Daily Iowa State Press, Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa, Monday, 23 August, 1901, page 5, columns 4 - 7

 Death Is Busy   

Grim Reaper Carries Away Over a   Hundred Johnson County Pioneers.

 Transcribed by Steve Williams This page was updated 02 Sep 2010

Father Time has swung his scythe with terrible effect among the ranks of our pioneers the past year.

The report of the Necrological committee of the Johnson County Old Settlers' association at the reunion yesterday made memorable this sad fact. The list of those who have been borne from bereaved homes since last the association met number 106--a forceful and touching reminder that swiftly and still more swiftly the passing years are flying and bearing hence the beloved patriarchs who made this rich and prosperous county what it is.

The committee, Hon. John Springer, Horace Sanders, John E. Jayne made this eloquent report:

"At reunions such as this which brings us together today the thoughts of the pioneers and old settlers turn to the past. They look toward things gone by rather than toward those to come; their own achievements in the new land, instead of the plans of the children, occupy their minds and claim attention in their utterances. The view turns back to the past--to what has been accomplished--rather than looks forward to new worlds to conquer. The pioneer has wrought a great work and inclination and advice bid him note that he has fulfilled a magnificent destiny and well earned a period of rest and recreation. especially is this true in this splendid eastern part of Iowa, where less than a generation has sufficed to transform the prairie into a garden and bring to the early settler not alone the means and opportunity of a restful old age, but also to see his children provided with a competence that a few years ago would have been rated a fortune. In the progress of a superb development, we have in Iowa reached that period in which the landholder is the true capitalist; where the farm he has tilled and improved yields an assured and certain dividend. That this is so is due to the labors of the pioneers, the old settlers who here today celebrate in almost family reunion the incidents and events of the past half-century, leaving to younger and stronger hands the carrying on of the work they began in poverty and have brought to its present stage, "with toil incredible, to use the words of the poet.

It is a privilege of old age to be garrulous, yet you will all agree with us that no old settler, no pioneer, over talked at one of these meetings, and that it has always been with an effort the society procured speakers for its annual meetings. There is a sacredness and solemnity that gathers in an almost intangible yet understood mist about the men and women and incidents of the past, that gives to them a quailty [sic] of reverence we hesitate to break in upon. Their names bring up by mere mention the tenderest associations and recall years long past when the pioneers of this county constituted as it were one family, enduring common hardships, sharing each other's burdens and striving for a common end.

The absence of loved and familiar faces tells us without the formality of a roll call that there are new-made vacancies in the ranks of the old settlers: that some who a year ago were of our number have met with us and exchanged greetings for the last time; that they have entered into the reward of those who are faithful to the end. We miss them from the pleasures of this reunion, miss them sadly, and yet we rejoice that they have wrought a grand work, builded to themselves noble monuments, and left a record that shall be an inspiration to us and to thousands yet to come. We are proud of the part that they have borne in the making of Iowa, proud of their achievements, proud that their names are upon our roll of membership.

Time forbids that we should speak at length and as we would wish of each one who has since our last meeting gone over to the silent majority. Some among them filled large places in public life, and some were by long membership in this association and by close intimacy especially endeared to us. We will be pardoned for departing from the mere necrological list to make mention of a few of our deceased members who have been especially identified with the history of our society, and whose efforts have in more than formal membership been given to perpetuating the history of the old settlers of Johnson county.

