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: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 508
John J. Knox, a prominent and successful farmer and stock raiser of Grant township, extensively known throughout Taylor county as the proprietor of the Hog Branch Stock Farm, is also entitled to mention in this volume because of his activity in community affairs and also because of the fact that as a soldier he rendered valuable aid to the Union during the dark days of the Civil war.  A native of Pennsylvania, his birth occurred in Juniata county on the 22d of March, 1843, a son of Thomas L. and Sophia H. (Leonard) Knox, natives of New York and Pennsylvania, respectively.  The father, however, was reared and married in the latter state, and later removed to Illinois, locating upon a farm in Bureau county.
Upon his father's farm in Illinois John J. Knox was reared to manhood, acquiring his education in the district schools near his home and during the periods of vacation devoting his time to the work of the fields.  He early became familiar with the tasks that fall to the lot of the country lad and remained under the parental roof, giving his father the benefit of his assistance, until the year 1863, when he responded to his country's call for aid and enlisted in Company I, Ninety-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  With this regiment he went south and joined Sherman, under whom he participated in the engagements at Dalton, Georgia; Altoona Pass; Savannah, Columbia and Bentonville, and later took part in the Atlanta campaign.  He served until the close of the war and then marched north through Richmond and on to Washington, where he participated in the grand review, the greatest military pageant ever held in this country.  He was then sent to Parkersburg, West Virginia, and thence to Louisville, Kentucky, doing guard duty, and subsequently returned to Springfield, Illinois, where he was honorably discharged in August, 1865.  During his term of enlistment, he was a brave and fearless soldier and lost but little time through sickness.
When his country no longer needed his services, Mr. Knox returned home, where he remained for a time, and later took a trip to Iowa to look over some land which an uncle has previously entered.  His stay in the Hawkeye State, however, was brief and upon his return to Illinois he took up agricultural pursuits in Bureau county, being thus engaged for about two years.  In 1868, in company with his parents, he again came to Iowa, where he has since continued to reside and where his father and mother spent their remaining days.  He purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Grant township, Taylor county, which he at once began to break and convert into productive fields.  The soil was naturally rich and fertile and in the course of time was brought under a high state of cultivation, annually yielding abundant harvests which proved a source of most gratifying revenue to him.  As he prospered in his (page 513) undertaking he was able to add to his original purchase from time to time until today he is one of the extensive landowners of the township.  His home farm, which is known as the Hog Branch Stock Farm, consists of four hundred acres, all well improved, constituting one of the finest farming properties in the district.  He has built good fences, set out a large orchard and grove, and has equipped the place with all modern conveniences and accessories for facilitating labor.  In the midst of the farm he has erected a beautiful up-to-date dwelling and in the rear are substantial barns and outbuildings, all of which stand as monuments to his enterprise and thrift.  He also owns three other farms, one of one hundred and twenty acres, another eighty acres and another forty acres in Grant township, which are also highly cultivated, and owns a half interest in a one hundred and sixty acre farm in Kansas.  He carries on general agricultural pursuits and in addition does an extensive business in raising and feeding horses, cattle and hogs, making a specialty of heavy draft horses.  His stock is all of very high grade and is known throughout Taylor county, commanding ready sales and excellent prices on the market.  His annual receipts amount to a very handsome figure inasmuch as both branches of his business -- his farming and his stock-raising interests -- are proving very remunerative.
In 1870, after he had thoroughly established himself in business, Mr. Knox returned to Bureau county, Illinois, where, on the 30th of December of that year, he was united in marriage to Miss Lucy E. Sargent, a native of Enfield, New Hampshire, who was reared in Illinois.  Unto that union have been born three sons and four daughters, who are as follows:  Elbert P., a farmer of Grant township; Howard L., also engaged in agricultural pursuits in this township; John C., who resides at home; Clara, who is also at home with her father; Blanche, the wife of Daniel Bruner, a resident farmer of Grant township; Dora, who married G. L. Harvey, of the same township; and Nellie, still under the parental roof.  In March, 1905, the wife and mother was called to her final rest, her remains being interred in Clearfield Cemetery.  Her death was the occasion of deep grief not only to the bereaved family but also to a number of warm friends, for she was a lady of excellent traits of character, who commanded the respect of all with whom she came in contact.  She was an earnest Christian woman and throughout her residence in this locality held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, to which all of her children also belong with the exception of one.
