Scott Co, Iowa - IAGenWeb Project


Jennings Price Crawford, M.D.

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

The life work of Dr. Jennings Price Crawford was of signal service to his fellowmen in the city in which he long made his home. Not only his professional skill and ability but his social characteristics and his genuine personal worth endeared him to all who knoew him. He was kindly and sympathetic in nature and he wisely used the talents with which he was endowed for the benefit of those with whom he came in contact. His history, therefore, cannot fail to prove of interest to many of our readers. He came of an old New England family, the ancestry being traced back to John Crawford, who left his home in the Scottish highlands and settled in the new world during its early colonization. To the same family belonged Colonel William Crawford, who figured in both the colonial and Revolutionary wars, his military service covering thirty years.

Dr. Crawford was born near Marion, Iowa, August 27, 1855. He and his twin brother, Dr. A. J. Crawford, now deceased but formerly a distinguished physician of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, were the sons of Jennings and Sarah (Price) Crawford. In his youthful days Dr. Crawford, of this review, mastered the branches of learning in the public schools of his native county, thus spending a portion of each year in study until he reached the age of seventeen, when he had opportunity to attend Western College at Western, Iowa, and in that institution completed his literary course. His professional education was acquired in the medical department of the Iowa State University, from which he was graduated in 1883 on the completion of a four years' course with the valedictory honors of his class. During the two vacations he had acted as house physician at Mercy Hospital in Davenport and thus to his theoretical training added the broad and invaluable experience of hospital practice. The late Dr. W. F. Peck was his preceptor and professor in surgery and, no doubt, he inspired Dr. Crawford with his preference for surgical work as the latter always had the greatest admiration for his teacher, who was a noted surgeon. He took a post-graduate course at Bellevue Hospital College, New York city.

Opening an office in Davenport in 1883, Dr. Crawford steadily advanced in his chosen field, winning high professional honors that made him regarded as one of the eminent physicians and surgeons of Davenport up to the time of his death. He never ceased to be a student of his profession but throughout his life read broadly and with thoughtful consideration carried his researches into the realms of scientific knowledge, doing everything in his power to promote his own efficiency and add to that general knowledge of medicine and surgery which constitutes a source of public health. He stood high in the ranks of his profession, not only in this city but in the state, and was not unknown beyond the borders of Iowa. He held membership in the American Medical Association and frequently attended its meetings. He was also seen in the meetings of the Iowa State Medical Society, the Iowa and Illinois District Medical Association and the Scott County Medical Society. He was a frequent contributor to medical literature and one of his last public appearances was for the presentation of a paper which he had prepared on surgery before the Iowa State Medical Society, at Des Moines. The addresses which he delivered in such meetings were frequently published in the leading medical journals, for they were carefully prepared and presented not only the results of his own experience but also of his wide research. He served as a member of the staff of both Mercy and St. Luke's Hospitals and was one of the most active promoters of the interest of those two institutions. His large surgical practice took him to the hospitals almost daily and his skill and ability were of such high order that his death came as a distinct loss to both. He acted as district surgeon for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and took a prominent part in arranging for the meeting of the Iowa State Medical Society, which was held in Davenport about two years before his death - an important meeting still pleasantly remembered by the physicians of this vicinity who shared with him in the honors and responsibilities of being the entertainers on that occasion. The Illinois Society met in Rock Island at the same time and joint gatherings were features of their meetings. As his health began to fail Dr. Crawford gradually withdrew from his professional service, for he realized the advance that was being made by the disease which eventually terminated his life.

In no other environment did Dr. Crawford find the happiness and contentment which came to him in his own home, for he was a man of domestic tastes and his greatest joy was in the companionship of his wife and children. On the 14th of October, 1885, he married Miss Anna Williams, a daughter of A. F. Williams, who at one time was a member of the Seig Iron Company and prominent in the business circles of Davenport. He died many years ago but is still survived by his widow, who spends the summer seasons in Davenport and the winter months in California, where she has a daughter living. Unto Dr. and Mrs. Crawford were born five children, Frances Louise, Genevieve, Helen, Dorothy and Margaret, the last two being twins.

Dr. Crawford held membership in the Calvary Baptist church, in which he was an active and loyal worker, being a trustee of the church and superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. He was also one of the charter members of the San Grail Club and belonged to the Masonic fraternity. He was interested in all those movements which had for their object the betterment of mankind and he was also a stalwart champion of projects for the public good, rejoicing in the growth, advancement and welfare of his city. He was so widely known and such was the hold which he had upon the affection of his fellow townsmen that his death, which occurred in 1907, brought a sense of personal bereavement to the large majority of Davenport's citizens. On the Sunday following his demise, in place of the regular lesson in the Sunday school of the Calvary Baptist church, there was held a memorial service in his honor, in which many who had known him long and well testified to his goodness of heart and the honor of his life, which in all of its phases was of such high character as to constitute an example that is well worthy of emulation.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


John B. Crouch

From "Vol. 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Dr. John B. Crouch, one of the successful representatives of the medical profession in Eldridge, was born in Davenport in 1880. His father, Fred Crouch, is a member of the Walsh Construction Company, who are among the prominent contractors of that city. There Dr. Crouch spent his childhood and youth, attending the common schools, in which he derived his early education, and then entering the high school where he prepared for the college course that should fit him for the medical profession. He spent two years at the Iowa College at Grinnell; one year in the medical department of the State University; and then transferred his credits to the Northwestern University Medical School at Chicago, from which he was graduated with the class of 1905. He immediately engaged in his professional labors, and after about two months' experience, succeeded Dr. Kemmerer, who had long been known as one of the oldest practitioners of Eldridge. The four years of his residence here have been productive of large returns; he has built up a large and remunerative practice; and has gained the respect and confidence of his patients and colleagues, while the drug store, which he has conducted in conjunction with his professional duties, is one of the thriving business concerns of the village. He is a man who by nature and training is especially adapted for general practice, although he is at the same time a deep student, which has enabled him to become almost a specialist in those fields of his art which appeal most strongly to him. In diagnosis he is careful and through, as a practitioner he is painstaking, while his personality, his enthusiasm and his cheerfulness make him ever welcome in a sick room.

Dr. Crouch belongs to several of the college fraternal organizations, for he was ever a man to make stanch friends, and as a member of the County and American Medical Associations keeps well informed upon the progress in his profession and the interests with which his co-workers are concerned. In 1905 in Davenport was celebrated the marriage of Dr. Crouch and Miss Martha Frances Ballard, whose parents are residents of that city. One daughter, Rhoda Bliss, now about one year old, has been born to the couple.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Phineas Curtis

 "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Phineas Curtis is now living retired in Davenport. In every relation of life he has been faithful to the duties that have devolved upon him and he truly deserves the rest that has now come to him in the evening of his days. He was born in Otsego county, New York, June 10, 1830, and is a son of Daniel and Mehitable (Masters) Curtis. His early American ancestors in the paternal line came from England in 1642 and in the maternal line in 1716, the Masters family coming from the isle of Guernsey.

