawn, who was a native of Connecticut.  By this union there were five children:  Willie, Estella, Victor, Annie and an infant.  In the spring of 1880 Mr. White located on his present farm in Center Township, one mile west of Mt. Pleasant; on this farm he built an elegant residence, which cost$1,300.  His farm of 113 acres is valued at $50 per acre.  Mr. White is a friend to education, and has given all his children good educational advantages.  He has lived in this county all his life, and is a very successful farmer and stock-raiser.  Having lived here from childhood he has been largely identified with the interests of both township and county, and many are the changes and improvements he has witnessed and helped to bring about.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 371)(PW)


Edward Ezekiel White

Edward Ezekiel White, a representative of a pioneer family of Henry county, is prominently identified with business interests in Tippecanoe township, where he is now engaged in the raising and feeding of stock and in the dairy business and he also operates a stone quarry which is proving a profitable source of income. He was born April 24, 1849, upon the farm which is still his home.

His paternal grandfather, Morgan White, was a native of Pennsylvania and married Miss Catherine French, who was also born in the Keystone state. Their son, Nathaniel F. White, was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when nine years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, the family home being established in Brown county, that state, in 1820. There he was reared to manhood amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer residence and he assisted in the arduous task of establishing a new home upon the frontier.

He was married in Brown county to Miss Mary A. Rose, who born in Fleming county, Kentucky, and was a daughter of Ezekiel and Catherine ( Stites ) Rose, both of whom were natives of New Jersey. She had accompanied her parents to Brown county, Illinois, in 1828. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel F. White lived upon a farm in that county until 1836, when they came to Iowa, settling in Burlington, where they resided until 1839, and then removed to Mount Pleasant.

After a year Mr. White purchased eighty acres of land on section 12, Tippecanoe township. It was a tract of wild timber and in the midst of the green forest he built a log cabin of one room. Having thus provided shelter for his family, he at once began to clear the land and placed fifty acres under the plow. He also worked at his trade of cabinet-making, which he had following his residence in Burlington and also in Mount Pleasant. His brother, Samuel S. White, built the first log cabin in Flint Hills, now Burlington. In company with his father and brother Nathaniel F. White explored the Iowa purchase as early as 1835, and there often saw the noted Sac warrior chief, Black Hawk. They staked out claims for homesteads on Des Moines river in what is now Van Buren county, Iowa, but becoming convinced that civilization would never permanently extend so far westward, they entirely abandoned their claims.

Nathaniel White was closely associated with the agricultural and industrial development of this part of the state and is numbered among the valued and worthy pioneer citizens who aided in laying broad and deep the foundation for the present progress and prosperity of the county. He died June 17, 1883, honored and respected by all who knew him and his wife survived until January 28, 1897. They were the parents of four children: Emeline, the wife of Samuel Summers; Rachel, who married Marcus K. Smith and resides in Jefferson county; John N.; and Edward E. The surviving members of the family are Rachel and Edward E., who is the youngest.

In taking up the personal history of our subject we present to our readers one who is widely and favorably known in Tippecanoe township and the central portion of Henry county. His early education, acquired in the district schools, was supplemented by a course of study in Howe's Academy in Mount Pleasant. He was reared to farm labor and at his father's death he purchased his sister's interest in the old homestead, to which he has since added a tract of thirty acres so that the farm now comprises one hundred and ten acres of good land. The soil is rich and productive and he carried on general farming until 1900, since which time he has rented his farm land, while he now gives his attention to the raising and feeding of stock. He also keeps a dairy and manufactures butter, and this branch of his business is a profitable one. He also has one of the best stone quarries in the state, from which he quarries magnesia limestone. He furnishes building stone for the construction of various buildings in this vicinity. In 1873 he became the owner of a farm of ninety acres in Trenton township, which he sold in 1874.

On the 25th of October, 1877, occurred the marriage of Mr. White and Miss Dora A. Bell, who was born in Henry county and is a daughter of John Davage and Rachel ( McBride ) Bell. They had two children but one died in infancy. The surviving daughter is Florence Effie, who was born June 13, 1881, and is now acting as her father's housekeeper, for Mrs. White was called to her final rest on the 15th of September, 1883, her remains being interred in Tippecanoe township.

Mr. White's life has been one of continuous activity, in which he has not been denied the satisfactory reward of earnest and persistent labor. As the years have gone by he has extended the field of his operations and is today well known as a representative of stock-raising, dairying and quarrying interests in his native county. He is practical in his business views and methods and his industry is supplemented by keen business discrimination and unfaltering enterprise. Public opinion is not divided concerning his worth as a citizen and business man and many warm friends entertain for him genuine regard and confidence.

Mr. White was for many years a democrat but of late years has been independent. For fifteen years he was road supervisor, and also has held different school offices. In religious matters he is liberal and in his belief not being especially connected with any creed.

(Biographical Review of Henry County, Iowa. Chicago: Hobart Publishing Co.,1906, p. 97)(PE)


Genius White

      GENIUS WHITE He is residing on Section 5,Tippecanoe Twp., Henry Co., Iowa, is a native of Crawford Co., IN, born Nov. 16,1821. He parents, Richard and Barbara (Harmon) White, the father a native of Bullock Co., KY, the mother of Virginia, were pioneer settlers of Indiana. They reared a family of ten children, all of whom grew to adulthood. Five are still living and five are deceased; Ravie, b. Dec. 28, 1815 was the deceased wife of Granville Rouse, she died Sep. 20, 1844; Susan, Born Sep. 20,1817 is the wife of Luther Benham, now residing in KY; Abraham, b. Dec. 18, 1819 is a resident of IA.; Genius, our subject, ; John S. b. Mar 25, 1824, d.Apr. 28, 1848 in Van Buren Co.; William H.., b. June 28, 1827, d. Apr 20, 1848 in same county; Eliza, b. March 27, 1830 is the deceased wife of Elijah Redman, of MO; Nancy. b. Dec. 6, 1832, is he wife of Elisha McCall, now residing in Republic Co., KS; Columbus, b. Aug. 1, 1835, died in CA, and James H. b. July 9, 1840, is a resident of Los Angeles CA. The father, Richard White, was born Jan 25, 1792,and died Apr. 8, 1847. Mrs. White, b. Feb. 12, 1794, died Mar. 1, 1883. They were both members of the M.E.Church. He was a pioneer of Van Buren, and also of Henry Co. Our subject, Genius White was reared upon a farm in IN, and at age 21 removed with his parents to Van Buren Co, IA, where he remained until the Fall of 1852 when he crossed the plains with an on-team to CA. He remained there for 11 months engaged in mining, in which he was reasonably successful. He returned by water to New York City, thence to Rock Island, then down the river to Burlington, and by state to this county. In 1853 he purchased 120 acres on Sect. 22, Tippecanoe Twp. Mr. White improved the farm, residing on it until 1865 when he bought 120 acres on Sect. 22. making that his home until 1871. He then bought 120 acres on Sect. of the same Twp. At one time he had over 300 acres, 160 of which he has given his children. Genius White was married June 29, 1849 to Mary Ann Grant, a native of Harrison Co., IN. She was born July 16, 1826, the daughter of Wilkinson and Christiana (Ward) Grant, the father a native of KY and the mother of NC. They came to this county in 1843, settling in Tippecanoe Twp. on Sect. 7. Mr. Grant died here July 24, 1872 at age 78. He was a Republican. Nine of his children survive, two living in this county: Harvey B. and Mrs. White, the remaining seven reside in KS. Mrs. Grant who was b. Aug. 4, 1804, makes her home with our subject.

     Mr. and Mrs. White have had seven children: Clarissa Jane, b. Apr 26,1850, the wife of J. H. Ginn of Republic Co., KS; George W., b. Sept 3, 1851, d. in CA, Sept 4, 1879; Columbus, b. Aug. 21, 1854, d. Apr 26, 1856; Emily, b. Apr 21, 1856, d. Apr 22, 1881; Richard W. b. Feb 1, 1858, now resides in Tippecanoe Twp.; Maria, b. Apr 23, 1860, d. May 23 of the same year; and Pleasant Genius, b. Apr 26, 1867, is still residing at home. Mr. and Mrs. White are both members of the M. E. Church. He is a Republican in politics.

(Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 626)(PW)


Heman Alphonso White

Upon the farm where he now lives in Tippecanoe township, Heman A. White was born on the 7th of April, 1851, a son of Wallace and Jane E. ( Higgins ) White, the former a native of Delaware and the latter of Vermont. The father came to Henry county, Iowa, about 1838, settling in Mount Pleasant when it contained but three houses. He was a carpenter and worked at his trade in the embryo city. He also entered one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 2, Tippecanoe township, which was covered with timber and on this he cleared seventy-seven acres, which he made his home place. In 1850 he supplemented his little log cabin by a frame house, in which was a fireplace. He also built, in 1860, a barn which is still in use. He resided upon this farm until the fall of 1864, when his life's labors were ended in death, but he is still survived by his wife, who was born in 1824, and therefore has reached the very advanced age of eighty-two years. In their family were ten children, six sons and four daughters.

Heman A. White, the sixth in order of birth, spent his boyhood days under the parental roof, remaining with his mother until 1870 and in the meantime he acquired a fair English education in the district schools. On leaving home he went to Kansas, whence he afterward made his way to Missouri with an uncle, remaining there for six months. He next removed to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he worked at farming for a year and a half, after which he returned to the homestead residing thereon until his marriage.

It was on the 18th of May, 1873, that he wedded Miss Elizabeth A. Fordyce, who was born in Jefferson county, Iowa, and is a daughter of Robert Fordyce, a native of Ohio. Her education was acquired in the common schools and by this marriage there have been born four children: James P., now living in California; Hugh R., at home; Effie Jane, a nurse now in Tipton, Iowa; and Ora Adele, who is a student in Howe's Academy, which is one of the oldest and best known schools of Southeastern Iowa.

For two years after his marriage Mr. White remained upon the old homestead and then spent a year at farm labor in the employ of others. He next purchased sixty-one acres of land just west of the old home place and built thereon a new house, a stable, corn crib, a well, and made other improvements. His attention was assiduously given to the cultivation and development of the farm until 1898, when he traded that place for the interest of his brother Wallace in the old homestead and removed to the farm, purchasing the interest of the other heirs. He now has one hundred and twenty-eight acres of land in one body. The residence was built by his mother in 1887. The farm is supplied with modern equipments. Mr. White raises here the various cereals adapted to the climatic conditions of the country, and he also raises horses, cattle and hogs.

In his political views he is an earnest republican, and is now serving as president and director of the school board. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. He has lived in the county for more than half a century and is a representative of one of its oldest pioneer families, the name of White having been associated with its agricultural development from the period when much of the land was still government property, and work of improvement had scarcely been inaugurated by the white pioneer man.

(Biographical Review of Henry County, Iowa. Chicago: Hobart Publishing Co.,1906, p. 97)(PE)


S. L. White

S. L. WHITE is a merchant, and is also Postmaster of Swedesburg, and is now one of the oldest business men in the northern part of Henry County, being a resident since 1846. His parents, Thomas H. and Elizabeth (Kibler) White, were among the early and well� known residents of the new State, but the death of Thomas White occurred ten years after locating in the county. His wife reached the ripe age of seventy-two, and died in 1875. They were former residents of Berkeley County, Va., where our subject was born. He was ten years of age when his parents removed to this county. Here Mr. White has grown from boyhood to manhood, and here he was married, and in this county his children were born. He has seen the entire county transformed from its virgin state to one of cultivation and wealth, villages and cities have been created, and the log cabins of early days have been replaced by modern residences.

His brothers and sisters were: George H., now deceased, who wedded Maria Tedrow; Mary E. became the wife of Emanuel Ernst; Deborah wedded J. W. Bird; the next was our subject; Sarah, who died unmarried; Thomas W. married Rebecca Tedrow; and Jacob L., who became the husband of Phemia Perkins. Thomas W. was a member of Company B, 25th Iowa Volunteers, and served throughout the war.

