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West Township Biographical Sketches

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BIRBECK, DAVID, farmer, section 13, P. O. Red Oak; was born in Westmoreland County, England, October 29, 1824 or '25. He lived in England until he was twenty-eight years of age. From England he went to Australia, remaining there about nine years; then to New Zealand, remaining there three years; he returned to Australia and then back to old England. While in Australia and New Zealand he followed the occupation of gold digging. In April, 1870, he moved from England to Montgomery County, Iowa, and located upon the premises which he now owns. He was married November 23, 1870, to Miss Anna Earl, in the city of Chicago; she was a native of England, and of the same village as Mr. Birbeck. They are the parents of two children: Thomas J., born January 29, '72, and Mary E., born April 7, '75. Mr. Birbeck has been shipwrecked four times; three of the vessels were entirely lost; one of them the Star of the East. Mr. Birbeck has an excellent farm of 160 acres and a good bearing orchard. He lost by hail storms one entire crop of corn, besides a large number of cattle dying from the disease called black-leg. He was a member of the church of England.

BIXBY, JOHN, farmer, section 16, P. O. Red Oak; was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, July 25, 1844; moved to Carroll County, Illinois, with his parents when five years of age, living there about sixteen years; thence to the southern portion of Kansas, remaining there about eight years; he then returned to Illinois until the fall of 1876, when he moved to this county, living on section 22, until April, 1880, when he bought his present home, a farm of eighty acres. He was married April 1, 1870, to Miss Sarah Gamble, of Fort Scott, Kansas. They are the parents of one child, Robert Figg, born August 25, 1875. They are also the foster-parents of a boy, Bertie, born November 27, 1872. In April, 1873, at Lyons, Iowa, Mr. Bixby had his hand badly mutilated by a circular saw. The effect of this accident was to distort the hand from its natural shape, and render that valuable member of the body practically useless. Mr. Bixby has his farm all under cultivation, with good improvements, a good frame house and an orchard of one hundred trees.

BRIGGS, RALPH O., P. O. Hawthorn; was born December 25, 1848, in Henry County, Illinois, living there until he reached the age of twenty-two years; moved to Montgomery County and located on the farm on which he now lives, in the spring of 1870, his farm being at the time all wild land. He was married November 20, 1874, to Miss Huldah Harbaugh, a native of Illinois; was married at Red Oak, by W. P. Pattison. By this marriage they have three children: Guy, born August 11, 1875; Nellie, born November 2, 1877; Charlie, born September 16, 1879. Mr. Briggs has a well-improved farm, with good frame house, barn, cribs, granaries, etc. He handles Poland China hogs. He has served as constable for about five years; he also served as township trustee one year.

CONNER, WILLIAM, farmer, section 30, P. O. Climax; was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1852; moved with his parents to Berks County in 1854; here he lived until he grew to manhood, when he returned to Clearfield County, where he lived until 1878, when he came to this county. He was married to Miss Katurah Miller in Clearfield County, March 14, 1878; have one child, Eliza Amilda, born August 29, 1879. Mr. Conner's father was born in county Down, Ireland in 1823. His mother's name was Harriet A. Sunderland, was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Her father was born in Canada, January 29, 1825. Her mother's name was Elizabeth Ballentine, born in Indiana County, Pennsylvania; her parents were born in Scotland; her grand-parents on her father's side were born in Ireland.

DOCKER, WILLIAM, farmer, section 23, P. O. Coburg; born in England July 2, 1832. He emigrated to this country in 1872 and located on his present farm in July of the same year, where he has continued to live ever since. He was married in the month of June, 1856, to Mary Ann Davidson. They have eleven children: Thomas, John, Robert, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Edmond, Margaret, Agnes, Florence, Francis. Mr. Docker now has a fine farm of eighty acres all under cultivation, with good frame house, good stables, cribs, etc. Mr. Docker was one of the first settlers in the neighborhood in which he lives.

FIGGINS, GEORGE, section 18, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; Mr. Figgins was born in Perry County, Indiana, September 3, 1824, living there until the fall of 1864, when he moved to this county. Has followed farming all his life. Was married to Melvina B. Hascall, a native of Indiana, September 7, 1856. They are the parents of six children: Eliza Ann, Charles Franklin, William S., Susan E., Zerelda, George Oliver. Mr. Figgins remembers living two months on shorts which he had to go sixteen miles to purchase, and had to pay for it at the rate of two cents per pound; at that time it was impossible to get either flour or meat at any of the trading points in the county. There were at this time only thirteen voters in the township. Mr. Figgins has eighty acres of well cultivated and improved land. Both he and his wife are members of the Christian Church.