The early boyhood home of Phineas Curtis was near Cherry Valley, New York, and there he lived with his parents until seven years of age, when a removal was made to the vicinity of Johnsonville, New York. There he attended select and public schools, making his home there until twenty years of age, when he came to the middle west, his destination being Quincy, Illinois. For three terms he engaged in teaching in the district schools near that city and in 1851 arrived in Scott county, Iowa. Here he began teaching in Buffalo township, but after devoting his time to that work for one term he took up the occupation of farming, purchasing a quarter section of land in Allens Grove township near Donahue. This he purchased for one dollar per acre. It was entirely wild and uncultivated and he built thereon a house, fenced the field and with characteristic energy began to till the soil. As the years passed his labors brought him good results, transforming the once wild prairie into a highly cultivated farm, upon which he continued to reside until 1890, selling it the following year. He had not been actively engaged in the cultivation of his fields, however, since 1872, for other duties had occupied his attention. While in Allens Grove township he served as assessor for several years and was also made collector of the money to build schoolhouses. He filled the position of justice of the peace for a long period and when he put aside the duties of general farming in 1872 he purchased a small stock of goods and opened a general store in Donahue. He soon increased his stock by extensive purchases in the city wholesale districts and conducted the business successfully for ten years. On the expiration of that period he sold out and built tile works at Allens Grove. For six years he operated the plant there and then disposed of it. In all of his business undertakings he has been successful, carefully managing and controlling his interests until he won thereby a creditable and desirable measure of success that enables him to live retired. For twelve years he served as postmaster of Donahue and was also station agent and express agent on the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad for two years. While serving as postmaster and express agent he never had a report come back to him for correction. In 1890 he took up his abode in Davenport, where he has since made his home, erecting a fine residence here in 1894. He has built a large number of houses in the city and their rental is principally the source of his gratifying income, enabling him to put aside all the active duties of business life.

On the 27th of February, 1853, Mr. Curtis was married to Miss Laura L. Fuller, a daughter of Dennis R. and Lovancia (Bradley) Fuller, of Allens Grove. She was born in that township November 15, 1837, and it is thought that she was the first white female child born in Scott county. It was indeed at that time a wild pioneer region, into which few settlers had penetrated, although the Indians were still numerous in this part of the state. She lived to witness remarkable changes in the years which covered her life record, extending to the 5th of January, 1902, when she was called to her final rest. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Curtis were born seven children. Enola M., who was born April 19, 1855, was married September 14, 1874, to George P. Maw, of Davenport, and they have five children: Louisa J., born August 8, 1875; Maria C., August 26, 1878; Phineas J., August 10, 1881; Orange S., August 16, 1886; and Grace L., June 10, 1889. Lovancia M., the second member of the family, was born October 22, 1857, and on the 18th of February, 1878, became the wife of A. A. Fuller, of Davenport, by whom she had three children: Blanche E., born November 23, 1880; Laura, born September 5, 1883; and Curtis, February 5, 1887. Dennis D., born January 19, 1862, and now living in Davenport, was married March 20, 1891, to Emma Keppe, and they had five children: Madge A., born September 29, 1893; Charles D., June 23, 1895; Ned B., April 26, 1897; Ralph D., August 19, 1899; and Frank R., July 12, 1902. Frank R. Curtis, the fourth child of Phineas Curtis, was born February 28, 1864, and was married March 15, 1885, to Tillie Madden. They had one son Loraine, who was born November 27, 1887, and lives at Moline, Illinois. Abram B., who was born April 4, 1867, at Donahue, Iowa, was married April 4, 1887 to Miss Margaret Madden. They have three children: Lovina A., born August 21, 1890; Clarence D., November 14, 1893; and Margery M., July 14, 1897. Lottie M., born January 13, 1870, was married October 6, 1889, to John R. Randall, who died July 28, 1894, leaving one child, Worth B., who was born December 26, 1890. Ora E. born June 25, 1878, was married June 29, 1898, to G. L. Hostetler, and they live in Des Moines, Iowa. They have two children: Roger H., born October 12, 1902; and Helen L., born April 3, 1906. There have been four deaths in the family circle. Lottie, the sixth child of the family, died February 13, 1898, while Mrs. Tillie Curtis, the wife of Frank R. Curtis, passed away April 16, 1897, Mrs. Dennis Curtis, April 27, 1907, and A. A. Fuller on the 8th of October, 1897. For his second wife Mr. Curtis chose mary A. (Weed) Davis, a daughter of Hiland and Amanda Weed, of Fayetteville, New York. She was born in Jordan, Onondaga county, New York, and on the 22d of June, 1905, became the wife of Mr. Curtis.

In his political views Mr. Curtis has been a stalwart republican since the organization of the party and has filled a number of local offices, the duties of which he has discharged with promptness and fidelity. He holds membership in the Christian church, in which he is serving as elder and in its work he takes active and helpful interest, while his entire life has been guided by its principles and teachings.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


John Daniels

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

John Daniels was for many years identified with the agricultural interests of Scott county but for the past year he has lived retired in a beautiful home in Davenport. Throughout his career of continued and far-reaching usefulness his duties have been performed with the greatest care, and business interests have been so managed as to win him the confidence of the public and the prosperity which should always attend honorable effort. Mr. Daniels is a native of England, his birth having occurred in Gloucestershire, on the 18th of April, 1845. His parents, Walter and Elizabeth (Baker) Daniels, were farming people of that country and lived and died there, the father passing away in 1891, when seventy-five years of age, and the mother in 1895, at the same age.

John Daniels remained in his native country during the period of his boyhood and youth, assisting his father in the operation of the home farm and in carrying on a butcher shop, which the latter conducted. When twenty-one years old, foreseeing no future in the land of his nativity and having heard and read a great deal about the freedom and the opportunity for advancement in this country, he decided to leave home. Setting sail for the United States, it was in March, 1866, that he landed in New York city, whence he made his way to Davenport, where lived an uncle, James Baker, who was one of the early settlers of this section of the state. Mr. Daniels worked for him during the succeeding summer and later was employed by others at truck gardening until 1870, when he was married and he then rented a tract of land which he cultivated for six years. He was largely engaged in raising sugar cane and also engaged in the dairy business. In the fall of 1875, having saved a sum of money that justified the purchase of land, he became owner of twenty acres, which at that time was in Davenport township but is now included in the city limits and is known as the West Home addition to the city. This tract was only slightly improved, but Mr. Daniels built a small house containing two rooms, and in this little dwelling he and his family took up their abode. After four years he added to the house and in later years replaced his first dwelling with a more pretentious and modern structure. He was engaged in farming that land until 1883, when he purchased the place known as the Hunter farm, located a mile and a half from the city limits, in Davenprot township, this tract comprising eighty acres. Mr. Daniels then took up his abode on that farm but after two years returned to his first tract. In August, 1909, he put aside all business cares and removed to the city, where he occupies a nice home. In former years he led a busy, active and useful life and his labors, carefully managed, have brought to him a gratifying reward.

