"F" Biographies

Oliver J. Feay, a hard working and prosperous farmer of Centennial township, was born in McGregor, IA July 5, 1861, and is a son of Henry Feay, who was German born and bred, and followed the carpenter trade as his life work. Young Oliver was educated and trained to his father's trade in his native community. In the spring of 1882 he began for himself as a journeyman carpenter, and for some thirteen years was entirely engaged in that line. In 1895 he made his appearance in Lyon County and was so pleased with the promise of the beautiful wilderness that he changed his occupation and became a farmer, a step that has been abundantly justified by the results.

Mr. Feay was married December 12, 1896 to Miss Lena Nelson, who was born in Lincoln county, South Dakota, May 25, 1872. there have come three children to bless this union; Henry S., Carrie M. and Alick N., - all of whom were born in Lyon County.

Mr. Feay is a Democrat, and has won his very creditable position which he holds in social and business circles by hard and unremitting labor and constant toil, as well as persistent economy and wise planning. At the present time he rents a magnificent estate of four hundred and eight acres, well fitted out with good buildings, farm machinery and fine stock. He is one of the leading citizens of the county, and has done much to promote its development.

S.A. Feay, a hardward merchant of Rock Rapids, whose career in Lyon county has covered many laborious and well spent years, was born near the Virginia line in Pennsylvania, in January, 1852.  He was reared on the farm, in Clayton county, Iowa, and received his closing schooling in the district schools, supplemented by attendance in the Upper Iowa University.  He learned the carpenter trade from his father, and on leaving school took it up as a business which he followed for three years, having at the same time an idea of farm work as his life occupation.  Gradually he worked into farming mostly for others, but part as a renter.  In 1879 he came to Centennial township, Lyon county, where he purchased four hundred and eighty acres of land, all then wild prairie.  Applying himself with characteristic energy to its improvement, he soon converted it into one of the most attractive farms in the county.  Out of the soil he had received enough to build a farm house, barn, granary, and make all the other necessary improvements for the successful operation of this magnificent estate.

In 1892 the Democratic party put Mr. Freay on its county ticket for the position of auditor, and notwithstanding a normal majority of over four hundred votes against him, he won the election.  He served his constituents well and faithfully for two years, and was again nominated, but lost the election by a very narrow margin.  On retiring from office, on account of his wife's health and the education of his family, he concluded to remain in Rock Rapids, renting the farm, and buying a hardware store.  This business he carried on until 1902, when he sold out on account of his own health. In the spring of 1904 he entered the hardware business again.  With his family he occupies a beautiful home in which there are thirteen rooms.

Mr. Feay was married February 13, 1879, to Miss Sarah, daughter of William and Elizabeth Gray.  Her father, a glass blower by trade, was born in Pennsylvania, and died at the age of sixty-eight years.  His father, John, was also born in Pennsylvania, and came of a mingled Holland-Dutch and Irish parentage.  Elizabeth (Blasser) Gray descended from a German parentage.  As a result of their union Mr. and Mrs. Feay are the parents of two children: Virgil C., now in business with our subject, and George W., still a student in the home schools.

Mr. Feay is an esteemed member of Larchwood Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Paladium Lodge, Knights of Pythias, at Rock Rapids.  He is also connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Yeomen at Rock Rapids.  All the family are active members of the Methodist church.

Henry Feay, the father of S.A., was a carpenter in his active days.  He was born in Pennsylvania, and is still living at the venerable age of seventy-four years.  S.A. Feay, the grandfather of S.A., was born in Pennsylvania in 1804, and died in 1872.  Levi Feay, the great-grandfather of S.A., was born in Pennsylvania, where his ancestors had come before the Revolution.  The Feays were originally from Scotland.  Mary, the mother of S.A. Feay, was a daughter of John Sargeant, who was born in Maryland in 1802, and died at the advanced age of eighty-three.  The Sargeants were of German blood, while the grandmother, Margaret, was of English descent. 