Theodore Sutton Parvin was not one of the earliest settlers of the county, nor had he for some years past been a resident here. Yet he enjoyed the singular distinction of being an "emeritus" member of every pioneer and old settlers' association in Iowa, and as a judge of the supreme court is a judge of every district court of the state and a justice of the peace in every township, so Dr. Parvin was greeted as a member of every organization of this kind in Iowa. He was the link that bound the Iowa of today to the Iowa of pre-territorial times. He was born in New Jersey in 1815[1813?], came to Iowa in 1838, to Iowa City in 1860, and died at Cedar Rapids on the 28th of June last. Coming to the territory in 1838, the succeeding year he visited Johnson county in his official capacity as prosecuting attorney of the first district court held in the county, held at the then county seat, a frontier trading house, the resort of Indians and trappers, a place now scarce to be identified, and perhaps seen by no one now present. There was then no suggestion of such a place as Iowa City, little thought of the great things that would be wrought by the pioneers and their children. From its organization in

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1844 to his death he was secretary of the grand lodge of Masons of Iowa. From 1860 for a decade he was an honored teacher in the State University, and until 1885 a resident of Iowa City. These were perhaps the happiest years of his life; loved at home, honored abroad, the weight of sorrow that comes from separation and death not yet laid upon his hear and home, he was surrounded by all that can bless and make men happy. Crowned with honors in ripe old age, yet spared from its feebleness, his mind clear and bright, he lay down gently and peacefully to the last long rest, and as he came to this city in his youth, at the lose he was brought here for life's last repose, amid the scenes he loved so dearly. You who are present know how close that old settlers' association was to his heart, how often he attended its meetings and with what pleasure you heard him speak. He was one of its founders and held every office within its gift, but in no relation did he so much rejoice as in the opportunity it gave him to meet and greet his old friends.

Col. Edward W. Lucas, who came to Iowa in 1838 with his father, the first territorial governor, was one of the organizers and prominent members of this society, and a familiar figure at its annual meetings. In all that pertained to the building up of the city and county he took a leading position and through a long life maintained a high place in the regard of his fellow citizens. He was born in Ohio in 1825, came to Iowa in 1839, and died at his home in this city on the 16th of December last, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. He was one of the incorporators of the Johnson County Agricultural society, and from its organization in 1853 to the last fair took an active interest in its maintenance. In his public life he was lieutenant colonel of the 14th Iowa infantry, postmaster of this city, and twice represented the county in the legislature. Conspicuous in war, a leader among our people in peace, he worthily filled a large place in life and leaves a worthy record of the son of Iowa's first governor.

One whose great pleasure it was to meet with you, one of the first settlers of this county, has since the last meeting passed from this circle of friends she loved so well and where she had lived so long. Mrs. Sarah A. Myers was born in New York in 1825 and came to Iowa about 1841, here husband being one of the first if not the first to make claim to public land in this county. Her death occurred at Salt Lake City in December last, she having gone there to spend the winter with her daughter. Mrs. Myers was probably known to more of the pioneers than any other woman in this membership, and no one more appreciated than she the friendships here formed. Her loving sympathy brought light to many a darkened home, and her noble charitable work will long enshrine her memory among those who were her associates in the Silent Ministry and with those who received its tenderly bestowed gifts.

N. H. Brainerd was not a pioneer of the county, but he was a type of the strong men who made Iowa. Born in New Hampshire in 1818, he came to this city in 1856 and in 1861 was appointed by Governor Kirkwood as his military secretary. Returning here at the close of his service, he purchased the Iowa City Republican and conducted that newspaper with marked success for many years. He was postmaster for four years and for several terms a member of the city council. In each of these places he demonstrated the qualities that made him a strong and popular citizen and an excellent public officer. He was for some years a member of this association and it received his active support and sympathy.

Mrs. Bryan Dennis was born in 1825 and came with her parents to Iowa City in 1840. Her death took place November 29. Married in 1844, Mr. Dennis selected the land that for more than half a century was to be their home, on what was then the extreme frontier. Here indeed she lived the life and underwent the trials of the pioneers, the privations and dangers that belong to isolation in a new country, and out of its hardships built up a noble and Christian womanhood that is honored and cherised [sic] in this society. In a more distinctive sense than any of those we have named she was a pioneer, and it was her privilege to see that log cabin grow to the stately mansion and the flower spangled prairie become the granary of the West, and know that she had borne a large part in the great work.