It was in 1870 that Mr. Daniels was married to Miss Elizabeth Baker, who was likewise born in Gloucestershire, England, a daughter of Thomas and Anna (Fawkes) Baker. The Baker family came to Davenport about 1856 and it was here that the marriage of the daughter occurred. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Daniels have been born two sons and one daughter, namely: Walter, who resides in Davenport and wedded Miss Anna Kelling, by whom he has a son and daughter, Robert and Alice; John, who wedded Miss Sarah Kober and who lives on his father's farm on Harrison street, just outside of the city; and Elizabeth, at home. The parents are communicants of the Episcopal church, in which Mr. Daniels has long served as a vestryman. Coming to America in early manhood, Mr. Daniels made good use of every opportunity that presented for advancement and today he is surrounded by all the comforts that go to make life worth living. The family home at No. 1415 Farnam street is one of hospitality and good cheer and all who enter its doors are given a cordial welcome.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Captain Alvah O. Day

From "Vol. 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

One of the best known representatives of the shipping interests on the Mississippi river is Captain Alvah O. Day, of Davenport, who has gained a wide acquaintance as commander of river vessels plying between St. Paul and St. Louis. He is the owner of two steamboats, the B. Hershie and the Everett. He was born near Rochester, Dodge county, Minnesota, August 1, 1866, and is a son of Lewis and Pauline (Henry) Day. The father was a native of Deerfield, Ohio, born September 9, 1837. His people had gone to that state from Deerfield, Massachusetts, and the town of Deerfield, Ohio, was named by them in honor of their old home. Captain Day's father retained his residence there until about 1860, when he removed with his family to Winnebago county, Wisconsin, where he purchased land and began farming. At the outbreak of the Civil war, however, he put aside all business and personal considerations, enlisting as a private in the Fifth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, with which he served throughout the war, his meritorious conduct on the field of battle and his unfaltering valor winning him promotion to the rank of lieutenant. It was about 1864 that the Day family removed to Minnesota and from the government entered land near Rochester. At the close of the war the father joined his family there and continued to make his home in that locality until 1871, when he came to Scott county, settling at Le Claire. He was also a steamboat man and purchased one of the first boats that floated down the Wisconsin river. He used it in the navigation of Mississippi waters and was one of the early steamboat captains of this section, making his first trip down the river in 1859. The family continued to reside at Le Claire until 1892. On the 24th of March of that year the mother passed away, being then forty-eight years of age, her birth having occurred in Medina county, Ohio, in 1844. After her death Lewis Day retired and made his home with his son Alvah. They were the parents of six children: Alvah O.; Lewis, who is living in Rock Island, Illinois; George, whose home is in San Francisco, California; Alice, the wife of William Kingsbury, of Wyoming; and Zoe and Emma, both deceased.

Captain Day of this review was only about five years old when the family removed from Minnesota to Iowa, so that his early education was acquired in the public schools of Le Claire. He afterward attended Port Byron College, while his training in navigation was received from his father. He obtained his license as master pilot at the age of twenty-one years and has since followed the river, being today one of the oldest and best known river men in Scott county. He has not only worked his way upward in positions of increaded responsibility, serving as captin for a long period, but has also advanced along material lines, being now the owner of two steamboats, the B. Hershie and the Everett, both of which are stanch river crafts and are liberally patronized by the carrying trade.

Captain Day was married November 16, 1892, to Miss Winifred Davenport, a daughter of James H. and Savilla (Reynolds) Davenport, of Scott county. Mrs. Day was born in Le Claire, Iowa. Her father was the first white child born in Scott county, his natal day being May 4, 1838. His death occurred April 7, 1905. His parents, Adrian L. and Harriet (Lane) Davenport, were among the first settlers in this part of the state and took an active part in the work of pioneer development and improvement, as the rich natural resources of the state were utilized in the effort to plant the seeds of civilization and progress here. Captain and Mrs. Day have two sons: Lewis, born January 23, 1894; and Davenport, born November 4, 1898.

Captain Day is well known in fraternal circles, holding membership with the Modern Woodmen, the Knights of Pythias and the Masons. In the Masonic order he has taken the degrees of the Scottish Rite. He is also connected with the Sons of Veterans and in religious faith is an Episcopalian, belonging to Grace cathedral. Having practically spent his entire life in this county, Captain Day is widely and favorably known, and is recognized as a man of his word who, without sham or pretense in any particular, stands fearlessly in support of what he believes to be right, manifesting a spirit of utmost honor and integrity in his business affairs as well as in his social relations.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Robert Nixon Earhart

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Rev. Robert Nixon Earhart, a Methodist Episcopal minister of the upper Iowa conference, whose life in its noble purposes and influences was of far-reaching effect for good, was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, a son of David and Catharine (Altman) Earhart. The father was a merchant who continued a resident of Pennsylvania, his native state, until he had reached middle age, when he came to Iowa and settled in Pleasant Valley, where he reared the younger members of his family.

Robert N. Earhart after pursuing his early education prepared for college in Dubuque, Iowa, and then returned east for further instruction, entering Dickinson College, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in the class of 1859. His classical course there gave him broad knowledge that served him well in his life work in later years, enabling him to draw from a rich fountain of information to illustrate or explain or elucidate the points which he was attempting to make in his sermons. He pursued his theological course in the Garrett Biblical Institute at Evanston, Illinois, and when he had qualified for holy orders was ordained to the Methodist ministry and joined the upper Iowa conference. Forty-one years were devoted to the work of proclaiming the gospel and in various pastorates he labored earnestly and effectually, speaking with clearness and force to his congregations upon the vital questions of life and its problems in the relations of man to his fellowman and his Maker. Earnest and zealous, his work was of marked influence in the Christian progress of northern Iowa. Becoming ill in his last year, he took up his abode in Davenport, where he spent his remaining days with his family and passed away on the 29th of July, 1907, his remains being interred in Oakdale cemetery.

It was on the 20th of October, 1868, that the Rev. R. N. Earhart was married to Miss Frances Fidlar, who was born in Columbus, Ohio, but has spent the greater part of her life in Davenport. Their only child, Robert F., after attaining manhood married Darline Scofield and unto them have been born two children, Daniel and Robert Nixon. The father is a graduate of the Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois, and also spent a year in Johns Hopkins University. At the age of thirty-six years he is a professor in the Ohio State University and is a young man of marked intellectual force and high ideals.

In the passing of Robert Nixon Earhart, Iowa lost one of her most honored citizens and one of the leading representatives of the Methodist ministry. Thoroughly versed in the history, discipline and doctrine of the church, he took of religion that wider view which places the fundamental truths of Christianity above all else and in his ministry taught Christian charity, patience, kindliness and love - qualities which are the living influences in the world, counteracting the effect of sin, degradation and all wrongdoing. The words of wisdom which he spoke sank deep into many hearts and his memory remains as a blessed benediction to all who knew him.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Claus Eckmann

From "Vol. 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

The life history of Claus Eckmann is that of a self-made man who, diligent and persevering, worked his way steadily upward from a humble financial position until he was able to spend his last days in retirement in Davenport, where as a respected and worthy citizen he lived until called to his final rest on the 12th of April, 1902. He was born in Holstein, Germany, February 12, 1827, and was a son of Claus Eckmann, Sr. Both of his parents died in the fatherland, where the subject of this review spent his youth, acquiring his education and learning the cabinetmaker's trade. He afterward served in the Schleswig-Holstein war in 1848-50. He continued his residence in Germany until about 1862, when he came to the United States with his wife and two children, for he had been married in the meantime to Miss Catherine Pahl, a daughter of Claus Pahl, of Germany. Mrs. Eckmann was born December 24, 1831.

