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

Van Buren County Biographical Sketches Transcribed Below


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JAMES D. IRISH is numbered among the early settlers of Van Buren County, and is a respected citizen of Keosauqua. Not only in this county, but in other counties he has lived the life of a pioneer and could we give a complete record of his career it would constitute a story of thrilling interest. He was born in Licking County, Ohio, on the 10th of November, 1825, and is a son of James M. Irish, whose ancestors emigrated from Holland to America during colonial days. His mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Dibble, was a native of Connecticut and the two young people with their respective families removed to Rensselear County, N. Y., where they became acquainted and were married. The year 1816 witnessed their emigration to the wilds of Licking County, Ohio, where they resided for eleven years. Having a taste for pioneer pursuits and being by nature ably fitted for the hardships of frontier life, Mr. Irish, in 1827, resumed his westward journey and located in Madison County, in the Territory of Indiana. That region was then thought to be almost beyond the borders of civilization. In fact, the Irish family was one of three first families to locate within the county, two other gentlemen by the names of Makepeace and Allen, with their wives and children, having settled in the community about the same time. Time passed on and the county became more thickly inhabited but it was many years before the comforts and luxuries of the East found their way to those far western homes. Many hardships and difficulties were endured, including the arduous task of developing a farm from the hitherto unbroken land. Mr. Irish was a man of more than ordinary ability, and his labors in behalf of the upbuilding of the county should he remembered with gratitude by its residents of to-day. He aided not a little in its advancement and progress and was the founder of several of its early enterprises, having built the first saw and grist mills and also erected and operated the first woolen mill in Madison County. He was quite eccentric also. His bank consisted of barrels of grain stored away in his chamber, in which he deposited his surplus cash. He would not loan money, preferring rather to give it away, yet he was generous and open hearted and his peculiarities added rather a charm than a drawback to his character. His death occurred at the age of eighty-four years while he was visiting in Texas. His wife, who was reared a Missionary Baptist and was a sincere Christian lady, died in Indiana in the eighty-third year of her age. 

A family consisting of thirteen children, nine of whom lived to be adults, were born unto this worthy couple. Samuel, the eldest, died in Madison County, Ind.; Elizabeth, married Cromwell Wheeler and both are now deceased; Hannah became the wife of Alfred Makepeace, the marriage ceremony, the first in Madison County, Ind., being performed by Mr. Allen, before mentioned, who had been a justice of the Peace in Ohio and claimed that his jurisdiction reached into the Territory of Indiana. Clarissa A., the next younger, became the wife of Joseph G. S . Hayward, of Richland County, Wis.; William C., died in Madison County, Ind., at the age of twenty-eight years; C. W., is supposed to have been killed during the War of the Rebellion; Maria A., wedded Garrett McAllister and both died in Madison County, Ind.; James D., whose name heads this sketch, is the next in order of birth; Alvira, is the wife of Capt. T. W. Richmond, a soldier of the late war now residing in Scotland, Mo. 

As will be seen, James D. Irish, is the only member of the family residing in Van Buren County. His boyhood days were passed in Indiana amid the wild scenes of pioneer life and in the log schoolhouse with its puncheon floor and slab seats he acquired his education. An aperture made in the logs and covered with oiled paper served to let in the light and a huge fireplace occupied almost the entire end of the building. While the scholars were engaged in recitation or the preparation of their lessons, which, by the way, they studied aloud, the teacher would employ his hands in making split brooms or ax helves, while his brain was intent on the progress of his pupils and their conduct. Mr. Irish remained at home assisting his father in the labors of the farm until twenty-four years of age when he was married and sought a home of his own. On the 18th of February, 1849, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Orlena J. Antrim, who was born in Champaign County, Ohio, August 7, 1830. Four children graced their union —Florence A., now the widow of George H. Brickley; Elizabeth M., widow of William L. Tyson; Alonzo W., of Oklahoma; and Samuel E., an attorney at law of Keosauqua. 

In June, 1853, Mr. Irish accompanied by his family came to Van Buren County, and after a short stay in Keosauqua, went to Milton, where he built the first mill in that township. The following year he sold out to Miller Bros., and in 1856, in company with Judge Mayne, he erected a saw-mill four miles below Keosauqua but the same year sold his interest to his partner and returning to Milton, repurchased a half interest in the mill property in that place. Early in 1859, his wife died and he again married, his present wife, being Cecilia Dahlburg, daughter of Peter and Ingar (Nelson) Dahlburg, who were natives of Sweden. Many enterprises have occupied the attention of Mr. Irish in Van Buren County. In 1861, he removed to Keosauqua where he embarked in the grocery business and in 1863 he settled upon a farm, engaging in its cultivation for four years when he returned to the county seat, having made a contract to carry mail between that place and Memphis, Mo. Twelve years he spent in that manner, when in March, 1876, he removed to his present home where he has since resided, By his second marriage there are four children—Curtis F., a court reporter of Des Moines, Iowa; H. Walter, who is also a court reporter and stands at the head of his profession in the State; J. Sherman, assistant book-keeper and stenographer for the Des Moines Buggy Company ; and Charles T., who is employed as a carriage trimmer in Des Moines. 

Mr. Irish is a Republican in politics and entertains strong prohibition sentiments. Both he and his wife are earnest workers in the cause of temperance and Mrs. Irish is a charter member of the Womans Christian Temperance Union and was the first President of the county organization. She is interested in any form of temperance or social purity work, together with all other branches of Christian, philanthropic and reformatory measures. In his social relations Mr. Irish is an Odd Fellow. During the early days of his manhood he became identified with that organization as a member of Pendleton Lodge, of Indiana, and since coming West, he has held membership in Keosauqua Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F. His wife has been initiated into the Rebecca degree of that order and was honored with the position of N. G. Both are members of Methodist Episcopal Church and throughout the city and surrounding country where they have so long made their home, they are known as upright and honorable people, worthy of the high regard of all with whom they come in contact.

JOSEPH A. JOHNSON, one of the leading young business men of Bonaparte, Van Buren County, now holds the position of Cashier of the Farmers' & Traders' Bank. He was horn in the town which is yet his home, on the 27th of July, 1862, his parents being early settlers of the community. His education was acquired in the common schools of his native town, and on leaving the schoolroom he began his business career as an employe in the Post-office under J. P. Davis, with whom he remained until the year 1879. In that year he took charge of his father's business, and continued operations in that line until his father sold out, when he entered the employ of Thomas Christy, for whom he was to operate a store while his employer discharged the duties of Cashier of the Farmers' & Traders' Bank, of Bonaparte. In 1883 Mr. Johnson was made Assistant Cashier of the same bank, with which he has now been connected seven years. At the death of the Cashier, which occurred in 1887, he was promoted to that position, which he still holds. He has proved himself a worthy officer in the bank, being faithful and conscientious in the discharge of every duty, and ranks among the leading young business men of Van Buren County. In the month of October, 1887, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Welch, daughter of the Rev. James and Maggie (Buck) Welch. Her father is a Presbyterian minister and a most worthy man. Mrs. Johnson was born in the Buckeye State, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church. ln politics Mr. Johnson is a stanch supporter of Democratic principles and does all in his power to promote the interests of his party. The home of this young couple is noted for its hospitality, and both husband and wife rank high in the social world, where intelligence and ability are the passports to society. They are now surrounded by many warm friends, and the business as well as the social relations of Mr. Johnson might well be a subject of envy.