GALLAGHER, PETER, farmer, section 15, P. O. Red Oak; was born in Ireland, February 17, 1829, living there until November, 1851; emigrating to this country, he located in Brooklyn, New York, and after five years residence there he moved to Ross County, Ohio, remaining there until 1863. From Ross County he moved to Rock Island, Illinois. In March, 1876, he came to Montgomery County, on the farm on which he now lives, of one hundred and sixty acres. This farm is all under cultivation, has a good house on it worth eight hundred dollars, also orchard, hedges and groves. He was married in New York State, April 12, 1852, to Miss Sarah Smith, a native of Ireland. They have ten children: John, born September 29, 1853; Frank, July 8, 1855; Mary, July 1, 1857; James, August 13, 1859; Peter, December 29, 1861; Charles, June 14, 1864; Catharine, August 7, 1866; William, September 15, 1868; Joseph, March 8, 1870; Alice, April 4, 1872. Mr. Gallagher and all his family are members of the Catholic Church of Red Oak.

HASCALL, CHARLES, farmer, section 18, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; he was born in Rutland County, Vermont, town of Paulett, May 4, 1812. His parents' names were Safford and Elizabeth. He emigrated to Mead County, Kentucky, with his parents in the winter of 1825. During the spring of 1829 they moved to Perry County, Indiana, following the occupation of millwrighting. In 1864 he move to this township, at which time there were but twelve voters in West and Walnut townships. He was married in February, 1846, to Miss Amanda Lamb, in Perry County, Indiana. They have had eight children, four living: Solomon, John H., Helen M., T. Morris; four dead: Solomon L., Elizabeth, Franklin and George; all buried in Perry County, Indiana. Mr. Hascall bought new land when he came to this county; he now has a well improved farm of eighty acres, all under cultivation. Walnut Creek cemetery is situated on the northeast corner of his farm.

KELLENBURGER, CHARLES W., section 18, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; born in Perry County, Indiana, June 12, 1838. Shortly after his birth his parents moved to Harrison County, Indiana, where he lived until he was fifteen years of age, when he moved to Keokuk County, Iowa, remaining there unit the year 1860, when he returned to Indiana. In the fall of 1869 he came to Montgomery County, locating on section 17, and in the fall of 1871 he located on section 18, where he now lives. Mr. Kellenburger has a farm of 160 acres of well improved land. He was married July 8, 1858, to Miss Susan Ashcraft, a native of Indiana. Was married in Keokuk County by a Mr. Budas, a justice of the peace. By this marriage they have two children: George H. and John W. He was married the second time in Mills County, Iowa, August 31, 1871, to Miss Sarah J. Davis, a native of Illinois. They have three children: Laura M., Harry L., and Walter M. He enlisted in company B, Seventy-ninth regiment of Indiana infantry volunteers, August 19, 1862, and participated in the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Dallas and Lovejoy Station. He was discharged June 12, 1865, at Indianapolis.

KENWORTHY, ENOCH, miller, section 30, P. O. Climax; born in Marion County, Indiana, September 23, 1830. He moved to Guthrie County, Iowa, in 1856. From there he moved to Dallas County, in 1864, where he remained until 1875, when he moved on the farm where he now lives. He bought a half interest in the grist-mill and has run it ever since, under the firm name of Kenworthy & Porter; runs two sets of burs; capacity of the mill, seventy bushels of wheat and one hundred bushels of corn per day. This mill runs more days in the year than any other mill of the county. It is located on Walnut creek, which is fed by springs and always has an abundance of water. This mill was built in 1870. The saw-mill was built three years before. He has two dwelling houses, one of them costing $400 and the other $500, both belonging to the mill; and a good young orchard, beginning to bear. He learned the carpenter trade in Indiana and the milling trade here. He has been married twice: his first wife was Miss Lidda Furnace, a native of Indiana, married April 24, 1850; they were the parents of three children: Joseph, Orlando, and Elsie. His wife died December 25, 1859, in Indiana. He was next married to Catherine R. Ramsey, a native of Indiana, December 26, 1861, in Guthrie County, Iowa. By this marriage they have four children; Dorcas Ellen, Lidda, Emma, and Ruth Ellie. In 1870, while building a mill in Tennessee, in helping to unload a burr, it fell upon his foot, crippling him for life.