Since age conferred upon him the right of franchise, Mr. Knox has given stalwart allegiance to the democracy and has been called upon to fill various public positions.  At different times he has been elected to the office of township trustee, his first term covering eight years, while he is now serving in that capacity, his present term having continued for four years.  He has served as a delegate to county and state conventions and at different times has been identified with the school board, the cause of education finding in him a warm champion.  He belongs to the Grand Army post at Clearfield, and through his membership therein keeps up pleasant relations with his old army comrades.  Although he has passed many of his fellowmen on the highway to success, yet his prosperity has been honestly won, his integrity being above question and the methods employed being honorable at all times.  During the forty years of his (page 514) residence in Grant township he has been an interested witness of the steady and continuous growth which has been going on within its borders, and in the work of improvement and development he has done his full share, doing all in his power to further those movements which have for their object the substantial progress and upbuilding of the community. 
Page 410
Albert E Lake, secretary of the Bedford Creamery at Bedford, Iowa, was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, September 28, 1850, a grandson of Enos and Annie (Gould) Lake, in whose family were three sons and three daughters, namely: Alpheus A.; Hulda, who was the wife of Miles Sweeney; Mrs. Nancy Sweeney; John B., the father of Albert E. Lake; Mehitabel, who also married a Mr. Lake; and one son who died at sea.
John B. Lake was a native of Massachusetts and for some time was connected with the business interests of Topsfield as a shoe merchant but after the outbreak of the Civil war he put aside all business and personal considerations and enlisted as a member of Company F, Twenty-third Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for ten months.  He was wounded in the battle of Roanoke Island -- the first engagement in which he participated -- and later returned home on a furlough.  He soon rejoined his regiment, however, but was taken ill and was discharged for disability.  After the war he cultivated a small farm but never fully recovered from the effects of his army service, and died in Boxford, Massachusetts, in March, 1878.  He was married three times, his first two wives being sisters.  For his third wife he chose Amelia H. Norwood, also a native of Massachusetts and a daughter of George Norwood, who was a fisherman residing in Gloucester, Massachusetts.  He also served as a soldier in the war of 1812 and died in the east at an advanced age, while his wife also died in Massachusetts at an old age.  They were the parents of five children: Amelia, who became the mother of Albert E. Lake; George; Nathan; Eunice, the wife of Edward Lane; and Mrs. Adaline Tarr.  Unto John B. and Amelia H. (Norwood) Lake there were born four children:  Albert E.; Herbert L., who is now living in Sparks, Oklahoma; Ada W., the wife of W. A. Brock, of Rupert, Idaho; and Howard W., who died in early childhood.  The death of the father occurred in Boxfield, Massachusetts, in March, 1878, while the mother survived until 1900.  Both were members of the Methodist church.
Albert E. Lake spent his boyhood days in Topsfield and in Roxford, Massachusetts, and attended the Putnam Free School at Newburyport.  He afterward went to Boston where he engaged in bookkeeping for five years and in 1876 he came to the west.  The following year he located on a farm near Conway, where he resided for three years, after which he carried on merchandising for some years in Conway.  In 1900, he arrived in Bedford, having been elected county treasurer, in which position he served for two terms, since which time he has been secretary of the Bedford Creamery.  He has made steady (page 411) progress since starting out in business on his own account and his present connection is one of importance and profit.
In November, 1874, Mr. Lake was married to Miss Sarah L. Reed and unto them have been born two sons, Walter H. and Harry C.  The former married Eva Carr and at the present writing is filling the position of county auditor.  The younger son is attending Cornell College.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Lake are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he is serving as steward.  The work of the church is ably promoted by them for they are interested in its progress.  Mr. Lake belongs to Bedford Lodge, No. 91, I. O. O. F., and is also connected with Bedford Encampment, No. 73.  His political endorsement has always been given to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and in the various offices which he has filled he has discharged his duties with promptness and fidelity.  For two years he served as mayor of Conway and at the present writing is a member of the city council at Bedford.  He is alive to the interests and vital questions of the day relative to the welfare of city and county and his cooperation with many movements for the general good as well as his business activity has made him one of the representative men of this part of the state. 
Page 256
Walter H. Lake, filling the position of county auditor and maintaining his residence in Bedford, was born near Conway, in Taylor county, Iowa, March 5, 1878.  His parents were Albert E. and Sarah L. (Reed) Lake, both of whom are natives of Massachusetts.  The Lake family was established in that state at an early day. The paternal grandfather, John B. Lake, was born in Massachusetts, served his country as a Union soldier in the Civil war and died some time afterward as the result of a wound sustained in that conflict.  His widow, Mrs. Amelia H. Lake, died when well advanced in years.  They had a family of four children, three sons and a daughter.  The maternal grandfather of our subject was likewise a native of Massachusetts and died in the east.  His widow long survived him and after his death became Mrs. Wheelock.
