1890 Portrait and Biographical Album 
of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa

Van Buren County Biographical Sketches Transcribed Below


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HENRY BASCOM EDMONSON who is engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 29, Washington Township, Van Buren County, is a native of Kentucky, the youngest of eight children, whose parents were Alfred O. and Kitty (Burton) Edmonson. The family was founded in America during Colonial days, in all probability, yet little is known concerning its early history. A. O. Edmonson was born in Maryland, in 1803, and grew to manhood in his native State, learning the tailor's trade in his youth. When a young man he left his old home and became a resident of Kentucky where he formed the acquaintance of Miss Burton who was horn in that State in 1808. As the fruits of their marriage eight children were born but only four of the number are now living: Anna E.. wife of .l. F. Freeman, who resides near Sacramento, Cal.; Catherine E., deceased; William who was drowned in the Des Moines River, breaking through the ice December 3, 1867; Harriet, wife of G. W. Paul of Idaho; Susan C. and Mary H. both deceased; Irene S.. wife of W. Campbell of California; Henry B. of this sketch, and George A. who died in childhood, and an infant deceased. The two youngest were born in this county and all the deceased were here buried. The father accompanied by his family came to Van Buren County in the spring of 1843, and the following year settled upon the farm where our subject now resides. He continued to engage in agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in April, 1865. His wife, who survived him about five years, died in August, 1870. Both were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 

The subject of this sketch was born in Scott County, Ky., November 26, 1842, and was reared to manhood upon his father's farm in his native county, but at the age of twenty years he left home to enlist in the service of his country, becoming a member of Company I, Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, commanded by Capt. S. E. Payne, on the 6th of August, 1862. He was mustered into service at Keokuk and assigned to the Thirteenth Army Corps, after which he proceeded with his regiment to the frontier in Arkansas, where he remained about six months. Making his way southward he then participated in the seige and capture of Vicksburg, after which the regiment marched to New Orleans. He took part in all the engagements in which his regiment participated, including the hard fought battles of Prairie Grove, siege of Vicksburg, Yazoo City, the battle of Sterling Farm and the siege and capture of Spanish Fort. At Prairie Grove he was wounded in both hips by musket balls and thus disabled for service for about three months. Although he has never fully recovered from the effects of the wounds, on partially regaining his health and strength he at once joined his command. At the battle of Sterling Farm almost the entire regiment was captured, only twenty escaping, among whom was Mr. Edmonson. After three years of faithful service in which he was ever found at his post of duty ably defending the old flag, he received his discharge in Mobile. Ala., July 10, 1865. 

When the war was over, Mr. Edmonson returned to his home and resumed farming on his father's farm. Later he purchased the interest of the other heirs in the old homestead and is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of well cultivated land upon which are many fine improvements including a commodious and tasty residence, substantial outbuildings, etc. Fences divide the land into fields of convenient size and as the result of the industry and enterprise which are prominent characteristics of the owner, he is now one of the substantial citizens of the community. In addition to the cultivation of the land he also gives considerable attention to stock-raising, making a specialty of thoroughbred merino sheep from which he shears eleven and twelve pounds to the fleece. He also keeps on hand thoroughbred Berkshire hogs and his other farm stock is in keeping with that already mentioned. 

On January 7, 1868, Mr. Edmonson was united in marriage with Miss Sarah L. Woods, daughter of A. H. and Elizabeth (Meek) Woods. of Van Buren County. They hold a high position in the social world, ranking among the respected citizens of the county. Mr. Edmonson has taken considerable interest in civic societies, now holding membership with the Odd-Fellows, of Vernon and also belongs to Shriver Post, No. 177, G. A., R. of Mt. Vernon. He was also an active member of the Grange and of a society for the prevention of theft, known as the Anti Horse-Thief Society. In political sentiment he is a stalwart Republican and has frequently served as delegate to the county convention, while for six years he has held the office of County Commissioner, proving an able official. Churches, schools and all laudable institutions receive his hearty support and he may well be ranked among the representative men of Washington Township. 

WILLIAM EDMONDSON, deceased, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Van Buren County, of 1846. He was burn in Rockbridge County, Va., March 3, 1795, and was descended from an old Virginia family. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent upon his father's farm and in his native State he was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary B. McCutchan, daughter of William and Margaret McCutchan, and a native of Augusta County, Va., born on the 27th of January. 1805, of Scotch and Irish descent. 

Mr. Edmondson was a soldier in the United States Army during the War of 1812. Shortly after his marriage, he removed with his bride to Henry County, Ind., where they resided until the spring of 1846, when they came to Iowa and settled in the northern part of Jackson Township, Van Buren County. They traveled by team and endured all the hardships and disadvantages incident to the emigration to a new country. Unto this worthy couple were born five children, three sons and two daughters. Henry, the eldest, died September, 24, 1834; Sarah, died at the age of eight years; Mary J., is now the wife of J. C. Holland, of Jackson Township; John C., married Maria Strain and resides upon the old homestead; William F., wedded Clara Williamson, the present Postmistress of Milton, and is now Cashier of the Citizens' Bank at that place. 

With the assistance of his sons, Mr. Edmondson improved a farm in Jackson Township, placing under a high state of cultivation the land on which he settled and which in return yielded him a golden tribute for his care and labor. He was appointed Postmaster of the Oak Point post office, in Jackson Township, the first established office in that township; being the second to fill the position. He received his commission in 1856, and his term of service continued ten years or until he was called to his final rest on the 13th of October, 1866. On the death of Mr. Edmondson, his son, John C., succeeded to the post-office, which he held five years and in turn he was succeeded by the youngest son, William F., who held the position ten years, so that the office was in the family for a quarter of a century. 

In early life, Mr. Edmondson was a Whig and after the dissolution of that party became a Democrat. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church and lived upright and faithful lives. Mrs. Edmondson survived her husband many years, dying on the 27th of January, 1886, on her eighty-first birthday. Both were highly respected and useful members of society.

WILLIAM F. EDMONDSON, Cashier of the Citizens' Bank of Milton, and an early settler of Van Buren County, Iowa, was born in Henry County, Ind., September 16, 1845, his parents being William and Mary B. (McCutchan) Edmondson. During his infancy, in the spring of 1846, the family removed to Van Buren County, lowa, and on his father's farm in Jackson Township, he was reared to manhood, spending his time in the usual manner of farmer lads. In the schools of the neighborhood he acquired a good English education and like a dutiful son, he assisted his father until the latter's death. From that time until 1880, he continued with his brother, John C., on the farm, when he went to California. He spent about a year and a half in Windsor, a part of the time in mercantile business. He then spent some seven months in San Francisco. At the expiration of that period he returned to Iowa, Iocating in Milton, where he has since resided. 

Mr. Edmondson, on the 9th of May, 1872, in Van Buren County, was joined in wedlock with Miss Clara, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Williamson, and a native of Davis County, Iowa, born on the 25th of April, 1854. Her parents were among the early pioneers of Van Buren County, and her father helped to build the first house in Farmington. His sketch appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Edmondson are the parents of two children, Gilbert M. and William G. The first named was born in Oak Point, Iowa, March 23, 1873, and is now a student in Parsons College, of Fairfield. He has been assistant Postmaster and clerk in the Milton office for four years; also assistant Postmaster at Manitou Springs Col., for a year, and won much praise for his courteous and prompt discharge of duty. He is an earnest Republican and for so young a man remarkably well informed concerning the political history of the country. During the late campaign he made several political speeches which were well received and his friends are justly proud of his success and hope much for his future. William G.. the younger son, was born in Oak Point, November 30, 1875, and is the present assistant to his mother who is Postmistress of Milton, and is deservedly popular for his faithful discharge of duty. 

On his return from California, Mr. Edmondson spent the succeeding three years in the employ of the Milton Creamery, as their engineer and bookkeeper. On the 1st of February, 1886, he was appointed Postmaster of that city, under President Cleveland's administration, which position he held until April, 1889, proving an efficient and faithful officer and at the expiration of that time was succeeded by his wife who is a pronounced Republican in her political views and whose efficient service, while assisting her husband during his term of office, had won the warm interest of the best citizens of Milton. lt was said that this lady's petition was generally signed and the appointment given her before the politicians, who were engineering the appointment of one of their number, knew what was going on. It is probably the only case on record in the State where a Republican wife succeeded a Democratic husband in the postoffice. Mrs. Edmondson's administration of the affairs of the office has been such as to commend her to the good wishes of those representing the postal department, and to win the confident opinion of her fellow citizens that theirs is one of the best managed offices in the State. 

On the 1st of September, 1889, Mr. Edmondson was appointed Cashier of the Citizens' Bank of Milton, which position he now holds. His conservative and careful management of the affairs of the bank commands the respect and confidence of its proprietors and patrons. The citizens of Jackson Township have elected Mr. Edmondson to the office of Township Clerk seven times, five of which were in sucession. In their religious views he and his wife are Methodists, are consistent members of that church and their sons have been reared in the same belief. The family holds a high position in the social world and is widely known.