KNIGHT, DANIEL W., farmer and carpenter, section 26, P. O. Coburg; born in Worcester, Massachusetts, March 19, 1833, where he remained until he was twenty-one years old; in 1854 he moved to Lee County, Illinois, where he followed carpentering, with the exception of two years that he was farming, until in 1874, when he came to Montgomery Cou7nty, Iowa; he owns a farm of 160 acres of land, nearly all in cultivation, with good buildings, good hedge fences and fine young orchard. He was married September 22, 1860, to Samantha J. Viele, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania; born February 22, 1835. They are the parents of four children: Rufus J., born September 16, 1863; Benjamin P., born September 20, 1868; Alden D., born July 6, 1873, and Arthur R., born February 13, 1875. Mr. Knight is a member of the Masonic order. Himself and wife are members of the Adventist church.

LINDLEY, T. J., section 33, P. O. Essex; was born in Jennings County, Indiana, September 22, 1834; he moved to Meeker County, Minnesota, in 1866, from there in 1871 to Franklin Grove, where he lived one year; then back to Minnesota, remaining there two year, and then returned to Iowa, locating on his present farm. He was married to Miss Laura M. Trowbridge, August, 1866, at Chesterfied, Madison County, Indiana, by David Franklin; she was a native of Ripley County, Indiana. Mr. Lindley has a farm of eighty acres under cultivation; has good house, stables, feed lots, etc., and running water on the farm; he serve in the army one winter as a teamster; he lost his health while living in Minnesota, by reason of hardships which he there endured.

MCGREER, WILLIAM A., farmer, section 13, P. O. Red Oak; was born in Wayne County, Indiana, January 15, 1827; when he was quite small his parents moved to Union County, Indiana; he remained there until the year 1860, when he removed to Muscatine County, Iowa, remaining there eleven years, engaging in the manufacture of pumps for about four years; after that time followed farming until the spring of 1872, when he removed to this county, locating near Hawthorn, and in 1873 bought his present farm. He was married October 25, 1860, to Miss Mary M. Smith, a native of Ohio; was married in Terra Haute, Indiana. They have seven children: Ella, Lizzie, Emma, Frank, Joseph, Mary and John. His farm of 160 acres of good land, is all under cultivation; is abundantly watered, has an orchard of three and one-half acres, together with a good variety of small fruits; has a good house and other buildings.

PARKER, ELLEN, section 32, P. O. Coburg; Mrs. Parker was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, September 2, 1834, and moved to Hancock County, Illinois, when thirteen years old; she was married to John M. Parker, her name being Witherow, April, 1852; they were the parents of six children, four living, one son and three daughters: Arthur W., Maggie, Minnie and Lelia. Her husband died September 6, 1872, at the home farm, and was buried in Franklin Grove; he was a native of New York state, and died at the age of fifty-two years. Mrs. Parker came from Hancock County, Illinois, to Montgomery County; she owns 160 acres of land, all under cultivation; two good springs on the farm; good house, stables, feed lots, etc., etc.; the house cost about $700, and is surrounded by a beautiful grove, and is one of the nicest homes in the neighborhood. The farm is well stocked.

PETERSON, JOHN R., farmer, section 3, P. O. Hawthorn; was born in Sweden, January 29, 1843; at the age of twenty-one he moved to Monmouth, Illinois, living there about one year; from there he went to Kirkwood, farming there four years; in 1860 he removed to Montgomery County, where he followed prairie breaking; in 1876 he bought and moved upon the farm where he now lives. He was married December 24, 1873, to Miss C. Abrahamson, a native of Sweden; by this marriage they have three children; Anna A., born November 6, 1874; Ella S., born February 26, 1876; Tury Y., born February 13, 1880. At the time Mr. Peterson purchased his farm of one hundred and twenty acres it was all wild prairie land, but is now all under cultivation and well improved, with good buildings, fruit trees, groves, hedge fence, etc.

PETERSON, TURY, (brother of John) was born in Sweden, September 3, 1857; came to Kirkwood, Illinois, when ten years of age, remaining there until 1869; moved from Kirkwood to this county; farmed here and herded cattle until January 1, 1873, then returning to Illinois, he located in Galesburg, until the winter of 1878, then returned to Montgomery County, where he has been ever since, engaged in farming.

RHOTEN, JOSIAH, farmer, section 27, P. O. Coburg, born in Brown County, Ohio, October 18, 1846; he removed to Tazewell County, Illinois, in 1867, remaining there four years, and from there he came to Montgomery County, in 1871, and in 1876, located on his present farm. He was married May 21, 1874, to Miss M. Lester, a native of Bedford, Iowa, and was married at that place by Allen Randolph; they are the parents of three children: Ada Pearl, born January 23, 1877; Paul Lester, born May 8, 1879, and an infant son, born October 25, 1880. Mr. Rhoten has a farm of eighty acres of the best of land, well improved, with good house, stable, and other buildings; he also has a good orchard of about sixty bearing trees.

