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

Van Buren County Biographical Sketches Transcribed Below


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JOHN T. MADDIX has been engaged in the grocery business in Birmingham since 1887. He is a native of Holmes County, Ohio, born October 13, 1843, his parents being Samuel and Harriet (Guinn) Maddix. When he was but three years old, the family came to the Territory of Iowa, settling in the forks of the Coon River, near Des Moines, where some two years later the death of the father occurred. Mrs. Maddix then removed with her family to Libertyville, Jefferson County, where she yet makes her home, having now reached the ripe old age of seventy-two years. She has been twice married since. By the first union there were seven children, four sons and three daughters, and by her second marriage a son was born. 

John T. Maddix was the fourth in order of birth and like the other members of the family the only educational advantages which he received were such as the district schools of that day afforded. As soon as he was old enough he had to begin work that he might provide for his own maintenance. A lad of thirteen years, he started out in life for himself to fight the battle with the world. He entered a mill in Birmingham, where he was employed until the breaking out of the war. Prompted by patriotism and a desire to show his loyalty by service in the field, though only seventeen years of age, he enrolled his name with the members of Company H, Third Iowa Cavalry, enlisting on the 9th of August, 1861. Having served in Southern Missouri until 1862, with his command he marched with the Union troops to Arkansas and participated in the capture of Little Rock. There having veteranized he came home on a furlough, at the expiration of thirty days again joined his command at Memphis, Tenn., following which he participated in the battles of Guntown and Tupelo, Miss. Returning to St. Louis, the troops were then sent out after Price and on returning Mr. Maddix embarked on the ill-fated boat, "Maria," which was blown up at Carondelet. After some delay he went to Louisville, Ky., where for a time he was detained by sore eyes. He was then sent to Keokuk, where he remained until the close of the war. He received his discharge at Davenport, August 9, 1865, after four years service. 

Returning to his home, Mr. Maddix and an uncle soon afterwards purchased a saw mill at Unionton, Scotland County, Mo., but a year later he sold out and was employed as a salesman at that place. It was during his residence there that on the 28th of August, 1866, he wedded Elizabeth Hall, a native of Scotland County. He then embarked in merchandising but giving credit too freely caused his failure. Again he returned to his old pursuit of milling, purchasing a mill which he operated two years. In 1871, he returned to Iowa and for the succeeding two years engaged in milling, in Selma, after which he came to Birmingham where he was employed as sawyer for three years. In company with a gentleman he then purchased a mill and sawed ties for the railroad. Their partnership was at length dissolved, Mr. Maddix receiving as his share of the business the mill which he afterwards sold for $1,800. In 1887, he opened the grocery store in Birmingham which now takes rank among the leading establishments of its kind. He is the owner of the building and stock and has a good trade among the best class of people. Politically, Mr. Maddix is a Democrat and has served as city Alderman and in other local positions. Socially he is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

Three children have been born of the union of John T. Maddix and Elizabeth Hall, the eldest of of whom, Alva L., is a barber of Birmingham; Minnie L. is the next younger, and Endymion C. completes the family.

EDWIN MANNING, the honored pioneer, has for half a century made his home on the site of Keosauqua, Van Buren County, of which city he was the founder. This volume would be incomplete without his sketch for he has not only been long a resident of the county, but has been identified with its growth and progress and few have aided more in the advancement of its interests. 

Mr. Manning was born in Coventry, Conn., February 8, 1810, and is a son of Calvin and Desire (Gurley) Manning who belonged to old New England families. They were parents of two sons and two daughters. Fannie the eldest, married James Preston and died in her native county; Edwin is the second in order of birth; William died on the old homestead at the age of thirty years, and Anna R., wife of Dr. S. W. Barrows, is living in Hartford, Conn. The parents, who were consistent and faithful members of the Congregational Church, died in Coventry, Conn., respected by all who knew them. Mr. Manning was a Whig in political sentiment and was honored by an election to the office of Commissioner of Des Moines River Improvement and also served in said office until its affairs were finally adjusted. 

The subject of this sketch was reared in a manner similar to the majority of boys of his day and received his education in the primitive schools of his native State. When a lad of sixteen years he entered the store of his uncle, Royal Manning, as salesman, which position he held for six months, when he went to Bethany, Pa., where he accepted a similar position with another uncle, James Manning, receiving $10 per month as a compensation for his services. After five years, in which time he had mastered the business, he was taken in as a partner with a third interest. Aside from the knowledge gained concerning mercantile life, Mr. Manning acquired other information which proved of much value to him in after life. His uncle during his stay in Bethany, was elected Associate Justice and Recorder of the county, and Edwin became acquainted with the routine of those offices which knowledge proved of great benefit to him in after life in making plats, etc. In 1831, he left Bethany and embarked in business at Canton Corners, Bradford County, Pa., forming a partnership with J. C. Rose under the firm name of Manning & Rose, which connection was continued until the autumn of 1836, when he disposed of his interest and started for the West. He boarded a boat for St. Louis, then the metropolis of the West, and on reaching his destination Col. Benton advised him and his associates to locate in that city, but thinking his purse too light to invest much in real estate there, he pushed on to Lexington, Mo., where he made inquires in regard to lands. On receiving information that he could obtain property in Saline and Jackson Counties, accompanied by his uncle and a Mr. Tyler he made his way to the places indicated and became owner of some real estate, of which Mr. Tyler was left in charge. Being opposed to slavery, he and his uncle proceeded northward up the Mississippi and Des Moines Rivers to St. Francesville, Lee County. That was in December, 1836. After making some investments they continued on to Ft. Madison, where they visited the wigwam of the noted chief, Black Hawk, who treated them in a friendly manner but appeared rather reticent in regard to giving information, seeming to realize that his power was fast being taken from him. 

In January, 1837, Mr. Manning, with James Hall, John Fuirman and John Carnes, purchased a claim to the land and platted the town of Keosauqua. Our subject then returned on a visit to Pennsylvania, but the following year again came to Iowa and attended the first land sale at Burlington, purchasing several small tracts of land for himself together with quite a large amount for others. In 1839, he purchased in New York the first stock of goods ever brought to Keosauqua, shipping the same by way of the sea to the mouth of the Mississippi and up that river to Churchville, the mouth of the Des Moines River, being seven weeks on their way. He also built the first flatboat, in 1844, that floated down the Des Moines River, and ran the first loaded steamer from St. Louis to Des Moines, in 1851. He was appointed Commissioner of the Des Moines River Improvement, by Gov. Grimes, serving in that capacity in 1859. In fact there are few industries or enterprises, or works of improvement and progress of the early days with which he was not connected. 

Mr. Manning has been twice married. In Lee County, Iowa, March 8, 1842, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Sarah J. Sample, who was born in Pennsylvania, July 21, 1816, and died June 1, 1857, leaving three children — Calvin, a prominent attorney of Ottumwa, Iowa; William who is engaged in farming, and Anna G. The second marriage of Edwin Manning was solemnized November 3, 1859, the lady of his choice being Nannie Bryant, who was born in Indiana, February 3, 1832, and is an adopted daughter of Hon. Joseph A. Wright. Unto them have been born five children: Albert, Edward Bates, Stanley, Craig and Katie W. Mrs. Manning and Katie are members of the Congregational Church, and are among its most active and faithful workers. Out of the kindness of her heart Mrs. Manning performs many acts of charity and deeds of love which have won for her the lasting gratitude and affection of those who were recipients of her bounty and the respect of all who were witnesses of her kindness. However her work is all performed in a quiet and unostentatious manner that it may not be praised by men. 

In early life, Mr. Manning was a Whig and cast his first vote for Gen. Harrison. Since the organization of the Republican party he has been one of its stalwart supporters, yet notwithstanding his prominence in the county and State he has steadily refused to accept public office, devoting his attention exclusively to his business interests and the discharge of his duties as a private citizen. Words of praise and high regard are spoken on every hand of Mr. Manning who, it would seem, is without an enemy. Stories are told of his generosity, of numberless good deeds quietly performed, of words of encouragement offered to the despondent, and of substantial aid given to those in need. In his earlier years his own life was a struggle to gain a firm financial standing and he therefore readily feels a sympathy for others. His capital when he started out in life for himself consisted of a good constitution, temperate and frugal habits, pluck and perseverance and unquestioned integrity, but he has in the years which have come and gone acquired an ample competence and worked his way upward to a prominent position and is respected of all men. 

As an illustration of the changes which have taken place during the half century which Mr. Manning has spent in Van Buren County, he cites the fact that he has lived in the territories of Michigan and Wisconsin, and the Territory and State of Iowa all under one roof. On his arrival there were only about one-fourth as many inhabitants in the whole Territory as we now find in the county. Few improvements had been made, the land was in its primitive condition and the future of the State was unknown. Even the most far-sighted could not have dreamed of its brightness and we would certainly claim it an honor to have been an eye-witness of the wonderful transformation, but to be an active participant in the various changes which have taken place is a favor not shown to every one, yet among the latter class is enrolled Edwin Manning, the pioneer of Van Buren County, and the builder of the first brick court-house in the State of Iowa in 1842, which is now as good as new.

PETER MARSAN, one of the first pioneers of Van Buren County, was born in L'Assumption, Province of Quebec, Canada, October 4, 1812, of French parentage. He learned the trade of a miller and millwright and in the autumn of 1833 came to the United States, making a settlement in Troy, N. Y., where he was employed at his chosen occupation. In that city on the 4th of November, 1835, he wedded Miss Margaret McIntyre, daughter of Hugh and Sarah (Fleming) McIntyre. She was born in Liverpool, England, December 5, 1814, and having lost her father in childhood came to America with her mother in 1827, and settled at Troy, N. Y. Her father was of Scotch and her mother of English birth. The latter accompanied her daughter and her family to Iowa and died in Van Buren County February 28, 1856. 

Mr. and Mrs. Marsan emigrated to Pike County, Ill., in 1836, and located in Rockport, continuing there to make their home until March, 1838, when they crossed the Mississippi into the Wisconsin Territory, now the State of Iowa, and located at Bentonsport, Van Buren County, where for a short time he kept a hotel. Mr. Marsan, in the spring of 1840, bought a stock of goods and opened a small store at Farmington. A curious incident happened to the family in March, 1839, which deserves mention. The Sac and Fox Indians had camped not far distant from the little white settlement and members of the tribes had been frequent visitors at the home of our subject, where they were well treated and were often fed. In March, 1839, as the Indians had loaded their canoes and completed their preparations for removal down the Des Moines River to the Mississippi, Chief Keokuk and one of his seven wives, a middle-aged squaw, came for some breakfast. Mrs. Marsan gave them a good meal and then told them to move on. While she was in an adjoining room they took their departure very suddenly, and on her return to the former apartment she missed her eight-months old baby boy, Joshua, from his cradle. She at once sought the child in another room where she thought it might have been placed on a bed, but not finding it she began to inquire of the family about, when a little three-year-old boy spoke up and said: "That dirty, black woman took baby." Mrs. Marsan at once ran out after her and met a neighbor, John D. Sanford, to whom she told her trouble. He replied that he had just passed the woman who was carrying something concealed under her blanket. Calling up a large clog that belonged to the family, the Marsans and Mr. Sanford followed the squaw on a run, calling to her to stop, but instead of heeding the command she made a run for the canoes. The dog was then put on her track and in a few minutes had the woman's blanket in his teeth and her at a stand-still. When Mr. Sanford came up with her and demanded the baby she refused to surrender it but ran back to the house with it and placed it in the cradle. When the mother asked why she stole the child, the squaw stopped to the fireplace and wetting a finger on her lips she touched it to the smutty wall and then made a black mark down each of the baby's fat cheeks, signifying that, she wanted to take it away to paint it. As the child grew up he was often twitted with being an Indian boy. The same youngster, when a little more than three years old, had another adventure when his life was saved by the same dog that caught the squaw who was carrying him off. It happened one day while the family were living in Big Fox, in Jackson Township, that the mother again missed the child and, going in search of her boy along the river bank, found him wet and insensible, with his hair full of sand, well up on the bank, while the dog stood over him licking his face. When the mother picked him up the water ran out of his mouth and she had great difficulty in restoring him to consciousness. The child was too young to give an explanation of how he fell into the river but complained of his arm being hurt where he said, "The dog bit it." On examination one arm of the boy showed the print of the dog's teeth where he evidently had seized it while taking him from the river. That he had saved the child's life cannot be doubted. 

Mr. and Mrs. Marsan were the parents of seven children, six sons and one daughter. John, the eldest, married Phoebe Allen and is now a widower living in Little River, Cal. He was a soldier of the late war; Joshua was a member of the Fifth Illinois Infantry and died in the fall of 1867 from the effects of disease contracted in the service; Margaret Ella is the wife of James Alfred Russell, of Milton, also a soldier; George, one of the boys in blue, is single and now ranching in Arizona; Henry L. married Nettie Holland and is a farmer of Jackson Township, Van Buren County; Alonzo wedded Emma McLean and resides in Milton; one child died in infancy in Pike County, Ill. 