Mrs. Feay had one uncle in the rebellion, while S.A. Feay had several uncles in the same noble cause.  One of them was wounded and taken prisoner in battle.  He was consigned to Andersonville prison, where he died, being at that time a sergeant in his company.  Henry E., a brother of Mr. Feay, enlisted in Company H, First South Dakota regiment, and spent eighteen months in the Philippine war.  So we can say without a question that this martial family are entitled to all the privileges a grateful country can extend to them.


Jacob F. Fields, who has made himself prominent in Lyon county by force of character and energetic disposition, owns a good farm in Logan township, which he has brought into comparison with the model farms of the northwest, it is so neat and thrifty, and thoroughly well cultivated.

Mr. Fields was born in Clinton county, Iowa, in 1858, and his father, Levi, was also born and bred a farmer. He was born in Ohio, and comes of an old American family. He married Elizabeth Carnicle,and to them were born ten children; of whom the son whose name introduces this article was the sixth in order of birth.

Jacob F. Fields remained at home under the parental roof until 1880, during which time he was given a very good common school education, and reared to a farm life. That his training was good, and that he has fairly improved upon his teachers, his history fully shows. His wedding with Miss Lizzie Penfold occurred December 31, 1880. She was born in Illinois, and her father, Thomas Penfold, born in England, came to this country to engage in farming after middle life. Mr. and Mrs. Fields are the parents of a family of six children; Ord, Mabel, Earl, Roy, Grace and Nile.

Mr. Fields continued farming in Clinton county for a few years after his marriage, and then spent a winter in Plymouth, and for some two years was in Cherokee county. In 1886 he entered Lyon county, where he bought the northeast quarter of section 26, Logan township, which was at that time absolutely unimproved. But it was lovely prairie land, with every indication of great agricultural value, and he set himself to its improvement with a glad heart, as here he was confident was to be fashioned a farm of which no man need be ashamed. He put up a house 14 by 20 feet after the rude fashion of the day, simply to shelter and cover. This was unfortunately swept away by a storm of wind before it had hardly been occupied, and had all to be done over again. At that time Rock Rapids and Inwood were the only markets and shipping stations near at hand, a condition of things hardly to be realized in the present abundant opportunity of transportation.

At the present time Mr. Fields owns a half section of land under a very profitable tillage. Here he has a house, and a barn built in 1903, to replace one lost in October, the previous year, by a bad wind storm. The old barn was 52 by 32 feet; while the new is 56 by 32. The family residence is a handsome and commodious structure 40 by 22 feet, and the thrifty and attractive grove adds greatly to the general appearance of the place. A small orchard has promise of many good things not far away, and the entire establishment attests the industry and good management of its owner.

That Mr. Fields stands well among his neighbors is attested by the fact that he has been township trustee for years. At the same time he has filled other minor positions, and has taken an active part in local affairs. In the organization of the township he took an active part, and has been recognized as a prominent and influential citizen from the day of his coming into the county. Mr. Fields may well congratulate himself upon his distinctly marked success.

Simon Fisher is a young and ambitious member of the legal profession with his headquarters at Rock Rapids, where he has won more than the usual meed of fame and honor that waits on the efforts of young attorneys anxious to make headway in their chosen profession. He was born on a farm in Indiana, October 24, 1862, and taking kindly to study, soon became marked for a studious life. He was graduated from the University of Ohio in 1888, taking the scientific course, and then taught as principal of a high school in his native state, later attending the law department of the Iowa State University, from which he graduated in the class of 1892. On seeking a location in the West, he was settled for a time in North Platte, Nebraska, but the same year came to Rock Rapids, and associated himself with J.D. Stewart, a classmate and an intimate friend. The two continued as partners for about a year, and then the firm dissolved, Mr. Fisher continuing to practice under his own name.

In the fall of 1894 Mr. Fisher was elected county attorney, and has been re-elected county attorney, and has been re-elected until now he has filled that position for ten years. As a financier he has met with success, and now owns some desirable lands.

Mr. Fisher is a member of Rock Rapids Lodge, No. 480, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has filled all the chairs in order. At the present time he is deputy grand master of this district.