RICHARDS, OLIVER M., farmer, and postmaster, section 29, P. O. Climax; born in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, January 26, 1844; moved with his parents to Lucerne County, when one year old, and from there to Lafayette County, Wisconsin, when thirteen years old. In the winter of 1876 he located within three miles of his present home; he is also a carpenter by trade. He was married to Miss Jane Duff, a native of Wisconsin, September 25, 1871, at Fayette Wisconsin; they are the parents of four children, three sons and one daughter: Byron, born October 30, 1872; Harlin, August 11, 1874; Mabel, October 23, 1876; Frank, January 23, 1880. He has eighty acres of land all under cultivation; a small stream emptying into Walnut creek crosses the corner of the farm; has an orchard of one hundred and seventy-five trees, also a good assortment of small fruits; he has a good barn and house, besides out-buildings, and a beautiful young grove around the house; his buildings were put up at an expense of about $800. Mr. Richards is a member of the M. E. church at Climax.

SHAW, GEORGE, section 18, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; born in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, January 14, 1835. When thirteen years old he moved with his parents to Montgomery County, Ohio, and in 1856 moved to Keokuk County, Iowa, where he was married to Miss S. E. Ashcraft, September 24, 1857. Mrs. Shaw is a native of Indiana. By this marriage they have had eight children, six living: David, Ellsworth, Sarah E., Cora L., Nellie F., Mary Bell. This wife died May 19, 1876, and was buried in West township. Mr. Shaw enlisted in company B, Seventy-ninth Indiana volunteer infantry, ant Indianapolis. Was in the battles of Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, and through the Atlanta campaign; then back to Nashville; from there to Huntsville, Alabama; then to Greenville, Tennessee, and form there back to Nashville, where he was discharged June 7, 1865, returning to Indianapolis. On the first day of August, 1865, he came to Mahaska County, Iowa; and in 1870 he came to Montgomery County, locating on the farm which he now owns. He was married to his second wife, Mary F. Deem, a native of Indiana, in February, 1879; by this marriage they have one child, Ida Lillian Leora. Mr. Shaw now has his farm all under cultivation. He has good horses, good barns, feed yards, wind-mill pump, a fine grove around the house and barn. He also has his farm well fenced with good hedge. He is a member of the Masonic order at Emerson.

SMITH, PATRICK, section 22, P. O., Coburg; born in Lantrim County, Ireland, March 17, 1820. Emigrated to America in 1846, landing in New York, June 5, at Castle Garden. In a short time he went to New Brunswick and remained about two years; then returned to New York state, locating at Poughkeepsie. In November, 1852, he removed to Ross County, Ohio, and in 1865 moved to Mercer County, Illinois, remaining there about six years. In February, 1871, he came to this county, locating on his farm, where he has lived ever since. His son Michael came two years previous, and was the first settler in the neighborhood. Mr. Smith has been a farmer all his life. In 1869, while living in Mercer County, Illinois, he met with a serious accident whereby his hip was dislocated, and it has troubled him ever since. He was married in Ireland, December 16, 1844, to Miss Mary Welch. They have had seven children, six living: Michael, aged 36 in September; Thomas, aged 34 in December; John, aged 29, April 23; Chas., dead, 19 in April, 1870; Hugh, aged 26, February 3; Kate, aged 24, July 31; Jennie, aged 22, September 30. His children are all single and all live at home; his brother John also makes his home with him. Mr. Smith owns 80 acres of land, and his son, Michael, 80 acres adjoining; all under cultivation except twenty acres of slough land. He has a fine orchard of seventy trees; also an abundance of small fruits; all fenced with a live hedge. They suffered severely from grasshoppers, two years, but have managed to overcome their difficulties by steady, hard work, and now have a comfortable home.

STRICKLER, CONRAD, resides on section 7, West township, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He moved to Knox County, Ohio, with his parents, when about two yeas old. In May, 1856, he crossed the Mississippi river, settling in Johnson County, Iowa; lived there about twenty years; form there he came to Montgomery County, March 1, 1876, locating on his present farm of 160 acres. He was married February 4, 1869, to Miss S. E. McFadden, a native of Ohio, and was married in that state by Joseph Hamilton. They have a boy living with them: James Wilson. Mr. Strickler enlisted in company F, Twenty-second Iowa, at Iowa City, August 12, 1862, and was mustered in September 19. Was at Port Hudson, Champion Hill, Black River, Vicksburg; then to Jackson, Winchester, Virginia, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, besides a great many other skirmishes; was discharged at Davenport, Iowa, May 17, 1865. He was wounded at Winchester in the right leg; has never applied for a pension, but is entitled to one. His farm was improved which he bought it; he has a good house, cribs, stables, etc., which were put up at an expense of about $550; he also has a fine orchard of one hundred trees, some of them bearing; good living water in abundance.