Mr. Marsan remained in Bentonsport until the spring of 1840, when he removed with his family to Farmington, where he carried on a store until 1841, at which time he went to Big Fox, in Jackson Township. There he built a saw and grist-mill in company with his brother, John B. Marsan, and also opened up a farm, continuing the dual employment until his death, which occurred February 28, 1856. In politics, he was a Democrat and in his religious views a Methodist. He was upright and honorable in his intercourse with his fellow-men and was an esteemed citizen. 

On the 27th of August, 1857, Mrs. Marsan became the wife of John B. Marsan, a younger brother of her deceased husband. He was born in L'Assumption, Lower Canada, on the 16th of February, 1816, and, removing to the United States, joined his brother Peter in Troy. Together they came to Iowa in an early day and they were associated in the building and operating of the mill at Big Fox and in the improvement and cultivation of the farm. Mr. Marsan met with the misfortune of losing a limb in 1844, which resulted from disease contracted while working in the water about the mill. He is a Republican in politics and a member of the Methodist Protestant Church. He and his wife have resided in Milton since 1865, covering a period of a quarter of a century and have made many friends among its best citizens.

EUGENE MASON, one of the prominent farmers and stock-raisers, owning one hundred and fifty-six acres, and residing on section 10, Des Moines Township, Van Buren County, came to this county in 1858, having at that time been a resident of this country for five years. He was born in Alsace, North France, June 26, 1836, and was fourth in a family of six children, of John and Margaret Mason, also natives of France. His father was an extensive contractor in his native city, and was recognized as one of the most prominent of his time. He built some of the largest and most extensive buildings in the district and during the season employed from five to forty men. Up to the time of his death he was one of the prominent men of his locality. He died of asthma in 1853, at the age of fifty-six. His mother died in 1887 at the age of eighty-seven. Both died in their native land. Our subject and his sister Margaret are the only remaining members of the family. 

Eugene Mason was the only representative of the family that came to this country. He was educated in the common schools of his native country, and in the summer learned the trade of masonry and stonecutting and also that of a plasterer. At the age of nineteen years, in company with two companions, he left Havre, France, on an American bound vessel, and was one hundred and five days making the trip. The vessel was a sailer and had four hundred and fifty passengers on board. The yellow fever broke out among them and eighty-six died before they got to the West Indies, where Eugene landed on the Island of St. Thomas. He ascribes his escape from death to the excessive use of cherry brandy on the voyage. In 1855 he landed in New Orleans, where he remained a short time and then went to St. Louis, Mo., where he engaged at his trade, cutting stone on the courthouse and other buildings. In the following year he went to St. Joseph, Mo., where he remained a short time and then returned to St. Louis but in the same year went to St. Charles, thence to Jefferson City, and returning once more to St. Louis. Again leaving the latter place he went up the river, working at his trade in various cities. He was foreman on the contract for the building in Fort Dodge, one of the finest structures in the West. Since his residence in this county he has done considerable work at his trade. He laid the first stone work in Keosauqua, and has put up nearly all the large bridges of this county, and in Appanoose County built a large Court House. He erected his own residence of stone and brick. His farm he improved until it is now one of the best in the county. 

Mr. Mason was married in 1866, to Eliza Hohr, a daughter of William Hohr, who was a native of Germany. Mrs. Mason was born in Keosauqua, in 1848, her parents being among the early settlers of that place. They have five children living: Carrie, wife of Sam Steinmeyer, a resident of Keosauqua; Lena, wife of John Heim; Edward, Willa, and Amelia. Mr. Mason politically is an Independent. He is a member of Keosauqua Lodge No. 3, I. O. 0. F. His family are members of the Christian Church. As a citizen, Mr. Mason is well esteemed by all who know him and is a warm supporter of every enterprise calculated for the public good.

HON. WILLIAM ERNEST MASON, of Chicago, is one of Van Buren County's most eminent pioneers. He is a native of Franklinville, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., born July 7, 1850, and is the son of Lewis J. and Nancy (Winslow) Mason. In 1858 the family moved to Bentonsport, Van Buren County, where the father died in 1865, the mother surviving him ten years, dying in 1875. William being thus early thrown upon his own resources, developed an independence of character which has marked all his public acts. His education was obtained in the public schools, with two years' attendance at Birmingham College. He afterwards taught during two winters in district schools, and in 1868 went to Des Moines where he was employed the next two years in teaching. Having determined to enter the legal profession, in 1870 he began his law studies in the office of Hon. Thomas F. Withrow, of Des Moines. Mr. Withrow soon afterwards removed to Chicago, Mr. Mason accompanying him, remaining in his office one year, and then entering the office of Hon. John N. Jewett, where he continued his studies and practice five years. He then formed a partnership with Judge M. R. M. Wallace. The firm had an extensive practice. As an advocate Mr. Mason is noted tor his superior qualities, being numbered among the best jury lawyers of Chicago. 

Politically, Mr. Mason is an earnest and enthusiastic Republican. He has taken an active part in many political campaigns, and has served his adopted city and State in the Illinois Legislature in both branches, and as a member of Congress from the Third District. In the latter body he took front rank, and was largely instrumental in securing for Chicago the World's Fair. 

Mr. Mason possesses personal and social qualities of a high order, and has attracted to himself many friends. He was married in 1873 to Miss Julia Edith White, daughter of George White, a wholesale merchant of Des Moines. 

Mr. Mason always loves to talk about his life and his experience in Van Buren County, and makes it a point to visit his old home in Bentonsport once a year, or oftener, if possible. In speaking of this old town the other day, to the writer of this article, he said: "We went to Bentonsport in 1858. It was after the panic of '57, and my father moved to Bentonsport to start anew. At that time the railroad known as the Keokuk, Fort Des Moines & Minnesota Railroad ran from Keokuk to Bentonsport, and my father, who worked in a wagon shop for seventy-five cents per day, made the tables, chairs, bedsteads and furniture necessary to start a boarding house, known as the 'Western Exchange.' The other hotel, known as the 'Ashland house,' was kept by a man named John P. Robinson, but we soon got started, and in a year or two bought out the Ashland House, where I spent the most of my life as a boy. 

"The location of Bentonsport makes it one of the most beautiful spots in the world, in a sharp, well-defined valley along the Des Moines River, and, although it has gone down in a business and financial way, yet the people there, and in the county are the most generous and warm-hearted people I ever knew. 

"The best teacher I ever had was J. D. Hornby, who taught the public school in Bentonsport for many years. I went to school after that to the Birmingham College, but most of my old friends there remember how I graduated by going in the front door and being kicked out at the back. 

"Some of my pleasantest recollections are connected with Van Buren County, and it is full of splendid homes and splendid people. My parents were buried at Bentonsport, and I presume that is why I will never lose the interest I have in the place and in the people."

LEWIS CASS MEEK, a worthy representative of the honored pioneer family mentioned above and a prominent farmer and stock-raiser, of Bonaparte, Iowa, was born in Van Buren County of the 28th of May, 1859, and is a son of Robert and Abigail Meek. His education was acquired in the district schools of the neighborhood and he was reared to manhood in his native county. His father owned and operated one of the first mills in the county, but on account of poor health in his youth, he was not allowed to engage in the work of milling. In 1879, when a young man of twenty years, he journeyed westward, locating in Colorado, where he spent two years. Returning at the expiration of that time to his native county, he embarked in stock-raising, which he has since made his chief business, carrying on the same with marked success. 

In 1882 Mr. Meek led to the marriage altar Miss Anna M. Eich, one of the fair daughters of Van Buren County. Her birth occurred on the 6th of February, 1857, and her parents are Jacob and Agnes (Beck) Eich, early settlers of this community. Two children, boys, grace their union, unto whom have been given the names of Philip and Waldo R., and one died in infancy. 

The fine stock farm of which Mr. Meek is the owner, comprises four hundred and ninety-five acres, all under fence, adjoining the corporation limits of Bonaparte. He raises in large numbers the best grades of stock and has gained the reputation as one of the leading stock-growers of South-eastern Iowa. He is a man of good business ability, of sterling worth and strict integrity, and a worthy representative of the honored pioneer family. In his political affiliations, he is a Democrat, having supported the party since attaining his majority.

ROBERT MEEK is numbered among the honored pioneer settlers of Van Buren County, Iowa, and well deserves representation in this volume for he has been prominently identified with the growth and upbuilding of the county and the advancement of its interests. By written record we can perpetuate the memory of the founders of the county and make them and their lives known to coming generations who, with gratitude, should honor them for the noble work which they have performed. 

Robert Meek was born in Wayne County, Ohio, on the 25th of January, 1815, and there spent the first fourteen years of his life. He then accompanied his parents on their emigration to St. Joseph, Mich. Near that city his father laid out the town of Constantine. In 1835, in company with his father, and brother, Johnson Meek, he went on a prospecting tour to the South, visiting in Louisiana and Texas. but the latter was overrun with brigands, and not caring to make a location in the former, they returned to the North and in 1836 visited Lee County, Iowa, where Johnson made a location. Although the county was then in its infancy it gave promise of rapid growth and development, and Mr. Meek determined here to locate, so after selecting land, in the spring of 1837, he retraced his steps to St. Joseph, Mich., in order to remove with the family to their new home. With the exception of one son, Johnson, all came to Van Buren County, Iowa, and with the history of this community the name of Meek has since been inseparably connected. The family located in what is now the town of Bonaparte, but the place had not then been founded. The county was wild, contained but few settlers and the greater part of the land was still in its primitive condition. The first meal of victuals our subject ate was in the home of James Jordan, and at the same table sat the celebrated Indian chief, Black Hawk. 

Robert Meek was three times married. In 1838 he was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary Ann Allen, and of their union were born four children, three of whom lived to mature years. Elizabeth Ann, born in 1839, is the wife of Joseph Sanders, of Bonaparte; Sarah Jane is the wife of J. F. Leach, of Milton, Van Buren County; and Alvira, who became the wife of J. W. Miller, died at her home in this county in 1884. The mother of this family went to her final rest October 3, 1845, and for his second wife Mr. Meek chose Miss Nancy Flint, a native of New York. Their union was blessed with four children, two sons and two daughters, but one of the latter died in infancy. Alinda P. is the wife of S. E. Foster, of Jackson Township, Van Buren County; William married Miss Alice Sharp, who died leaving two children, Alden and Effie, and for his second wife wedded Miss Maggie M. Johnson, by whom he had four children— Shirley, Charlotte, Georgia and William. This family now resides in Denver, Col. R. Flint married Miss Gertie Christy, who is now deceased, and unto them were born four sons, of whom three are living —Carl, Harry and R. Guy. Mrs. Nancy Meek died June 1, 1853, and a third time Mr. Meek was married, that union being with Mrs. Abigail P. Barber, widow of Dudley C. Barber. She was horn in St. Lawrence County N. Y., and by her second union became the mother of four children— Alma I., who died at the age of five years; Lewis Cass, of Bonaparte; Robert E., who is living in this county; and Oscar L., of Polk County, Iowa. 

Robert Meek, whose name heads this sketch, was identified with many of the leading interests of Van Buren County. Being among its earliest settlers, he shared in the trials and hardships of pioneer life. He made his home in the community when the Indians far outnumbered his white neighbors, when wild animals, such as wolves, were frequently seen and when deer and other wild game was found in abundance. The growth of the county he witnessed, watching its transformation from an unbroken wilderness to a tract of rich fertility, whose well-cultivated farms are equal to any in the State. He saw the pioneer log cabins replaced by commodious and substantial residences, villages transformed into cities and towns springing up on every hand, while churches and schools have been built, thus showing the onward march of civilization.

ROBERT E. MEEK, a representative of that pioneer family which is so well and favorably known throughout the county, and a son of Robert and Abigail P. Meek, was born in Bonaparte, on the 21st of January, 1861. He was educated in the schools of his native town and with a desire to increase his store of knowledge subsequently spent three years in the Central Iowa University, of Pella. After completing his education he entered upon his business career as an employe in the Bonaparte woolen mills, where he remained some six or seven years, being engaged a part of the time as shipping clerk and the remainder as book-keeper. In February, 1888, he purchased the interest of Mr. Christy in the mercantile firm of Christy & McDonald and the new firm assumed the title of McDonald & Meek. under which they still continue to do business. They carry a good stock of drygoods and clothing, have one of the most tastefully kept establishments in town and receive a liberal patronage. 