On crossing the Atlantic to America, Mr. Eckmann came direct to Davenport with his family and for a time worked at the cooper's trade. About 1876, however, he purchased a dairy farm near the mile racing track and lived thereon for many years, successfully conducting business as a dairyman and general agriculturist. From time to time he bought other land, which he rented, and this added materially to his income. At length he retired and took up his abode in Davenport in 1892, living there for about ten years ere called to his final rest.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Eckmann were born seven children. William, who was a graduate of the State University and became a practicing physician of Manning, Iowa, died in 1892. Margaret died while the parents were crossing the Atlantic to the new world. Emma is the wife of Henry Schwenck, of Lyon county, Iowa. Alvina and Bertha were twins and the latter is now deceased, while the former is the wife of Charles L. Haller, of Oklahoma city. Carl has also passed away, and Clara C. completes the family.

The death of the father occurred April 12, 1902, while his wife survived until June 18, 1904. He was a member of the German Odd Fellows lodge, in which he held office, and was also a member of the Schleswig-Holstein Society. His life was well spent, his diligence and industry bringing to him a substantial measure of success, while his business probity gained him the respect and confidence of all with whom he was associated.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Claus Hell

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Claus Hell, a retired agriculturist residing in Davenport, has made his home at No. 705 West Sixth street for the past thirty-six years. For many years he was actively identified with general agricultural pursuits and is still the owner of a tract of two hundred acres of fine farm land, eighty acres of which lies in Cleona township, Scott county, and one hundred and twenty acres in Cedar county. His birth occurred in Holstein, Germany, on the 17th of June, 1837, his parents being John and Anna Hell, who spent their entire lives in that country. The father was a laborer and also engaged in farming on a small scale.

Claus Hell obtained his education in the schools of his native land and after putting aside his text-books worked as a farm hand for about a year. In 1854, when a youth of seventeen years, he set sail for the new world in company with his brother John, landing at New York after an ocean voyage of fifty-two days. Another brother, Moses Hell, had emigrated to the United States the previous year and had established his home in Davenport, Iowa. Mr. Hell of this review therefore made his way at once to this city and, securing employment as a farm laborer, thus worked for about two years. Then he and his brother John purchased ten steers and broke prairie for various agriculturists of the community for about six years. On the expiration of that period, in 1862, the two brothers bought one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land in Cleona township, broke it up and erected a small house thereon. They lived together for about a year and then divided the farm and conducted their interests separately. Claus Hell was married in 1865 and continued to reside on his place of eighty acres until 1869, when he purchased and located upon a tract of fourteen acres of improved land in Davenport township near the city of Davenport. At the end of five years he disposed of the property and took up his abode in his present home at No. 705 West Sixth street in Davenport, where he has lived continuously since 1874. He won a gratifying and commendable degree of prosperity in the conduct of his agricultural interests and is now enabled to spend his remaining days in well earned ease without recourse to further labor. As above stated, his holdings include two hundred acres of highly improved and valuable land, which, though lying in both Scott and Cedar counties, is all in one body.

On the 7th of February, 1865, Mr. Hell was united in marriage to Miss Katherina Schmaucher, a daughter of Jasper and Minnie Schmaucher, both of whom passed away in Germany. Mr. Hell has resided with the borders of Scott county for fifty-six years and is a valued member of the German Pioneers Society. Arriving in the United States with no capital save a stout heart and willing hands, he realized the fact that while in this country labor is unhampered by caste or class it is only by unfaltering diligence, guided by sound judgment, that success can be secured. Through the exercise of these qualities he made steady progress and is now one of the substantial and respected citizens of his community.


Henry F. Wunder

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

In a history of Blue Grass it is imperative that mention be made of Henry F. Wunder, its present mayor, who has occupied that office since the incorporation of the town in 1903, and is also serving as the efficient cashier of the Blue grass Savings Bank, while he is at the same time identified with other financial and industrial enterprises. One of Scott county's native sons, his birth occurred on the 4th of September, 1859, his parents being William and Catherine (Schlapkohl)Wunder, both of whom were born in Holstein, Germany, the former on the 25th of March, 1823, and the latter on the 13th of May, 1822. The father crossed the Atlantic to America in 1851, locating first in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he remained for one year and then came to Scott county, where he worked at the carpenter's trade until 1859. In that year he purchased a farm in Blue Grass township, to which he removed and upon which he resided until 1886, when he put aside the active work of the fields and lived retired in Davenport until he passed away on the 4th of July, 1907. The demise of his wife had occurred in this city on the 12th of October, 1891.

In the district schools of Scott county Henry F. Wunder acquired his preliminary education and later benefited by study at the Littlebridge Business College of Davenport, completing the course in 1878 and being thus well equipped to take up the practical and responsible duties of life. Returning home, he took charge of the homestead farm for his father and was engaged in agricultural pursuits until the organization of the Blue Grass Savings Bank, when he was elected cashier of that institution and has so continued to the present day. The bank, which opened for business on the 6th of January, 1902, was first capitalized for fourteen thousand dollars, but its growth has been so rapid during the intervening years that on the 22d of June, 1909, its capital was increased to twenty-five thousand dollars. It is today one of the safe, reliabel and well known banks of the community and in the capacity of cashier Mr. Wunder has proven himself a very capable and faithful official. His accuracy and business ability, combined with integrity and fidelity to the interests of the bank, have won for him the appreciation and high regard of the other officials, while his uniform courtesy and promptness in the discharge of all business have made him very popular with the patrons of the institution. He is furthermore a stockholder in the Guaranty Mutual Life Insurance Company of Davenport and a director in the Blue Grass Repair & Implement Company, both of which organizations have profited materially by his wise counsel and business sagacity. Upon the death of his father in 1907 he came into possession of the old homestead farm, which he still owns and which annually returns to him gratifying rental. His various business interests, carefully managed, have brought him a most gratifying measure of success and today he stands among the substantial, influential and representative citizens of the community.

Mr. Wunder belongs to Hillside Camp, No. 2470, M. W. A., of Blue Grass, and is a prominent and active member thereof. He cast his first presidential vote for Garfield and since that time has voted a mixed ticket. His fellow citizens, recognizing his personal worth, have called him to various offices of trust and he served for six years as township clerk and as a member of the school board for ten years. In 1903, at the time of the incorporation of the town of Blue Grass, his fellowmen conferred upon him the greatest honor in their power to bestow, electing him mayor of the town, in which office he has since continued to serve. He has made an excellent record during his incumbency in that office, giving to the town a businesslike, progressive and beneficial administration. He has also inaugurated many reforms and improvements and in the discharge of his public duties has ever been true to the trust reposed in him by his fellow townsmen. In the business circles of Blue Grass few men are more prominent or more widely known, and his prosperity is well deserved, as in him are embraced the characteristics of an unbending integrity, unabating energy and industry that never flags.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Alexander Fraser Williams

