Taylor County, Iowa History 1881 by Lyman Evans
(transcribed by Linda Kestner: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thirty-five years ago this township was quite densely populated. It probably numbered more people than any other township in Taylor county. But it was another race of beings, "the Indian of falcon glance and lion bearing, the hero of the pathetic tale and touching ballad," who strode as gallantly along the classic banks of the West One Hundred and Two River wooing some dusky maid. As yet white man's foot had not trod upon this soil that was sacred to Mr. Lo! But this was a beautiful country, rich and fertile, dotted with shady groves, abundant in proud oaks and stalwart elm and walnut, broad expansive prairies, and plentiful in all kinds of game. In short, it was a paradise for a hunter or trapper, and a desirable location for anyone seeking a country of excellent agricultural capacity. Thirty-four years ago the Indian's solitude was broken upon. James Mason chanced to be in search of a home where white folk didn't "scrouge" each other. He found it in Mason township, and there he discovered a land more attractive to his eye than any yet seen. This was in 1847, and from this pioneer the township derives its name. James Mason, Jr., his son, yet lives in the township, on section 15, and is a prosperous gentleman. He is well and popularly known throughout the county.
Among the old settlers were Samuel Wininger, Abram Hawkins, Kember McKee, W. B. Snow, John and Abram Holliday, Mr. Dyehe, Wood Daugherty, James Ross and R. F. Pace.
Rev. James M. Stockton, whose name so often appears in this work, was the first clergyman to preach in the township. Rev. Samuel Farlow, a pioneer Methodist minister, was the next one. He was among the earliest of that denomination in southwestern Iowa, and his work laid a broad and substantial foundation for the results that have since followed.
The early history of this township is considerable--if you could get at it. A pioneer furnishes some notes which, if printed here, would lead the reader of to-day to imagine himself in Dallas township. The early school history, the first teachers, and items innumerable belonging to Dallas township, or at least the southern part thereof, are given to Mason township by an (page 607) intelligent old settler who furnished this historian with the facts Mason. His recollection is poor; and his memory of present township lines is not the best. The best historian living can't write a good and correct story from imperfect facts. It can be said, however, that Mason township is inhabited by some of the best people of Taylor county. There is John Lindsay, on section 8, Henry Raynor, on section 18; James Miller, on section 26; Samuel Gant on section 33; T. A. Meredith, on section 26; Samuel Wininger, on section 29; W. B. Snow, on section 28; Frances Lewellen, on section 10.
W.B. Snow is at present a member of the board of supervisors, and several years since was county superintendent. Some of the finest farms in Taylor county are in Mason township. Some of its most successful stock-raisers live there. James Mason owns an exclusive tract of land, and so does Robert Timberlake. Joe Scott is an enterprising farmer, and has a fine residence.
BUCHANAN, J. A., farmer, section eleven, post-office Bedford, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, December 22, 1844. When nine years of age he came with his parents to Mercer county, Illinois, and engaged in farming. Came to Taylor county in the spring of 1869, and purchased a farm of 160 acres in section eleven. Was married October 15, 1868, to Miss Rovilla P. Bundy, a native of Michigan. They have three children: Bessie E., Ralph M. and Robert Ray. Mr. B. has a splendid farm well adapted to either grain or stock-growing, plenty of timber, good building, etc. He is a good farmer and a worthy citizen.
GARNER, J. C., farmer, section twenty-seven, post-office Bedford, was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, March 14, 1831. Was there reared and educated, engaged in farming until twenty-four years of age, then came to Iowa, and in 1856 became a resident of Taylor county. Was married December 14, 1858, to Miss Elizabeth Ford. They are the parents of five children: Charles A., Fannie R., Elizabeth C., Eliza A. and George T. Mr. G. was the first peace officer of Mason township. He is located on a fine farm, well improved and stocked, and is one of the most enterprising and obliging citizens of Taylor county.