It was in Bonaparte, on the 25th of February, 1885, that Mr. Meek led to the marriage altar Miss Maggie C. Cresap, a daughter of Michael and Sarah Cresap, who are numbered among the early and highly esteemed settlers of this county, of which Mrs. Meek is a native. The young couple have spent their lives in Van Buren County and are known to a wide circle of friends. Their hospitable home is a favorite resort of the young people who are sure to receive a warm welcome. Mr. Meek, in politics. marches with his worthy ancestors, being a stanch Democrat.

WILLIAM MEEK, deceased. Probably no man deserves more credit for the present prosperity of Van Buren County, and more especially of Bonaparte, than the gentleman of whom we write, for his history is much of the history of the progress and business prosperity of the community. He was a native of Pennsylvania, but in early life removed to Virginia, where he became acquainted with and married Elizabeth Johnson, who was born in that State. They removed to Wayne County, Ohio, where they lived some fifteen years. They became the parents of nine children, eight of whom lived to adult age. Accompanied by his family, in 1829, Mr. Meek emigrated westward, locating in St. Joseph County, Mich., where for some eight years he engaged in farming and milling. The month of July, 1837, witnessed the arrival of William Meek in what is now Bonaparte, Van Buren County, Iowa, but then formed a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. The county was then but sparsely settled but by the business facilities and enterprise of its new citizens it has rapidly increased in importance. He secured the water power at this place and in company with his sons, Robert and William, built the first grist and saw mill in the county, both of which were under one roof. These he operated until 1844, when the old buildings were torn down and in company with three sons, Robert, William and Isaiah, he erected what is now known as the Bonaparte Mills, but in that early day was called the Meek Mills. For fifty miles around people came to give them their patronage and often the work so accumulated that persons were obliged to camp out two weeks, awaiting their turn to be served. Although in the meantime, the father died, the mill was operated by the sons until 1878, when it was torn down and replaced by a brick structure 40x50 feet and three stories high with basement. It is furnished with the latest improved machinery and modern conveniences and has a capacity of seventy-five barrels per day. The grist mill was attended with such prosperity, that in 1853, Mr. Meek and his sons were enabled to build what was known as the Bonaparte Woolen Mills, the first mills of the kind in Southern Iowa. The building in which they carried on operations was a stone and brick structure, but in July, 1863, it was consumed by fire. However, with characteristic energy,the brothers began to rebuild it and the result is their present factory of stone and brick, the dimensions of which are 50x85 feet and three stories in height, with an attic and basement. The cost of the building was $12,000 and the purchase price of the machinery was $40,000. This mill furnishes employment to some eighty-five persons and manufactures cassimere, blankets, flannels and stocking yarn. Isaiah Meek & Sons also own and operate a pants factory which was put in operation in May, 1889, and which furnishes employment to some fifty hands and where the pants are made from the cassimere manufactured from their own looms. Altogether one hundred and thirty-three persons receive work at the hands of this firm, one hundred and thirty being employed in the mills, the remaining three doing duty as traveling salesmen. In connection with their business, they also own two thousand acres of land, one thousand of which is under cultivation. 

William Meek, the father of the family was a pioneer in three States. His record is that of a self-made man, who without capital began life's battle and by hard work, perseverance and good business ability came off victorious. Of indomitable will and energy he overcame all obstacles and difficulties, labored on untiringly and as a result his efforts were crowned with success. The benefit his business enterprises have been to this community cannot he estimated, but with gratitude will be remembered by the citizens of the county for years to come. 

The family of Mr. and Mrs. William Meek consisted of the following children: Johnson, a resident of Lee County, Iowa; Elizabeth, wife of A. H. Woods of Van Buren County; Robert and William, partners in the extensive milling interests; Ann, widow of Thomas Charlton of Dauphin County, Neb.; Isaiah, also interested in the business; Rachel J. who became the wife of A. J. Poe and died in Missouri; Benjamin who died in 1838, when a child; Joseph is also a resident of Bonaparte. The parents of this family were members of the Baptist Church and were numbered, among the best citizens and most highly respected people of the community. Their acquaintance was extensive and their friends were almost numberless. The mother was called to her final rest in 1856, and after a long and useful life Mr. Meek passed to his reward in 1863. 

Isaiah Meek, one of the proprietors of the Bonaparte woolen and grist mills, was born in Wayne County, Ohio, January 31, 1821, and at the age of eight years accompanied his parents to St. Joseph County, Mich., where he acquired a common-school education. At the age of sixteen, he accompanied his parents to Van Buren County, Iowa, and assisted in building up the large and prosperous milling business of Bonaparte, the leading industry of the place. He has always taken an active and commendable interest in anything pertaining to the welfare of the community and has done not a little toward bringing about its present prosperity and placing the county on a par with the sister counties in this vast commonwealth. His business ability is of a superior order and the upright way in which everything connected with the business has been carried on, has won for himself and the other members of the firm the respect and confidence of the community and secured to them a liberal patronage.

In 1844, Mr. Meek was joined in wedlock with Miss Cynthia Ann Ingalls, a native of Ohio, born in 1827. They became parents of six children: Nancy A., wife of T. W. Boyer, a merchant of Bonaparte; Phoebe L., wife of J. S. Moore, of Keokuk, Iowa; H. H. who is associated with his father in business; Mary E., wife of William B. Daniels, of Keokuk; Byron F., a partner of the Bonaparte Woolen & Grist Mill Company, and Kirk who is also of the same company, 

In political sentiment, Mr. Meek is a stanch Democrat and feels a deep interest in the success of the party but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking. He was, however, elected to the position of Supervisor but not through his own seeking. When we look back over the past and see the wonderful changes which time and civilization have made we cannot but exclaim "Surely the age of wonders is upon us." The prosperity of the community is due greatly to its pioneers and knowing this to be true we would question, what would Van Buren County have been had it not been for the Meek family. We give them all honor for the noble work which they have done and take pleasure in thus presenting a brief record of their career to the readers of this ALBUM.

HENRY C. MILLER, whose home is on section 27, Farmington Township, Van Buren County, devotes his energies to farming and stock raising. His characteristic energy and ability have made him one of the progressive farmers of the community, and it is with pleasure that we record his sketch in this volume. He was born on the 26th of September, 1848, in St. Louis County, Mo., and was of German descent. His father, Adam Miller, was burn in Kour Hessen, Germany, in 1820, and when a lad of fourteen summers accompanied his parents on their emigration to the United States. Becoming a resident of St. Louis County, Mo., he there formed the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Smith, who was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, in 1821. She too came with her parents to America, being then sixteen years of age. The acquaintance of the young couple ripened into love, they were married and began their domestic life in St. Louis County, Mo., where for a time Mr. Miller was employed as a teacher of both English and German, but farming was his principal occupation. In 1854 he removed with his family to Lee County, Iowa, and three years later became a resident of Des Moines County, where he died August 24, 1889. By his ballot he supported the principles of the Republican party, and religiously, he was a member of the Evangelical Church, to which his wife also be-longs. She is still living and makes her home with her children. 

Our subject is the fourth in a family of nine children, seven of whom are yet living. Amid play and work on his father's farm his boyhood days were spent, and he was educated in both the English and German languages. He worked at home until he had attained his majority, when his father knowing that he would then wish to begin life for himself, gave him forty acres of land. He began farming on his own responsibility, and has carried on that occupation continuously since with good success. As a helpmate on his life's journey he chose Miss Minnie Hentzel, a native of Lee County, Iowa, born January 15, 1855, and a daughter of Christian and Christina (Eike) Hentzel, both of whom were natives of Hanover, Germany, the former born in 1813, and the latter in 1815. Having married, they resided in the old country until 1854, when they determined to seek a home in the United States. They made a settlement on a farm in Lee County, Iowa, where for many years they continued to reside, but both have now passed away, the death of Mr. Hentzel occurring in 1881, while his wife was called home in 1887. In their family were four children, two of whom are yet living. The parents were members of the Evangelical Church, and Mr. Hentzel was a Democrat in politics. 

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Miller was celebrated March 8, 1877, and they at once took up their residence upon their present farm, which comprises three hundred and seven acres of arable land, furnished with good buildings and supplied with all necessary improvements. Their home has been gladdened by the presence of five interesting children, as follows: Loui H., Louellah M., Esther M., Adam W, and Aura J. Both Mr, and Mrs. Miller are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in the Master's vineyard are faithful workers. He has served as Steward and Trustee, and also gives liberally to the support of the Gospel.

ROBERT MOORE, the subject of this sketch, is a prominent pioneer settler of Round Prairie Township, dating his residence in Jefferson County from the spring of 1840. However, two years previous he had located in Van Buren County, and may therefore be called a pioneer of fifty-two years standing. His home is now located on section 17, and his post-office is Glasgow. He was once extensively engaged in farming, but has now practically retired, but we will speak more fully of his business interests later on. 

Mr. Moore was born on the northern bank of the Ohio River in Dearborn County, Ind., January 4, 1819, and is the fifth child of Robert and Elizabeth (Powell) Moore. His father was a native of Ireland, but when a lad of eight summers, crossed the broad Atlantic with his parents to America, and settled in Pennsylvania, where he grew to manhood and was married. The lady of his choice was a native of Washington, Pa., and by their union were born ten children, but only three are now living, the eldest of whom is Robert, the subject of this notice; George, the second brother, is a merchant of Bentonsport, Iowa; and Rachel is now Mrs. Morris, of Pawnee County, Kan. As before stated, Robert Moore, Sr., was married in Pennsylvania, but shortly afterward he became a resident of Ohio, and later made his home in Indiana. In 1838, he removed to Van Buren County, Iowa, where he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives. The death of Mrs. Moore occurred in 1860, and three years later he was laid by her sick in the cemetery of Bentonsport. They were highly respected by all who knew them, and many friends mourned their loss. 

Robert Moore, Jr., reached the age of maturity soon after the family settled in Iowa, at which time he began learning the carpenter's trade. This business he followed until he was enabled to make the purchase of forty acres of unimproved land in Round Prairie Township, becoming owner of that tract in 1841. The same year he married Miss Sarah Stewart, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth (Cheney) Stewart, who were also pioneers of Round Prairie Township. With a thrifty helpmate to supplement the undaunted activity and energy characteristic of his own nature, Mr. Moore began to lay the foundation of his home and fortune, and by hard work and economy he was enabled to make many improvements upon his farm, and add to his original purchase an additional forty acres prior to the year 1850, at which time he became infected with the gold fever, and crossed the plains to California. The trip was made with an ox-team, and one hundred and eleven days were required to make the passage from the Missouri River to Cold Springs, Cal., near where he was successfully engaged in mining about two years. Not wishing to again brave the dangers, the trials and hardships of a trip across the country, he returned to his home by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City. In 1860, he again made a trip to the fields of gold, but this time his destination was Pike's Peak, Colo., and a few months sufficed to convince him that it would be more profitable for him to devote himself to his business interests in Iowa, than to seek for gold where none was to be found. A third time, in 1862, he again traveled Westward, visiting Oregon and Idaho. His travels were not only a success when considered from a financial standpoint, but proved of a highly interesting and instructive character. By his intercourse with the different people with whom he came in contact, he gained a knowledge of the world, not given in text books, and saw many sights and encountered many interesting experiences which make his conversation regarding his travels of pleasing interest to his hearers. His pioneer experiences in this and Van Buren Counties, are also worthy of mention. The hardships and privations incident to frontier life, were not unknown to the family, neither were its peculiar pleasures and enjoyments. A people separated from friends, and with little means of communication at their command, make for themselves pleasures, and promote sociability such as is not found in any other community. At the time of his settlement in the neighborhood, Iowa did not contain as many inhabitants as are now found in some of her cities, the population was widely scattered, and the work of progress and advancement seemed scarcely begun. Mr. Moore was present at the first land sale held in the Territory. One incident in his early life in Iowa is worthy of mention. While living in Van Buren County, he started on a trip to the mouth of the Des Moines River for some goods that had been shipped to that point. On reaching Lexington, he was asked to take charge of a box which was to be conveyed down the river. He consented and undertook the mission, but there appeared to be something mysterious connected with the affair, and in course of time it was discovered that the box contained the bones of the Indian chief, Black Hawk which had been stolen by one Dr. Turner and John Synord, who took them to St. Louis, where they expected to realize a handsome sum from them. Failing to realize on them as expected, Dr. Turner brought the bones back to Quincy, I11., after which they were returned to the chief's family. 

Mr. and Mrs. Moore hold membership in the Free Methodist Church of Mt. Zion. They are the parents of ten children, but four have been called home: William, who married Miss Elizabeth Johnson, is living in Pottawatomie County, Iowa; Ellen is now deceased; Margaret A. is the wife of Alex Dowd, of Nebraska; Frances is the wife of Albert Gregg, of Republic County, Kan.; Annie wedded Judson Hogate, of the same county; Emma J. is now Mrs. Stephen Wadkins, and her home is on the old farm; Etta J. is still with her parents; George W., Robert and John W. are deceased. 

