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Annals of Iowa

  Volume Il, No. 1,
Des Moines, Iowa City,
April 1895, Third Series
  Notable Deaths
Pages 77-80

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ARTHUR HASWELL, who settled in Cass Township, Hamilton county, in 1856, died in Webster City on the 11th day of February last. He was a useful, exemplary man in the early society of that section, and honest and upright in his dealings with others. The Golden Rule governed his course throughout his life.  In 1862 he enlisted in the 28th Iowa Infantry, serving with credit, not only through, but some Mansfield, Louisiana, by the Confederates, and spent fourteen months as a prisoner of war at Tyler, Texas.  When the writer established The Freeman at Webster City, in June 1857, Mr. Haswell's was one of the first names to be placed upon the subscription list, where we supposed it remained through all these thirty-eight years until his death.  He possessed considerable facility as a writer, not only as a voluntary gatherer of neighborhood news, but in the discussion of political, religious, and educational topics. As an enterprising pioneer settler, a patriotic defender of his country, and a promoter of the highest interests of the community in which he lived, Arthur Haswell deserves to be remembered.  
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JOSEPH C. GOODSON who died in Dallas county on the 17th of February, was one of the early pioneers in that part of Iowa.  He came to the Des Moines valley in 1847, and entered the farm where he spent the remainder of his life. He was born in Tennessee in 1812, and lived to the age of eighty-three. His wife was from Indiana, and taught the first school in Boone Township, Dallas county, in their old log house, where church services were also held in early days. Mr. Goodson was a stanch Democrat and in 1852 was chosen to represent Polk, Dallas, Jasper, Boone, Marshall, Hardin, Guthrie, Yell (now Webster), Risley (now Hamilton), and fifteen other unorganized counties of north-western Iowa in the House of the Fourth General Assembly. His colleagues from that district were J. E. Rice and Benjamin Green. Mr. Goodson held several township and county offices at various times in all of which he served with fidelity. He was an active member of the Methodist church during his whole life.
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George W. Van Horn of Muscatine died at his home in that city on the 8th of February (1895). He was born at Springfield, Massachusetts, October 12, 1833. He studied law with Chas. R. Ladd at his New England home when a young man, and came to Muscatine, Iowa, in May 1855. After admission to the bar he became the partner of Hon. D. C. Cloud, then Attorney General of the State. Mr. Van Horn was an earnest Republican in the early history of that party, and an active advocate of its principles in the Fremont and Lincoln campaigns. Upon the election of Lincoln, Mr. Van Horn was appointed U.S. Consul to Marseilles, France, serving with marked ability until 1866 when he was removed by President Johnson. Upon his return to Iowa he was called by the Republican State Central Committee of Arkansas to take editorial charge of the new state paper just established at Little Rock. In 1870 he returned to Muscatine and began the publication of the Muscatine Tribune. Mr. Van Horn had now become an advocate of free trade and "local option" for the liquor traffic, and thus found himself in harmony with the Democratic party.  When the daily News and Tribune were consolidated he was made editor of the combined papers. In 1893 he was appointed postmaster of Muscatine by President Cleveland, which position he held at the time of his death. As a writer and editor he held high rank, winning distinction in literary circles.  He was the author of many charming stories and sketches. He was an enthusiastic patron of art, science, and general literature, and one of the promoters of the City Lycenum and the Academy of Science.  In religious belief Mr. Van Horn was a Unitarian. In September 1858 he was married to Mary,  only daughter of Dr. J. G. Morrow one of the founders of Muscatine.  Miss Morrow was the first girl Mr. Van Horn met when he landed from the steamer that carried him to the little frontier village of Muscatine, in May, 1855; and she was said to have been the first native bride in Iowa.
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Justus Clark, one of the best known citizens of southern Iowa, died at Los Angeles, California, on the 17th of February. Mr. Clark was born at Royalton, Vermont, March 22, 1819.  He was brought up on a farm and never forsook his early occupation.  His father bought the Governor Chittenden farm which was the largest in the State, and it is still owned by the Clark family. In his school days, Justus attended the Willistone Academy where Chester A. Arthur (the future President) was a student, and Arthur's father was principal of the Academy. Young Clark came west in May, 1839, the year after Iowa was organized into a Territory, settling at Burlington. In 1842 he purchased a farm near the city, where he took his young wife (a Miss Cartmill) who was also one of the first settlers in Des Moines county.  He has held at various times most of the township and county offices. In 1852 he was elected one of the Representatives from Des Moines county to the Legislature, James W. Grimes being one of his colleagues. In 1857 he was again chosen to represent his county in the leagues in the Eight General Assembly from Des Moines county were Judge J. C. Hall and M. W. Robinson in the House and W.F. Coolbaugh in the Senate, all of whom were legislatures of unusual prominence. About the year 1876 he removed to a large farm he had purchased in Montgomery county, where he eventually increased his plantation to 3,500 acres, all of which was under fence, and clear of encumbrance. He was for more than forty years one of the best and most successful of Iowa Farmers, accumulating a large fortune by intelligent and judicious farm management. Mr. Clark has been President of the Iowa Fine Stock Breeders Association. He was an extensive traveler, having visited the principal countries of Europe, as well as Alaska, the Pacific states and Mexico at Various times, always returning to Iowa with renewed love for the Hawkeye State. Mr. Clark was a life long Democrat, and one of the trusted leaders of his party. In 1883 he was nominated for Lieutenant Governor, with Judge Kinne for Governor; but Republican majority was too large to be overcome by this unusually strong ticket.  During his fifty-five years residence in Iowa, Justus Clark has won and retained the confidence and esteem of the best people of the State. His life was one of great usefulness, and his memory will be revered by thousands of his fellow-citizens.
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Captain Allen E. Webb a veteran of the war of the rebellion, died at his home in Eldora on the 7th of March (1895) nearly sixty years of age. He was a native of Ohio and came to Iowa in 1853, settling at Eldora At the Beginning of the late war Mr. Webb was among the first to enlist as a private in the Union army. Upon the organization of Company A of the 12th Iowa Volunteers, he was chosen first Lieutenant. He was wounded at the battle of Corinth in October, 1862. He was promoted to Captain for meritorious services, and was very popular with his company, always doing his duty bravely. In 1863 his wound became so troublesome that he had to resign his commission and return home. Later he was elected sheriff of Hardin county and held other important offices at various times.  He was a gallant a soldier, a good citizen, and highly esteemed where he had lived so long and was known so well.
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Dr. George H. McGavren of Missouri Valley, died at the home of his daughter on the 16th of January. He was one of the first pioneers in Harrison county, having settled there early in the "50's."  He was an eminent physician, and the leading practitioner in that part of western Iowa for more than thirty years. He was chairman of the first board of supervisors of Harrison county, and in 1870 he was its representative in the State Legislature. He left a widow and seven children. The Doctor was widely known throughout western Iowa and highly esteemed.
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The death of Judge William H. Seevers of Oskaloosa, on the 24th of March, removes one of the most eminent of our public men.  He was a native of Virginia where he spent his boyhood days. In 1843 his father moved with his family to Mahaska county, Iowa.  The next year the son, William H., came to Oskaloosa and entered upon the study of law.  He was admitted to the bar in 1846 and began the practice of his profession at home.  In 1848 he was Prosecuting Attorney, and in 1852 he was elected District Judge. In 1857 he was representative from the district consisting of Iowa, Poweshiek and Mahaska counties.  This was not only the first Legislature  which met at Des Moines, then the new capital of the State, but it was the first held after the adoption of the constitution of 1857 which radically changed our organic law.

