Tama County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Star – Clipper Supplement
Traer, Iowa, January, 1887
History of North Tama
By Daniel Connell

Chapter V
Completion of the the settlements

George McKelvey, living on section 2, caught the Pikes Peak fever in 1859 and went there. O. Gravatt, an old time acquaintance of the Wood family in Ohio, came west in November, 1856. From knowing the Wood Bros. came to Buckingham and being satisfied with the locality he bought the dwelling house of Yankee Smith and went back to Ohio. Next Spring he returned with his family. Soon after- 1860 he purchased land in section 27, where he has continued to reside. Like the majority of old settlers who adhered to farming, Mr. Gravatt has been successful to a marked degree. Mrs. Gravatt, a most excellent lady, died December 22, 1877. They had a large family, all of who are living near him with one exception.

In 1859 Anthony Cummings, with his brothers Martin, John and Thos., arrived in Buckingham in search of a location, and purchased the sough half of section 11 and all the north half of 14 except a forty owned by J. D. Lutzo which subsequently Martin acquired. MR. Cummings was a man of sound mind, quiet and without ostentation; had a good education and business training; was active in educational and religious interests; lived without offense; secured and maintained the respect of his acquaintances and died in April, 1883. The father of these brothers came with them and died in 1866. Thomas did not remain long. He went to St. Louis. Martin and John are residents of the town.

J. V. B. Greene Esq. came in 1861 and purchased an eighty acres from George Kober, and has since extended his domain. Mr. Greene is active and enterprising, as his success demonstrates. When occasion demanded his activity and spirit passed beyond his private affairs. In the endeavor to obtain railroad facilities for the town Mr. Greene put forth his utmost exertion and had others who had more at stake done as much at the proper time-well, “It might have been.”

In the early days a man named Joseph Wickard owned the Jaqua farm, and not being contented so far from civilization he sold to Mr. Jaqua and removed to Linn county, near Western. For many years he has been connected with a medical institution at Indianapolis, Indiana.

Samuel Reid came to Buckingham in 1856 and went to work among the farmers. He was industrious and frugal, and in due time he was able to purchase land, which he did in Grant, where he has continued to reside. Although in Geneseo and out of the present scope, mention is here made of P. L. Sherman and family who came in 1856. The family were attached to Buckingham on account of association. They were from Elmira N. Y., and found profit in mingling with eastern people, particularly of New York families of whom there were quite a number. Mr. Sherman was a man of strong mind, unusually well informed in current affairs. He had sound practical judgment and a social disposition. He was a member of the board of supervisors. He had six sons all young men of marked characteristics, but one of whom became noted, viz: Buren R., the eldest, who became Governor of Iowa. Three others attracted some attention for a time. Mr. Sherman died in 187. David Torrence in 1856 settled on section 10 in Clark. He made West Union his postoffice and place of business. He belonged to the M. E. church; in all respect a part with us, and was a dignified gentleman universally respected. He died in Traer in 1885. James H. Brooks, of Tama City, of Brooks, Moore & Co., entered an eighty acres on section 34, Buckingham, in 1855 with intention of improving it and becoming a citizen. He changed his mind and sold to Geo. Kober. Instead of a plodding farmer he became a railroad contractor and wealthy banker, and is not proud.