DR. ELDRIDGE SHARP EDWARDS, of Milton, was born near Bloomfield, Sullivan County, Tenn., April 16, 1839, and is a son of O. M. and Amanda Theresa (Longacre) Edwards, who were also born in the same locality. His father, born in 1806, was of English and Welsh descent and belonged to an old Virginian family which was founded in America during Colonial days. His mother, whose maiden name was Sharp, was born in 1807, and was of English lineage. Her death occurred in Tennessee in 1843, and some eleven years later Mr. Edwards came to Iowa, locating near Drakeville, Davis County, where he engaged in farming until his death in 1872. 

The subject of this sketch remained in Davis County until 1862. He acquired his literary education in the common schools and at the age of nineteen began the study of medicine. He began practice some four years later and from Wapello County, where he first located, removed to Milton. In 1871 he returned to Drakeville, where he continued practice until 1887, which year witnessed his arrival at this place. He attended lectures in the Keokuk Medical College in the winter of 1884-85, but did not graduate. 

On the 6th of August, 1874, in Drakeville, Dr. Edwards was united in marriage with Miss Mattie Brown, a native of Hendricks County, Ind. Unto them have been born six children, three sons and three daughters, but two are now deceased — Clyde, who died at the age of one year; and Charles, who died when eight years of age. The living are Prince, Mary Jessie, Fannie and Nellie. The Doc-tor and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and are widely and favorably known in the community. In politics he is a supporter of Democratic principles and socially is an Odd Fellow and Mason. He has a good practice and is one of the representative citizens of the community.

JOHN D. ELBERT, who was one of the honored and prominent citizens of Van Buren County, was born on the 16th of May, 1806, in Fleming County, Ky., but when a lad of six summers removed with his parents to Ohio in 1812. The family first located in Urbana, Champaign County, but afterward removed to Logan County, where, having attained to mature years, Mr. Elbert was united in marriage May 21, 1829, with Miss Achsa Hitt, daughter of Rev. Samuel and Nancy Hitt, of Urbana. Having fitted himself for the medical profession, in the same year he was licensed to practice by Dr. Drake, of the Cincinnati Medical College. He received diplomas from the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a skilled physician who stood at the head of his profession in Southeastern Iowa. The autumn of 1840 witnessed his arrival in this State. He purchased a farm of one thousand two hundred acres on Indian Prairie, Van Buren County, where he lived until his death. A man of superior ability, he at once took prominence among his fellow citizens, and in 1842 was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature, and was chosen President of the Council. His life was a useful one, devoted to the interests of humanity, and by all who knew him he was held in the highest regard. He died of erysipelas at the home of Hon. Edward Manning, in Keosauqua, March 20, 1865, at the age of fifty-eight years, ten months and four days, and his remains were interred in the Keosauqua cemetery. His widow still survives him and makes her home with Judge and Mrs. Townsend, of Albia, Iowa. She was born October 16, 1808, near Xenia, Ohio, and has entered upon her eighty-third year. She has four children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

A family of ten children was born unto Dr. and Mrs. Elbert, of whom four are yet living — Annie C., who was born February 9, 1830, in Logan County, Ohio, graduated from the Wesleyan College, of Cincinnati, in 1862, and is now the wife of Judge J. S. Townsend, of Albia. Iowa; Rebecca H., born May 21, 1831, in Logan County, Ohio, is the wife of R. M. Clarke, Beatrice, Neb.; Samuel H., born in Logan County, April 3, 1833, lives in Denver, Col.; John E. died in infancy; Leroy S., born in Logan County, December 4; 1837, died in 1863, and was buried in the Keosauqua cemetery; Achsa E., born in Iowa, died in infancy; Ben. F., born in Van Buren County, May 8, 1844, was a student in the College of Evanston during the late war, and wishing to enter the service, and being not yet of age, he ran away, enlisted and served several months in Kentucky. He has been a successful banker and stock-raiser, and is now living in Des Moines; Daniel Clarke, born January 22, 1847, in Van Buren County, died May 26, 1868, while a member of the junior class of the Northwestern University, of Evanston, Ill.; George F., born October 20, 1849, was a student in Douglas University, of Chicago, after which he spent a year in Europe, but his health failing him, he returned to this country and located in Denver, Col., where he died November 17, 1871; Charles Wilber, who completes the family, was born August 14, 1852, in Van Buren County, acquired his education in the Ohio Wesleyan University and died May 27, 1870. Leroy, Daniel and Wilber are buried beside their father in the Keosauqua cemetery.

CAPT. LEROY S. ELBERT. It is not in the loss of treasure, the expenditure of money, the creation of an immense debt, the interruption to commerce, or the destruction of property that the Christian patriot or the humanitarian philosopher views the most baleful and lamentable effects of war. To him it exists in the frightful loss of life; in youth stricken down at the commencement of existence; in strong men disabled in a vigorous maturity. He sees it in the new-made graves, in the mourning hearts, in the desolate homes that are found all over the land. 

Every good citizen is an element of strength to society and the State. In the wisdom, virtue, courage, patriotism and intelligence of its citizens, more than money, the wealth of a State consists; and in the death of an individual in whom these attributes and these virtues are combined, it suffers its greatest loss. 

Capt. Leroy S. Elbert, who died of typhoid fever on the steamboat "City of Alton," below St. Louis, September 13, 1863, at the early age of twenty-five, was the son of Dr. Elbert. of Van Buren County, Iowa. The Captain was born in Logan County, Ohio, but his parents removing to this State while he was very young, he became thus one of Iowa's own sons, a fine representative of the noble class of young men whose valor, intelligence and patriotism have shed such a rich lustre upon the name of our State. He entered the military academy at West Point, in June, 1857, at the age of eighteen, and graduated with honor, July 1, 1861, esteemed by his teachers and classmates for his scholarly attainments and the admirable traits of his character. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the regular service, and assigned to duty in what has become known as the army of the Potomac, then under Gen. McDowell. Within a few days after joining the army, the first battle of Bull Run was fought. For his gallant bearing and the soldierly qualities displayed by him during that fight, he was promoted to a First Lieutenancy and placed upon Gen. Pleasanton's staff. During the Peninsular campaign of McClellan he served with fidelity, bravery and distinction as aid to Gen. Emery. He was subsequently transferred to the staff of Gen. Stoneman when the latter was made Chief of Cavalry in the army of the Potomac, with whom he continued until the close of the famous raid made by Stoneman during the great struggle of Hooker at Fredericksburg, during all of which time Capt. Elbert displayed the same judgment, discretion and courage which he had exhibited from the commencement of his military career, and which had secured for him the confidence and regard of his superior officers and of the War Department at Washington. Upon the removal of Gen. Stoneman, Elbert was promoted to a Captaincy and ordered to the command of Company G., Third Regiment U. S. Cavalry, stationed at Memphis, Tenn. It was while in camp there, that, on the 1st of September, he was taken ill. Upon the 9th he started for the home of his parents in Iowa, and upon the morning of the 13th all that was mortal of the Captain became clay, for his spirit returned to the God who gave it. 

We shall attempt no lengthy analysis of Capt. Elbert's character, nor shall we become his eulogist. To do it fittingly and well would require an abler pen than ours. But he needs it not at the hands of any. We will, for the benefit of the living, not of the dead, mention some of his most noticeable characteristics. And first, he was a patriot, devoted to his Government and country with more than filial affection. He watched with concern and indignation the smouldering fires of rebellion bursting forth in the South, and when treason culminated in the attack upon Sumter, he raised his voice for war, declaring it to be the plain duty of the Government to use every man at the nation's command to redress the wrong done our flag, vindicate the supremacy of the Government, sustain the majesty of the law, punish treason, and save the Union from disruption and the country from ruin. Anxious to enter the field and lend his aid to the Government, he was with difficulty persuaded to remain at West Point for the few weeks necessary to finish his collegiate course, and as soon as he had graduated, notwithstanding the law gave him a furlough for sixty days, and he had not seen his family for three years, he disclaimed this right, and hurried to Washington to place himself and his services at the disposal of the Government, not that he loved his family less, only his country more. And under all the circumstances, whether in victory or defeat, he never waned in his support of our rulers, or lost faith in the justice and ultimate triumph of our cause. But again, he was a moral man. He governed his life by the strictest rules of moral rectitude, and always possessing and governed by an active principle of benevolence, careful of the character and welfare of others whenever, in the circle of his acquaintance he saw one stepping aside from the path of right or duty, and entering upon a course that might lead to disgrace or infamy, he was always first to warn him of his danger and extend the helping hand to bring him back to a life of virtue. Better than all, he was a Christian; he was of that highest style of man—a Christian soldier. A firm and sincere believer in the truths of Revelation, he adopted them as his rule of action; as the standard by which be measured his life; and whether upon the battle-field or in camp he entertained his Christian integrity, and expressed his firm assurance that "if this earthly house of his tabernacle were dissolved he had a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 

Seldom, if ever before, has it been our fortune to know a young man who was possessed of so many admirable traits of character and so few blemishes; one so universally beloved in his life and regretted in his death by all that knew him, as was Capt. Elbert. 

