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M. L. Ink

The subject of this sketch, who is one of the most enterprising and energetic agriculturists of Franklin township, owns and operates a beautiful farm on section 3. He was born in New York, November 5, 1825, a son of Peter and Rhoda (Weatherby) Ink, both natives of New Jersey, as were also his paternal grandparents, John and Anna (Bennett) Ink. His great-grandfather, however, was of German birth. The grandmother, who lived to the advanced age of eighty-seven years, was a resident of New Jersey during the Revolutionary war and was one of the women who were forced to hide in the swamps from the British soldiers then encamped at Trenton. Her brother fought under Washington for the freedom of the colonies. The parents of our subject were married in Tompkins county, New York, and later removed to Knox county, Ohio, where they made their home throughout the remainder of their lives. The mother died in 1855, the father in 1872, and both were buried at Salem, Knox county. They had a family of nine children, namely: Abraham, who wedded Mary Ann Weider, now deceased, and resides in Monroe, Iowa; M. L., our subject; Hannah, who married James Ball and both died in Knox county, Ohio; Mary, widow of James Amerson, of Morrow county, Ohio; Henrietta, who died of consumption at the age of thirty-five years; Diana, who married Schuyler Ball and both died in Knox county, Ohio; Henry, who married Jane Chandler and he died in Knox county; and Raymond, who died of consumption at the age of twenty-four.

M. L. Ink began his education in a stone school house in Tompkins county, New York. It was a subscription school, and the books used were English - the Cobb's speller, and Deball's arithmetic with its pounds, shillings and pence. At the age of ten years he accompanied his parents on their removal to Knox county, Ohio, where he continued his studies in the district schools until about twenty. He began his business career as a clerk for the firm of Hooker & Johnson, at Fredericktown, Ohio, and remained with them one year.  The firm appreciating his ability as a horseman, he was sent to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with a drove of horses, and while disposing of them he received word from Mr. Hooker that the firm had dissolved partnership and for him to take the money from the sale of the horses and buy a stock of dry goods at Philadelphia under the firm name of Hooker & Ink, he being given a half interest in the business, which was a very pleasant surprise to him. For eight years he remained in business at Fredericktown, Ohio, but in 1854 he sold his interest and came to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, where he was engaged in mercantile pursuits for some years.

Before leaving Ohio, Mr. Ink was married at New Haven, Huron county, in September, 1853, to Miss Lucretia Johnston, who was born in New haven, Huron county, that state, December 11, 1829. Her father, John W. Johnston, was born in Pennsylvania, June 6, 1802, while his father was a native of Belfast, Ireland, who on coming to the new world settled near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The latter's brother, Hirshal Johnston, was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. In New Haven, Ohio, April 13, 1829, John W. Johnston married Temperance Andrews, who was born in Southington, Connecticut, March 29, 1801, where her ancestors located on their emigration from England to America. Her father, Samuel Andrews, was also one of the men who took up arms against the mother country during the Revolutionary war. Mr. Johnston died in Ohio, May I, 1835, and his wife passed away at Lima, that state, December 1, 1890. They had three children: Elizabeth M., born February 4, 1829, was married, September 16, 1847, to A. G. Stewart, now a resident of Rockford, Ohio, and she died December 3, 1891; Lucretia A., wife of our subject, is the second of the family; and John W., born December 21, 1834, died January 25, 1846.

Mr. and Mrs. Ink also had three children, namely: (1) Albert Worth, born August 30, 1854, resides on a farm adjoining that of his father. He was married, October 14, 1880, to Alice R. Platner, who was born in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, January 12, 1859, and died April 13, 1900. Unto them were born three sons: Florin Lewis, William Henry and Dwight Platner. (2) Clayton M., born March 29, 1860, is now living in Dakota. He was married, February 15, 1897, to Maud Hahn, and they have one child, Morris L. (3) Raymond P., born August 21, 1872, is a graduate of Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, and now assists his father in the management of the home farm.