We have selected these as typical members of the association whose death is sorrowfully recorded. Of the Many who have passed from our roster we may but set down regretfully name and date, saying that they have well filled out the years and honored their home and state with good lives.

The necrological list is as follows, the date preceding the name being the date of death and the date following the name being that of coming to this county:


The committee, while at the reunion made these addenda:

Rev. John Hindman; W. E. Ijams; Mrs. Bernard Mullin; John Omalin; Mrs. E. J. Nixon; Mrs. Amanda Stevens; Mrs. R. J. Stonebraker; Geo. L. Taylor; Mrs. Wm. Tierney; David J. Wilson; Dr. A. Crain; Miss Anna Cauley[Canley?]; Mrs. John Connell; Louis B. Dille; Mrs. Bradford Henyon; John Hemlik; Peter Holzhauser; Mrs. R. C. McCroy.



President D. M. Dixon, mayor of West Branch, made the following interesting annual address:

Old Settlers, Visitors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to see so many of you present. It affords me a great deal of pleasure to have this opportunity of bidding you welcome and extending to you a hearty greeting.

Another year has come and gone since last we met beneath the friendly shade of these beautiful trees. The old cabins

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have stood silent sentinels marking the events as the days go by. If they could speak they would say that this has been an eventful year, one in which they have experienced greater climatic changes, a year in which the silent reaper has thinned our ranks more than ever before. Let me say here that I believe we should take steps to shield our first cabin from the toils of winter, and the heat of summer, and dedicate it to the memory of the first settles of Johnson county. I believe their children and grand-children would appreciate it more than a granite shaft or a marble slab. You who are familiar with the early history of Johnson county will bear with me while I read a short editorial written over sixty years ago by Mr. Hughes, and found in the Iowa Capital Reporter, Volume I[?], Number 2, of that paper.


Mr. Dixon then read the following excerpt:

Notwithstanding the extreme inclemency of the weather for two or three days preceding Monday last, every member of the council, save one (Mr. Hall of Van Buren,) and all except three of the house (Messrs. Hebbard, Weld and Denson) were here in readiness to take their seats on the first day of the session.

His Excellency Governor Chambers, and Secretary Stull were in town, having ing [sic] arrived from Burlington on the Saturday previous. The weather on Friday on which most of the members started from their homes was excessively disagreeable, a cold sleet having fallen during the whole day accompanied by high winds. During the night the rain ceased but the cold increased and with it the wind to a degree of fierceness sufficient almost to blow the hair off of one's head.

It did make havoc with the hats and cloaks of those who breasted the pitiless storm, as we happened to know from woeful experience; our companion in the ride from Bloomington (Muscatine) here having been kept pretty busily engaged exercising his trotters in pursuit of the fugitive articles, while upon us devolved, every now and then, the duty--"shivering in the wind," of watching our faithful steed. This occurred in the midst of our large prairies, was a picture on which a painter might have exercised his talent to good effect. On Sunday the weather though somewhat more calm, was pretty severe, and we cheerfully bear testimony to the credit due legislators, and other public functionaries, for their perseverance in reaching here under such adverse circumstances.

Once here, however, they were in a haven of safety and comfort, and some of them no doubt found things very differently situated from what they had anticipated.

Taught to believe that they were coming to a place where no conveniences would attend them, and where they would perhaps have to spend the winter in a condition bordering on save life a widely and totally different stat of things presents itself. They find themselves in a most thriving town of seven or eight hundred inhabitants, built upon a sight unsurpassed for beauty by any we have ever beheld anywhere in the interior. This we declare in all sincerity; and in this every individual whose mind is unprejudiced on the subject, must agree with us.

They find the hall prepared for their assemblage, with every convenience and comfort that they could reasonably desire, and fitted up with a style of neatness and taste highly creditable to those by whom they were arranged. The hands of the ladies of this city, by and by, are plainly preceptiable [sic] in this arrangement, and many thanks are due them for it. Much credit is due too, to our puplic [sic] spirited fellow citizen Mr. Butler, for his exertions in getting the building in readiness for the reception of the legislature and he well deserves to be favorably remembered for it.