GANT, SAMUEL, farmer, section thirty-three. The subject of this sketch was born in Norfolk county, England, January 9, 1830. At the early age of fourteen he went to work for himself, and engaged to a neighboring farmer as general overseer, with whom he remained for seven years. In 1854 he came to America settling in Grant and Lafayette counties, Wisconsin, remaining in that State for one year. On the fourth day of July, 1855, Mr. Gant landed in Bedford, Taylor county, and settled in Ross township, where he remained for one year, and then entered 160 acres in section thirty-three, Mason township. He at once moved on and commenced improving the same. All the hardships of a pioneer's life stared him in the face. No fences, bridges, or any improvements were then to be seen. The broad and fertile prairie, in panorama-like view, lay stretched before him, and its resources he resolved to test. Roaming over the prairie were to be seen deer and wolves. Mr. Gant's first house was much after the primitive order, being built of rough logs. His first frame house was built in 1860-1 in which he lived until 1876, when he built his present substantial frame dwelling. In August, 1861 he enlisted in the service in company F, Twenty-ninth Iowa infantry. In the following October he was mustered into service at Council Bluffs. Was under generals Solomon, Fisk and Prentiss. Was in the Arkansas expedition and a sharp engagement on the little Missouri, also several engagements of lesser importance on the retreat to Little Rock. Shortly after this his regiment was stationed at Mobile, and from there Mr. G. returned to New Orleans. Previous to this he was in the battle of Helena, and when at Yazoo Pass near Vicksburg, came near losing his life by the sinking of the boat which he was on. The boat and contents went down but the crew fortunately escaped. In May, 1865, Mr. G. was honorably discharged. During his service he met with the loss of one of his eyes, an ever present reminder of his sacrifice for his country in the cause of right and justice. After his discharge Mr. Gant returned to Taylor county and to his family. He was married March 31, 1859 to Mrs. Mary A. Mapes, a widow lady and a native of Putnam county, Illinois. By this union they have had ten children, as follows: Lorenzo D., born July 7, 1861 and died the same year; Samuel W., born March 11, 1863; Sarah M., August 16, 1866; Delphia F., born August 13, 1868, and died September 30, 1872; Mary J., born June 30, 1870, died September 22, 1872; David J., born May 18, 1872; Charles Newton, born May 5, 1874; Pamelia A., born January 26, 1876; Hattie J., one of twins, born August 18, 1878, her twin deceased. Mr. G. is a member of the Masonic fraternity, to which he has belonged for ten years. Also of Siam Grange, No. 285. Is also a member of the Christian Church as is also his wife. Mr. G. has been justice of the peace four years in his township, and secretary of the school board and director in his own district. He now owns 307 acres of good farming land, 257 of which are under cultivation. Farm is well stocked, and he makes a specialty of raising hogs and cattle for market. He has also made a specialty of raising sheep during the past twenty years, and has been bothered with dogs belonging in the neighborhood to such an extent that during that time he has lost at least fifty per cent of his sheep; consequently he is a strong advocate of a tax of dogs sufficient to diminish their number and stop the present destruction of property.
HALL, W., farmer, section thirteen, post-office Bedford, is a native of the Buckeye State, born January 4, 1837. When ten years of age he came to Indiana, remained there seven years, and in 1855 came to the Hawkeye State. Settled first in Johnson county, remained there six years, then went to Hardin county. Became a citizen of this county in the fall of 1874. Was married May 31, 1863, to Sarah J. Pryor, a native of Illinois. Has four children: Delpha May, Charles A., Mary E. and Miria E. Mr. H. has a good farm of one hundred and eighty acres, well improved and stocked. He is a man of public spirit, of enterprise and popularity.