Our subject was educated at the Iowa Wesleyan University, and his attention was given to the profession of teaching for many years, his first term being at the Union School, in Wayne Township, in 1857. For sixteen consecutive winters he taught school in this county, and among his scholars who have become noted we mention: Wesley James, now a student in the State University, J. E. Connor, son of the County Recorder, and quite a well-known teacher; and many of the resident farmers, who have grown to manhood in this county, were members of his school. During the time Mr. White was engaged in teaching, he was married to Miss Drusilla Havens, who was a pupil in his school in this township. The marriage was celebrated March 6, 1861, at the home of her father, Thomas Havens, of this township. Her mother died in New Jersey, and was the mother of George, Drusilla; Mary A., deceased; Martin, deceased; and Alexander. The mother, Phoebe (Case) Havens, was a native of New Jersey, of English origin. After her death Mr. Havens wedded Mrs. Cordelia (Scoville) Jameson, near Columbus, Ohio, where the Havens family at that time resided. In 1853 they removed to this county, and until 1866 they resided here. Mr. Havens died in Crawford County, Kan., in 1876, and his widow now resides in this county. One child was the result of the second marriage, Carlton, unmarried, and residing with his mother.

S. L. White, our subject, taught school in the win�ter, and farmed in summer until 1866, when he removed to Sedalia, Mo., and for six months was as�sociated in business with the Hon. Samuel L. Steele, now a member of the Iowa General Assembly for Henry County. The same year he returned to Wayne Township, and improved a tract of land owned by him, and there made his home until 1875, when Swedesburg was surveyed. He came to the new town, rented the store built by a company known as the Prairie Hall Association, and for nine years did business in the hall. In 1884 he erected his present store building, and his residence was completed in 1882. From 1875 to this date, Mr. White has done an extensive business, and from a trade in 1875 of $13,000, the business has increased to over $20,000 in 1887. Mr. White handles hardware in connection with his general stock of merchandise, and a fair invoice will rate it above $8,000.

In September, 1876, Mr. White assumed the office of Postmaster at Swedesburg, to which he was appointed in August of that year. He has served in that capacity for eleven years, and is the present incumbent. Five children have come to bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. White, but two only are now living-Edmund E. and Thomas L. Those deceased are Mary. Anna and Elizabeth, all nearly grown when summoned from earth. The loss brought great grief, not only to the parents, but to a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

As a business man, Mr. White is a fine representative of Henry County's sons, and his eldest son is chief clerk in the store and office. His education was received at the noted academy founded by Prof. Howe, and in business he will receive a practical education in the trade at Swedesburg. We welcome our subject and family to a place among those of the pioneers who remain, and are among the reliable business men of the county.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 325-326) (JC)


John H. Whiting 

JOHN H. WHITING, President of the National State Bank of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, was born in town of Erwin, Steuben Co., N. Y., Dec. 6, 1834, and is the son of Timothy and Sarah A. (McCall) Whiting, of whom see sketch. He was educated in Genesee College, Lima, N. Y., and at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., graduating in 1855. He was engaged in teaching school for one year in the Paul Wing Academy, near Sandwich, Mass.  In April, 1857, he came West, and located at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where he entered the banking-house of W. P. Brazelton & Co., as clerk, and soon became bookkeeper. Six months later his father bought an interest in the bank, the firm becoming Brazelton & Whiting. One year afterward John H. Whiting and H. S. Clark succeeded to the business, under the firm name of Clark & Whiting. They conducted the bank until April, 1858, when it was re-organized as the Mt. Pleasant Branch of the State Bank of Iowa, of which Timothy Whiting, his father, was Cashier, and John H. Whiting, Assistant Cashier. In January, 1862, John H. was promoted to the position of Cashier, which he continued to hold after the bank was chartered as the National State Bank of Mt. Pleasant, in February, 1865, his father, Timothy Whiting, being President. Mr. John H. Whiting continued to serve as Cashier till January, 1886, when he was elected Vice President, and on the death of his father, which occurred Feb. 6, 1887, he was elected President to fill the vacancy.

Mr. Whiting was united in marriage with Miss Julia May, at Bath, N. Y., Sept. 22, 1858. Mrs. Whiting is the daughter of James and Betsy (Adams) May, and was born at Bath, N. Y., in 1839. Her parents were from Litchfield, Conn., her mother being related to the Adams family of Massachusetts, of National reputation. Three children were born of this union: May, the eldest, is the wife of George W. S. Allen, a merchant of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; James Timothy is a bookkeeper of the National State Bank of Mt. Pleasant; Henry C., the youngest, is a student of the Chicago Medical College. Mr. Whiting has served as City Treasurer and as School Treasurer of Mt. Pleasant, and is a Republican in politics. Her inherits the sterling qualities of his honored father, being a good financier and a thorough business man, upright and just. He is liberal in support of educational and religious institutions. Both he and his wife are members of the First Presbyterian Church, of which he has been for the past twenty years Ruling Elder, and for nearly twenty years was Superintendent of the Sabbath-school connected with the church.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 393.)


WhitingT.jpg (69309 bytes)   Timothy Whiting

TIMOTHY WHITING, deceased, late President of the National State Bank of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and one of the most prominent and honored citizens of that place, was born at Brewer, Penobscot Co., Me., Feb. 7, 1809. His father, Col. John Whiting, removed to Steuben County, N. Y., when our subject was but six years of age, and there engaged in farming. the succeeding nine years were passed upon his father's farm. His primary education was obtained at the district school. When fifteen he entered Prattsburg Academy, where he completed his studies. Upon leaving the academy he engaged as a merchant's clerk on the munificent salary of $50 a year and board. By diligent and faithful attention to duty he soon secured an advanced salary, and by frugal and economical habits acquired sufficient capital to engage in business. When twenty years of age he formed a partnership with another young man, and engaged in the mercantile business at Painted Post. The venture proved unfortunate on account of the mismanagement of his partner, and a failure was the result, leaving quite an excess of liabilities over the assets of the firm. Mr. Whiting, by perseverance and industry, succeeded in paying every cent of their joint obligations. Thus he established a reputation for those sterling qualities of integrity and honesty that were his ruling characteristics through life. He continued in business in Steuben County until 1857, when he removed to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, being attracted to that city by its superior school and academic facilities, where his children might receive their education while remaining at home. On coming to Mt. Pleasant he engaged in banking, which business largely occupied his time until his death, which occurred Feb. 6, 1887, on the last day of his seventy-seventh year. He was one of the founders of the Mt. Pleasant branch of the Iowa State Bank, in 1858, and was its Cashier and controlling spirit, and its representative in the State Board of Directors. This board was composed of the leading financiers of the State, whose duty it was to supervise the different branches of the State Bank in the various cities where located. Mr. Whiting's keen business tact and financial ability and thorough knowledge of the true principles of banking were soon recognized by his associates. He became an influential member of the board, and maintained that position during his connection with it. In February, 1865, the Mt. Pleasant branch of the State Bank was re-organized, and chartered as the National State Bank of Mt. Pleasant, with Mr. Whiting as President and his son John as Cashier. Mr. Whiting continued to serve as President and was the chief manager of the bank up to within a short time prior to his death, covering a period of twenty-two years. Under his wise supervision the bank pursued a prosperous and successful course, and became one of the solid financial institutions of the State. Mr. Whiting was noted for his strict performance of duty, punctuality and persevering industry. He usually walked from his residence in suburbs of the city to the bank early in the morning. When the bank opened at 8 o'clock he always had any business that was in arrears the day before well in hand, and was ready to give prompt attention to the business of the day. His unfailing punctuality was one of the secrets of his great success in business. It is said of him that during the thirty years of his active business life at Mt. Pleasant he was never known to be tardy in keeping an appointment unless prevented by unavoidable accident. He never sought or would accept public office or political preferment. He did yield so far to the urgent solicitation of friends as to serve as Trustee of the State Hospital for the Insane at Mt. Pleasant, filling the position of President of the board for eleven years, during which time he discharged the duties devolving upon him with his usual fidelity and earnestness.

He united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1831, and remained a consistent member of that society through life. He was ever active and liberal in support of all departments of church work. During the greater part of his residence at Mt. Pleasant he served as Superintendent of the Sunday-school, and for a number of years he filled the position of President of the County Sunday-School Association. Applying himself with his usual energy and methodical industry to the business at hand, he made the Sunday-school an important adjunct to the church. For twenty years he served as President of the Henry County Bible Society, and by his liberality and zeal made this one of the most reliable counties the State in this field of religious work. It was not his custom to take part in public exhibitions of generosity. He had no patience with such displays; but his warm sympathies and liberal aid were easily enlisted to help any laudable cause. All pretensions and shams he hated intensely. His deeds of charity were privately performed, and it pleased him best to have the good deed done without being identified with the act. Yet, when circumstances required a public effort to arouse a general giving he never hesitated to take the lead. Among the latest of his acts of public generosity was a donation of $5,000 to the Iowa Wesleyan University of Mt. Pleasant, on the condition that a like sum should be raised elsewhere for its assistance. Mr. Whiting was a great student through life, and his mind was richly stored with practical knowledge. His opinions were based on close investigation and careful analysis, and his conclusions when reached were convictions. His temperate and orderly life preserved his physical and mental faculties with unusual vigor in his old age, so that while approaching fourscore years he continued to visit the office regularly and give personal attention to his extensive business.

Mr. Whiting was united in marriage at Painted Post, N. Y., Dec. 18, 1833, to Miss Sarah A. McCall, daughter of Ansel and Ann (Shannon) McCall, and a native of that town. For nearly fifty-four years the married life of this aged couple had been an honor to each other and the communities where they resided. Faithful in their united devotion - each an unselfish helpmeet to the other - their lives were blended in the most harmonious relations. Four years prior to Mr. Whiting's death they celebrated their golden wedding, surrounded by their children, grandchildren and friends. They were the parents of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, of whom seven are now living, viz: John H., residing at Mt. Pleasant (see sketch); Henry, now a resident of Florida; Charles H., a book-keeper in Chicago, Ill.; Samuel S., a mercantile salesman in Minneapolis, Minn.; Frank H., proprietor of a foundry and machine-shop at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Anne E., wife of Prof. J. H. Hopkins, Principal of the High School at Ypsilanti, Mich.; Sophia E., wife of Robert S. Gillis, Cashier of the National Bank of Mt. Pleasant (see sketch). Four of the children are now deceased. Mrs. Whiting is living in the old home, corner of 
Adams and Henry streets, Mt. Pleasant, and is now in her seventy-fifth year.

Mr. Whiting was a prominent and representative citizen of Mt. Pleasant, and worthy of the honor of the portrait which appears on a preceding page.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 561-63.)


William Henry Whitney 

WILLIAM HENRY WHITNEY, architect, carpenter and builder, Mr. Pleasant, Iowa, was born in Ross County, Ohio, Feb. 7, 1840, and is the son of William and Mary A. (Ressel) Whitney, the former a native of Connecticut and the latter of Pennsylvania. They were married in Ross County, Ohio, to which point their respective families had moved at an early day. William, who traces his ancestry back to nearly 1400 - is of English descent, and early in life learned the trade of a blacksmith, at which trade he worked for many years. In 1845 he moved with his family to Indiana, locating first in Putnam County, where he remained a short time, and then moved to Montgomery, and later to Tippecanoe County, in the same State. While in Indiana he combined farming with blacksmithing. In 1854 he moved to Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa, where he remained a short time, working at his trade, and then moved to a farm in Marion Township, having entered 160 acres of land. Later he sold sixty acres, retaining the remainder till his removal to Nebraska, in February, 1888. To William and Mary A. Whitney were born six children, of whom five are yet living. Mrs. Whitney dying in 1859, in 1861 Mr. Whitney wedded Anna Eliza Miller, by whom had two children. For many years William Whitney has been a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

When the family came to Iowa, William H. Whitney, of whom we write, was fourteen years of age. He soon afterward engaged to learn the carpenter's trade, which he mastered, and in 1860 married Miss Angelina Miller, daughter of Arthur Miller. Two children were born of their union: Mary F., born Nov. 15, 1861, and William A., born June 21, 1863. The former is now living in Colorado, and latter died July 15, 1872. Mrs. Whitney died shortly after the birth of her second child, and Dec. 6, 1867, Mr. Whitney wedded Miss Nancy A. Lamb, daughter of Jacob and Sidney (Ferrell) Lamb. She was born March 10, 1848, in Fulton County, Ill.  Four children were born of the latter marriage, all sons. Charles H. was born Sept. 25, 1868; John L., Jan. 1, 1870, George W., July 17, 1871; Edwin, March 2, 1873.

Mr. Whitney has been engaged in his occupation of contracting and building for upward of twenty-five years, and in that time has erected many of the best public and private buildings in Henry County, among which may be mentioned the residences of P. Summers, Walter Gamage, James Harlan, Jacob Housman, Le Grand Chandler, Wesley Greenfield, Daugherty and Comick. The Catholic Church at Mt. Pleasant, destroyed by the cyclone of July, 1882, was rebuilt by him, and in the summer and fall of 1887 he erected a handsome church building for the Methodist Episcopal Society of New London. He is a first-class mechanic and a fine draughtsman.