An accomplished scholar, a genial companion, an earnest patriot, an affectionate, dutiful son, a kind and tender brother, an upright citizen, a brave soldier, an efficient talented officer, and a sincere Christian, his life was gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, this was a man. 

Such as he was, we have lost him. His name is another to be added to the long list of the noble dead of our late war. He furnishes another tie to bind us to the country and the cause for which he offered up his life. God forbid that his life and example should be in vain; that we should falter in a cause consecrated by his death. 

In a quiet and secluded spot, near the home of his parents, in Van Buren, amid the sorrowful attention of a large and tearful crowd, consigned we to dust the body of our noble young Captain, mourning the mortal, but confident that the immortal was at rest in the bosom of his Father and his God. The foregoing sketch was written by Hon. Sam M. Clark, of Keokuk, in October, 1863.

HON. S. H. ELBERT, who served as Chief Justice of Iowa, is a citizen in whom the people of Van Buren County feel a deep interest for he was reared in their midst and is known personally to many of them. The Judge was born in Ohio, in 1833, and received liberal educational advantages, graduating from the Ohio University. In looking about him for a business which he desired to make his life work his choice fell upon the legal profession and he fitted himself for the practice of law by a thorough course of study in Dayton, Ohio. He entered upon his life work in Nebraska and had been a resident of that State but a short time until the people recognizing his superior ability and fitness for leadership made him a member of the Legislative Council of the Territory in 1860. In April, 1862, ho was appointed Secretary of Colorado Territory, which position he occupied for four years. On the expiration of that time he retired to private life and resumed the practice of the law, but it was not long before he was again called to public duty, being appointed Governor of the Territory in 1873. The following year he went to Europe and on his return in 1875 was elected to the Supreme Bench. This election as Chief Justice of Colorado was the highest tribute that could have been paid to any man, and as one of the papers said of him, "during the six years of his service he won high opinions because of his rigid regard for the dignity of the court." Later he was again called to the same office and with the same fidelity and faithfulness discharged his duty for several years, but at length resigned on account of failing health. In order to recuperate he made a trip to Europe, where he spent some time visiting the countries of the East, returning in the spring of 1890. 

On the 21st of June, 1865, Judge Elbert was united in marriage with Miss Josephine Evans, daughter of George Evans, of Denver. After a short married life of three years her death occurred and with their only child her remains were laid away in the cemetery of Denver. 

In speaking of the character of Judge Elbert we cannot do better than quote from a sketch  written of him in 1882. It said: "For Judge Elbert, as a man, we have the warmest admiration; but he is no politician and the honors conferred upon him have been the result of respect for his character rather than the outcome of political work. It is for this reason, doubtless, that he is less known personally throughout the State than others of our prominent men. He has the regard of the bar and in the fellowship of friends there is no more genial companion than he. A man of a strong character and of the most sterling integrity, he has, on the Supreme Bench, fulfilled the duties to the satisfaction of the entire State. The reserve that has characterized him has caused him to be frequently misunderstood among those who met him but casually; but an hour spent with him in social chat soon removes this feeling of reserve. Re is a good story-teller and joins heartily in a laugh—two qualities which are the best proof of fine fellowship."

B. F. ELY, who resides on section 6, Harrisburg Township, is one of the leading stock raisers of Van Buren County, and to him great credit is due for the advanced grades of stock which we now find in the community. His farm comprises one hundred and twenty acres, one hundred of which is under a good state of cultivation, while the remainder is timber land. He is also one of the early settlers of the county and has been a witness of much of its growth and development.

The life record of Mr. Ely is as follows. He was born in Hampshire County, W. Va., Augnst 27,1854, and is the second son of J. W. and Mary E. (Edwards) Ely, who were natives of the Old Dominion. Only two years of his life, however, were spent in his native State, for when he was a babe of two summers, his parents removed to Illinois where he was reared to farm life, receiving such educational advantages as the common schools of the neighborhood afforded. At the age of twenty-one years he began the battle with the world for position and prosperity and by the exercise of industry, enterprise and good business ability, he has met with fair success. In partnership with his father he first purchased a farm of one hundred acres, but after operating the same for three years they sold out and became owners of his present home. 

In the spring of 1884, Mr. Ely was united in marriage with Miss Ida J. Steadman, of Knox County, Ill., daughter of V. C. and A. J. Steadman, who were natives of the Empire State. The union of the young people was celebrated on the 26th of March, and has been blessed with three children—May, Lester F. and Maud, and they also lost one. Mr. Ely was reared in the faith of the Methodist Church and holds membership with the organization in Utica. His wife is a member of the Baptist Church. In politics he is a stanch Democrat but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his entire attention to his business interests. As he is succeeding in his undertakings and as his social relations are most pleasant in character, he will probably make Van Buren County his permanent home and thereby the community gains a worthy citizen. 

J. W. Ely, who is living on section 7, Harris-burg Township, was born in Virginia, in 1831, his parents being Benjamin and Rose A. (Powelson) Ely. His father was a miller by trade and made that his business during the greater part of his life. J. W. was reared to manhood under the parental roof and learned the trade which occupied his father's attention, following the same for five or six years after reaching man's estate. In 1856, he left his home in Virginia and emigrated to Illinois, where he believed better opportunities were afforded for a prosperous career than in the older and more thickly populated States along the Atlantic coast. He had but $50 in his pocket at that time but although his cash capital was small he possessed an unbounded supply of energy, vitality and considerable business ability. He at first rented land but in the course of ten years, aside from meeting all expenses had saved enough to purchase a good farm. Three years longer he remained in Illinois, when in the autumn of 1869, he sought a home in Van Buren County, Iowa, locating on section 7, Harrisburg Township, where he still resides. 

In 1850, Mr. Ely formed a matrimonial alliance with Miss Mary Edwards of Virginia, daughter of Robert and Eva (Hawkins,) Edwards, both of whom were of German descent. Unto them have been born four children—Robert, who lives on section 8, Harrisburg Township; B. F., whose sketch is given above; Ann C., wife of A. W. Warner of Washington Township; and James A., who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Harrisburg Township. Mr. and Mrs. Ely are members of the Methodist Church of Utica, to which they give liberal support and in which they are active workers. All laudable enterprises are sure to find in Mr. Ely a friend, for he is always willing to aid in the advancement of any interest beneficial to his town and county. He is an inflexible adherent of the Democracy and a pronounced supporter of the free-trade principles. He and his son, B. F., rank among the leading stock raisers of the county. They make a specialty of horses, keeping on hands only the best grades and these they are constantly improving. They are shrewd, sagacious business men and the success which has crowned their efforts is but a just reward of their labors.

ROBERT E. ELY, a representative farmer and stock-raiser of Van Buren County, residing on section 8, Harrrsburg Township, is a native of West Virginia. He was born in Hampshire County, that State, on the 14th of October, 1852, and is the eldest child of John W. and Mary (Edwards) Ely, who were also natives of the same State. When he was four years of age his parents started for the Wrest and made a location in Knox County, Ill., where they remained for twelve years, when they came to Van Buren County, Iowa. 'Therefore, since his sixteenth year, Robert E. Ely has been a citizen of this community. He received a good English education in the common schools and was also for two terms a student in the Mt. Pleasant University. On attaining to man's estate, he began life for himself, and has since been entirely dependent upon his own resources. For a number of years he devoted his time to the profession of teaching during the winter season and to the occupation of farming through the summer months. Thus alternating his time, he labored on until he had acquired sufficient capital to make an investment in farming lands. He now owns a half interest in a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres, his father being his partner, which he has operated since the year 1875. He is a practical, yet enterprising farmer, as a glance at the homestead will attest, and is an adept at the raising of stock. In both branches of his business he is now meeting with good success, and in course of time will doubtless be ranked among the prosperous and substantial farmers of Van Buren County. 

In 1875 Mr. Ely was united in marriage with Miss Belle Keck, of Van Buren County, daughter of J. A. Keck, a resident farmer of Cedar Township. The young couple began their domestic life on the farm which is still their home and their union has been blest with an interesting family of three children, two sons and one daughter, namely: Harold, Raymond and Mary. The parents are widely known throughout the community in which they make their home, and have many warm friends among its best citizens. In politics Mr. Ely adheres to the Democratic party, having been a supporter of its principles since attaining his majority. In 1880 he was nominated by that party for the office of Recorder of Van Buren County and polled a strong vote considering the large Republican majority. He now holds the office of Township Clerk, and by the prompt and faithful discharge of his duties proves that he is a capable official. Both Mr. Ely and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Utica, in which he holds the position of Steward.

SAMUEL FASNACHT, one of the pioneers of Van Buren County and a respected citizen of Keosauqua, was born in Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pa., on the 26th of August, 1818, and as the name indicates, the family is of German descent. The grandfather of our subject, Frederick Fasnacht, was the American progenitor, and his son Conrad became the father of Samuel. He was married in Lebanon County. Pa., to Miss Rosanna Stoever, by whom he had four children — Joseph, William, Charles and Catherine —all of whom died in infancy. After the death of the mother, Mr. Fasnacht wedded Mrs. Catherine (Doebler) Hoak, widow of George Hoak, and six children blessed this union, to whom were given the names of Samuel, Edward, Andrew, Henry. Savilla and Rosa. 