HANSHAW, Rev. J. W., section twenty, post-office Bedford, was born in Harrison county, Ohio, May 21, 1831. His father was of English and Irish descent, and a native of the Old Dominion. Subject remained at home until twenty-one years of age, farming and attending the common schools. His education was completed at the Georgetown (Ohio) Academy and Mt. Pleasant University. In 1850 he removed to Van Buren county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming four years. He then went to Keokuk county, remained a short time, when he returned to Van Buren county, and engaged in the ministry. Labored there seven years, established churches and advanced the cause of Christianity in that county. He was next stationed at Oskaloosa, and has since labored in Taylor, Marion and Lucas counties. Came to Taylor county in 1877. Has been stationed in Mason township until the present year, when he retired from active duties for the present. Was married September 5, 1855, to Miss Emaline Arrington, a native of Illinois. They were the parents of two children: Mary P. and Joel E., both deceased. Mrs. H. died May 11, 1859, of consumption. Subject was again married October 3, 1861, to Miss E. A. Limes, of Ohio. Of their children, James, William, Dora M., Emma J., A. M. and George A. are living. One, J. F. is deceased. Mr. H. is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
KELSO, BENJAMIN H., farmer, section thirty-two. The subject of this sketch was born in Dubois county, Indiana. His father was a farmer. Subject remained at home until nineteen years of age, attending the common schools of his neighborhood, and working on the farm during that time. On the sixth day of July, 1861, he enlisted in company E, Twenty-fourth Indiana infantry. Was with generals Grant, Rosecrans, Banks, Fremont and Curtis. Under Fremont he was on the march from Tipton to (page 757) Springfield, and under Curtis his regiment was engaged most of the time in scouting in Missouri. He joined Grant's command directly after the taking of Fort Donelson, and was at Shiloh and Fort Henry, also in Grant's expedition against Curtis. Soon after this his regiment was sent to Helena, where he remained until the spring of 1863. On the march to Vicksburg was in the engagements at Port Gibson, Champion's Hill, Black River, and after the taking of Vicksburg he was taken sick and laid in hospital at Garrison Barracks until the following spring, when he again joined his regiment at New Orleans. Shortly after this he was in the engagement at Olive Creek, Louisiana. Was mustered out of the service July 30, 1864, and was honorably discharged August 17, 1864. He then returned to Indiana, where he remained until the following November, when he removed to Taylor county, Iowa, and settled in Polk township. There he purchased eighty acres in section five, and also eighty acres in section thirty-one, Mason township, of partly improved land. He at once moved on his land in Polk township, built and commenced making other improvements. Here he remained until the fall of 1870, when he sold his farm and spent one year in Indiana and Kansas, returning to Taylor county the following fall, and settled in Mason township, on section thirty-two. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of improved land, on which he now resides. Mr. Kelso was married on the 16th day of March, 1865, to Miss Mary E. Turner, a native of Ohio. By this union they have had nine children, as follows: Sanford T., August 21, 1866; Samuel L., March 29, 1868; Edgar E., February 16, 1870, deceased; Benjamin F., August 25, 1871; Charles O., March 26, 1873; John F., June 30, 1875; Elfie, July 9, 1877; Bertha, November 9, 1878, deceased; Bertie, January 30, 1880. Mr. Kelso and wife are members of Siam Grange No. 531. He has been justice of the peace eight years in this township, and township clerk three years. Is same at present. Is now secretary of the school board in this district township. Mr. Kelso now owns 160 acres of fine land, 100 of which are under cultivation. Farm is well stocked and well improved with good buildings.
LEWELLEN, FRANCIS, farmer and stock-raiser, section ten, post-office Bedford. Born in Guernsey county, Ohio, September 15, 1842. Moved with his parents to Missouri when four years of age, and five years later came to Iowa, locating in Page county; became a resident of Taylor county in 1852, locating in Mason township, one mile south of where he now lives. Was married in May, 1860, to Miss Delilah Mickler, a native of Indiana. They were the parents of four children: Mary E., Rosanna, Loren E., and William. Mrs. L. died September 5, 1879. Subject married Mrs. (page 758) Nancy C. Eighmy. He has a nice little farm of thirty acres with good buildings, orchard, etc. Is a carpenter by trade, and has engaged constantly in that business fifteen years.