WILLIAM JOHNSON, deceased, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Van Buren County, Iowa. He was horn in Dauphin County. Pa., in 1789, and died at his home in this county in September, 1845, respected by all who knew him. Little is known concerning the early history of the family but it was undoubtedly established in America at an early day. In 1801, when our subject was a lad of twelve years, he accompanied his parents to Cincinnati, Ohio, which at that time consisted of a few log cabins on the bank of the Ohio River, not a frame house having then been built in the place. Soon afterward the family made a location in Warren County, about forty miles north of Cincinnati, where William grew to manhood. In that community he also formed the acquaintance of Miss Nancy Crain whom he afterward married. The year 1829 witnessed the removal of himself and family to Fountain County, Ind., but previous to this time, while still a resident of Ohio, he enlisted in the War of 1812 and was placed in charge of a provision train. He was near St. Mary's at the time of Hull's surrender but succeeded in making his escape and when hostilities were brought to a close was discharged from the service. 

After some seven years spent in Fountain County, Ind., during which time he devoted his attention to farming, he again resumed his westward journey and in 1836 made a settlement in Monmouth, Ill., hut in the spring of the following year, accompanied by his son William J., he crossed the Father of Waters and made a location in what is now Van Buren County on land which is now the property of Robert Watt. They erected a log cabin, 18x20 feet, hewing out puncheon for the floor and when preparations for a home were complete sent for the family which arrived in August of the same year. Then began life in earnest. Hardships and privations incident to pioneer life were to be borne, but these they overcame or endured uncomplainingly and in course of time the combined efforts of parents and children met with a reward which attends earnest and constant labor. 

In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were five sons and five daughters, all of whom lived to mature years. John C. married Sarah Petrie and settled in Kansas, where his death occurred in 1887; William J. will be mentioned more fully in this volume; Perry is a resident of California; Mary E, wife of Andrew George, died in California; Margaret J. married Hiram Willetts and since 1850 they have made their home in California; Indiana died at the age of eighteen years; Joseph A., who wedded Kate Van Cleve, died in Van Buren County; Hattie A., wife of Joseph A. Whiteley, died in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Thomas B. married Miss Perkins for his first wife, and Josephine Whitmore became his second wife. 

The parents of this family ranked among the best citizens of Van Buren County. Their lives, though quiet and unostentatious were marked by uprightness in all things and their many commendable qualities secured them a large circle of friends. Both have been called to their final rest but they will he remembered by many of the early settlers and in order to perpetuate their memory we record this sketch.

WILLIAM J. JOHNSON has been a resident of Van Buren County for fifty-three years, years in which the county has made much progress, in which it has advanced rapidly in the march of civilization and progress and in which, through the instrumentality of the early settlers, it has won a foremost place in the ranks of its sister counties in this great commonwealth. He was born in Warren County, Ohio, on the 1st of December, 1821, and when a lad of six summers accompanied his parents to Indiana, where he acquired such education as the pioneer schools of that day afforded. In the spring of 1837, he accompanied his father to Van Buren County, and assisted in making preparations for the reception of the family, which preparations consisted in the erection of a log cabin. He spent two years on the farm aiding in the development of the wild land and then went to Bonaparte where he assisted in the construction of the first dam across the river. A mill was then built and entering the same he was there employed for nearly seventeen consecutive years, when having acquired sufficient capital to engage in business for himself, he embarked in mercantile pursuits. In 1856, the company of Johnson & Christy was formed and for a quarter of a century the partnership continued, the firm doing a good business and gaining a wide reputation for fair dealing, courteous treatment and the excellent quality of the goods carried. 

In 1846, in Van Buren County, Mr. Johnson led to the marriage altar Miss Mary J. Christy and unto them was born a family of nine children. James, the eldest, died at the age of eighteen years; Clarissa J. is the wife of George F. Smith, editor of the Keosauqua Democrat; Nancy B. is the wife of George T. Ward; Maggie M. wedded William Meek; Ellen M. is single; Thomas H. is engaged in the practice of law; Joseph A., is employed as cashier in the Farmers' and Traders' Bank of Bonaparte; George B. is chief train dispatcher for the Ft. Worth & Denver Railroad Company, with headquarters at Ft. Worth; and the ninth child died in infancy. 

In political sentiment, Mr. Johnson is a stanch supporter of Democratic principles; he was elected Clerk of the courts of Van Buren County and has held other local offices of trust. In many ways he is inseparably connected with the early history of this county, having been identified with not a few of its early projects and enterprises. Ever willing to assist in the advancement of anything calculated to benefit the community, his aid was frequently solicited and response cheerfully made.

BENJAMIN JOHNSTON, an attorney at law of Keosauqua, is a native born Hawkeye, his birth having occurred in Van Buren County, on the 9th of March, 1845. The family is of Scotch origin and was founded in America by Benjamin Johnston, Sr., the grandfather of our subject, who with his family crossed the Atlantic and settled in Petersburg, Va. He died soon afterward and thus left to his widow the care and support of four children, two sons and two daughters, namely: James, Jane, John and Margaret. Mrs. Johnston with commendable enterprise, labored for her family and kept them all together. Not wishing to rear them under the influence of slavery she removed to Luzerne County, Pa., where the remainder of her life was spent. She was a woman of more than ordinary ability and won the respect and love of all who knew her. 

James Johnston, a member of her family; and the father of our subject, was horn in Scotland, March 17, 1816, and in his youth accompanied his parents to America. He acquired such education as was afforded by a night school of the neighborhood, having to walk three miles to and from the schoolhouse, but he became a well-informed man, gaining through observation and experience a practical knowledge which could have been acquired in no other way. He possessed much genius as a mechanic and could accomplish almost any task in that line. On October 6, 1842, in Pennsylvania, he married Miss Sarah Brown, daughter of Hugh Brown and a sister of Judge Alex and John G. Brown, cashier of the Mannings Bank. In 1842 they came to Iowa locating in Keosauqua, where in company with his father-in-law Mr. Johnston erected the first steam mill in the county. His knowledge of the business was so efficient that while in St. Louis purchasing the machinery for their mill he was offered the superintendency of a large machine shop in that city, the wages being $1200 per annum, a large amount at that day. He had asked permission to do a piece of work for himself in their shop and his ready understanding of the same and evident knowledge of the business led to the offer before mentioned. He did not accept, however, but re-turned to Keosauqua where he began operations for himself. His death occurred soon afterwards however, the final summons coming in October, 1845. In opposition to the other members of the family, who were all Whigs, he supported the Democratic party. 

Benjamin Johnston was the only child of James and Sarah Johnston. He acquired his education in the common schools and under the direction of Rev. Dr. Lane, but on the breaking out of the late war he laid aside his text books and responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting in Company E, Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, on the 14th of October, 1861. The regiment was mustered in at Keokuk, Iowa, where it remained until March 18, 1862, when it was sent to Benton Barracks and equipped. The first engagement in which the forces participated was the battle of Pittsburg Landing. This was followed by the seige of Corinth and other engagements and at the battle of Iuka they were in the skirmish line but did not engage in the fight proper. They afterwards returned to Corinth, taking part in the hard fought battle which occurred at that place and later proceeded on the Grant campaign until the supplies were cut off when they returned to Memphis, Tenn. They participated in the seige of Vicksburg and spent the remainder of the summer in the city. The following December he and many of his comrades veteranized and later he was commissioned First Lieutenant in the Sixty-seventh United States Colored Infantry. Through-out his entire service Mr. Johnston proved a faithful and stalwart soldier who was not afraid to perform his duty, but, quietly and promptly discharged every task devolving upon him. On the 14th of August, 1865, at his own request he was discharged. 

