History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: email@example.com)
Thomas Clarey is living on a farm on section 26, Platte township, and is numbered among the active and enterprising farmers and stock raisers of the community. His landed possessions include three hundred and sixty acres, constituting a well-improved and valuable farm, on which are two sets of buildings. He has been continuously a representative of agricultural interests in this county since 1874, when he arrived within its borders -- a lad of five years. His birth occurred in Barton county, Missouri, August 23, 1869, his father being John Clarey, a native of England, in which country he was reared. He came to the new world as a young man in 1854 and first settled in Delaware, where he resided for two years, after which he removed to Illinois, whence he later made his way to Barton county, Missouri. He was married there to Miss Jane Adams, a native of Ohio, and for seven years engaged in general agricultural pursuits in Barton county, opening up a new farm and making substantial progress in his agricultural activities there. Two sons were born unto the family during their residence in Missouri. In 1874 they removed to Taylor county, Iowa, and Mr. Clarey purchased raw land in Platte township. Not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made upon it, but he opened up a farm of eighty acres, transforming the wild prairie into productive fields. He has reared his family upon this place and still makes it his home, being numbered among the representative agriculturists of the community.
Thomas Clarey came to Platte township when a lad of five years and spent his youthful days on the old homestead, assisting in the work of the fields and the performance of other duties incident to the development and the conduct of the farm. The public schools afforded him his educational privileges. He remained with his father until twenty-one years of age, when in the fall of 1889 he was married to Miss Ida Wood, who was born in Pennsylvania but largely spent her girlhood near Creston, in Union county, Iowa. She is a daughter of L. D. Wood, one of the pioneers of Union county.
After his marriage Thomas Clarey rented land, where he engaged in farming for seven years, during which time through his unfaltering industry and careful expenditure he accumulated sufficient capital to enable him to purchase one hundred and sixty acres, where he now resides. He at once began to cultivate and further improve this place, has rebuilt and remodeled the house, has put up a good barn and the necessary outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, has fenced the fields and has tiled one hundred acres of his land. He also bought an improved place of eighty acres across the road and another eighty-acre tract to the north and now owns three hundred and sixty acres of rich and productive land, all well improved. He has set out much fruit, has a good grove upon his place and the farm presents every feature of a model property. Annually he gathers good crops and he also raises and feeds stock, being well known as a breeder of and dealer in Chester White hogs. He holds a general stock sale each year, at which he reaps the profits of his labors.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clarey have been born four sons and two daughters: Elsie B., the wife of J. L. Johnson of Kellerton, Iowa; George E., Leta Dell, Joseph E., Frank H. and Cecil H., all at home. In his political views, Mr. Clarey has always been a democrat where national issues are involved, but at local elections votes independently. He has been identified with the schools as a director for seven years and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. He belongs to the Odd Fellows society, which he joined in Clearfield, and he has since passed through all of the chairs and has been a representative in the grand lodge. His life has been one of earnest, honest labor, his success being due to his capable management, his reliability and his unfaltering perseverance. He has been a witness of the growth and development of the county for thirty-five years and is, therefore, numbered among its pioneer settlers for the work of cultivating the soil and improving the natural resources of the land had hardly been begun when the Clarey family took up their abode in Platte township.
There have been some people that have contested that success is a matter of genius while others have said that it is the outcome of fortunate circumstances or propitious environment, but to such carping criticism or lack of appreciation it may be said that the laws of cause and effect hold as truly in business life as in any other condition and perseverance and diligence constitute the basis of attainment in any line of commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise. Mr. Clark is numbered among those who have worked persistently for their success. He owns and cultivates a farm of eighty acres which is situated on section 10, Platte township, within two miles of Lenox, and he is also the owner of one hundred and sixty acres one and a half miles south of the home place.