LINDSEY, JOHN, farmer, section eight. The subject of this sketch was born in Lawrence county, Illinois, August 16, 1828. His father was a minister in the Christian Church, and a native of Kentucky. When Mr. L. was only two years old his father moved to White county, Indiana, being one of the first settlers in the county, and the first postmaster and justice of the peace. The subject of our sketch remained at home until twenty-two years of age, being engaged in various employment, and attending the common schools of his neighborhood during that time. He remained in White county, with the exception of being two years in Minnesota, until 1864, being engaged in mining iron ore for several years, and during the latter part of his stay was engaged in farming. In July, 1864, he removed to Taylor county, Iowa, and resided in Mason township, on section eight. Here he purchased 206 acres in sections eight and five, Mason township, and forty acres in section thirty-three, Dallas township, of partly improved land, there being a small house on the place and about seventy acres improved. In the following August he moved on and commenced further improvements. At that time Mr. Lindsey says the general improvements were very poor, there being scarcely any fences or bridges to be seen. At that time there were only three laid out roads: The State road, another running east and west, and one running north and south. Most of his supplies were obtained from St. Joseph, and his milling was done at Hawleyville, Page county. Mr. L. now has a farm of 246 acres well improved, 200 acres being under cultivation; 126 acres of his present farm was the first improved land in Taylor county, and at the time of its purchase by Mr. Lindsey had on it the first house built in the county. Instead of the old-time log house of the pioneer, Mr. Lindsey has one of the finest houses in the county, erected in 1878. Mr. L. was married September 5, 1857, to Miss Margaret Alkaire, a native of Hickory county, Ohio. By this union they have had seven children, as follows: Mary Ann, born July 27, 1852, married to H. K. Hawkins, and living in Laramie county, Colorado; Frederick B., July 28, 1857, teaching school in this county; John R., September 8, 1859, living at home; Adam T., October 6, 1861, and died June 12, 1862; Sarah R., August 11, 1863; Willard O., February 4, 1868, died April 2, 1869; Elvin, April 12, 1871, died September 6, 1871.
LONG, ALLEN, farmer, section seven, post-office Memory, born in Hancock county, Indiana, October 31, 1832. His father was a farmer and our subject remained at home until twenty-one years of age, aiding on the farm and attending the common schools. In 1852 his parents moved to Page county, Iowa, locating on a farm. Four years later his father visited the gold fields of California, and engaged in mining several years. He then returned to Page county, and followed farming for a half decade. In 1863 he again crossed the plains, stopped in Montana fifteen months employed in mining, then returned a second time to Page county. Came to Taylor county in 1865 and settled in Mason township on section seven, where he purchased forty acres of land and set to work to improve the same. Has now seventy-five acres of a farm, all in good cultivation, comfortable buildings and moderately well stocked. Mr. L. was married November 18, 1860, to Miss Elizabeth Cunning, a native of Indiana. From this union there were four children: Arlando V., born October 26, 1861, now attending school at Kirkville, Missouri, Erastus, born March 9, 1866, now deceased; Minora, born December 26, 1868, and Alice J., born August 16, 1871. Mr. Long is one of the model farmers of Mason township. Both he and his wife are members of the Christian Church.
MASON, JAMES, farmer, section fifteen, post-office Bedford, was born in Clay county, Missouri, February 11, 1827. His father was a native of Kentucky. Came to Iowa in 1847 and settled in what is now Taylor county, but then unorganized, a wild expanse, perfectly devoid of any improvement. The father entered eighty acres of land in what is now section four, and built thereon a log cabin fourteen by sixteen, with slab floor. He then fenced eight acres and commenced life on the cold, unfriendly prairies of southwestern Iowa. In 1850 our subject went to California and engaged in mining two years; returned to Iowa via Central America and Cuba. Came to Taylor county and entered two hundred acres of land in Mason township, and lived with his father several years. He then erected a cabin and commenced improving a part of his present farm. He now has four hundred and forty acres of fine land, nearly all in cultivation, and is unquestionably one of the most industrious, energetic and successful farmers in Taylor county. He is extensively engaged in stock-growing. Was married July 14, 1852, to Miss Margaret Thomas, a native of Morgan county, Ohio, and a lady of German and Irish descent. They have nine children: Belle J., Rufus, Robert, Montzella, Arizona A., Elroy Clifton, Lillie May, deceased, James H. and Drusilla M. Mason township was named for our subject.