When Mr. Ink came to Mt. Vernon it was a mere village containing only eight or ten houses, and he and his wife began housekeeping in one room of a log house on the main street, it being located where the M. K. Neff residence now stands. Later he built a store room and residence on the present site of the building of the Hawkeye Publishing Company, and he remained in the mercantile business at that place until 1864, when he traded his property in the village for a farm of eighty acres in Linn township, and has since engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has added to his landed possessions from time to time until he now has four hundred acres of valuable land, for which he has paid from twenty to seventy dollars per acre. He has placed the entire amount under a high state of cultivation and has made many excellent improvements upon the place. He has one of the best barns in Linn county, it being erected at a cost of nearly four thousand dollars, while his elegant brick residence cost two or three times that amount. He has every reason to be proud of his beautiful home surrounded by a fine grove of forest trees and well tilled fields which indicate the industrious and progressive spirit of the owner. Mr. Ink makes a specialty of the breeding of Shorthorn cattle, and also raises a high grade of horses and hogs, feeding all his grain to his stock, as he has found stock raising the most profitable branch of farming.

In early life Mr. Ink filled the office of deputy sheriff, receiving the appointment owing to the following circumstances: His father had a horse stolen, and our subject, then sixteen years of age, got astride of another horse and started in pursuit. It was cold and rainy and the mud was up to the horse's knees, but he followed the trail of the thief night and day without rest for sixty miles until he overtook him at New Haven, Huron county, Ohio, on the night of March 2, 1842. The robber was in bed and heavily armed when Mr. Ink broke into the room and captured him. In the meantime neighboring farmers heard of the pursuit and rushed to his assistance. The thief was finally landed in jail. Our subject received the praise of the entire community, and on his return home was made deputy sheriff. It is needless to say that there was no more horse stealing in that community while he was in office, and it was said that the desperadoes were all afraid of "Ink, the human blood hound." No man in the county was more honored and respected than he when he came west. In all the relations of life he has made for himself an honorable record by his upright, straightforward course, and his word is considered as good as his bond. Charitable and benevolent, he is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need or distress, and he well merits the high regard in which he is held by his fellow citizens. He is one of the oldest Masons of the state, and is the oldest member of Mt. Vernon Lodge, No. 112, A. F. & M., in which he has filled all the offices.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p. 54-56.

Transcribed by Terry Carlson

ALICE M IRISH (autobiography)


IRWIN, GEORGE A., carpenter and builder, Marion; born near Mercer, Mercer co., Penn., Sept 5, 1853; came to Elwook, Clinton Co., Iowa, in 1867; came to Marion in 1873. Married Marguretta COOK, April 21, 1874; she was born in Perry Co., Penn., in 1849; they have two children--Charles P., born Jan. 24, 1876, and Harry G., born December, 1877.

Posted By: Sandy
Date: 1/20/2004 at 18:14:54 

JUDGE NORMAN W. ISBELL, deceased, long an honored resident of Marion, was born in Charlton, Saratoga Co., N. Y., April 7, 1818.  He was the son of Alvin and Rebecca Isbell, and removed with his parents to Batavia, N. Y., when two years of age.  He was educated in the public schools, and after reading law under the instruction of Thomas Buchanan, of Batavia, Ohio, he was admitted to the bar on attaining his majority.  After his admission, in hopes of finding a better field, he went to Keytesville, Mo., intending to establish himself in practice at that place; but the unhealthfulness of the climate at that city affected him so seriously that, after a year's trial, he concluded to go farther north.  He started for Galena, Ill., but hearing flattering accounts of Marion, the county seat of Linn County, he concluded to go there.  Reaching that city in 1845, he formed a law partnership with Julius H. Sanford, and at once entered upon the practice of his profession. 