Mr. Clark is numbered among the older settlers of the state for he took up his abode in Benton county in 1860. He was born near Toronto, Canada, July 12, 1855, and is a son of T. W. Clark, a native of Scotland, in which country he was reared and married, Miss Margaret Andrews becoming his wife. She, too, (page 481) was born in the land of hills and heather. Mr. Clark was a farmer in his native country and six children were born unto him and his wife ere they left for the new world. Crossing the Atlantic, they settled in Canada in 1855 and there Mr. Clark followed farming until 1860, when he came to Iowa and located in Benton county. As he had no money to purchase property he rented land and thus engaged in farming for eight years. Subsequently he removed to Linn county and took up his abode near Cedar Rapids, where he made investment in one hundred and sixty acres of raw land. It was entirely destitute of improvements but he at once began to till the fields and converted the land into a productive farm. On this place he reared his family and spent his last years, his death occurring there about 1905. His wife had died only two months before and both were buried in the neighborhood.
David Clark is the oldest of a family of three sons and two daughters who are yet living. The others are: George D. and John O., both of whom are residents of Linn county; Maggie, the wife of Albert H. Rogers of the state of Washington; Jennie I., the wife of Samuel H. Bassett of Corning, Iowa; James A., who after his marriage became a resident of Benton county, Iowa, where his death occurred; Alex, who died in Linn county at the age of twenty-eight years; Thomas, who died in Linn county, where he left a wife and two sons; and Robert A., who at his death also left a wife and two children.
David Clark was reared on the old homestead farm in Linn county, spending his boyhood and youth with his parents and assisting in the arduous and difficult task of opening up and developing a new farm, thus practical experience well qualifying him for a general agricultural pursuit when he started out in life on his own account. He was married in Linn county, February 26, 1880, to Miss Martha Malinda Rogers, who was born and reared in that county and was a daughter of Robert Rogers, a native of Ohio, whence he went to Linn county in an early day in its development. After Mr. Clark married he removed to Greene county, where he rented a farm for two years and then purchased two hundred acres of partially improved land. This he farmed and further improved, building thereon a large residence, a good barn and other outbuildings necessary for the shelter of grain and stock. Year by year his work was carefully and systematically conducted and each fall he harvested good crops for which he found a ready sale on the market. He persistently and energetically carried on general farming until 1902, when he sold out and removed to Taylor county, purchasing the place which he now owns. In its midst he has erected a commodious and comfortable residence in modern style of architecture and has built a good barn, which is the second one on the place. He has also set out fruit and he has a neat and attractive property that is lacking in none of the accessories and equipments of a model farm of the twentieth century. In addition to this property he has bought one hundred and sixty acres a mile and a half south of the home place and also has a good residence, barn and other improvements on that land. This farm is occupied by his nephew, Alpha Clark, and they are partners in the raising of shorthorn cattle.
Both Mr. and Mrs. David Clark hold membership in the Lenox Methodist Episcopal church and he gives his political allegiance to the republican party. His public-spirited citizenship is manifest in his cooperation in every movement for the public good. He has lived in Iowa since a youth of five years and has helped to improve and develop two farms, his business enterprise constituting the forceful factor in his success, while his business integrity has won for him the respect and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact.
DAVID E. CLAYTON
In a history of those men whose loyalty was fully proven by active service at the front throughout the Civil war, mention must be made of David E. Clayton, who is numbered among the veterans who are now residing in Taylor county. Moreover he is extensively engaged in farming here, having three hundred and ten acres of valuable land which is carefully cultivated under his direction and is devoted to the raising of cereals and stock. He is numbered among Iowa's pioneers, dating his residence here from 1858, and has therefore been a witness of the greater part of the growth and progress of Taylor county, while his cooperation in many movements for the public good has been a material factor in the work of general advancement.