The early life of our subject passed uneventfully. His education was acquired in the subscription schools common at that day, and when a young man he learned the trade of a butcher, which he followed for some years. 1n 1836 he emigrated to Springfield, Ohio, where he married Miss Rebecca Schreckengast, who was born in Lebanon County, Pa., in April, 1818. In the fall succeeding their marriage Mr. Fasnacht and his young wife removed to Mt. Carmel, Wabash County, Ill., where he was engaged in the butchering business for some three years. The Southwest then attracted his attention and he made a location in Little Rock, Ark., where healso carried on a meat market. Not finding everything as favorable as he had hoped, in the spring of 1842 heremoved to Memphis, Tenn., where he remained until the spring of 1845, which year witnessed his arrival in Van Buren County. However, he had previously visited Stephenson County, where he had a brother living. Taking up his residence in Keosauqua, Mr. Fasnacht engaged in the butchering business until 1850, when attracted by the discovery of gold in California, he made a trip to the Pacific Slope, reaching Sacramento after one hundred and two days of travel. During his sojourn in the Far West he was located at Placerville, then known as Hangtown, where he also owned and operated a meat market, furnishing meat to the miners of that locality. In the spring of 1851 he returned home by the way of the Panama route, and while on the water, the vessel encountered a frightful storm which continued through three days. Landing at New Orleans, Mr. Fasnacht there boarded a river steamer and proceeded up the Mississippi to his home. Again during a gold excitement he started for the region of wealth, but, this time, after having fitted out a team for Pike's Peak, found that the stories were mostly inventions of some gifted brain and did not start upon the journey. However, he has traveled extensively over this country, from Pennsylvania to the Pacific Coast and from Iowa to the mouth of the Mississippi. Such journeys add a charm to the conversation, and thereby a knowledge of men and their manners is acquired which often proves of great benefit to the possessor of the same. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fasnacht are the parents of four sons — William E., who is living in Florida; Lewis C., whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; George W., now a resident of Montana; and Frank B., a printer located in Wichita, Kan. In politics Mr. Fasnacht is a stanch supporter of Democratic principles, and has been honored with several local offices of trust, the duties of which he has ever discharged in a commendable manner. The family is one of high repute, and it is with pleasure we record this brief sketch of their lives in the history of their adopted county.

GEORGE FATHERSON, a farmer and stock-raiser on section 34, Des Moines Township, is a representative of one of the pioneer families of Van Buren County. He is of English birth, but no truer American citizen finds a home in Iowa, and among his fellow townsmen he is held in high regard. He was born in Cheshire, England, August 17, 1836, being the youngest son of Thomas and Martha (Simpson) Fatherson, who were natives of the same county. His father, unaccompanied by any member of his family, left England in 1839, crossed the Atlantic to America, and made a settlement in Van Buren County, Iowa, where he entered a section of land on Indian Creek. After making preparations for a home, he was joined by his wife and children in 1854. Farming was the means he used to secure a livelihood, and by strict attention to his business he had acquired at the time of his death, which occurred in 1866, a comfortable property. His wife survived him some twelve years, dying in 1871. Of their once large family which numbered thirteen members, only four are now living: William, who is married and resides in Canada; Elizabeth, now Mrs. Hankey, of Kansas; and Thomas, who is living in Des Moines Township, Van Buren County. 

The fourth member of the family is he whose name heads this sketch. George Fatherson passed his early life in his native land, and was educated in its public schools. With his mother, brothers and sisters, he bade good-by to his English home in 1854, and came to the New World, joining his father in Van Buren County, Iowa. He was then eighteen years of age, and shortly afterward he began life for himself, working as a farm hand. Having by industry and economy accumulated some means, in 1856 he made his first purchase of land, consisting of an eighty-acre tract, to the improvement of which he devoted his energies until 1864, when he made an overland trip to California. The succeeding three years of his life he was engaged in farming on the Pacific Coast, but in that time he became convinced that Iowa was the home for him, and he returned to Van Buren County. Shortly afterward he led to the marriage altar Miss Editha Phillips, a native of Licking County, Ohio, and a daughter of John and Matilda (Pumphrey) Phillips, who were also born in Licking County. The year 1840 witnessed their emigration to Van Buren County, and locating in Des Moines Township, Mr. Phillips opened up a farm which continued to be his home up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1874. His wife preceded him eleven years, dying in 1863. Mr. Phillips was one of the influential and respected citizens of the county. He took a prominent part in political affairs, was an ardent supporter of Republican principles, and did all in his power for the success of the party. But he was most actively engaged in religious work, and his faith and belief prompted him to perform works of charity and benevolence, and acts of kindness which won him the love and regard of all, and enshrined his memory in the hearts of those upon whom he bestowed his favors. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fatherson have spent their entire married life on the farm which is still their home, and there have been born unto them three children — Mattie, Thomas, and John, all of whom are yet living. The two eldest are graduates of the High School of Keosauqua, and John is now pursuing the required course of study in that school. The home of this family is a pleasant residence situated in the midst of two hundred and eighty acres of valuable land, which is under a high state of cultivation. Thee are found all the needed improvements, and many of an ornamental character. A chief branch of the industry of Mr. Fatherson, is stock-raising, he making a specialty of thoroughbred Durham cattle and Shropshire sheep. His political sentiments are Republican, he having, voted with that party since becoming an American citizen. For several consecutive years he has held the office of justice of the Peace, and has also been a member of the School Board. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend, and he has done not a little to advance the standard of the schools in this community. Thirty-six years have come and gone since Mr. Fatherson located in this county, and many are the changes which have taken place during that interval. It has also brought prosperity to him through his own efforts, and after his name may be written the words of praise, "a self-made man."

STEPHEN D. FELLOWS is engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 36, Van Buren Township, Van Buren County, where he owns a good farm, comprising some four hundred and fifty-two acres of land. A man of practical yet progressive ideas he keeps abreast of all improvements, and his home with its surroundings indicates the thrift and enterprise of its owner. Mr. Fellows was born in Luzerne County, Pa., on the 3d of October, 1833, being the fourth in a family of nine children whose parents are Asahel and Susannah (Harrison) Fellows. They were both natives of the Keystone State, and there on the 7th of May, 1827, their marriage was celebrated. Asahel Fellows made farming his life occupation and followed that pursuit in Pennsylvania until 1836, when he emigrated to the Territory of Michigan, but not being satisfied to make a home in that locality, in November of the same year he continued his journey to Van Buren County, Iowa, and here purchased a claim located on section 31, Van Buren Township. The following year he brought his family to the home which he had prepared, and here during the remainder of his life he continued to reside. He became an influential citizen of the community, and at his death, which occurred March 19, 1869, friends and neighbors felt that they had suffered a great loss. He also took an active part in political affairs, voting with the Democratic party. While a resident of Pennsylvania he served in the State Militia for seven years, and was also a regularly enlisted soldier in the War of 1812. His wife survived him a number of years, dying on the 30th of November, 1888. Of their family of children, the following yet survive — Whiting A., who is now married and resides in Van Buren Township; Mrs. Elvira A. Hinkley, of Clark County, Mo. ; Stephen D., of this sketch; and William M. V. B., who is married and makes his home in Van Buren Township. 

The paternal grandparents of our subject were Abiel and Catherine (Mann) Fellows, both natives of Connecticut and of English descent. The family dates its residence in America back to Colonial days, and Abiel Fellows gallantly served his country during the War for Independence. On the maternal side our subject is of German and Welsh descent. His mother's father was Stephen Harrison. 

In the usual manner of farmer lads, Stephen D. Fellows spent the days of his boyhood and youth. The educational advantages which he received were very limited, in fact, his school life covered a period of several years, though be never attended but one full term. At the age of nineteen years he began life for himself, taking charge of his father's farm, and displaying in its management ability and business knowledge which would have done credit to a man farther advanced in years. From that time without interruption he has devoted himself to agricultural pursuits. He aided in opening up and clearing a farm for his father, after which he performed the same task for himself, and be is now the owner of 452 acres of highly improved land which yields to him a good income. He raises good grades of stock, making a specialty of Short-horn cattle, and has all the improvements and conveniences known to the agriculturalist of the nineteenth century. 

It was in 1862, in Van Buren County, that Mr. Fellows led to the marriage altar, Miss Ann Bowen, a native of Wales, and a daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Hopkins) Bowen, both of whom were born in the same country. In 1847, accompanied by their family, they left their native land for America, crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel. After a pleasant voyage of forty-five days they dropped anchor in the harbor of New York, but did not continue in the metropolis; but made a settlement in Pennsylvania. Some five years later, in 1852, we find them in Van Buren County, Iowa, and in 1857 they removed to a farm in Van Buren Township. Mining was the life occupation of Mr. Bowen, and in 1869 he was called from the toils of life, dying in Mahaska County, Iowa. His wife survived him eight years, and was called to her final rest in 1877. By the union of Mr. and Mrs. Fellows, eight children have been born, of whom seven are now living. The eldest, A. G., is married and resides on the home farm; A. D. is married and makes his home in Auburn, Cal. He completed his literary education by graduating from the Bloomfield College; S. G. was graduated from the School of Pharmacy, of Chicago, in which city he is now carrying on a drug store; Chloe, T. H., S. L. and Keo are still with their parents. 

