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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
D. B. PAXTON
Among the prominent business men of Blockton may be numbered D. B. Paxton, who is conducting a general store in this city, having been located here since 1895. Mr. Paxton was born in Preble county, Ohio, December 23, 1851, and was there reared to farm life, while his education was acquired in the common schools. In 1880, believing the advantages of the west offered good opportunities to the ambitious young man, he came to Iowa and locating in Warren county, where he engaged in farming for five years. He then secured employment in a store at Milo, being engaged as clerk about six years, after which he purchased an interest in the store and continued at that place until 1895. Disposing of his interests (page 649) there, he then came to Blockton and embarked in his present business, carrying a full line of dry goods and groceries and handling only the best grade of goods. High quality and moderate prices have made this enterprise one of the best in Blockton.
It was in Preble county, Ohio, in 1875, that Mr. Paxton was united in marriage to Miss Martha Smith, who was born and reared in that county. In early life he gave his political support to the republican party but is now a strong prohibitionist, though at local elections he votes independently. He has served as a member of the city council three years and has been identified with the schools. He helped to organize the Blockton high school and is ever interested in advancement along educational lines, whereby the children of the neighborhood can be benefited. Both he and is wife are members of the Methodist church and are teachers and active workers in the Sunday-school.
A public-spirited citizen, Mr. Paxton has been an influential factor in many improvements that have been made in Blockton since the time of his arrival. He has a kindly, genial nature and is very considerate in his intercourse with all people, being to all equally affable, whether they are poor or have wealth. He is a typical business man and Blockton is proud to number him among her best and most substantial citizens.
S. L. PAYTON
S. L. Payton, who owns an excellent farm of three hundred and sixty acres on section 21, Gay township, where he engages in general agricultural pursuits and also makes a specialty of raising pure blooded stock, is meeting with success in his enterprise and is ranked among the prosperous and substantial farmers of this township. A native of Illinois, he was born in Henry county on the 7th of October, 1862, and is a son of Melchior and Mary (Schaefer) Payton, the former a retired farmer of Bedford, Iowa.
S. L. Payton remained in his native county until thirteen years of age when, in 1875, he accompanied his parents on their removal to Iowa, settlement being made in Taylor county. His education, which had been begun in Illinois, was completed (page 309) in the common schools of Iowa, and he remained upon his father's farm throughout the period of his boyhood and youth, devoting the time not given to his text-books to assisting his father in his agricultural pursuits. He early became familiar with the tasks that fall to the lot of the country lad and under the direction of his father learned practical lessons concerning the value of diligence, industry and perseverance.
Mr. Payton remained at home until the year 1883, when he was united in marriage in Clayton township to Miss Maggie Woods, a native of Knox county, Illinois, born in 1864. After his marriage he purchased a farm of eighty acres in Gay township, which constitutes a part of his present property. He at once directed his energies toward the improvement of this farm and through his close application and good management soon brought the fields under a high state of cultivation. As the years passed and he prospered he added to his property from time to time until his place today consists of three hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, all highly improved. He has erected thereon a large, comfortable and attractive two-story residence, equipped with all modern conveniences, has built substantial barns and outbuildings, has set out a fine grove and planted a good orchard, consisting of twenty acres of apple trees and five acres of peach trees, which is in good bearing condition. The farm is equipped with all the accessories and devices intended for facilitating farm labor, and in addition to his agricultural pursuits he also engages extensively in the raising and feeding of live stock. He fattens from two to four carloads of cattle and about three carloads of hogs annually, and for some time has made a specialty of breeding and dealing in pure-blooded shorthorn cattle, having now on hand forty cattle with a fine Scotch top male at the head of the herd. For the past five years he has also specialized along the line of breeding Percheron horses, and in the intervening years has raised some very fine specimens. He enjoys a substantial annual income from the fact that both branches of his business -- the raising of grain and the raising of live stock -- are proving most remunerative.
In 1893 Mrs. Payton was called to her final rest and left, besides her husband, two sons to mourn her loss, Ralph and Guy, who are now aiding in the operation of the home farm. In June, 1894, in Bedford, Iowa, Mr. Payton was again married, his second union being with Miss Inez Parish, a native of Taylor county, where she was reared and educated. Unto this union have been born four children, three of whom still survive, namely, Alice, Howard W. and Jessie. One daughter passed away at the age of eleven years. Mr. and Mr. Payton are both members of Gay Center Methodist Episcopal church, the teachings of which form the guiding influence of their lives. Both are deeply interested in the church work, Mr. Payton acting in the capacity of steward, while his wife is prominent in Sunday-school work, being at present the superintendent thereof.
Politically Mr. Payton gives stalwart allegiance to the republican party and served as township trustee for several years. He was likewise elected and served four years as a member of the board of supervisors, and is public-spirited in his citizenship, lending his aid and influence at all times to matters and measures having for their object the permanent and substantial growth and progress of the community. Throughout his years of residence in Taylor county he has witnessed the various improvements which have been instituted in both Blockton and Bedford (page 310) and saw the first railroad built through these towns, while he has rejoiced at the progress which has been made in recent years and at all times has exerted an influence to further the work thereof. A man of keen business ability, he has worked his way upward in the agricultural world until today he stands as one of the prominent and representative farmers of Gay township.
