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1903 Biography
Letter A

Henry Abel, Jr.

One of the solid and representative citizens of the county, and one who reflects credit upon his German ancestry, is the gentleman whose name precedes this paragraph. Mr. Abel is a native of Benton township, where he was born on the 26th of February, 1848. His father was Henry Abel, Sr., a native of the fatherland, born in Hesse-Darmstadt in 1824. He passed the period of youth in his native province, and was apprenticed to the weaver's trade. Upon arriving at maturity he emigrated to America and came directly to the state of Iowa. He was soon after joined in marriage in Fort Madison to Miss Mary Elizabeth Miller, who was also a native of the same province as her husband, having come to this country with our subject's father in the same boat, they being married almost immediately upon arrival in the state. Mr. Abel's parents soon after settled in Benton township, Keokuk county, on a farm of eighty acres. This was about the year 1845. They immediately proceeded to improve the farm, it being in the timbered section, and soon had it under a high state of cultivation. This date makes them one of the earliest pioneer families in the county. They became the parents of twelve children, an equal number of boys and girls, our subject being the eldest son. The names of the family were as follows : Kathrine, deceased; Henry, Jr., the subject of this sketch; Elizabeth; Barbara, deceased; Leonard and Dora, twins, Dora being deceased; William; David; Mary; Caroline, died in infancy; George, also died in infancy ; and John W. All of these children were reared to manhood on the old homestead in Benton township. The parents are both deceased. Mr. Abel was a staunch Whig, and after the passing of that party, voted with the Democratic party He took some little part in the affairs of the township in his earlier days. In religious belief the family were members of the United Brethren church.

Henry Abel, Jr., our subject, remained dutifully at home engaged in helping his parents educate their large family until he was thirty years of age. In the meantime he had been engaged in some farming ventures for himself, and in the fall and winter gave considerable attention to the threshing business. He married in 1878 Miss Margaret Alice Wallace, a native of this county, born in Warren township, March 9, 1852. Mrs. Abel is the daughter of Reuben Wallace, an old pioneer of this county, who was born in Dover, Delaware, November 23, 1811; he came to Iowa in an early day and settled in Warren township, Keokuk county, and was married to Mary Elizabeth Kieth about the year 1842. Mr. and Mrs. Abel are the parents of an interesting family of two boys and three girls - Laura Elizabeth, Rhoda May, Reuben, Henry, Eliza Dora, and Walter Ray.

For the first four years of his
married life Mr. Abel rented a farm near Hickory Grove, but in 1882, having accumulated the necessary capital, he was enabled to purchase his present place. This body of land now contains two hundred and eight acres, and evidences the hard labor which he has bestowed upon it. He has brought it to a high state of cultivation, and has placed upon it all the improvements necessary for the conduct of so large a farm. He gives special attention to the feeding of hogs for the market, and raises and sells all kinds of grain.

He follows his father in political
belief, voting with the Democratic party. He is a representative and highly esteemed citizen of the county, where he has passed his whole life time, and the authors of this volume are pleased to give him representation within its pages.

Michael Adam

Among the many farmers of the grand Teutonic stock who live in Keokuk county and have helped to make it one of the foremost agricultural counties of this commonwealth is Michael Adam, a representative farmer of Lafayette township. Peter Adam, father of Michael, began his life in Germany in the year 1837; he was educated there and spent his life in the cultivation of his land in that country. He became the husband of Magdelena Ludwig, who was born in 1839 and was reared amid the industrious life of her home. Peter Adam died November 8, 1873, and ten years later Mrs. Adam emigrated with her family to America and bought a farm of sixty-six acres in German towmship, this county. In 1883, when Mrs. Adam came to Keokuk county, she married Matthew Fell, who after spending his early life in Germany, came to this county at an early date. He was a farmer of considerable property, owning several large farms in the neighborhood. His politics had always been Republican until shortly before his death, when he adopted the tenets of the Democratic party. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Adam are the parents of four children, all born and reared in Germany and came with their mother to this country: Michael, Peter, Nicholas, and Rev. John Nicholas Adam, who is the priest in the Lee county Catholic church.