Among the representative men of the county is numbered Stephen D. Fellows, who from the days of his early boyhood has made his home in this community. He is acquainted with every phase of pioneer life, and shared in the hardships and trials which come to those who make homes on the frontier. The first day which the family spent in the county they were surrounded by four hundred Indians encamped upon their claim, and the red men were not unfrequent visitors at their home for some years afterwards. The greater part of the land at the time was wild and uncultivated, the homes were mostly log cabins, oxen were used in breaking land, and the condition of affairs at that day gave little promise of the present prosperity and progress of the county, but the work and efforts of the pioneers have wrought a wonderful transformation, and in all possible ways Mr. Fellows has aided in this beneficial change. The cause of education has found in him a special friend, and he did effective service while on the School Board. He was also a member of the State Militia and holds a commission as Second Lieutenant. The moral interests of the community receive his support, and both he and his wife are members of the Christian Church, of Pleasant Hill. He takes considerable interest in civic societies, is a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Odd Fellows' lodge, and the Keosauqua Encampment, belonging to Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, A. F. & A. M., Moore Chapter, No. 23, R. A. M., and Keosauqua Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F. For four consecutive years he was Worthy Master, and also filled the various offices in the Chapter and Odd Fellows society, representing the latter in the Grand Lodge. He is an influential member of the Democratic party, and in 1849 was honored by the nomination for Representative, but his party being in the minority was, in consequence, not elected. His public and private life are alike above reproach, his name is honored throughout the community, and as one of the leading citizens of the county he deserves representation in this volume.

WHITING A. FELLOWS. With the history of Van Buren County the name of Fellows is inseparably connected, and the work which they have done for its upbuilding and advancement is worthy of honorable mention in this volume. The family is of English origin, and was founded in America during Colonial days. The paternal grandfather of our subject, Abiel Fellows, was a native of Connecticut, and throughout the entire Revolutionary War aided in the struggle for independence. At an early day he emigrated to Pennsylvania, becoming an influential citizen and prominent politician of that State. He was honored with a number of important offices of trust, and proved himself worthy of the confidence reposed in him. He married Catherine Mann, who was also a native of Connecticut, and after many years residence in the Keystone State they emigrated to Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1835. Both have long since passed away. The maternal grandparents of our subject were Stephen and Mary (Dodson) Harrison, also natives of Connecticut. The father of Stephen Harrison served in the Revolutionary War, and was a descendant of him to whom President Harrison traces his ancestry. The grandparents, who had lived in Luzerne County, Pa., from childhood, were there married and spent the remainder of their lives upon a farm. 

Asahel Fellows, father of our subject, was born in Luzerne County, and on attaining to mature years was united in marriage, on the 8th of May, 1827, with Susanna Franklin Harrison. After some nine years spent in the Keystone State they removed to Schoolcraft, Mich., and in the spring of 1837 made a settlement in what is now Van Buren County, but was then comprised within the bounds of the Territory of Wisconsin. They settled on a claim on the Des Moines River, and also purchased land, from which Mr. Fellows developed a fine farm, that in later years paid a golden tribute to his care and industry. He was one of the prominent citizens of Iowa in that early day. He took an active part in forming the State, also assisted in the organization of the county, and by his support and influence was instrumental in much of the progress made in those earlier years. He was an active politician, and a stalwart supporter of Democratic principles. Socially, he was a member of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F., and his wife held membership in the Christian Church of Pleasant Hill. After a long and useful life he was called to his final rest on the 19th of March, 1869, and his wife, who was a most estimable lady and a true helpmate to him, passed away in 1888. 

Whiting A. Fellows was a lad of eight summers when he accompanied his parents on their emigration to Iowa. In his boyhood he had for his companions the sons of the celebrated Indian chief, Black Hawk, whom he accompanied on many a hunting expedition. He became familiar with their language, and the most friendly relations existed between the lads. His educational advantages were necessarily limited, as the opportunities which a new settlement affords in that line do not compare favorably with those of older communities. He spent much of his time in aiding his father in the development of the home farm, and when twenty-one years of age left the parental roof to begin life for himself. In that year, 1849, he engaged in cutting wood along the Mississippi River. In 1852, attracted by the discoveries of gold in California, he crossed the plains to the Pacific Slope, where he engaged in mining with reasonable success for some six years. Desiring once more to be among his family and friends, in 1858 be returned to Keosauqua by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City and settled upon the farm which is still his home. 

Mr. Fellows was joined in wedlock with Miss Susan E. Dodson, one of the fair daughters of Van Buren County, on the 12th of March, 1862. Their union, however, was celebrated in Somerville, Somerset County, N. J. The lady is a daughter of Styles Richard and Caroline Matilda (Harrison) Dodson. They were natives of Luzerne County, Pa., where their marriage was celebrated in 1836. The same year they emigrated to Michigan. and the following year came to Van Buren County, locating in Henry Township, where Mr. Dodson entered land and improved a farm. His death occurred in 1845, leaving to his widow the care of four young children. To provide for their support she opened her home as a school, and engaged in teaching for several years, when she returned to Luzerne County, Pa., to make her home with her father. The children of the family were: Melvina Augusta, who was born in the Territory of Wisconsin, now Henry County, Iowa, and died in Pennsylvania, in 1862; Mrs. Mary E. Bateman, of Philadelphia; Susan, wife of our subject; and Caroline Matilda, who was graduated from the Women's Medical College, of Philadelphia, and is now engaged in practice in that city, and is also President of the National Woman's Health Association of America.

Mr. and Mrs. Fellows began their domestic life upon a farm which is still their home — a highly-improved quarter-section of land. The fields are well tilled, good buildings have been erected, and a glance at the home shows that the work of farming is carried on in a systematic and methodical manner. But one child has come to bless the union — Harry D., who is still with his parents. 

Following in the footsteps of his father, Mr. Fellows supports the Democratic party, but has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. He served in the State Militia as First Lieutenant, and has been a member of the School Board. No enterprise calculated to upbuild the community fails to receive his hearty support and co-operation, but as a valued citizen, he lends a helping hand to all worthy undertakings. 

Mr. Fellows was one of the leaders in organizing the Grange in Van Buren County, was a firm believer and supporter of the principles of the same, and was also an ardent supporter of the Farmers' Alliance; is at the present time actively engaged in organizing a Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, is one of its officers, and is a firm believer in co-operation among all classes. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and a firm believer in the principles of Friendship, Love and Truth.

WILLIAM M. V. B. FELLOWS, who resides on section 9, of Van Buren Township, is an intelligent and enterprising farmer and stock-raiser of Van Buren County. His family is of English descent and his parents, Asahel and Susanna (Harrison) Fellows, were natives of Pennsylvania. For some years the father followed farming in the State of his nativity, but in the autumn of 1835 he left for the West, thinking to better his condition by a removal to a community where lands could be obtained cheap, and where one might, if willing to work, soon make for himself a comfortable home. He spent the winter in Michigan and the following spring resumed his journey, which he continued until reaching what is now Van Buren County, Iowa. He made a settlement along the Des Moines River, near Keosauqua, entering land and also purchasing a claim, which, from a wild and unimproved tract, he developed into a highly cultivated farm. He was a man of energy, not afraid of labor, and in consequence he met with success in his undertakings. For many years he continued his farming operations, laying aside the duties of life only when called to his final rest, in 1868. His wife survived him many years. They had quite a large family of children, of whom three sons and one daughter are yet living -- Whiting A., who is married and resides in Van Bunn Township; Elvira, now Mrs. Hinckley, a resident of Clark County, Mo.; Stephen D., who is living near Keosauqua; and William, of this sketch. 

In his youth our subject assisted in the development of the home farm and became familiar with pioneer life, when their neighbors were the red men and when deer and other wild animals were quite numerous in the settlement. They had to drive many miles to market and to mill and as the roads were often almost impassable this was no easy task. Amid such surroundings the boyhood days of our subject were spent and to the occupation of farming he was reared. On attaining to his majority he began making his own way in the world, operating a part of the old homestead. In 1854 he was married, in Van Buren County, to Miss Matilda A. Peterson, a native of the county and a daughter of Ralph and Mary (Groves) Peterson, who were natives of the Buckeye State but came to Iowa at a very early day. They settled upon and improved a farm in Vernon Township, Van Buren County, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The death of Mr. Peterson occurred in 1888, three years subsequent to the time when his wife was laid to rest. 

Mr. Fellows. shortly after his marriage, purchased a partially improved farm of three hundred and forty acres, which he has now placed under a high state of cultivation, while he has greatly enhanced its value by the addition of many excellent improvements, including a good residence, barn, etc. He raises an excellent grade of thorough-bred stock, and in that branch of business, as in the development of his land, has been quite successful. In political sentiment he is a Democrat, but not an active politician. He gives his support to the cause of education and to other worthy enterprises calculated to upbuild and benefit the community. 