Politically Mr. Whitney is a Democrat, and socially a member of the K. of L., and the Good Templars. In the latter body Mrs. Whitney is also a member. Both are members of the Christian Church, at Mt. Pleasant, in which they take a lively interest, generally being found in their accustomed place during the hours of worship.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 357-58.)


Frederick L. Wiegand

FREDERICK L. WIEGAND, merchant, was born in Saxe-Meinigen, Germany, in 1837, and is the son of Andrus and Margaret (Chocher) Wiegand, both of whom were natives of Germany. By trade Andrus Wiegand was a cabi�net-maker, and carried on business in Badleveinstein, a noted watering place, where he lived and died. They had only two sons, Charles F. and our subject. When ten years of age Frederick left his native land, his mother having married after the death of her first husband, Matthias Glotzbach, who preceded the family to America, settling in Philadelphia, where his wife with her two sons landed in 1846. At the age of eleven years Frederick went to work for a cotton manufacturer of that city, and at twelve was apprenticed to a shoe�maker for five years, but his mother took him away when she, with her husband, left Philadelphia the next year. In 1850 they started for Iowa but stopped to visit relatives in Indiana, afterward resuming their journey via the Ohio River, but when Louisville, Ky., was reached, the mother was taken violently ill, and after stopping in that city for some time, they returned to Madison, Ind. Later the illness of Mrs. Glotzbach grew more serious, and she was taken back to Louisville, and died in the hospital in that city in 1850. Charles remained in Philadelphia, being bound to a barber, and after serving out his apprenticeship, in 1853 went to California, and for several years had a shop on board a vessel plying between San Francisco and Panama. In 1858 he quit that business, having saved con�siderable money, and started east to look for his brother, knowing of his mother's death. After advertising largely in the papers without learning of the whereabouts of Frederick, he returned to Europe, thinking perhaps the orphan lad had gone back to his fatherland. Getting no tidings of him, however, he returned to America and located in Portland, Ore., married Rosina Wilhelm, and con�ducted a large business. His death occurred twelve years later, and his widow and five children yet reside in that city.

After the death of his mother our subject was set adrift by his step-father who refused to have any further care for him, and a young lad but fourteen years of age he started out alone in the world to seek his fortune, and for twenty-two years he neither saw nor heard of any of his relatives. He found employment first on a steamer running on the Ohio. He found it hard to get a place, everyone thinking that a lad of his years had run away from home, but by chance a gentleman having charge of a steamer kindly kept him over night, gave him his breakfast and ten cents in money, the first cash that he ever had of his own, and he found a situation the next day as cabin boy on an Ohio steamer. He only staid a short time with this man, as he was a drinking and blasphemous fellow, hut he found employment in the same capacity on another boat running between Cincinnati and St. Louis, and in the former city met a boy who was an old acquaintance. Wishing to see the South they engaged on a boat bound for New Orleans, and while in that city the trunk containing the clothes of our subject was stolen, and he was left penniless. They tried for some time to obtain passage North, but had no money and could not obtain work. Finally they became stowaways on the steamer "United States," and for their provisions depended on the scraps left by the deck hands. Before the boys had journeyed three days the clerk spied them, and Frederick made a plain statement of the facts and was told by the clerk to remain, at least until the Captain found them out, who it seems learned the same day that they were aboard. He put them off in Mississippi, where they remained until the next steamer came along. They were given shelter and something to eat by the negroes, and then boarded a boat with the consent of the Captain and were taken to Louisville. The cold weather was at hand and their clothes were getting thin. They walked to Madison, Ind., begging food en route. The other boy, John Yeager, had relatives living at Indianapolis, but at North Madison they became separated, but Frederick being determined to find his companion, started on foot and reached Indianapolis after all kinds of adventures, where he discovered his boy friend who had found his relatives, but there was no place for Frederick. A few days later he obtained employment with Mr. Shirner, a farmer four miles east of the city, only getting the place by persistent begging, as they feared he was a runaway. They kindly eared for him during the winter, giving him clothes, and during the next summer he engaged with a son, William Shirner, until the following spring. He remained in that vicinity seven years working on farms. His education was very limited, less than six months including all his schooling in America. His wages were carefully saved, but at $5 and $10 per month his bank ac�count was not very large when he left for Kansas in the spring of 1857, where he preempted a quarter section of land near Ossawatomie. His home was made with a Quaker, Richard Mendenhall, where old John Brown made his headquarters, and Frederick was personally acquainted with that noted man. Mr. Wiegand improved his land and for eighteen years remained a farmer. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in the Missouri State Militia, later enlisted in Company D, 15th Kansas Cavalry, serving during the remainder of the war in the western army. At West Point, Mo., he was wounded and yet carries the ball which, however, causes him little inconvenience. After the war he returned to his farm, and in 1867 was married to Miss Sarah J., daughter of Eli and Martha (Hunnicut) White. Miss White came into the neighborhood to teach school, and the acquaintance was then formed which resulted in marriage. In 1874 Mr. Wiegand sold his Kansas farm and removed to Mokena, Will Co., Ill., where for some time he operated a fruit farm and was subsequently elected Justice of the Peace, serving two years. The residence in Mokena lasted nine years, and in July, 1883, he disposed of the Illinois property and started to Oregon, hut stopping in Salem to visit relatives of Mrs. Wiegand, and a business investment offering at Hillsboro, he purchased the store and goods of William Mickelwaite, and has conducted the business to this date, having a large stock of general merchandise and a fine trade. He was appointed Justice of the Peace after coming to the village, but at present attends solely to his mercantile business, being aided by his wife and their only son, Charles F., born in Kansas in 1868.

Mr. Wiegand is a successful business man and has accumulated a fine property, educated himself in language and business methods, and intends having his son graduate in a commercial college. Mr. Wiegand is a member of John L. Jordan Post 246, G. A. R., and is at present Post Quartermaster. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F. and of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Wiegand is a member of the Society of Friends.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 331-332) (JC)


John Willeford

     JOHN WILLEFORD, one of the pioneers of Henry County, Iowa, was born in Clay County, Ky., in 1807.  His parents were James and Jane (Bales) Willeford, natives of North Carolina, who settled in Clay County in an early day.  John Willeford was united in Marriage with Miss Susana Smallwood, by whom he had eight children: Henderson  M., a farmer of Center Township, Henry County; Paulina, wife of David Hitt, of Swift Count, Minn.; Belinda, deceased; Celia, deceased; Amanda J., wife o J.D. Trowbridge, of Henry Count; William H.H., of this county; Sarah A., wife of Hiram Jones, of Mt. Pleasant; Adeline A., wife of George Pixley, of California; she died in 1887.

     Mr. John Willeford left his home in Kentucky in the spring of 1834, and with his wife and three small children, too, passage on board a boat for Burlington, and from thence proceeded to Henry County, locating on land in what is anot Center Township.  He was compelled to live in a camp three months after reaching Henry County, until he could build a cabin.  This was slow and laborious work as there was no one in that section of the country that he could get to help him.. A log cabin with puncheon floor and a chimney made of mud and sticks, was finally erected, the family living some time in this cabin before there was a door, but a quilt or blanket served the purpose.  Their nearest neighbor at this time lived many miles away, gristmills were unknown, and for the first year the only meal they had was pounded out in the top of a stump, a hole being dug in the stump for that purpose.  The first milling they had done was  the mill on Henderson River, Mr. Willeford passing down the Skunk River, embarking at Oakland in a canoe borrowed of the Indians, then up the Mississippi to Henderson, where he loaded his canoe and returned home.

     When Mr. Willeford came to this county he was in limited circumstances, and only by hard labor could he make enough to support his family.  When they came, the country was so thinly settled that tribes of Indians might almost daily be seen, but as the country became more thickly populated, they were driven farther West.  Mr. Willeford was a man who stood high in the community and was ever ready to do a neighbor a kind action.  He was, in politics, an old-line Whig and a great admirer of Henry Clay and William Henry Harrison.  Mr. Willeford died in Center Township on the 11th of March, 1845.  Mrs. Willeford is still living and is now seventy-seven years of age, and is the first white woman who came into Henry County.  She is a woman of remarkable memory for her age, and is loved and respected by all her neighbors, whom she has so long lived among.  At the time she came to Henry County there were many wolves, and many times at night they would come and scratch at her door.  Chickens and sheep had to be well guarded or they would have been carried away by the wolves.  Now all this has changed, civilization has advanced step by step, the log cabin is transformed into a comfortable home, and the timber lands into well cultivated farms.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 402)(PW)


William H. H. Willeford 

LIEUT. WILLIAM H. H. WILLEFORD, one of the representative farmers of Center Township, a son of John Willeford, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, was born in Henry County, Iowa, Oct. 2, 1840. Here he was reared upon his father's farm, his early education being received in the common schools, supplemented by a partial course in the Howe Academy at Mt. Pleasant. On the 11th day of August, 1862, W. H. H. Willeford offered his services to Uncle Same to help preserve our Union, enlisting in the 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered into service at Camp McKean, near Mt. Pleasant, and at the time was made a Corporal of Company H, but was promoted to Sergeant and subsequently to Second Lieutenant. He participated in all the engagements after going to the field, among which were many sharp fights. After leaving Mt. Pleasant, he went to Helena, Ark., remaining there until February, 1863, when he went with the regiment to Vicksburg, where the first assault was made under Gen. Sherman, in which battle Sherman got the name Crazy Bill. From Vicksburg they proceeded up the river, where Lieut. Willeford participated in the first general engagement. The regiment then was sent to Young's Point, where it assisted in building a canal; their next expedition was under Gen. Steele, to Grenada, Miss., and then to Milliken's Bend; they then proceeded to Champion Hills and subsequently to Black River Bridge, and from there to Messenger Ferry. Returning to Vicksburg the regiment participated in its siege and capture, being under fire for forty-seven days, and sere situated on the extreme right of Sherman's army. They were at Jackson, Miss., participating in the second fight at that place, then proceeding to Canton, Miss.  Shortly after going into camp at Black River, in the winter of 1863-64, our gallant soldier, with 100 others, was chosen from the 15th Corps as sharpshooters, being on detached duty for eleven months. The following spring the regiment marches to Cherokee Station and from there to Lookout Mountain. While crossing the Tennessee River at Chickasaw and East Port, the regiment was heavily pressed by the rebels. Here Sergt. Willeford had charge of the guard. They were engaged in the battles of Missionary Ridge, Roseville Gap and Ringgold, where there was some heavy fighting. The regiment was in several engagements in front of Atlanta, also in the famous march to the sea. They took an active part in the capture of Columbia, S. C., being the first regiment to cross Broad River. Their last engagement was at Bentonville, N. C., from which place they marched to Washington and were mustered out, receiving payment for their services at Davenport, Iowa.

On the 3d day of April, 1862, Lieut. Willeford was united in marriage with Miss Harriet T. Lee, born in Louisa County, Iowa, Jan. 29, 1842. She is the daughter of William H. and Mary Lee, who settled in Louisa County in 1835. By this union there are two living children - Mary G. and Minnie M.  Mr. Willeford is one of the working members of the G. A. R. Post, of Mt. Pleasant, as is his wife of the Relief Corps. Mr. Willeford has always lived in Henry County, and although comparatively a young man he has done much toward advancing the interests of the community.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 452-53.)


John Hubbard Williams 

JOHN HUBBARD WILLIAMS, a farmer of Baltimore Township, was born near White Water, Ind., in 1842, and is the son of John W. and Catharine (Deardoff) Williams. The former was a native of Maryland, while his wife was of German ancestry, but was born in Union County, Ind.  While in Indiana Cynthia A., Lucinda, Jonas and John H. were born. In 1843 the family removed to Des Moines County, Iowa, and were among the early settlers in that county. Lands were entered and frequent changes were made by Mr. Williams in real estate, but the lands first entered are now in possession of his son-in-law, Joseph Cresap. After Mr. Williams located in Des Moines County, other children were born - Rebecca, Sarah E., George W., Margaret C., Matilda, Emily M., Franklin B., Alegelena, and Laura, who died in infancy. The others reached adult age.