Mr. Clayton was born in Washington county, Ohio, July 17, 1836, and was reared to manhood there upon a farm. At the time he attained his majority he sought a home in Iowa, coming to the west as the result of an arrangement which he made to drive a team for a man who was removing to Gentry county, Missouri. Later he came to Taylor county, Iowa, and worked by the month as a farm hand at thirteen dollars per month, never losing a day's time in two years. He was ambitious to engage in business for himself and on the expiration of that period he came to Polk township and bought four yoke of steers, which he broke and trained to the plow. During the season he then engaged in breaking the prairie until 1862, turning the furrows on one hundred acres of same each season. It was an arduous life but his undaunted energy and perseverance prompted him to this labor for he felt it to be a forward step in a business career which he hoped would ultimately lead him to prosperity. In 1862 he traded teams for land in Polk township, becoming the owner of about two hundred and forty acres of raw prairie. When he had thus made arrangements for having a farm of his own he returned to Ohio to visit his mother and while in that state, constrained by a spirit of patriotism, he offered his services to the government, enlisting on the (page 615) 21st of August, 1862, as a member of Company G, Ninety-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry. With this command he went south into Virginia and the first fight in which he participated was on the Kanawha River, in which one man of the company was killed. He was afterward in Virginia until the winter of 1862, and subsequently proceeded with the troops to Tennessee and participated in the battles of Fort Donelson and Stone River. As the war progressed he took part in other important engagements including the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta campaign. He assisted in the capture of Jonesboro and Atlanta and later went with Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea. He likewise took part in the last regular battle of the war at Bentonville and then marched northward to Richmond and on to Washington, D. C., where he participated in the grand review, the most celebrated military pageant ever seen in the western hemisphere. Later he was mustered out in the capital city, was honorably discharged there and then sent to Columbus, Ohio, where he was paid off, after which he returned home. He lost no time through illness or other causes but stacked his arms with his company every night and responded to the roll call each morning. His military record is a creditable one and of it he has every reason to be proud.
On the 23d of February, 1866, Mr. Clayton was married in Perry county, Ohio, to Miss Harriet E. Griffith, a native of that county, where her girlhood days were passed. Following their marriage they came to Taylor county, locating upon land south of Siam, which Mr. Clayton had previously purchased. With characteristic energy he began to develop the farm and continued to improve the property for two years, after which he sold out and took up his abode on another tract of land further to the north. In 1869 he sold that property and took up his abode upon the place which is now his home on section 5, Polk township. He began here with one hundred sixty acres of land which he broke and tilled, fencing the place and making substantial improvements as the years went by. Upon the farm he built a large house and good barn, a wagon shed and cribs. He has also set out fruit trees and a fine grove and he laid out a road. Working diligently and persistently, he continued to prosper as the years passed and from time to time bought more land until he became the owner of a tract which extended along the divide for a mile, having five hundred and ten acres. He is now numbered among the extensive landowners of the county and his fields have been brought under a high state of cultivation and present a most pleasing appearance. In his pastures are found good grades of hogs, cattle and horses and his stock raising and feeding interests constitute an important source of revenue.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clayton have been born three sons and a daughter: Ora G., who is married and owns a farm in Polk township; Mary H., the wife of Ora Scrivner, a farmer of Holt county, Missouri, living near Craig; Alva J., who is married and carries on general agricultural pursuits in Polk township; and Elzie E., who is married and follows farming in the same township.
Mr. Clayton votes with the republican party when national issues are involved but casts an independent local ballot, nor does he seek nor desire office. He and his wife are members of the Siam Methodist Episcopal church and he belongs to Sedgwick Post, No. 10, G. A. R. One of Taylor county's best known farmers and business men, he is also numbered among its earliest settlers and has done his full share toward promoting the work of general progress and improvement here. He has opened up and developed two different farms and his labors have therefore been an important factor in the agricultural progress of he community. Moreover his life has at all times been honorable and upright and no man more fully merits the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens or enjoys in larger measure the respect and honor of those with whom he has been associated than does David E. Clayton.
ALEXANDER H. COCHRAN
Alexander H. Cochran, who has been actively and successfully identified with the farming and stock-raising interests of Taylor county for more than a quarter of a century, is now the owner of a fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 27, Platte township, where he makes his home. His birth occurred in Ireland in 1837, his parents being Alexander and Elizabeth (Henry) Cochran, both of whom were natives of that country. In the year 1850 they crossed the Atlantic to the United States, settling near Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, where the father opened up a new farm and reared his family.