On his return from the South Mr. Johnston secured a position as salesman in a drug house, after which he went upon the road as a commercial traveler. The summer of 1874, he spent in Kansas but the grasshopper proved such a plague that the same fall he returned and once more obtained a position as salesman. In 1875, he again traveled on the road, after which he embarked in the drug business for himself, continuing operations in that line for eighteen months. He began preparations for his present business in 1877, reading law under the direction of Judge Robert Sloan and the following April was admitted to the bar, since which time he has been in active practice. 

Mr. Johnston was married in Keosauqua in 1867, the lady being Miss Annie R., daughter of A. J. Purviance. Six children have been born unto them — Maggie, who is a graduate of the high school of Keosauqua and of the School of Phonography, of Des Moines; James, a telegraph operator; Mary, Ella, Sarah and Donald, who are still with their parents. 

Socially, Mr. Johnston is a Mason, an Odd Fellow and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He takes great interest in civic societies and has held important offices in the various lodges to which he belongs. In 1886, he was elected County Attorney of Van Buren County, serving two years. In his political affiliations he is a stanch Republican frequently serving as delegate to county and State conventions and has been a member of the State Central Committee. He does all in his power to advance the interests of the party and secure its success, yet has never sought political preferment for himself. By those who know him Mr. Johnston is held in high esteem, which he well merits for he has lived a worthy, upright life, is a good citizen, an able lawyer, and more than all, a trusted friend in whom one can place implicit confidence.

WILEY A. JONES, M. D., Justice of the Peace and medical practitioner, of Cantril, has for some fourteen years been engaged in the practice of his profession at this place. His residence in Iowa, however, covers a period of forty-five years and he is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Jefferson County. 

The Jones family of which our subject is a descendant is of Welsh origin and was founded by his great-grandfather, who, in 1750, left Wales, his native land, and crossed the Atlantic to this country. Horatio Jones, the grandfather of the Doctor, served as a drummer in the War of 1812. He settled in North Carolina, where he married, but in 1813 he left that State, removing to Virginia where he made his home until 1830. Accompanied by his family he then took up his residence in Indiana, where he died in 1860, at the age of seventy-six years. He followed farming throughout his entire life, meeting with good success in his undertaking. His son, William C., father of our subject, was born in Surrey County, N. C., July 9, 1809, but was reared to manhood in Virginia, and at the age of twenty-one years accompanied the family to Indiana. In 1830 he was united in marriage with Miss Permelia A. Vaughn, who was born in Prince Edwards County, Va., October 3, 1811, and was a daughter of William Vaughn. She was also descended from good old Revolutionary stock. Six children were born of their union — Isaac D., William H., Cornelius A., Martin V. B., Wiley A. and Elizabeth. After locating in Indiana, Mr. Jones followed farming for a livelihood and gave considerable attention to political affairs. He served as Sheriff and Treasurer of Johnson County for six years, from 1838 until 1844; was census-taker in 1840, and after removal to Jefferson County, served in 1849 as School Fund Commissioner and in 1860 was census-taker for the eastern half of the county. He is still living in Fairfield, where he is numbered among the leading and valued citizens. He still takes an active interest in anything pertaining to the county's welfare and is a contributor to the county papers. In 1889 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, a most estmable lady who died on the 18th of October. 

Wiley A. Jones was born in Franklin, Johnson County, Ind., March 10, l840, and was the fifth in order of birth in the family, but only five years of his life were spent in his native county. In 1845 the family came to Iowa, and upon a farm southeast of Fairfield he was reared to manhood. In his youth he received such educational advantages as the common schools afforded, but not content with such privileges he determined to pursue a more extended course of study, and to this end, when seventeen years of age he began teaching in the district schools. By this method he was enabled to attend the Fairfield University, where he continued his studies for a year. He then again taught school until 1860, when he began fitting himself for the medical profession under the direction of Dr. N. Steele, with whom he pursued his studies until 1864. He then began practicing in Primrose, Iowa, where he remained until the fall of 1865, when, in order to further fit himself for his chosen work, he attended the Medical University, of Ann Arbor, Mich. He pursued a full course of study in that institution and was graduated in 1867, after which he located in Glasgow, Jefferson County. In a few months, however, he removed to Winchester, Van Buren County, where he continued practice for four years with fair success. His next place of residence was Fairfield, where for six years he carried on the drug business. Selling out in 1876, he came to Cantril and with the interests of this city has since been identified. 

The Doctor was married, on the 9th of April, 1867, to Miss Altha Miller, daughter of Thomas and Eliza (Moore) Miller and a native of Jefferson County, born May 3, 1847. Unto them were born eight children, but only four are now living: Myrta, wife of W. W. Blanchard, of Milton; Isaac T., Carrie and Neal P. The Doctor, Mrs. Jones and the two eldest children are members of the Christian Church, and he is a charter member of Apollo Lodge, No. 461, A. F. & A. M., and Charter Master. In political sentiment he is a Democrat and has held several local offices, including that of Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, of both of which he is the present incumbent. The cause of education has ever found in Dr. Jones a warm friend and during the twelve years in which he served as School Director he did effective service for that cause. The efficiency of the Cantril schools is due in no little measure to his untiring efforts in their behalf, and other worthy public interests have received from him a like hearty support and co-operation. Among his other official duties he held the office of Postmaster under President Cleveland's administration and administered the affairs of the office to the satisfaction of all concerned. Until within a few years past the Doctor had one of the largest practices of any man in the profession in the county, but physical disabilities have caused him to lay aside the more arduous duties connected with the work. In August, 1885, he was stricken with rheumatism and for six months was utterly helpless. In February, 1888, he slipped on the sidewalk and fractured his left arm, and on the 19th of May of the same year he was thrown from his buggy, his horse running away, and the arm was rebroken, together with both collar bones. The Doctor has the respect of the entire community and the esteem and good will of many friends.

WILLIAM C. JONES, one of the honored pioneers of Jefferson County, came to Iowa during its Territorial days, having since 1845 been identified with the history of Jef ferson and Van Buren Counties. From his earliest residence in this community he was recognized as one of the leading spirits. A friend to all worthy enterprises he gave liberally in support of public interests calculated to benefit the community, and was especially earnest in his efforts to advance the cause of education. 

Mr. Jones was born in Surrey, N. C., July 9, 1809, and is a son of Horatio Jones. The American branch of the family was founded in Maryland, and was of Welsh origin. When a lad of six years, Mr. Jones accompanied his parents. who removed to Southwestern Virginia, where he grew to manhood, and on the 20th of February, 1831, was united in marriage with Permelia A. Vaughan, who was descended from an early Virginian family of English origin, her parents being William K. and Elizabeth Vaughan. In December of the same year, accompanied by his young bride, Mr. Jones emigrated to Johnson County, Ind., where he devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits. He also became one of the prominent citizens of that community, and served in many official capacities, holding the offices of County Assessor, County Commissioner, Collector, Sheriff, and United States Census Taker of that county in 1840. Once more he determined to cast his lot with the pioneer settlement, and carrying out his resolution, arrived in Jefferson County on the 31st of March, 1845. Locating in Cedar Township, he entered government land, and subsequently entered and sold various tracts in that community. He made his home in Cedar Township until 1854, when he removed to a farm near Fairfield, and in 1864 took up his residence in Round Prairie Township. Three years later he abandoned farm life, and removing to the village of Winchester, in Van Buren County, he embarked in the mercantile business, which he continued until 1876. Changing his place of residence from Winchester to Fairfield in that year, he then retired from active business life, and has spent the succeeding years in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil. 