John W. Williams brought considerable money to this State and prior to his death accumulated a large property. He was a heavy dealer in stock, and before railroads were built drove his stock to market. In Indiana he drove his stock to Cincinnati, and was there, as in Iowa, a large dealer. He was an active business man and died in 1881 at a ripe age. His widow survives him and is now in her sixty-ninth year. John W. Williams was early official of Des Moines County, Iowa, and several terms served as Trustee. Of his children all were married except the infant mentioned. Cynthia wedded Elias G. Rowe; Lucinda married Elisha Gappen; Jonas wedded Amanda R. Armstrong; Rebecca was the wife of Alex Jacoby; Sarah A. became the wife of Byron Lilly; George W. married Sarah Sibert; Margaret C. became the wife of Joseph Cresap; Matilda is the wife of Emory Knickerbocker; Emily M. is the wife of John Bishop; Franklin B. is the husband of Flora Parrot, and Algelena is the wife of Milton McDonald.

Our subject was married in Des Moines County, Nov. 25, 1862, to Miss Mary E., daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Mathias) Dickey. Her father was a native of Indiana and his wife of Kentucky. They were married in Des Moines County, in 1843. Burlington consisted of a few log cabins at that time, and Mr. and Mrs. Dicky saw the entire growth of that now prosperous city. Neither of the parents of Mrs. Williams are living, but their memory is sacred and rendered doubly dear as she was their only child, and upon her a wealth of love and care was lavished. In 1873 Mr. Dicky removed to Oregon. His wife Elizabeth died some years before, and Mr. Dicky became the husband of Mary E. (Furry) Dickey, who was, prior to the latter marriage, the wife of his brother Isaac. Mr. Dicky's death took place in Trinity County, Cal.

Mr. and Mrs. Williams remained in Des Moines County until their removal, in 1878, to Henry County. He also owned a steam sawmill in that county, which he operated in connection with his farm. His place in this county was purchased in 1878, and is now a handsome and finely improved estate. His taste for machinery still continues, and he is the owner of a mill which he erected on his own land since he came to this county. He also runs a steam thrasher, and in 1887 thrashed over 60,000 bushels of grain. He is a practical machinist, having learned the trade in McCormick's great factory in Chicago, in 1864. he is the inventor of one of the most perfect traction engines that has to this date been used on the road, and over all over competitors was awarded the first prize at the Burlington Exposition, in 1885. Mr. Williams is an enterprising and industrious citizen, as was his father before him, and the family are highly spoken of by their neighbors, and by all who know them. A man of enterprise and character he takes a leading place in the community.

To Mr. and Mrs. Williams have been born nine children - George W., Charles E., Orel P., Frank L., Hubbard G., Daisy B., Samuel A., Robert C. and Mary Edith. Theirs is indeed a happy home. The silent reaper has passed it by and the family circle remains unbroken. There is not a man in this part of the county who does not know and appreciate the genial and gentlemanly J. Hubbard Williams, and in their pleasant farmhouse the good wife and mother does her part to make life pleasant and profitable. We welcome the family to a place among the best in this township.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 597-98.)


Stephen Williams 

STEPHEN WILLIAMS, a prominent farmer and early settler of Henry County, Iowa, residing on section 13, Baltimore Township, was born in Union County, Ind., May 17, 1824, and came to Iowa in March, 1843. His parents, Nehemiah and Cynthia (Bowden) Williams, were natives of Maryland. The father was born in 1787, and died in 1839, and the mother was born Oct. 7, 1788, and died Oct. 14, 1877.

Our subject spent his early life in his native county in Indiana, and when fifteen years of age removed with his parents to Montgomery County, in the same State. In March, 1843, he emigrated to Iowa, and located in Baltimore Township, where he staid for two years. The following twelve years he spent in Des Moines County, then coming to his present home, where he has since resided. He purchased the farm he occupies in 1861, or a part of it, and has since added to it, having now a well-improved and valuable farm of 302 acres, 100 acres of it being in Des Moines County. His trading town and post-office is Danville, Des Moines County. Mr. Williams was married, Oct. 7, 1849, to Miss Sarah A. Demoss, daughter of Elijah and Margaret (Watkins) Demoss. Mrs. Williams was born in Union County, Ohio, July 7, 1833. Her father was born in Ohio, and her mother in New Jersey, and the family emigrated to Des Moines County, Iowa, in 1847. Both died in Louisa County. Of their children Mrs. Williams is the only survivor. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Williams, three sons and three daughters, of whom two only are now living: Margaret was born July 16, 1850, and is the wife of Rev. John Shepherd, a minister of the Christian Church, and a resident of Danville, Des Moines Co., Iowa, and has two children - Druzella and Nellie; Cynthia J. was born July 26, 1853, and died Aug. 15, 1855; George, born Dec. 30, 1854, married Eliza Howe, and is a farmer of Baltimore Township, and has three children - Lennie Cline, Stephen and Lutie Della; Daniel M., born July 22, 1837, died Feb. 8, 1877; he was the husband of Catherine Krekel, who resides in Baltimore Township. Two died in infancy.

While Mr. Williams was a resident of Des Moines County he for five years ran a sawmill in this county, keeping his home, however, in the former. He as also for a year in the same business in Des Moines County, principally engaged in getting out ties for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company.

Mr. Williams has served several years as Township Trustee, and has held other minor offices. He is a Democrat in politics, and is a member of the Christian Church. he is also a member of Danville Lodge No. 48, A. F & A. M., and has taken the Master's degree. Mrs. Williams is also a member of the Christian Church, and is highly esteemed for many excellent qualities of head and heart. Mr. Williams is widely and favorably known as an upright, industrious man, whose whole course of life has been free from reproach, and whose honest and kindly way has won him hosts of friends.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 379-80.)


Charles G. Willits

CHARLES G. WILLITS, one of the prominent citizens of Henry County, Iowa, residing on section 34, Marion Township, was born Jan. 12, 1821, in Fairfield County, Ohio, and is the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Gossage) Willits, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Maryland. Samuel Willits was mar�ried three times. His first wife was Miss Mary Harrison, by whom he had one daughter, Sarah A., now living in Montgomery County, Iowa, at the advanced age of seventy years. Flis second wife was Elizabeth Gossage, by whom he had seven children, four sons and three daughters: Charles G.; Jesse married Mary Ann Shields, resides in Mercer County, Ill.; George died in 1851, in New Boston, Ill.; Tabitha, deceased wife of Samuel Sheriff, who is a resident of Geneseo, Ill.; Elizabeth J. died at the age of twelve; Mary R. died in infancy; Job died in Chicago in April, 1887, where his wife and children yet live. Mrs. Willits departed this life in March, 1831, in Fairfield County, Ohio. She was a devoted Christian. Mr. Willits was again married, in 1836, to Miss Nancy Hall, a native of Virginia. In the fall of 1837 they removed to Mercer County, Ill., settling upon a farm, where the children grew to manhood and woman�hood. Mr. Willits' third wife died in August, 1874.

Our subject was united in marriage, in Mercer County, Ill., with Miss Rachel Thornton, a native of Pennsylvania, a daughter of Eli Thornton. Mr. and Mrs. Willits were the parents of four children, who were born in Mercer County, Ill.: Charlotte, wife of William Hendricks, a farmer in Muscatine County, Iowa; Sarah married John Litzenburg, a farmer of Hamilton County, Neb.; Alice, the wife of Orville Campbell, a farmer in Wano, Kan.; Thornton married Miss Mary Carrons, the only daughter of Robert Carrons, a large land�owner in Henry County, residing in Center Township. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Willits emigrated to Henry County, Iowa, where he bought 320 acres of land partially improved on sections 35, 34, 26 and 27. In this county three other children were born to them: Samuel died at the age of sixteen; Ledru married Miss Nancy Lee, a native of Iowa; Novello is the widow of Leander Shields. The mother departed this life in March, 1862; she was a devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, and a noble wife and mother, and was buried in the Ebenezer Cemetery.

Mr. Willits, in 1863, married Miss Ellen Cozier, a daughter of John and Hannah (Carter) Cozier, both of whom were natives of Clarke County, Ohio; the former born Dec. 21, 1810, died June 7, 1863, and the latter born Oct. 9, 1811, died May 25, 1857. They were the parents of thirteen children-Benjamin, Ellen, Sophronia, Minerva, Sarah A., Hugh, Henry, Lisset, Martha Jane, Mary Frances, John C., William H. and Harriet V. Of these four are dead-Sarah A., Minerva, William H. and Henry. Mrs. Willits was born in Clarke County, Ohio, and attended school in her native State, completing her education in Springfield, Ohio. She is a fine scholar, taking an active interest in all educational work, and had seven sisters who were teachers, and a brother who had charge of the schools of Mt. Pleasant for thirteen years. To Mr. and Mrs. Willits have been born two children: John C., now in Boston, Mass., finishing his educa�tion for the ministry: Wilmot Charles is attending school in Mt. Pleasant. Mr. Willits has taken great pride in educating his children, and all are well qualified to hold any position they are called upon to fill. Teaching was always Mrs. Willits' favorite occupation, and she spared no pains to prepare herself for her work, and withheld no energy that was necessary to success. Mr. and Mrs. Willits have truly a model family, none of them having used tobacco and liquor in any way. Mr. Willits is one of the pioneer settlers of Henry County, and is entirely a self-made man. Without a cent in his pocket he began life working by the month, saving his earnings, and in this way got a start. He bought eight acres of land which he improved, afterward buying a farm of eighty acres, adding to this until he had at one time a fine farm of 400 acres, but has sold and given to his son Thornton until he now has 287 acres. He sold his farm of 400 acres in Mercer County, Ill., and came to Henry County, purchasing the land as above stated, and all this he has made by his own industry and economy. An honorable, upright man, always ready to advance any public enterprise, he has the respect of the whole community. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Willits is a zealous Republican, and is always working for the advancement of his party.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp. 342-343)(PW)


David O. Wilson

DAVID O. WILSON, residing on section 3, Trenton Township, Henry County, was born in Rockbridge County, Va., March 13, 1837. His parents, William and Ellen (Orbison) Wilson, were also natives of Rockbridge County, Va.  They came to this county in 1857, and settled in Trenton Township, where he was employed as a cabinet-maker in Trenton, which trade he followed until his death, which occurred Aug. 8, 1877. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, and was Justice of the Peace for a number of years in Trenton Township. He was a Democrat in politics, and took an active interest in all political affairs. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were the parents of seven children, of whom our subject was the eldest. John C., the second child, died while in the service of his country as a member of the 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, at Butler, Mo., Aug. 6, 1862; James, also a soldier in the same regiment, died at Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Nov. 30, 1861; William now lives in Trenton, and is a painter by trade; C. Givens, a farmer of Marion Township; Charles is a resident of Trenton; Nannie M., wife of Oliver Cavenee, died March 21, 1878. The mother of these children still resides in Trenton, at the age of seventy-two, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

David O. Wilson, our subject, was reared upon a farm, and all his life has been spent in tilling the soil. He was married, April 3, 1862, to Ann Morrison, a native of the county, and a daughter of Joseph Morrison, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Seven children have been born to this worthy couple: Ada, born March 29, 1863, died Jan. 20, 1881; Clarence, born Jan. 23, 1866, died Oct. 21, 1887; he was a student at the Business College in Burlington. May, born May 25, 1872, died Oct. 21, 1878; Harry, born Oct. 25, 1875, resides at home; Nellie, born April 30, 1880, died April 21, 1881, and James, born Nov. 14, 1884, completes the family now living; one son died in infancy.

Mr. Wilson is a member of the Presbyterian Church and his wife of the Christian Church. His business is that of general farming, and he owns 180 acres of fine land in Trenton Township. Politically he is a Republican, and was elected Justice of the Peace of the township. His is well known and universally respected throughout the county.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 356-57.)


John Wilson

JOHN WILSON, one of the pioneer settlers of Henry County, was born in Clay County, Ky., July 10, 1809. He was reared in Clay County, receiving his education in a log school-house. He was married in that State to Miss Mary Thomas, and in 1835 they left Kentucky on horseback, bringing with them their three children and all the worldly goods they possessed. They first stopped for a short time on Brush Creek, and shortly after they purchased a claim on section 20, Center Township. Mr. Wilson building a log cabin where they lived for four years. At the end of this time a fire destroyed their cabin, which was their all. This was supposed to be the work of an incendiary, the fire probably being kindled by a man who wanted the claim. Before leaving Kentucky this same misfortune happened to them, and now for the second time a fire destroyed their home, but a kind neighbor, Mrs. Maulding, gave them shelter until Mr. Wilson could provide another home for his family. A rude log cabin was constructed and into this they moved before the floor was laid. They had no bedstead, but putting up poles on which they placed some straw, with a free conscience they slept better than many a millionaire in his luxuriant home. Mr. Wilson was taken sick about this time, and without money the future indeed looked dark, but Mr. Rea gave him $75, which was truly a godsend to him, and in this way he was enabled to keep the wolf from the door. At this time a little child was born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, and their noble friend, Mrs. Willeford, took the mother and her baby to her own home, caring for them for seven weeks until they could care for themselves. As the darkest hour is just before the dawn, so in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, the clouds now began to vanish and prosperity to smile upon them; Mr. Wilson worked hard and soon accumulated a competency.