In December, 1898, was celebrated the wedding ceremonies of Mr. Fisher and Miss Cora J., daughter of Thornton and Sarah Tyson. Her father was a merchant and a successful farmer, coming of old New England ancestry, and was born in Massachusetts. Mr. And Mrs. Fisher are the happy parents of a family of two children, Florence and Fernald Tyson.

Issac Fisher, the father of Simon, was born in Virginia, is a successful farmer, and is still living. His father, Jonathan Fisher, was also born in Virginia, and his father, the great-grandfather of Simon, came to this country from Germany before the Revolution. He enlisted in the Colonial army, and fought throughout the war. After it was concluded, he located in Franklin County, Virginia, where he died at a very advanced age. Jonathan Fisher became a pioneer settler in Indiana in 1842. The grandfather of Mr. Fisher on his mother's side was David Moss. He was born in Kentucky. His father came from England and at first made his home in New England. Later he lived in Kentucky, where David Moss was born and later removed to Indiana, where he was reckoned among the pioneer settlers of that state. Here was born the mother of Mr. Fisher. The Moss family has long been known for its high character and strict integrity, and the family name has suffered no blot at the hands of the Rock Rapids lawyer. It is related of Mr. Fisher's great-grandfather Moss that when the crops had failed for two years in succession in Indiana, he had reaped bountifully, and when the public came to him for grain he would not take advantage of the enhanced prices but sold for the lowest price that prevailed before the years of failure.

Mr. Fisher is an ardent Republican in politics and has taken an active part in every campaign since locating in Iowa, making numerous political speeches in his own and the adjoining counties. It is said of him by one of the local papers that "Simon Fisher is a good lawyer, a good citizen, a good official and a constant missionary for the political party of his choice."

S.O. Fladager, who died January 16, 1903, was long numbered among the leading citizens of Lyon township, Lyon county, and held a place in the social and business circles of the community that can not be easily filled. He was the proprietor of a four-hundred acre farm in section 1, Lyon township, and had gradually worked himself up to a high position in the judgment of those who knew him best. Personally he was a pleasant man to meet, and his character was strongly marked with the kind and humane qualities. He was a devoted husband and father, and a pious and consecrated Christian.

Mr. Fladager was born in Halingdal, Norway, January 7, 1844, and was the ninth member of a family of fifteen children born to his parents. In 1868 he came to the United States, and for two years resided in Clayton county, Iowa. In 1870 he removed to Lyon county, and settled on the homestead where he maintained his home as long as he lived. Gradually his possessions increased until he became one of the wealthier farmers of the county, owning not only a fine tract of four hundred acres of choice farming land, but having it highly improved. In the community in which his useful career was passed he was very highly regarded, and for twenty-four years had served as school director.

Mr. Fladager was married to Miss Eline Arneson, July 30, 1871. She was born in Allamakee county, Iowa July 30, 1852, a daughter of Lars and Raguhild (Olson) Arneson, both of whom were born in Norway. They settled in Allamakee county, Iowa, in 1850, and eighteen years later removed to Canton, South Dakota, where the father died in 1883. He lived to be sixty-nine years of age, while his widow who attained the age of seventy-four passed to her rest in 1898.

Mr. and Mrs. Fladager were the parents of ten children, nine of whom are still living. They are as follows: Mrs. O.A. Berge, Mrs. Ben H. Moen, Mrs. Datliff Bahnson, Oliver, Lizzie, Clara, Maria, Josephine, Samuel and Honora. Mrs. Fladager is still living, and is tenderly watched over by this numerous and interesting family.

Some years ago Mr. Fladager crossed the ocean and made an extensive visit to the home of his boyhood in Norway, and also spent some time in Denmark, where he had some acquaintance. He was a member of the Lutheran church, and his funeral services, which were conducted from the Lutheran church in Centennial township, were said to have been the most largely attended gathering of the kind ever held in that church.