The year 1856 witnessed the advent into the infant settlement of William Sprole. He came from Ohio and hired out by the month to H. F. Gaston. At the end of the year he purchased a quarter in section 1 in Perry, and has been adding quarter sections to his possessions frequently. In his youth he was possessed of much ambition, health and great physical strength. When grain was cut with the cradle six acres a day was play for him. He has been successful in accumulating wealth. Socially he is also a success, jovial and good natured. He has taken interest in politics-frequently in attendance at his party conventions. He has not sought office, and is adverse to it. At one time his friends were about to make him coroner, but he declined so earnestly he was gratified. Gilbert McDowall was a important accession this year. He came from Scotland. His wife was a Wilson. Ten children came with him, six sons and four daughters. The sons were rugged and willing to work. A quarter was purchased in section 18, and the boys hired themselves to the farmers as openings were found. The eldest son James died in 1873. Gilbert Jr. has a half section in 8. John has a large farm in sections 18 and 19. William gave up farming and went into business in Traer. West enlisted; then had land in Grant of Crystal, and is now in Audubon county. David is a farmer in Dakota. Of the daughters one resides near Cedar Rapids, one at Norway in Benton county. Two remained in the town-one the wife of H. A. Hartshorn, the other of Charles Maxwell. Mrs. McDowall died March 12, 1874, aged sixty-five years, and Mr. McDowall June 21, 1883, aged eighty-one years. Charles Loop, a prominent citizen of this town, settled on section 21, and has remained on this land from the first. The first year on a new farm after breaking the land, a beginner, unless possessed of means, turns his attention to other pursuits. Mr. Loop, being a blacksmith, erected a forge at West Union, doing a fair business. Andrew Collins settled on section 31. In 1861 he removed to Illinois, returning to his farm in 1868. Dexter Higgins had land on section 23, was a carpenter and resided for a time at West Union, and was postmaster after Mr. Klingaman. He married Mrs. Kile in 1856 and died in 1857.

From this year we shall not be able to give the arrivals during each year in continuity, but may be able to notice nearly all before we finish. Anson Loop, a brother of Charles, came in 1857. He first settled on section 27, then on 23 on which he still resides, Mr. Loop married a daughter of Henry Beatty deceased. James Emmerson came form Lowell, Mass., to engage in the to him untried experiment of farming. He had been an operative in a factory in Lowell. Farming proved unprofitable. He became discouraged and returned to Lowell in 1862. He was the first justice of the peace in Perry after the separation of the town from Buckingham. His land was on section 22. He had a brother Daniel who enlisted and died in the service.

M. L. Seaman first came in 1855 and secured land in section 21. Not being ready to settle he taught school for two years; then occupied the land in 1857. He resided afterwards for a time at West Union teaching, and then devoting his time to farming he became successful. Last year he sold his farm, and this season removed to Traer. Dryden Barbour, originally from Connecticut, was living on the Western Reserve in Ohio, the first resting place on many emigrants from the Nutmeg State, came to Perry in 1868. He was a relative of Theodore and Leander Clark. He naturally came here to view with intention to settle if pleased. He purchased a quarter in section 8 adjoining the village of West Union. He purchased a home there and for several years carried on the boot and shoe business, that being his trade. Mr. Barbour had two sons and two daughters. Henry, the eldest son, lives on the farm. Mr. Barbour living with him. Ovid is a musician connected with Cornell College. One daughter is the wife of George Stoakes. The other married and removed to Kansas, where she died a few years ago. Mrs. Barbour died in 1871.

Andrew McCosh emigrated from Scotland in 1852, locating at Lisbon, adjoining Norwich, Conn. He came to Iowa in 1854 and located at Davenport. He invested in land in section 7 in 1860 and became a resident of the town. At first the road to fortune was difficult for him to follow. Finally he removed the obstacles, straightened the path and reached the goal, all of his acquaintances rejoicing with him. Mr. McCosh is a cousin of President McCosh, of Princeton College. They were raised together by the father of Andrew. Mrs. John Wilson, deceased, was a sister of the latter. He brought three children to the town. His son John and daughter Nellie are at home. Another daughter married Alexander Ross and lives in Dakota.

Samuel Young and his sons Robert and John with several daughters came in 1861. Robert was the one who was known in business at this time. At first they lived in the Klingaman house near the mill; then he purchased in section 15, and has since added to his possessions as he has found time, slow but sure. John bought land on section 16 on which he lives. He is in company with Hugh Stevenson engaged in the live stock business. Samuel Young died several years ago. With Mr. Young came William and Robert Provan. The former is in Dakota. The latter has a large farm in Buckingham. In 1864 came the Whannell brothers. Peter came first, arriving on that stormy New Years day. In due time following them came their relatives-the McCornack family. These have added much to the material, educational and religious interests of the settlement, and their influence is extending. We shall probably have occasion before this is finished to go back and take up in course those settlers who came after 1855 whom we have not yet mentioned.

Chapter VI

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