Alexander H. Cochran, who was a lad of thirteen years when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to the new world, grew to manhood in Adams county, Illinois, and on the 6th of June, 1861, was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Powell, a native of that place. In 1864 he removed to Hancock county, Illinois, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres on which a few improvements had been made, devoting his time and energies to its further development and improvement until 1883, when he disposed of the property and came to Taylor county, Iowa. Here he bought one hundred and sixty acres of partially improved land in Grove township, near Lenox, and gave his attention (page 275) to its cultivation for about eighteen years, at the end of which time he sold the place. Subsequently he purchased a farm of eighty acres in Platte township, on which he resided for six years, bringing the fields under a high state of development and improvement. He then leased the property and made his home in Lenox for two years, on the expiration of which period he returned to his farm, residing thereon until he sold the place in 1905. He next bought the farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 27, Platte township, on which he now resides and the many substantial improvements on the property stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. In addition to his work as an agriculturist he also raises and feeds stock to some extent, making a specialty of hogs. In all of his undertakings he has won that measure of success which is ever the reward of earnest, persistent and well directed labor and he is entitled to representation among the substantial and respected citizens of the county.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cochran were born nine children, as follows: Joseph, who follows farming in Ringgold county, Iowa; Harry, who married Josie Cabbage and resides upon and operated the home farm for his father; Mary, the wife of George Day, of Oregon; Tilla, the wife of William Short, an agriculturist of this county; Anna, the wife of John Edwards, of Lenox; Emma, who is the wife of Luther Hurley, of Lenox; Addie, who died at the age of eighteen years; Nellie, who passed away when about eight years old; and Alexander H., Jr., who died in infancy. The wife and mother was called to her final rest on the 18th of March, 1908, passing away in the faith of the Presbyterian church. Her remains were interred in Grove Center cemetery.
Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise Mr. Cochran has given his political allegiance to the republican party but has never desired the honors and emoluments of office, preferring to devote his undivided attention to his business affairs. He is a devoted and consistent member of the Presbyterian church, exemplifying its teachings in his daily life. The period of his residence in this county now covers more than a quarter of a century and he has seen a wonderful transformation as pioneer conditions have been replaced by all the evidences of an advanced civilization. Moreover, he has not only been an interested witness but also an active participant in the work of improvement and upbuilding, having developed three farms in Taylor county. He has now passed the seventy-second milestone on life's journey and is well known and highly esteemed throughout the community as an upright and honorable citizen.
A valuable farm property pays tribute to the care and labor of Lloyd Combs, who is the owner of one hundred acres of rich and productive land in Mason township, which he purchased in 1908. He is one of Taylor county's native sons, his birth having occurred at North New Market on 15th of May, 1886. His parents were Burr and Laura (Painter) Combs. The former was a representative of a family that came from Pennsylvania to Iowa and his brothers and sisters were Seth, Frank, Joe, Nancy, and Sissy Combs. At the time of the Civil war Burr Combs responded to the country's call for troops and did valiant service with the Union army, in defense of the stars and stripes. Having arrived at years of maturity he married Laura Painter, who was one of five children, the others being John, Elda, Lizzie and Sadie Painter. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Burr Combs was blessed with eight children, namely: Lloyd, George, Charles, Ned, Osea, Nell, Cora and Lizzie, of which number Cora is now deceased.
At the usual age Lloyd Combs entered the public schools which provided him his educational privileges. He continued his studies until his seventeenth (page 443) year, and through the periods of vacation assisted his father on the home farm. After putting aside his text-books he continued to aid his father in the development of the fields of the old homestead up to the time of his marriage, which occurred in North New Market on the 22d of March, 1905, the lady of his choice being Miss Glenna Johnson, a daughter of Kelso and Mary (Wisener) Johnson. The latter is a daughter of John Wisener and her brothers and sisters were John, Ernest, Nina, Jean, Sadie, Bertha, Grace and Della Wisener. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had two daughters and two sons, Mrs. Combs, Luella, Ed and John.