In his political views, Mr. Moore is a Republican, and is accounted one of the leading and valued citizens of the community. On his return from his third trip in the West, he settled down to active farm life, and during a few years following added many improvements, and extended the boundaries of his farm until he now owns two hundred acres. His home is a commodious and pleasant dwelling, good barns and outbuildings are provided for the care of the stock and grain, the fences are all in repair, and everything pertaining to a well arranged farm is there seen. Mr. Moore has now laid aside many of his business interests, devoting his attention solely to keeping his farm in repair, and to the raising of fine stock. He has been especially successful in the latter branch of his business, and has raised some of the finest horses in the county, including a team of Norman mares which were probably the best ever raised in Southeastern Iowa. His property and wealth are the result of his own efforts and he not only now has a comfortable income, but has acquired sufficient capital to enable him to lay aside the more arduous duties of life, and spends his time in the enjoyment of the fruits of former toil.

SAMUEL M. MORRIS, a farmer and stockraiser residing on section 6, Harrisburg Township, Van Buren County, is a native of Hardin County, Ky. He was born January 14, 1827, and was the fifth in a family of eight children, who graced the union of Henry Morris and Jane Mark. The father was born in North Carolina in 1796, and in his youth removed from his native State to Kentucky, where he was reared to manhood and married. He is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County, Iowa, the month of June, 1838, witnessing his arrival in the community. He entered eighty acres of wild land on Cedar Creek, in what is now Cedar Township, and afterward, by purchase, added one hundred and sixty acres, placing the entire amount under cultivation. As he obtained the first from the Government it was consequently in its primitive condition, but he succeeded in transforming it into a highly improved farm, whose well-tilled fields yielded him a good income as the reward of his labors. His death occurred on the old homestead, February 8, 1870, at the age of seventy-four years. For many years Mr. Morris had been an active member of the Methodist Church and he possessed the full confidence and high regard of his many acquaintances. His wife, who was a most estimable lady, survived him but eight days. The children born unto them were: Elizabeth, wife of I. L. V. Howard, of Cedar Township; Mary, deceased wife of William Masterson, of Van Buren County; Margaret, deceased; William a carpenter, of Hustonia, Mo.; Samuel M., whose name heads this sketch: George F., a farmer of Cedar Township; Alex H. and Henry T., who are also engaged in agricultural pursuits in Cedar Township. 

As a representative of one of the pioneer families of the county and as one of its most worthy citizens, Samuel Morris deserves special mention in this volume. Since eleven years of age he has been a witness of its growth and progress, has aided in its development and watched with interest its advancement and the work which places it in the front rank among the counties in Iowa. He acquired his education in the district schools of the neighborhood and amid the wild scenes of pioneer life with its excitements and pleasures, its hardships and privations, he spent the clays of his boyhood and youth. On attaining to mature years, he bade good-by to the parental home and started out in life for himself, choosing as his occupation the the pursuit to which he was reared. He began operations on a forty-acre tract of land given him by his father, and in a short time he extended its boundaries by the purchase of forty acres of timber land. After clearing and improving the same he had opportunity to make an advantageous sale which he did, and then bought three hundred and fifty-two acres of land lying in Washington and Harrisburg Townships, his present farm. 

In 1854 Mr. Morris was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte A. Robbins, of Van Buren County, daughter of William C. and Laura (Fuller) Robbins. Her father was a native of Vermont, born October 25, 1804, and in his native State passed his youthful days. He was married, however, in Allegany County, N. Y., to Miss Laura Fuller, of the Empire State, born December 27, 1812, by which union there were born three children: Esther, wife of John Klise, of Harrisburg Township; Mrs. Morris, and Martha, who died when about four years old. The parents are numbered among the pioneers of Van Buren County, having since 1844 made their home in the neighborhood, where they have won as the result of their upright lives the respect of all who knew them. The father's work here on earth is now ended, he having died September 20, 1890, and his widow is passing the evening hour of life surrounded by the tender care of her children. 

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Morris have been born five children: Edmund, who wedded Miss Mary Lefler and is now living in Piercevllle; J. Q., who married Miss Alice Woods and resides on the home farm; Livingston; Henry F., who died when sixteen months old; and William W. Livingston and William are yet with their parents. Mr. Morris is an active Republican in politics and is an influential member of the county conventions, to which he is frequently sent as a delegate. As a citizen, he is true to every duty devolving upon him and ever ready to aid in works of public improvement or such enterprises as are calculated to benefit the community. As a business man he is undoubtedly a success, being now ranked among the substantial farmers and stock-raisers of the community. In the management of his farm he displays good business ability, enterprise and push, all of which are essential to a prosperous career. His residence in Van Buren County covers a period of fifty-two years, and those who have known him from boyhood have been witnesses of his entire life, as well as his acquaintances of later years, are numbered among his stanchest friends. Those who have seen the development of his character know him to be a man of sterling worth, meriting the high esteem of all.

JAMES MORSE, proprietor of the Morse House, of Birmingham, and a son of Titus and Bedie (Doolittle) Morse, claims Connecticut as the State of his nativity. He was born in New Haven County, October 15, 1822, and his training was such as the sons of pioneer farmers in Iowa received. On reaching his majority he commenced his career as a farmer and on the 22d of March, 1850, his marriage with Mrs. Elizabeth J. Robertson was celebrated. The lady is a daughter of Dr. James A. and Nancy (Brookhart) Randall. The Randall family was established in America during Colonial days by ancestors who emigrated from England. The great-grandfather of Mrs. Morse settled on Staten Island and her grandfather served under Gen. Washington in the War for Independence. He was forced on board an English man-of-war that he might be compelled to serve in the British Army, but deserting, he joined the Colonial troops. He married Margaret Adams, a cousin of John Adams, our second President, and from Virginia, where their union was celebrated, they removed to Kentucky. Dr, Randall was born in an Indian fort in Shelby County, Ky., April 26, 1788, and in Bowling Green, Ky., he married Miss Brookhart, the wedding taking place October 28, 1817. She was born October 13, 1792, in Virginia near the Natural Bridge. Her parents came from Germany to America with their respective families in childhood, were married in Virginia and afterwards emigrated to Kentucky. The year 1822 witnessed the removal of Dr. Randall and his family to Clark County, Ind., where for many years they made their home; coming in 1850, to Van Buren County, Iowa, they here spent the remainder of their lives. He served throughout the War of 1812, and was a successful physician, taking rank among the leading practitioners in the community where he resided. In politics, he was first a Whig and later a Republican and both he and his wife accepted the faith of the Methodist Church, in which he held membership for many years. The Doctor died in his home in Birmingham in March, 1858, and on Christmas Day following she too passed away. 

In the family of Dr. and Mrs. Randall were ten children, five sons and five daughters, of whom five are yet living, namely: Mrs. Morse, the honored wife of our subject; Mrs. Mary A. Prather, a resident of Ottumwa; Josephine and Sara J., who are living in Birmingham, and James J., who makes his home in Nebraska. 

Mrs. Morse was born in Kentucky, September 1, 1818. By her first husband she became the mother of four children, all of whom are deceased. One son, William M., who served in the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry during the late war. He was fatally wounded in the charge on Vicksburg and died in the hospital at Memphis, Tenn. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Morse have been born four children: Mary J., wife of E. A. Kerschener, a resident of Appanoose County, Iowa; James Frank, a stock shipper of Douds Station; and the other two died in childhood. They also have an adopted daughter, Ella C., who has found a home with them since she was four years of age. 

From 1850 until 1852, Mr. Morse was engaged in merchandising in Birmingham, after which he farmed for two succeeding years. In 1854 he returned to Birmingham and for the past thirty-two years has been employed as book-keeper in the Birmingham Mills. His long continued service not only indicates his efficiency from a business point of view, but is an enviable mark of approval of honesty and faithful service. Both Mr. and Mrs. Morse are members of the Methodist Church, in which he has been Steward for forty years and also recording Steward for many years. Politically he was a Democrat until the war, since which time he has been identified with the Republican party, by which he was elected Justice of the Peace, holding the office eight years. For the same length of time, Mr. Morse has entertained the public at his excellent hotel, the Morse House, which is the best in Birmingham and one of the best in this part of the State.

JOHN N. MORTON. We take pleasure in presenting to the readers of the ALBUM this sketch of the life work of Mr. Morton. a prominent merchant and farmer of Keosauqua, Iowa. He was born in Windsor County, Vt., July 30, 1832, and is a son of John Morton. His father was born in Wellington, N. C., in 1795, of English parentage, and when a lad of eleven years he shipped as a cabin boy on a vessel loaded with sugar for St. Petersburg. During the voyage the ship was wrecked in the Baltic Sea and the greater part of the crew was lost; but Mr. Morton, with a few others, succeeded in gaining land. For a time he then remained with a Dutch farmer, but the spirit of adventure was strong within him, and tiring of the dull routine of that life he again boarded a vessel and followed the sea until twenty-two years of age. About 1817, landing at Cape Cod, he there found a party of emigrants en route for Vermont, and joining the colony he located at Weathersfield, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Silence Ranney. The following year he removed to Rochester, Vt., where the death of Mrs. Morton occurred in 1820. He after-ward wedded Miss Polly Morgan, a native of the Green Mountain State, and by their union were born five children. who lived to mature years, namely: Silence R., who became the wife of Milton Packard, and is now deceased; Emeline, wife of G. L. Chaffee, of Rochester, Vt.; John N.. of this sketch; Mary E., wife of B. F. Hackett, of Appanoose County, Iowa; and Calista F., wife of Henry Moss, of Butte City, Mont. The father of this family died in 1870, and his wife in 1888. 

Our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the State of his nativity, where he acquired a good English education in the common and select schools. Studious by nature, and possessing a retentive memory, he soon mastered the common branches, and at the age of eighteen embarked in teaching. being employed at West Rochester, where he received $10 per month and "boarded 'round," in the manner common at that day. Having thereby acquired some funds, the following winter he entered the Bethel Lympus School, but before the term had expired his health gave way, and for nearly a year he was confined to his bed. As soon as he had partially regained his strength he entered the store of Briggs & Price as a salesman, remaining with that firm eight months, after which he was employed in that same capacity, in what was known as the "Union Store," for three years, at $75 per year. It was in 1856 that Mr. Morton came West in search of health and fortune on the broad prairies of the Mississippi Valley. He first made a location in Galesburg, Ill., and secured a position in an establishment where thirteen clerks were employed, but he being the newcomer was forced to bear all the drudgery, and had to give up the position as his constitution was not able to bear the strain thus placed upon it. He then resolved to seek his friend, Dr. Guernsey. who was living in Van Buren County, Iowa. He made his way by rail to Mt. Pleasant, then the terminus of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Road, and by stage proceeded to Keosauqua, arriving at his destination in 1856. The first night in Van Buren County he spent under the roof of James Shepherd, one of the early settlers, who kept a hotel or public house. 

The following day Mr. Morton sought out his friend, and by the succeeding Saturday had made a permanent location in Van Buren County, having secured the position of teacher of the school in what was known as the Joseph Moore district. After teaching through the winter season, in the spring of 1857 he embarked in the mercantile business, opening a small general store in Lebanon. In January, 1858, he came to Keosauqua, where he formed a partnership with Mr. Gaines, the connection continuing until the fall of the same year, when they sold out. The same autumn Mr. Morton purchased a stock of drugs, and formed a partnership with Dr. Guernsey, they continuing business together until the spring of 1866, when Mr. Morton purchased his partner's interest, and has since been alone. As time has passed he has added different departments to his store, and now has one of the largest general stores in the city. Since 1858 he has been connected with the mercantile interests of Keosauqua, and throughout the county is widely and favorably known as a man of sterling worth, upright and honorable in all his dealings. His courteous treatment and desire to please his customers has secured for him a liberal patronage, and the establishment of which he is the head, ranks among the leading business interests of the community. 

In the fall of 1865, in Bridgewater, Vt., Mr. Morton was united in marriage with Miss Emma V. White, daughter of Gilbert and Viola White, who were residents of that place. They are members of the Congregational Church, and occupy a high position in the social world. Mr. Morton may truly be called a self-made man, as his success is due entirely to his own efforts. His life may well serve as an example to young men who, like himself, have to enter the world with no capital save the talents with which nature has endowed them. It may well encourage them to renewed efforts when reverses overtake them, and like a beacon star in the sky of the future point the way to success. As to all, reverses came to him, but by a determined will, industry and enterprise he overcame such disadvantages and worked his way upward to a position of affluence, and through all his honor has remained unsullied, and no one in the community stands higher in the estimation of his fellow-citizens than does J. N. Morton, of Keosauqua.