Michcel Adam, the oldest son, was born March 1, 1863, and was about twenty years old when he came to this country. For two years he worked on the farms in the neighborhood and for one year helped on the home farm. In 1886 he married, and leaving German township settled on a farm of one hundred and sixty acres of improved land in Lafayette township, where he remained for two years. In 1888 he took up his residence on his present place, and to the original farm of one hundred and forty acres he has since added until he now has a splendid farm of two hundred and forty-six acres,.

We have already mentioned his marriage in 1886. His wife was Mary Huberger, who was born in Muscatine county, Iowa, in 1866, and is the daughter of Jacob and Anna (Linnakem) Huberger; the latter were natives of Germany and early took up their abode in Keokuk county. Mary Huberger was but two years of age when she came with her parents to this county, and she was here reared and educated. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Adam, two boys and three girls: Magdelena, Peter, Nicholas (deceased), Eleanor, and Anna.

Mr. Adam
supports the Democratic party, serves on the school board of his district and also takes an active part in the Catholic church, being on the church board. His whole life has been one replete with industry and his success has been well earned.

David Elbridge Allen

D. E. Allen, a prominent citizen of Keswick, now living a retired life, was born on the 10th of December, 1838, in Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio. His parents were Alva and Martha (Carry) Allen. His father was bom in Lake county, Ohio, February 23, 1816, and the mother was born in New Jersey, May 6, 1816. The parents came to Muscatine county, Iowa, in 1852 and in 1855 came to Keokuk county and settled [into] active business Hfe and in that undertaking has met with good success.

When the country became involved in civil war he laid aside all personal interests and enlisted in 1861 in Company F, Eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, entering the service at Sigourney as a private. He remained at the front for three years, taking part in all of the engagements in which his regiment participated, including the battles of Shiloh and Corinth as well as the Red River expedition and many minor engagements. For nine months he was unable to engage in active duty, being confined during that' time in the hospitals at Vicksburg, Washington and Memphis. When his term of service expired he was honorably discharged at Davenport, lawa, iri 1864, and returned to his home in Adams township, this county.

The father is still living, but the mother died July 4, 1900. They were the parents of five children, of whom our subject is the eldest. David Allen was fourteen years of age when he came with the family to Iowa:, and upon the home farm in Adams township, Keokuk county, he grew to manhood. He has followed farming throughout his life.

On the 3d of December, 1865, Mr. Allen was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda Wyant, a daughter of Abram and Catherine (Barringer) Wyant, and nine children were born to them, who are still living, namely: Nellie, the wife of Fred Buxton; Eva May, the wife of Gilbert Gribbon; Elmer H., a farmer of this county; Lorena Estella, the wife of Albert Fry; Alva, a hardware merchant of Keswick, residing at home; Catharine Ethel, David A., Albert T., and Martha Permelia, also at home.

After his marriage Mr. Allen located in English River township, where he spent two years, and then removed to Adams township, where he purchased land and engaged in general farming with marked success until in 1902 he rented his land and retired from active labor. He is still the owner of two hundred acres of well improved property in Adams township and has twenty-two and a quarter acres in Keswick, whither he removed in 1902. Upon this place he has erected an elegant modem residence, thoroughly up-to-date and supplied with all modern conveniences, including bath and furnace. This home was all planned by his son Alva, who likewise put in the furnace and did all the plumbing, being a young man of exceptional ability.

Socially Mr. Allen is a member of the Grand Army post and the Odd Fellows Lodge at Sigourney, and at one time was also connected with the Masonic fraternity. He has taken quite an active and prominent part in the work of the Odd Fellows lodge, having filled all the offices in the order. At one time he was a member of the lodge at South English, but later became a charter member of the Keswick lodge, and took an active part in organizing the lodges at Whatcheer, Delta, Keswick, Wellman and North English.

In his political views he is a stalwart
Republican, unwavering in his support of that party since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in i860. He voted for the martyr president again in 1864 and has never failed to support the Republican ticket. For three years he acceptably served as trustee of Adams township and has also filled the office of road supervisor and has served on the grand jury.

Being a man of good business and executive 
ability, sound judgment and strict integrity, he has met with success in life and is to-day the owner of one of the best improved farms in the county. His life has been an exemplary one in many respects, for he has always been upright and honorable, strictly temperate, and has never used tobacco in any form. He is, in fact, one of the representative and honored citizens, as well as one of the worthy pioneers of Keokuk county, where he has now made his home for over forty-seven years.