Abraham F. Foss, who is now deceased, was in his life time one of the earlier settlers of Lyon county, and did much for the development of Richland township in the old days.  He was born in Norway, October 10, 1846, and was one of the most successful representatives of his race in the northwest at that early day.  He grew up in his Norwegian home, where he secured such educational advantages as the local schools afforded, and in 1868 became an emigrant to the western world, landing in New York, and making his way at once to eastern Iowa.  In 1870 he removed to Lyon county, where he homesteaded land, at the same time buying a farm.

Mr. Foss was married in the month of November, 1874, to Miss Isabel Sorenson, who was born in Norway, September 1, 1849.  To this union were born eight children: Marsha, Tilda, Finkle, Fea, Celia, Marie, Arthur and Simon,--all of whom were born in Lyon county.

Mr. Foss was a Republican, and held a good position in the esteem and confidence of the people who knew him best.  Not inclined to brag and bluster, his was a substantial character, and his word could always be trusted.  At the time of his death August 14, 1899, he left a good farm of 160 acres, well improved with good buildings and thoroughly modern in every respect.  He had planted and brought into fine condition a large grove which added much to the comfort and convenience of the place.  His name will long be remembered as that of a good man, a faithful husband and father, and a leading farmer in his day.

E. G. Foulkrod, whose pleasant and attractive farm of one hundred and sixty acres is located in section 6, Richland township, Lyon county, was born in Philadelphia, January 22, 1858, a son of George and Florence (St. Clair) Foulkrod. The father was born in Pennsylvania, and the mother in Spain.

George Foulkrod was a moulder by trade in his early manhood, but later engaged in the shoe business in Philadelphia, where he built up a considerable business. On the outbreak of the Civil war he enlisted in a Pennsylvania regiment, was badly wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, and very shortly thereafter died. His widow lived until 1867, when she died at the age of forty-seven. She was a physician by profession and education, and for seven years was actively engaged in the practice of medicine. During the war she was unceasing in her ministrations to the sick and wounded soldiers, and after the assassination of President Lincoln was on the committee that received the honored body of the great martyr as it was being returned to his western home, and had charge of the decorations that attested the grief of the city. She was the mother of three children: Walter W.; Rev. J.W., a Baptist minister of Missouri Valley, Iowa; and E.G., whose name introduces this article. Six ofher children died in infancy.

After the death of his father, E.G. Foulkrod was taken to Wisconsin, where he secured a somewhat slender education by attending public school two or three months during the winter. Here he worked at farming, and became proficient in landscape gardening. This was his occupation for some years in his early manhood, and when he came to his present farm home in 1884 he had an already established reputation as a capable and scientific farmer. Feeling the need of farther schooling he attended the academy at Hull, Iowa, for about a year, and at different times was a pupil in several private schools in the county.

Mr. Foulkrod was married, December 3, 1886, to Miss Luella Negus, of Wisconsin, a daughter of J.P. and Frances (Green) Negus, both natives of New York. Her father was always a farmer, and is now living retired in Sioux City. During the Civil war he was a member of the Thirteenth Wisconsin Cavalry for nineteen months. Mr. and Mrs. Foulkrod have had three children born to their union: Charles H., John P., and George W. For three years he has been school director, and both he and his wife are members of the first Baptist church of Doon, Iowa. A wide circle of warm and appreciative friends attest their popularity, and witness their genuine worth.


Michael P. Fox may truly be classed as a self made man, as he began life for himself when only fourteen years of age with no other capital but a stout heart and a sturdy arm, with such meager educational advantages as the family circumstances could afford. He was born in Dubuque county, Iowa, but his parents were natives of Ireland. They came to this country about 1850.