Mr. Jones lost his wife by death in 1889. she passing away on the 18th of October of that year. Their family numbered six children, five sons and a daughter, all born in Johnson County, Ind. Isaac D. married Miss Rachel E. Young, who was also a native of Johnson County; he is now en-gaged in the practice of law. William H. married Miss Rachel E. Jones. a distant relative, and for a time engaged in farming, after which he engaged in the drug business until his death, in September, 1882; Cornelius A. married Emeline E. Young, and is now a resident of Fairfield, where he has carried on the drug business since 1867; Martin Van Buren, who wedded Miranda V. Johnson, served in the Twenty-sixth Missouri Infantry until severely wounded at the battle of Champion Hills, Miss., after which he returned home and died in April, 1881; Dr. Wiley A., a practicing physician of Cantril, Van Buren County, wedded Althea Miller. Elizabeth R. died in 1864, unmarried; she was the youngest of the family. 

In 1850 Mr. Jones was elected School Fund Commissioner, which office he held for two terms, and was United States Census Taker of the east half of the county in 1860. As before stated, he has labored for the interests of the county iii which he has long made his home, and by concentrated effort, supplemented by good judgment, has borne no inconsiderable part in the great progress which has taken place during the past forty-five years. In his business affairs he was also successful, and by his upright dealing and courteous treatment to all, won a liberal patronage and secured the confidence of all with whom he came in contact. In political sentiment he is a conservative Democrat. He has made the political history of his country a study, and is also well versed in current events. He possesses a retentive memory, and has stored up a fund of useful knowledge, which at once makes him an instructive and entertaining conversationalist. In his religious associations he is a member of the Christian Church. to which his wife also belonged. Mr. Jones has now reached the advanced age of eighty-one years. His life has been well and worthily spent, and he is highly respected and widely known, especially among the older settlers of the county.

JAMES H. JORDON, the pioneer Indian trader, who for many years did business within the present limits of Van Buren County, was born in Mercer County, Ky., September 29, 1806. His paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky with his family, where Peter, the father of our subject, was born. Both the father and grandfather served in the War of 1812, and the former rose to the rank of General. In the Keystone State Gen. Jordon married Sallie Baker, a native of that State, and unto them were born six children, but only two are now living--Mrs. Nancy Wheat, of Kentucky; and James H. 

Our subject received good educational advantages for that early day. In addition to attending the district schools, he pursued his studies in Frankfort and Lexington. When only sixteen years of age he pushed his way westward. In September, 1882, he left home, making the journey on horseback, crossed the Ohio at Louisville, and passing through Vincennes, Ind., continued on his way to St. Louis which was then but a village. Having spent most of the winter in Palmyra, Mo., which was then the outpost of civilization, he came into the Indian country, and from that time until 1835, when he made a permanent settlement near Iowaville, he followed trading with the red men, having trading-posts in Farmington, Bonaparte, Kilbourn and Doud's Station, in Van Buren County, besides many others elsewhere. A trading-post consisted of a log house, which the Indians built for him or he rented, at a place agreed upon to meet and trade. At these places the nation would come en masse to receive their supplies. A large circle would be formed around the goods and three of the wise men were sent in to see they bad full measure. For every yard of cloth measured off one of the solons would drop a hazel stick, and for a half yard would break one in two. When the count was decided correct a family came within the circle and was fitted out from top to bottom, ribbons and all. This was charged to the nation to come out of their annuity. Private debts were contracted to be paid for in furs, but if any failed to meet his obligations they were paid by the nations. 

Mr. Jordon traded with the Sauk, Fox, Winnebago, Pottawatomie and some with the Sioux Nation. Black Hawk was a Sauk chief. When the Black Hawk War broke out Mr. Jordon was ordered out of the Territory to report at Palmyra, Mo., where he enlisted in a regiment whose duty it was to guard baggage wagons and haul settlers, who had located out some twenty or thirty miles, back to the town for safety. After the war he again resumed the trade, which he continued until 1840, doing a yearly business of about $50,000. Mr. Jordon was acquainted with a number of the great chiefs and a warm friendship sprang up between him and Black Hawk, who, about 1837, made his home within four rods of Mr. Jordon's house. They ran foot races, hunted and associated together and nothing ever marred their friendly relations. At his dying hour Black Hawk gave Mr. Jordon a sword and a bowie knife as tokens of esteem. The sword is now the property of Arthur Hinkle, a grandson of Mr. Jordon's. The Indians and the traders, for that matter, never washed their clothes. On one occasion our subject was going to Burlington, and in honor of the event he thought to wear some newly-washed clothing. An Indian squaw washed two suits of underwear for him and in the operation used up a box of soap. When asked how much she charged, she replied "sowerkot," hard to wash. She wanted $50 in money, a blanket each for herself and husband, a fine shirt, ten or twelve dollars worth of calico, a shawl, blankets and clothes for her children. 

Becoming fully convinced that a good wife is worth her weight in gold, Mr. Jordon, November 27, 1838, near Bonaparte, Iowa, married Miss Frances M. Williams, a native of Woodford County, Ky., born June 22, 1817. When young she emigrated with her parents to Columbia, Mo., and while in Bonaparte on a visit she became the wife of Mr. Jordon. They had three children, but all are now deceased--Henry C.; Sarah F., wife of Capt. A. Hinkle, and Victor P. The mother died October 14, 1887. 

Politically, Mr. Jordon was a Whig in early life, but since has been an ultra Democrat. Though eighty-four years of age, he is quite active and his hair is lightly touched with gray. He is the only living specimen of those hardy rugged characters that first set foot on Iowa soil.

MARTIN KAYS, an insurance agent, of Milton, Van Buren County, was born in Sussex County, N. J., March 30, 1817, and is descended from good old Revolutionary stock. His grandfather, John Kays, who was born on the bank of the Delaware River, near Philadelphia, served in the War for Independence, and it is said that he carried the dispatch telling of the surrender of Burgoyne to Gen. Washington. His seventh son, Samuel Kays, the father of our subject, was born in New Jersey in 1792, and died in that State about 1849. He married Elizabeth Tuttle, who was about five years his junior, and who was descended from an old New England family. Her death occurred in 1887. 

The subject of this sketch received such educational advantages as the subscription schools of that day afforded, and was reared to the occupations of farming and milling. On the 7th of October, 1849, in Warren County, N. J., he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Jane Lanning, who was born May 21, 1822, and was a daughter of Isaac and Mary Lanning, who were of German descent. Their union was blessed with four children, two sons and two daughters: Samuel Irving, born in New Jersey, September 21, 1850, died in Van Buren County, March 19, 1881 ; Harriet, born April 11, 1852, is the wife of Thomas H. Dye, who resides near Cantril, Iowa; George, born March 23, 1856, married Mattie Snodgrass, and is now a member of the firm of Bell, Hill & Kays; Mary Elizabeth, born in New Jersey, August 22, 1857, is keeping house for her father. The mother of the family died in Milton, August 10, 1887. 

Mr. Kays came to Keosauqua in the spring of 1857, and thinking it would prove a favorable location brought his family to Van Buren County in the spring of the following year. He purchased a steam flouring-mill, which he operated for some five years. About 1866 he removed to Milton, where he carried on business for twelve years with a partner, since which time he has been in the insurance business. He is a man of upright moral character, respected and honored by his fellow-citizens, but is not a member of any religious organization. In early life he supported the Whig party, but now casts his ballot with the Republican party.