Wesley W. Allen

It is altogether fitting that the interests of Uncle Sam should be entrusted to a member of the old soldier fraternity, for none will guard those interests more carefully than he who spent time and energy in the successful effort to maintain unbroken the Constitution of our fathers. The matter of reward for services thus rendered is a perfectly proper consideration for the appointing power, and should have great weight; but the man whose loyalty prompted him to leave home and family and friends in 1861 to save the government from destruction will indubitably prove to be a safe conserver of the interest of that government in any particular department. There is a goodly number of the "boys in blue" in Keokuk county, though their ranks are fast being decimated by the great destroyer. They are a noble band of men, and of their number is the gentleman whose name forms a caption for this paragraph, and who has been for the past five years the efficient postmaster of the town of Richland.

Mr. Allen is one of the old residents of the county, and was born in the state of North Carolina, December 7, 1839. His father, Peter Allen, was a native of the same state and was by occupation a carpenter. He died at the comparatively early age of thirty years, when our honored subject was six years of age. The family are of Scotch origin and had hved in North Carohna for generations. On the maternal side the mother, Rebecca Hadley, was also a native of North Carolina. In May of 1846 she, with her family of four children, came to Iowa and located in Richland township. She was later joined in marriage to a prominent farmer of the township, Mr. John Mills, and became the mother of three other children. She died at the age of about sixty-six )ears in the state of Kansas, where she had removed with her husband.

Mr. Allen is the eldest of the first family of children, and was about seven years of age when he came to Keokuk county, where he passed his entire life time. His later youth was passed in the home of his grandfather, he remaining there until he was nineteen years of age. At that date the Civil War was in progress, and his inherent patriotism prompted him to offer his services to the government. He enlisted in Company F, Thirty-third Iowa Infantry and for three long years was found at his post of duty as a private soldier during the first part of his service, and later he received appointment as second corporal, in which position he served until his discharge at the close of the war. His service was mostly in the west, where he participated with his regiment in most of the principal engagements. He received his honorable discharge at Davenport, Iowa, and returned to his home to take up the occupations of peace. He began farming for himself in 1866, when he went to Miami county, Kansas. Here he remained for a period of five years, engaged in agricultural pursuits successfully, but concluding that Keokuk county was a better field for operations, he returned and settled in Richland township. He bought a farm in Richland township and cultivated it for some three years, when he sold out and moved to the town of Richland and engaged in the insurance business.

Mr. Allen has continued to be a citizen of Richland since that time, and has taken
a very active part in the pubHc Hfe of the community. For eleven years he held the office of mayor, and in 1902 he celebrated his twenty-eighth year as justice of the peace for the township in which Richland is located, he being the oldest officer in point of continuous service in that position within the bounds of the county. In 1897 his standing in the community was such as to make it an easy matter for him to be appointed postmaster, since which time he has been an incumbent of that office. His genial disposition and obliging manner make him very popular, and the government finds in him a most efficient officer.

Mr. Allen celebrated his marriage in December, 1866, the lady being Miss Mary Schelp, a native of the state of Maryland; she has borne our subject an interesting family of eight children: Emma, wife of John Goodman, a farmer of the county; Lydia, wife of Edward Hiatt, also a farmer; Anna, a single lady, and one of the efficient and popular teachers of the county for the past twelve years; Cora, wife of Vivian Byers, a farmer; Willis O., a farmer of the county; M. Grace, a single lady, who is her father's assistant in the office; and John W., also assistant postmaster, Richland, is the youngest. One of the children died in infancy.

The social nature of Mr. Allen has made him a very
popular and worthy member of several of the fraternities of his town, the one in which he takes the greatest interest, possibly, being that noble organization, the Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 239, in which he has been honored with election to all of the chairs. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. It is unnecessary to state that he is a stalwart in his support of Republican principles, in which organization he is considered a safe counselor. The authors of this volume take pleasure in presenting so honorable a citizen for the consideration of its readers. Mr. Allen is a gentleman who has by dint of his own exertions raised himself to an honored position in the community. His educational advantages were small, but what was lacking in opportunity he made up in diligence and application, and having a naturally observant mind has become a very well informed man. From the courageous boy without education or capital, he has risen to be a business man of affluence in the community. He receives the good wishes of all, and merits the trust imposed in him, and by his upright life in whatever capacity he is called to move, sets forth a fine example for the rising generation.