MEREDITH, T. A., farmer, section twenty-four, post-office Bedford, was born in Rush county, Indiana, July 13, 1850. When five years old he came to Iowa with his parents, who located in Van Buren county. Came to Taylor county in 1856, and here our subject has grown to manhood and received his education. His father, W. G. Meredith, was among the first settlers of the county, and took an active part in public affairs. Mr. M. has a good farm of one hundred and thirty acres, and is engaged in tilling the soil and growing stock. In 1870 he married Miss Louella Parks, a native of the Hawkeye State. They have had four children: Jesse E, Archie O., Joseph M. and an infant.
MILLER, JAMES, farmer, section twenty six, post-office Bedford, was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, May 4, 1821. Remained with his father on the farm until twenty-eight years old. Was educated in the common schools and Ellsworth (Ohio) Academy. In the fall of 1850 he removed to Rush county, Indiana, where he engaged in teaching in winter, and in summer worked at the carpenter trade. Came to Iowa in 1856, stopped in Van Buren county during the winter, and in the following spring came to Taylor county. He entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in Mason township, and at once commenced making improvements. His first house was made of sod. Subject was married January 4, 1855, to Miss Margaret G. Meredith, a native of Kentucky. Six children have blessed their union: John T., Mary Frances, Kate, F. M. and James Warren (twins), the latter deceased, Jessie M. and William A. The Millers seem to be a "family of teachers," which appellation we think highly complimentary. Subject has a fine farm of two hundred and forty-seven acres, well stocked and in a high state of cultivation. He has held many offices of the township and county government.
RAYNOR, HENRY, farmer, section eighteen, post-office Memory, is a native of Orange county, New York, born January 6, 1822. His father was of German and Irish descent, and raised our subject on a farm, teaching him to use the plow and hoe. When thirteen years of age his parents moved to Perry county, Ohio, where young R. arrived at man's estate and finished a liberal education. At twenty-three he became a resident of Hawkins county, same State, and in the spring of 1856 came to Taylor county, settling in Mason township. Soon after coming to this county he entered forty acres of land and purchased six hundred and forty in this and Page counties. At that time every man had his own road over the prairies, and it was no uncommon thing for one to get lost. Bedford consisted of one log cabin, with a limited stock of goods in one end and a family in the other. Game, too, at that time was plenty. Where now wave the ripening fields of grain, then roamed the deer, wolf and other animals whose empire is the wild expanse. Milling was done at Savannah, and supplies were brought from St. Joseph, Missouri. Subject was married December 20, 1844, to Miss Mariam Westenhaver a native of the (page 761) Buckeye State, whose parents were also of Dutch and Irish descent. From this union there were twelve children (only 11 are named): William Henry, born October 17, 1845; Marquis DeLafayette, born September 27, 1847; David Lewis, born July 25, 1849; Mary A., born January 22, 1852, died February 11, 1863; Thomas Parker, born August 12, 1854; Ferdinand Victor, born July 17, 1857; Weasner Elisha, born February 6, 1859, died in infancy; Harvey A. Winn, born November 12, 1861; Wesley Austin and Minerva J. (twins), born May 19, 1864, and Ulysses Grant, born August 8, 1867. Minerva died when four months old. Mr. R. has a farm of four hundred acres, and is one of Mason township's most successful and respected citizens.