Judge Isbell was married at Marion, April 22, 1847, to Miss Elizabeth Pinch, to whom he had been engaged prior to leaving the East.  Mrs. Isbell is a daughter of John and Ann (Scott) Pinch, natives of England, and was born in Washington, D. C., whence she removed to Ohio in childhood.  She lost her father when a mere child, and was brought up by an uncle, Samuel Medary, of Columbus, Ohio, a journalist and politician of prominence in that State.  Mr. and Mrs. Isbell were the parents of five children, three sons and two daughters, only two of whom are living.  Nelson G. was born March 25, 1848.  He adopted his father's profession, practicing in this county, in connection with Judge Hubbard, and became a prominent attorney of Lansing, Mich.  He was married to Miss Julia, daughter of Judge Gregory, of that city, and died May 14, 1881, leaving a wife and two children, Bessie and Maud.  The second son, George A., was born Jan. 30, 1851, and is a resident of Lansing.  He married Mary McGlumphey, and has two children, Callie and Suse.  Minnie E., born May 24, 1854, died in 1878, only a few days prior to the time set for her wedding.  Calina M. was born May 10, 1858, and is the wife of George L. Davis, of Canisteo, N. Y.  They have one child, named Minnie.  Norman W., the youngest, was born May 23, 1862, and died May 12, 1863.

Judge Isbell was a man of great force of character, possessed of a mind peculiarly adapted to the requirements of his profession, a close student and keen observer.  He rose rapidly in his profession, and was elected County Judge of Linn County in 1847, and held that position until Feb. 26, 1854, when he resigned.  He was elected to the Supreme Bench of the State, and took his seat in June, 1855, serving until June, 1856, when he was obliged to resign on account of failing health.  In November, 1862, he was elected Judge of the District Court, and was incumbent of that office until September, 1864, when he was again compelled to resign on account of failing health.  He sought the Pacific coast in hopes of checking the force of the disease, which was an affliction of the lungs, but was doomed to disappointment, and surrounded by his family and friends he quietly passed away on the 10th of March, 1865, at Napa City, Cal., aged forty-seven years.  Thus passed away in the prime of life a remarkable man, distinguished for splendid mental attainments, purity of character and rare social qualities.  While the writer of this notice was seeking information from which to prepare this sketch, he was peculiarly impressed with the strong hold Judge Isbell had on the hearts and memories of his old neighbors.  It was the same old story over and over, one spontaneous outburst of enthusiastic eulogy.  Few men may hope, after having been dead twenty years, that their virtues will be so well remembered, and their hold upon the hearts and memories of friends prove so strong.  In speaking of the Judge, a brother lawyer said:  “He was a man of superior legal mind, of remarkable energy and clearness of expression.  Although he was not what may be called an eloquent speaker, he was logical, clear and forcible.  His thorough knowledge of law and his evident honesty won the confidence of all, and carried conviction to the minds of his hearers.”  He was indefatigable in the prosecution of anything he undertook, and his energy and industry were remarkable.  If he had possessed a physical constitution in proportion to his mental calibre and nervous energy, he would undoubtedly have won a place among the great ones of the nation.  As one of the most prominent men that ever lived in Linn County, and one of the noblest that ever adorned the legal profession or wore the ermine in this State, the publishers take pleasure in presenting the portrait of Judge Isbell in this volume.

Source: portrait and biographical sketch (verbatim transcription):  “Portrait and Biographical Album of Linn County, Iowa”, 1887, biographical sketch on pages 254 and 257, portrait on page 256

Transcribed & Contributed by: Eric & Marcia Driggs


Thomas G. Isherwood, deceased, was numbered among the honored early settlers of Linn county, Iowa, where he located in the spring of 1850, and with whose development and upbuilding he became closely identified. A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in Lancaster City, Lancaster county, that state, November 6, 1816, and was a son of Robert and Ann (Green) Isherwood. The father was a native of England, and made his home in Liverpool for many years. He was a member of the Methodist Protestant church, where he was leading tenor in the choir. He composed his first poem when ten years old. Although it was of great length his mind retained it throughout life and he could recite it at any time. He wrote some hymns, and after he was eighty years old would often dictate a verse to some grandchild to pen. The following two have been preserved:

"Love Jesus.' He will be your friend,
And when on earth your time shall end,
Your happy soul to God will soar
And dwell with Jesus evermore."

"O, happy place,' I still must say,
'Where all but love is done away.'
There dwells my Saviour, and my God.
Lord, bring me to that blest abode."