CHARLES E. MOSHER, the owner of seven hundred and sixty acres of land in Van Buren County, his home being situated on section 12, Jackson Township, has resided in this community since 1854. In September of the previous year he came West and made purchase of three hundred and twenty acres of land in this county, to the cultivation and improvement of which he has since devoted his energies with excellent success. 

Mr. Mosher was born on the 29th of August, 1820, in Vermont of which State his parents, Alanson and Eunice (Emerson) Mosher, were also natives. His maternal grandfather was one of the leading citizens of Windsor County, Vt.; in fact, he had a State wide reputation, especially in the Congregational Church, of which he was a prominent and active member. He was a contractor and builder by trade, and in connection with that carried on farming and operated a saw and grist mill. His business was an extensive one and he became a wealthy citizen. The father of our subject spent his entire life in the Green Mountain State, his death occurring in 1825. His wife survived him many years, dying at the age of seventy-five years. They were parents of four children, the youngest of whom died in infancy. Our subject is the only one of the family now living; George C. died in Vermont some years ago; and Francis T. died on the 2nd of September, 1890, of heart disease, in Rochester, Vt. He was then seventy-two years of age and was one of the most prominent and leading citizens of that community. His popularity was due to his upright life which won him the respect of all with whom he came in contact. He filled various offices of trust in the county and his public and private career were alike above reproach. He became a well-to-do citizen, which leaves his family in comfortable circumstances. A wife, four children and his brother Charles were left to mourn the loss of one who had never forfeited a claim to their affection, but had bound himself to them by closer ties of love as the years rolled along. His memory will ever be cherished by the brother left behind, until he too shall have crossed the dark river.

Mr. Mosher spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native county, whence he came directly to Van Buren County, Iowa. Having previously attained to mature years, he chose as a helpmate on life's journey Miss Caroline T. Whiting, their union being celebrated in July, 1850. The lady was born November 16, 1832, and was a daughter of Stephen A. and Rebecca (Morris) Whiting. Seven children were born unto them, four sons and three daughters, namely: Napoleon, Charles, George, Frank, Eunice, wife of George W. Gillson; Rebecca and Carrie. After a happy wedded life of thirty-six years Mrs. Mosher passed away in 1886, dying of consumption. Mr. Mosher was married the second time, to Lutherie Cutler Hervey, in November, 1887, and in whom he finds a most agreeable companion and helpmate. 

As before stated, on his arrival in this county Mr. Mosher purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land in Jackson Township, and the following year purchased an adjoining eighty acre-tract. To this he has added from time to time as his financial resources have increased, until he is now one of the most extensive landowners of the county, his possessions aggregating seven hundred and sixty acres, the greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation and finely improved. In connection with general farming he is also engaged in stock-raising, which branch of his business has proved very profitable, he keeping from thirty to forty head of horses, from forty to fifty head of cattle, and seven hundred head of sheep of the medium breed. He is a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, and in politics is a Republican when questions of State or national importance are brought up for settlement, but at local elections he votes for the man who he thinks will best fill the office. Mr. Mosher is an independent thinker. He arrives at conclusions unbiased by the judgment of others, but independently determines each question for himself after careful consideration. To others he allows the same privilege, and although he may differ radically on many points, those opposing him recognize his fair and upright spirit and render him respect accordingly. 

Mr. Mosher, though not a soldier, was one of the most active supporters of the Union cause. He was a member of a home company known as the "True Blues," whose object was to guard the interests of the Union at home. Mr. Mosher was the Captain of the company.

CHARLES LLOYD MOSS, proprietor of the Birmingham saw and grist mill, is a business man of many years experience who by industry, enterprise and perseverance has made his way in the world and acquired a reputation for honesty and fair dealing. He was born in Cheshire, New Haven County, Conn., May 7, 1831, and is a son of Titus and Bedie (Doolittle) Moss. The family is of Scottish origin, and was established in New Haven County, Conn., prior to the Revolutionary War, by ancestry from Scotland. The family name is spelled in no less than four ways, Moss, Moose, Mors and Morse. The latter seems to be the spelling usually adopted. The grandfather, Joel Morse, was a lumberman and a woolen manufacturer of Cheshire, at which place Titus Morse was born in 1799. He was reared in his father's factory and on reaching manhood married Miss Doolittle of Cheshire who belonged to one of the New England families. About 1827, they removed to Wayne County, N. Y., where he followed the noble pursuit of farming. There his wife died in the prime of womanhood being about twenty-six years of age. Afterward, having married Mrs. Almira Sanford, nee Barker, Mr. Morse emigrated with his family to Kalamazoo County, Mich., in 1833, but after a residence of four years in that locality, they sought a home in Van Buren County, Iowa, arriving at their destination on the 8th of May, 1837. The father purchased a claim of three hundred and twenty acres lying three-fourths of a mile southwest of Birmingham, from James G. Richie, and as soon as the land came into market secured a patent from the Government. In the early day of their arrival, nature wore her most primitive robes, the broad prairies had not been upturned by the plow, nor had the woodman's ax awakened the echoes of the forest. The few people of the settlement were very widely scattered and in true pioneer style they lived. Though not surrounded by the luxuries which we to-clay possess, their lives were fully as happy and joyous, for a feeling of brotherliness existed among neighbors which is almost unheard of to-day and the pleasures were participated in by all with the heartiest enjoyment. Mr. Morse and his first wife were members of the Episcopal Church. but after his second marriage he joined the Methodist Church, in which Mrs. Almira Morse held membership, and in which he became an active worker, being Class-Leader for many years. He was liberal to the extent of his means in the support of church and charitable work and was ever ready to speak a word of encouragement ox extend a helping hand to those less prospered than himself. Politically, he was a Democrat until the rise of the Republican party, to the principles of which he ever afterward adhered. He died in Birmingham at the age of fifty-six years and his wife at the age of sixty-six years. Two sons, Charles Lloyd and James, were children of the first marriage and by the second there were born Reuben, who died in 1839, being the first white person who died in this vicinity; Mary, who became the wife of William T. Winner and died in Fairfield; Martha. wife of William Thompson who resides in Fairfield. 

Until he had attained his majority, C. L. Moss worked for his parents, receiving such educational advantages as the district schools afforded, but when he had attained to man's estate he started out in life for himself, hiring out to a farmer in the neighborhood who paid him the munificent sum of $75 a year in return for his services. By a marriage ceremony solemnized on the 4th of April, 1843, Miss Hannah Barnes became his wife. She was a native of Ohio, but in childhood came to Van Buren County with her parents who were among its pioneer settlers. 

The young couple began their domestic life upon a rented farm but after a time Mr. Moss laid aside agricultural pursuits and engaged in merchandising in Birmingham, from which business he turned his attention to buying and shipping stock. In 1850, he drove a team across the plains to California, reaching his destination after four months of travel. For a year and a half he remained on the Pacific Slope selling miners' supplies at Rough and Ready, Nevada County, Cal. Returning by the way of the Isthmus of Panama and the Mississippi River, he reached Birmingham in 1851, some $5,000 better off than when he started. Soon after his return, in company with E. Pitkin, and J. T. Guinn, he built a large flouring mill at Birmingham to be run by the same power as the sawmill which was already in operation. Things were moving along nicely and the business prospered until 1854, when the entire structure was burned to the ground but the gentlemen of the firm, with characteristic energy, began to rebuild before the smoke had ceased rising from the ruins. After a time, Mr. Moss became sole proprietor of the mill, which he has owned and operated alone continuously since. The grinding department and that devoted to the manufacture of lumber are now in operation and therein is done an extensive business. This is recognized as one or the leading industries of Birmingham but other enterprises have also occupied the attention of Mr. Moss. In 1856, he was one of the firm that erected the Birmingham Woolen Mill and in 1871, he put in operation a cheese factory. It will thus be seen that he has taken an active part in the building up of the manufacturing interests of Birmingham. His sawmill never stands idle, but through that agency he has furnished a vast amount of timber for the Des Moines Valley, for the Rock Island and for the Chicago, Ft. Madison & Des Moines Railroads, whereby employment is furnished to some thirty-five hands. It is safe to say that he has given work to more laboring men than all the rest of the city. He himself has always been a hard working man, has done an extensive business and has made a prominent place for himself among the prominent citizens of the community who have won respect and confidence by their honorable dealings and fair transactions. The work of the day is not written down at the time but is recorded in his memory and after the labors of the day are done he retires to rest and about two o'clock rises to record the business of the past day. 

Mr. Moss was the first man who shipped hogs from west of the Mississippi River. In December, 1856, he shipped from Rome, Iowa, then the terminus of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, a lot of fat hogs, intending to take them to New York if he could not sell them at a profit this side of that city. He had 1.837 head and the train was run as a special all the way to New York and drawn to Chicago with two locomotives. He unloaded at Chicago but could not sell. After feeding and resting them one clay he loaded them and shipped to Cleveland, Ohio, where he unloaded and fed and spent another clay. From there he shipped to Buffalo, N. Y.. where he unloaded them and remained a week. Not finding a profitable market he proceeded to New York. The market rose and he sold out at a price that netted him upwards of $2,000 clear profit after all expenses were paid. The event caused quite a stir among the stock dealers of that city, and at the opening of the Miles House (a drover's hotel) on 44th Street, which took place while he was in the city, Mr. Moss was invited and made the principal guest of the occasion and had to make a speech for them. Horace Greeley sent Mr. Robinson, a representative of the Tribune to interview Mr. Moss, and published an account of man and journey, eulogistic of his pluck and enterprise. 

The union of Mr. and Mrs. Moss has been blessed with eight children — Mary, wife of Joel Moss a resident of Montana; Thomas, a lumberman of Missouri; Edgar, a stock dealer of Fairfield; Sylvester, twin brother of Edgar, who died at the age of two years; Abbie, wife of E. J. Honshel, President of Holton College, of Chicago; Albert and Charles, lumber dealers of Missouri; and Kittie, wife of J. E. Paxton, of Butte City, Mont. Mr. and Mrs. Moss have also twelve grandchildren. This worthy couple, members of the Methodist Church, are active workers in the Master's vineyard and give liberally and cheerfully for the advancement of any interest whereby the cause of Christ may be advanced. Politically, he is a Republican, but has never sought for official distinction, the only office which he has held being that of Mayor of Birmingham. Though nearly seventy years of age, Mr. Moss has as steady nerves as a man of twenty-five. He has never used tobacco or strong drinks and has even abstained from tea and coffee. This, no doubt is, in a great measure, the reason for his wonderful strength both physical and mental. He has lived an exemplary life and the youth of to-day might well take his record as a guide, which will point him on, like a beacon star, to success and honor in the future.

URIEL NEAL is numbered among the honored pioneers of Van Buren County, dating his residence from 1836, and for fifty-four years he has resided upon his present farm in Bonaparte Township. He was born in Boone County, Ky., October 11, 1810, and is a son of John and Susan (Ricketts) Neal, who at a very early day settled in Kentucky, where was born unto them a family of five children, only two of whom are now living --Abell a resident of Ft. Madison, Iowa; and Uriel of this sketch. The parents came to Iowa in 1836 and spent the remainder of their lives in Van Buren County. but many years have now passed since they were called to their final home. Mr. Neal was a farmer and from the wild land in this section developed a fine farm which supplied him with all the comforts of life. In politics, he gave his support to the Democratic party. 

Our subject was reared and educated in his native county and when a young man accompanied his parents to Dearborn County, Ind., where in 1832, he led to the marriage altar Miss Catherine Brokaw, a native of Pennsylvania. Their union was blessed by an only daughter — Rachel M. 

Fifty-four years have passed since Mr. Neal and his wife came to Van Buren County and great have been the changes which time and the honored pioneers have wrought. They saw on their arrival broad acres of uncultivated land which was then a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. Few indeed were the settlements which had previously been made, the cities of Fairfield and Keosauqua had not then been founded and the work of civilization seemed scarcely begun. They settled on what is now one of the best farms in the community and it was not then an unfrequent sight to see the red men pass and repass on their way to and from Keokuk, while their camp fires gleamed red along the river banks. Almost entirely cut off from the outside world the settlers were dependent upon one another for company and entertainment, and many a worthy pioneer now looks back with a sigh of regret to think that those days when intercourse was free and hospitality unlimited, have passed away. But years rolled along and changes came. The log cabins were replaced by commodious residences, towns and villages sprang up, churches and schools were built and transformation at length obliterated nearly all the landmarks of the pioneer days. Like many others, Mr. Neal was dependent upon the labors of his hands for support. When the expenses of his journey to this State were paid he had but fifty cents remaining, yet youthful hopes supplemented his energy and industry and encouraged him to renewed effort when the days looked darkest. The furniture in the pioneer home was very crude, as for example, a dry-goods box was used as a table or perhaps the door was taken from its hinges and served the same purpose. Their milling was done in Missouri and their groceries were obtained in Lexington but the prosperity which attends untiring effort came to Mr. Neal, and he is now the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and two acres. 