In 1876 Mr. Fellows was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died, leaving six children -- Evan is married and engaged in farming; Ocee, who is married and resides in Colorado; Homer C. is Superintendent of the schools of Sac City, Iowa; Clay, Lena and Ed at home. In 1878 Mr. Fellows was again married, his second union being with Valena A. Sperry, who was born in this county, and is a daughter of Reuben and Elizabeth (Whitten) Sperry, natives of Ohio. They came to Van Buren County at an early day, locating in Village Township. Mr. Sperry died in Cass County, Neb., in 1875, but the mother is still living and makes her home with her children. He served in the Mexican War and was also for three years one of the boys in blue during the late war. The second union of Mr. Fellows has been blessed with five children — Mary S., Ray, Lizzie Pearl and Theo (twins), and Asa. The parents are members of the Zion Church and their lives have ever been such as to win them the high regard of those with whom they come in contact.

D. W. FERGUSON, who is the owner of more than eight hundred acres of land in Van Buren County, his home being in Des Moines Township, was born in Beaver County, Pa., in 1835, being the second child in the family of John and Nancy (Adams) Ferguson, who were the parents of three children. His father was also born in the Keystone State and was of Scotch descent, the family having been founded in Pennsylvania by Scotch emigrants at an early day. He engaged in merchandising in his native State and his death occurred in 1886, having survived his wife for two years. Her people were of English extraction. 

In the schools of Pennsylvania, D. W. Ferguson acquainted himself with the common branches, but completed his education in Poland, Ohio. After leaving school, he engaged in driving stock from Western Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, and also drove horses from that State to Illinois, at one time being twenty-eight days upon the road. He followed the life of a drover for several years and then located, in 1854, near where now is situated the city of Aledo, in Mercer County, Ill. He saw that town platted and after a few years' residence in its vicinity resumed his westward journey. Crossing the Mississippi River, he made a location in Des Moines Township, Van Buren County, Iowa, where he developed a farm, that still continues to be his home. He first purchased two hundred and forty acres of wild land, but after he had placed it under cultivation he made additional purchases from time to time until he owned nearly nine hundred acres, all situated in Des Moines Township, with the exception of two hundred acres lying in Vernon Township. The cause of his splendid success in business life may be attributed to his enterprising and progressive spirit. In connection with general farming, he engages extensively in stock-raising, much of the land being devoted to pasturage, upon which may be found many head of thoroughbred Durham cattle. 

In this county, in 1858, Mr. Ferguson was united in marriage with Miss Sarah N. Alcorn, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Alexander and Mary (Phillips) Alcorn. Her parents were born in Ireland, but in early life they left their native land and settled in Pennsylvania. Mr. Alcorn became an influential citizen of the community where he resided, and was commissioned Major of the State Militia in 1824. In November, 1856, he brought his family to Van Buren County, Iowa, and settled upon an improved farm in Vernon Township, where he resided until his death, in 1863. His wife survived him until 1881, when she too passed away. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson began their domestic life upon his farm in Des Moines Township, and together they traveled life's journey for thirty-one years, sharing with each other its joys and sorrows, its adversity and prosperity, but in December, 1889, the loved wife was called to her final rest. Three children were born of their marriage — John Adams, who married Aurelia B. Layton in 1886; Isabella, now Mrs. Power, of Centerville, Iowa; and Alex Phillips, who died in 1862, aged one year and four months. The mother was a consistent member of the Methodist Church, of Mt. Sterling, to which Mr. Ferguson and his son and daughter-in-law also belong. 

On the organization of the Republican party, Mr. Ferguson was one of the first to espouse its cause, and continued an ardent supporter of its principles for a number of years, but since 1870 he has been a stanch Prohibitionist. To the cause of temperance he ever gave his support. and believing that the liquor traffic can only be abolished by legislation, he supports that party which represents his views.

WILLIAM B. FLEMING, Clerk of the courts of Van Buren County, has been connected with that position either as superior officer or as deputy for eleven years. He is a resident of Keosauqua and is numbered among its representative and influential citizens. Mr. Fleming was born in Franklin County, Pa., on the 30th of December, 1838, and is a son of Charles and Margaret (Boggs) Fleming. In his boyhood he manifested a spirit of perseverance and energy which have been among his important characteristics throughout life. Not content with the limited educational advantages which he had received, he set to work to acquire the money with which to continue his studies, and in that manner paid his tuition in an academy, where he became proficient in all the English branches. He then turned his attention to school teaching, and was quite successful in the prosecution of that profession, but abandoned it at the breaking out of the late war. 

Among the first to respond to the President's call for troops to put down the rebellion in its infancy, was William Fleming. Hardly had the guns of Ft. Sumter ceased their reverberations until, as a member of Company D, Twenty-fifth Ohio Infantry, he donned the blue. The date of his enlistment was April 27, 1861, and, with his regiment, he was mustered into service at Columbus, Ohio, where the troops remained a short time, after which they were forwarded to West Virginia. Their first duty was the guarding of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Grafton, and the first engagement in which they participated occurred at Briar Hill, opposing the rebel forces under Gen. Lee. About this time Company D was transferred to the Twelfth Independent Ohio Battery; in fact, it became the nucleus of the same. At its organization Mr. Fleming was commissioned Second Lieutenant, and soon afterward was promoted to be First Lieutenant. This battery participated in a number of important engagements, including the battles of Franklin and Jackson and the second battle of Bull Run, where it took the field one hundred and fifty-five strong, but returned with only sixty men. Besides this great loss of life all their horses and guns were captured. With his command, Mr. Fleming fought at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, after which, in the winter of 1863, he resigned on account of ill-health. As soon as he had somewhat regained his usual strength, he once more enlisted as a private in his former command, joining the battery at Nashville, Tenn., whence the forces were sent to Murfreesboro, where they remained until the close of the war, being mustered out of service on the 10th of July, 1865. 

On the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace to the country, Mr. Fleming returned to his home in Ohio, but in the spring of 1867 came to Van Buren County, Iowa, locating in Milton, where he followed his old profession of teaching. Some twelve years later he abandoned that pursuit, having been appointed, in January, 1879, to the position of Deputy Clerk of the Court, under James Gillespie. For six years he held that office and then received the nomination for Clerk of the Court, to which he has three times been elected. and when his present term shall have expired will have been connected with the office for twelve years, a fact which certainly indicates that his duties have ever been discharged in a prompt and faithful manner and to the satisfaction of all concerned. He attends to his business in a quiet and unassuming manner, but through his fidelity to every trust has won hosts of friends. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, belonging to Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, A. F. & A. M., and to Moore Chapter, No. 28, R. A. M. 

On the 11th of March, 1872, in Van Buren County, Mr. Fleming was united in marriage with Miss Florence Kent, daughter of Daniel Kent, of Ft. Madison. They have now a family of three children living, two sons and one daughter— Carl, Craig and Ethel.

CYRUS N. FOLKER, who resides on section 9, Farmington Township, is one of the substantial farmers and extensive land-owners of Van Buren County and is also a representative of one of the honored pioneer families of the county. Years have come and gone until more than half a century has passed since George W. Folker, his father, accompanied by wife and children, made a settlement in this community which then formed a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. In that period of time great changes have taken place, the work of progress and civilization has been carried forward and wonderful transformation has been wrought, much of which bears upon it the impress of the enterprise and ceaseless activity of the Folkers. 

Our subject was but a babe when he came to the county. He was born in Perry County, Pa., January 26, 1836, and in 1838 was brought to Iowa by his parents, George W. and Elizabeth (Huggins) Folker, who were also natives of the Keystone State. His father was a mechanic by trade but for a number of years followed the hatter's trade in Pennsylvania and after his emigration to Van Buren County, Iowa, in the autumn of 1838, he engaged in farming. Entering one hundred and forty acres of land from the Government he cleared, developed and improved the same, making a good farm, upon which he lived until his death in 1851. His wife survived him a number of years, dying in 1874. Unto that worthy couple were born nine children and the family circle is yet unbroken. In order of birth they are as follows: John H., a retired farmer, of Lamar, Mo.; Charles, a retired farmer, of Memphis, Mo.; Catherine, wife of C. Blatterman, of Clarke County, Mo.; William, a stock raiser, of Acasto, Mo.; George W., a money loaner, of Farmington; Ambrose who is engaged in farming and stock raising in Clarke County, Mo.; Cyrus N., the subject of this sketch; Joseph R., who is also an agriculturalist, of Clarke County, Mo.; and Mary, now Mrs. Huggins, of Lamar, Mo. 