About 1809 he came to the United States and settled in Lancaster, where he remained for a few years before his removal to Greene county, Pennsylvania. There he engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1850 he came to Linn county, Iowa, and there made his home until called from this life at the ripe old age of eighty-six years. His wife had died some years earlier.

The early life of Thomas G. Isherwood was passed at his birthplace, and there he obtained his primary education, completing his studies in the high school at Brownsville, Pennsylvania. After reaching manhood he was in the employ of silk and woolen manufacturers at various places for some years. As previously stated, he came to Linn county, Iowa, in the spring of 1850, and purchased a partially improved farm near the village of Mt. Vernon, to the further development and cultivation of which he at once turned his attention. Here he continued to successfully engage in general farming, stock raising and grain dealing until his death, which occurred on his farm in Franklin township November 23, 1890. He was a consistent and faithful member of the Methodist Protestant church, and for many years was also connected with the Masonic fraternity. He always took a deep and commendable interest in educational affairs, and was a generous contributor to Cornell College in its early days.

At Brownsville, Pennsylvania, Mr. Isherwood was married, in May, 1849, to Miss Herpalice Lowry, who still survives her husband and now resides on College Boulevard, Mt. Vernon, Iowa, using the farm as a summer retreat. She is a native of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Dr. Stephen and Ann (Pollock) Lowry. The first of the Lowry family to come to America was her grandfather, who was born in Scotland. Her grandfather, Stephen Lowry, Sr., was born in 1741. He came to the United States and located in Cecil county, Maryland, where, in 1775, he married Anna Pollock, and moved to Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two-year-old slave girl, Clarissa (a wedding present from his wife's father). Clarissa was freed by Mr. Lowry while Pennsylvania was yet a slave state, but she never left the family, and lived to care for two generations of children and to be loved by them in return and respected by everyone who knew her. The birth of Mrs. Isherwood's father occurred in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1791, and his literary education was obtained at Jefferson College, Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. Later he attended Philadelphia Medical College and on his graduation was granted the degree of M. D. He commenced the practice of his chosen profession at West Newton, Pennsylvania, dying there at the early age of twenty-eight years. Soon after his graduation from Jefferson College, when twenty-one years of age, he entered the army for the war of 1812 as a member of Captain Markle's troop of Volunteer Light Dragoons. His discharge reads as follows: "Stephen Lowry, a private of the above mentioned troop, having faithfully performed his duty for eleven months, conformably to act of congress of 6th of February, 1812, is hereby honorably discharged at Franklinton, Ohio, this 17th of August, 1813." Signed, Joseph Markle, captain. His wife survived him a number of years, dying at the age of sixty-two. He was the father of one son and a daughter, of whom Mrs. Isherwood is the older, and Hortensius, who died about nine years ago at the age of seventy. Throughout his active business life he followed farming, and never left the old homestead in West Newton, Pennsylvania, on which his own child, Charles Lowry, now resides. The house was built by Mrs. Isherwood's grandfather about 1792, and was rebuilt by her brother Hortensius with the same brick in 1879.

Four children were born to Mr. & Mrs. Isherwood, namely: (1) Hortensius Lowry, born in Franklin township, Linn county, in the fall of 1850. He pursued the literary and civil engineering courses at Cornell College, and was graduated there in 1876. Subsequently he attended the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College at Chicago, and then entered Rush Medical College, where he was graduated in 1877, having taken a partial course before his graduation at Cornell. Since receiving his degree he has successfully engaged in practice at Carl Junction, Missouri, and is now surgeon for the railroad passing through that place. He also owns a drug store there, and a large farm and lead mines in the locality. In 1892 he represented his district in the Missouri legislature. He married Miss May Cons, and they have three children, Niena M., Hortensius Lowry and Eber Dudley.

(2) Alonzo D. is now a resident of Rocky Ford, Colorado, about fifty miles east of Pueblo, where he owns a fine fruit ranch. He also owns another ranch near La Junta, that state. On this ranch is an eight-acre fish pond, filled from the Arkansas river known as Crystal Lake, which is stocked with mountain trout. He is extensively engaged in raising, feeding and shipping cattle for the Chicago market, and also raises large quantities of melons for shipment and beets for the beet sugar factory recently started at Rocky Ford. He has been very successful in business affairs and is now the owner of some valuable property.