Albert E. Lake was reared in the state of his nativity and became a bookkeeper in the east.  About 1876 he removed from Boston to Iowa and settled on a farm near Conway.  A year or two later, however, he abandoned agricultural pursuits and engaged in general merchandising in Conway, where he successfully conducted his store for ten years.  His fellow-townsmen, appreciative of his worth, then called him to public office and for four years he filled the position of county treasurer, making a creditable record in that capacity, so that he won high encomiums from the leading citizens of the entire county.  He is now a resident of Bedford and the secretary of the Bedford Creamery.  In all of his official service his record has been characterized by the utmost loyalty and devotion to duty.  He served as mayor of Conway for two terms and is now a member (page 257) of the Bedford city council.  Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist church and their sterling characteristics have gained them a firm hold on the affection and regard of friends and associates.  Their family numbered but two sons, the younger being Harry C. Lake.
Walter H. Lake, the elder son, was reared in Conway and attended the public schools there, after which he was graduated on the completion of the business course in the Western Normal College.  He remained there until 1895, after which he engaged in clerking in his father's store for a short time.  His next situation was that of an assistant cashier in the Conway Exchange Bank and in 1900 he was called to the office of deputy county treasurer, serving in that position under appointment of his father for three years.  He was afterward engaged in general merchandising in Conway for a short time and then took a position as assistant cashier in the Citizens Bank of Bedford, where he remained for three years.  During all this period in his business connections and in his official service, he was giving proof of his trustworthiness and his unfaltering spirit of loyalty, and in 1906 his fellow-townsmen evidenced their appreciation of his good qualities by electing him county auditor, in which position he is now serving.  He has always been a republican and in addition to his other official duties he acted for a short time as city clerk of Conway.
On the 20th of August, 1906, Mr. Lake was married to Miss Eva Carr, a daughter of James A. and Martha E. Carr.  Mrs. Lake was born in Decatur county, Iowa, and is a member of the Christian church, and Mr. Lake is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Bedford.  Mr. Lake belongs to Taylor Lodge, No. 156, A. F. & A. M., of which he is a past master; to Triangle Chapter, R. A. M., in which he is serving as high priest; and to Bethany Commandery, K. T., of Crescent, Iowa.  He is likewise connected with Kaaba Temple of the Mystic Shrine and with Bedford Lodge, No. 91, I. O. O. F.  He is a man of social, genial nature and his many sterling qualities have made him one of the substantial and honored citizens of the county.  That he is regarded as a man of genuine worth is indicated by the trust reposed in him in his election to public office.
Page 623
William H. Landen, a property owner of New Market, where he has resided since 1904, was engaged in the harness business until September 1, 1909, and met with most creditable success in that enterprise.  Born in Parke county, Indiana, on the 13th of April, 1851, he is a son of Orey and Maria (Barns) Landen, the former one of a family of eight children, the others being Sarah, Rebecca, Amy, Jane, John, Adeline, and Maria Landen, while the latter has the following brothers and sisters, William, Granville, Henry, Joseph, Elizabeth and Sarah Barnes.  The ancestors, as far back as can be traced, have resided in America, and it is not known where the family originated or when founded in this country.
Reared under the parental roof, William H. Landen is indebted to the public schools for the educational advantages which he enjoyed in his boyhood and youth.  He remained a pupil until twenty-one years of age, and in the meantime, from his eighteenth to his twenty-first year, he worked upon a farm when not engaged with his text-books, and thus received good practical training along the line of general agriculture.  After leaving school he continued to engage in farming in the employ of others until he was twenty-eight years old and then, in 1877, he went to Rooks county, Kansas, where he took up a homestead claim.  He devoted his energies to the cultivation and improvement of that property until 1890, when he sold the land and came to Taylor county, where he purchased eighty acres of land.  This property was in a raw condition when it came into his possession, but with characteristic energy and perseverance he set about its improvement, and before long he had his fields under a high state of cultivation, from which he reaped golden harvests in the autumn.  He continued to operate the place until 1904, in which year he removed to New Market, although he did not (page 624) sell the farm until two years later.  His life had been one of continuous activity and his intelligently directed efforts had brought him a gratifying degree of prosperity.  He lived retired for two years, but not being content to remain idle, he became identified with the harness business in the spring of 1909 and devoted his time and attention to the conduct of an enterprise for some months.