Mr. Fox was the youngest of a family of six children born to his parents, and spent the earlier years of his boyhood under the parental roof. When he was about fourteen years of age he worked out as a farm hand, and later went with a brother to Fayette county, Iowa, where our subject worked on a farm. He and his brother rented land in Plymouth county. In 1885 Michael P. and his brother Thomas came to Lyon County where they bought land in Garfield township, the two being in partnership for a number of years. In 1888 Mr. Fox bought his present farm, a very desirable tract of land in section 20, Garfield township. This was wild prairie, being entirely devoid of any improvements. By unremitting care and industry he has brought it up to a high pitch of fertility, and owns one of the very valuable farms of Garfield township. It has a five acre grove, a complete outfit of good farm buildings, and comprises a quarter section of as choice land as Lyon county affords. He also rents one hundred and sixty acres.

Mr. Fox was married in 1895 to Miss Anna M. Keith, a native of Clay Center, Kansas and a descendant of an old American family. Two children, Paul and Regina, have come to bless this union.

Thomas Fox is the name of a retired farmer, who has recently come to make his home in the village of Doon, after years of hard work in Garfield township, Lyon County, where he early acquired very extensive real estate holdings, and has created one of the fine farms of the county.

Mr. Fox was born in 1853 in Dubuque county, Iowa, and in 1884 made his home in Garfield township, Lyon county, where he purchased a quarter section of wild land, paying for it the somewhat high price at that time of thirteen dollars an acre. A little later he purchased eighty acres more and thus had a compact farm of two hundred and forty acres, quite thoroughly improved, which is undoubtedly worth at least eighty dollars an acre. During these twenty years it has maintained the family, paid for all its improvements, bought residence property in Doon, and is now worth at least twenty thousand dollars. Nor does this mention the value of cattle, horses, stock, and grain on the place. Is there any surer way of getting rich than honest and wisely planned farming?

In 1902 Mr. Fox purchased a residence on Main street, Doon, which he now occupies after having extensively enlarged and greatly improved it. He still retains the farm, which he has put into the hands of a trusty renter. His residence is a magnificent modern home, built as he would have it, and fitted out with all the recent improvements, so that he has a place in which he may take his comfort and grow old gracefully. The farm on which he settled in a wild state is now thoroughly improved in every part, and is counted one of the "show" farms of the county. It has a model farm house, and its horse barn is 36 by 48 feet, its cow barn 16 by 20, its hog house 28 by 32, and its corn crib 24 by 32. It has a deep and free well operated by a wind mill, and is in every respect up to date. Mr. Fox has been a success as a general farmer, he has kept a high grade of horses, as well as in hogs and cattle, and has always sought the best. As a lad he was industrious and quick to grasp the opportunity. As a young man he did much threshing in the fall, and finally bought a machine for himself. He made money, saved it, and was able to start in the world. When he started in Lyon County, he had his machine, and operated it for several years. He wore out three machines before competition became so strong that the money went out of the threshing business, and he quit the work himself.

Thomas Fox was married in 1888, to Marcellus Harkins, a daughter of John and Hannah Harkins, her father being a farmer and dying at the advanced age of eighty-six. Her father, John Harkins, was born in Ireland. Hannah Harkins was the daughter of H. McClafferty, and was also born in Ireland. There the father of Thomas Fox, Michael, was also born. He was killed by an accident when Thomas was only six years old.


J. W. Fry, a very successful farmer in Centennial township, Lyon county, Iowa, was born July 7, 1864, in the state of New York. His father, John Fry, located in that state in the early ‘‘fifties, and there followed farming for a living. He died when the subject of this sketch was but seven years of age.

Mr. Fry lived in his native state until he reached the age of fourteen years. There he was a student in the public school, and secured a very fair and practical education, so that he has been able to transact business and look after his own interests in the world very successfully. Mr. Fry came to Lyon county in 1888 and for the ensuing four years was employed as a farm hand in this section of this state. His next removal was to the lumber woods of Minnesota, where he was employed for two years. On coming back to this state, he secured land and began farming on his own account.

In 1891 Mr. Fry was married to Miss Sophia Wilson, who was born May 3, 1870, in Sioux county, Iowa. This union has been favored with the birth of several bright and handsome children.

Mr. Fry is a Democrat, and has won a considerable standing as a man and a citizen in his community. He owns a half section of land, and is numbered among the oldest and most prosperous settlers of the county.


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