J. A. KECK, who devotes his time and attention to farming and stock-raising, his home being on section 32, Cedar Township, dates his residence in Van Buren County from 1846, in which year he emigrated Westward from Westmoreland County, Pa., the place of his nativity. The year of his birth was 1827, and he was the second child born unto Henry and Mary (Hardin) Keck, both of whom were natives of the Keystone State. The Keck family is of German origin, and was founded in America at an early day. The parents of our subject spent the days of their childhood in Pennsylvania, were there married, and made their home in Westmoreland County until the spring of 1846, when desiring to try his fortune in the West, Mr. Keck, accompanied by his wife and children, made the journey to Van Buren County, Iowa. They settled in Utica, but spent their last days in Bentonsport. The father died in 1862, the mother in 1874. They were worthy and respected citizens, and ranked among the prominent early settlers of the community. 

Until eighteen years of age, J. A. Keck continued to reside in his native State, his time being devoted to farm labor during the summer months, while in the winter season he attended the public schools. It proved an important decision for him when the family determined to seek a home in the West, for in Van Buren County he has been blessed with prosperity, and won for himself a foremost place among its citizens. He remained under the parental roof until the spring of 1852, when bidding good-by to home and friends, he crossed the plains to California, making the journey with an ox-team, and reaching his destination after four months of travel. For some time he engaged in mining on the American River, and in his operations met with a good degree of success. After several months he returned to his home by the way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City, but during the voyage cholera broke out among the passengers, and the vessel was quarantined at Key West, Fla. The greater part of the crew died of the disease, and the vessel was detained some time before a sufficient number could be obtained to replace them. To the homesick Californian this deIay was very tedious and wearisome, but finally the vessel again started on its way to New York City, whence Mr. Keck proceeded by rail to Rockford, Ill. Only a short time then elapsed before he was again at home, receiving the welcome greetings of family and friends. 

A marriage ceremony performed in Van Buren County, in the spring of 1853 united the destinies of J. A. Keck and Miss Ingaba Ebbert, daughter of James and Eliza (De Vecmon) Ebbert. The lady is a native of Fayette County, Pa., and in the Keystone State, her father was also born, but her mother was a native of Maryland. Twelve children graced this union, and with one exception all are yet living, namely: Mary, wife of Charles Dougherty, a resident farmer of Cedar Township, Van Buren County; Hugh G., who is married and is engaged in the transfer business in Dodge City, Kan.; Catherine B., wife of Robert Ely, of Harrisburg Township; Rose E., wife of Taylor Easter, of Sumner County, Kan.; George C., who is married and devotes his attention to the insurance business in York, Neb.; Lida, wife of Delbert Jack, of Bentonsport; John H., is married, and is a conductor on the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, running in Nebraska; James E., who is married, and is school teaching in Harrisburg Township; Allie J., Charles R., and Robert R., are at home. William died in 1873, at the age of two years. 

The first purchase of land which Mr. Keck made comprised two hundred acres, and became his property in 1851. After his marriage, he took up his residence thereon, and began the work of developing the same. So successful has he been in his operations, that he was enabled to extend its boundaries until it now contains three hundred and forty acres, three hundred and twenty of which is under a high state of cultivation. The land is divided into fields of convenient size, these are well tilled, a substantial and commodious residence has been erected, barns and other outbuildings have been built, and everything necessary to a well regulated farm may there be found. He is also raising fine grades of all kinds of farm stock, and has several head of thorough-bred cattle. His farming interests are extensive, and no branch of the business is neglected, yet, a man of great energy and enterprise, Mr. Keck has found time to devote to other interests. Since 1868, he has been connected with the Bentonsport Flouring Mills, and for a number of years operated a creamery at the same place. He was at one time one of the most extensive stock shippers in this section of the State, but increasing years have caused him to lay aside some of his business cares. Sagacious and far-sighted, he possesses excellent business ability and to his own efforts may be attributed his success in life. In political sentiment Mr. Keck is a stalwart Republican, having supported that party since its organization. He now holds the office of Justice of the Peace of Cedar Township, a position which he has filled at intervals in former years, and as Township Trustee he has also done effective service for the community, He was President of the County Agricultural Fair for two years, and has frequently been a member of the Board of Directors. During the late war, although he could not enter the field, he served as captain of a company of homeguards, and in many other ways displayed his patriotism and loyalty to the Government. Socially, he is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to Bentonsport Lodge, No. 47, A. F. & A. M., La Fayette Chapter, of Bonaparte, and Elchanan Commandery, of Keosauqua. Himself and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Utica, and their friends and acquaintances in Van Buren County form an extensive circle. Many years they have here resided, and in the social world they are held in high regard, while the Keck household is the abode of hospitality.

CHRISTOPHER KERR, deceased, an honored pioneer and farmer of Van Buren County, whose family is still living on section 16, Union Township, was born in County Armagh, Ireland, on the 3d of March, 1817. He learned the trade of a weaver in his native land and acquired his education in its public schools. When a young man of twenty-three years, with a hope of bettering his financial condition in the New World, he bade good-by to home, friends and the Emerald Isle, and alone started for America. On the voyage he had an attack of smallpox, but had about recovered his health on reaching this country. He made his first location in Pennsylvania, where he remained until he got money enough to travel, when he went to Canada. A short time afterward, however, we find him in Ohio, where the succeeding three years of his life were passed. It was in 1844 that he came to the Territory of Iowa with the intention of making his future home on its broad prairies and settled in Van Buren County. That was an important day for both the county and himself, as he prospered here, while the community gained a valued citizen. After entering forty acres of land, he embarked in merchandising in Winchester, which he continued for some six years, or until 1850, when, attracted by the gold discoveries in California, he crossed the plains with an ox-team. At the end of a year he returned with $1,600 in his pocket, which furnished a fair start. Removing to his farm, he purchased an additional eighty acres, and then began the development of his land, which in course of time yielded abundant harvests as the reward for the labors expended thereon. 

On the 23d of December, 1852, Mr. Kerr was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Moxley, who died in December, 1859, leaving four children. but only one of the number is now living — Melissa, wife of Charlie Sherrod, of Farmington. On the 7th of March, 1861, Mr. Kerr was a second time married, the lady of his choice being Miss Mary Addy, who still survives him. She was born in County Cavan, Ireland, January 12, 1835, and is a daughter of James and Margaret (Foster) Addy. Eight children were born unto them, six of whom are living — James V., born January 4, 1862, is at home; Maggie L., born December 28, 1863, is deceased; Jessie G., born October 20, 1865, is the wife of William Prather, of Dakota; Leila Reins Ramsdel, born June 1, 1867, is deceased; George W., born August 20, 1869; Hulda Emma, July 9, 1872; Aaron Stanley, March 12, 1875; and Amelia E., May 27, 1877, are at home. The children were provided with good educational advantages, and Leila and George were students at the Normal School, at Shenandoah. 

Mr. Kerr died at his home, in Union Township, July 19, 1886, respected by all who knew him. At the time of his death he owned four hundred and sixty acres of land in Van Buren County and three hundred and twenty acres in Missouri, which left his family in comfortable circumstances. With, a capital of $50 he began life in this county, but good management, industry and pluck overcame the disadvantages which lay in his path, and he at length became a well-to-do citizen. In proportion as he was prosperous, his generosity increased. He was charitable and benevolent, ever ready to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate than himself, and in him the poor and needy found a true friend. He also gave liberally for the support of those enterprises calculated to benefit the community or upbuild town and county. In his early life he was a supporter of Democratic principles, but when the question of slavery became an issue he joined the new Republican party formed to prevent its further extension, and became an influential member of local political circles. 

Mrs. Kerr still survives her husband and is living on the old home farm in Union Township, where she has erected one of the finest residences in the county. Her management of the business interests reflects credit upon herself. She is a faithful member of the Methodist Church, of Winchester, and the family is well and favorably known throughout the neighborhood.

WILLIAM B. KERR is engaged in carpentering in Bonaparte, Iowa, and is doing a good business in that line, which results from his efficiency and the prompt and faithful manner in which he keeps all contracts. 

