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This well-known contractor on public works, residing at 422 C Avenue, dates his residence in Cedar Rapids from 1868. He was born in the city of Chicago on the 15th of December, 1862, and is a son of Frederick Bokorny, Sr., who came to the new world in early life and settled in Chicago, where he worked at his trade of stone cutter for some years. On leaving that city he made a permanent location in Cedar Rapids in 1868. At this place he was first in the employ of others and subsequently as a contractor and builder he followed his chosen occupation for some years, though his last days were spent in retirement from active labor. He died here in 1885. His wife still survives him, and is now seventy-eight years of age.

Our subject accompanied his parents on their removal to Cedar Rapids, and is indebted to the city schools for his educational advantages. He partially learned his trade with his father, and later commenced contracting on public works in his own interest, and has since been actively engaged in business in connection with the laying of sewers, the building of bridges and with other public enterprises in Cedar Rapids and Linn county for fifteen years. He is a practical and skilled mechanic, who thoroughly understands the business, and is meeting with well-deserved success. He has bought lots and erected several houses in the city, and also owns some valuable farm property near Cedar Rapids.

Mr. Bokorny was married in Cedar Rapids in 1884 to Miss Katie Guinn, who was born, reared and educated in Germany, and was a young lady when she came to America and took up her residence in Cedar Rapids. They have two children living, namely, Katie, a graduate of Cedar Rapids high school; and Trophy, still a student in the city schools. Their son Frederick died at the age of six months.

In his social relations Mr. Bokorny is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. As a business man he stands high in the esteem of his fellow citizens who recognize his ability, and the success that has crowned his efforts has been worthily achieved, as it has come to him through his own industry and persistent effort. On national issues he votes with the Democracy, but at local elections he votes independent of party lines, supporting the men whom he believes best qualified to fill the offices. He has never cared for political honors for himself.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.862.


Among the enterprising and wide-awake business men of Cedar Rapids is this well-known real estate and loan agent. He was born in Stockholm, St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 30th day of June, 1869, a son of Thomas Harrison and Rosina Caroline (Schellenger) Bolton, also natives of that county. His paternal grandfather, James Bolton, was an Englishman by birth, and emigrated to America about 1835, locating in St. Lawrence county, New York. As his father was a landed proprietor of England he was reared amid wealthy surroundings, had no practical business experience, and lost his property. After coming to this country he followed farming in St. Lawrence county, New York, until his death.

Thomas H. Bolton, father of our subject, was the fifth in order of birth in a family of six children. For many years he has followed the insurance business, making his home in Stockholm, New York, though for about half the time in the past twenty years he has made Springfield, Illinois, his headquarters. He owns considerable farm property in St. Lawrence county, which is operated by tenants. Of his four children two sons died in infancy, while those living are Malcom V., our subject; and Thomas Harrison, Jr., who is attending the Cedar Rapids high school.

Malcolm V. Bolton received his literary education in the schools of Stockholm and the Lawrenceville Academy, and in 1888, at the age of nineteen years, he removed to Cedar Rapids, took a course in the Cedar Rapids Business College, and then entered the employ of McGee & Kauppe, later Frick and Kauppe, wholesale dealers in coffees, teas and spices. He remained with them in the capacity of bookkeeper and salesman for three years. At the end of that time he accepted the position of bookkeeper of the Order of Railway Conductors, whose national headquarters are located at Cedar Rapids, and was in their employ for two years. He then engaged in the real estate and loan business. He deals in city and farm property and makes a specialty of city and farm loans.

Mr. Bolton is secretary of the De La Hunt Flush Tank Company of Cedar Rapids, and is also secretary of the Occidental Club, a social organization composed of the Cedar Rapids business men. Fraternally he affiliates with Mt. Herman Lodge, F. & A. M., and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. In politics he is independent.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 169-170.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion


With the farming interests of Fayette township the Booth family has long been prominently identified and he whose name introduces this sketch now owns and operates a good farm within its borders. A native of Ohio, he was born in Licking county, on the 1st of February, 1847. His father, Isaiah Booth, was a native of New York state and was educated for the ministry. While attending Granville College, now Denison University, from which he was graduated in 1844, he became acquainted with Phoebe H. Jones who was pursuing her studies it the academy at the same time and she afterward became his wife. She, too, was born in New York but during her girlhood had removed with her parents to the Buckeye state. Instead of devoting his time to ministerial work the father commenced teaching at Lancaster, Ohio, where he conducted a select school for eight years. At the end of that time his health failed and he came to Linn county. Iowa. He located on a farm in College township, four miles southeast of Cedar Rapids. and for ten years was engaged in agricultural pursuits. In The meantime, in 1851, he erected the first frame house built in that township. In 1862 he went to Kansas, but three years later returned to Iowa and settled on his farm in College township. In 1870, however, he crossed the plains to California on account of his health, but after the family had received three letters from him they heard nothing more and it is supposed that he died suddenly among strangers or was murdered for the money which he had with him. The mother of our subject passed away on the old home place in 1879.

Hiram I. Booth passed his boyhood and youth in much the usual manner of farm lads and the knowledge which he acquired in the district schools was supplemented by one year’s attendance at Western College. For three terms he engaged in teaching school but since that time has devoted his entire time to agricultural pursuits, owning sixty-one and one-half acres of his present farm. In 1872 he went to Colfax county, Nebraska, where he homesteaded eighty acres, living thereon for five years, during which time the grasshoppers ate his crops every year. Becoming discouraged there, he then returned to his farm in Fayette township, this county, and has since engaged in its cultivation with marked success. He has added to the property from time to time until he now owns one hundred and twenty-six and one-half acres that he has placed under a high state of cultivation and improved with good and substantial buildings.

On the 14th of November, 1869, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Booth to Miss Rhoda D. Nelson of College township and they have become the parents of eleven children, ten of whom are still living, namely: Carrie R.; Abbie A.; Phoebe D.; Julia B.; Mary D.; Berith L.; Esther C.; Isaiah J.; Harvey W. and Vera 0. Since attaining his majority Mr. Booth has affiliated with the democratic party but at local elections where no issue is involved he votes for the men whom he believes best qualified for office regardless of party lines. He has been called upon to serve as a member of the board of township trustees and was assessor of his township for several years and for more than a quarter of a century has been a member of the school board. He has always been found prompt and faithful in the discharge of any duties imposed upon him and he is justly regarded as one of the leading citizens of his community. Both he and his wife are consistent members of the Seventh Day Adventist church and their lives have ever been such as to gain for them the esteem and friendship of a large circle of acquaintances.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 733-4.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Member of the finance committee of the Iowa State Board of Education, was born in Merwinsville, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the border line between new York and Connecticut. His parents and all the other members of the family except himself were natives of New York state. When he was a child his parents moved from Dutchess county, New York, to Linn county, Iowa, and located on a farm in Maine township. He resided on the farm until after he was of age, having completed his education at Cornell college, Mount Vernon, Iowa. He left the farm to enter the banking business, which he pursued the greater part of his life. In 1880 he was engaged in the banking business in Canisteo, New York, where he married Charlotte Allison. On his return to Iowa in 1886, he was elected clerk of the district court of Linn county, after which he followed the grocery business for a short time. In 1892 he assisted in the organization of the Bohemian American State Bank, and the Iowa Savings Bank of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which, by merger became the present American Trust and Savings Bank. In politics he is a democrat.

Source: Iowa Official Register, 1927-1928; Biographies of State Officials.


OTHO S. BOWLING, now deceased, and whose portrait we give in connection with this sketch, was greatly lamented by all who had the honor and pleasure of his acquaintance.  He was a good man in every sense that the word implies, and his loss was greatly felt in the community of which he became a member early in the settlement of what was then the Territory of Iowa.  It will perhaps be remembered that he came to this vicinity in company with Robert Ellis, a sketch of whom is given in another part of this work.  The two men whose friendship was thus formed early in life, continued to regard each other with the affection of brothers during their lifetime.
Mr. Bowling came to Linn County in the year 1838.  The wild country was dotted here and there by a lonely cabin, and Indians and wild beasts were often the only moving things that greeted the eyes of the settler as he stood in his cabin door, and, perhaps, for a moment, east a longing eye toward his Eastern home.  It is evident, however, that the early pioneer seldom allowed himself to give way to home-sickness, for if such had been the case, we would not now behold such results as they have accomplished in the cultivation of land and the building up of settlements.  When Mr. Bowling and his companion came into the Territory there was not even a Government land-office established in their vicinity, and it was some time before they could obtain an undisputed title to their possessions.  They finally succeeded, however, in establishing them- selves firmly upon their claims, and set to work with undaunted resolution to build for themselves a home, having high hopes of the future of the country, very many personal anticipations of what the near future might bring them, and the home ties that they no doubt expected would in time be formed around them.  In the course of time Mr. Bowling became possessed of several hundred acres; a part of his original purchase now constitutes the southern portion of the city of Cedar Rapids.  Previous to coming into Iowa Mr. Bowling had spent some time in Michigan.
Otho S. Bowling was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Nov. 26, 1812.  The name of his father was Adam Bowling, who was a farmer by occupation and a gentleman of Welsh ancestry.  The father of Adam Bowling emigrated to this country from Wales when a child, and with his parents settled in Westmoreland County, they having been among the first settlers of the Keystone State.  After their emigration the history of the family was similar to that of the other pioneers who passed over the bounds of civilization and became identified with the struggles, hardships and privations incident to the life of a pioneer.  Adam Bowling was reared and married in Westmoreland County, and there his life terminated.  His wife, the mother of our subject, was a Pennsylvania lady, and died in her early years, when her son Otho was a child of three years.
 In early youth Mr. Bowling left his native State for Michigan, where he had friends residing.  He was a man of strong affections, and the ties of home and friendship were not easily broken.  His natural inclinations led him to do good, as he had opportunity, all his life.  His home was his castle, and he contentedly remained there each evening after the labors of the day, improving his mind with such reading as he could lay his hands upon, and strengthening the ties which he gradually formed as the country grew up around him.  He was united in marriage with Miss Adeline Frazee, in November, 1849, at the residence of the bride's parents near Cedar Rapids, by Rev. Swayenger.  This lady was the daughter of Aaron and Nancy (Clapsaddle) Frazee, natives of Herkimer County, N. Y.  Her parents were of French and German extraction, respectively, with just enough Scottish admixture to make the combination complete.  They were excellent citizens, of high moral principles, and their honored names are remembered by large communities, and over an extensive tract of country.  The grandparents were married in their native country, and the father acquired the trade of a carpenter and joiner, at which he became an expert workman, and in his latter years, was extensively engaged as a contractor for many important buildings.
In the year 1848, Aaron Frazee with his family, consisting of ten children, of which the wife of Mr. Bowling of this notice was the eldest, came into Iowa and located just outside the city limits of Cedar Rapids.  He continued his former occupation for some time, when, on account of failing eyesight, he was forced to abandon this and purchased a small farm, the labors of which he was enabled to direct, and there remained until his death, which occurred in 1803, at the age of sixty-three years.  The mother survived her husband many years, her decease taking place April 10, 1886, when she was seventy-four years old.  Mrs. Rowling remained under the parental roof until she was twenty-two years of age, at which time she became the wife of the subject of our sketch.  She is the mother of live children, as follows: Mary E., the wife of W. O. Barber, resides on Sixth avenue, Cedar Rapids City; Mr. Barber is an extensive dealer in wagons and carriages.  Dillie is the wife of W. G. Mallory; they are also prominent and esteemed citizens of Cedar Rapids.  Silas W. remains on the homestead, and is engaged in carrying on the duties of the farm; he is a promising young man, and bids fair to follow in the footsteps of his honored sire.  Ira L. is united in wedlock with Miss Carrie E. Crabill; Mr. B. is a dealer in real estate, and they are residents of Cedar Rapids; the remaining son, D.  D., is the youngest, and remains with his mother, assisting in the labors of the farm; he also is a promising lad, a dutiful son and a comfort to his mother.
A part of the original homestead has been laid out in city lots, which are becoming quite valuable.  As might be inferred, from his character and his worth, upon Mr. Bowling were conferred many of the offices within the gift of his community, and the duties of each were fulfilled in a painstaking and conscientious manner, lie was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, who kept himself well informed on the leading questions of the day, and was deeply interested in all matters pertaining, not only to the welfare of his community, but to the State and nation at large.  He was a solid Republican, honestly believing in the principles advocated by that party, and did everything in his power to promote the interests of the party which he believed to be for the interests of his country.  This excellent man passed away on Christmas Day, 1883.  He died surrounded by mourning kindred and friends, and left in his home and in his community a void which can never be filled.
Source: “Portrait and Biographical Album of Linn County, Iowa”, 1887, biographical sketch on pages 374 and 377, portrait on page 376

Submitted by:  Eric & Marcia Driggs

Benjamin Bowman

The subject of this sketch is one of the most successful and progressive farmers within the borders of Marion township, where he owns four hundred and seventy-five acres of valuable and well improved land. He has made his special field of industry a success, and is highly esteemed and respected by all who know him.