It became necessary to reorganize our entire system of state government and provide a new code of civil and criminal practice.  The house numbered among its members an unusual array of able and brilliant men, who won high rank in later years as statesmen, jurists and soldiers.  Lincoln Clark, a distinguished ex-member of Congress from Dubuque, and the afterwards famous D. A. Mahoney were the acknowledged leaders on the Democratic side.  M. V. B. Bennett, of Knoxville, one of the ablest young politicians of the State, Phil Bradley of Jackson, W. W. Belknap, of Keokuk, G. W. Gray of Lansing and Justice Clark of Burlington, were among the Democratic members. On the Republican side W. H. Seevers was made chairman of the judiciary committee, the post of honor, and of the highest responsibility at that particular time. James F. Wilson, of Fairfield, C. C. Carpenter, of Fort Dodge, George W. McCrary, of Van Buren, John Edwards, of Lucas, Colonel Shelledy, of Jasper, Tom Drummond of Benton, Ed. Wright, of Cedar, M.M. Trumbull, of Butler, E.E. Cooley, of Winneshiek, were also Republican members of that historic House. William P. Hepburn was its chief clerk.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Judge Seevers at once entered upon the arduous work of giving rigid examination to an unusual number of bills of the highest importance. There was a general understanding among members that owing to the radical changes made by the new constitution, all important bills should be submitted to the judiciary committee for rigid examination. Judge Seevers gave every bill submitted to his committee the most careful personal consideration, and when a measure proposed had passed that ordeal it was generally conceded that it might be safely enacted into law. As the Seventh General Assembly necessarily had to frame and enact more laws of importance than any of its predecessors or successors, the position held by Judge Seevers was most arduous. His superb legal mind and excellent judgment were here tested, and all must admit that he was equal to the responsibility. Few of the present generation realize the full measure of the important legislation placed upon our statute books by that first General Assembly which convened after the adoption of our present constitution. Its work largely survives on our statue book after the lapse of more than a third of a century. To Judge Seevers and James F. Wilson is due a large measure of credit for the enduring work of that House of 1858.  Of the subsequent career of Judge Seevers as Code Commissioner and Judge of the Supreme Court, the press of the State has made appropriate notice.  But so far as I have knowledge, no mention has been made of the most important public work of his life, quietly but most ably given in shaping so largely the important legislation of the Seventh General Assembly which has proved so satisfactory and enduring.

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