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Alexander Fraser Williams, deceased, who stood as a splendid example of the enterprising, thrifty and loyal citizen and a faithful follower of the church, whose life did much to inspire and encourage others and whose memory is cherished in the hearts of all who knew him, was born in Westfield, New Jersey, on the 15th of June, 1826. His life record covered sixty-one years, his death occurring in Atlantic, Iowa, December 15, 1887. His parents were Charles Clark Williams and Eliza High Miller, who were married in Westfield, New Jersey, in 1818. They became the parents of seven daughters and three sons but only two are now living: William Belden, a resident of Nebraska; and Mrs. Margaret Dougherty, of Iowa. Most of the ancestors of the family were farming people and all bear honorable records as honest, hard-working men and women, living in a quiet, humble way. The Williams branch of the family were Welsh. Nathaniel Williams, the grandfather of A. F. Williams, had three children: a son who died in early manhood; a daughter Ann, who became the wife of Willard Barrows, one of Iowa's prominent pioneer residents; and Charles Clark. For a number of years Nathaniel Williams lived in Davenport with his daughter, Mrs. Barrows, and there passed away in 1864, when more than eighty years fo age. His mother was of American birth, a daughter of Charles Clark, who served throughout the Revolutionary war. That he must have held rank as an officer is indicated by the fact that he wore a sword, the silver handle of which was afterward melted into six tablespoons, two of which were given to each of his three grandchildren - Samuel Clark, Charles Clark Williams and Betsy Smith. This was about eighty years ago and the spoons are sitll highly prized by the present generation.

In the maternal line A. F. Williams comes of English ancestry through his grandfather, Ezra Miller, while his grandmother, Mrs. Mary (High) Miller, was of German descent, her father, John High, having left Germany when a little boy.

Charles Clark Williams, the father of Alexander Fraser Williams, was a man highly esteemed by all who knew him because of his upright life and fidelity to manly principles. An earnest Christian, he was for many years an elder in the Presbyterian church in Westfield and in Newark, New Jersey, and for several years was also one of the elders of the First Presbyterian church in Davenport, Iowa, where he died of cholera in 1852. All who knew him felt that he was a martyr to the unselfish care which he bestowed upon the laboring men who were victims of that terrible scourge. He had a most faithful and loving wife, who to her family was a devoted mother, her salient characteristics being such as endeared her to all who knew her. She made her mone in Davenport and its vicinity for over thirty years and spent the last few years of her life in the home of her daughter in Nebraska, there passing away in 1878.

Alexander Fraser Williams spent his youthful days on his father's farm near Westfield, New Jersey, and was eleven years of age at the time of the removal of the family to Newark. There he spent several years attending the private schools and academy, and for one year was a student in a good school in Caldwell, New Jersey, so that he obtained a fair education. He was seventeen years of age when in 1843 the family removed to Davenport, Iowa, which was then regarded as the far west. He remained there for four years, assisting his father upon the farm, and also spent several months in making surveying tours through Iowa with his uncle, Willard Barrows. He did not find agricultural pursuits congenial and, believing that he would obtain more pleasure and profit from commercial life, in 1847 he entered the dry-goods store of his uncle, Moses Miller, at Racine, Wisconsin. After two years there passed his longing for the east decided him to return to New York city, where he secured a situation in the wholesale hardware store of John C. Tucker, in whose service he remained for three years, acquiring a good knowledge of the business during that period and thus becoming well equipped for the line of work to which he devoted the greater part of his life. In 1852, receiving a more advantageous business offer, he entered the employ of Ely, Bowen & McConnell, wholesale dry-goods merchants, conducting business on Broadway, New York. For six years he continued with that firm and during half the time had charge of the white goods department, making purchases for the same. In the financial crash of 1858, following the widespread panic of the previous year, the New York firm failed and about the same time Mr. Williams received an offer to go into business in Davenport, where his widowed mother and family lived. This influenced him to return to the west.

On the 17th of February, 1858, Mr. Williams was united in marriage to Miss Frances Mary Robinson, of Chicago, and after spending some two months in the east, purchasing his stock of dry goods, thus combining pleasure with business, he returned with his bride to Davenport and in May, 1858, became the junior partner of the firm of Eldridge & Williams, at No. 123 Brady street. During the succeeding three years the business increased rapidly, necessitating trips to New York and Boston, which Mr. Williams made three or four times each year in order to purchase goods in eastern markets. They were enjoying substantial success at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. Within a few months nearly all business was paralyzed and failures were the order of the day. Eldridge & Williams were among the unfortunate ones and were obliged to succumb to the pressure.

The financial outlook was dark and discouraging but Mr. Williams was of an optimistic nature and believed that the obstacles and difficulties would be overcome by persistent, determined and honorable effort. He desired to take part in the struggle in which his country was engaged, but his only brother, Belden Williams, and Frank C. Robinson, his wife's only brother, were among the first to enlist, serving faithfully through the long four years of the war. With those two at the front Mr. Williams felt convinced that his duty must lie at home in the care of his widowed mother and his young wife and child. Accordingly in the fall of 1861 he accepted a position with Sickles & Preston, a prominent hardware firm of Davenport, with whom he continued for about four years, two of which he spent upon the road as traveling representative of their wholesale house that had just been established in Chicago. At the end of that time he received an offer from the well known hardware firm of William Blair & Company, of Chicago, bringing him a large advance in salary. He traveled for that firm for four years, at the expiration of which time he was quite ready to settle down in the city of his choice - Davenport - where his family had continued to reside during the six years which he had spent upon the road, giving the best powers and strength of his young manhood to the honorable canceling of all of his indebtedness.

In 1869 Mr. Williams formed a partnership in the wholesale heavy hardware trade with R. Sieg, under the firm style of Sieg & Williams. His comprehensive knowledge of the business naturally made him the buyer for the house and during the eighteen years in which he was connected with the business he contributed largely to the upbuilding of a profitable enterprise which is still continued under the name of the Sieg Iron Company. The firm of Sieg & Williams were extensive jobbers in heavy wagon stock and other manufacturers' hardware, and in addition to his mercantile interests Mr. Williams was a director of the Security Fire Insurance Company, a member of the Board of Trade and was connected with other business organizations. As the years went by he prospered in his undertakings, becoming recognized as one of the foremost merchants and leading business men of the city. His name stood as a synonym for commercial integrity, for he never made engagements that he did not fill nor incurred obligations that he did not meet. His methods were progressive and his course won for him the admiration and respect of his contemporaries and colleagues. Mr. and Mrs. Williams became the parents of four children, namely: Ella, who gave her hand in marriage to J. S. Thompson and now resides in Escondido, California; Anna, the wife of Dr. J. P. Crawford, whose sketch appears on another page of this work; Frederick Crosby, who passed away in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the 21st of September, 1894, when twenty-four years of age; and Joseph Robinson, who died on the 19th of February, 1894, when a youth of eighteen years.