But there are other things found here which some probably did not expect to find. They find accommodations for boarding and lodging much more comfortable than they expected. We can speak at any rate for a mess of a dozen or so, with whom we have the good fortune to be most agreeably ensconced. If there be any better living or pleasanter quarters in the territory than those of our "good host of the hill" we have not seen them. They find too a highly intelligent and order loving population, with places of public worship either erected or in the progress of erection, in which we do homage to the Giver of All Good. And "last thought not least," they find fair women spreading over all that indescribable charm which virtuous women only is capable of producing. With this stat of things, who will gainsay that a residence at the new capital of our young territory is a matter to be desired.

Mr. Dixon then concluded thus:

The same paper contains a list of the officers elected for that first Iowa City session, besides a full report of all the proceedings up to Saturday, the day of publication. Henry Felkner was the representative from Johnson County, and S. C. Hastings represented Johnson and Muscatone [sic] counties in the upper hourse [sic] then called "council."

The following counties were represented: Lee, Van Buren, Des Moines, Henry, Louisa, Washington, Muscatine, Johnson, Cedar, Jones, Linn[?], Scott, Clinton, Dubuque, Clayton, Delaware and Jackson.

Note: bracketed comments [  ] mine. Some of the dates and ages were difficult to read from the digitally scanned copy I transcribed from. The most difficult where noted, usually with an alternate date/age suggestion. - Stephen D. Williams] Steve Williams


Aug. 26. D. V. Conklin, Iowa City,1838, aged 73[75?] years.

Sept. 1--August Luez, Jr., born in Iowa City, 1863.

10--J. H. Hanlong, Fremont tp.

16--Vincent Gross, Liberty tp., 1848.

19--M. H. Carson, born in thiscounty, 1849.

19--James Larkin, aged 83 years Iowa City.

20--Edward Manle, Iowa Ciay [sic].

21--Benjamin Horner, 85 years of age, Iowa City.

26--Mrs. James S. Mahana, Iowa City.

30--Isaac Eaton, Iowa City, 1854, 83 years of age.

Oct. 3--Mrs. Margaret Harrison, born in the county, 1850.

13--Patrick Corbett, 1861, of Hardin township.

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22--Mrs. Henry Miller, 1851, Iowa City.

25--Geo. L. Flannagan, born in Iowa City, 1871.

Nov. 3--William E. Cupp, Liberty township, 1855.

12--E. Warner, Iowa City, 1856.

17--Mrs. William Figg, Pleasant Valley township, 1854.

17--Owen McCabe, Oxford tp.

19--Mrs. Margaret DeSellem, Iowa City.

23--James Herring, Iowa City, 1870.

23--Mrs. Christian Grabien, of Madison township.

Dec. 15--Mrs. Ruth Choate, Iowa

City, 1855, aged 84 years.

17--Mrs. Apholonia Kriz, Iowa City, aged 83 years.

19--Mrs. Clara Englert, Iowa City, 1842, aged 75 years.

22--August Luez, 1857, Iowa City, aged 76.

22--Mrs. Sidney Smith, Iowa City, aged 72 years.

22--Adam Dobry, Iowa City, aged 71 years.

25--Gerhard Steinbruch, of Big Grove township.

27--Lambert Klingler, 1855, age 78 years.

30--James B. Edmonds, 1850, 70 died at Washington, D. C.


Jany. 2[3?]--W. F. Buck, Union township, 1844, aged 75 years.

5[3?]--W. W. Smith, Iowa City, 1856, aged 78 years.

8--Abner Boone, Washington township, 1846, aged 74.

11--A. E. Westenhaven [r?], 1860, died at Oskaloosa, aged 68.

12--Patrick Donovan, Graham township, 1853[18??], aged 74.