Chester Allison

Chester Allison, a retired fanner who is now engaged in the buying and shipping of stock at Thornburg, Iowa, was born on the 10th of April, 1836, in Washington county, Ohio. The birth of his father, Stephen Allison, occurred in the old garrison at Marietta, Ohio, where but few white settlers had located, they being far outnumbered by the red men in that locality. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Abigail Kinne, was a native of Washington county, her people being among the pioneers there, and to this day there stands a monument to the family on the site of the garrison opposite Lowell. Both Mr. and Mrs. Allison lived to an advanced age, the former dying at the age of eighty-two and the latter when ninety-four. The father had one sister who lived to be one hundred and seven. This was Mrs. Nancy Frost, who waa only five years old when the family removed to Ohio and for the long period of ninety-one years she made her home in one place after her marriage.

Chester Allison was the seventh in order of birth and the third son in a family of eight children, there being four sons and four daughters. Jn his native place he grew to manhood and was there married in March, 1858, to Miss Rebecca Perry, who was also born in Washington county, Ohio, being a daughter of Elijah Perry, an old settler of that county. By this union were born the following children: Stephen N., now a druggist of Nassau, Iowa; Alva; Lucien, a farmer who now has charge of the old homestead; George, a farmer of Colorado; Areadne, -wife of Joseph Wingfield of Colorado; Emma, wife of Rudolph Draegert, a farmer of Prairie township, Keokuk county; and Clara, at home.

During early life Mr. Allison engaged in farming in his native county until 1865, when he located in Winnebago, Illinois, and remained there until the fall of 1869, when he left Illinois and came to Iowa, settling on a farm in Prairie township, Keokuk county. He continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until his removal to Thornburg in December, 1899, since which time he has devoted his attention to buying and shipping stock. In his present business he is meeting with good success. He is still the owner of a fine farm of three hundred and six acre of well improved land in Prairie township, which he has left to the management of his son. The place is well stocked and supplied with all the conveniences and accessories found upon a model farm of the twentieth century.

The Republican party has always found in Mr. Allison a staunch supporter of its principles, and he has taken quite an active interest in local politics, having filled the office of township trustee in a most commendable manner. For forty years he has been an earnest and consistent member of the Christian church, and his life has ever been in harmony with his professions. For a third of a century he has been numbered among the residents of this county and he has ever borne his part in promoting those enterprises calculated to advance the moral, social or material welfare of his community, and is justly regarded as one of its most valued citizens.

A. M. Ashcraft

A. M. Ashcraft was born in Carmi, White county, Illinois, March 5, 1871. He was the son of Thomas and Cornelia I. (Rice) Ashcraft. The mother was born and reared in White county; the father was of southern extraction. Thomas F. Ashcraft was born in North Carolina and at the age of ten moved with his parents to Mississippi. Here he learned the harness-maker's trade. When the secession spirit in the south grew strong Thomas found it uncomfortable, for he was a strong southern Union man. He was forced to leave the south and made his way to St. Louis. But even Missouri could not tolerate him, so he started for Illinois and finally settled in Carmi. There he followed his trade for many years and married and reared a family.

A. M. Ashcraft, the son, was born and bred there. At the age of sixteen he began teaching. In the spring of 1881 he entered the ranks of the traveling salesman and followed that occupation until January i, 1896. He had married Miss Ida Jessup, daughter of John Jessup of Sigourney, on September 19, 1894, and henceforward that city became his home. In January, 1896, husband and wife went to Iowa City, where both entered the law department of the University of Iowa. They graduated in June, 1897, and were together admitted to the bar that same month. They returned to Sigourney and Mr. Ashcraft at once opened a law office and began practicing, being ably assisted by his wife, who is a practical stenographer and who does the office and reference work with precision and ability. Mrs. Ashcraft formerly taught school for a number of years. She and her husband are members of the Presbyterian church.

Mr. Ashcraft is certainly one of the rising young men of this county; as an indication we mention his recent election to the office of county attorney; in 1898 the Republican party nominated him for the office but he was defeated. His party has had such confidence in his ability and merit that they renominated him in 1900 and this time with success, and he was renominated by acclamation in 1902. He is filling the position with honor to his party and credit to himself, and without doubt there is much in store for this ambitious and honorable young man.