Mr. Bowman was born near Lancaster City, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, February 26, 1830, and is a son of Daniel and Mary (Smith) Bowman, also natives of that county, and both now deceased. The father made farming his life occupation. In the family were eight children, namely: Benjamin, of this review; David, a farmer of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania; Captain A., who is engaged in farming on section 35, Marion township, this county; Anna, wife of David Weaver, of Cumberland county, Pennsylvania; Mary, wife of David Mohler, of the same county; Daniel, a merchant of Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania; Lydia, wife of Scott Smith, a miller of the same place; and Reuben, foreman of one of the departments of the gas pipe works at Middletown, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Bowman received only a limited education in the common schools of his native state, and on laying aside his text books he learned the miller's trade in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. In 1850 he removed to Licking county, Ohio, where he continued to follow that occupation until coming to Linn county, Iowa, in January, 1856. After working for four years in a flouring mill in Marion, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 36, Marion township, known as the Brody farm, and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits. Prospering in this venture he bought the Joseph Cooper place of one hundred and twenty acres, and in 1870 purchased one hundred and fifteen acres on section 26, Marion township; the McCurdy place of eighty acres on section 36, in 1880, and later forty acres south of his present home, making four hundred and seventy five acres of land, all in Marion township. He is a thorough and systematic farmer, whose success is due entirely to his own energetic and well-directed efforts.

On the 13th of May, 1856, Mr. Bowman was married in Utica, Ohio, to Miss Eliza Wilson, of Licking county, a daughter of Abel and Mary (Forry) Wilson, the former a native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, the latter of Licking county, Ohio. By occupation her father was a farmer. To Mr. and Mrs. Bowman have been born the following children: May, born August 25, 1857, and died on September 28, 1858; Arthur Wilson, who married Dora Leonard, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is now engaged in the retail shoe business in Omaha, Nebraska; James Wilbur, who married Ida May Gibson, and is now serving as clerk of the courts of Linn county; May E., at home; Nettie L., wife of George Strong, who is engaged in farming on our subject's old homestead, in Marion township; and Myrtle Estella, at home.

In connection with general farming Mr. Bowman has always carried on stock raising quite extensively, and has dealt in stock of all kinds. In 1891 he erected his present elegant home at a cost of four thousand dollars, and has made many other useful and valuable improvements upon his place which add greatly to its attractive appearance. The Republican party has always found in him a stanch supporter of its principles, and in religious belief he is a Presbyterian. He and his family are prominent in the social circles of their community, and have a host of warm friends throughout Linn county.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 41-42.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Prominent among the early settlers and honored veterans of the Civil war now residing in Linn township is the gentleman whose name introduces this review. He was born on the 25th of May, 1837, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, of which state his parents, Robert and Rhoda (Young) Boxwell, were also natives. In 1845 they removed with their family to Iowa, and settled in Linn township, Linn county, where the father took up eighty acres of government land, to the improvement and cultivation of which he gave his time and attention throughout the remainder of his life, farming being the occupation which he always followed. He died at the age of seventy-four years, and his wife, who survived him about five years, passed away at the age of seventy-six, the remains of both being interred in Linn township. They had eight children of whom four died when quite young. The others are William and Robert, both farmers of Linn township; Mary Ann, who is the widow of David Clark, and resides on the home farm in Linn township with her children; and Moses, the subject of this sketch.

Moses Boxwell was educated in the district schools of Linn township and early acquired an excellent knowledge of agricultural pursuits on the home farm. After his marriage he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land on section 24, Linn township, which at that time was only partially improved, and upon that place he has since made his home. As a farmer and stock raiser he has met with well-deserved success, and now has one of the most desirable farms of its size in the township. On the 2d of July 1868 Mr. Boxwell was united in marriage with Miss Irene Corbly, who was born in this county, a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Inghram) Corbly. Her father was a native of Virginia, and in pioneer days located in Linn county, Iowa. He engaged in farming in Linn township, where he died at the age of sixty-two years. Mrs. Boxwell lost her mother when a small child. She has two brothers and two sisters living, besides a half sister.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Boxwell have been born eight children, namely: Robert, a farmer of Marion township, married Sophia Frazer, and they have two children, Ralph and Merl; Frances is the wife of Charles Parker, a farmer of the same township, and they have four daughters, Edith, Nellie, Hazel and Ruth; Jennie is the wife of Harry Lacock, a farmer of Linn township; Earl, born September 13, 1879, assists his father in the operation of the home farm; Maude and Ray are also at home; Hazel died at the age of four months; one died in infancy unnamed. Mr. Boxwell was among the boys in blue during the war of the Rebellion, having enlisted in Company F, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, for three years.

He took part in all of the important engagements in which his regiment participated, including the battle of Champion Hills, and was taken prisoner near New Orleans, being held a captive for nine weeks before being exchanged. When his term of enlistment expired he was honorably discharged at Savannah, Georgia. He is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, and has filled the office of school director in a most creditable manner. Fraternally he is a member of John Buck Post. G.A.R. Religiously he is a member of the Methodist Church, and is a man of the highest respectability.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.359-360.


For about one-third of a century this well-known banker and lumber dealer has been a resident of Mt. Vernon, and by his industry, keen discrimination and good executive ability he has placed himself among the foremost business men of Linn county. He is a native of Ireland, born in County Antrim, December 5, 1841, and is the son of James and Jennie Boyd, who spent their entire lives in that county, and who were the parents of eight children, of whom our subject is the youngest.

During his boyhood our subject attended a model school in his native land, and was later a student in the training school at Dublin. On leaving that institution he successfully engaged in teaching in Ireland for seven years. But the new world had attractions for him, and he determined to come to that country where every man was equal in the eyes of the law, and where all had an equal chance for advancement. In 1868 he bade good-bye to home and friends and went from Belfast to Liverpool, England from which port he sailed for the United States.

Landing in New York, he proceeded at once to Marengo, Iowa, where he remained three weeks and then came to Mt. Vernon, which has since been his home. He began life here as a farm hand in the employ of James Smyth, with whom he remained three months, and for three weeks he was similarly employed by Colonel Smyth. At the end of that time he accepted a position in the lumber yard of Colonel R. Smyth & Co., at Mr. Vernon, and a year later purchased an interest in the business. This partnership continued for some time, and he then purchased his partner's interests, and has since continued to be identified with the lumber business of his adopted city.

In May, 1900, he took into partnership with him his son, Jay C., and under the firm name of D. L. Boyd & Son the business is continued with remarkable success. On the advent of his son into the firm, he became connected with the banking business as cashier of the Mt. Vernon Bank, and is now holding that position. His intimate knowledge and extensive acquaintance with the people who do business in Mt. Vernon make him a valuable acquisition to the bank.

On the 8th of December, 1870, Mr. Boyd was united in marriage with Miss Margaret Craig, who was born three miles west of Mt. Vernon, and who was the daughter of Thomas Craig, a native of County Antrim, Ireland, and who came to this country about 1830, first locating in Ohio. In 1839, soon after Linn county was first settled, he removed here and took up government land, about three miles west of Mt. Vernon, where he engaged in farming until his death, in 1860.

He was twice married, his first wife being Margaret Shaver. After her death he married Martha Smyth, and to them were born three children, of whom Mrs. Boyd is the only survivor. Three children were also born to Mr. and Mrs. Boyd. Jay Craig, born December 23, 1872, is now the junior member of the firm of D. L. Boyd & Son. He married Miss Mabel Shire, and they have one child, Donald L. William Walter, born May 26, 1876, resides at home. Florence B., born April 22, 1882, is attending Cornell College.

Mr. Boyd is a faithful and consistent member of the Presbyterian church, and in politics is an ardent Republican. For two years he efficiently served as mayor of Mt. Vernon, and has been a member of the school board for many years, while he is now serving as one of the trustees of Cornell College. He is a very pleasant and courteous gentleman, who takes a deep interest in every enterprise which he believes will be of public benefit, and he stands deservedly high in both business and social circles.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.502-503.


Chairman of the finance committee of the Board of Education, is a native of Iowa, having been born in Lisbon, Linn county, May 19, 1864. His boyhood was spent in Tipton, Iowa, where he attended the public schools. He was graduated from the college of liberal arts of the state university in June, 1889, having earned his way by teaching school and clerking in a store. He was principal of the school at Mechanicsville, Iowa, two years. He was editor of the Tipton Advertiser two years, editor and associate editor of the Cedar Rapids Republican sixteen years. Mr. Boyd served as postmaster of Cedar Rapids from 1899 to 1909, resigning this office to accept his present position. He has long been interested in educational matters, and was for several years a member of the board of trustees of Coe college, and for a time lecturer on political economy in that institution. Mr. Boyd is a director of the American Trust and Savings bank, and president of the Perpetual Savings and Loan association, both located in Cedar Rapids. A republican in politics.

-source: Iowa Official Register, 1927-1928; Biographies of State Officials.


The subject of this sketch was for some years one of the most energetic and progressive business men of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, but is now practically living a retired life at that place. He was born in Saratoga county, New York, October 17, 1855, and is descended from a good old colonial family of Scotch origin, from whose coat of arms it is supposed they belonged to the agricultural class. The first to come to America was Captain Richard Brackett, a native of Scotland, who was one of the fifteen hundred people composing the Massachusetts Bay colony, who came to the new world with Governor Winthrop about 1629, and settled near Boston. The family has always been a patriotic and loyal one, and among its representatives have been soldiers of the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812, and the war of the Rebellion.

James S. Brackett, father of our subject, was born near Pittstown, Rensselaer county, New York, January 29, 1823, and is a son of John Adams and Eliza (Chase) Brackett, who were natives of New York and Rhode Island, respectively, and were married in Rensselaer county of the former state. There Eliza Brackett died and for his second wife John A. Brackett married Elizabeth Sturgis. Later he removed to Saratoga county, New York, where his death occurred in 1871. He had eight children, three by the first marriage and five by the second, namely: James S., father of our subject; William, who married Elizabeth Sherman and died in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1896; Henry, who married Mary Ott and resides in Saratoga county, New York; Hattie who married John Fryer, and is dead; George, who married Elizabeth Perry and died in Glens Falls, New York, in February, 1901; and John, who was wounded at Gettysburg, and died in the army during the Civil war.

At the age of five years James S. Brackett began his education in the district schools near his boyhood home, and at the age of twelve accompanied his father on his removal to Saratoga county, New York. He assisted his father in the operation of the farm and sawmill and made his home there until coming to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in January, 1873. Here he was engaged in the meat business with our subject for some time, and since disposing of their market he has lived retired. He and his son erected the building now owned by the Wolf Brothers, and took a very active and prominent part in the business affairs of the city.

On the 15th of September, 1844, in Saratoga county, New York, was celebrated the marriage of James S. Brackett and Nancy Sherman, who was born in that county, January 4, 1823, and died there April 5, 1865, her remains being interred at Wilton, New York. The only child born of that union was our subject. His maternal grandparents were Sylvanus and Clara (Slatter) Sherman, who were married in Rensselaer county, New York, and were the parents of the following children: Caroline, who married Smith Carr and both died in Saratoga county, New York; Nancy, mother of our subject; Elizabeth Ann, who married William Brackett and both are now deceased; Elisha, deceased, who married Polly Brackett and lived in Washington county, New York; and James, who died in that county.

