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Lafayette Young

The original edition of the "History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers" contained a brief biography of Lafe Young from his birth in 1848 to the time of the publication (1877). When the history was reprinted in 2003, a more complete, updated biography, was included. The biographical facts below have been re-formated from the 2003 edition and links for further research have been provided.

Lafayette Young was born in 1848 on a farm in Monroe County, Iowa.

Lafe worked in his father's woolen mill in Albia, Iowa until it burned circa 1861, and then learned the printer's trade in the Albia Sentinel office, which was published by an older brother. By 1866 Lafe was working for Mills & Company, the largest printing firm in Des Moines.

In 1868-69 he attended night school while working for a printing firm in St. Louis.

In 1870, he moved to Des Moines and became city editor of the State Journal. Lafe and Josephine Bolton were married the same year.

In 1871, Lafe and Josephine moved to Atlantic. Lafe began publication of the Atlantic Telegraph, a weekly newspaper which became a daily in 1879.

Lafe served several terms in the state Senate between 1873 and 1888, advocating good roads and legislation for fair railroad passenger and freight rates.

In 1890 Lafe returned to Des Moines and purchased the Des Moines Capital, serving as editor until his death in 1926.

Lafe served as a newspaper correspondent in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, befriending Theodore Roosevelt. Lafe and his wife were guests of the Taft party during a State visit to the Phillipines in 1905. In 1913 Lafe served as a newspaper correspondent in the Balkans. He was imprisoned by the Austrian government as a spy in 1915, while serving as a war correspondent in Europe. From 1917 to the end of WWI he served as chairman of the Iowa State Council of Defense.

Lafe Young was a popular speaker and his Des Moines Capital editorials were widely quoted.

Lafayette Young is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa.

Additional details about the life of Lafayette Young may be found in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress and in The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa, University of Iowa Press Digital Editions.

From the "History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers," by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa, Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pg. 128.

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