Levi Attig

A representative of the agricultural interests of Keokuk county for many years, Levi Attig is now living retired. He is one of the early settiers of this portion of the state and has therefore been an interested witness of the growtli and development which have wrought a marvelous transformation here. He was born in Perry county, Pennsylvania, January 22, 1831, and is a son of George and Susan (Gable) Attig. The father, also a native of the Keystone state, spent his entire life there and throughout his business career worked at the tailor's trade, following that pursuit until he reached an advanced age. In his political views he was a stalwart Democrat in early life, but on the organization of the Republican party joined its ranks and continued one of its faithful followers until his death. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Winebrennerian church, or Church of God. He died in 1870 at the age of sixty-seven years. He had married in 1828 in Perry county, Pennsylvania, and his wife, who bore the maiden name of Susan Gable, was, like him, a native of the Keystone state. They became the parents of six children, five sons and one daughter. Mrs. Attig had been previously married and had one son by that union, Samuel Mclenicon. The children born of the second marriage were: Valentine G., now deceased; Levi, the subject of this review; William, deceased; Peter; Lydia, who is also deceased; and Henry H.

Levi Attig spent his early childhood days in Perry county, Pennsylvania, and from the age of fifteen years was dependent upon his own resources for a living. He was first employed as a farm laborer and about 1851 secured a position as a boatman on the Pennsylvania canal, following that pursuit for two years. He afterward worked at railroading for about twenty-two years, but at the time of the Civil War he put aside all business and personal considerations and offered his services to the government, enlisting in August, 1862. He became one of the boys in blue of Company I, One Hundred and Thirty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, and was at the front for nine months, after which he was mustered out at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He took part in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and was ever found at his post of duty as a loyal defender of the old flag. After his discharge he again followed railroading until March, 1875.

In the meantime Mr. Attig was married, his wedding being celebrated on the 23d of December, 1852, in Perry county, Pennsylvania, when Miss Barbara Kunkle became his wife. The lady was born in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, and they became the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters: George; William D.; Mary C.; Elsmore; Harry S.; Laura A., the wife of Charles Leathers; and Cora, the wife of George Sides. Of the above named, George and Mary C. are now deceased. All of these children were born in Perry county, Pennsylvania, and with their parents came to Iowa.

On emigrating westward Mr. Attig took up his abode near Talleyrand, Keokuk county, where he remained for about two years and then removed to Washington township, where he purchased a farm of eighty acres of improved land, which he still owns. This is under a good state of cultivation and annually returns to Mr. Attig a good income. He has followed farming since he came to Iowa until a recent date and now is practically living retired from further labor. In 1898 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 10th of January of that year, at her home in Washington township when sixty-seven years of age. On the I2th of September, 1899, Mr. Attig was again married, his second union being with Elizabeth M. Earnest, a native of Perry county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of John H. Earnest, a resident of that county. She was the widow of Theophilus Miller and by her first marriage had three children, all of whom are yet living, namely: Emery E.; Josephine L., the wife of William Fickes; and Edward A.

Mr. Attig belongs to Chicago Lodge No. 385, Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Delta, and is a staunch advocate of the Republican party, having supported its men and measures from the time it was formed. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Springfield and is ever loyal to its interests, contributing liberally to its support and doing all in his power to promote its growth and extend its influence. He has now passed the Psalmist's span of three-score years and ten and in the evening of life he receives the respect and veneration of his fellow-men
because his has been an honorable and upright career.

George W. Axmear

The subject of this personal narrative is one of the most successful and progressive farmers within the borders of Adams township, where almost his entire life has been passed. He is a native of West Virginia, however, bom on the 17th of April, 1858, and is the youngest son and fifth child in the family of John Axmear, Sr., who is represented [below] in this work. George W. Axmear was only four years old when the family took up their residence in Keokuk county, and with its development and upbuilding they have since been prominently identified.