Reared in his native county, Charles Brackett attended first the district schools and later the high school at Saratoga Springs. In the spring of 1874 he came to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and for one year was a student at Cornell College. He embarked in the meat business with his father in the fall of 1876, and successfully conducted a market here until 1892, when they sold out. In December of that year he purchased a two-story brick block, and in January following opened a clothing store, which he carried on until his retirement from the business in 1898, when he sold out to the firm of Bair & Kyle. In 1899 he built one of the best residences in Mt. Vernon, it being supplied with all modern improvements and furnished in a most tasteful manner. He also owns other city property and is quite well-to-do, having accumulated a comfortable competence through his good business ability, sound judgement and untiring perseverance.

Mr. Brackett was married at Saratoga Springs, New York, September 6, 1876, to Miss Jane E. Springsted, who was born at that place January 31, 1857, a daughter of John and Martha F. (Owen) Springsted. The Springsted family was founded in America by her great-grandfather, who came from England in 1790, and settled in Coeymans, Albany county, New York. Her grandfather, Stephen Springsted, was born at that place January 16, 1799, and married Abigail Terry, who was born March 1, 1801. They had nine children, all born in Coeymans, namely: Jeremiah, born February 19, 1820, died September 22, 1879; Lydia, born November 25, 1821, still resides in Coeymans; Oliver, born November 14, 1823, died in December, 1896; Henry, born January 18, 1826, resides in Coeymans; John, father of Mrs. Brackett, is next in order of birth; Jane E., born July 20, 1830, died May 16, 1851; Sally Ann, born February 2, 1833, died December 14, 1834; Mary, born May 14, 1835, resides in New Bethlehem, New York; and Stephen, born October 31, 1837, died April 30, 1891. Mrs. Brackett’s maternal grandfather was William C. Owen, who was born in East Line, Saratoga county, New York, June 14, 1807, and died in Saratoga Springs, April 28, 1893. His wife bore the maiden name of Hannah Bliss, was born in Greenfield, the same county, July 22, 1809, and died in Saratoga Springs January 2, 1883. She was a cousin of Senator P. P. Bliss. In the Owen family were the following children: Mary M., born March 20, 1831, died July 22, 1859; Martha F., mother of Mrs. Brackett, was the second of the family; Phebe E., born October 18, 1834, died February 19, 1858; Henry W., born February 22, 1836, resides in Mt. Vernon, Iowa; William J., born February 27, 1837, died October 28, 1866; James B., born December 1, 1838, died February 26, 1839; Eliza J. born February 11, 1840, died September 17, 1885; Charles, born November 15, 1841, died August 1, 1842; Harriet Emma, born October 30, 1844, resides in Saratoga Springs, New York; and Charles A., born July 1, 1850, died November 19, 1872. John Springsted, Mrs. Brackett’s father, was born in Coeymans, New York, February 29, 1828, and was married at Martha F. Owen, who was born in Greenfield, that state, January 8, 1833. In 1857 they came west and located near Peru, Illinois, where the father followed farming until his death, which occurred September 9, 1861. By trade, however, he was a tinner. After her husband’s death Mrs. Springsted returned to Saratoga Springs, New York, where she was married, September 3, 1869, to Samuel Ainsworth, a native of Vermont, by whom she had one son, Samuel W., who was born in Saratoga Springs April 23, 1871, and still resides at that place. He was married in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, September 15, 1894, to Sally Courtney. Mrs. Brackett is the older of the two children born of the first marriage, the other being Mary J. Etta, who was born in Illinois January 8, 1862, and is now the wife of Daniel Barbey, a journalist of Saratoga Springs, New York. The mother died at that place May 21, 1899. Mr. and Mrs. Brackett have two children: Frank J., born September 15, 1883; and Florence Etta, born January 15, 1897. The former is now attending Cornell College.

Politically Mr. Brackett is a Republican with prohibition tendencies, and religiously is a member of the Methodist church. Socially he belongs to Mt. Vernon Lodge, No. 112, F. & A. M., and Ashlar Chapter, R. A. Saratoga Springs, November 11, 1855, to M., and is also connected with Star of Bethlehem Lodge, K. P. Social, educational and moral interests have been promoted by him, and anything that tends to uplift and benefit humanity secures his hearty co-operation. Both he and his father enjoy a wide acquaintance and marked popularity in the city where they have made their home for over a quarter of a century.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 133-6.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion


Among Cedar Rapids' most active and enterprising business men is numbered Allen P. Bressler, who was born here on the 4th of October 1850, and has always made this city his home, his present residence being at No. 308 Sixth avenue. His father, Jacob C. Bressler, was a native of Pennsylvania, born March 23, 1821, and was a son of George Bressler, who was born in the same state of Germany ancestry. There the father grew to manhood and was married October 18, 1842 to Miss Barbara Erford, whose birth also occurred in the Keystone state, in 1824. In 1847 they came to Iowa and took up their residence in Cedar Rapids, which was then a mere village. Jacob C. Bressler had charge of the cooper shops here for eight years, and later engaged in house moving, which business he established in Cedar Rapids about 1858, and which he continued to carry on throughout the remainder of his active life. He died in 1892, at the age of seventy-one years, but his wife still survives him, a hale and hearty old lady of seventy-seven years.

During his boyhood and youth Allen P. Bressler pursued his studies in the schools of his native city, and at an early age commenced work with his father. He was with him in business for some years, and then took up the same line of work for himself, having devoted about thirty-five years to house moving. He has bought, moved and fitted up a number of places, which he later sold, and has built whole blocks in a very short space of time. He is one of the successful business men of the city, and now owns considerable residence and business property. For a short time he was also engaged in building railroad and wagon bridges for the Canton (Ohio) Iron Bridge Company, but has made house moving his principal occupation. He is the inventor of a house-moving truck of considerable value in the business, and a portable capstan.

On the 27th of October, 1885, in Cedar Rapids, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Bressler and Miss Ella Harrier, who was born in Muscatine, Iowa, but was principally reared in Cedar Rapids. Her father, Nathaniel Harrier, was one of the pioneers of this state. Our subject and his wife have three children, namely: Leona, Carl and Allen, all attending the home schools In his political views Mr. Bressler has been a life-long Republican, and has been a delegate to both city and county conventions of his party. For a number of years he was a member of the police force, and also served as street commissioner for a few years, proving a very capable and faithful officer. Fraternally he is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is widely known throughout the city, and justly merits the confidence and respect so freely accorded him by his fellow citizens.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.964-965.


And then there was Harrison Bristol, who had an eye for business and early purchased a lot and erected a house thereon, and whose hospitable roof sheltered my mother and her family prior to the erection of her own house near the corner of Second street and Third avenue [Cedar Rapids].

He was a genial, clever young man whom everybody liked, and in later years became one of the most prominent businessmen of Vinton, being in partnership with his father-in-law, Mr. Russell Jones, a former trusted and highly esteemed clerk in Greene’s store in our city.

In later years financial reverses overtook Mr. Bristol from which he has never been able to fully recover. After these reverses, true to his old instincts as a lover of stock, he studied veterinary surgery and has for a number of years practiced that profession.

Both he and his estimable wife still reside in Vinton and are members of the Presbyterian church of that place.

Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1839 to 1849, page 192, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


The best justification of our republican government lies in the fact that young men of other lands seeking homes in America have opportunity to demonstrate the power they possess, and, equally with the native-born sons of the country, work their way upward by diligence, earnest effort and perseverance, unhampered by the caste system which prevails in the old countries and which is certainly detrimental to the development of talent. Coming to this country, Mr. Broeksmit won recognition by his merit and has worked his way upward until he holds to-day the responsible position of auditor of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad. His life has been an eventful and interesting one, and integrity, activity and energy have been the crowning points of his success. Such a career is well worthy of perpetuation on the pages of Iowa's history, and with pleasure we present this sketch to our readers.

Mr. Broeksmit was born in the city of Zierikzee, Holland, on the 25th of January, 1825, and is the son of Adrian F. and Gertrude (De Zwitzer) Broeksmit, also natives of Holland. His ancestors have for many generations resided in that country. His father was a merchant, dealing in grain and madder, the latter a commodity which has now fallen into disuse owing to the introduction of chemical dye stuffs, but which fifty years ago was in great demand all over the world.

Under the parental roof Mr. Broeksmit spent his boyhood days, and the public schools of the neighborhood afforded him his early educational privileges. Subsequently he entered the French Institute, where he studied engineering, algebra, the higher mathematics and the French language. His business training was received in his father's counting room, where he remained between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one years. During this time he became attracted by the reports which he heard of the United States and the advantages here afforded, and resolved to try his fortune in the new world. In 1847 he sailed for New York, arriving in the eastern metropolis after a voyage of several weeks, for it was not yet the era of steam navigation. In his native land he had demonstrated his ability as a young man of excellent capacity for business, possessing energy and sound judgment, and was given several letters of recommendation; but he was unfamiliar with the English language and it was therefore difficult to obtain a situation where his services would prove of any material value.

Failing to obtain employment in New York, he went to Boston and secured a situation in the office of Thomas H. Dixon & Son, importers and ship-owners, located at No. 41 India Wharf. The senior member of this firm was Consul General of the Netherlands for the state of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine. He took a personal interest in our subject, having received a letter from the mayor of Zierikzee, urging him to assist the young man and assuring him that Mr. Broeksmit was worthy of any trust. During the two years that he remained with that firm our subject gained the mastery of mercantile methods in America, and also learned to speak, read and write the English language. His next position made him assistant bookkeeper for the firm of George W. Warren & Company, extensive dealers in dry goods, doing both a wholesale and retail business. From 1851 until 1855 he was bookkeeper in the Nahant Hotel near Boston, and then traveled southward, his object being a desire to see the country.

Making his way to New Orleans Mr. Broeksmit became chief clerk for Samuel Van Loon, master mechanic of the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad, in Louisiana. He occupied that position until the breaking out of the Civil war in 1861. It happened that at that time a vessel of his own country lay in port at the Crescent City, the only ship flying the colors of that nation that had entered the harbor of New Orleans for twenty-three years. It was ready to start on the return trip to Holland, and Mr. Broeksmit, feeling a strong desire to visit his native land, became one of its passengers, and thirty-two days later reached his old home.

In that country, Mr. Broeksmit continued railroad work, being employed in various capacities and stationed at various places, including Breda and Zutphen. After a time he secured a clerkship for the railroad commission having in charge the construction and operation of the railroads in the Dutch East Indies, for which he sailed and saw service on the Island of Java, at Batavia and Samarang. There he witnessed the ceremonials attending the building of the first railroad, and saw the first spade stuck into the ground for the railroads on that island by Baron Sloet Van de Beele, Governor General of the Netherlands Indies. Subsequently our subject returned to his native land, where he spent a part of the year 1867.

America, however, had won his love and he determined to again identify his interests with this country. Accordingly, in 1868, he once more crossed the Atlantic and made his way to Chicago, where, through the instrumentality of George P. Lee, treasurer of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Company, he obtained the appointment of station agent at Cleveland, Illinois, where large coal mines of the company were located. Subsequently he was transferred to Coal Valley, Illinois, and later became agent of the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad under Hon. Hiram Price at Maquoketa, Iowa. In 1871 he was promoted to the position of assistant auditor of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota Railroad and removed to Cedar Rapids, where he has since made his home. Two years later he was appointed auditor of the same road, and on its reorganization in 1876, when it became known as the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, his services were retained in the same capacity. He yet holds that position, but his duties are far more extensive and important, owing to the growth of the road. His position is indeed a responsible one, but he is fully capable of handling and managing its interests. That he has won and merited in the fullest extent the confidence of the railroad officials is demonstrated by his long continuance in this office, and his uniform courtesy and fairness to the employees under him has also gained their genuine respect.

Turning from the public to the private lie of Mr. Broeksmit, we chronicle the event of his marriage, which was celebrated in 1873, the lady of his choice being Miss Laura Shaw, daughter of John Shaw, of Maquoketa, Iowa. She is a member by descent of an old New England family, members of which participated with distinction in the Revolutionary war. Four children have been born in their family - Gertrude, Eugene, Helen and John. By a former marriage he had one son, W. F. Broeksmit [see bio below], the present freight auditor of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad.