THORNTON, AMOS G., farmer, section 10, P. O. Red Oak; was born in Canada, April 25, 1841. April 4, 1865, he removed to Detroit, Michigan, remaining there but a short time; finally located at Muscatine, Iowa; there he followed farming until the year 1870, when he removed to this county, locating on his present farm. After four years he returned to Muscatine, remaining there about three years, when he returned to his farm in this county, where he has since lived. He was married March 31, 1869, to Margaret A. Rogers, also a native of Canada, and who at that time lived near Muscatine. They are the parents of three children: William A., born January 21, 1872; David W., born February 15, '74; Ida May, born March 8, '78. Mr. Thornton bought his farm when it was all wild land; he now has a farm of 160 acres of well improved land, a good farm-house, and a fine orchard of 130 apple trees, together with an abundance of other fruits, such as cherries, crabs, grapes, etc. His house and orchard are surrounded by a fine walnut grove. His farm is fenced on all sides with a good hedge fence.

TUCKER, JAMES R., section 7, P. O. Emerson, Mills County; was born in Washington County, New York, January 10, 1840. In the spring of 1862 he left home and joined a whaling expedition; was absent on this expedition until 1865; the same spring he moved to Joe Daviess County, Illinois Followed farming there for tree years. In the spring of 1872 he moved to this county, locating on his present farm. He was married to Miss Julia Tanner, a native of Washington County, New York, in the fall of 1867. They are the parents of five children: Julia L, Arthur, Dexter, June and Mattie. He bought his land when it was in its natural state. He now has eighty acres of a farm, all under cultivation, good frame house, barn cribs and other out-building; also a fine young orchard.

TUTTLE, STEPHEN, section 5, P. O. Hawthorn; was born in Burlington, Vermont, January 24, 1814; when five years of age his parents moved to New York, where they lived for forty-five years. IN 1834 Mr. Tuttle left New York, and landed in Michigan, Monroe County. He lived there until 1866, then went to Macomb County, living there for seven years, and came to this county in 1873. He has been a farmer all his life. Was married August 1, 1841, to Miss Eunice Tripp, a native of Pennsylvania; married in Monroe County, by Owen Cooney. They are the parents of seven children: Melissa, Ella, Ann, Harris, Stephen, William and George H. In early life Mr. Tuttle was given to the sport of deer hunting, and about forty winters in the early part of his life were spent in deer hunting, killing in one year as many as seventy-five deer. In 1832, he in company with another young man, went into the timber, and built a shanty, Mr. Tuttle killing the first day four deer, and on the fifth day five; killing thirty-nine and only shooting forty-one times. This happened in Lewis County, New York. He was considered one of the best shots and best hunters in the state. He has 247 acres of good land, 150 in cultivation and the remainder in pasture and timber. Walnut creek runs through his farm, furnishing an abundance of stock water. He has good buildings on his farm; house, barn cribs, granaries, etc., which have been built at an expense of about $1,200. He has an orchard of about 100 trees and an abundance of small fruit, also a fine grove around the house. When Mr. Tuttle bought this farm it was all raw land without any improvement; he has made all the improvements himself.

WAX, F. M., section 31, P. O. Climax; Mr. Wax was born in Miami County, Ohio, September 29, 1841, and in the spring of 1855 he moved with his parents to this county, locating within about two miles of his present home. HE was married October 6, 1868, to Miss D. R. Ewing, a native of Indiana; was married in West township, by Thomas Wiedman. They have had four children, thee dead, one living, Ellie A. He enlisted in the 29th Iowa infantry, in the fall of 1861, and was discharged in the spring of 1862; re-enlisted in August, 1862. He participated in the battle of Helena, July 4, 1863; also in the battles of Little Rock, Mobile Bay, and Turnwall Creek. Was discharged September 10, 1865, at New Orleans. Mr. Wax has 280 acres of good land, all under cultivation and in good pasture. He has a very fine orchard of four hundred trees; also a good variety of young fruits. His farm is well supplied with stock water, Walnut creek running through four forties. Mr. Wax is a stock raiser and feeder, handling a considerable number of fine stock.



~ source: History of Montgomery County, Iowa, Illustrated. Des Moines, Iowa Historical an Biographical Co., 1881, Page 732-.

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