The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Combs has been blessed with one child, Harold, who is the light and life of the household. In his political views Mr. Combs is a republican, having continuously supported that party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He does not seek nor desire office, however, but prefers to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, which are carefully conducted and are bringing to him substantial success. He carries on general farming and raises all kinds of stock. He is a young man, having but recently passed the twenty-third milestone on life's journey, but his business ability has already made him recognized as one of the representative agriculturists of Mason township.
Frank Connor, who for the past eight years has capably served his fellow townsmen in the position of assessor of Platte township, owns and operates a neat and well improved farm of eighty acres on section 17, adjoining the corporation limits of Lenox, and also has forty acres in another tract. His birth occurred in Knox county, Illinois, on the 25th of January, 1865, and he is one of a family of four sons and three daughters, all of whom still survive with the exception of one of the sons. He was a lad of eleven years when he came to this county with his father and here grew to manhood, obtaining his education in the public schools. He remained on the home farm until he had attained his majority and on the 10th of February, 1890, was united in marriage to Miss Agnes Hayes.
(Page 572) During the next sixteen years he devoted his time and energies to the cultivation of a rented farm in Platte township and in 1907 purchased the place of eighty acres on section 17 where he now resides. He has brought the fields under a high state of cultivation and has placed many substantial improvements on the property, which in its neat and thrifty appearance indicates the supervision of a practical and progressive owner. His landed holdings also include another farm of forty acres in Platte township and he is widely recognized as one of the substantial agriculturists and representative citizens of the community. In addition to the production of the various cereals best adapted to climatic conditions, he is also engaged in the raising and feeding of stock, which branch of his business adds materially to his income.
At the polls Mr. Connor casts his ballot in support of the men and measures of the democracy. In 1901 he was elected to the position of assessor and by reelection has since remained in that office, the period of his incumbency now covering eight years. Both he and his wife are devoted communicants of the Catholic church, in the faith in which they were reared. He has lived in this county for a third of a century and has witnessed many changes here, for the conditions of frontier life have been replaced with the evidence of a modern and progressive civilization. With the growth and development he has been closely connected and he is a man of tried integrity and worth, who has the confidence and esteem of all.
JOHN R. COOPER
John R. Cooper, a prominent banker of Conway, who also for a number of years was identified with farming and stock-raising in Taylor county, was born in Erie county, New York, on the 28th of March, 1851. He dates his residence, however, in Iowa since 1877 and during the intervening years has won for himself a high place among the prosperous and representative citizens of Taylor county. At an early age he accompanied his parents on their removal west, the family home being established in Lee county, Illinois, where Mr. Cooper was reared and acquired his education in the common schools. His early years were spent upon the home farm where he assisted his father in the cultivation of his fields, and that his early training in farm work was thorough and practical is evidenced in the substantial success which attended his labors in later years. After attaining his majority, he began earning his own livelihood by working by the month as a farm hand. He was thus employed for two or three years and then, desiring that his labors should more directly benefit himself, he rented a farm, which he continued to operate for four years. It was during his residence in Lee county, Illinois, that Mr. Cooper met Miss Fannie Young, a native of Kankakee county, that state, whom he married in November, 1876. The following spring witnessed his arrival in Taylor county, Iowa, where he located on a farm in Grant township. The place consisted of one hundred and sixty acres of raw prairie land with only a few acres broken. He erected a little house and, with characteristic energy and industry, began the improvement and development of his property. As the years passed he prospered in his undertaking, and from time to time, as his capital increased, he purchased more land, until in time he became the owner of about two thousand acres in five well improved and valuable farms, his realty holdings constituting him one of the extensive landowners of Taylor county. Upon his home farm he built a good barn and substantial outbuildings and also erected a large and beautiful residence, equipped throughout with all modern conveniences, while upon the place are found all of the latest accessories for facilitating the work of the farm. He also engaged extensively in stock-raising, making a specialty of breeding hogs and cattle, and became known throughout the county for his livestock interests, while he acted as clerk at various public sales throughout the community for years.
In 1903, Mr. Cooper directed his interests into other channels, becoming identified with the financial interests of Taylor county through his purchase, in January of that year, of the bank at Sharpsburg, Marshall township, which institution he still owns and operates. In the following year he promoted and (page 338) organized the Farmers Bank of Conway and became its president, which position he today occupies. He is engaged in a general banking business and his business sagacity, his ability for good management and above all his upright and honorable methods have gained for him an enviable place among the prosperous and representative capitalists of Taylor county.