The educational opportunities afforded in a new settlement are not very great and as Cyrus Folker was reared among the wild scenes of Van Buren County, his scholastic training was necessarily limited. His father died when he was a lad of fifteen years and he remained at home assisting his mother until twenty-six years of age, when, in 1859, he made a trip into Colorado. However, he soon returned and continued farming operations in Van Buren County until 1864, when he went to Idaho, where he was successfully engaged in mining for three years. Having acquired some wealth, in 1867, he returned to this county and made investments in real estate here. In the spring of 1870, he purchased the farm which has been his home continuously since. At that time it comprised about three hundred acres of but partially improved land but the boundaries have since been extended until six hundred acres in one body pay tribute to his care and cultivation, while another forty acres yields him support. Those who are acquainted with Mr. Folker and know something of his characteristics and the habits of his life, need not to be told that every thing about his home is kept in first-class order. The farm is divided into fields of convenient size by good fences, useful and ornamental improvements have been made, the latest farm machinery has been purchased and the best grades of stock have been introduced. In fact to the latter branch of his business he devotes much attention and is accounted one of the leading stock raisers of the county. 

In 1870, Mr. Folker was united in marriage with Miss Sarah A. Perry, of Clarke County, Mo., daughter of Gideon and Mary (Humphrey) Perry, who, like their daughter, are natives of Illinois. Six children have been born of this union, namely Mary E., wife of Noah Boyer, of Farmington; Ida A., wife of Herden Boyer who is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Farmington Township; Lula D., Stella M., Ervin A. and Charles E. 

Mr. Folker is a member of the United Brethren Church and his wife belongs to the Methodist Church, and in politics, he is a Democrat. He has ever been a supporter of churches and other laudable enterprises, feeling a deep interest in any thing that pertains to the welfare of the county which has so long been his home. From his boy-hood he has been identified with its agricultural interests and in many other ways has aided in its development and improvement. The county is dear to him for the many pleasant associations connected with it concerning his boyhood and youth; for the friendships he has here formed in later years and for the pleasant home which it has afforded him. It has also witnessed the greater part of his business undertakings and has seen the progress which he has made, advancing from a position of comparative humbleness to one of first rank, in which he is surrounded by wealth and all the comforts which go to make life worth the living.

BENJAMIN F. FORD, who is engaged in farming on section 28, Union Township, Van Buren County, is a native of Ohio, his birth having occurred in Wayne County, May 24, 1837. He is descended from good old Revolutionary stock, his paternal great grandfather, Henry Ford, having served in the War for Independence and died in Wayne County, Ohio, at the very advanced age of one hundred and fifteen years and fifteen-days. The father of our subject, Jacob B. Ford, was born in Pennsylvania, May 27, 1804, and in his youth accompanied his family to Wayne County, Ohio, where he formed the acquaintance of Miss Christina Fleck, whose hand he sought in marriage. They were joined in marriage in Wayne County, where the lady was born in 1807. Her parents were Germans by birth and could speak only their mother tongue. Having resided in Ohio until 1849, Mr. Ford brought his family to Iowa, locating in Iowa County, but the following year he came to Van Buren County and settled near Winchester, where his wife, who was a member of the United Brethren Church, died in 1851. He afterwards married Mrs. Sallie Barker, by whom he had three children, two yet living. By his first wife he had nine children, four of whom are living. About 1870, Mr. Ford became a resident of Davis County, Iowa, where he still makes his home. Politically he is a Democrat, and in religious belief a Missionary Baptist. 

In the usual manner of farmer lads Benjamin F. Ford spent the days of his boyhood and youth. His education was mostly acquired at his own fireside, his parents helping him to master the rudimentary branches of learning, for the schools in their neighborhood were few in number and often the teachers were very inefficient. On nearing years of maturity, he looked about him for some business he wished to follow, not caring to continue farming and his choice fell upon the blacksmith's trade. After mastering that occupation, he carried on blacksmithing for a livelihood until 1864, when he drove some stock to California, returning the same year. He then opened a shop in Winchester, where for nine years he attended to the wants of the people in need of his services, doing a good business. Thereby he accumulated capital which enabled him to purchase his present farm — a one hundred and seventy-two and one-half acre tract of good farming land, pleasantly situated about a half mile south of Winchester. 

An important event in the life of Mr. Ford occurred on the 21st of November, 1859, which day witnessed the celebration of his marriage with Elezan Calhoun. who was born in Holmes County, Ohio, February 28, 1836. Her parents, John and Isabel (Jameson) Calhoun, were natives of Pennsylvania, and in childhood emigrated to Holmes County, Ohio, where they were married. In 1841, they came to Iowa and spent the remainder of their lives in Van Buren County. In their family were nine children, of whom six yet live. The father was a Democrat and died in the eighty-fifth year of his age, while his wife had reached the age of seventy-seven years at the time of her death. Two children came to gladden the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ford by their presence and the family circle yet remains unbroken. The daughter, however has left the parental roof. She is now Mrs. Luella L. Bonnette, wife of Amos Bonnette, a resident of Union Township, Van Buren County. The son, John H., is a farmer of the same township. 

The upright lives of Mr. and Mrs. Ford have won them warm friends and secured for them a position in the ranks of Van Buren County's best citizens. Both are active workers in the Methodist Church, Mr. Ford serving as Class Leader and Steward. He supports the Republican party but has never been an office seeker, preferring to devote himself to the interests of his family and his business. When he began life for himself he had but $14, but his efforts were successful and he was getting under fair way to become a prosperous citizen when he went to California, taking with him $1,000 of his earnings which he there sunk. On his return good friends loaned him money wherewith to make a new start in life and by hard work, good management and perseverance he has again arisen.

HON. LEWIS FORDYCE, who resides on section 14, Des Moines Township, Jefferson County, is widely and favorably known throughout Southeastern Iowa, and with the growth of this portion of the State has been prominently connected. He represents one of the honored pioneer families, the head of which was Jairus Fordyce. He was a son of a Revolutionary hero and his birth occurred in Pennsylvania. Removing westward in his youth, he became acquainted with Miss Susan Gard, a native of Ohio, whom he married. He served under Gen. Harrison at the battle of Tippecanoe. ln 1815, they emigrated to the Territory of Illinois. During his stay in the Prairie State, he opened up two or three farms, but in 1837 he determined to try his fortune on the opposite side of the Mississippi, and made a settlement in Lee County, Iowa. Two years later he went to Van Buren County, where his death occurred the following year. His excellent wife survived him fifteen years, dying in 1855. The members of their family now living are Seth, of Union Township, Van Buren County; Lewis, whose name heads this sketch, and Mary, now Mrs. Miller, of Lee County, Iowa. 

Lewis Fordyce was about seventeen years of age when he accompanied his family to Iowa. His early life was passed amid the wild scenes of frontier settlements, and his education was acquired in the subscription schools of Wabash County, Ill. After becoming a citizen of Lee County he aided in developing a farm. With his parents he went to Van Buren County in 1839, but returned to Lee County in 1845, and the following year was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Newby, a native of Indiana, and a daughter of Gabriel and Rebecca (Harvey) Newby, both of whom were born in North Carolina, but at an early day became residents of Indiana, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Both passed from this earth many years ago. 

Upon his marriage, Mr. Fordyce settled upon a farm in Lee County, but at the end of three years removed to Van Buren County, where he purchased a partially improved farm. No one is better conversant with the correct methods of agriculture than he, and his efforts were consequently attended with success. Continuing his residence in Van Buren County until 1873; he then came to Jefferson County, where he purchased an improved farm of three hundred acres, one hundred of which he has since given to his children, retaining two hundred acres for his own use. Working his way upward from a humble position, he overcame the hardships of pioneer life, surmounted the obstacles which lay in his path and at length reached a position of affluence, his property now being amply sufficient to provide for all moderate wants through the remainder of his life, but he has not devoted his time entirely to business pursuits. He has faithfully discharged the duties of citizenship and has represented his district in the General Assembly of Iowa. He was honored with an election to the Fourth General Assembly, representing Van Buren County, and in the Twentieth General Assembly occupied the seat assigned to the representative of Jefferson County. In the legislative halls, he was an honored member and one who faithfully looked after the best interests of his constituents and the general community. He has been an influential member in local circles of the Republican party and was one of the organizers of that party in Van Buren County. He has also held minor offices, was Township Clerk in Union Township, Van Buren County, and while a resident of Lee County assisted in the organization of its school system. A more important part of his work has been his labors in the ministry. For many years he has been a member of the Christian Church and for the past thirty-five years has engaged in preaching the Gospel, his labors extending into Missouri and throughout Southeastern Iowa. He is now President of the State Association of his church, and for thirty-three years held the office of Secretary in its assemblies. His fervent and earnest words have been instruments for good in the land, but his own upright and Christian life has been a no less potent factor in the cause. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Fordyce was horn a family of eight children and with one exception all are yet living. Winfield is married and is now engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in Glasgow, Jefferson County; Eugene is married and makes his home in Ventura County, Cal.; Harry is married and makes his home in the same county; Thornton is married and resides near the old homestead; Carl is yet with his parents; Oscar is married and devotes himself to the practice of medicine and surgery in Guthrie County; Lew completes the number. 

From the time when Iowa contained a population of but twenty thousand, Mr. Fordyce has made it his home. Few men now living have witnessed so much of its growth or been so prominently identified with its interests. He is an honored pioneer, a worthy citizen and an upright Christian gentleman, whose influence for good in the community will still be felt long after he has passed away. In all his work, he has found a helpmate in his estimable wife, who has shared with him his joy and sorrow, his adversity and prosperity.