Mr. Williams passed away at Atlantic, Iowa, December 15, 1887, after a brief illness of ten days. He had for nearly thirty years been intimately associated with the growth and development of Davenport and was deeply interested in everything which promoted its prosperity. He felt a special interest in the Hennepin canal project and the building of the Davenport, Iowa & Dakota Railroad and was one of its directors. His cooperation could always be counted upon to further movements for the public good and he gave of his time and means, as it was possible, to aid in the work of general improvement. While in business in New York he became a member of the Baptist church and for more than three decades was a consistent and active worker in the denomination. He served for a number of years as senior trustee in the Calvary Baptist church of Davenport. While he became known as a prominent and representative business man, it was his Christian spirit that made him most honored, for he molded his entire life in conformity with the teachings of his Master, ministering to others as the occasion offered and giving freely of his means to the support of the church and charity. He was one of the teachers in the Sunday school, a worker in the Young Men's Christian Association and at the time of his death was taking a most active and helpful interest in the work of erecting a house of worship for the Baptist people, acting as chairman of the building committee. It has been said: "Not the good that comes to us but the good that comes to the world through us is the measure of our success." and judged by this standard Alexander Fraser Williams was a most successful man.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


William DeWitt Wells

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

The world has little use for the misanthropist-he who sees little chance for doing good nor uses his opportunities to benefit his fellowmen. The worth of the individual is determined by the value of his labors as a factor in the world's progress and judged by this standard Professor William DeWitt Wells constituted an important factor in educational advancement, leaving the impress of his individuality and his ability upon the public-school system of Iowa where his labors were put forth. At the time of his demise he was serving as superintendent of schools in Scott county and, working toward high ideals, was doing much toward promoting the efficiency of the system of public education here.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in Rutland, August 23, 1858, and was a son of Sanford and Jane (DeWitt) Wells. The father was a contractor and bridge builder and at one time engaged in teaching school near Waterloo, Iowa, removing with his family to that place when his son William was but two years of age. He had made his way northward from Missouri, having been driven out of that state by the Confederates, and all through his life W. D. Wells wore a scar on his brow caused by a bullet that struck him as he lay in his cradle; the family home being under bombardment there.

Educated in the schools of East Waterloo, Professor Wells eventually completed the high school course and received his first teacher's certificate in 1874, when sixteen years of age. He then engaged to teach school two miles from Cedar Falls and later was identified with the schools of Finchford and Jesup, acting as principal at the latter place for three years save for a term spent in the normal school at Cedar Falls in order that the improvement of his own education might make him more capable to superintend and direct the education of others. From Jesup he went to Ames, where he was graduated in 1883. The following year Professor Wells came to Scott county and was principal of the schools at LeClaire for four years, during which period he won many warm friends there. In 1888 he went to Grundy Center, where he engaged in teaching for eight years, and in 1897 he came to Davenport to accept the principalship of public school No. 3. In the summer, several years before, he had come to this city as an instructor in the Scott County Normal Institute and his lectures were regarded as among the best delivered by the many strong men who were gathered here in educational work. After three years he was promoted and became principal of the Davenport high school. In this capacity he found an opportunity to apply his talents, realize his ambitions and exercise his abilities as an educator. Under his guidance the high school as an institution took an enormous stride forward; education was placed upon an advanced and scientific basis and a better grade of scholarship attained. The development of the high school became a passion with Mr. Wells. With infinite pains, with personal sacrifices, with unbounded energy and enthusiasm, he devoted himself to his task. Whatever was in him of knowledge, of strength, of peculiar personal fitness, he faithfully and earnestly offered for the advancement of his school. During his tenure of office the new high school was built, and its eminence as an institution of learning is a splendid monument to the brains and genius of Mr. Wells. In 1906 he was elected county superintendent of schools and reelected in 1908. He had received a life diploma from the state in 1891 and this brought him recognition as one of the foremost educators of Iowa connected with her public-school system. He manifested untiring zeal in his work and his own enthusiasm was an inspiration to the teachers with whom he was associated. He held to his high standard and while always kind and forbearing, he yet maintained that discipline which would not permit the student to shirk his work, realizing that the greatest kindness which he could show to the pupil was to demand of him conscientious and capable performance of his schoolroom duties.

On the 30th of March, 1886, in LeClaire, Professor Wells was married to Miss Kate Moore, a daughter of B. F. and Catharine Moore. They became parents of eight children; Lois, Leon, Ben, Edvena, DeWitt, Lydia and two who died in infancy. Mr. Well's home was ever one of refinement and culture and constituted an attractive place of meeting for the many friends of the family.

Professor Wells was regarded as one of the most prominent representatives of the Masonic fraternity in Scott county. He was received as an entered apprentice in Snow Lodge, No. 44, A. F. & A. M., at LeClaire, January 9, 1885, and on the 6th of February was admitted to fellowcraft, while on the 6th of March he became a Master Mason. In 1892 he took the four degrees of capitular Masonry in Ionic Chapter, No. 100, R. A. M., at Grundy Center, Iowa, and in 1896 he was made a member of Ruth Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. He received the degree of the Red Cross in St. Simon of Cyrene Commandery, No. 9, K. T., May 7, 1902, and was knighted in the same order on the 21st of May, receiving the Knight of Malta and St. John of Jerusalem, March 5, 1903. In September of the same year he attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and thus was familiar with all branches of Masonry. He served as master of Trinity Lodge in 1892, 1893 and 1894 and he belonged Kaaba Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He was also a member of the Woodmen camp. In church circles he was equally well known, his membership in his later years being with the First Presbyterian church of Davenport, in the work of which he took active and helpful part. He was the first teacher and practically the founder of the Brotherhood Bible class of that church and his influence and aid were given in support of the various projects instituted to promote the growth and extend the influence of the church. Professor Wells' position on any vital question was never an equivocal one. He stood for all that is upright and honorable in man's relations with his fellowmen, and more than that tempered justice with mercy, consideration with kindness, and righteousness with the spirit of charity. Thus his became an honored name because of the qualities which he displayed in his life, and when he passed away, April 25, 1909, his name was inscribed with those who had made the world better for their having lived.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Charles N. Voss

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Germany has furnished her full quota to the citizenship of Davenport, and prominent among those who claim the fatherland as the place of their nativity is Charles N. Voss, who with German intelligence and pertinacity has conducted his business affairs to successful completion, rising from a comparatively humble place to the presidency of the German Savings Bank. He was born in Neustadt, Holstein, Germany, on the 13th of October, 1847, and pursued his education in the public and private schools of his native town. He made his initial step in the business world in connection with the dry-goods trade, in which he continued until coming to America in 1867. Landing at New York city, he made his way to Petersburg, Illinois, where he was employed as clerk in a store until 1869, when he came to Davenport and again secured a position as salesman, entering the service of Kehoe & Carhart, one of the leading drygoods firms in this city, with which he continued until they retired from business about 1873. The following year he engaged as teller in the Davenport Savings Bank, there remaining until 1880, when he went to Avoca, Iowa, where he followed the milling business for a few years. In 1883 he assisted in the organization of Avoca Bank, which succeeded to the banking business of J. W. and E. W. Davis, and in this institution Mr. Voss accepted the position of cashier, so continuing until 1891.

Returning to Davenport in that year, Mr. Voss accepted the cashiership of the Iowa National Bank, with which he continued until the 1st of January, 1893, when he became cashier of the German Saving Bank. In 1906, when the Citizens National Bank was consolidated with the German Savings Bank, he was elected to the presidency and still remains as the chief executive officer of what is today recognized as one of the strongest and most important financial concerns of the city. He is also the president of the German Trust Company, which was promoted and conducted by the stockholders of the German Savings Bank. He is likewise financially interested in various other business enterprises and concerns, which profit by his knowledge and keen discernment, for his judgment is always sound and his business methods progressive. He is today accounted one of the foremost representatives of banking circles in Iowa.