12--Mrs. J. M. Files, Madison township, 1859.

13--Mr. John Adelsheim, Iowa City, 1856, aged 80 years.

19--Mrs. J. H. Murphy, aged 86, died at Davenport.

23--Mrs. Mary Alt, Norht Liberty, aged 73 years.

31--Mrs. Mary Frizzell, Iowa City.

Feby. 1--Joel Linkhart, Oxford tp.

1--Catherine Haley, died at Gutherie Center, aged 83.

4--John Louis, born in Iowa City, 1858.

9--Dennis Hogan, Iowa City, 1853, aged 86 years.

14--Mrs. Sager, Washington tp., aged 89 years.

14--Mrs. O. G. Babcock, Madison township, 1839, aged 70.

14--Christian Grabien, Madison township, 1855, aged 70.

15--Mrs. E. W. Switzer, Iowa City, 1857, aged 89 years.

24--Mrs. Mary Jones, Union tp., aged 82 years.

27--Mrs. Catherine Burns, Union township, aged 70 years.

Mch. 2--S. L. Byington, born in this county 1862.

6--Mrs. W. E. Cupp, Liberty township, 1855, aged 73.

12--Mrs. C. C. Hull, Iowa City.

21--Mrs. Johanna Mungovan, aged 78 years.

25--Vincent Grissell, Iowa City, 1860, aged 70 years.

28--Mrs. Frederica Griesmayer, Iowa City, 1867, aged 76.

Apr. 2--A. B. Cree, Iowa City, 1855, aged 70 years.

2--Mrs. Lavina Tomlin, Iowa City, 1861, aged 59 years.

4--Thomas Hanlon, Iowa City, 1867, aged 69 years.

Mrs. Jemima McCleary, Iowa City, 1850, aged 74 years.

11--William J. Hotz, born in Iowa City, 1858.

14--Solomon C. Grimm, born in Iowa City 1861.

22--Jacob Dull, 1854, died at Atlantic, Ia., aged 82 years.

24--Mrs. Mary Kisor, 1855, aged 73 years.

30--Michael Beecher, Graham township, 1854, aged 84.

May 7--Rev. Edward n. Barrett, Iowa City, 1888[?], aged 58.

19--J. P. Sanxay, born in Iowa City, 1846.

21Mrs. James Hardy, Penn tp., 1856, aged 74 years.

22--J. W. Pauba, of Solon.

22--Mrs. Amanda T. Zimmerman, Lone Tree, 1869, 94.

27--Robert Smith, Jefferson tp., aged 76 years.

29--James Welsh, Iowa City, 66, aged 68 years.

30--C. F. Close, born in Iowa City, 1867, died in California.

June 5--Ralph Price, born in Iowa City, 1876, died at Cedar Rapids.

10--Samuel Sharpless, Iowa City, 1876, aged 79 years.

14--Mrs. Mary Folsom, Iowa City, 1842, aged 75 years.

15--Mrs. H. A. Strub, born in Iowa City, 1854.

July 8--Robert S. Finkbine, 1850 died at Des Moines, aged 73.

11--George W. Schell, 1839, died at Lawrence, Kas., aged 85.

23--Mrs. Mary Davidson, Jefferson township, aged 75[73?] years.

26--George Adams, Big Grove township, aged 65 years.

28--Mrs. Elizabeth Aicher, Iowa City, aged 72 years.

29--George Summerhays, Clear Creek township, aged 85.

30--Mrs. Mary Sullivan, Newport township.

Aug. 1--Mrs. Mary Goddrich, Iowa City, 1860, aged 77 years.

4--George Fry, Washington tp., 1849, aged 92 years.

4--Mrs. Barbara Miller, Washington tp., 1848, aged 86.

6--Mrs. C. Hormel, died at W. Liberty, aged 63 years.

9--W. H. Hillborn, Oxford tp., 1854, aged 71 years.

15--Samuel A. Shellady, born in Johnson county 1854. 

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