Mr. Kerr is a native of Pennsylvania. He was burn in Armstrong County, on the 20th of December, 1813, was a son of Robert Kerr, a native of New York, and a grandson of William Kerr, who was born in Ireland, but in the eighteenth century left his native land, crossing the Atlantic to America. Our subject is therefore of Irish extraction. He acquired his education in the subscription schools of his native county common at that day, and as the age of seventeen years was apprenticed for a term of three and a half years to the trade of a carpenter and joiner, receiving $3 per month and board. However, at the expiration of three years he had mastered the business and was released from the contract, after which he was employed by one of the firm at $2.50 per day. After following his chosen occupation for a number of years in the East, he determined to try his fortune beyond the Mississippi, and chose the Territory of Iowa as the scene of his future labors. He built a keel boat, loaded it with all his worldly possessions, attached the same to a raft, and in 1843 floated down the Ohio River from Pittsburg, Pa., to Louisville, Ky., where he found that further progress was impossible on account of the river being blocked with ice. Deterred from his purpose of making the journey by water, he then sold his keel boat and hoarded a steamer, on which he sailed to Nauvoo, Ill., where he spent the remainder of the winter. The following spring he carried out his original idea of coming to Iowa, and made a location in Bonaparte, where he has since continued to reside. A carpenter by trade and an expert workman, his services were in constant demand, for emigrants at that time were pouring rapidly into the county, and he was called upon to erect many homes for the early settlers. 

Mr. Kerr has been twice married. Ere leaving the State of his nativity he was joined in wedlock with Miss Susie Johnson, by whom he had five children, three yet living, namely: Hiram, William and John. He was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife not many years after they had become residents of Van Buren County, her death occurring in 1851. His second union was with Miss Cynthia Robb, and that marriage was also blessed with three children yet living — Robert, Harry and Fred. 

In politics, Mr. Kerr is a stanch supporter of the Democracy, and feels a deep interest in the success of that party. He cast his first Presidential vote for Andrew Jackson, of whom he was a great admirer. He keeps himself well informed on all topics of general interest, whether political or otherwise, and is a representative citizen who is ever willing to aid in the advancement of enterprises calculated to upbuild the community in which he lives. Many of his characteristics are such as to win him high regard, and by the people among whom he has spent some forty-six years he is greatly respected. Mrs. Kerr, who was a most estimable lady and whose friends were almost innumerable, died in 1885.

BENJAMIN KETCHAM, who resides on section 1, Bonaparte Township, is one of the extensive landowners and prominent farmers of Van Buren County, and is also connected with the banking interests of Bonaparte as a Director of the Farmers' & Traders' Bank. As he is widely known, his sketch will be of interest to many of our readers. Allegheny County, Pa., was the place of his birth, and on the 19th of December, 1829, he first opened his eyes to the light of day. His parents were Joel and Elizabeth Ketcham, both natives of Allegheny County, Pa. Their marriage was celebrated in Allegheny County, Pa., and unto them were born nine children, of whom our subject is the eldest: Elizabeth became the wife of William Peterson, and after his death, which occurred in Pennsylvania, she came to Fairfield, Iowa, where her last days were spent; John, who married Belle Dunnington, is living in Macon County, Mo.; William who wedded Nancy Hammond, is engaged in fruit growing in Orange County, Fla.; Margaret makes her home in Fairfield : Belle died some years ago; Mattie and Frank died in Pennsylvania, and Sadie married Dr. Dunnnington and died in Pennsylvania. The father of this family was a man of intelligence, whose mental capacities were above the ordinary, and in the community where he made his home was a prominent and influential citizen. Throughout his entire life he supported the Democratic party and both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church and faithful workers in the cause. His death occurred in Allegheny County, Pa., in 1867, but his wife long survived him, dying at the home of her son in Florida in 1882. 

Benjamin Ketcham in his youth was liberally educated, his primary course of study being supplemented by scholastic training in the academy of Monongahela City. The days of his boyhood and youth were passed under the parental roof, and not until the age of twenty-four did he leave home to begin life's battle for himself. It was 1855, when, attracted by the West with its brilliant prospects and splendid advantages afforded young men, he turned his face to the setting sun. He traveled as far as Iowa but felt on reaching the Hawkeye State that he need continue his journey no further, for here he believed one could make a comfortable home and secure a livelihood if he would but work. In 1856, Mr. Ketcham purchased the farm upon which he now resides, a two hundred and forty-acre tract of land in Bonaparte Township, whose well-tilled fields and many improvements plainly indicate the thrift and enterprise of the owner. As the years have passed, he has made other purchases until his landed possessions now aggregate one thousand acres, eighty-seven of which are in Jefferson County while seven acres of that amount lie within the corporation limits of the city of Fairfield. Mr. Ketcham may truly be called a self-made man, for it is almost entirely by his own efforts that he has acquired the property which now ranks him among the wealthy citizens and successful business men of the county. On his farm may be found a good residence, barns and outbuildings, the latest improved machinery and good grades of stock. During the war he enlisted in the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry, and was in camp at Keokuk two weeks, but on final examination was rejected on account of a lame ankle. 

October 27, 1863, Mr. Ketcham was united in marriage with Miss Mary Lightfoot, a native of Manchester, England, born October 25, 1843, and a daughter of John Lightfoot, who came to St. Louis in 1845 and to Iowa in 1847. Six children grace their union and they also lost one, Alice, who died at the age of eight years, and her remains lie buried in the cemetery at Sharon Church. Minnie is the wife of Murray Taylor, of Big Mound, Iowa; Joel is at home; Lizzie is the wife of William B. Seeley, of Lee County; George, Frank and Clay are still with their parents. The children have all been provided with good educational advantages, most of them having attended school in Parsons College. The eldest son was for three years a student in Parsons College; of Fairfield. 

Mr. Ketcham supports the Democratic party, and like all good citizens feels an interest in public affairs but has never sought the honors or emoluments of public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business. He, however, served as Trustee and Justice of the Peace at the solicitation of his friends. In connection with his other business interests he is a stockholder and Director in the Farmers & Traders' Bank of Bonaparte. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, at Sharon, where the family worships. Thirty-five years have passed since Mr. Ketcham came to the county, years of prosperity and happiness to him, who by energy and labor won wealth and by an upright life secured many warm friends.

HON. LEONARD KING, of Farmington, is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County. His residence in this section dates from 1838, consequently covers a period of fifty-two consecutive years. Few of the settlers of that early day yet remain to tell the story of Iowa life during the days when the State formed a part of the extreme Western frontier. 

Mr. King was born in Cayuga County, N. Y., on the 22d of April, 1807. and was one of a family of twelve children, whose parents were Paul and Eunice (Morgan) King. His father was born on Long Island in 1762, and his mother, a native of Connecticut, was born in 1775, Becoming residents of New York in youth, they were married in the Empire State, and for many years resided in Orleans County. A family of twelve children was born unto them, all of whom grew to mature years, were married and reared families of their own, but our subject is now the only survivor, and upon him devolves the duty of perpetuating their memory by written record: Henry, the eldest, died in California; Elizabeth became the wife of Reuben Ellis, and they made their home in Wisconsin; Sylvester died at about the age of seventy-five years; Enoch emigrated to Mississippi, and subsequently removed to Texas, where he died of yellow fever; William S. from the age of eighteen months made his home with an uncle who was a printer, and with him learned that trade. When fourteen years old, he went to Charleston, S. C.. arriving in that city with only fourteen cents in his pocket, but he soon entered the Courier office, where he remained, rising steadily step by step until at his death he had become owner of the paper, and a man of wealth and influence in the community; Sarah became the wife of Abraham Fisk; and Susan her twin sister, married Riley Fisk. and both families settled in Jefferson County. N. Y.; Elijah died near Quincy, Ill.; Lucy became the wife of Henry Bartholemew, and their home was in Orleans County, N. Y.; Leonard, of this sketch, is the next younger; Ede married Ephraim Beardsley, and settled near Quincy, Ill.; Russell P. became a resident of Adams County, Iowa, but afterward removed to Lee County. The parents of this family lived to an advanced age, and died within three days of each other, from exposure while making a trip to the home of their son in Jefferson County. They were consistent and faithful members of the Christian Church, whose upright lives and many deeds of charity and kindness won them the love and esteem of all. Their children were reared to habits of industry, and in early life deep lessons of truth were impressed upon their minds. They became good citizens and members of society, doing honor to the training of their Christian parents. 