Mr. Broeksmit is pre-eminently a pubic spirited citizen, devoted to the welfare of his adopted country and to the upbuilding of his community. He has been an important factor in advancing several business enterprises of importance in Cedar Rapids, and has been a director of the Merchants' National Bank, and secretary of the Cedar Rapids Water Company. The cause of education finds him a stalwart champion, and he is treasurer of Coe College, which institution owes not a little of its advancement and success to his well directed efforts in its behalf. He is a consistent member and active worker in the Presbyterian church and was president of the board of trustees of the Young Men's Christian Association. He votes with the Republican party, and though he has never sought or desired office he takes an interest in political affairs, as every true American citizen should do. His career has been one of honorable methods, and while it has won him prominence and success he has gained the respect and esteem of a large circle of warm friends, while he is a man of very genial and social nature.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.9-11.


For almost fifteen years the subject of this sketch has served as freight auditor for the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, with headquarters at Cedar Rapids, and is one of the popular railroad men of the city. He was born in Madisonville, St. Tammany parish, Louisiana, September 24, 1858, and is the only child of John C. and Jane (Burns) Broeksmit. During his boyhood he pursued his studies in the common schools of his native parish, and at the age of thirteen years joined his father at Cedar Rapids, his father being connected with the old Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota Railroad. Here our subject attended school for several years, and in 1879 found employment in the carpenter shops of the same road. Two years later he was transferred to the stationery supply department as clerk, and remained there about a year. He next accepted a clerkship in the auditor's office under his father, being employed in that capacity from 1882 until August, 1885, when he was made chief clerk in the freight auditor's office. He held that latter position until October 1, 1886, when he received the appointment of freight auditor for the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, and has filled the office ever since with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the company. His duties have always been performed in a most conscientious and capable manner, and he well merits the confidence imposed in him.

On the 28th of September, 1886, Mr. Broeksmit was united in marriage with Miss Fanny A. Tisdale, of Cedar Rapids, the wedding ceremony being performed by Revs. Casebeer and Fowler. She was born in Herkimer county, New York, the third in order of birth in a family of nine children, all still living, and in 1869 accompanied her parents, Daniel and Harriet L. Tisdale, on their removal to Cedar Rapids, where they now reside. Mrs. Broeksmit was educated in the schools of Cedar Rapids. Both she and her husband are members of the Second Presbyterian church of the city, and have a large circle of friends and acquaintances throughout the community. In his political views, Mr. Broeksmit is a Republican, and he takes a deep interest in public affairs, as every true American citizen should.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.973-974.


Arthur G. Brown is the proprietor of one of the leading confectionery establishments of Cedar Rapids, known as the Palace of Sweets, and during the period of his residence here he has built up a substantial business in the manufacture and sale of candies and ice cream and also as a caterer. A native of Illinois, he is the youngest son of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Brown, who served through the Civil war as a surgeon in the Union ranks. After the cessation of hostilities he settled in Oneida, Illinois, where he continued in the practice of medicine until his death. He reared a family of six children of whom Mark and Eli are now deceased. The others are Edward, Charles, Arthur and Carrie. Of these Charles is a prosperous farmer living near Oneida, Illinois. Edward is a very prominent stock-raiser of Mitchell, Nebraska, handling pedigreed hogs and cattle, and at one time was the owner of a famous boar which was the prize winner at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The daughter, Carrie, is now the wife of Jesse Jagger and resides at Denver, Colorado.

Arthur G. Brown was only two years of age when left an orphan by the death of his father. His mother had previously passed away and he was reared by a stepmother, acquiring his education in the public schools of Oneida, Illinois, which he attended to the age of eighteen years. He then began learning the trade of a master baker at Knoxville, Illinois, and after two years he established business in that line on his own account at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he remained for three years. On the 15th of February, 1901, he arrived in Cedar Rapids and with the capital which he had previously acquired he established himself in business here, beginning the manufacture of candies and ice cream. His establishment, known as the Palace of Sweets, has become one of the popular resorts of this character in this city and its trade is constantly growing. Its manufactured products are of the highest grade, tempting the most capricious palate, and as a caterer Mr. Brown is also doing a successful business, his services being constantly in demand by the people of Cedar Rapids and vicinity. His business, too, is carefully and systematically managed and his store is thoroughly equipped with all accessories needed in making the goods which he handles. He has recently erected a splendid brick business block on one of the prominent streets and entertains optimistic views concerning the future of Cedar Rapids.

In 1904 occurred the marriage of Arthur G. Brown and Miss Elizabeth Parrott, of Waverly, Iowa. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of the Maccabees, the Knights of Pythias and the Red Men. His political views are in accord with republican principles where national issues are involved, but at local elections when the only question for consideration is the capability of the candidate he casts an independent ballot. Dependent upon his own resources from the age of eighteen years, he has made continuous advancement in business and as the architect of his own fortune has builded wisely and well, recognizing the fact that there is no excellence without labor and that close application and energy constitute the most substantial foundation for success.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 132-3.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson

NICHOLAS B. BROWN (from Carroll's book)

The first and most prominent figure that stands out before us in the matter of improving the water power of our city, is that of Mr. Nicholas B. Brown. He came to this place in 1840, and purchased the land which contained the original plat of Cedar Rapids. It was not until sometime during the summer of 1841 that he began active operations towards the improvement of the water power. The first dam was a very weak and temporary affair, made of brush or small trees with stone piled upon them. The brush and trees were brought down the river on flat boats from the neighboring islands, and the stone was quarried from the river bottom on the rapids. It was a long and tedious job to build it, and when completed, it was a poor make shift, and always caused trouble whenever there was a rise in the river. However, it answered for a beginning, and when the saw-mill was completed in 1842, and the waters of the Cedar began to make its machinery hum, it was the beginning of a new period for our town and the harbinger of better days to come.

Mr. Brown’s means were limited, and it was with much difficulty that he could procure the money with which to pay the faithful toilers who had helped him in this new enterprise. A grist mill was added in due time, and later, in 1846-7, I believe, the woolen factory was built.

The one dominant characteristic of Mr. Brown was his great tenacity of purpose. He was not an aggressive man, but rather the reverse. But he had the gift of hanging on, and this, doubtless, was what brought him his fortune at last. His loose business habits involved him in endless litigation and caused him an immense amount of needless trouble.

There can be but little doubt that many a shrewd business man, standing in his place, and possessing his rare advantages, would have made vastly more out of the splendid property which he controlled. However, it must be admitted by all, that Mr. Brown did some excellent work as a pioneer settler, in making a beginning in a new country, and under many adverse circumstances.

In my personal relations with Mr. Brown, I always found him courteous and gentlemanly. In the later years of his life, I seldom met him, not being a resident of this city during that period. But I am told that a decided change came over his life a number of years previous to his death, and that he became a member of the Methodist church, and a regular and interested attendant upon its stated meetings, and a liberal contributor towards its support.

He was born in New Jersey in 1814. A few years before coming to this state, he had resided in Kentucky. His death occurred Sept. 16, 1880. His first wife was Miss Catherine Craig, who died many years ago. His second wife’s maiden name was Miss Susan Emery. Her home is still in the city, although, much of the time she is absent. She is a woman of irreproachable character, and is, and always has been, conspicuous in works of benevolence and charity. Few can show a better record. She is a member of the Methodist church, and for many years has been one of its most faithful workers.

Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1839 to 1849, pages 87-90, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson

HON. NICHOLAS B. BROWN (from 1901 history)

Nicholas B. Brown, deceased, was one of the honored pioneers and representative citizens of Cedar Rapids, where he made his home for forty years. He was born in Sussex county, New Jersey, July 10, 1814, and was a self-educated as well as a self-made man, having none of the school privileges and other advantages usually afforded the boys of the present day. His father was a miller and as a young man our subject followed the millwright's trade, which he acquired in Pennsylvania.

About 1840 Mr. Brown came to Cedar Rapids, becoming one of the founders of the town, as well as one of its most enterprising and public-spirited citizens. He built the dam across Cedar river, and as a millwright he put in operation of several of the first mills in this locality. He also had a woolen factory, which gave employment to many people, and was also engaged in the mercantile business in an early day. Meeting with success in his business ventures, he became the owner here of considerable city property and had landed interests elsewhere, which enabled him to spend his last years in retirement from active labor.

Mr. Brown was unite in marriage, May 8, 1852, with Miss Susan Emery, who was born at Demons Ferry, Pike county Pennsylvania, August 19, 1824, a daughter of Nathan and Cornelia (Broadhead) Emery. Her ancestors came from England at an early day and settled in Pennsylvania, where her parents always made their home. The father died there at the age of ninety, the mother at the age of eighty years. Of their eleven children, four are still living, namely: Oliver and Mrs. Brown, both residents of Cedar Rapids; and Mrs. H. E. Higley and Miss M. E. Emery, both of Florida.

When Mr. Brown brought his bride to Cedar Rapids it was but a small village, and she has watched with interest its growth and advancement. Five children were born to them, but three died in early childhood. Those living are Nathan E., who is married and resides in Cedar Rapids, and Harry T., who lives with his mother.

Mr. Brown died at his home on the corner of Sixth street and A avenue September 15, 1880, leaving many friends as well as his immediate family to mourn his loss. He was a very active and generous man and a liberal supporter of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he was an official member. He was also an active member of the Masonic fraternity. Politically he was a Democrat, but he never aspired to official position, though he served for a time as mayor of Cedar Rapids. In his life span of sixty-six years he accomplished much, and left behind an honorable record well worthy of perpetuation.

Mrs. Brown received a good academic education and prior to her marriage successfully engaged in teaching school in Pennsylvania for a number of years. As a stranger she accompanied her husband to their new home in Cedar Rapids, but at once adapted herself to the place, and became interested in the welfare of the community. Since his death she has erected a very large modern brick residence on the site of their old home, and has ably managed her business affairs. He left considerable property, all of which lies within the city limits. Although quite advanced in years Mrs. Brown is still well preserved. She, too, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which she is a liberal contributor, and formerly took an active part in church and charitable work. She is beloved by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and is held in high regard by all who know her.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 241-242.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Nicholas B BrownThe late Nicholas B. Brown was a highly respected and representative pioneer and extensive business man of Linn County, and deserves a prominent place among the best class of people who ever graced the records of the county.  He was born in Sussex County, N. J., July 10, 1814, and was the son of John Brown.

He was one of the earliest pioneers of Iowa, coming into the Territory as early as 1840, and made permanent settlement in this county in October of that year.  Thus, by his early advent into this district, while the country presented to the eye of the enchanted beholder the beauty of Nature's handiwork unmarred by the hand of man, he is justly a pioneer.  He was an enterprising man, and a most valuable acquisition to a new settlement.  He immediately set about the building of a sawmill at Bertram, which occupied his time during the year 1840 and a portion of the year following.  During this period he did not let pass the golden opportunity of procuring some of the cheap lands for sale in the county, but being sagacious and far-seeing, purchased a large tract where the flourishing city of Cedar Rapids now stands.  In 1841 he commenced building the first dam across the Cedar River, at a point where Cedar Rapids was since built.  This work was completed in 1842, and from that time he was ever a prominent figure in the development of one of the most thrifty cities in the Northwest.

From 1842 until 1877 Mr. Brown was extensively engaged in milling, manufacturing, merchandising and real estate, together with the erection of a sawmill, woolen-mill, etc.  He built several brick blocks in Cedar Rapids, also residences, and also the Brown Hotel in that city, now known as the Southern.  He was an extensive business operator, and one of the largest real-estate owners in the city.  For many years he was engaged in the mercantile business, and was a gentleman possessed of that energy and determination, combined with good judgment, which never fails to bring success.  We quote from a Cedar Rapids paper in regard to him; “He was the first man on the ground, and, although others did much toward directing hither the stream of emigration, Mr. Brown was a faithful and indefatigable laborer in developing the natural advantages of the place.  He had unbounded faith in the future of the city, and always manifested his faith by putting every dollar he made into improvements for the general advantage of all who were striving to build up the city.”

Mr. Brown was, in addition to being a first-class business man, a strictly moral and upright one.  He was a firm believer in the tenets promulgated by the Methodist Episcopal Church, and if he knew nothing good of a man he was never known to speak meanly about him.   Socially he was a member of the Masonic fraternity.  He was one of the first Mayors of Cedar Rapids.