Our subject passed the days of his boyhood and youth upon the old homestead in Adams township and is indebted to the district schools of the neighborhood for his educational advantages. He labored in field and meadow, assisting in the operation of the farm for five years after his marriage, which important event in his life was celebrated in 1885 in Adams township. The lady of his choice was Miss Rosa Lane, who was born in Wisconsin in 1866 and was very young when brought to Iowa by her parents, Hiram and Jane (Bennett) Lane, early settlers of Keokuk county, where Mrs. Axmear was reared, remaining under the parental roof until her marriage. Her father, who was a farmer by occupation, died in Woodbury county, Iowa, in 1897. Unto our subjectand his wife have been born six children, one son and five daughters, namely: Lulu, Gale, Pearl, L. V., Bertha and Neva, all born and reared on the old homestead.

As previously stated, Mr. Axmear continued to engage in farming upon the old home place with his father and brothers for five years after his marriage, and in 1890 began farming alone upon four hundred and twenty-eight acres of the old homestead, a part of which he cleared, and he made a number of improvements thereon. He continued to reside upon that place until 1901, when he removed to his present home on a separate farm of one hundred and twelve acres of land, it being a rich and valuable tract under a high state of cultivation. Here he has built a nice home and good barns and other outbuildings, which stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. In fact, he has made all of the improvements on the place, which ranks among the best farms of the neighborhood. In connection with general farming he also carries on stock raising with good success. He is a stockholder of the Farmers Savings Bank of North English and is one ot the most reliable business men of his community.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Axmear are members of
the Methodist Protestant church of Adams township, and since attaining his majority he has always affiliated with the Republican party, taking quite an active interest in public affairs, as every true American citizen should.

Jacob C. Axmear

J. C. Axmear, one of the representative citizens and successful farmers and stock raisers of Adams township, whose home is on section I, first opened his eyes to the light of day in Preston county, West Virginia, September 6, 1854. He is the second son of John Axmear, Sr., whose sketch appears [below]. From the age of nine years our subject has made his home in this county, and is indebted to its public school system for his early educational privileges. Under the able direction of his father he acquired an excellent knowledge of all the duties which fall to the lot of the agriculturist, and he continued to assist in the operation of the home farm until his marriage.

That important event in his life occurred December 4, 1879, Miss Rosa Brakel becoming his wife. She is a native of Johnson county, Iowa, and was there reared and educated. Seven sons bless this union, who in order of birth are as follows: Arthur, who is a graduate of the Keswick high school and now has charge of his father's farm in Wilkin county, Minnesota; William, who is also a graduate of the Keswick high school and is now at home; Fred and George, twins; Sidney, Bruce and Cecil, all at home.

Since leaving the parental roof Mr. Axmear has always resided upon his present farm on section i, Adams township,and in its operation he has met with excellent success. He has erected thereon a good residence, barns and other outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock, and to-day he has one of the best improved farms of the locality. It comprises four hundred and thirty-nine acres, and besides this valuable tract Mr. Axmear owns a half-section of land in Wilkin county, Minnesota, and business property in North English, Iowa. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers' Savings Bank of that place and is recognized as one of the leading business men of his community. He is actively interested in raising, feeding and shipping stock and at the present writing, in 1902, has a herd of one hundred and thirty cattle upon his place. This branch of his business has added very materially to his income, and he is one of the most substantial men of his community, as well as one of its most honored and highly esteemed citizens.

The Republican party
has always found in him a staunch supporter of its principles, and he takes a commendable interest in public affairs.

John Axmear Jr.

This well-known and prominent agriculturist, residing on section 3, Adams township, has shown in his successful career that he has the ability to plan wisely and execute with energy, a combination which, when possessed by men in any walk of life, never fails to effect notable results, and Mr. Axmear is to-day one of the most prosperous citizens of his community. He was born in Cumberland, Maryland, October 3, 1850, and is the oldest son of John Axmear, Sr., whose sketch appears [below]. During his boyhood the family made their home in West Virginia and in the subscription schools of that state he acquired his primary education. He was twelve years of age on the removal to Iowa, and he was later a student in the district schools of Adams towniship, this county, and the high school of Sigourney. When out of school he assisted his father in the operation of the home farm.