As the years have come and gone the home of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper has been blessed with nine children, six sons and three daughters. The sons are: Roy, who operates the home farm; Fred, cashier of the farmers Bank of Conway; Clyde, a resident farmer of Marshall township; John, employed in the Sharpsburg Bank; Leo, ten years of age; and Paul, a lad of six years. The eldest daughter, Nellie, is now the wife of B. F. Wilson, cashier of the Sharpsburg Bank. Grace M. wedded W. J. Martin, of Chicago, while the youngest daughter, Margaret, is still at home.
Fraternally Mr. Cooper is connected with the Masons, holding membership in Blue Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and is also a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar of Creston, Iowa, and is a member of the Mystic Shrine of St. Joseph, Missouri, while he likewise is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has filled all of the chairs and is now a past grand. In politics, Mr. Cooper has given his allegiance to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and has been called upon to fill various positions by his fellow citizens. He was elected supervisor and served as a member of the county board and was chairman of the board during the erection of the courthouse. He also served as township trustee and as township clerk and in various other official positions. He is prominent in the local party ranks and has been sent as delegate to various state and county conventions. Starting out at the beginning of his business career without any especial favoring circumstances, Mr. Cooper has worked his way upward by diligent labor and unfaltering perseverance until today, by reason of the success which he has attained, he ranks among the prominent and representative citizens of Taylor county, while his personal characteristics are such as have won for him the honor, respect and good will of all with whom he has been associated.
An excellent farm of three hundred and twenty acres located on section 27, Grant township, pays tribute to the care and labor bestowed upon it by Joseph Cooper who, through his industry and well directed efforts in agricultural lines, is meeting with a most creditable degree of prosperity. He was born on the 17th of May, 1866, in Lee county, Illinois, his parents being William and Hannah Cooper. He is a brother of J. R. Cooper, a prominent business man and banker of Conway, Taylor county, extended mention of whom is made on another page of this volume. Reared to agricultural pursuits on his father's farm, he acquired his education in the district schools near his home and when not busy with his text-books assisted in the work of the fields, early becoming familiar with the best methods of plowing, planting and harvesting. He continued to give (page 656) his father the benefit of his assistance until the latter's death, after which he remained upon the homestead, caring for his mother, for a number of years.
The year 1891 witnessed his arrival in Taylor county, and he settled in Grant township, purchasing the farm of three hundred and twenty acres on section 27 which is now his home. Under his care the soil, which is naturally rich and fertile, has been brought under a high state of cultivation. He has made a close study of agriculture, and this, combined with the thorough and comprehensive training which he received under the direction of his father upon the home farm, has well equipped him for the successful conduct of his farming interest. He also engages extensively in feeding cattle and hogs and fattens from two to three carloads of stock each year. In the midst of his farm he has erected a comfortable and attractive dwelling and has two good barns, one of which is not yet completed. The entire place is well fenced and contains a fine orchard and grove, while it is equipped with all the modern accessories and conveniences that go to make up a model farm.
It was in September, 1889, that Mr. Cooper was united in marriage to Miss Anna Erbes, a native of Lee county, Illinois, where she was reared, educated and married. Unto this union have been born four children: Flossie, Frank C., Howard and Grant, all of whom are still under the parental roof.
Politically Mr. Cooper has given stanch allegiance to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. On that ticket he was elected to serve on the township board of Lee county and also filled the office of supervisor, while since his arrival in Grant township, Taylor county, he has been elected township clerk, which office he filled for six years, and is now serving as township trustee. He has also been sent as a delegate to various county conventions and has been a prominent and influential figure in the affairs of the party in this county. In his fraternal relations he is a Master Mason. His business interests have been carefully conducted, his duties of citizenship capably performed, and at all times he has been true to the obligations and responsibilities that have devolved upon him in every relation of life, making him one of the worthy and valued citizens of Grant township.