SNOW, W. B., farmer, section twenty-eight. The subject of our sketch was born in Clark county, Illinois, on the 1st day of May, 1822. Was raised and educated in Parke county, Indiana, where his parents had removed when he was but eighteen months old. His father was a farmer of English extraction, with whom he remained until attaining the age of twenty-four, being engaged in farm work and attending the common schools of his neighborhood. Mr. Snow finished his education in the Asbury University, located at Greencastle, Indiana, and during the remainder of his stay in Parke county was engaged in teaching in the common and graded schools; and also a part of the time in farming. In 1857 he removed to Taylor county, Iowa, and located in Mason township, section twenty-eight. Here he entered 120 acres of raw prairie, on which he at once moved and commenced improving the same. Mr. Snow endured all the hardships of pioneer life, coming here, as he did, when there was nothing but an open prairie for miles around. Lumber, supplies, etc., were hauled from St. Joseph, Missouri, a distance of sixty miles. Mr. Snow owns 160 acres of fine farming land, 120 of which are under cultivation. Has one of the best of locations for his dwelling, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. Is engaged in farming and has his farm well stocked. Mr. Snow was married on the 24th day of February, 1846, to Miss Mary Cook, a native of Jefferson county, Kentucky. By this union they have eight children: Rosalie, born March 7, 1847, living at home; Warren G., born July 29, 1848, deceased -- this son was a young man of great promise, cut down, as it were, in the very bud and blossom of maturing manhood; his education was received at the Mt. Pleasant University; -- Albert C., born October 20, 1850, married and living in Colorado; his wife, Eliza Jackson, was a native of Mason township; -- M. C., born September 17, 1852, teaching and studying medicine; Sarah, born August 21, 1855, living at home and teaching; M. H., born December 15, 1858, living at home and teaching; Minerva A., born September 19, 1862; George L., born August 24, 1866 (page 76), died in infancy. In the winter of 1881 Mr. Snow met with a great loss in the death of his wife and helpmate, who departed this life on the 27th day of January, 1881. Both were members of the M. E. Church, to which Mrs. Snow had belonged for forty years. Mr. Snow was county superintendent of Taylor county for six years, from 1861 to 1867. Is a member of the board of supervisors, and takes a great interest in educational matters, having held the first teacher's institute in the county, and was one of three who voted the first school tax in Mason township.
TURNER, ALBERT, farmer, section twenty, post-office Bedford; born in Bedford county, Virginia, March 20, 1819. When about ten years old his parents moved to Preble county, Ohio; remained eight years then went to Clinton County, same State. At the age of fourteen our subject commenced for himself and was engaged in farming until 1859 in the Buckeye State. In the last named year he came to Iowa and settled in Page county. Came to this county four years later and settled in Mason township. There he purchased 120 acres of partially improved land with small house into which he moved and commenced business. At that time there was an abundance of game. Built his present house in 1873. Mr. T. was married in October, 1841 to Miss Elizabeth Hiatt, a native of Clinton county, Ohio. Of their children: Narcissa, Rosena, Mary E., Asher, Alice, Emma and Damarius are living; Harrison F., Ida B. and David A. are deceased. Mr. Turner's farm consists of 100 acres well improved and nearly all in good cultivation. Mrs. T. is a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. They have a beautiful home.
WININGER, SAMUEL, farmer, section twenty-nine; was born in Hawkins county, Tennessee, October 3, 1818. His father was a farmer and removed to Dubois county, Indiana, when the subject was eighteen years of age. Here Mr. W. was raised and educated and was engaged in teaching and farming until the year 1852 when he removed to Taylor county, Iowa, locating in Mason township on section twenty-nine. Here he entered 200 acres of prairie and timber land which were but little improved and on which was a small log cabin. Mr. W. moved on and commenced improving his farm at once. At that time there were plenty of deer, turkeys, wild cats and wolves to be seen on the prairie and in the timber, and wolves were so plenty as to do great damage to sheep and hogs. He lived in a log house until the year 1868, when he built his present substantial frame dwelling. Mr. W. has experienced all the inconveniences and pleasures of pioneer life, such as are to be found in the settlement of a new country. Has his farm of 200 acres in good cultivation with good improvements an well stocked. He was married on the 24th of September, 1840, to Elizabeth J. Hankins, a native of Dubois county, Indiana. From this union there have been nine children: Rebecca, born February 1, 1842, deceased; Rachel, born January 10, 1844; Margery, born March 6, 1846; Mary, born February 13, 1848; Martha, born April 25, 1850; Elizabeth, born April 11, 1852, deceased; George W., born January 26, 1854; Samuel L., born August 17, 1856; Columbus J., born December 7, 1858, and John A. Crittenden born April 2, 1861. Mr. and Mrs. W. are members of the M. E. Church, also of Siam Grange No. 531.