In politics, Mr. Neal is a Democrat and has served as Justice of the Peace and other township offices. In his religious views he is liberal and neither is he connected with civic societies. He and his worthy wife have travelled life's journey together for fifty-eight years, sharing with each other its joys and sorrows, adversity and prosperity. The end of the journey is probably near at hand, but in looking backward they need feel no regret, for their lives have been worthily spent.

WILLIAM W. NELSON, M. D., has for thirty years been successfully engaged in the practice of medicine in this community. His home is in Birmingham. He was born on November 30, 1834, in Wayne County, Ohio, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Wilson) Nelson. His father was born in Mercer County, Pa., December 5, 1790, and was descended from Irish ancestry. He served in the War of 1812, and in Pennsylvania, he married Miss Elizabeth Wilson, who was born in Ireland, May 25, 1791, and who, in her childhood accompanied her parents to this country and located in Pennsylvania. Soon after their marriage they removed in 1817, to Wayne County, Ohio, near Rowsburg, where Mr. Nelson engaged in farming until 1836, when he removed to Richland County, (now Ashland) and located on a farm near Savannah until 1845, when he traded his land in that locality for a tract in Washington Township, Van Buren County, Iowa, to which he then removed. He was a Whig, afterward an Abolitionist and in turn became a Republican. Both he and his wife were members of the Associate Presbyterian Church, but afterward joined the United Presbyterian. He died September 24, 1860, and Mrs. Nelson passed away on the 7th of October, 1858. In their family were nine children, of whom seven lived to be adults, while three are yet living — Hugh, a farmer of Van Buren County; Ann, widow of Joseph Dawson, of Washington County, Iowa, and the Doctor. 

Our subject is the youngest of the family. Having attended the district schools, he was not content to consider his education then finished but through his own resources acquired the means by which he was enabled to attend Washington College for two years. His taste lay in the line of medical practice and in 1857, he went to Wooster, Ohio, where he read medicine with Drs. Day & Wilson. During the winter of 1858-9, he attended a course of lectures in the medical department of the Iowa State University at Keokuk, and the following year completed a course of study in the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated March 12, 1860, although he has continued a student up to the present time, keeping himself well informed on all matters pertaining to the profession, its discoveries and the advancement made in the science. 

Soon after his graduation, Dr. Nelson was united in marriage on March 20, 1860, with Miss Almira Matthews, a native of Lawrence County, Pa., born July 22, 1839. Immediately after he returned with his bride to Van Buren County, locating in Pierceville, in the summer of 1860, where they began their domestic life. On the 19th of August, 1862, he was commissioned by Gov. Kirkwood as First Assistant Surgeon of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, and mustered into service by Lieut. Charles J. Ball of the Thirteenth Infantry, United States mustering officer, September 14, 1862, at Keokuk. He joined his regiment at Iuka, Miss., but soon afterward was taken with malarial fever and lay in the general hospital at Corinth, Miss., some three weeks, suffering severely, and recovering, he then rejoined his regiment at Grand Junction, Tenn. In the spring of 1863, he was ordered to take charge of a smallpox hospital at Lake Province, La., by order of Gen. McPherson. After a month he was relieved and placed in charge of the Sixth Division Pioneer Corps, commanded by Capt. Davis, of the Thirty-second Illinois Infantry. Returning to his regiment in August, 1863, he had charge of the sick of the brigade when the regiments went on the march to Monroe, La. After a short sickness and an absence, on furlough, of twenty days, given by Gen. Grant at Vicksburg, he rejoined his regiment and had charge of two companies detached for duty at the arsenal near Vicksburg, and also had charge of a pioneer corps and engineer regiment commanded by Capt. John Wilson. He remained with the above command until the spring of 1864, when he was placed in charge of non-veterans and recruits of the Iowa Brigade, and had charge of this detachment until their respective commands joined them near Huntsville, Ala., when he was placed in charge of the Third Iowa Veteran Infantry, with which he remained until it was consolidated with the Second Veteran Infantry near Jones' Plantation, Ga., on Sherman's march to the sea. Thereafter, the Doctor rejoined his regiment and from December 22, 1864, until he was mustered out he was the only medical officer with the command. He participated in the battles of Corinth, Vicksburg, Atlanta, and Bentonsville, and the Grand Review at Washington, D. C., May 24, 1865, and was mustered out with his regiment at Louisville, Ky., July 24, 1865, at the close of the war. In the fall of the same year, the Doctor located in Birmingham, where he has since been successfully engaged in the practice of his chosen profession, with the exception of 1874, when with his family he visited the Pacific coast in the pursuit of health and returned the following year. He has a good record as a physician and surgeon, as is indicated by a liberal patronage. He holds the office of Secretary of the United States Pension Examining Board, of his county, is a Republican in polities and the owner of two hundred and twenty acres of improved land. Unto himself and wife were born seven children of whom two died in infancy. Those living are as follows: Meldon W., a farmer of Lick Creek Township, Van Buren County; Nettie X.; Minnie A., wife of Allen B. Adams, of Selma; Audley E. and Mary L., who are students at Parsons College. The family holds a high position in the social world and the Doctor has won a like enviable rank in the medical fraternity. In religious sentiment the Doctor and his wife are independent, and anti sectarian. 

Mrs. Nelson's grandfather, Jacob Matthews, was born in Maryland, in 1775. His ancestors were of Alsace; France, or of German descent. He married Miss Mary Boyl, who was born in Ireland, and their family consisted of three children. one son and two daughters. At an early day they moved to Lawrence County, Pa., and located on a farm near Edenburg. He served in the War of 1812, and died at the age of eighty-four. His only son, Phillip Matthews, Mrs. Nelson's father, married Miss Nancy Book, of the same county. Their family consisted of ten children, two sons and eight daughters. One son and two daughters died in childhood. The other son, George B. Matthews, Mrs. Nelson's remaining brother, served four years in the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, and was killed in the battle of the Wilderness. One sister died at maturity, and three still survive.

JOHN NELSON NORRIS, M. D., a leading physician and surgeon of Van Buren County residing in Birmingham, was born in Steuben County, N. Y., June 7, 1816, and is a son of James and Hettie (Hyatt) Norris. The family is of German origin. Shadrach Norris, the grandfather of our subject, emigrated from Germany to this country and settled in New Jersey. His wife was a native of County Antrim, Ireland. After their marriage they removed to Steuben County, N. Y. The father of the Doctor was born in New Jersey, in 1784, He served his country in the War of 1812, and after his return from the army was married in Steuben County, in 1815, to Miss Hyatt who was born in the same county in 1790, and came of pure English stock. He was a farmer by occupation but at the time of his death which occurred in 1829, he was working at contracting on the Ohio canal. His wife died some six years later in the faith of the Baptist Church, of which she was a member. In political sentiments, Mr. Norris was a supporter of Democratic principles. In their family were four children, of whom three are yet living — Rebecca, widow of Isaac Young, a resident of Albany, Ore.; John Nelson of this sketch, and Weltha, widow of Dr. William Miller, also residing in Albany, Ore. 

The days of his boyhood and youth our subject spent upon a farm and in the common schools of that day acquired a good English education. However, not desiring to follow the pursuit to which he had been reared, he left the parental roof and bidding good-by to home and friends started out in life to make his own way in the world. The first pursuit to which he turned his attention was that of clerking, being employed in a store at Millersburg, Ohio. He conceived the idea of making the practice of medicine his life work and during his leisure hours gave his time to the study of that science. In 1837, he and his brother-in-law, Dr. William Miller, came to Iowa, and in February of 1838, located adjoining the site of the present town of Birmingham, which has since grown up around them. They built a cabin of hickory poles which they adorned with a stick chimney and though the roof served well in dry weather it proved hardly adequate in the rainy season. The Doctor was his own cabinet maker; with auger and ax he constructed a bed which at least possessed one admirable quality, that of strength. Soon after arriving, Dr. Miller and his wife were taken sick and Dr. Norris, being an "all around man" served as housekeeper, nurse, doctor and cook. To fill the last position required no little ingenuity. They had brought a sack of meal with them but it had got wet and spoiled and he therefore had to improvise a grater and provide the bread stuff. Salt was wanting but he boiled salt beef bones and thus obtained the much desired article. Stagnant pond water was not very palatable but who cared for that when with one stroke of the bucket you could drive the scum away and scare the tadpoles to the bottom. Is it any wonder that a person who could find some way to surmount such obstacles as this should succeed in professional life. The Doctor was blessed with a liberal patronage from the first. He would often have to drive twenty or twenty-five miles to visit a patient and became known all over the county. Having practiced until 1854, he was graduated from the medical department of the State University, then at Keokuk. Twenty-two students have prepared themselves for college under his instruction; he has been very successful in surgery, having cut out some twenty-two tumors and has had an extensive and successful course of practice on the eyes, patients coming to him from different States to receive treatment. 

On July 26, 1842, Dr. Norris was united in marriage with Miss Margaretta S. Culbertson, a native of Ohio, and unto them were born two children — Hettie F., widow of C. M. Selvey, and Samuel C. who served in the Third Iowa Cavalry during the late war. He was taken prisoner near Memphis, Tenn., and then sent to Andersonville, where he remained in captivity for four months. He died in 1871, from the effects of prison life. The mother of these children was called to her final rest in September, 1847. The Doctor was again married October 26, 1848, the lady of his choice being Barbara Miller, who was born in Highland County, Ohio, December 22, 1823, and came to this county among its early settlers. Their union has been blessed with six children — Izora M., wife of John S. Ragsdale, a druggist of Birmingham ; John M. who died when about two years old ; Dr. W. Pitt, who for some sixteen years has been a partner of his father, and Dr. Jay C. who has shared in their business for some seven years. 

In early life, Dr. Norris supported the Whig party until the rise of the Abolition party. On the organization of the Republican party he joined its ranks but within the past fifteen years he has been independent, voting alone for the man who he thinks will best fill the position. Religiously, he grasps the broad idea of the brotherhood of all Christians, making the test of fellowship, loyalty to Christ. The Doctor has the honor of having aided in laying out the town of Birmingham and giving it its name. In 1839 John Harrison took a claim on which the city now stands. The Doctor after much argument and many promises of assistance induced Mr. Harrison to make the venture of founding the town and the result shows that his ideas were correct. He has witnessed its growth, has been identified with its advancement and has done not a little for its upbuilding. For fifty-one years he has been engaged in the practice of medicine in Van Buren County, during which he has won a reputation equal to any in this section and as a true student still keeps himself well informed concerning the progressive movement of the science.

EDMUND R. NORVELL, one of the early settlers of Jefferson County, engaged in farming on section 32, Buchanan Township, is a native of Kentucky. He was born on the 6th of September, 1835, in Barren County, and is a son of Edmund and Anna K. (Winn) Norvell. His father, whose birth occurred near Lynchburg, Va., emigrated during his boyhood to Barren County, Ky., where he became acquainted with and wedded Miss Winn, who was born in that county on the 15th of August, 1812. He died when about twenty-five years of age from hemorrhage of the lungs caused by lifting at a log rolling. About 1838, the mother with our subject, her only child, accompanied her brother to Carthage, Ill., and in 1840, she came to Van Buren County, where she afterward married Charles L. Cox, who had located in Van Buren County, in 1838. Three years later they came to Jefferson County, settling in Cedar Township. Mrs. Cox, who was a member of the Missionary Baptist, Church, died on the 1st of September, 1887. Mr. Cox, who was born in Adair County, Ky., November 16, 1817, and is a member of the Christian Church, is still living. 

Edmund R. Norvell, of whom we write, spent his early life in the usual manner of farmer lads, receiving such educational advantages as were afforded in the old log school house, walking a distance of two and a half miles to the same. He remained at home aiding in the labors of the farm until he had attained his majority when he started out in life for himself. It was his intention to follow some other pursuit than that to which he had been reared and for some eighteen months he read law in the office of Judge Charles Negus, but health failed him and he was forced to abandon his cherished plan. In the summer of 1859, in company with David Thompson and Ellis Woods he made a journey to Colorado, locating near Central City, where he engaged in mining for about two years. He spent a part of the summer of 1860 in prospecting in Southern Colorado and New Mexico, but since his return to Jefferson County in the spring of 1861, he has devoted his time and attention to farming, meeting with excellent success. His farm comprises two hundred and sixty acres, all but twenty of which are arable and it is furnished with all the necessary buildings and stocked with a high grade of horses and cattle, including a herd of eight thorough-bred Short-horns. 

