Muscatine County, Iowa



Family Story Submitted by Carrie Jackson, April 17, 2011

         This information is being typed in word for word from a two page document that my Grandmother gave to me. I do not know who wrote the document or I would give credit where credit is due. The only clue that I have about the identity of the writer is that Joseph Austin Heath was their father.

         My Grandmother's name is Madelyn Lucille Oostendorp. She was born as Madeline and it says this on her birth certificate but she changed her name when she was a teenager legally to Madelyn (She thought the spelling was more glamorous). Sometimes people put things online with it spelled Madeline, but family knew better of this. Her Mother's name was Lola Mae Metcalf. Unfortunately, someone on the gravesite pages posted it as Lola May Metcalf so many people searching for family history are misspelling her name.

First Generation

David Heath, supposedly from Awell Township, Hunterson County or from Somerset County, New Jersey. No dates or other vital statistics of his are available to date, except that he married Mary either Jarvis or Worthington who was born June 30, 1771 and died December 11,1864. The place of birth and death are not known at this time, and when her husband was born and died is another mystery. In fact he must have passed away sometime before 1843, as his wife Mary, his sons Austin and John, as well as Austin's sister Sarah, his wife Eliza, daughter Mary E., and his son Mahlon were recorded in the census of 1850 of Johnson Township, Champaign County, Ohio. Records show that this group purchased land there in 1843 and 1844, and are recorded as residents in the 1850 census, but I have been unable to find any mention of them in that county or in nearby counties in later census records which have been searched at the Iowa State Historical Society files at Iowa City, Iowa. It is suspicioned that Austin was a teacher and he may have taken a job in another state, in fact, he may have been in Illinois, as it is rumored that Mary, his mother died and is buried somewhere in Illinois. Word from the capitol of Illinois, Springfield is that records of that nature are kept in the County Court Houses of the States, so I expect in the next year to make inquiry at those places for a death certificate for Mary as well as Austin, Mary E. and Mahlan.

It could easily be supposed that David may have died in New Jersey in the year 1840, as his son Peter who had come to Iowa in 1838, was not in the Iowa census of 1840. He may have been during census taking time in New Jersey, at his Fathers’ funeral.

Second Generation

Peter B. Heath (birth certificate states that he was born in New Jersey, no town given) on November 5, 1817, married in 1854 in Cedar County, Iowa. He had come to West Liberty in 1838 or earlier, as he had the first store in West Liberty, Iowa. Just before his marriage, he homesteaded a farm in Goshen Township, Muscatine County, Iowa. He later purchased a farm in Lincoln Township, Johnson County, Iowa. He also owned land in West Liberty, Iowa now owned by the W.R. Grace Co., and occupied by one of its subsidiaries, the Walnut Grove Products Co., where feed is made and distributed, as well as farm crop fertilizers. In 1880 he purchased a home at 611 North Calhoun Street where he and his wife lived until his death which occurred one Sunday morning on the farm which he still owned in Johnson County, Iowa. He died on November 14-1889 according to his death certificate, but the family Bible gives the date as November 24,1889. His wife was Susan Farquhar Gibson Heath born in Knox County, Ohio on January 23-1834. She came to West Liberty, Iowa in 1853, with her parents and was married in Cedar County in 1854 where she lived until her death on March 6, 1902. She bore six sons, four daughters, of whom only four of the sons and one daughter lived to their maturity. Three daughters died of diphtheria in the epidemic of 1879, within a span of only fifteen days.

(Reedy Plumbing and Heating and the West Liberty Car Wash now occupy part of the land once owned by Peter B. Heath)

Third Generation

Joseph Austin Heath (my father) was born, he said, at his Aunt Jane Dicks home in Piqua, Ohio, Feb. 2nd, 1857 and was married on Sept. 11, 1895 at Oxford, Iowa. He passed away in West Liberty, Iowa on October 31, 1938. His wife Margaret Elizabeth Yenter was a twin, born August 28, 1866 in Virginia City, Nevada, where her father a German blacksmith was employed in the lead and silver mines. After his death, which occurred while Margaret was quite young, the family returned to Oxford, Iowa where she married. Joseph and Margaret had no children in St. Louis, Mo. They owned and lived on a farm one and one half mile north of Nichols, Iowa until 1909 when they moved to 215 East 6th St. West Liberty, Iowa, where she passed away on July 22, 1929. Both she and her husband now rest in Oakridge Cemetery, West Liberty, Iowa

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Page created April 18, 2011 by Lynn McCleary