Mr. Brown was united in marriage with Miss Susan Emery, May 8, 1852.  She was a daughter of Nathan and Cornelia (Broadhead) Emery, natives of New Jersey, and the parents of ten children, eight of whom are yet living.  To Mr. and Mrs. Brown were born five children, three of whom are deceased.  Those living are Nathan E. and Harry T.
Mr. Brown departed life Sept. 16, 1880, mourned as a kind father, a loving husband, and a generous, warm-hearted neighbor, as well as one of the foremost citizens of Linn County.  His widow yet survives, and is residing on the corner of A avenue and Sixth street, in a fine brick residence which she built in 1884.  She is a consistent Christian woman.

The portrait of Mr. Brown, which we give in connection with this sketch, will be welcomed by all his pioneer co-laborers who are yet living, and will be regarded with great interest by the young and future generations as the face of one of the most worthy and indefatigable laborers in laying the foundation upon which the present prosperity, not only of the city of Cedar Rapids, but of the State, rests.

Source of portrait and biographical sketch (verbatim transcription):  “Portrait and Biographical Album of Linn County, Iowa”, 1887, pages 177 - 178, portrait on page 176

Contributed by: Eric & Marcia Driggs

(from 1911 history)

Nicholas Brodhead Brown, son of John and Johannah (Brodhead) Brown, was born in the village of Sandiston, Sussex county, New Jersey, July 10, 3814. his father, John Brown, was a native of Connecticut, while his mother was horn in Wallpack, Warren county, New Jersey, a few miles above the Delaware water gap, and was the daughter of Garret Brodhead, Jr., and his wife, Affe Decker. Through his mother he was a descendant of Daniel Brodhead, a Yorkshire Englishman, who came to America in 1664 with Colonel Richard Nichols as a captain in the Nichols expedition, which was ordered to America by Charles II of England to capture New Amsterdam and the New Netherlands from Peter Stuyvesant and the colony of Dutch over which he was governor. Daniel Brodhead was for a time military governor of a part of New Netherlands under Colonel Nichols, and was located at what is now known as the town of Kingston, New York, dying there in 1670. His grandson; also named Daniel Brodhead, removed in 1733 to the Delaware water gap in what is now Monroe county, Pennsylvania. He acquired some six or seven hundred acres of land and some of his descendants are still living upon the original tract. He had four sons, Daniel, Garret, Charles and Luke, who with their father during the Indian wars in Pennsylvania refused to. leave their home, protected themselves, with others, by a stockade and maintained their stand until peace was restored. Of these sons three became officers in the Revolutionary army, Daniel serving as a general, Luke as captain, while Garret was also an officer. His son, Garret Brodhead, Jr., was a sergeant and was for a time in that part of the army commanded by General Washington. Garret Brodhead, Jr., was the grandfather of Nicholas B. Brown.

With the example of these ancestors before him it is not surprising that Nicholas B. Brown was ambitious to make his mark and be of some consequence in the world. His father, who was a millwright and the owner of a mill, became a man of some considerable property, but his business affairs were somewhat involved at the time of his death, which occurred when he was comparatively Young. The educational facilities in those days being limited, it was decided that N. B. Brown should follow the occupation of his father and he accordingly became a millwright’s apprentice. On the expiration of his apprenticeship he immediately began contracting on his own account, building a mill in Pike county, Pennsylvania, which was still in existence a few years ago. He afterward went to Henderson. Kentucky, where he built a mill for E. and W. King. After completing that contract he returned to his home, but soon decided that the opportunities of the new and comparatively unknown west promised success and he resolved to try his fortune in that section of the country. Taking passage upon a boat on the York and Erie canal he traveled as far as he could in that manner and then purchased a horse, saddle and bridle and upon horseback continued the journey. In 1839 he passed over the ground upon which the city of Cedar Rapids now stands, but either in a spirit of adventure or in quest of further knowledge of the country he traveled as far north as Cedar Falls, returning in 1840, to what became his new and permanent home. Cedar Rapids represented to him the ambition of his life: the building of a new city in a new country as his ancestors had done before him, and he was one of the incorporators of the town. In 1840 he erected for Elias and Daniel James Doty, brothers, the first manufacturing plant to be propelled by motor power in Linn County. He next purchased from Osgood Shepard an interest in the riparian rights along the Cedar river in the city and in 1841 began improving the water fall located here by the erection of a temporary dam and the building of the second sawmill to be erected in Linn county. He built the sawmill for himself, the date of its erection being 1842. He then in 1843 began the building of what became the first flour mill in Linn county to be placed in operation. In 1847 or 1848 he erected a woolen mill which was the first of its kind to be built in this part of Iowa. he also improved the waterfall to be found in McLeod ‘s run some two miles northeast of this city and erected upon it what in all probability was the first starch mill to be built in the city or territory of Iowa. This enterprise, however, proved to be a failure through improper management and the building was converted into a distillery, being the first and only one ever operated in Linn county. Besides these enterprises, which in their day were of the utmost importance to the new and growing country and considering the lack of financial facilities were really affairs of magnitude, Mr. Brown was also engaged largely in erecting buildings and buying and selling real estate and to some extent he also followed farming.

Not only were Mr. Brown’s labors of direct benefit to himself, but he was a cooperant factor in many movements relative to the public good. He aided in the building of and was first senior warden of Grace Episcopal church and later became one of the most ardent supporters and upbuilders of St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal church, contributing most generously toward the erection of the present house of worship. He was one of the few who built and aided in maintaining the first schoolhouse in Cedar Rapids. He was a strong believer in education and morality, and his influence could always be counted upon to further any movement or project for the benefit of city and county along the lines of material, intellectual and moral progress.

From the foregoing statement it will he seen that Nicholas Brodhead Brown was by nature and birth a man of energy and enterprising ability, of that class of men who were of the utmost importance to a new and unpopulated country, who by reason of their faith in themselves and their faith in the district in which they located not only put forth untiring effort for its upbuilding but also induced others to locate here and aid in the improvement and development of the region about them. He possessed a genial, kindly disposition, was devoted and loyal to his friends, was a lover of good cheer but thoroughly temperate in all things throughout his life, and was an indulgent father and husband. His life was such a one as to honor the community which honored him. Notwithstanding all of his good qualities, his social and genial disposition, his last days were days of sickness and adversity but he bore up under these with an unusual degree of fortitude.

On the 8th of February, 1844, Mr. Brown was married to Miss Catharine Craig, a daughter of Thomas Craig, who settled at Mount Vernon in 1839. She did not long survive her marriage, for her death occurred on the 6th of July. 1846. Their only child died in infancy. On the 8th of May, 1852. Mr. Brown was again married, his second union being with Miss Susan Emery, a daughter of Nathan and Cornelia (Brodhead) Emery. She was his cousin and in the same line of descent as himself.

Mr. Brown was never a church member, but was a strong believer in Christian work and the good influence of churches in a community. In politics he was a Douglas democrat and, notwithstanding adverse criticism during the Civil war was a firm believer in the maintenance of the union of states and was a contributor to the Union defense fund. He cast his ballot for Abraham Lincoln when he was for a second time a presidential candidate, believing that it was the duty of all northern men to stand by the government at that critical period in the history of the country. He belonged to the Masonic fraternity and was a firm believer in its teachings and tenets, saying that if its teachings were strictly followed there would be little need for the churches.

John J. Daniels, in writing reminiscences of pioneer days for the local press of Cedar Rapids, said: “Before closing this article I feel it my duty to speak more at length of Nicholas B. Brown, almost one of the earliest settlers, and who is justly deserving of a lasting remembrance, being a leader among men, with a master mind, in hewing the way and laying the foundation stones from which arose some valuable manufacturing establishments and many of the modern structures of Cedar Rapids. It certainly will be conceded by unbiased and impartial minds that Mr. Brown did some valuable initial work, as a pioneer, in making a beginning in a new country under so many adverse circumstances as he had to contend with — especially in building a dam with very limited facilities and the scarcity of laborers. The life that N. B. Brown lived is past, his labors are done, but the works he wrought still live and the blessings he bestowed are in their first fruition. The sufferings he has relieved and the help he gave is only fully recorded in the great book of remembrance. My opinion is that hereafter when Cedar Rapids has another park to name or dedicate, in grateful remembrance to a man who was the largest factor in the early settlement of Cedar Rapids and vicinity and a worthy pioneer, that N. B. Brown should not be so intentionally sidetracked, forgotten or omitted and the name given to some other man less deserving. Can the present generation afford to be guilty of robbing a man so justly deserving of a lasting remembrance and do such an apparent and personal injustice to Brown ‘s memory — to his widow and his posterity — I for one cannot, for I have not overlooked or closed my eyes to the valuable achievements accomplished by him from 1840, the year of his coming to Linn county, until his death, September 16, 1880. Whether the writer is or is not in point of time, considered a contemporary with Mr. Brown, yet I will say that the larger part of my remarks in his behalf is from actual knowledge gained from personal observation and my intimate acquaintance with him for thirty-six years.”

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 30-34.

Contributed by: Terry Carlson


Mr. H. L. Bryan came to this place in 1849 from Charleston, South Carolina. I presume that he was born in that city and state, although I am unable to state this with certainty. I only know that he was a genuine southerner in all his tastes and habits of life. He was a Presbyterian of the old school, and a thoroughly conscientious good man. He had the charge of the extensive business of his aunt, Miss Mary S. Legare [read her bio].

Mr. Bryan had two brothers Michael, and “Doc,” as they called him, although that was not his true name. Besides these came his brother-in-law Mr. E. G. Stoney, and four sisters, Mrs. Rutledge, Mrs. Stoney, Hartley, and Joanna, the latter two quite young girls. They all came, I think, about the same time, and being quite wealthy they made a decided impression upon our community.

For a time they monopolized the larger part of the business of the town, having leased Mr. Brown’s mills and the Woolen Factory, and engaging in the dry goods trade and controlling many of the blacksmith and carpenter shops and I know not what other branches of industry. Miss Legare invested largely in real estate, and her large fortune seemed to be the main capital employed to carry on all these various branches of business.

Mr. Bryan was the chief manager of all these great interests. For a year or two it made lively times for our town and the country around. Mr. Bryan managed the best he knew how. He was a kind, generous hearted man and perfectly honest in his business transactions. Of this I can testify from actual experience in dealing with him to a considerable extent.

But he undertook too much, and financial disaster was the unavoidable result. It was a cause of sincere regret that they did not succeed better, but their ways of doing business and their habits of life were such as to render success an impossibility in a new and undeveloped country like this. The failure, however, was an honest one, and Mr. Bryan’s fortune went down with the rest. Of his honesty in all these trying times I have never had any doubt. He never regained his financial standing, but seemed content to gain a livelihood by honest toil. For many years he pursued the calling of a drayman, and finally devoted himself mainly to gardening.

His death occurred April 19, 1877. Where I to write his epitaph it would be in these words: “Here lies a good man, who in the face of great adversity tried to do his duty.”

His wife was a lady of rare accomplishments and of the highest Christian character. She is living, I believe, with some of her children in the far west.

Source: Carroll, Rev. George R., Pioneer Life In and Around Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1839 to 1849, pages 186-190, Times Printing and Binding House, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1895.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Among the leading business men of Cedar Rapids and the honored veterans of the Civil war is this well-known contractor and builder, who came to this city in 1873 and has since been an important factor in its business affairs. A native of Monroe county, Indiana, he was born near Bloomington on the 5th of May, 1834. His father, David Bunger, was a native of Virginia, and when a young man went to Indiana, locating in Monroe county, where was celebrated his marriage with Miss Juritha Berry, a native of Kentucky. Throughout life he engaged in farming and stock raising, and died in Monroe county, in 1845, at the early age of thirty-three years. His wife survived him many years and reared their family. In 1851 she removed to Illinois, and settled on a farm in Henderson county. Her last days were spent with her only daughter, Mary P., wife of Samuel Brightwell, residing near Chariton, Iowa, and there she died at the age of seventy-eight years. She had four sons, of whom Jacob D. is the oldest; William, who died in Burlington, Iowa, in 1884, was a soldier of the Civil war and lost a leg in the siege of Vicksburg; Green is a farmer of this county; and Joseph is a farmer of Nebraska.

Jacob D. Bunger grew to manhood upon the home farm in Henderson county, Illinois, and in early life learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, at which he worked in Indiana and Illinois until the Civil war broke out. On the 14th of August, 1862, he joined the boys in blue of Company G, One Hundred and Eighteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, as corporal, and was sent down the Mississippi to Memphis. He participated in the battles of Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Port Gibson and the siege of Vicksburg, and assisting in taking that stronghold. He had two fingers of his right hand shot off, and was thus permanently disabled. He was ill in the hospital at Keokuk, Iowa, until the close of the war, and was then sent to Davenport, where he was mustered out and honorably discharged on the 18th of May, 1865, after which he returned to his home in Illinois.