In 1873 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Voss and Miss Louise Hoerring, a native of Davenport. They have four children: Hertha L., instructor of foreign languages in the State University of Iowa; Otto R., a practicing physician of Walnut, Iowa; Agneta, the wife of Arnold L. Peterson; and Carl H., a graduate of St. John's Military Academy. The family are prominent socially and Mr. Voss is known as one of Davenport's leading citizens, his opinions carrying weight in various councils relative to municipal interests and business development.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


William Theophilus

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

William Theophilus, counselor at law of Davenport, was born at Troedyrhiw, in the parish of Llansadwrn, Carmarthenshire, Wales, August 6, 1858, and is a son of Daniel and Margaret Theophilus. His maternal grandmother was a Williams, born in the same village as Roger Williams, the American champion of religious liberty, and came of the same ancestry.

William Theophilus began his education in the schools of his native land, but in his youthful days left the little rock-ribbed country of Wales and came to the new world with his parents in 1868. The family home was established on a farm near Lime Spring, in Howard county, Iowa, and there he resumed his interrupted education. For twenty years he resided there, his time being given to study and teaching, following the latter profession for a number of terms. He received little assistance but laudable ambition prompted him to put forth his efforts along lines demanding intellectual strength and activity, and the wise use of his opportunities has brought him to the creditable position which he now occupied as one of the leading counselors at law at the Davenport bar. After teaching for some time in his early manhood, he was elected clerk of the courts of Howard county in 1882 and was reelected in 1884, serving until January, 1887. During that period he devoted the hours which are usually termed leisure to the study of law, becoming versed in its principles and practice. Through these years his work and worth were leaving their impress upon the public notice and his fellow townsmen manifested appreciation of his value as a citizen in electing him to the state legislature in 1887, so that he served in the twenty-second general assembly. The previous year he had been the democratic candidate for clerk of the supreme court and, although defeated, ran considerably ahead of his ticket. After serving for about a term in the legislature, he resigned in 1889 and removed to Arkansas City, Kansas, where he entered upon the practice of law, being there admitted to the bar. He remained an active member of the profession in that place for nearly five years and there became acquainted with George W. Scott - the beginning of a friendship which has outlasted all changes since. He was elected city attorney of Arkansas City at the time when important litigation was pending concerning the issuance of city bonds for water-works and railways. These cases were tried in the federal courts and in their conduct he established a reputation for energy, skill and knowledge of the law, which the intervening years have but solidified.

Mr. Theophilus became a resident of Davenport in May, 1894, and was here joined the following year by Mr. Scott, at which time the firm of Scott & Theophilus was formed, the association being maintained until Mr. Scott's election to the office of city attorney in 1898. Mr. Theophilus, also taking prominent part in political work, was elected to the Iowa legislature in 1899 and during his term of office gave careful consideration to the questions which came up for settlement in the twenty-eight general assembly and stanchly advocated those which he believed to be for the benefit of the commonwealth. Retiring from his position of legislator, he resumed the active practice of law, remaining alone until 1905, when he entered into partnership with George W. Scott and Benjamin I. Salinger, under the firm style of Salinger, Scott & Theophilus. Since May, 1909, he has been practicing alone. One of the local newspapers has said of him: "Mr. Theophilus is by nature thoughtful, methodical, exact and technical, a construer of the law and a constructive attorney, loving rather the advisory and counseling work of the office, land title, estates and corporation law than the court procedure. He is the counselor of many prominent business men and corporations and has made for himself an enviable position at the Davenport bar."

In 1888 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Theophilus and Miss Minnie Agnes Thompson, of Le Roy, Minnesota. Their social acquaintance is large and embraces many of the most prominent people of the state. Mr. Theophilus finds his chief recreation in the meetings of the Davenport Whist Club and also belongs to the Outing and Commercial Clubs. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons, the Elks and the Knights of Pythias. His standing in the profession is indicated by the fact that he has been honored with the presidency of the Scott County Bar Association, being its chief official at the present time. As a lawyer he perhaps possesses none of those dazzling meteoric qualities which have often riveted the attention of the public for a moment, but there is in his work a substantiality which produces continuity of success and awakens attention by its quiet forcefulness.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Bio of Henry Rohlf

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Henry Rohlf, who devoted his time and energies to farming throughout his active business career, has lived in honorable retirement for the past fifteen years, making his home at No. 704 Main street in Davenport. He was born in Holstein, Germany, on the 25th of February, 1840, a son of Henry and Catherine Rohlf. The father, who was a laborer, served as a soldier of the German army. In 1854 he brought his family to the United States and after landing at New York came direct to Davenport, Iowa, arriving in this city on the 3d of June. He secured employment as a farm hand and continued to reside in this county until called to his final rest in 1887, having for fifteen years survived his wife, who passed away in 1872. Unto this worthy couple were born five children, namely: Henry, of this review; Amos, who is a resident of Clay county, Iowa; Fred, of Sheridan township, Scott county; August, living in Davenport; and William, who makes his home in Davenport township, Scott county.

Henry Rohlf attended the schools of the fatherland until fourteen years of age, when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world. After coming to Scott county he continued his studies during two winter terms of school and then devoted his entire attention to farm work. In 1862 he purchased forty acres of land in Pleasant Valley township and was actively engaged in its cultivation for two years, when he sold the property and bought a tract of fifty-five acres on the Jersey Ridge road. As his financial resources increased he extended the boundaries of the farm to include one hundred and seventy and a half acres and made his home thereon for nineteen years, placing many fine improvements on the property. On disposing of that farm he purchased a quarter section of land in Muscatine county, where he successfully carried on his agricultural interests for ten years, when he put aside the active work of the fields and has since lived retired in Davenport. He still retains possession of the farm in Muscatine county and also owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in Sheridan township, Scott county, which he purchased subsequent to his retirement.

On the 20th of December, 1864, Mr. Rohlf was united in marriage to Miss Malinda Heath, whose birth occurred in Pennsylvania in 1841. They became the parents of four children, the record of whom is as follows. Ida, the eldest, passed away when but two years of age. Ella is the wife of Andrew Krambeck, of Dysart, Tama county, Iowa, and has two children, Ida and Emma. Sadie, who gave her hand in marriage to William Schroeder, of Blue Grass, is now deceased. Her children were four in number; one who died in infancy; Freda; Ella; and Hulda. Otto L., who operates his fathers farm in Muscatine county, wedded Miss Emma Schroeder, by whom he has four children; Elsie, Arthur, Lester and Bessie. The wife and mother was called to her final rest in 1886.

Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Rohlf has given his political allegiance to the republican party. He proved a capable incumbent in the office of assessor of Davenport township and has done much to advance the cause of education during his many years' service as a school director. The period of his residence in this part of the state covers fifty-six years and he is widely recognized as a prosperous and esteemed citizen. The German Pioneers Association numbers him among its worthy members.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


M.F. Rohlff

From Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

M. Frederick Rohlff, who has lived retired in Davenport since 1904, was for many years numbered among the active and successful agriculturists of Scott county and is still the owner of two hundred and ninety acres of valuable land in Sheridan township as well as a tract of three hundred and twenty acres in Lyon county, this state. He is one of the worthy pioneer settlers of this county, having continuously made his home here since 1855, and is now the president of the German Pioneers Society. His birth occurred in Holstein, Germany, on the 1st of September, 1829, his parents being Asmus and Anna (Litchie) Rohlff, who spent their entire lives in the fatherland. Their children were six in number, namely: Christ and Henry, both of whom passd away in Germany; M. F., of this review; John, whose demise also occurred in Germany; Asmus, who died in this country; and James, who was called to his final rest while still a resident of the fatherland.

M. F. Rohlff attended the schools of his native land in pursuit of an education. From 1848 until 1850 he participated in the Schleswig-Holstein wars, holding the rank of sergeant. In 1855, when a young man of twenty-six years, he determined to establish his home in the United States and set sail for the new world, eventually landing at New York. Thence he made his way direct to Davenport, Iowa, and here secured employment as a farm laborer, being thus engaged for about a year. On the expiration of that period in 1857, he was married and began the operation of a rented tract of land, giving his attention to its cultivation for two years. At the end of that time he purchased eighty acres of partly improved land in Sheridan township and took up his abode in a small house which stood upon the place. As time passed by he brought the property under a high state of cultivation and improvement and also replaced the original dwelling by a commodious and substantial residence. He likewise added to his landed holdings as his financial resources increased and successfully carried on his agricultural interests until 1904, when he put aside the active work of the fields and bought property in Davenport, where he has since lived retired. He now leases his fine farm of two hundred and ninety acres in Sheridan township, and is also the owner of a half section of land in Lyon county. While living in Sheridan township he acted as agent for the German Fire Insurance Company for about twenty-five years.

On the 12th of April, 1857, Mr. Rohlff was united in marriage to Miss Bertha Schneckloth, who was about ten years old when she came from Germany to this country with her parents, Hans and Celia Schneckloth, who located upon the farm in Sheridan township which later became the homestead place of our subject. Hans Schneckloth lived thereon until called to his final rest at the age of ninety-three years, and his wife was eighty-two yeears old when she passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Rohlff have become the parents of eight children, the record of whom is as follows: Anna, the eldest, is now the wife of William Halle, of Davenport, and has four children: Julius, Ida, Hattie and Norma. Lena, the wife of Louis Harmon, of Lyon county, Iowa, is now the mother of four children: Clara, Grover, Ella and Harvey. John, who is a resident of Lyon county, wedded Miss Dora Heintz, by whom he has five children: Minnie, Richard, Edna, Dora and Alma. Clara Rohlff, the next in order of birth, is at home. Huger married Miss Clara Palmer and has two children, Arnold and Linda. Richer lives in Lyon county. Alfred is still under the parental roof. Herman who is engaged in the hardware business with his brother Huger, wedded Miss Clara Willie and has two children, Wilbur and Bernice. In 1907, at the Turner Hall in Davenport, Mr. and Mrs. M. F. Rohlff and Mr. and Mrs. Claus Schneckloth celebrated their golden wedding and on this happy occasion were gathered together all of their children and grandchildren as well as many prominent German-American residents of Scott county. After the supper had been served a dance was held and the occasion proved a very merry one.

Mr. Rohlff exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party and has ably served his fellow townsmen in the capacity of road supervisor. He is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein Society of Scott county. Except for the aid of his estimable wife, he owes his present splendid prosperity entirely to his untiring perseverance and excellent business management, for when he came to the United States he was empty-handed and has since achieved the success which entitles him to a prominent place in the history of the representative and enterprising residents of this county.

Transcribed by Debbie Gerischer


Bio M. J. Tobin

From "Vol 2 History of Davenport and Scott County" by Harry E. Downer - S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910 Chicago

Since 1852, or for a period of fifty-seven years, M. J. Tobin has been closely identified with the agricultural interests of Scott county and his possessions, now embracing five hundred and sixty acres in Winfield township, make him one of the substantial citizens of eastern Iowa. He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1835, a son of Richard and Mary (Cody) Tobin, who emigrated with their family to the new world in 1852, in which year they settled in Scott county. They made the journey from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to this district by boat, and in Winfield township the father entered one hundred and sixty acres of raw land, which he broke with ox-teams, in due time making it a cultivable property, continuing his work as a farmer throughout his entire business career. He passed away in 1897, having reached a very advanced age. He was one of the influential and valued citizens of Scott county and at his death the community mourned the loss of one whom it had come to love and honor.

M. J. Tobin was a youth of seventeen years when he accompanied his parents to the new world. When they located on the farm in Winfield township the son rendered valuable assistance in the work of developng and improving the tract on which substantial buildings were erected. When starting out in life on his own account he chose the occupation to which he had been reared and the original farm is now in his possession, and the additional purchases he has made finds him today the owner of five hundred and sixty acres. All this is well improved land and the first buildings which were put upon the farm have been replaced with those of more modern type, so that the farm is now one of the valuable properties in eastern Iowa. In connection with general farming Mr. Tobin has also given much attention to the raising of stock, making a specialty of cattle, and through this means he has greatly augmented his financial resources.

Mr. Tobin has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Anna Moore, their marriage ceremony being performed in St. Ann's Catholic church at Long Grove. Four children were born of this union; Richard, Mary Ellen, Sarah and Margaret. For his second wife Mr. Tobin chose Mary Doyle, and there are four sons of this marriage: Martin, Thomas, John and Arthur. He has given all his children good educational advantages, the sons having attended St. Ambrose College, while the daughters were educated in a Catholic convent.

Mr. Tobin has been a life-long democrat and for six years served as trustee of Winfield township. He is a communicant of St. Ann's church. Public-spirited in an eminent degree, no pioneer of Scott county is deserving of more prominent mention in a history of this character than is Mr. Tobin. In him are embodied the virtues of the early pioneers - the steadfast purpose, rugged integrity and religious zeal - virtues to which the splendid civilization of this great state is indebted for its wonderful development and its glorious progress. He has led a busy, active and useful life and now, at the age of seventy-five years, he stands crowned with honors and years, one of the most respected pioneer citizens of Scott county and Winfield township.

Biographical History and Portrait Gallery of Scott County...1895; American Biog Publ.

     One of the representative and well-known citizens of Winfield Township is Matthew J. Tobin. He first saw the light of day, March 15, 1835, in County Kilkenny, Ireland. He received but a common school education in the country of his nativity, and in April, 1852, he emigrated to America with his parents, who landed in Philadelphia, and came over the mountains of Pittsburgh, and then down the Ohio river to Cairo, and up the Mississippi to Davenport. He came out into Winfield Township and took a Government claim of land, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres, for which he paid one dollar and twenty five cents an acre. Mr. Tobin has never been an office-seeker, though he has been persuaded to hold some school and other minor offices.
     By hard work he has accumulated about five hundred acres of land, and he is so situated that he can take the remainder of his life in comfort and ease. He is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Catholic Church, and affiliates with the Democratic party. Mr. Tobin is one of the leading citizens of Winfield Township, and a gentleman well liked by all his neighbors.


Return to History Index Page