Nine children came to bless their union, seven of whom yet live: David, of Grundy Center, Iowa; Alford, of Page County, Iowa, enlisted in the 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, serving as Second Lieutenant of the company; Sarah, wife of William Melton, and first white child born in this county, residing on the old homestead; Philip is a lumber dealer of Ft. Collins, Col.; Jemima J., wife of Peter Perine, both deceased; Jonathan and Elisha, twins; the former now residing in Mt. Pleasant, enlisted in the 25th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and the latter resides in Baxter, Jasper Co., Iowa. Rachel, wife of George Cooper, of Osborne County, Kan.; John, of Greene County, Iowa; Mary, wife of Gabriel Burton, of Henry County, Iowa.

In polities, Mr. Wilson was a Democrat. He and his wife were earnest Christian people, and were highly respected in the community where they resided. Always honest and upright, Mr. Wilsons' word was as good as his bond. The mother departed this life Oct. 16, 1873, being sixty-two years of age. She preceded her husband to the home of the redeemed thirteen years, he dying on the 26th of January, 1887, at the age of seventy-six.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 326-327) (JC)


John C. Winters

This enterprising and well-known business man of Mt. Pleasant was born in LaSalle County, Ill., Sept. 25, 1848. His parents are John and Margaret (Coughlagn) Winters. His father, who deserves more than a passing mention in this work, was born in County Monaghan, Ireland, in 1819, and received his education in his native country. When seventeen years of age, in the company with his parents, he sought a home in the New World. Soon after landing in America he went to Syracuse, N. Y., where he learned the trade of a stone-cutter, in which he gained a thorough knowledge which in after years he put to such good use, and which proved the foundation of his large fortune. Leaving Syracuse he went to Toronto, Canada, where he was employed on the Queen's College, then building. From Toronto he went to Rice Lake, where he worked on the canal locks, which were then in the course of construction. He was married in Lockport, N. Y., and in 1844 removed to LaSalle County, Ill, where he remained until 1856, in the meantime working on the stone works and in the construction of the Michigan Canal. When the building for the Iowa Hospital for the Insane was in the course of erection in Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa, he removed there in the hope of securing employment, in which he succeeded. Here the thorough knowledge of his trade, and his excellent judgment of the different varieties of stone, stood him in good stead. He saw that a beautiful and durable quality of stone was obtained near by, and exercising good judgment in the selection bought a tract of land, on which he opened up the now widely-known Winters' Stone Quarries, an enterprise which has been of great benefit to Mt. Pleasant, and which has made a goodly sum for its proprietor. He has taken large contracts for work on the Burlington & Missouri and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Roads, and has carried as many as 400 men on his pay-rolls at one time, distributing much money in this region. Mr. Winters lives in a beautiful home, adjoining Mt. Pleasant, on a farm of 600 acres, which he has stocked with some of the finest blooded horses and Durham cattle in the State, in the raising of which he has been very successful, bringing to that business the same sagacity and good judgement which have been among his distinguishing characteristics. He has raised and owned some of the finest and fastest horses in the State, among them the renowned Stonewall Jackson, which with other fine stock was burned to death by a fire which consumed his barn in 1879. Mr. Winters' landed possessions in Henry County comprise about 1,700 acres, most of which is under cultivation.

The history of the life of John Winters is full of encouragement to young men just starting. He began life without any capital other than willing hands, a clear head, and integrity of purpose. Applying himself with fidelity to what he had to do, he worked diligently and honestly, and has from this capital only made himself one of the wealthiest men in this section of the State. The pursuit of wealth has not hardened his heart, or narrowed his nature, which is too often the case. His charities are numerous and liberal, and a deserving applicant is never turned away empty handed. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which he stands high. In politics, he is an uncompromising Jeffersonian Democrat, and is thoroughly posted in National, State and county matters. He and his wife were the parents of four children, of whom two sons, John C. and Michael F. are now living.

John C. Winters, whose name heads this biographical sketch, was quite young when his parents settled in Mt. Pleasant. He received a good education at Howe's Academy in that city, and since arriving at manhood has assisted his father in his business. For years he has been manager of the quarries at Mt. Pleasant, with large numbers of men under his charge, and attending to all the details of the large business. He was married in September 1869, to Miss Mary Ellen O'Hare, who was born in St. Louis in 1846, and is a daughter of Samuel and Mary (McKenna) O'Hare. Their union has been blessed with ten children, eight of whom are now living: Laura M. and Mary S., twins; Samuel L., John, Grace C., Francis C., Michael H. and Gertrude; two died in infancy.

Like his father, Mr. Winters is a staunch Democrat, and though he has never sought office has been honored by his fellow-citizens with positions of trust and responsibility. He is a friend of liberal education, and has been President of the School Board. He was also a Director in the Agricultural Society, and now is the Secretary of the Democratic County Central Committee. Inheriting the sterling qualities of his honest father, as a straightforward, honorable and enterprising business man, no man stands higher in Henry County. He lives in a beautiful home near his father, adjoining the city of Mt. Pleasant, and under his hospitable roof from time to time are gathered many of his friends.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 633)(PW)


  Winfield S. Withrow

WINFIELD S. WITHROW. Served on the Iowa Supreme Court from April 19, 1913, when he was appointed in compliance with a legislative act increasing the personnel from six to seven members, until December 31, 1914.

Born at Salem, Iowa, September 28, 1855. He was graduated from the University of Iowa in 1880. He returned to Salem after graduation and engaged in newspaper editing in addition to his law practice. Two years later he also became interested in banking at Salem. In 1886 he was a member of the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first General Assembly. Following the close of this session he removed his legal practice to Mount Pleasant, where in 1896 he became a Judge of the District Court, continuing in that capacity until coming on the Supreme Court. In 1916 he was appointed to membership on the Board of Parole where he continued to serve until 1921, when he resigned to devote himself to the business of banking.

Judge Withrow died at Mount Pleasant February 7, 1930.

Source of biographical sketch (verbatim transcription) and portrait: "Annals of Iowa", 3rd series, volume XXVI, issue 3, January, 1945, page 210

Transcriber's note: Winfield S. Withrow is buried in Forest Home Cemetery, Henry County, Iowa; Eric and Marcia Driggs


W.H. Wise

W. H. WISE, of the firm of W. H. Wise & Co., hardware dealers, of Winfield, Iowa, established a hardware store in 1887. It is one of the neatest stores in that part of the county. They carry a full and complete line of shelf hardware, and the business cannot help but be a success when conducted by the genial proprietors, W. H. and C. I. Wise. In connection with hardware they also carry a full line of machinery, including thrash�ers manufactured by the Springfield Engine and Thrashing Company, of Springfield, Ohio, and also D. M. Osborne & Co.'s harvesters and mowers, both of which are leading machines. They also carry first-class buggies, received from Washington, Iowa. The members of the firm are both young men, and by their fair dealing have gained a liberal share of patronage.

W. H. Wise was born in Greene County, Pa., April 13, 1856. He is a son of Morgan Wise, now a resident of this county. While yet an infant, his parents removed to La Salle, Ill., where Mr. Wise grew to manhood. He was educated in the common schools of Illinois, and also attended school in Winfield, to which place they removed in 1872, and subsequently he took a partial course at the University of Mt. Pleasant, in the fall of 1874. In 1879 Mr. Wise began business for himself; he purchased an interest in the grocery and restaurant business, and the firm was known as Glass & Wise. The following spring the business was sold out and he began work in a clothing store. In the spring of 1885 he purchased a half interest in the store and the firm name was again Glass & Wise. in the fall of 1886 he sold his interest to Mr. Glass, and engaged in the hardware and implement business, as before stated, in 1878 W. H. Wise led to the marriage altar Ellie L. Farr, daughter of Herman H. and Almira Farr. Mrs. Wise is a native of Vermont. One child was born of this union, Lorena Myrtle. Mr. Wise is a member of the Masonic fraternity. In politics he affiliates with the Democratic party.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 340-341) (JC)


Max E. Witte, M.D.

MAX E. WITTE, M.D., First Assistant Physician at the Iowa State Hospital for the Insane at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, was born in Berlin, Prussia, on the 31st of January, 1859. His parents were G.W. and W. (Rakow) Witte. Our subject came to America with them in the autumn of 1864. The family located in Jackson County, Iowa. Max E. received his literary education at Galena, Ill., and then took a three-years course at the State University of Iowa, graduating from the medical department in the class of 1881. He read medicine with Prof. W.D. Middleton, M.D., and began the practice of his profession at Davenport, Iowa. He was appointed to his present responsible position, and entered upon his duties as First Assistant Physician at the Iowa State Hospital in November, 1881. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, and Republican in politics. Dr. Witte has proved an able assistant to Dr. Gilman, being well skilled in his profession, and earnest and conscientious in the discharge of the responsible duties of his office.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 329)(PW)


Charles D. Wood

CHARLES D. WOOD, residing on section 21, Center Township, Henry Co., Iowa, was born in Quincy, Ill., Dec. 12, 1837, and is the youngest son of Daniel and Edith Wood, the former a native of Long Island, N. Y., and the latter, whose maiden name was Edith Athens, of North Carolina. When young people, they came to Hamilton County, Ohio, with their parents, where they became acquainted and united in marriage. After a few years' residence in Ohio, they removed to Lawrenceburg, Ind., where they remained for three years, and securing some forest land, they hewed down the trees and developed a fine farm. Becoming dissatisfied with the country on account of ill-health, they returned to Ohio, remaining there but a short time, next taking up their residence in Quincy, Ill. At the expiration of two years, they left that city, crossed the "Father of Waters" into Iowa, locating near Lowell, Henry County, and after a residence of six months, removed for the last time to the homestead which was occupied by them until, by the hand of death, they were called hence, the father departing this life Sept. 10, 1881, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, the mother June 8, 1866, aged sixty-two years. Both were consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal Church for over forty years. Mr. Wood was an earnest advocate of every charitable and noble cause, contending fearlessly for the rights of his fellowmen of whatever race, color or condition, and for many years was proud to be a member of that heroic little band of Abolitionists, who so nobly battled and suffered in the cause of human rights, and later, when the war cloud that for years had been gathering, burst, and Ft. Sumter was fired upon, at the appeal from the National Government at Washington for money to arm and equip the soldiers in the field, he proved his patriotic faith by cheerfully tendering all his available means to his country, receiving from the Government promise to pay, and continued to do this from time to time, until the war was ended, and the country saved. During the darkest days of the Rebellion, when the armies for the Union were beaten back, the country seemed to he trembling in the balance, and the hope of many had wellnigh given way to despair, he was admonished that there was great risk in placing so much of his hard-earned savings in the Government. To this, he promptly replied, "that if the Government went to pieces, it would probably be upon that theory, and that if we should all act on that supposition the Government would surely not be maintained. Slavery cannot always exist, or the slave power much longer rule, and in the justness of our cause, and with honest Abe at the head, we are sure to win."

Mr. and Mrs. Wood were the parents of seven children, four of whom are still living: John F., of San Bernardino, Cal.; Theodocia B., wife of John Dawson, of Henry County, Iowa; Daniel C., also of Henry County. Charles D. Wood, our subject, received his education in the primitive schools of the time, and in 1838 came to Henry County with his parents, remaining on the farm until 1856, when he went to Kansas, then a Territory, engaging in the border ruffian war tinder old Jim Lane, and using his vote and influence in making that State a home for free men. In the fall of 1860, having conceived a desire to visit the place of his birth, he bad adieu to Kansas, the land of the cayote and border ruffian, and turning his face toward the rising sun, he started in a private conveyance, in due time hailed the ferryman at Nauvoo, and crossed into the land of his early childhood, remaining there till July 13, 1861. He enlisted in Company K, 2d Illinois Cavalry, being mustered in at Camp Butler, near Springfield, where the regiment was encamped, and then went to Paducah, Ky., the regiment remaining there for a year. During this time Mr. Wood was taken sick with measles, and was discharged April 30, 1862. Like the prodigal, he then returned home, and on the 12th of February, 1863, was married to Miss Addie E. Willeford, daughter of Samuel and Rhoda Willeford, formerly of Kentucky, but pioneers of this county. She was born May 8, 1844, in Henry County, Iowa, and five children graced their union-Florence H., Edith A., Ada B., Viola May and Charles R. R.