(3) Mattie A., now residing with her mother in Mt. Vernon, obtained her literary education at Cornell College, Iowa, and Mt. Union College, Ohio. She is an artist of recognized ability, and pursued her studies along that line at the National Academy, New York city, and took private lessons of B. F. Reinhart. As a writer she also possesses considerable merit, and at the World's Fair in Chicago she read a paper before the woman's world's congress auxiliary which called forth the following favorable comment from a Philadelphia journal: "The scholarly paper of Miss Mattie Isherwood, of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, was on Scientific Faring, in which she showed the progress made in farming under the influence of science, an d she wasted no sympathy on the plodding farmer. She is a college graduate and an artist of sufficient merit to have pictures exhibited at the World's Fair. We meet with the products of her pen in our art, literary and farm journal. She also has under her control a stock and grain farm of over four hundred acres. Which all goes to show not only that brains are now taking the place of brawn on the farm, but it also shows what high and diverse attainments are possible to the American girl of the period."

(4) Thomas G. was graduated from Cornell College in 1881, and then took a course of lectures at Rush Medical College, where he was graduated in 1883, with the degree of M. D. He is now successfully engaged in the practice of his chosen profession at West Chicago, Illinois, and is serving as county coroner at that place and as surgeon for two railroads that pass through there. He has also held the office of mayor of the city for two or three terms. He married Miss Lizzie Jones of Geneva, Illinois, and they have two children, Paul, Alonzo and Helen Louise.

Source: Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901. p. 300-303.

Transcribed by Terry Carlson


One of the pioneer settlers of Linn county, Iowa, is John B. Ives, who is now living retired in Marion, enjoying the income which he accumulated in former years.  He was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, on the 21st of August, 1824, his parents being Elihu and Rachel (Blakesly) Ives, natives of the same state, where they continued to make their home until 1837.  In that year they came west and located near Bloomington, Illinois, where the father purchased a farm and engaged in agricultural pursuits for two years.  He then brought his family to Linn county, Iowa, and took up a claim in Marion township.  After erecting a log house upon his place he at once commenced to break and improve his land.  Throughout his active business life he followed farming, but lived in ease and retirement the last twenty years of his life.  By his ballot he supported the men and measures of the Democratic party.  Both he and his wife are now deceased.  The children of their family were Lucy, deceased wife of Garrett Andrews, of Connecticut; Charles, who died in that state; Norman, a farmer of this county; George, deceased, who was also engaged in farming in Linn county; John B., our subject; Ruth, deceased; Elihu, who lives on the old homestead in Marion township; and Rachel, who died in infancy.

During his boyhood John B. Ives received a common school education and acquired an excellent knowledge of farm work.  He came with the family to this county in 1839, and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Marion township, two miles northeast of the village of Marion.  When it came into his possession it was all a wild tract, and to its cultivation and improvement he devoted his energies for many years, meeting with marked success in his labors.  He followed general farming uninterruptedly, until about 1880, when he disposed of his place and removed to Marion, where he has since made his home.  For two years and a half he was engaged in the grocery business with his brother George, but for the past twenty years has practically lived retired.  Besides his own home and a small piece of land in Marion, he owns two fine houses on Twenty-second street of that city.

In 1851 Mr. Ives was united in marriage with Miss Hannah Jane Wallace, a native of Ross county, Ohio, and a daughter of James and Hannah Wallace.  By this union were born two children: James E., at home; and Margaret E., who died in infancy.  Politically Mr. Ives is identified with the Democratic party, and religiously is a member of the Baptist church, in which he served as deacon for several years.  He and his family are among the oldest residents of the county, and have been actively identified with its growth and development.  He can relate many interesting reminiscences of early day, when wild game was plentiful and the streams were full of fish.  In those early days he was a great fisherman, taking much delight in that sport.  He is widely and favorable known throughout the county, which has been his home for so many years, and it is safe to say that none of its early settlers are more highly respected and esteemed.

Source: The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa, Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901, pages 179-180.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion

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