A marriage ceremony performed near Pittsburg, Pa., on the 8th of February, 1864, united the destinies of Mr. Norvell and Miss Leonora Shearer, who was born in Pennsylvania, February 2, 1840. She accompanied her parents to Jefferson County in 1858, and was visiting in her native State at the time of her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Norvell began their domestic life upon the farm which is still their home and their union has been blessed with four children — Anna, who is now the wife of Jesse Van Nostrand, a resident of Thomas County, Kan.; Charles S. and Amanda C., who are still with their parents; and Mary, the youngest, who died at the age of four years. 

Mr. Norvell is accounted one of the leading and representative citizens of the community in which he makes his home and well deserves representation among the prominent men of his adopted county. In his political affiliations in early life he was a Whig, but on the dissolution of that party joined the ranks of the Democracy. He served acceptably for seven years as Township Clerk. Mr. Norvell may rightly be termed a self-made man, as his possessions which place him in comfortable circumstances have been acquired through his own efforts. For half a century he has been a resident of Iowa, and forty-seven years he has spent in Jefferson County. He is one of the original members of the Old Settlers Society and is both widely and favorably known.

WILLIAM R. PARKER, a representative of one of the pioneer families of Van Buren County, residing in Birmingham, was born in Keosauqua, August 12, 1852, his parents being George and Hannah C. (Calhoun) Parker. His father, a native of Lewis County, W. Va., was born December 22, 1814, and having remained tinder the parental roof until 1835, he went to Illinois, where he remained some time. Eleven years later, he made his appearance in Van Buren County, Iowa. He was without capital, yet by splitting rails, digging wells, etc., he succeeded in accumulating a small sum, with which he began merchandising in a log store in Birmingham. Business at that time was done in a very primitive way. The proposed purchase of a barrel of molasses would he announced before hand and on its arrival all would be there with their jugs, waiting to be supplied. He continued in business until the war and in that way became widely known throughout the community. In 1851-52, he was County Treasurer and during his term of office lived in Keosauqua. He helped hew the logs for the first county jail and in other was was connected with the early history of the community. Mr. Parker was married on the 23d of December, 1847, and from that time until his death devoted himself to his family and the advancement of their interests. His wife was born December 25, 1825, and like her husband was an active and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which they also made liberal contributions in money. His beneficence however did not extend to the church alone, but also to the poor and afflicted. He died in June, 1888. Thus another pioneer, whose life was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact, passed away. His wife still survives him. In their family were five children, but only two of the number are now living — William R. and Jesse F. 

The subject of this sketch has spent his entire life in Van Buren County, and was educated at the Birmingham schools and at Bailey's Commercial College, from which he graduated. At the age of eighteen years he began life for himself and since that time has been dependent upon his own resources. He was then quite young for such an undertaking, but he purchased the Birmingham Enterprise and after running it alone for six months he took as a partner C. L. Sheward. Together they operated the paper successfully for twelve years, at the end of which time, on account of failing health, Mr. Parker sold out to his partner. Having disposed of his interest in business, he took a trip to California where he spent the winter. Shortly after his return he went to Pennsylvania, where for a paper published in Beaver Falls, he acted as city solicitor until he was taken sick and brought home. 

On the 10th of June, 1877, in Birmingham, Mr. Parker was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary J. Randall, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Capt. William Randall, who was killed in the war. She belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church and is the leading milliner of Birmingham, having carried on a store for four years. Her exquisite taste which is an important factor in the selection of goods, together with her pleasant and affable manner, makes her a favorite with the ladies and has brought her an excellent trade. 

In political sentiment, Mr. Parker is a Republican. He is engaged in mercantile pursuits being senior member of the firm of Parker and Cramer, who carry a large stock of general merchandise, and is also interested in the dairy business, having engaged in that pursuit, in company with his brother since the spring of 1890. They own sixty head of cows which are pastured upon their four hundred and thirty-five acre farm. As a citizen, he cheerfully performs every duty devolving upon him and as a business man of enterprise, as well as a representative of one of the pioneer families of the community, he is deserving a representation in this volume.

BENJAMIN PENNINGTON, a harness-maker of Milton, Van Buren County, and one of the leading citizens of that place, was born in Kent County, Del., April 25, 1826, and is a son of Benjamin and Ann (Wilson) Pennington. His father died when he was quite young and with his mother and step-father he removed to Franklin County, Ind., when a lad of nine years. He remained in that county until 1844, which year witnessed his arrival in Van Buren County, where the greater part of his life has since been passed. In the month of January, 1852, he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Cowger who was born in Rush County, Ind., in 1829. They have five children, two sons and three daughters — William George married Sarah Stall and is living in Colorado Springs, Col.; Thomas F. wedded Mary Lavel and is living in Green Mountain Falls, Col.; Clara, is the wife of Michael O'Connell, of Milton; Martha, is the wife of Frank Humphrey, a jeweler of Milton; and Addie is at home. 

About 1854, Mr. Pennington removed to Davis County, Iowa, where he was engaged in farming for almost a quarter of a century. He came to Milton in 1878 and turned his attention to other pursuits. He had previously learned the carpenter's trade and now devoted himself to that business until February, 1884, when he purchased a harness shop, since which time harness making has been the means employed whereby to gain a livelihood. He is an expert workman as will be indicated by the fact that in the same year in which he embarked in business he made a set of harness which took the premium at the fair held that autumn. Since he began business in that line, Joseph Spencer has been associated with him in business as a partner. They have the only harness shop in the city and have secured a flourishing trade, their liberal patronage yielding them a good income. Mr. Pennington is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; in political sentiment he is a supporter of the Democracy and socially, a member of Lone Star Lodge, No. 155, I. O. O. F. of Milton.

GEORGE PENNINGTON, an early settler of Van Buren County, who for thirty-three years has held the office of Justice of the Peace, is now a resident of Milton. Delaware is the State of his nativity. He was born in Kent County, September 30, 1823, and is a son of Benjamin and Ann (Wilson) Pennington, who were also natives of the same county. The father died in Delaware in early life, after which the mother became the wife of William Russell. The family removed to Rush County, Ind., in 1835, and some years later to Franklin County, where the subject of this sketch was reared on a farm and received a common-school education. He was married on the 24th of September, 1843, in Franklin County, Ind., the lady of his choice being Miss Casander Amos, daughter of Ditto Amos, and a native of Kentucky. One child, a daughter, was born unto them — Mary Adeline, who died aged three years, in this county. 

In April, 1846, Mr. Pennington came to Iowa and settled in Jackson Township, Van Buren County, and engaged in farming. During his residence there his wife died on the 24th of July, 1848, and on the 1st of August, 1850, he was again married, to Miss Mary M. Mowre, daughter of David and Sarah Mowre. She was born in Kentucky in February, 1834; during her girlhood accompanied her parents to Indiana, and in 1848 came to Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Pennington are pa-rents of the following children: David Benjamin, the eldest, died at the age of eight months; Sarah Ann resides with her parents; Mary Frances is the wife of Samuel A. McCombs, of Milton; Charlotte E. is the wife of Oscar Smith, a resident of Fairfield, Iowa; Amanda J. wedded A. H. Dodge, who is living in Bloomfield, Iowa; George Sherman married Miss Kate Gilfillan, and resides in Milton; Charles E. is single, and is now located in Centerville, Iowa; Cora Belle, the youngest, is unmarried and yet makes her home with her parents. 

In 1867, Mr. Pennington left the farm and removed to Milton, where he engaged in hotel keeping with good success for a number of years. He was elected Justice of the Peace in 1851, immediately after the first code of the State was enacted, and was reelected from term to term, having for the past forty years, with the exception of six terms, held the office continuously. He is now serving in the same position, his time not expiring until 1891. He has served more years in the office of Justice than any man in Van Buren County, and more acceptably — a fact indicated by his long retention in the position and by the large majorities which he receives at the elections. His views on political subjects are in support of the principles of the Democratic party. Other local offices he has frequently filled. He was at one time the candidate of his party for the position of Sheriff, and received the flattering home endorsement of one hundred and six votes out of one hundred and forty-six cast in the precinct, although defeated by an adverse party majority in the county. Mr. Pennington served as Notary Public many years; has held the office of sub-district Treasurer of his township, and is now Secretary of the independent school district of Milton. He has also assessed the city of Milton ever since it was incorporated as a city, and is now entering upon a new term in that position, and has assessed the township several times. He is a member of Jackson Lodge, No. 28, K. P., and he and his wife, with several of their children, are members of the Methodist Church. Mr. Pennington is a genial and affable man, whose sound judgment and upright and impartial discharge of duty have won for him the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens.

JOSEPH F. PERKINS is one of the substantial farmers and stock-raisers of Van Buren County, his home being in Bonaparte. In presenting his sketch to the readers of the ALBUM we record not only the life of an honorable pioneer but also that of a self-made man whose example of industry, enterprise and zeal can hardly be excelled. He overcame the difficulties caused by limited education, surmounted the barriers of poverty and working his way upward, step by step, at length reached a position of affluence.

Mr. Perkins was born in Pocahontas County, Va., July 21, 1816, and belonged to a family numbering four sons and four daughters, the parents being Francis and Mary Perkins, who were also natives of the Old Dominion. Elizabeth, his eldest sister died in California; Joseph, is the second in order of birth; Robert, makes his home in California: William died in Van Buren County; Dorathea became the wife of B. F. Myer. and died in Oregon; Eveline, widow of Charles Flowers, is living in California; George W., makes his home in New Castle, Cal,; Rebecca, is the wife of George W. Cavitt who is living near Sacramento City; and Mary Frances died in Virginia in youth. In 1843 Mr. Perkins came with his family to Van Buren County, but his death occurred three years later. In politics he was a Jackson Democrat and served as Clerk of the court in his native State. During the War of 1812 he entered the service but while on his way to the front, hostilities were brought to a close. After the death of her husband Mrs. Perkins went to California where she spent her last days.

The subject of this sketch, Joseph F. Perkins, was reared, until seventeen years of age, in his native State and as his family were in limited circumstances his educational advantages were not of the best. Experience and observation, however, have been to him excellent teachers and he has stored away a fund of useful information, practical in character, which he would probably not have acquired had he been enabled to attend school more regularly. In 1832, at the time of the Black Hawk War, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, but cholera was prevalent in the city at that time and he continued on to Lima, Ind. On his twentieth birthday, the 13th of June, 1836, he arrived in Van Buren County, which then formed a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. At that time the entire State was but little inhabited and its bright future could have never been been dreamed of, much less realized. In fact, it was thought to be almost beyond the borders of civilization. Such men as Mr. Perkins, who were among the early comers and bore the hardships and privations of pioneer life, laid the foundation for its present prosperity and to them we owe unbounded gratitude. The land was unsurveyed and in Van Buren County there were only a few houses, situated along the river. Mr. Perkins made a claim in Farmington Township, near Bonaparte, and when the land came into market went to Burlington in 1839 and secured the title, paying $1.25 per acre for sixty-three acres, which he made by working for William Meek at seventy-five cents per day. To this he has since added by subsequent purchase until now a highly cultivated farm of four hundred acres pays a golden tribute to the care and labor which he bestows upon it. The entire amount is under fence and there are seen all modern improvements.

Mr. Perkins has been twice married. The year succeeding his arrival in this county he was joined in wedlock with Miss Eliza Maxwell and unto them were born two children who lived to adult age, namely: Mary F., wife of John B. Edwards, a resident of Bonaparte; and Joseph W., who makes his home in Ketchum, Idaho. The death of the mother occurred in 1844 and for a second wife Mr. Perkins chose Miss Eliza Myers. Their union was blessed with seven children, four of whom are living -- Sarah, who married Andrew Petrie of Van Buren County; Robert who died at the age of twenty-four years; 'William, of Van Buren County; James, who is engaged in farming: Jane deceased wife of Thomas B. Johnson; Ellen, who married Noah Moler; and Allen, who is also living in Van Buren County. Mrs. Perkins was called to her last rest in 1885 and her death was the occasion of deep regret on the part of many friends.

In connection with the cultivation of his land Mr. Perkins devotes considerable attention to stock-raising, making a specialty of horses. e has some very fine animals on his farm of the Norman Clyde and Morgan breeds. In political sentiment, Mr. Perkins is a Democrat, and a stanch supporter of party principles. Though seventy-five years of age he is fresh in appearance, active in movement and bright in intellect.

JOHN G. PETERSON, one of the extensive landowners and successful farmers of Van Buren County, resides on section 34, Jackson Township. With only one hundred and twenty acres of raw land with which to begin life, he has added to his capital, and just as the result of his thrift and enterprise seven hundred and sixty acres of arable land now pay tribute to his care and cultivation. 