On the 6th of September, 1882, in Madison township, Rooks county, Kansas, Mr. Landen was united in marriage to Mrs. Julia Hill, and thereby laid the foundation for a happy home life.  They are members of the Christian church, of which Mr. Landen is a trustee and president of the church board.  Fraternally he holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and is right supporter of the vice grand.  He was a liberal contributor to the building of the I. O. O. F. hall, which is an imposing building and ranks among the finest structures in the city.  He is a democrat in politics and although he does everything in his power to further the influence of the party in the community, yet he has never sought nor desired office for himself, preferring to confine his energies to his private business affairs.  He is not remiss, however, in his duties of citizenship, his interests being thoroughly identified with those of Taylor county, and at all times he is ready to lend his aid and cooperation to any movement calculated to benefit his section of the country or promote its development. 
Page 353
John I. Larison is living on section 26, Clayton township, and he and his brother, G. W. Larison, are numbered among the energetic, wide-awake and progressive farmers of Taylor county, where they own four hundred acres of rich and productive land.  The farm has been transformed into a valuable property, owing to the care and labor which they have bestowed upon it.  The brothers are both natives of Iowa, having been born in Taylor county near Bedford.  The birth of G. W. Larison occurred December 29, 1864, while J. I. Larison was born June 10, 1866.  They were sons of Enoch B. Larison, a native of Shelby county, Indiana, where he was reared and educated.  In that county he married Catherine Smith, also a native of Shelby county, and following their marriage he began farming there but in 1854 removed to Taylor (page 354) county, Iowa.  He then purchased land in Bedford township, after which he opened up a new farm and reared his family thereon.  Carefully and persistently he continued the arduous task of developing new land until the wild prairie was transformed into productive fields, the wild flowers being replaced by the rich, golden harvests.  Upon his farm Enoch Larison passed away in 1882, while his wife, surviving him for some years, died in 1900.  In their family were six sons and a daughter, all of whom were reared in Bedford township.  The two older sons were born in Indiana but the others are all natives of Taylor county.  William W., the oldest member of the family, is a resident of Rich Valley in Alberta, Canada.  Robert is living at Stanberry, Missouri, David J. is in Sheridan, Wyoming, where he is filling the office of county assessor.  Maggie M. died in 1904, aged thirty-six years.
J. I. and G. W. Larison are representative farmers of Taylor county.  John I. Larison was educated in the Bedford schools and in early manhood was trained in the work of the farm and assisted his father until the latter's death, after which he carried on the home place.  About 1889 he was joined in a partnership by his brother, G. W. Larison, and together they rented and carried on the home place, and also rented and cultivated other land.  In the fall of 1896 they purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land and located where they now reside, on section 26, Clayton township.  Their continuous and well directed labor is evidenced in the excellent appearance of their place, for the fields are carefully cultivated and everything about the farm is neat and thrifty.  They have built a large feed shed, ninety-six by eighteen feet, and they have a barn, seventy-two by seventy-two feet.  They also have a sheep barn and a hog house and in 1909 built a silo, twenty by thirty feet with five feet in the ground, having  capacity of over two hundred tons ensilage.  The most modern improvements are found upon their place, including two gasoline engines, one of eight horse power for grinding feed, and the other of two horse power to operate the waterworks.  The churning and the laundry work are also furnished with power from these engines and machinery for shearing sheep is operated in the same way, so that the manual work is greatly lessened.  There is a fine system of waterworks upon the place and every lot or field on the farm is enclosed with woven wire fence.  The brothers are extensively engaged in raising stock, having three hundred head of hogs upon their place, and feed and fatten about a thousand head of sheep annually.  Last year they raised five hundred head of Poland China hogs, mostly pure blood.  They also keep about one hundred and twenty-five head of cattle and thirty-eight head of horses and are numbered among the most extensive, successful and prosperous stock raisers, feeders and shippers of the county.  In addition to cultivating their own land the brothers lease and operate three hundred and twenty acres not far from their home farm and give personal supervision to all of the work.
John I. Larison was married near Bedford, January 3, 1894, to Miss Rose Ernest, who was born in Kansas and was reared in Iowa.  They have no children of their own but are rearing and educating an orphan boy and girl.
Politically the brothers are republicans, stalwart in support of the party and doing all in their power to promote its growth and extend its influence.  John I. Larison is now serving as township clerk but they have always preferred to (page 355) devote their time and energies to the interests of their business.  They are members of the East Mission Baptist church and also of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Bedford, while John I. Larison and his wife are both connected with the Rebekah degree.  The brothers also hold membership with the Modern Woodmen of America.  They are both active, enterprising and progressive farmers and stock raisers, recognized as good and reliable business men, and their keen discernment and energy have constituted the foundation upon which they have built their success.