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PETER OKELL

OKELL, CORKER, ATLEE, BRACKET, BROOKS, PENNOCK

Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 10/10/2020 at 23:02:49

PETER OKELL, of Ft. Madison, is a native of Cheshire, England, born Jan.6, 1834, and the son of Peter and Martha (Corker) Okell, also natives of the British Empire. Our subject received but a limited education, and when only eleven years of age went on board a ship as a sailor boy. He learned a large part of his duties on the Mediterranean Sea, and subsequently sailed into ports in East India and Australia, and finally sailed around the world. He was a bright and ambitious lad, and the general favorite of the ship’s company. He became Third Mate of the vessel at an early age, and while in Australia was made Master of a coasting schooner. He followed the sea for thirteen years, and then, while at New Orleans, took a trip up the Mississippi River to Denmark, Lee Co., Iowa, where he had a friend living. He also at this time entered some land in Cass County which, however, he never occupied.

In 1855 Mr. Okell made a voyage from New York to Liverpool, returned, and the following year repeated it. He then entered the employ of Col. Gustave Bracket, who was engaged in the nursery business at Denmark, Iowa. Three years later he went to Kansas and opened up a farm, but as this was during the time of the Kansas-Nebraska trouble he only remained in that vicinity one year. In the meantime he was afflicted with fever and ague, and took a trip to Europe for his health. After his return to Lee County he was appointed guard in the Iowa State Penitentiary at Ft. Madison, which position he occupied about one year, fulfilling its duties with great credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned.

Peter Okell and Miss Martha D. Atlee were united in marriage Jan. 29, 1860. Mrs. Okell is the daughter of J. C. and Emily S. (Brooks) Atlee, and was born at Ft. Madison in 1840. Soon after their marriage Mr. Okell entered the employ of S. & J. C. Atlee, father and son, who are now carrying on an extensive lumber business at Ft. Madison. He remained with the firm until about 1862, and after the breaking out of the late Civil War. He then enlisted in the United States Navy, was appointed Ensign, and ordered to report to Commodore Penock. He was soon afterward promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and made the Commodore’s executive officer. Commodore Pennock was subsequently transferred to another command, and Lieut. Okell became the executive officer of Commodore Livingston, with whom he remained until the close of the war.

After his return from the naval service Mr. Okell again entered the employ of Messrs. S. & J. C. Atlee. In 1865 he became a member of the firm, and purchased a sawmill at Stillwater, Minn., having charge of the same for the following three years, at the expiration of which time the company sold out and dissolved partnership. The two Atlees, father and son, then became associated together in business, and Mr. Okell has since that time been one of the trusted employes of the firm.

Of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Okell there have been born five children – Charles L., Frank A., Emeline B., John A. and Sadie M. Mr. Okell has given each of his children a fair education and caused his sons to learn a useful trade, thus providing them with something substantial with which to start upon the voyage of life.

Mr. Okell is a remarkably intelligent and well informed gentleman, and has fully improved his large experience in life. He has seen many strange sights and curious people in his journeys over the face of the globe, and his experiences if related would fill a volume. He is highly esteemed in this vicinity as a business man and a citizen. He is a member of Stella Lodge No. 440, A. F. & A. M.; Washington Chapter No. 17, R. A. M., at Stillwater, Minn., and Damaseus Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar of Keokuk, Iowa. He is also a member of the I. O. O. F., and is at present commander of James B. Sample Post No. 107, G. A. R.

Source:
PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF LEE COUNTY, IOWA
CHICAGO: CHAPMAN BROTHERS, 1887

Transcription typed/proofed as article was originally published in 1887


 

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