The member of the family in whom the people Van Buren County are especially interested — Leonard King — was educated in the common schools of his native State and at Fredonia Academy. He prepared himself for teaching, but did not follow that occupation, circumstances arising which caused him to devote his attention to other pursuits. He was married in Fredonia, Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1833, to Miss Angeline Beardsley, a native of Massachusetts. Their union was blessed with two children, but death visited the home, and both were taken away. The daughter, Olive, became the wife of Thomas Stark, and died in this county; Miles, an only son, was a young man of more than ordinary ability, quick to learn, and of excellent habits, but in 1861, feeling that his country needed his services, he enlisted for the late war, and laid down his life on the attar of freedom. He was assigned to Company B, of the Third Iowa Cavalry, and mustered in at Keokuk. He remained with his regiment up to the last, was always found at his post of duty, and never shirked a task imposed on him. In an engagement on the 16th of April, 1865, he was wounded, and three days later in Columbus, Ga., he closed his eyes in the last sleep, and was laid to rest on Southern soil. Mr. King was tendered a pension, but would not accept it on account of an oath to which he had to swear. He would not perjure himself for a few paltry dollars, but with the integrity which has characterized his entire life he relinquished all claim to the money, rather than sacrifice his honor. 

It was in 1838, that Mr. King first came to Iowa. Van Buren County was then wild and unsettled, and its brightness could never have been dreamed of, much less realized. The work of improvement seemed scarcely begun, only a few log cabins having been built here and there over the county, but he has lived to see commodious and elegant residences replace the pioneer homes, while a schoolhouse has been built on almost every hilltop, with a church by its side, the outcome of the enterprise of a well-educated and contented people, the citizens of a once unsettled community. Countless manufactories have sprung up on every hand, railroads cross and recross the country, penetrating every nook and corner of this vast State, and telegraph and telephone have been introduced, permitting man to address a message, or to converse with one hundreds of miles away. Taking into consideration these things, we can but exclaim, "surely the age of wonders is upon us." The progress made in Van Buren County, is due almost entirely to its pioneers, and not the least of those who left comfortable homes in the East, and endured the trials and hardships of Western life, is Leonard King. Van Buren County owes to him a debt of gratitude for the work he has performed in her behalf. 

As the years have passed bringing changes to the county, Mr. King has also prospered and his efforts have been crowned with success. Only a few clouds have come to darken his pathway, and these were occasioned by the loss of his children, and his estimable wife, who died on the 27th of October, 1866. She was a member of the Methodist Church, and her death was mourned by a large concourse of people. 

In 1839, Mr. King removed to Lee County, and the following year was commissioned by Gov. Lucas as Justice of the Peace, which commission is still in his possession. After ten years however, he returned to Van Buren County, where he has since made his home. He was honored with the office of Mayor of Farmington, and for a number of years was a member of the City Council. Faithful and prompt in the discharge of every duty, he proved a capable official. His life is characterized by the strictest integrity, in his dealings he is honest and upright, and his word is as good as his bond.

DANIEL K. KITTLE, the efficient Recorder of Van Buren County, and a representative citizen of Keosauqua, was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, on the 2d of August, 1826. The Kittle family originated in Holland and the American progenitor was Daniel Kittle, the grandfather of our subject, who at an early day braved the hardships and difficulties of an ocean passage to make a home in the New World. He settled in the Taggart Valley of Virginia, and married Miss Catherine Crum, a native of Holland. They became parents of the following children: John wedded a Miss Gibson and settled in Indiana; William married a sister of his brother's wife and became a resident of the same State; Jacob made his home in Dearborn County, Ind.; Elias, who was joined in wedlock with Miss Hayes, died in Dearborn County; Solomon married a Miss Gibson; Phineas was the father of Daniel K.; and Daniel wedded a Miss Downey, sister of Judge Downey, of Indiana. 

Phineas Kittle, who was a native of Virginia, married Margaret Luke, and shortly afterwards removed with his young bride to Indiana, settling in Dearborn, now Ohio County. At that time, the entire country round about was a waste wilderness and the pioneers of the community hewed out their farms in the midst of the heavy timber. Not a railroad crossed the State and the only means of conveyance was the prairie schooner. It will readily be seen that the early settlers thus had but few comforts and conveniences and were forced to endure many hardships and difficulties such as are incident to life on the frontier. Mr. Kittle devoted his time and attention to the development of a farm and being an industrious and energetic man succeeded in his undertaking. He and his estimable wife were numbered among the highly respected citizens of the community in which they located. Unto them was born a family of ten children, nine of whom lived to adult age: Thomas, the eldest, was twice married, and died in Ohio County, Ind.; Eleanor is the wife of Eli Corson, of Clarke County, Mo.; D. K., of this sketch, is the next younger; Mary is the wife of A. McCullough, of Van Buren County, Iowa; John is also living in the same county; Solomon married Miss Clement and is living in Ohio County, Ind.; Samuel is married and makes his home in Van Buren County; Martin Van Buren is located in Ohio County, Ind.; and Richard, the youngest, makes his home in Kansas. 

For thirty-five years, D. K. Kittle has been a resident of Van Buren County and almost from the date of his settlement he has been regarded as one of the prominent and influential citizens of the community. He has aided not a little in the up-building of the county's best interests, especially in the advancement of the cause of education. and for a number of years was employed in the capacity of teacher. His own education was somewhat limited. He became familiar with the elementary branches of learning in a log schoolhouse with a puncheon floor, slab seats and oiled paper windows, but many men of note were similarly trained in their youth. When a lad of fifteen years, in the winter of 1840-41, he was attacked with the white swelling and in all these years has failed to find a remedy which would effect a permanent cure. This unfitted him for hard manual labor and his attention was necessarily called to other pursuits. Being studious by nature and desirous of obtaining a better education, his brother John gave him financial assistance and he was enabled to prosecute his studies until he became a well-informed man. The spring of 1854 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Kittle in Iowaville, Van Buren County, and embarking in the profession of teaching he followed that pursuit with marked success until 1872. Previous to that time he had filled a number of township offices, having acted as clerk, assessor, etc., and in the autumn of the year above mentioned he was elected Recorder of Van Buren County. Almost two decades have since passed away, yet with the exception of a term of two years, he has been continuously the incumbent of that office and for one year during his absence from the same, he served as Deputy Treasurer. 

In the autumn succeeding his arrival in the county, Mr. Kittle was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Lavina McCullough and five living children grace their union, the eldest of whom is Dora, wife of A. P. Hart, of Yellowstone County, Mont.; Della, the next younger, is at home; Roger holds the position of Deputy Recorder; George is employed in the marble works of Oskaloosa; and Myrl completes the number. 