LEWIS C. FOSNOT ranks among the leading and successful business men of Keosauqua, his business being that of photography. This gentleman who is so widely known throughout Van Buren County, claims the honor of which few of his years can boast, that of being a native of the city where he still makes his home. His parents, Samuel and Catherine Fasnacht, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work, are numbered among the early settlers of the community. They have retained the old country orthography but their son has adopted the English mode of spelling the name.

In the common schools of his native town. Lewis Fosnot acquired a liberal English education and was fitted for his life work. Looking about him for some trade or profession which would prove a pleasant as well as a profitable business, he chose that of photography and having become familiar with the art in all its details he embarked in business for himself in 1872, continuing in the same line for eighteen consecutive years. As in his lessons in the school room, he makes a thorough study of his business, familiarizing himself with the latest methods and improvements and his work will compare favorably with that of many an artist in the larger cities. His studio is a popular one and the liberal patronage which he receives indicates that he has found favor with the public. 

In 1870, in Keosauqua, Mr. Fosnot, led to the marriage altar Miss Elizabeth Hunter, daughter of Robert Hunter. The lady was born in West Virginia, in 1848, and in the community where she now makes her home is held in high esteem by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Fosnot has been blessed with a family of five children, one son and four daughters, namely: Carrie, Minnie, Katie, Samuel and Mary. Having passed his entire life in Keosauqua, Mr. Fosnot has been a witness of the many great changes which have taken place in Van Buren County during the past forty years. His memory goes back to the days when not a railroad crossed its borders, when much of the land was still in its primitive condition, and when the little log school-house and primitive cabin marked the site of many a good institution of learning or palatial home of to-day. He has seen towns and villages spring up, has witnessed the introduction of the telegraph and telephone, together with the establishing of many industries and enterprises and feels a just pride in Van Buren County, his only home.

JAMES A. FOWLER, a self-made man and highly respected citizen of Van Buren County, owns two hundred and seventeen and one-half acres of the fine farming land of Southeastern Iowa. His home farm comprises one hundred and fifty-seven and one-half acres on section 9, Vernon Township, while a quarter section of land in Henry Township also hays to him a golden tribute. His parents, Henry and Mary (Moore) Fowler, are numbered among the pioneers of Van Buren County. In 1843 they made a settlement near Bonaparte, but shortly afterwards the father was drowned in the Des Moines River during a flood, being carried over the dam near Bonaparte. His wife survived him about ten years, when she too was called to her final rest. In their family were five children, but only three of the number grew to mature years: Catherine, wife of Thomas Minshall, of Huston County, Minn.; Lucretia, deceased wife of Joseph Doffelenge; and James A., of this sketch. 

Our subject was born in Indiana in 1842, and at the age of twelve years was left an orphan. Two years later he began life for himself as a farm hand, working in that capacity for about seven years or until the fall of 1862, when he responded to his country's call for troops, enlisting on the 15th of September, as a member of Company D, Thirtieth Iowa Infantry, under Capt. Charles J. McGinnis. He was mustered into service at Keokuk and the regiment was assigned to the First Division, Fifteenth Corps of the Army of the Tennessee. After spending a few weeks at Benton Barracks, Mo., the troops were sent down the Mississippi River to Helena, Ark., where for the first time Mr. Fowler was surrounded by the leaden hail and became acquainted with the horrors of war. Afterwards he participated in the Black River expedition and with his regiment took part in many of the famous and hard fought battles of the war, including the engagements at Vicksburg, Jackson, Miss., Arkansas Post, Big Black River, the seige of Vicksburg, the battles of Port Hudson, Little Rock, Ark., Brownville, Miss., Dalton, Ga., Chattanooga, Tenn., Cane Creek, Ala., Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Ringgold, Ga., Kenesaw Mountain, Lone Mountain. Buzzard's Roost, Taylor Ridge, Ga., Decatur, Ala., Resaca, and Dallas, Ga., the battle of New Hope Church, Marietta, Big Shanty, the two battles of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Griswoldville and the seige of Savannah. He accompanied Gen. Sherman on the celebrated March to the Sea, and then returned participating in the Carolina campaign to Richmond, Va. At Resaca he received a gunshot wound in the left leg just above the ankle joint, but as he was color-hearer of his regiment he remained at his post and carried the banner forward to victory. His service was an arduous one, in which he encountered great risks but he was ever found at his post of duty, valiantly defending the old flag but at the close of the war he was honorably discharged and was mustered out in Washington, D. C., on the 5th of June, 1865. 

When his country no longer needed his services, Mr. Fowler returned to his home and once more engaged in work as a farm hand. In 1867, he was united in marriage with Miss Amanda Perkins, daughter of William and Mary (Myers) Perkins. They have two children, a son and daughter: William, who is married and operates his father's farm in Vernon Township; and Anna M., at home, and Bertha, who died when about five years old. Mr. Fowler purchased and moved to his farm in Vernon Township in the spring of 1874. It comprises one hundred and fifty-seven and one-half acres under a high state of cultivation but in a short time he expects to remove to his farm in Henry Township. He is a representative farmer of the community who thoroughly understands his business in all its details and as a result of good management, industry and perseverance he has now a comfortable competence. He certainly deserves great credit for his success and may truly be called a self-made man. Beginning life for himself at a tender age he steadily worked his way upward, overcoming the difficulties and obstacles which lay in his path. In political sentiment Mr. Fowler is a Republican and takes an active interest in the growth and success of his party. He has been honored with a number of local offices, held the position of Assessor for five consecutive years, served as Township Trustee and for the past five years has been a member of the County Board of Supervisors. He always attends the county conventions of his county as a delegate and his opinions carry weight with them in those assemblies. He is a member of Shriver Post, G. A. R. of Keosauqua, and is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows societies. He contributes liberally to the support of churches and charitable and benevolent institutions, and has always taken an active part in everything pertaining to the community and its best interests. Both he and his wife and daughter are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Mt. Sterling and have lived consistent Christian lives.

HENRY FRUSH, deceased, was born in Baltimore County, Md., October 15, 1802, and died at his home, in Jefferson County, on the 22d of August, 1874. He was a substantial farmer, and was respected by all who knew him. The family to which he belonged was of German origin. When about eight years of age, his parents removed to Belmont County, Ohio, where he grew to manhood. In Wheeling, Va., on the 6th of December, 1830, he wedded Miss Mary Shepherd, a native of Jefferson County, Ohio, born August 7, 1810, and a daughter of William and Catherine (Rippeth) Shepherd. Her parents were natives of Maryland and Pennsylvania respectively, and were married and lived for some time in Jefferson County, Ohio, after which they removed to Tuscarawas County. Mr. Shepherd laid out the town of Leesville, built the first house in it, and made other improvements. The dwelling which he erected is still standing. He engaged in merchandising for a livelihood. About 1840 he removed with his family to Van Buren County, Iowa, where his wife died at the age of fifty-two years, leaving eleven children. Afterward he was again married and removed to Appanoose County, Iowa, where his death occurred at the age of seventy-five years. By his last wife he had three children. 

Mrs. Frush is the third in order of birth in the family of eleven children. Upon her marriage with our subject, they settled on a farm in Belmont County, Ohio, but later removed across the line into Monroe County, where the husband owned and improved a good farm. In 1850 they cast their lot with the early settlers of Jefferson County, Iowa, at the same time purchasing three hundred acres of land two miles north of Fairfield, of which Mrs. Frush still owns one hundred and sixty acres. They lived in the city until a house of the pioneer style could be built on their land, and then removed to their new home. Mr. Frush was a stirring and successful farmer, who accomplished whatever he undertook. Politically, he was a Whig in early life, and later was a Republican, but took no prominent part in political affairs. The Methodist Church of the community had no more zealous member, and that organization also finds in his wife an earnest worker. The final summons came to Mr. Frush on the 22d of August, 1874, and amid the sorrows and regrets of many friends, he was laid to rest. Though quiet and unassuming in manner, he was an honor to his calling and a blessing to the community in which he lived. 

Eleven children were born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Frush, as follows: George W., who served three years in the Union army during the late war, and died about three years after his discharge by disease contracted while in the service; William A., a legal practitioner of Kansas; Amanda M., widow of Johnson Moore; Sarah A., at home; Martha J., wife of John W. Quillem, a wool buyer of Fairfield; Isabel, wife of John R. McElderry, of Fairfield ; Mary, widow of John Tansey, who died some years after his return from the late war; James, who served nine months in putting down the Rebellion, and is now on a ranch in Montana; Louisa, wife of Eugene Freeman, a resident of Kansas; Caroline, wife of Burdett Spencer, of Peoria; John H., a farmer of this county. In addition to her own family, Mrs. Frush has reared two children — Angeline Hampson, wife of Asbury Shepherd, brother of Mrs. Frush; and Martha J. Hampson, wife of James C. Smith. 

Although she has attained the age of four-score years, Mrs. Frush is still vigorous and retains possession of her faculties to a remarkable degree. She has lived forty years in this county and is blessed with a good home, children and many friends.

Transcribed by Rich Lowe for the Van Buren County IAGenWeb Project - copyright 2007

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