Shortly after marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Wood located on a farm three miles south of Mt. Pleasant, residing there until the spring of 1873, when they removed to the vicinity of Weaverville. Trinity Co., Cal., purchasing a farm in the Golden State, located on the banks of Trinity River, from whence could be seen the snow-capped mountains all the year. Two very prosperous years were passed, but owing to the rough state of society, and the lack of educational advantages for their growing family, the parents determined to sell and return to Iowa. Carrying out this purpose, they purchased the farm where they reside one and a half miles south of the city of Mt. Pleasant, and again became residents of Henry County.

Mr. Wood's belief is in the Right, having no special preference for sects or creeds. A stanch Republican in politics, he believes that the great evil of intemperance can be so surely suppressed in no other way then through the policy of Prohibition advocated by that party. Believing that the protective policy of the Republican party to American industries will be most beneficial to the American laborer, and will more rapidly develop our latent resources, bringing prosperity to all industrious classes of society; believing that through the Republican party we may hope to see the ballot extended to the noble women of our land, bringing in its wake a higher state of refinement, more humane and better laws; believing that no other party is so willing to accord to the Union soldier the justice and honor he is entitled to for the grand achievement wrought on the many bloody battlefields of the South for the maintenance of the Union, and the suffering endured in hospital and prison pen; he sincerely hopes, and confidently expects, if he should live to a ripe old age, to see these policies maintained, and in consequence, to witness the brightest, most prosperous and happy era that ever dawned on the American people.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 344-345) (JC)


John S. Woolson

HON. JOHN S. WOOLSON, senior partner of the prominent law firm of Woolson & Babb, of Mt. Pleasant, and a member of the Iowa State Senate, was born at Tonawanda, Erie Co., N. Y., Dec. 6, 1840. His father, Theron W. Woolson, was an early settler of Henry County, and a leading attorney (a sketch of his life and his portrait will be found elsewhere in this work). His mother's maiden name was Clarissa Simson. The family on both sides are descended from patriotic ancestry in the war of the Revolution. His paternal grandfather participated in the war of Independence and in that of 1812, while his maternal grandfather took an active part in the latter war.

Our subject, as his history shows, was true to the patriotic instincts of his forefathers, and bore his part in the War for the Union in 1861-65. He received his primary education in his native town, and when sixteen years of age (June, 1856), he accompanied his parents to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, where he entered the Iowa Wesleyan University as a student and graduated with the honors of his class in 1860. He at once engaged in the study of law in his father's office, but the breaking out of the war excited his patriotic ardor, and throwing aside his Blackstone and Chitty, he forsook the peaceful paths of the law for a position in the United States Navy. He was appointed Assistant Paymaster of the United States Navy in February, 1862, and was assigned to the United States sloop-of-war "Housatonic," of the South Atlantic squadron. He continued to serve on the " Housatonic " till she was sunk by a Confederate torpedo boat off Charles�ton Harbor, Feb. 17, 1864. The sloop sank within fifteen minutes after the torpedo was exploded. Mr. Woolson succeeded in securing himself to a floating spar which proved but a precarious support, as it was overloaded and submerged by the numbers clinging to it. By the timely arrival of a boat from another vessel of the squadron, he and his compan�ions were rescued from their perilous position.

He was next assigned to the double turreted monitor "Monadnock," then in service in the North and South Atlantic squadron. He participated in all the attacks on Ft. Sumter and both attacks on Ft. Fisher. He served at different times as signal officer of the squadron, and during the attacks on Ft. Fisher had command of one of the pilot-houses of the monitor. He was up the James River at the taking of Crow's Nest and the capture of Richmond. He was also at "Butler's Dutch Gap Canal," and served till the surrender of the Confederate army and the close of the war. He was previously sent with an expedition to Havana to capture a rebel ram in those waters. The ram failed to accept the challenge, but sought protection under the guns of the Spanish forts. Mr. Woolson resigned his position in the regular service in December, 1865, returned to Mt. Pleasant and resumed the study of law with his father as preceptor, and was admitted to the bar in September, 1866. He at once formed a law partnership with his father, under the firm name of T. W. & John S. Woolson, which connec�tion continued till the death of his father, Nov. 8, 1872. In January, 1873, he formed the existing partnership with Hon. W. I. Babb.

Mr. Woolson has taken a prominent part in public affairs, and has been chosen to fill various offices of honor and trust. He has served several years as a member and Secretary of the School Board of Mt. Pleasant. He was appointed a member of the Henry County Board of Commissioners of Insanity in 1870, and was elected President of the Board, and has held that position continuously since. Mr. Woolson was elected by the Republican party to the State Senate in 1875, was re-elected and served six years. He was appointed Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was chosen President pro tem of the Senate, and had the honor of presiding at the re-inauguration of Gov. J. H. Gear. He was re-elected in 1885, and again elected President pro tem, which position he still holds. In 1884 he was the Republican candidate for Congress for the First Iowa Congressional District. Mr. Woolson had taken positive ground while in the State Senate in favor of the right of the State and General Government to control within constitutional limits the establishment of rates of passenger and freight traffic, and to protect the people against any extortion by monopolies. Notwithstanding the fact that he had thus antagonized the powerful railway in�fluence, and that his opponent, the Hon. Benjamin J. Hall, had the earnest and undivided support of the railway corporations, in addition to the prestige of an opposition majority of from 800 to 1,000, which had been cast against the Republican ticket in the two previous elections, Mr. Woolson was defeated by but seventy-three votes, a high compliment to his personal popularity.

Mr. Woolson was united in marriage at Mt. Pleasant, April 9, 1867, to Miss Mira T. Bird, daughter of Dr. W. Bird, a prominent physician and early settler of that city, and whose history is given on another page. Mrs. Woolson was born at Frederickstown, Knox Co., Ohio. Five children were born of their union, four of whom are living: Paul B., born May 13, 1868; Ralph T., born May 25, 1871, died Nov. 8, 1886; Miriam, born May 19,1873; Grace S., born July 17, 1875; Ruth S., born Oct. 18, 1880. Mr. Woolson, his wife and three elder children, are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a member of the McFarland Post No. 20, G. A. R., and of the Iowa Commandery of the Loyal Legion. He is a Master Mason, and a member of Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 8. He and his wife are members of Bethlehem Chapter No. 38, of the order of the Eastern Star.

The subject of this sketch is so well known that anything that might be said in a short sketch like this would not add to or detract from his high standing in the community with the present generation, but as this work is designed as a standard reference for coming generations, it is eminently proper to state that Mr. Woolson stands in the front rank of his profession in Henry County, and is among the leading lawyers of the State. He is an indefatigable worker and student, possessing qualities of mind and a high order of talent that eminently fit him for the profession of the law and a foremost place among the legislators of the country. As a lawyer he is quick to analyze the subject matter of the business in hand, careful and methodical in the preparation of cases, eloquent and logical in his addresses to court and jury, and is always to be relied upon to present the claims of his clients in the best possible light and to guard their interests with ability, integrity and fidelity. As a legislator he has always proved true to the interests of his con�stituents, consistent with his broad views of public policy. He served on important committees, in the discharge of whose duties he has always borne a prominent part. As a speaker, he is fluent, logical and eloquent. His well-known habit of thoroughly investigating any subject on which he is to speak adds force to his remarks and carries conviction to the minds of his audience. Possessing these characteristics, it is not strange that his people should favor him with their choice for positions of public honor and trust, and that they are proud to acknowledge him as a leader among them.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 327-328) (JC)


WoolsonTheronW.jpg (67293 bytes)   Theron Webb Woolson 

THERON WEBB WOOLSON, deceased, who became a citizen of Henry County in 1856, was during his residence here one of its foremost citizens, and a leader in its public, professional, social and religious circles. A man of marked personality, of great ability, of unswerving uprightness of character, of the strictest professional integrity, conscientious and fearless in the discharge of every duty, public or private, he possessed all the requisites for leadership. His mind was trained, and his character formed in the school of necessity, and the lessons there learned were never forgotten. He was born at Lisbon, N. H., on the 28th of October, 1811, and was a son of a New England farmer. His mother's Christian name was Rebecca. Some years after the birth of the subject of this memoir, his parents removed to St. Lawrence County, N. Y., where both died, the father leaving his widow and nine children in straitened circumstances. Before that event young Theron had become a bread winner, and was hired out to farmers in the neighborhood. His only actual schooling was during this time, when he attended the district school four winter terms, his liberal education being entirely self-acquired. He was of an active, susceptible temperament, with an ardent desire for knowledge, and from his early youth showed the love of reading which clung to him all his lifetime. A physician in whose employ he was about this time, observing his intelligence and thirst for learning, gave him free access to his library, whose contents he soon mastered, also reading all other books accessible, which were by no means numerous in country neighborhoods in that day.

An elder brother who had remained in New Hampshire, had a merchant tailoring establishment in Littleton, in that State. Theron was apprenticed to him, and he devoted himself with characteristic ardor to mastering that trade, at which he soon became an adept. While working at it he kept up his reading and study, and soon attracted the attention of the pastor of the church of which he was an attendant. This man was highly educated himself, and recognizing a kindred spirit in the studious young tailor, gave him lessons in the higher English branches in mathematics, and in Latin, hearing his recitations evenings. Close attention to his trade, coupled with his studious habits, told on a not over rugged constitution, and out-door work became a necessity. He procured employment as a wood worker, and after a time was given charge of a foot-lathe. His health was benefited by the change, and he at the same time made opportunity to continue his studies while at his labor, having his book before him, reading, and digesting what he read while he worked.

With restored health he sought more congenial employment, and having thoroughly qualified himself, procured a position as teacher, first in New Hampshire, and afterward in St. Lawrence County, N. Y.  The characteristics of impressing his ideas on others, and of acquiring control over those with whom he came into contact, here found an opportunity for development. His schools came to be considered models for order and for the rapid mental growth of his pupils. His earnestness impressed the scholars, and the result was shown in their rapid advance. He followed this profession until 1835, when he determined to go farther west, and establish himself in what he designed should be his permanent life-work. Stopping at Tonawanda, Erie Co., N. Y., he engaged, temporarily as he supposed, as clerk and book-keeper in a large general store. His business habits, close attention, and strict integrity, soon won recognition, and by degrees the proprietor leaned more and more on his employe [sic], until the care and management of the entire business devolved upon him, and the business which he had taken up, as he supposed, but for a time, became the work of his early manhood. In this he continued for several years, but having more knowledge than any other person in the locality of legal and business matters, he inevitably drifted into the position of adviser and counselor of many people there, who came to reply upon his judgment and character. He engaged extensively in conveyancing, and was elected Justice of the Peace, which undoubtedly gave him the bent which in later years led him into the practice of the law, which he studied, and to the practice of which he was admitted at Buffalo, in that county. He embarked, and always successfully, in many enterprises at Tonawanda. For some years he had a shingle factory there, and he was the inventor of the process of steaming the blocks from which they were cut, greatly facilitating and cheapening their manufacture. He, with a brother-in-law, engaged largely in real-estate operations, and he laid out an addition to the town, and by his foresight and industry acquired a liberal fortune. He lived in Tonawanda for twenty-one years, and was a leading citizen of the town and county, often called upon to fill positions of trust. He was for years President of the Board of Trustees of the village, and head of the local educational board. He represented the town in the Board of Supervisors, of which he was Chairman, and he also filled the position of Loan Commissioner for the county. He was a truly representative citizen, who strongly impressed himself on those with whom he was associated, and had the respect and confidence of all who knew him, and wielded a great influence in the community. There, as later in Mt. Pleasant, he was foremost in advocating public improvements, and fostering worthy enterprises.

The rapidly growing State of Iowa attracted Mr. Woolson's attention, and he made a tour through it with the intention of seeking a home within its borders. The superior educational advantages of Mt. Pleasant determined his location here, and he removed to it in 1856, arriving here June 6 of that year. After coming to Mt. Pleasant, he devoted himself exclusively to the practice of the law, and formed a partnership with Henry Ambler, Esq., then the leading attorney of the city, and the firm at once took a prominent place among the lawyers of the State. Three years later the firm was dissolved, and Mr. Woolson associated with himself a son-in-law, Samuel McFarland, who entered the Union army during the Rebellion, became Colonel of the 19th Iowa Volunteers, and was killed while charging a rebel battery at Prairie Grove, Ark., in December, 1862. After this Mr. Woolson was alone until 1864, when he entered into partnership with P. N. Bowman, Esq., which continued until Sept. 6, 1866, when the latter retried, and the partnership with his son John S. was formed, which was unbroken until Mr. Woolson's death.