In early life Mr. Kittle was a supporter of Democratic principles and affiliated with that party until the Presidential election of 1860, when his views coinciding with those of the Republican party he gave his support to Abraham Lincoln and has since been a stalwart advocate of the party, which then for the first time gained control of the reins of government. His constituents have had no occasion to regret placing him in the various offices he has filled and in his long continued service as County Recorder, we find ample proof of his efficiency and fidelity to duty. Few men are better known in this section of the country than D. K. Kittle and none are more universally respected than he.

GEORGE KLISE makes farming and stock-raising his life occupation, following those pursuits on section 8. Harrisburg Township, Van Buren County, where he has a pleasant home, and all of the equipments and improvements necessary to a well-regulated farm of the nineteenth century. His father engaged in the same business before him, and like his son, was reputed to be a man of thrift and enterprise. 

George Klise is the youngest of a family of seven children born of the union of John and Louisa (Coon) Klise. His father was born and reared in Maryland, and on leaving his native State went to New York, where he formed the acquaintance of Miss Coon, whose hand he sought in marriage. His wooing being successful, they were joined in the holy bonds of wedlock, and, as before stated, became the parents of seven children. In the summer of 1841 they came to the Territory of Iowa and in what is now Van Buren County made a location, Mr. Klise purchasing and improving a farm of about two hundred acres, on which he lived until his death, in 1864. His wife survived him several years, passing away in 1871. She was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and lived a consistent Christian life. 

The birth of our subject occurred on the 8th of August, 1842, on the old homestead of the family, where he was also reared to manhood. His early life passed uneventfully, but the year previous to his attaining to man's estate he responded to his country's call for troops to put down the rebellion, enlisting, in August, 1862, as a member of Company I, Nineteenth Iowa Infantry, under the command of Capt. S. Payne. He was mustered into service at Keokuk and assigned to the Thirteenth Army Corps, with which he participated in the battle of Prairie Grove and the siege of Vicksburg, after which orders came to march South to New Orleans. While on a scouting expedition in Louisiana he was captured by the rebels at Sterling Farm, and for ten months was held prisoner, being incarcerated at Tyler, Tex., and Shreveport, La., where heexperienced all the hardships of the Southern prison. After almost a year of such life he was exchanged, and rejoined his regiment in time to participate in the capture of Spanish Fort. Soon afterward the war was brought to a close and in Mobile, Ala., on the 28th of July, 1865, he was honorably discharged. 

On the cessation of hostilities and the return of peace Mr. Klise once more sought his home and resumed the occupation of farming on the old homestead. In October of the following year he married Miss Rachel Downard, whose parents, John and Mary (Price) Downard, were early settlers of the county. Her father died in 1852, but her mother is still living. Nine children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. Klise, as follows: Eda, wife of Harry L. Hooper; Carrie, Lydia, Laura, Stella, Charlie, Worthy, Newton and Grant, and all are at home, the family circle having never yet been broken by death. In his political affiliations Mr. Klise is a Republican, and manifests a deep interest in the success of his party. He keeps himself well informed on all topics of general interest, whether political or otherwise, and is a valued citizen of the community. Socially, he is a member of Shriver Post, No. 177, G. A. R, of Vernon.

HON. JOSEPH C. KNAPP, who was among the older lawyers and eminent jurists of Iowa, settled at Keosauqua three years before the Territory became a State. Through nearly all its history as a commonwealth he was conspicuous in its politics, as well as its jurisprudence. His name is thoroughly woven into its annals, in all cases in a highly creditable manner. 

Our subject was a native of the Green Mountain State, and a son of Ebenezer and Irene (Curtis) Knapp, born on the 27th of June, 1813, in Berlin, Washington County. The Knapps were early settlers of Massachusetts; the Curtises, in Hanover, N. H. Ebenezer Knapp was a farmer, a hard-working man himself, and reared his children in habits of industry. 

Joseph Knapp received a good academic education in Montpelier, left his native State in 1833; came as far West as Racine, Wis., then a part of Michigan Territory; read law at first with the Hon. Marshall M. Strong, and afterward with Hon. E. G. Ryan, late Chief Justice of Wisconsin; practiced a few years in Racine, and in 1843 pushed westward across the Mississippi River, locating at Keosauqua. Van Buren County. He was for some years a member of the noted law firm of Wright, Knapp & Caldwell, his partners being the Hon. George G. Wright, of Des Moines, and the Hun. H. C. Caldwell, now Judge of the United States District Court of Arkansas. It is not often that the three members of a law firm rise to such distinction. 

Judge Knapp was appointed Prosecuting Attorney by Gov. Clark, in 1846, and Judge of the Third Judicial District by Gov. Hempstead in 1850. He was appointed by President Pierce United States Attorney for the District of Iowa, in 1853; re-appointed by President Buchanan, and held the office eight consecutive years. To the office of judge of the Second Judicial District he was elected in the autumn of 1874, taking the bench on the 1st of January, 1875. the term extending four years. The Judge had a long experience; was very learned in the law; had a natural legal mind; was independent as a jurist, and with his innate knowledge of what the law was or ought to have been, his rulings were usually correct and just. At an early day he was a circuit lawyer, with an extensive practice in the courts of a number of counties. As his home business increased he gradually abandoned his circuit practice, except in special cases. To some extent he made criminal practice a specialty, and in that had great success. His arguments to jurors were always eloquent and forcible, but deep pathos more than anything else made his appeals to the jury remarkably effective. 

Judge Knapp always affiliated with the Democratic party, and figured extensively in the politics of the State. He was the Democratic candidate for Supreme Judge in 1869, and for Governor in 1871, and received the votes of the Democratic members of the General Assembly for United States Senator at the session of 1872. 

The Judge was a Royal Arch Mason, and for many years a consistent member of the Congregational Church, and was never known to soil either his good Christian name or the ermine. In 1876 the distinguished honor was conferred upon him of being appointed a member of the commission of five persons, whose duty it was to investigate the charges brought against the late Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. On the 10th of December, 1849, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah A. Benton, of Keosauqua, by whom he had three daughters. Keo is the wife of Hobart A. Stoddard, of Little Rock, Ark.; Io is the wife of Fred H. Hill, of Attica, Mich., and Hannah Benton married Mr. Harris, an attorney of Lamoure, Dak. 

Judge Knapp had been in failing health for a few years before his death, which occurred from kidney disease, on the 27th of April, 1882. His remains were interred at Keosauqua with Masonic honors, and his funeral was the largest ever witnessed in the city. Mrs. Knapp is still living and makes her home with her youngest daughter. She is a woman of culture and refinement, an active and sincere Christian whose influence is exerted for the good of society generally. 

At a meeting of the members of the Van Buren County Bar the following resolutions were unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, That in the death of Joseph C. Knapp, we have lost not only one of our most able members, but one whose reputation has long added lustre to our bar, and distinction to the bar of the State. One whose successes indicate the prizes to be won in the profession, whose life illustrates what integrity and well-directed industry may accomplish, and whose great genius might well be coveted by the most ambitious. The oldest member of our bar, he has long been its acknowledged leader and has fallen in its front rank. 

Resolved, That we will cherish his memory, emulate his example and strive to acquit ourselves of the duties of life as faithfully. 

"Lives of great men all remind us 
 We can make our lives sublime, 

And departing leave behind us 
 Footprints on the sands of time.' 

Resolved, That we hereby tender our sympathy to his family, and order that a copy of these resolutions be presented to his bereaved wife, and also request the District Court of the Second Judicial District of Iowa, that a copy hereof together with the preceding biographical sketch be spread upon the records of that court.

W. A. WORK, 
Dated April 27, 1882.

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

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