In the fall of the same year, however, Mr. Bunger came to Iowa, and settled in Blairstown, where he engaged in contracting and building for five years. At the end of that time he removed to Marion, where he was similarly employed for three years, and then came to Cedar Rapids, where he has since successfully carried on operations as a contractor and builder. He has erected a number of business buildings but has mostly engaged in building private residences, and on all sides are seen evidences of his handiwork. He has bought lots and built two houses for himself.

At Galesburg, Illinois, in June, 1856, Mr. Bunger married Miss Eliza H. Woodbridge, who was born and reared in McDonough county, that state, and was educated at Galesburg. Unto them were born five children, namely: Clara married George Shaffer, of Cedar Rapids, and died here leaving one child, Nina, who now resides with her grandparents and is attending the Cedar Rapids high school; Edward is married and engaged in farming in Linn county; David is an energetic man of good business ability residing at home; Nora is the wife of George Holland, of Cedar Rapids; and Harry is in the upholstering business in Denver.

Politically, Mr. Bunger has been a life-long Republican, having never wavered in his allegiance to that party since casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont in 1856. His duties of citizenship are always faithfully and conscientiously performed, but he has never sought political honors. He was made a Mason in Blairstown in 1867, and is now a prominent and honored member of Crescent Lodge, No. 25, F. & A. M. He and his wife are connected with the Christian Science church, and are people of the highest respectability.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 199-200.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion


Mordecai Edwards Bunting, filling the position of city weighmaster at Marion and proving his loyalty to public interests in his faithful performance of duty, resides at No. 436 South Eleventh street. He was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and is a son of John and Mary (Edwards) Bunting and the grandson of John and Hannah Bunting. The grandfather was a native of Virginia and with his family removed to the Buckeye state, where both he and his wife spent their remaining days. Their son, John Bunting, Jr., was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, and was a representative of one of the old and prominent families there, the Buntings being identified with plantation interests in the south. In his boyhood days he left the Old Dominion and became a resident of Mansfield; Ohio, while later he made his home in Zanesville, where he was married. Thinking to find still better business opportunities in a region further west, where advantages were easier obtained because competition was not so strenuous, he came to Iowa in October, 1856, making his way to Marion. Soon afterward he purchased land five miles northwest of the county seat and the farm which he there improved and developed became known as the old Bunting homestead. Under his management it was transformed into productive fields and many modern improvements and accessories were added. He died in Marion in August, 1880, and his wife died at the same place on the 20th of February, 1893.

Mordecai Edwards Bunting, who was the sixth in order of birth in a family of ten children, began his education in the district schools of Muskingum county, Ohio, but following the arrival of the family in Iowa he continued his studies in the public schools of Linn county for five years. He then taught school for some time and in 1862 was employed as teacher of the school which he, had attended, some of his pupils being his old classmates. He taught for twelve consecutive winter terms in Marion township, receiving at first only twenty dollars per month, but of which salary he had to pay his board. During the vacation periods he was employed at farm work, being early instructed in the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. He continued to assist his father in farming for some time but was ambitious to establish a home of his own and in the fall of 1867 purchased one hundred and sixty acres of unimproved land near Marion, on which not a furrow had been turned. He at once commenced its development and today has one of the most valuable farms of Linn county.

It was on the 30th of November, 1865, that Mr. Bunting wedded Miss Lucy A. Ives, a daughter of Norman and Hannah (Gray) Ives, who were early settlers in this part of the state. He took his wife to the farm and there they reared their family of five children, namely: Effie M., who is now the wife of Dr. F. E. Miller, of Cedar Rapids and has one child, Isabella; Hallie I., a retired farmer now connected with the Iowa Motor Company of Cedar Rapids, and who married Lydia Eidamiller; B. Laura, who is prominent in the musical circles of Sioux City, being a fine vocalist and pianist; William E., who is employed by the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company and is located at Miles City, Montana; and Norman E., an expert draftsman at Chicago with the International Harvester Company. He wedded Mary June and their children are Norma and Howard Jennings.

As the years passed by Mr. Bunting continued to cultivate his fields and harvest his crops and met with fair success in his undertakings, but at length retired from the farm and established his home in Marion, where in April, 1909, he was appointed city weighmaster, which position he is still filling. His fraternal relations are with the Knights of Pythias and politically he is a democrat. He has served as a member of the board of supervisors and in various township offices, the duties of which he discharged with promptness and fidelity. He is a very prominent and helpful member of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as a class leader, and his life work in every relation has been in harmony with his profession as a member of the church.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, page 338-9.


Prominent among the honored pioneers and representative citizens of Linn county was James M. Burge, who was actively identified with the development of this region for many years. He was born in Greene county, Pennsylvania, July 5, 1821, and belonged to a family which originated in Hull, Yorkshire, England, and coming to America with Lord Baltimore in early colonial days, settled in Maryland. Some of its members took part in both the Revolutionary war and the war of 1812.

Jeremiah Burge, the father of our subject, was born in Pennsylvania in 1800, and was a son of William and Priscilla (Long) Burge, also natives of that state. He married Hester Morford, and to them were born seven children, namely: James M., of this review; Fannie, wife of William Waln, of this county; Jeremiah, deceased, who married Sarah Archer; William, who married the widow of his brother Jeremiah and lived in Franklin township, this county; John, who married Harriet Harlis, deceased, and resides near Cedar Rapids; Jane, who married Robert Maxwell, of Cedar county, Iowa, and both are now deceased; and Martha, who married, first, Washington Turner, who was killed in the Civil war, and she is now the widow of Elijah Rundell and resides in Clyde, Nebraska.

During his boyhood James M. Burge was able to attend the country schools only a short time, and his education was mostly acquired by reading and observation in later years. In 1837, at the age of sixteen, he came with his father's family to Muscatine, Iowa, the journey being made by boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi rivers. After spending two years on a farm at that place, they came to Linn county and took up their residence in Franklin township. Our subject remained under the parental roof until about 1846, when he entered eighty acres of land on section 21, Franklin township, and purchased the same when it came into market. He walked to the land office in Dubuque, starting on Monday morning and reaching home Wednesday afternoon in time to do a portion of a day's work, though he had traveled one hundred and forty miles in that time. His home was midway between Dubuque and Iowa City, on the old military road, and was the favorite stopping place for all passing that way. No one was ever turned away hungry from his door, and he would charge nothing for the meals and accommodations furnished. Mr. Burge was a very generous, open hearted man, who was always willing to lend a helping hand to friend or stranger, it mattered not. Even his youngest son remembers seeing as many as forty-six persons entertained at one meal.

On starting out in life for himself, Mr. Burge became interested in the stock buying business in connection with farming, and bought cattle in three states. He would start out on horse back, going first to Illinois, and working his way into Missouri and Iowa. He marketed much of his stock at Davenport and Muscatine, and was one of the first to ship cattle to the Chicago market after the opening of shipping facilities to that place. He was one of the most prominent cattle men of Iowa in early days, and as he prospered in business he became an extensive land owner, having at one time over fourteen hundred acres of land. He presented each of his children with a farm. Mr. Burge was a man of splendid physique and unusual strength, and when a boy was able to cradle grain with any of the men in the field. In early days he used to raft his wheat down the Cedar and Mississippi rivers to St. Louis and then return home on foot.

In 1844 Mr. Burge was married in this county to Miss Elizabeth McRoberts, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Michael and Mary (Smith) McRoberts, who were born in Virginia. The McRoberts family came from Scotland to America in the early part of the eighteenth century and it has been well represented in the wars of this country. William Smith, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Burge, was in the secret service under General Arnold in the war of 1812, was present at the surrender of Detroit, and was massacred at the battle of River Raisin. Mrs. Burge was the fifth in order of birth in a family of eleven children, the others being William, who is married and is now living in Watsonville, California; Russell, who wedded Mary Fitz and resides in Greene county, Iowa; Mary Jane, who married John Prather, and after residing for a time in Linn county, Iowa, moved to Kansas and later to Oregon, where both died; George, who married Sarah Black and makes his home in Mound City, Missouri; Frank and James, twins both of whom entered the Union army during the civil war, and died at Maitland, Missouri, from the effects of their army life; Lucinda who married Henry Rogers, and both died in Greene county, Iowa; Elsina, who died in infancy; Duncan, a physician, who was killed in the Civil war; and Margaret E., who died at the age of twenty years.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Burge were born twelve children, as follows: Frances married Jeremiah Thomas, a farmer of Franklin township, and died in 1878. Jerry was killed in a tornado on the home farm in Franklin township June 3, 1860. Hester M. married Joseph Moore, who died in this county in 1877, while her death occurred in Greene county, Iowa, in 1885. Their sons are now engaged in the cattle business in Tillamook, Oregon. John W. married Hannah Clark and is engaged in farming in Bertram township, this county. Ellen married Andrew Dill, a farmer of Franklin township, and died August 21, 1879. Elizabeth is the wife of John Hoffman, a farmer of Franklin township. James R. married Alvina Minick and is engaged in the ice business in Mt. Vernon. Lavina is the wife of James Waln, a farmer of Franklin township. Elmer married Kate Heller and resides on his grandfather's old homestead in the same township. Ethelda makes her home with her brother George H. She is a graduate of Cornell College and has for a number of years been a teacher in the high schools. Anson S. married Luella Davis and resides in Spokane, Washington. George H. is mentioned more fully below.

Politically Mr. Burge was a Republican but he never cared for the honors or emoluments of public office, although he always took a deep interest in those enterprises which he believed calculated to prove of public benefit. He died upon his farm in Franklin township May 5, 1891, and in his death the community realized that it had lost one of its most valued citizens. He was always a friend to the poor and needy and was held in the highest respect and esteem by all who knew him. His estimable wife passed away April 21, 1886, and both were laid to rest in the Mt. Vernon cemetery.

George H. Burge, our subject's youngest son, was born on the 21st of August, 1872, on the old homestead in Franklin township where he still continues to reside. The district schools afforded him his early educational advantages, but he later attended the high school at Mt. Vernon, where he was graduated with the class of 1888, and for several terms during the winter he was a student at Cornell College, while the summer months were devoted to farm work. In 1889 he took charge of the home farm of one hundred and thirty acres, a half of which he purchased, while his father gave him the remainder. This includes the original tract entered by his father from the government. As the son has prospered in his farming operations he has added to his property until he now has two hundred and fifty acres of very valuable and productive land, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation, and on which he has made many useful and substantial improvements. He has a good modern residence, has built new fences, erected numerous cattle sheds, and has planted an orchard, so that he now has one of the best places in the county, it being known as the "Wayside Farm."

Mr. Burge is one of the most successful breeders of fine cattle in America, making a specialty of the short-horn breed, and has carried off many premiums at county fairs, and also at several state fairs in different states. His cattle have not only won prizes at these fairs, but also at national exhibits. He has made a constant study of his chosen occupation and has met with success. Mr. Burge attributes his success to the teachings of his father, who was a most excellent judge of stock. His evenings are mainly devoted to study, and he has an excellent library, his office at home reminding one more of a literary man than a farmer. He is one of the most intelligent, progressive and successful agriculturists of the county, while as a stock raiser he has but few equals among the young men of this county. He is a scientific as well as a practical farmer, and to this may be attributed his success. In politics he is a Republican.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.735-738.


William Burns, a highly esteemed citizen of Franklin township residing on section 14, was born in Trumbull county, Pennsylvania, May 23, 1840, and is of Scotch-Irish descent. His ancestors, however, came to America at an early day and his great-grandfather took part in the Revolutionary war. His parents were Solomon and Margaret (Faulk) Burns, also natives of Pennsylvania, whence they came to Iowa in 1857, and after spending three years in Appanoose county, located in Marion, where they continued to make their home throughout the remainder of their lives. The father died May 26, 1899, at the age of eighty-one years, nine months and twenty-three days, and the mother passed away May 19, 1887, at the age of sixty-six years, five months and two days. In their family were twelve children, namely: Marcus married, first, Dora Hayhusk, and second Ellen Minnea, and resides in Marion; William, our subject, is next in order of birth; Sylvester married Anna Fanlings, and lives north of Marion; Wallace married Annie Thompkins, and lives in Marion; Emeline is the widow of Ephraim Andrews, and resides on a farm near Springville; Sarah is the wife of Peter Kessler, of Marion; Anna is the wife of Passmore Knight, of Center Point, Iowa; Jane is the wife of George Knight, a brother of Passmore, and resident of Marion; Hester is the wife of Aaron Taylor, of Mt. Auburn, Iowa; Ella is the wife of Philip Bunton, of Marion; George married Barbara Kohnkie, and lives north of Marion; and Effie, wife of William Alexander, of the same place.