In 1882 Mr. Axmear was united in marriage to Miss Cordelia Wyant, who was born and reared in White Pigeon, this county, and they have become the parents of five children who are still living, namely: Jennie, Etta, Katie, Clara and John. There was also one child that died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Axmear began their domestic life upon the farm in Adams township, where they still reside. In connection with his farming operations, our subject engaged in teaching school for twenty-two terms, two of these being in the village school of South English, and the remainder in the district schools of this county. He taught his last school in the winter of 1882-3. During his vacations and out of school hours he engaged in feeding cattle, chopping wood and working at various occupations whereby he might increase his income. Since 1882, however, he has given his undivided attention to general farming and stock raising and has met with most gratifying success in his labors. He is to-day the owner of a very valuable and highly productive farm of six hundred and sixty-nine acres, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation, transforming it into a model farm with the best of improvements. In 1893 he erected an elegant ten-room house and the other buildings upon the place are in keeping therewith. In addition to the raising of crops best adapted to the soil and climate, he gives considerable attention to the raising of stock, making a specially of polled Angus or Aberdeen cattle, having a fine herd of about one hundred and twenty-five. Mr. Axmear is also a stockholder, director and president of the Farmers' Savings Bank of North English, which was organized October i, 1897, and has a capital stock of ten thousand dollars. He was one of its organizers, and it owes its success largely to his capable management and good business ability.

In his political affiliations Mr. Axmear is a staunch Republican, and he has taken quite an active part in local affairs, serving as assessor of Adams township and president and secretary of the school board. Fraternally he is an honored member of the Masonic lodge at Sigourney. In business affairs he is prompt, energetic and notably reliable and generally carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes.

John Axmear Sr.

John Axmear, Sr.
Click photo to enlarge

It is astonishing to witness the success of young men who have emigrated to America without capital and through their own unaided efforts have arisen to positions of wealth and prominence. The readiness with which they adapt themselves to circumstances and take advantage of the opportunities offered brings to them success and wins them a place among the leading men of the community in which they reside. To this class belongs John Axmear, Sr., a prosperous citizen and retired farmer now living in the village of Keswick, Iowa.

He was born in Amsterdam, Holland, on the 30th of November, 1822, and was reared and educated in his native land, attending school until sixteen years of age and acquiring a good knowledge of the common branches of learning. He then clerked in a store for two years, and at the end of that time entered the army, in which he served for four years. On leaving the service he resumed clerking and was thus employed for five years. In the meantime he was married, the lady of his choice being Duty Deline, by whom he had five children, four sons and one daughter, namely: John, Emily, Jacob C, William and George W. The mother of these children died in 1860, and for his second wife Mr. Axmear married in 1861 Julia Ann Martin, a native of Bavaria. Germany, and by this union he has one daughter, Malissa, wife of T. A. Morgan, of Webster, Iowa.

It was in 1850 that Mr. Axmear emigrated to the new world and topk up his residence in Baltimore, Maryland, but after a short time spent in that city he removed to Cumberland, the same state. In the employ of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad he was later sent to Virginia, where he held the position of boss of a gang of seventy-five Irish laborers who were employed in laying the first track at Oakland, Maryland. For thirteen years he remained in the service of that company, during which time he had charge of the workmen laying the track from Oakland, Maryland, to Wheeling, West Virginia.

Seeking a home in the west, Mr. Axmear came to Keokuk county, Iowa, in 1863, and bought a farm of one hundred and four acres of land in Adams township, which he at once began to improve and cultivate. Meeting with success as an agriculturist, he has added to his property from time to time as his financial resources have increased, until to-day he and his sons together own about two thousand acres of valuable land, most of which is in Adams township, this county, though three hundred and twenty acres are in Minnesota. Mr. Axmear continued his farming operations until 1890, when he removed to Keswick and retired from active labor. His property in town consists of thirteen acres, it being one of the finest places in Keokuk county, as the grounds are laid off into a beautiful lawn, which show the skill of an expert landscape gardener. Here, surrounded by all the comforts which make life worth the living, Mr. Axmear expects to spend his remaining days, enjoying a well-earned rest. He deserves to be classed among the purely self-mademen who owe their advancement entirely to their own well-directed efforts. Industry, enterprise and good management have been the means whereby he has achieved his success, and his course in life has ever been such as to win for him the confidence and high regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact. In his political afifiliations Mr. Axmear is a staunch Republican, who has ever taken a commendable interest, in the affairs of his adopted country.

Source: "A Genealogical and Biographical History of Keokuk County, Iowa, Illustrated"
Chicago and New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903