W. H. PAYTON
Familiarly called Howard by a large number of friends throughout the community, W. H. Payton is a prosperous and progressive farmer of Clayton township who is also well known throughout Taylor county as an extensive breeder and dealer in shorthorn cattle and Percheron horses. A native of Illinois, he was born in Champaign county, February 27, 1865. He came to Taylor county, Iowa, when a lad of nine years and has since continued to make his home in Clayton township. He was educated in the common schools of the district (page 418) and during the periods of vacation assisted in the work of his father's farm, early becoming familiar with the tasks that fall to the lot of the country lad. He remained at home until he had attained his majority and then, on the 12th of October, 1887, he was united in marriage in Gay township, Taylor county, to Miss Jennie Hunter, a sister of Paul Hunter, whose sketch is given on another page of this volume. She was born and reared in Illinois and before her marriage was a school teacher.
Mr. and Mrs. Payton began their domestic life on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Clayton township, which Mr. Payton continued to improve and develop for some time. Later he sold this place and purchased more land on section 23, this township, upon which farm he now resides. Through the industry, perseverance and well directed efforts of Mr. Payton this property is one of the well improved and valuable properties of the township. Upon it stands a large two-story house which was built by him and which is attractively furnished, while he has also erected a good barn and substantial outbuildings. He has set out a fine orchard of five acres, containing well selected fruit trees, and has a good grove of his own planting. In connection with his general farming pursuits he is extensively engaged in breeding, feeding and dealing in live stock, annually fattening a large number of hogs. For the past three years he has made a specialty of breeding and dealing in shorthorn cattle and now has on hand about thirty head of registered stock with a fine pure Scotch male at the heard of the herd, which also contains several Scotch cows. He has also, for some years, been a breeder of fine horses, making as specialty of Percheron horses, and has become very well known along this line.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Payton has been blessed with two daughters, namely: Edith, who was graduated from the Bedford high school with the class of 1909; and Edna, now attending that school. The parents are members of the Baptist church, while Mrs. Payton is an active Sunday-school worker and a teacher therein. They are people of excellent traits of character, who stand high socially in the community, while their home is popular because of its spirit of genial hospitality and good cheer. Politically Mr. Payton is a republican but he has never sought nor desired public office, preferring to devote his time, thought and attention to his private affairs, which are capably managed. He is a good business man, alert and enterprising, and the gratifying degree of success which he now enjoys came to him as the result of well directed energy and unceasing labor.
LEONARD W. PERKINS
Leonard W. Perkins, who carries on general farming on section 11, Gay township, is one of Iowa's native sons and a representative of one of the old pioneer families of the state. He was born in Wayne county, October 23, 1859, his parents being Alexander and Martha Sarah (Moore) Perkins. The father was a native of Indiana, where he was reared, but in early manhood came to Iowa, casting in his lot among the early settlers of Wayne county who were engaged in reclaiming the wild region for the purposes of civilization. Much of (page 690) the prairie was still in possession of the government and Mr. Perkins entered a claim and opened up a farm which is still in his possession. His wife was also a native of Indiana and spent her girlhood days in that state. They are now both well advanced in years, Mr. Perkins being about seventy-four years of age, while his wife is but a little younger. At the time of the Civil war Mr. Perkins put aside all business and personal considerations that he might aid the Union in the struggle to maintain the supremacy of the civil government. He joined Company D, of the Twenty-third Iowa Volunteer Infantry and, continuing at the front until the close of hostilities, was then honorably discharged, having made a creditable military record through the loyal aid which he rendered.
The public-school system of Wayne county afforded Leonard W. Perkins the educational privileges which he enjoyed in his boyhood and youth. Through the periods of summer vacations he worked in the fields, assisting his father in carrying on the task of cultivating the cereals best adapted to soil and climate. Practical experience, therefore, well qualified him to take charge of a home of his own when, in 1881, he came to Taylor county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw land. With characteristic energy he began breaking the sod and after he had made a start toward developing his farm he returned to Wayne county and completed his arrangements for having a home of his own by his marriage there, on the 17th of September, 1881, to Miss Nancy Sheets. She was born in Wayne county and spent her girlhood days within its borders. Following their marriage the young couple began their domestic life on the farm which is now their home, Mr. Perkins building there a small dwelling to which he has since added. He also built a barn and carried on the work of improving his farm along various lines. A fine grove on the place was set out by him, together with the orchard, and is now yielding good fruit in season. That the soil is rich and productive is seen in the crops which he annually harvests as the result of the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields. Stock raising, too, is a profitable source of his income, and he makes a specialty of raising and fattening hogs, shipping quite a large number to the market each fall.
Mr. and Mrs. Perkins have become the parents of two sons and four daughters: Samuel, who is married and follows farming in Gay township; Harry, at home; Ellen, the wife of J. N. Phillips, a farmer of Gay township; Mary, Lenore and Edna, all still under the parental roof. The family is widely known in Gay township and the members of the household occupy an enviable position in the social circles in which they move.
Fraternally Mr. Perkins is connected with the Odd Fellows Lodge at Maloy, having joined the order there. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen Camp at Clearfield, Iowa. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the republican party where state and national issues are involved, but otherwise casts an independent ballot. Political office has never had any attraction for him, yet he has served as road supervisor and as a member of the school board for two years. He does not neglect his duties of citizenship but prefers that his public service shall not call him to office. He desires, however, that the best interests of the community shall at all times be furthered, and to this end he lends his aid and cooperation to every movement for the general good. His life has been quietly passed, and yet there are in his record elements (page 691) that are well worthy of emulation, for he has sought his success along the legitimate lines of labor, and his efforts have at all times conformed to a high standard of business ethics.