The first seventeen years of his life our subject passed in his native state, and he received his education in its public schools. He then accompanied his parents on their removal to Appanoose county, Iowa, where he worked on a farm until the family came to Marion, Linn county. On the 28th of May, 1864, he enlisted in Company G, Forty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and after being mustered into the United States service at Davenport went south to Memphis, Tennessee, where he remained until discharged on the 23rd of the following September. On his return from the war he lived in Marion for two years, and then removed to Mt. Vernon.

At the latter place he was married, December 20, 1866, to Miss Nancy Painter, who was born February 28, 1850, in Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, of which her parents, Lawrence and Mary (Orner) Painter, were also natives and of German descent. Her father followed the shoemaker’s trade until his death, which occurred in December, 1858. The following year the family removed to Marion county, Missouri. The mother afterward became the wife of Sylvester Hodges, and died in 1895. She was born in 1809, and died October 5, 1900, being laid to rest in Mt. Vernon cemetery.

Mrs. Burns is the tenth in order of birth in a family of eleven children, the others being Michael, who married Maggie Hopkins and lives in Hannibal, Missouri; Lewis, who married Jane Briney and makes his home in Sciota, Illinois; Martha, wife of John Carnet, of Mt. Vernon, Iowa; Mary, who died at the age of eight years; Catherine, wife of Herman Otten, of Hannibal, Missouri; Johnnie, who died at the age of three years; Joseph, who died at the age of one year; one who died in infancy; Leonard, who married Matilda Wyant and lives in Schuyler county, Illinois; and David, who wedded Mary Bryant, now deceased, and resides in Oklahoma.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Burns were born seven children: Lewis, born December 13, 1867, it at home; Lydia, born December 14, 1870, was married, in November, 1896, to Orley Walmer, a farmer of Cedar county, Iowa; Addie, born July 25, 1875, died February 13, 1878; Nellie, born January 30, 1878; William J., born July 4, 1881; Grace born May 21, 1884, and Earl, born February 16, 1890, are all four at home with their parents.

For six years after his marriage Mr. Burns engaged in farming on rented land near Mt. Vernon, and then lived on the Chauncey Dill farm for a year. For a year and eight months he made his home on the Smith farm, and when that place was sold he removed to the Gamble farm, remaining there one year. The following five years were passed on the Riddle farm, and the next three years were spent in Cedar county, Iowa. At the end of that time he bought twenty acres of land on section 14, Franklin township, Linn county, near Lisbon, where he has since continued to reside. His wife has been to him a true helpmate and has always contributed her share to the support of the family. She is an expert carpet weaver, weaving all kinds of fancy rugs and carpet, and has often turned out over one thousand yards of carpet in a year. Both Mr. and Mrs. Burns are members of the Evangelical church, and are held in high regard by all who know them. Fraternally he affiliates with W. C. Dimmit Post, No. 126, G. A. R., of Mt. Vernon, and politically is a gold Democrat. For a number of years he served as school director in his district.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 138-140.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion


George W. Burnside, ex-sheriff of Linn county and a prominent citizen of Coggon, now living retired, was born on the 13th of October, 1832, in Otsego, New York, of which state his parents, George and Elizabeth (Walley) Burnside, were also natives. There the father engaged in farming during the greater part of his life, but spent his last years with our subject in Linn county, Iowa, where he died May 24, 1879. The mother had passed away many years previous, dying on the 3d of August, 1844. They had a family of five children, of whom Marion and Sarah A. are now deceased. Those living are Thomas, a farmer of Delaware county, New York; George W., our subject; and William, a retired farmer of Oconto, Wisconsin. All were educated in the common schools of New York state.

After completing his education George W. Burnside left his native county, and in 1857 came west, first locating in McHenry county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for about five years. In 1861 he removed to Linn county, Iowa, and was one of the first to settle in Bowlder township where he continued to follow agricultural pursuits for five years. Later he started a creamery, which he conducted for a few years, and then purchased a general store at Prairieburg, Bowlder township, being engaged in merchandising there until 1890, and at the same time serving as postmaster of the village.

In 1890 Mr. Burnside was nominated by the Republican party for sheriff of Linn county, and was elected by a large majority. Disposing of his business in Prairieburg, he removed to Marion, the county seat, and entered upon the duties of his office. After filling the position in a most creditable and satisfactory manner for four years he retired from office and removed to Coggon where he has since made his home.

There he erected a new store building and again embarked in general merchandising, but in 1895 his store and stock were destroyed by fire, and since then he has not been actively engaged in any business. At one time he was interested in the Coggon Savings Bank which he assisted in establishing, and is now one of the stockholders of the Bank of Harris, at Harris, Osceola county, Iowa. He has always been a lover of fast horses and fine stock, and has owned one or two valuable horses during his entire residence in this county.

Mr. Burnside married Miss Sarah A. McArthur, of Delaware county, New York, a daughter of William McArthur, who was an extensive farmer of that state where his death occurred. Our subject owns a nice residence in Coggon, where he and his wife now make their home. They are both members of the Presbyterian church and are people of prominence in their community. Politically Mr. Burnside is a stanch Republican, and socially is a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of the blue lodge of Coggon, the chapter and commandery of Cedar Rapids, He is a man of recognized ability, and is one of the most valuable and useful citizens of the community in which he resides.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.738-739.


In the thirty-five years of his residence in Cedar Rapids Henry R. Buser so lived as to command the unqualified regard and esteem of his fellowmen. He was, during that period, engaged much of the time in the conduct of a photographic studio and the excellence of his work won him liberal public support. It was his sterling traits of character, aside from his business connection, however, that gained him the firmest hold on the affections of his friends. He was a man who stood foursquare to every wind that blows. There were never any equivocal phases in his life but rather an open record which all might read. Born on a farm near Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on the 3rd of April, 1840, he there remained until 1858, when the family decided to seek a location in the west, and with two brothers he made the journey across Ohio and Indiana by wagon. They first took up their abode upon a farm near Warren, Illinois, where Henry R. Buser made his home until after the outbreak of the Civil war. He was twenty-two years of age when, in response to the country’s call for troops, he offered his services to the government and joined the boys in blue of Company K, Ninety-sixth Illinois Infantry. With that command he took part in the battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, the siege of Atlanta and other important engagements which led up to the final victories that crowned the Union armies. His was a most creditable military record, characterized by loyalty and by bravery upon every battle field.

At the close of hostilities Mr. Baser was mustered out and returned to Warren, where he entered the employ of a sash and door manufacturing concern. In 1868, however, he took up the study of photography and removed to Cedar Rapids to become a permanent resident of this city. Here he opened the first studio and for a long period conducted a prosperous business, keeping in touch with the advancement made in the methods of photography. lie devoted nearly a quarter of a century to the profession and about 1898 retired from the business, after which he devoted his attention to his real estate interests, having in the meantime made extensive and judicious investments in property.

Just before coming to Cedar Rapids Mr. Buser was married on the 6th of February, 1868, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Gann and unto them were born two sons, who are yet living: Edward, now connected with the shoe trade of the city; and Frank, a real-estate dealer. The elder son married Nellie Compton and has one daughter, while Frank married Verna Brock, of Chicago. Two other children died in infancy. The death of the husband and father occurred April 12, 1903, after a residence of more than a third of a century in Cedar Rapids. When he arrived here the city contained a population of about five thousand but he was pleased with its conditions and its prospects and took great pride in promoting its interests and upbuilding. He was always active in support of any project or movement to promote its welfare and his labors were efficient and far-reaching. His home life was largely ideal and his best traits of character were ever reserved for his own fireside. his family found him a devoted husband and father who did everything in his power to promote the welfare and happiness of his wife and children. In fact, he possessed many traits of character which made him a valued member of the community and enshrined his memory in the hearts of those who knew him.

Source: History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II, Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911, p. 28-9.

Submitted by: Terry Carlson


Wlm Butcher - father of Alvah
William Butcher
(Father of Alvah Butcher)

ALVAH P. BUTCHER has been a resident of this State ever since he was three years of age, and, having been reared to manhood within her boundaries and brought up to the noble calling of a farmer, he has done his part toward the agricultural development of the county.  The father of our subject, William Butcher, and his wife, Adeline (Paul) Butcher, were natives of Licking and Knox Counties, Ohio, respectively.  After their marriage they settled in Licking County, that State, thence emigrated to Van Buren County, Iowa, in 1849.  Continuing residents of the latter county for about six years, they, in 1855, removed to this county, and settled in Linn Township.  There the father followed farming, in which he was successful, and there his demise occurred, July 31, 1881.  The parental family consisted of three children, who lived to attain the age of man and womanhood – Alvah P., Amanda and Jane.  Amanda is the wife of Charles Coleman, who is a resident of Kansas; Jane married Isaac Johnston, and they are living in Marion Township, this county.
Alvah P. Butcher is a native of Licking County, Ohio, and was born Dec. 14, 1846.  His education was received in the schools of this county, and he lived at home until twenty-four years of age, assisting in the labors on the farm, and during that time he was married.  He then rented his father's farm for six years, and was occupied in improving and cultivating the same, after which he purchased a home in Marion Township.  He lived on the latter place until 1882, when he sold it and bought 124 acres in Linn Township, this county, to which he has added by a subsequent purchase of forty acres, making his landed possessions in the county 164 acres.  His farm is under a high state of cultivation, and he is meeting with more than ordinary success in the prosecution of his vocation.
Mr. Butcher was married in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Dec. 24, 1869, to Elminah E., daughter of John ami Elizabeth (Scott) Brokaw.  Mrs. Butcher was born in Ohio, May 25, 1845, and of her union with our subject four children have been born – Eliza A., Hattie M., Harry C. and Nelly A.  Eliza A. died when about seven years of age.  Mr. Butcher has held the office of Township Trustee, and has also been elected to other offices of minor import, but failed to qualify.  In politics he is a Democrat.
The elder Butcher was a prominent person in his community during the early history of this county.  He was one of that noble band of hard-working pioneers who converted the wilderness into a garden of plenty.  The memories of these founders of the present greatness and prosperity of Iowa should be preserved until remotest generations, and as a means of doing this a portrait of Mr. William Butcher is presented in this connection.

Source:  “Portrait and Biographical Album of Linn County, Iowa”, 1887, Alvah BUTCHER’s biographical sketch on page 517, his father’s portrait on page 516

Submitted by:  Eric & Marcia Driggs


Charles F. Butler, president of the Springville Exchange Bank and a most capable financier and successful business man, is a native of this county, born on the old homestead in Brown township, December 8, 1857, and is the son of Joseph S. Butler, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. His boyhood and youth were spent upon the farm, and his primary education, acquired in the schools of Springville, was supplemented by two years' attendance at Cornell College, in Mt. Vernon.

After completing his education Mr. Butler returned home and engaged in farming and raising, feeding and dealing in stock. A few years after his father established the Springville Exchange Bank he became connected with the same and was in partnership with his father until the latter's death, when he succeeded to the business and estate. The capital stock has been increased from twenty five to seventy five thousand dollars, having the largest capital of any bank in the county outside of Cedar Rapids. Besides his banking business Mr. Butler owns and operates several fine farms, and fattens for market several carloads of cattle annually. He is one of the most public spirited men of the town, and is ever ready to use his influence and means to advance the interests of the community. He was one of the principal promoters of the water works system of Springville, and owns a large share of the stock.

On the old homestead in Brown township, where he was born, Mr. Butler was married on Christmas Day, 1882, to Miss Clara Burger, a native of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Abraham Burger, who was one of the early settlers of Linn county. Here Mrs. Butler grew to womanhood, her education being acquired at Mt. Vernon. They began their married life on the old home farm, and their only child, Margaret Josephine, was born. After residing there for a few years they removed to Springville, and the daughter will graduate at the high school in that place in June, 1901.