From an appreciative sketch of his career, written not long after Mr. Woolson's death, we extract the following:

  "That keen interest in educational matters which had characterized his former life, was carried to his new residence, and the cause of education found no more unselfish, zealous and considerable advocate and friend. He was for many years a member of the educational board of the city; for years its President, and aided largely, by his devotion, energy and ripe judgment, in placing the public schools of the city in their present well-deserved high position. To him the public-school system was a matter so sacred, so intimately connected with the public welfare and highest interests of the commonwealth, that its demands upon his time were always honored gladly and freely.

   "For a number of years he held the position of City Solicitor of the city, and he was for a number of terms its Mayor. As Mayor, he exhibited that decision of character, determination of purpose, and care for the interests intrusted to him, which were marked features of his whole life. An illustration can be given, taken from his entrance upon his duties as Mayor. By resolution of the City Council, there had been submitted to vote of the electors, at the election at which he was first elected Mayor (and when, also, a new Council was elected), the question of reducing the license upon billiard tables, which was then substantially a prohibitory license, and by a considerable majority the electors refused to sanction any reduction. The day arrived for the meeting of the Council at which the votes of the election were to be canvassed, and when the old Council and the Mayor were to step out and the newly elected step into office. The old Council had a strong majority of its members who were in favor of reducing the license, while the newly elected Council were opposed to such reduction. Mr. Woolson had intimations of an expected attempt by the old Council to pass - in the face of the vote just cast by the people against such a step - an ordinance reducing the license on the tables, and, preparing for it, he subscribed the oath of office as Mayor, and quietly stepped, with other citizens, into the council chamber to witness the proceedings of the canvass. When the Council had been called to order, a motion was made to proceed to the canvass of the votes, a proceeding which had customarily been the first business of such a meeting. But those in charge of it had determined to pass the ordinance reducing the license, and, having the voting power, they compelled the canvass to give way to the consideration of the ordinance, which passed through its first and second readings, and was about to be put on its passage, and the vote to be taken. At this juncture, and when it had become apparent that the opponents of the measure were powerless to prevent its adoption, and that it was the settled purpose of the retiring members to defeat, by this unusual proceeding, the expressed will of the city, Mr. Woolson stepped forward, handed to the City Clerk his oath of office, and demanded of the Mayor his seat as the duly elected Mayor of the city, which was yielded to him. The roll call proceeded. Mr. Woolson directed the Clerk to call his name, and cast his vote against the ordinance. This vote, in connection with his firm action in the chair, effectually checkmated the conspirators, defeated the ordinance, and thus secured the triumph of the expressed popular will.

   "Mr. Woolson was a member, and the Chairman of the first Board of Supervisors of this county, and for years held the position of Attorney for the county.

   "In 1861 he was elected to the State Senate from this county, and re-elected in 1865. He was a member of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth General Assemblies. In the Senate he was a leading member, serving on its most important committees, and exercising a large influence in shaping the legislation of that body, and held by vote of the Senate, the position of President's pro tem. It has been truly said of him, that he here 'sustained a reputation not only for earnest, upright honesty, but for the highest skill and ability as a legislator.'"

As an illustration of the estimate put upon Mr. Woolson by his fellow Senators, we quote from a letter received by his son, Hon. John S. Woolson, in November, 1887, from Hon. Warren S. Dungan, now a member of the Senate, and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of that body during the first year of Mr. Woolson's service:

   "I am reminded of the winter I spent in Des Moines with your father, in the Senate of the Ninth General Assembly, in 1862. . . He was the best posted on the statutes of the State of any Senator. He knew at a glance how any measure proposed compared with the law as it existed. He was always ready and on the alert, genial but dignified; a noble Senator, doing honor to his constituents, and noble service to the State. Let us emulate his example."

Mr. Woolson was a Senator throughout the war of the Rebellion, and by voice, vote, pen and purse, was a determined, effective supporter of the Government. The editor of the Mt. Pleasant Journal being in the military service, Mr. Woolson assumed his duties, and during his editorship the paper never gave forth an uncertain sound on National matters, but was always an earnest supporter of the cause of National unity. Not only in State and National matters did Mr. Woolson take an active interest, and act a leading part. As a citizen of Mt. Pleasant, every movement looking toward the moral and material advancement of the city found in him a hearty supporter. Early in life he was a believer in the doctrines of the Democratic party, but when that party became, in his judgment, unfaithful to its professed principles, he left its ranks, and thereafter was a Republican. He was a member of the first Republican convention held at Buffalo, N. Y., and participated actively and influentially in the councils of the party. He was a delegate from this State to the National Convention which first nominated Gen. Grant for President.

His religious associations were with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he was a member form 1836. He united with the Asbury (now First) Methodist Episcopal Church, after coming to Mt. Pleasant, and was for many years a member of its official board, and a zealous, consistent member of the church until his death.

September 1, 1836, Mr. Woolson was married to Clarissa Simson, who proved herself a devoted wife and loving mother. She died suddenly, March 7, 1862, while he was absent in the Legislature, of which he was then a member. She left three daughters: Mrs. Peter Melendy, now of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Mrs. R. J. Borghlothaus, of Minneapolis, Minn.; and Mrs. M. W. Darling, of Sioux City, Iowa; also one son, John S., whom see sketch on another page. June 26, 1865, Mr. Woolson was united in marriage with Anna Carney, who with her son, J. Leigh, now survives.

Mr. Woolson's death was sudden and unexpected. On Nov. 7, 1872, he was at his office preparing for the approaching term of Court. For several days he had been somewhat unwell, and in the afternoon of that day was feeling so much worse that he retired to his home. Within two hours of that time he was attacked with acute cholera morbus, so violent in its action as to closely simulate Asiatic cholera. The attack was so violent that in a few hours hope was almost abandoned, and when his wife (who had been absent with a sick daughter) arrived home at 9 P. M., his life was despaired of. He lingered until 4:20 P. M. of the next day, when the great soul was released from the overtasked body, passing peacefully away. His funeral on November 10 was attended by a large concourse of mourning friends, and by the bar of the county, who attended in a body. His remains were interred in Forest Home Cemetery, in the city in which his riper years had been spent, and of which he was, with possibly a single exception, the foremost citizen.

On the following day, at the opening of the District Court, a committee, previously appointed at a meeting of the members of bar, presented resolutions adopted by that body, which were placed upon the records of the court. Judge Joshua Tracy, in well chosen words, paid the following tribute to the memory of Mr. Woolson:

The resolutions just read, commemorative of the death of our friend and professional brother, express in appropriate terms the many estimable traits of character he possessed. They also express the great grief and heartfelt sorrow experienced by his family and the community at large at the loss of one whose place at home, in society and in church, cannot be filled.

His character for strict professional integrity, honesty of purpose and courteous deportment, was such as to endear him to everyone who became intimately acquainted with him.

To those of us who have been so intimately acquainted with him for the last sixteen years in the practice of the legal profession, these traits of character of our departed friend will serve to guide us upon our professional pathway, and, it may be hoped, will lead us to that point of true worth and greatness which he occupied when he ceased to be one among us.

It is worthy of remark upon this solemn occasion, that although our deceased friend possessed a nervous, sensitive cast of temperament, and that in the practice of his profession he was ardently devoted to his client's cause, yet no matter how close the contest, or heated the discussion in which he was engaged, he never so far forgot the character of the true professional gentleman, as to be guilty of applying to his opponent unkind words, or opprobrious epithets, and his conduct toward the Court in the management and argument of his causes was always equally commendable.

By the death of Theron W. Woolson, society has lost an honored, valuable member, the State an able legislator, the church of of which he was a member a true Christian, the legal profession an able advocate, and his bereaved family a kind-hearted and devoted husband and father.

With mournful pleasure, it is ordered that the resolutions presented be spread upon the records of this court; and as a further token of respect to the memory of our departed friend, it is ordered the Court do now adjourn.

Committees were appointed to present the resolutions to the Supreme Court of the State, and also to the United States Circuit Court for this State, in both of which he had an extensive practice.

The Board of Supervisors of the county, for whom Mr. Woolson was at the time of his death counsel, also took formal action in the passage of this resolution:

Be it resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Henry County, now in session, That is is with feelings of profound regret that we learn of the death of a former honorable member and Chairman of this board, and for a long time its principal attorney and advisor, Hon. Theron W. Woolson; and it is with great pleasure we record our administration of the fidelity of his conduct in all those relations, discharging them with promptness, great good judgment and ability; and we hereby express and tender to the family of the deceased our heartfelt sympathy.

The press of the whole State, and of both political parties, noticed in fitting terms and with expressions of appreciative feelings, his life and death. From his political and professional associates many letters were received by his family, all expressive of their profound sorrow at his sudden and untimely death.

It is difficult concisely, yet fully, to express the proper estimate of a life so well rounded, so symmetrical as a whole, and yet possessing in so many directions such marked peculiarities. Perhaps the characteristic best remembered by his intimate friends as pervading his whole life, and lighting up his daily walk, was the entire faithfulness, the thorough conscientiousness, with which he applied himself the performance of duty, in whatever direction that duty lay. As a lawyer he was regarded as pre-eminently a safe counselor, and had the justly deserved reputation of a dissuader from litigation, often inducing clients to settle amicably rather than by active proceedings, a trait in his admirable character which was fully appreciated by the better promised to the "peacemaker." No client, constituent or employer ever had occasion to complain of lack, on his part, of thorough application to the matters place in his charge. To this application he brought a mind naturally strong and clear, which had been matured by close observation and continuous study. His mind was eminently judicial, and had he been called to the bench, he would have graced the highest position. His record as a citizen, lawyer, official and legislator, shows his faithful attention, his ripe judgment, his intellectual strength and his purity of life.

Yet that record is not complete without mention of his home life. He was peculiarly domestic in his tastes and desires, and no happiness was so keenly appreciated by him as that which came from the surroundings of family and friends at home. The shadows and perplexities of business or official life he left outside the threshold, and to family and friends under his own roof-tree was fully shown the genuine hospitality of his nature. In his later years, the enjoyment he realized from his home life perceptibly increased, and his distaste for the strifes and conflicts of public life became stronger, until prospect and promise of official station alike failed to induce him to submit again to the disagreeable accompaniments of public position. No truer father or devoted husband ever gladdened a happy home. In all the relations of life he "fought a good fight," he "kept the faith," and his memory is precious not only the family he trained to follow in his footsteps, but to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

The admirable portrait of Mr. Woolson, on a preceding page, will preserve to his many friends the lineaments of this great man as he appeared in his mature years. It is one that adds great value to this volume, and our readers will thank us for inserting it.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 439-43.)



Jacob Wright 

JACOB WRIGHT. He is a farmer of Henry County and resides in Section 22 Tippecanoe Two. he was born 12 Oct 1835 in Parke County, Indiana, the son of Thomas and Susan Wright, natives of Tennessee. They came to Henry County in 1836 to Tippecanoe Twp. He received his education in the District Schools. In 1864 he went with Cal Moore to Missouri, serving as home guards. They remained there about a month and then returned home. He soon enlisted in Co. M, 4th Iowa Cavalry, and was in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battles at Jackson, MS, Tupelo, and Meridien, MS, and Guntown where his horse was shot out from under him. He was next in Ripley and on Wilson's raid. He was taken prisoner while on picket duty at Helena, AR in the fall of 1862. After the war he returned home and engaged in farming. He married on 6 Dec 1866 to Miss Frances C. Gainson, who was born in New York City, and is the daughter of E. P. and Frances C. (Devoo) Gainson of Mt. Pleasant. They had 10 children: Hilliagh Webber who married Lucius Handle, and resided Burlington; Lulu, George W.; Anna M.; Ephraim Remington; Thomas R.;Homer; Nina; Nettie D.; and Laura Belle. Jacob is a member of the G.A.R., and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics he is a Republican, and owns a finely cultivated farm of 80 acres.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 423)(PW)


John F. Wyse 

JOHN F. WYSE, residing on section 28, Trenton Township, Henry Co., Iowa, was born in France, Sept. 15, 1828. His parents, Christian and Mary (Eicher) Wyse, were also natives of the same place. John received a good common-school education, and at the age of fifteen was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker for a term of three years, having to pay $40 for the privilege of learning the trade. Christian Wyse was called from this earth in 1840. His widow with her family, leaving her native home, emigrated to America in 1850. For a time she made Fulton County, Ohio, her home. Our subject, being the eldest son, was obliged to aid in the support of the family. He purchased eighty acres of raw land in that county also he became acquainted with and wedded Mary Grafft, a native of Switzerland, and a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Spangler) Grafft. The young couple resided in Fulton County until 1868. Mr. Wyse, having added to his possessions, then owned 120 acres of land, which he sold at $85 an acre, and removed to Henry County, Iowa. Prior to his coming to this county he operated a sawmill in Ohio for seven years, at which business he was very successful. He also purchased a mill here which he operated for a short time, but has devoted himself principally to farming and stock-raising.