Mr. Butler is a prominent member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge, of Springville, of which he is past chancellor, having filled all the chairs in the same and represented the lodge in the grand lodge of the state. His wife is an earnest and active member of the Presbyterian Church, and, although he is not a member of any religious organization, he attends church with her and gives liberally to its support. Politically he is a stanch Democrat, but, being in favor of a gold standard, he voted for President McKinley in 1896 and again in 1900. Public office has no attraction for him, as he desires rather to devote his entire time and attention to his extensive business interests. A man of keen perception and unbounded enterprise, he has met with marked success in his undertakings and is deserving of prominent mention among the leading and representative business men of the county.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.554-557.


One of the most prominent business men of Springville for many years was Joseph S. Butler, who spent the greater part of his life in this county and was a worthy representative of one of its honored pioneer families. He was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, September 28, 1821, and was a son of Colonel Isaac Butler, who was born in Kentucky of Irish parentage and won his title as commander of a regiment of militia that was stationed at Fort Dearborn (now Chicago, Illinois) in 1836. In 1828 the father removed with his family to Louisville, Kentucky; three years later went to Cass county, Michigan, and in 1835 to Racine, Wisconsin. In 1840 he came to the territory of Iowa and made a permanent location in Linn county on land a part of which is now within the corporate limits of Springville.

Joseph S. Butler was a young man of nineteen years when he came with the family to this county, and he assisted his father in breaking, fencing and improving the land, remaining on the home farm for several years. In 1850 he started out in life for himself with no capital. Going to Anamosa, Iowa, he formed a partnership with a gentleman and engaged in the manufacture of cultivators and fanning mills for cleaning wheat for four years. On his return to this county in 1854, he settled in Brown township and engaged in farming and stock raising and also dealt in real estate.

From 1862 until 1876 he was quite extensively engaged in dealing in grain and stock and in dressing hogs for market. In 1878 he established the Springville Exchange Bank with a capital stock of twenty-five thousand dollars, and carried on the banking business by himself for eight years, at the same time attending to his farming and stock raising interests. His bank was in the old town on the south side of Big Creek until 1881, when it was removed to its present location in the new town.

His son, C. F., subsequently became a member of the firm, and together they conducted the bank until the father's death, which occurred December 31, 1898. He was laid to rest with Masonic honors, the Springville lodge officiating, a great number of his fraternal brethren from Marion, Cedar Rapids and other places being present. The Old Settlers Association also attended the funeral in a body.

On the 4th of July, 1854, Mr. Butler was united in marriage with Miss Maria L. Reneau, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana. Her father, Jesse Reneau, was born in Tennessee of French ancestry and was married in that state. Later he spent some years in Indiana, and from there came to Linn county, Iowa, being one of its early settlers. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Butler were born three children. The oldest, A. J. Butler, was born September 28, 1856, on his father's birth day, and died January 1, 1876, while had the father lived one day longer he would have died on the anniversary of his son's death. Lurman died in infancy. The other son is Charles F. Butler, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume.

For several years Mr. Butler was obliged to use crutches as the result of accidents. When a young man he had his foot crushed by the fall of a horse, and in September, 1877, he was forced to have one leg amputated below the knee as the result of an accident in crossing a railroad track at Cleveland, Ohio. Notwithstanding these misfortunes, he was actively engaged in business throughout life, and was one of the most successful men of Linn county, accumulating a large estate. As the public-spirited and progressive citizen he gave his time and means to advance the interests of the community in which he lived, and never withheld his support from any enterprise which he believed would promote the general prosperity.

In 1862 Mr. Butler was commissioned by the Governor to raise a company for the war of the Rebellion, and he raised and organized what became Company H, of the Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat and took quite an active part in politics. In 1864 he was nominated and ran for representative to the state legislature on the Democratic ticket, but was defeated by a small majority. For some years he served as justice of the peace and also as a member of the school board, always taking an active part in establishing good schools and promoting educational interests.

He was an active member of the Presbyterian church, of Springville, and gave liberally toward the erection of the house of worship and parsonage belonging to the same, as well as toward the building of the Methodist Episcopal church. Fraternally he was a Knight Templar Mason, and an honored member of Springville Lodge, Marion Chapter, and Patmos Commandery. He was a man of recognized ability who stood high in public esteem, and had the confidence and respect of all with whom he came in contact either in business or social life.

In 1881 Mr. Butler established the Springville New Era, an eight-page sheet which he edited for a time, and was sole owner until he sold the same to Alfred L. Flude. The paper was non-partisan in politics and had a large circulation in Springville and vicinity. Mr. Butler was also one of the principal promoters of the water works system of Springville, in which he owns a large share of the stock.

In August, 1896, Mr. Butler read the following paper before the Old Settlers Association at Marion:

"The pioneers who came to Linn county and stood the brunt of the hardships, the exposures and privations of a frontier life, found this country to be a wilderness, a vast unbroken pasture field, with frequent groves and streams, an abundance of wild fruit and game. Highways and bridges there were none. It was a wilderness inhabited by roving bands of Indians, wild animals, and the dreaded Mossagger rattle snake. Occasionally a pioneer cabin was to be found in the edge of the timber for the better protection from storms in winter. Their cabins were built of round logs, the outside cracks daubed up with clay to keep out the cold. The roof was covered with shakes and weight-poles, while a puncheon floor, an old fashioned fire place, and a log cut out for a window, completed the interior arrangements.

Many times greased paper served in place of glass for windows. Some of these cabins when completed did not have a nail, spike or bolt, or a piece of glass in their entire construction, the work being done with an ax, saw, draw knife and augur. Often times it was many miles to the nearest neighbor. The early pioneers usually brought all their worldly possessions with them, which usually consisted of an ox team, a wagon, cow or two, and many times without a dollar in money, but with a good rifle, a faithful dog, and added to that he possessed a brave heart, a determined will to defend himself and family and his property against all intruders, whether they were white men, Indians or wild animals.

These pioneers were brave people, generous to a fault and when a stranger visited their cabins, he always found the latch string out and was always welcome to the best they had. They were generally an industrious people, honest in their dealings, and usually paid their debts promptly when due. They were very conservative in their mode of living and of doing business, seldom buying anything on time unless it was a necessity. Their credit was their only capital with which they could do business, and they were generally very careful not to abuse it.

It was very seldom they had a lawsuit, as their disputes were usually settled by arbitration, each party picking a man, and if they failed to agree, these two chose a third man, and their decision was final and ended the matter.

At the same time there was quite a sprinkling of bad men in the country, such as horse thieves and robbers, but they were mostly transient, unwelcome night prowlers, ever to be dreaded, and occasionally Judge Lynch was called upon to administer the law with a rope and a gad, and sometimes in such a way that it was a terror to other evil doers. The result was such that thieves and rogues found it convenient to make haste to find a more congenial clinic to perpetrate their dastardly deeds and make room for a better class of men to come in and locate and help improve, built up and make Linn county what it is today, with its thousands of beautiful farms under a high state of cultivation, with good houses and barns, many of them with beautiful residences finished off in the latest styles, with beautiful lawns, flower gardens and orchards, artificial groves and splendid outbuildings.

The thousands of herds and flocks of the finest live stock, including horses, cattle, hogs and sheep, the great source of wealth of this country, with the splendid cheese factories and creameries scattered over the country with the finest machinery and fixtures, the products of which are great sources of revenue to our people; with good public roads leading in every direction; the county all checkered over with railroads, with their many depots and ware houses for the convenience of commerce and travel, all prove that these early pioneers built well for the future prosperity of their country.

The numerous telegraph and telephone offices with easy communication by wire with all parts of the country, the streams spanned by the most substantial of iron bridges; the many weekly and daily papers with their immense circulations among an intelligent people; the country all dotted over with school houses, churches and colleges, with their spires pointing heavenward; the thriving towns and cities, with capital, energy and enterprise establishing jobbing houses doing immense businesses; the numerous manufacturing institutions of various kinds, the products of which are being shipped to all parts of the state; the many solid monetary institutions which compare favorably with any in this or any other state; the many systems of water works and organized fire departments for the protection of property; the magnificent county building on the county farm, a home for the unfortunate poor and helpless, all these speak eloquently of the foundation laid in poverty and privations by these early pioneers."

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.624-629.


Eber C. Byam was born in Canada in 1826. He came to Iowa, locating in Linn County. He was for many years a minister of the Methodist church and at one time presiding elder. In the organization of the Twenty-fourth Iowa Infanty, he was appointed by Governor Kirkwood its colonel. He did not prove adapted to military command and resigned his commission on the 30th of June, 1863. In 1871 he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office at Fort Dodge and remained in that city several years in the real estate business. He finally moved to Rochester, New York, where he died many years ago.

Source: History of Iowa from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth century. By Benjamin F. Gue. Volume IV. The Century History Co., New York, NY. 1903. p. 35.


Among the gallant defenders of the Union during the war of the Rebellion was this well-known engineer on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, now residing in Cedar Rapids. He was born in Greencastle, Franklin county, Pennsylvania, March 9, 1844, a son of Martin and Margaret (Cline) Byers, who were natives of the same state and came west in 1865, locating on a farm in Linn county, Iowa, about eight miles east of Marion. The mother was accidentally killed by being thrown from a wagon and breaking her neck, in September 1865. The father survived nineteen years.

William C. Byers attended the common schools of his native state until fourteen years of age and then learned the boot and shoemaker's trade. He next entered the machine shop of Crowl & Davidson, at Greencastle, where he worked about three years as an apprentice. Hardly had the echoes from Fort Sumter's guns died away when he joined the boys in blue, enlisting on the 20th of April, 1861, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Company C, Second Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

On the expiration of his term of enlistment he returned home, but later re-enlisted for nine months in Company K, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Regiment. He participated in the battles of Falling Water, Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry, the second battle of Bull Run, Antietam, White Plains, Snuckers Gap, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He was taken prisoner during the last named engagement and recaptured by Colonel Dalgreen. He was discharged at Harrisburg. His two brothers, Charles and George, were also soldiers, the latter being a member of the same company as our subject. He was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, and Charles lost his life at the battle of the Wilderness.

Before leaving Pennsylvania, Mr. Byers was married October 8, 1863, to Miss Lucretia C. Conrad, also a native of Shady Grove, Franklin county, that state, and a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Keysey) Conrad. She is one of a family of ten children, but only three of the number are now living. Six children were born to our subject and his wife, namely: (1) Sherman W., died in infancy; (2) Shannon M., an engineer on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, married Loretta Myers, and they have three children, William, Harry and Ruth; (3) Earle is now assistant bookkeeper for Rea & Company at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and also plays the pipe organ in the Christian church in that city. He was selected as a delegate from that place to the musical convention held in 1900. (4) Edward is employed in a drug store in Cedar Rapids. (5) Carl is connected with a wholesale harness and saddlery establishment in Omaha, Nebraska. One died in infancy.

In the spring of 1864 Mr. Byers came to Linn county, Iowa, and for a time engaged in farming. Later he carried on the boot and shoe business at Springville for about six years, and then accepted a position as locomotive fireman on the Dubuque and Southwestern Railroad, with which he was connected for two years. On the 16th of September, 1872, he entered the service of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railroad, and after firing for three years was promoted to engineer on a freight train, which position he filled for three years and for the past nineteen years has been on the best passenger runs on the road and is now about the ninth oldest man pulling a train on the road.

Religiously Mr. and Mrs. Byers are members of the Trinity Methodist Episcopal church, and they have made their home at 124 G Avenue, West Cedar Rapids, for eighteen years. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers, and the Masonic fraternity, Crescent Lodge. No. 25 and Trowel Chapter, No. 49, and is a stockholder of the Masonic Temple at Cedar Rapids. The Republican party has always found in him a stanch supporter of its principles, and he has taken a very active and influential part in public affairs, serving as a delegate to five international conventions of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman and at numerous political conventions.

While a resident of Springville he served as school director one year and constable 2 years and since coming to Cedar Rapids has represented the 8th ward in the city council, twice being elected on the Republican ticket, although it is the strongest Democratic ward in the city, being chairman of the sidewalk and street committee for three years. His election plainly indicates his personal popularity and the confidence and trust reposed in him by his fellow citizens.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p.619-621.