Mr. and Mrs. Wyse have been the parents of ten children: Mary, wife of Oscar Swan, a resident of New London; Christian, Barbara, John, who died Sept. 27, 1881, at the age of three years; Anna; Solomon, who died Sept. 4, 1878; Benjamin died April 22, 1883; David died April 6, 1887, aged six years and seven months; and Josephine and Martha. On coming to this country, Mr. Wyse purchased 480 acres of land, mostly covered with brush and timber, and has now a finely improved farm. He has 250 acres under cultivation and the entire tract is under fence. In August, 1882, a new house was erected at a cost of $1,500. He has good barns and out-buildings, and his farm is well-stocked with the best grades of cattle. Mr. Wyse has been very successful through life, notwithstanding he has been a cripple since boyhood. He came to this country poor, and had his widowed mother to support on a salary of forty-five cents per day. His home was his mother's home until the time of her death, which occurred in 1861. She was a devoted member of the Mennonite Church. Of her six children five are still living. Mr. Wyse keeps well informed on all questions of the day, and is a friend of education or any other interest which is beneficial to the people.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, p. 358.)


S.B. Wyse

S. B. WYSE, the senior member of the firm of Wyse & Schantz, is a well-known resident of Wayland, who for several years has made Jefferson Township his home, and has become an important factor in its business interests. He was born in Fulton County, Ohio, in 1845, and is the son of Peter and Catherine (Brandt) Wyse, both of whom were natives of the Canton of Berne, Switzerland. The parents of Peter Wyse lived and died in that country, and Peter came to America when a young man, and was married to Catherine Brandt in Ohio. Her father emigrated to America in 1817, bringing his family with him. Only his second and third daughters arc now living: Elizabeth, widow of Jacob Gyman, resides in Fulton County, Ohio, and Catherine, mother of Mr. Wyse, now a widow in her eighty-first year, and at present an inmate of his home in Wayland. Two other daughters, Annie and Barbara, are now deceased.

Our subject was reared upon a farm in Fulton County, Ohio, and secured a practical education, fitting him for conducting a successful business. His first experience away from the homestead began in his twentieth year, when he went to Butler County, Ohio, and engaged in farm work. A few months later he returned home, and remained until 1867, when his first visit was made to Henry County, Iowa, and he was pleased with the prospects of the future, which was rapidly developing. He for a time engaged in farm work, threshing, etc., and after a two years' residence, he returned to the home of his boyhood. The acquaintance having been formed while here of Miss Hannah Conrad, he returned to Henry County in 1870, and they were married and began life for themselves in this county. Her parents were Daniel and Maria (Klopfenstine) Conrad, who were among the early settlers in this part of the State, locating about 1840, but after a long lifetime of usefulness both were gathered to "that bourne from which no traveler returns." Their memory is dear to those of the old pioneers who yet remain.

After his marriage, Mr. Wyse taught several terms of school in this county, two at Prospect school-house. In 1883 he engaged in company with Mr. Jacobs in the mercantile business at Wayland, the firm opening a new stock of general merchandise. In February, 1886, Mr. Jacobs retired from the firm, Mr. C. C. Schantz purchasing his interest, and the two gentlemen, Wyse and Schantz, who were reared together in the Buckeye State, receiving their lesson in the school-boy days within two miles of each other, are now men of mature years, and are partners in a splendid retail store, doing a successful business. In January, 1888, Mr. Wyse was appointed Postmaster of Wayland, under President Cleveland's administration, in recognition of his life-long devotion to the creed of the Democratic party, of which he has always been a hearty supporter. The wife of Mr. Wyse became the mother of five children-Ella, Emma, Frank, Lester and an infant. The joy of the parents was greatly en�hanced by their births, but the "silent reaper" marked the loving wife and tender mother for his own. Christmas Eve of 1885, the births of Lester and a twin brother occurred, the latter dying at birth, and the life of their mother ended one week later. Sorrow and joy come to all, but the merry peals of the church bells ringing in the glad New Year, found the bereaved husband full of grief and care for his motherless children, but in him they have found an affectionate father, who supplies their every want.

Side by side in the village churchyard the remains of mother and child repose. Both herself and husband were faithful members of the Omish Mennonite Church, and Christians in the fullest sense.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 320-321) (JC)


Balse Yakle

BALSE YAKLE, residing in Henry County on section 27, in Tippecanoe Township, was born in Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 1834, and is a son of Luke and Ann Eliza (Funk) Yakle, both of whom were natives of Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Leaving friends, home and native land, they emigrated to America in 1834, settling in Baltimore, Md., where they lived for a few months, then removing to Wheeling, W. Va., making that city their home for two years. Removing to Indiana, they remained there for a short time and then went to Butler County, residing there for five years. They then moved to Henry County, settling in Salem Township, where he remained until 1843, at which time he entered a farm of forty acres in Tippecanoe Township, on which he remained five years, and then bought a farm of eighty acres on section 29 of Tippecanoe Township, which he improved and cultivated, and there resided until his death, which occurred May 1, 1885, at the age of seventy-eight. His widow still lives on the home farm. They reared a family of eleven children, seven of whom are now living: Mary Eliza, wife of John Nau, of Tippecanoe Township; Balse; Catherine, wife of John Casey, of Adams County, Iowa; Frederick, a resident of Tippecanoe Township; Mary, first wedded to Sanford Abbey, and after his death married Thomas Bicknell; Christiana, wife of William Church, of Tippecanoe Township; Elva died at the age of twenty. The father and mother of this family were members of the Lutheran Church, and estimable people.

Our subject was reared on a farm, but when a lad of fifteen began to learn the miller's trade, and at the age of twenty-one left home, going to Pike's Peak, Col., in 1860, remaining about two years engaged in mining. At the expiration of that time he came back to Henry County, where he has since resided. He was married, March 5, 1863, to Martha Smith, a native of Highland County, Ohio, born May 22, 1840, and a daughter of Jefferson and Lydia (Pickering) Smith, both of whom were natives of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Smith came to this county in 1849, and here the father died Oct. 1, 1862, at the age of seventy-one, and the mother died Sept. 15, 1859, at the age of fifty-six. Seven of their children survive them: Rachel, wife of James Nicholson, of Madison County, Iowa; Milton, of Tippecanoe Township; John, a teacher in Ohio; Samuel, a farmer residing in Taylor County, Iowa; Jonathan, residing in Adams County, Mo.; Mrs. Yakle, and Elizabeth, wife of Samuel Hightown, residing in Madison County, Iowa.

Mr. Yakle owns 257 acres of well-cultivated land, everything on his farm denoting thrift and enter�prise, and all that he has was made by his own honest labor, assisted by his good wife. He is a member of the Baptist Church, and his wife of the Society of Friends. They are always ready to help a. fellow traveler through life's journey, and have the esteem of all. Mr. Yakle has held various township offices with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of .his constituents. Politically he is a Republican.

(Portrait and Biographical Album, Henry County, Iowa; Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, 1888, pp 429-430) (JC)


John Wesley Zickefoose

There is perhaps no line of business that demands more close and unremitting effort than does farming and yet there is none which yields more safe or sure returns than this same occupation if pursued in a district where the land is naturally rich and productive as it is in Iowa, responding readily to the care and labor bestowed upon it. Mr. Zickefoose has verified the truth of this assertion in the control and improvement of his excellent farm, which is situated on section 11, Wayne township. He is moreover a native son of this township, born October 17, 1860.

His father, Henry Clark Zickefoose, was born in Virginia and was a son of Benjamin Zickefoose, who was likewise a native of that state. Having reached adult age the grandfather married Susan Buzzard, who was also born in the Old Dominion. They came to Henry county among its pioneer settlers and their first dwelling was little more than a rail pen which furnished them shelter for a brief period until a log house could be built. In that pioneer structure they lived for many years and it was in this county amid pioneer surroundings and environments that Henry Clark Zickefoose was reared, sharing with the family in all the hardships and trials incident to frontier life. He wedded Miss Mary Ann Yancey, who was born in the state of Indiana, September 27, 1841, and was a daughter of Ambrose and Phebe Jane (Goff) Yancey, who were also natives of that state.

The Yancey family arrived in Henry county sometime after the arrival of the Zickefoose family and settled in Canaan township near Mount Pleasant, where the daughter, Mary Ann, remained with her parents until she gave her hand in marriage to Henry C. Zickefoose on the 11th of January, 1859. The young couple then removed to a farm in the northern part of Wayne township, where they lived until 1862, when Mr. Zickefoose responded to his country's call for aid, his sympathies being with the Union cause. He joined Company H of the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry and was ever a brave and loyal soldier. Although he entered the army as a private he was serving as sergeant at the time of his death. He went to the south and laid down his life upon the altar of his country, being killed in the battle of Arkansas Post on the 11th January, 1863. His widow remained with her son John Wesley upon the old homestead property until February, 1902, when they sold a portion of that farm and bought one hundred and twenty-five acres of improved land on section 11, Wayne township, known as the Squire Hammond farm. Although that farm was in possession of different people at different times it was owned by J.W. Hammond for twelve years, during which time he erected thereon a splendid country residence containing nine rooms and heated with furnace. It is one of the finest homes in the township. The mother lived with her son John up to the time of her demise, which occurred on the 25th of April, 1902.

John Wesley Zickefoose, reared under the parental roof, acquired his education in the common schools and in Howe's Academy at Mount Pleasant. He was less than two years of age at the time of his father's death but he remained upon the old homestead with his mother and as he grew in years and strength relieved her more and more of the responsibilities and care connected with the home farm and in her declining years provided for her a good home. He has always followed farming and as before stated continued upon the farm which his father had purchased until February, 1902, when he removed to section 11, Wayne township, purchasing here one hundred and twenty-five acres of land. He has a splendidly improved property equipped with modern buildings. He remodeled the barn which is twenty-four by sixty feet with an L, eighteen by sixty feet. This was unroofed by the cyclone in 1903, but he at once repaired the damages. He has built a double corn crib and a granary, also sheds for hogs and he has a well upon the place on hundred and eighty feet deep. There is also a good carriage and implement house and he likewise has the latest improved machinery, with which he performs the work of the fields. He still retains the ownership of twenty-five acres of timberland in Crawford township, Washington county, which is valuable oak timber. This was a portion of the land which his grandfather originally owned and he uses the tract only for pasturage and also takes fence posts from it.

His labors are in the line of general agriculture and in addition to the tilling of the soil he raises some stock, now having ten head of Black Percheron and five head of Hambletonian horses, fifteen head of Durham cattle and one hundred and fifty-five head of Poland China hogs. He also raises about five hundred chickens each year and about sixty turkeys.

On the 19th of December, 1883, Mr. Zickefoose was married to Miss Olletha Jackson, a native of Louisa county, who was educated in the public schools there. Her parents were Elias Gibson and Margaret (Beauchamp) Jackson, the former a native of White county, Indiana, and the latter of Tippecanoe county, that state. Her paternal grandparents were Joseph and Phebe (Cox) Jackson and her maternal grandparents were John and Nancy (Wilson) Beauchamp.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Zickefoose have been born eight children: Henry Clark, born January 12, 1884; Alta May, April 13, 1888; Howard Gibson, April 8, 1890; William Ernest, January 18, 1893; Russell Asbury, April 10, 1895; John W., February 2, 1900; Mary Edna, November 10, 1902; and Fredrick Merle, born in 1906.

Mr. Zickefoose has spent his entire life in Henry county and the fact that many who have known him form his boyhood days to the present are numbered among his staunchest friends is an indication that his has been an honorable and upright career worthy the respect which is so uniformly tendered him. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Congregational church, while politically he is a republican and has served as assessor since 1904.

(Biographical Review of Henry County, Iowa. Chicago: Hobart Publishing Co.,1906, p.449)(PE)

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