The Peterson family is of Holland extraction and was founded in America during Colonial days by the great-grandfather of our subject, who settled in New Jersey. He was one of the first to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains and made a location at Cincinnati, Ohio, when that city was composed of only a few log huts. The father of our subject, Ralph Peterson, was horn in Adams County, Ohio, in 1808, and after attaining to mature years, in 1829, wedded Miss Mary Groves, who was left an orphan during her infancy. They continued to reside in the Buckeye State until 1835, when they became residents of Indiana, and in 1839 they located in Van Buren County, Iowa, where Mr. Peterson purchased one hundred and sixty acres of raw land. At the time of his death he was the owner of a fine farm of two hundred and twenty acres, and to all of his children he had given either money or land in order to furnish them with a good start in life. His death occurred in 1888, at the age of nearly eighty years, and his wife died in 1885. They were the parents of twelve children, three of whom died in infancy and two daughters in mature life. The rest of those who grew to mature years are still living, but the family is now widely scattered. Five brothers — Jacob R., William H., George A., Ralph B. and Edward A. are living in Sprink County, S. D., near Northville. 

John G. Peterson was born May 31, 1831, and is a representative of one of the pioneer families of Van Buren County. The date of their arrival was October 12, 1839, and they settled upon a farm four miles south of Keosauqua, where our subject was reared to manhood. On attaining to mature years he left the parental roof and started out in life for himself, his capital, as before stated, being one hundred and twenty acres of raw prairie land. With characteristic energy he improved this tract, transforming it into rich and fertile fields, and as his financial resources increased he made other judicious purchases from time to time, until his possessions now aggregate seven hundred and sixty acres. In addition to the cultivation of his farm, he is engaged in feeding cattle for the market, which branch of industry also yields him a good income. Mr. Peterson is a sagacious and far-sighted business man, and the success which has attended his efforts is the result of his own thrift, perseverance and good management, supplemented by correct business principles. 

In 1852 Mr. Peterson was united in marriage with Mary Jane Creath, but after a short wedded life of five years she was called to her final rest, dying in 1857. He was again married, in 1859, to Margaret E. Stemple, who was born in 1846. One child graces their union — Jennie, wife of Frank P. Blanchard, and has two children, Beulah and John G. In politics Mr. Peterson is a Republican and has served as Assessor but has never sought public office, preferring to devote his time and attention to his business interests, in which he has certainly met with excellent success. Without displaying egotism, he may justly be proud of his business career.

DANIEL C. PETTITT, dealer in farming implements at Birmingham, is another of the prominent business men of Van Buren County who deserves mention in this volume. As he is widely and favorably known the record of his life, which is as follows, will be received with interest by our readers. Clark County, Ind., was his birthplace and on the 17th of August, 1843, he first opened his eyes to the light of day. His father, George R. Pettitt, was born in Indiana, November 11, 1815, and his wife, whose maiden name was Martha J. Davis, and who was a native of Kentucky, was about two years his junior. Having married, they began their domestic life in Indiana, which continued to be their home until 1844, at which time they crossed the Mississippi into the Territory of Iowa. They located in Van Buren County and Mr. Pettitt is still a resident of Birmingham, but in 1883 he was called upon to mourn the death of his wife. 

Our subject is one of a family of three children. His early life was unmarked by any event of special importance, for midst play and work and in attending the district schools his boyhood days were spent. However, at the age of eighteen years he entered the service of his country. He had watched with interest the progress of events in the South but at the beginning of the war was too young to respond to the country's call for aid, but on the 9th of March, 1862, he enrolled his name among the boys in blue of Company H., Third Iowa Cavalry. The two following years were spent mostly in skirmishing in Missouri and Arkansas. While stationed at Mexico, Mo., Daniel and another boy went to get the former's horse which had run away, as they supposed, to a farm about two miles distant, but on reaching that place they learned that he had gone on some thirteen miles. Starting forward again, they met the rebel commander, Purcell, whom they did not know, and who told them where to find the horse. His directions proved correct, but while returning the lads found a squad of rebels in ambush. Without a word the enemy arose and fired. Both horses dropped dead and the boys started to run but almost in another moment Mr. Pettitt's comrade fell pierced by twelve bullets. Seeing that it was impossible to escape, he then surrendered without receiving a scratch. Afterwards he was paroled and started to join his command. While returning he met an ambulance containing two coffins which were for himself and friend, as his comrades had heard that both were dead and glad they were to find that one was not needed. On the 1st of January, 1864, Mr. Pettitt veteranized and was therefore granted a furlough. When the time had expired he went to Memphis, Tenn., where he was attached to A. J. Smith's corps and participated in the battles of Guntown, Tupelo and Oxford. He spent part of the winter in Louisville, Ky., and then, newly equipped, started on the Wilson raid, in which he took part in the engagements of Monte Valley, Plantersville, Selma and Columbus, Ga. He was mustered out at Atlanta and discharged August 20, 1865, at Davenport, after serving three years and eight months. 

When his country no longer needed his services Mr. Pettitt returned to Birmingham and for a short time engaged in the butchering and grocery business, after which, for some fourteen years, he devoted himself to freighting, his efforts in that line being attended with considerable success. He also dealt in walnut timber until 1886, when he engaged in his present business as a dealer in agricultural implements. Four years in that line have served to bring him a good trade, and his fair dealing and good business management have won him the confidence and respect of the community. 

On the 31st of October, 1867, Mr. Pettitt was joined in wedlock with Miss Sarah J. Deal, a native of Pennsylvania. One child was born unto them but died in infancy, but they have an adopted child, Iva M.  Mrs. Pettitt is a member of the Methodist Church. He is a Republican in politics and has served as Marshal, Constable and City Recorder. He is a member of the Old Settlers Society and an honored member of Perry A. Newell Post, No. 232, G. A. R. His social standing and business record make him one of the prominent and influential citizens of Birmingham.

PORTER PLEASANTS is the senior member of the hardware firm of P. & R. W. Pleasants. In presenting his sketch to the readers of the ALBUM, we record the life work of one of Birmingham's most enterprising citizens, whose business industry and energy have done not a little for the upbuilding of the city. 

The Pleasants family is of English extraction and was founded in America during the early days of Virginian history. The Goff family, from which our subject is descended on the maternal side, was one of the early families of Massachusetts and had its representatives in the Revolutionary War. The gun which the great-grandfather of our subject carried during that struggle is now in possession of Charles C. Pleasants, father of Porter, and is one of the cherished relics of the family. 

Mr. Pleasants is a Bostonian by birth, the date of his arrival in that city being 1812. When he was ten years of age, he was left an orphan and soon afterward was bound out to learn the ship carpenter's trade. With the son of his "boss," who was captain of a vessel, he went to sea, and believing that he was able to look after his own affairs, he left his master and for twelve years continued to follow that life. He arose to the position of mate, but not having education enough to permit further advancement, he left the ocean and worked at his trade on the Erie Canal. In Seneca County, N. Y., he married Miss Sarah A. Goff, who was born in that county in 1818. Believing that it would be for the interests of his family to make a home in the West, in 1855, he came to Van Buren County and for a time kept a hotel in Birmingham. Twenty-two years later he and his sons opened a hardware store in Birmingham which has been carried on by the family continuously since. In 1882, Porter and Richard W. became sole proprietors and are still the owners of the establishment. In the family were six children: George W., a ranchman and teacher of California; Porter, whose name heads this sketch; Charles H., a resident farmer, of Brown County, South Dak.; Eleanora, wife of G. B. Sapp of Illinois; Frances M., wife of Robert Fee, of California; and Richard W., Charles H. served two years in the late war as a member of the Fifth Iowa Infantry. 

To return to the history of our subject. He was born in Seneca County, N. Y., on the 25th of March, 1843, and was twelve years of age when he accompanied the family to the then far western state of Iowa. Four years later he was apprenticed to learn the cabinet trade but ere the completion of his term of service he enlisted for the late war, becoming a member of Company H, Fifth Iowa Infantry, the first company that went from Birmingham, in July, 1861. After operating under Fremont in Missouri, with Pope, the troops went to the capture of New Madrid and when that was accomplished proceeded up the Tennessee River to the siege of Corinth, where he was stationed during a greater part of the summer. Receiving his discharge in December, 1862, at Quincy, Ill., Mr. Pleasants returned to his home and finished learning his trade in Fairfield, after which he spent a year working at the same in Hannibal, Mo. In 1865, he crossed the plains to California, reaching after five months of travel, Virginia City, Nev., where he carried on operations as a millwright for about four years. In the meantime, the Pacific Railroad was constructed, and in 1869 he returned to Iowa by rail, but after a few months spent at home again traveled, but this time his course laid southward. He found work in New Orleans very scarce and soon the supply of means which he and his friend had brought with them was exhausted. But still no work. Mr. Pleasants then pawned some of his clothes, but the money thus obtained was also spent before work was secured. As they saw no opportunity for securing work at their trade, they shoveled dirt on the levee for a few days and then started for Jackson, Miss., making the entire distance one hundred and fifty miles, on foot. There occurred a change in his fortune and his efforts to secure employment were at last met with success. He erected a number of sawmills and became superintendent of the machinery in a planing mill. 

It was also in the South, that on Christmas Day of 1870, Mr. Pleasants was joined in wedlock with Miss Sarah Warner, who was born near Jackson, Miss., December 13, 1848. In 1872, they returned to Birmingham but soon afterwards went to Jacksonville, Ill., Mr. Pleasants hoping thereby to regain his health. In 1873, he went to Hannibal, Mo., where he followed his trade for a short time and in June we find him in St. Louis, where he remained until December, 1881. Again coming to Birmingham, he then became a partner in the hardware store of which he is now senior proprietor. His father was for some time a part owner but in 1882, the business was turned over to himself and brother, Richard W. The latter was born in Birmingham, September 12, 1859, and was reared and educated in the city schools. He entered the business in February, 1878, and with the exception of about two months has always been found behind the counter, strictly attending to the interests of the store. The firm of Pleasants Bros. is composed of two of the leading business men of Birmingham and the excellent trade which has come to them is justly merited. The senior partner is also a director in and secretary and superintendent of the Birmingham Butter and Cheese Manufacturing Company. He is a Republican in politics but Richard is a Democrat. The former has been honored with the office of Mayor of Birmingham, to which he was four times elected, and the latter has served as Councilman. Mrs. Pleasants is a member of the Christian Church and Mr. Pleasants holds membership with the Grand Army of the Republic. With no rich relatives or influential friends to aid him, he started out on foot from Birmingham after the war, with a capital of $1.50 in his pocket. Many discouragements and difficulties were encountered by him but pressing forward with indomitable energy and determined will he at length reached the goal of success. It takes push and thrift to succeed in this world, and when we know under what obstacles Mr. Pleasants labored we see that he must have had an abundance of those elements essential to prosperity.

ROBERT PRALL, who is engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 23, Des Moines, Township, Van Buren County, was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, August 7, 1832, and is of German, Irish and English descent. The founder of the Prall family in America was the grandfather of our subject, Thomas Prall, a gentleman of German birth who left his native land and emigrated to America in the early part of the eighteenth century. His son, Asa, father of our subject, was born in Pennsylvania where he grew to manhood and in 1828, wedded Asenath Botkin, also a native of the Keystone State. Her parents were Robert and Sarah Botkin, the former a native of Ireland and the latter of England. They came to America during Colonial days and settled in Greene County, Pa., where they continued to make their home until called from this life. For two years after his marriage Mr. Prall and his wife continued in Pennsylvania but the year 1830 witnessed their removal to Ohio. He was a farmer by occupation and followed that pursuit in Morgan County until 1842, when accompanied by wife and children he went to Clark County, Ind. Ten years were there spent and in the winter of 1852 he went to Van Buren County, Iowa, where he purchased a partially improved farm. At once beginning the work of improvement he soon had a comfortable home, which continued to be his shelter from the storms of life until 1880, when he was called to his final rest. His wife who had proved to him a true helpmate, survived her husband some six years. Their family once numbered ten children, of whom the following are now living — Thomas, who is married and resides in Des Moines Township, Van Buren County; Robert, of this sketch; Cornelius, who is married and makes his home in Coles County, Ill.; Mrs. Sarah Bradford, of Schuyler County, Mo.; Mrs. Matilda Fowler, of Harper County, Kan.; and C. C. who is married and living in Ringgold County, Iowa. 

In the usual manner of farmer lads our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and in the common schools of Ohio and Indiana he acquired his education. On attaining to mature years, he left the parental roof and began life for himself. Farming has been his chief occupation and his success has proved that his choice of labor was a wise one. His first purchase of land consisted of a one hundred and sixty-acre tract of timber but he cleared away the trees and brush, plowed the broad acres, planted crops and soon had a fine farm, the the value of which he also greatly increased by the erection of a commodious residence and good barns. As time passed and his financial resources were increased, he also extended the boundaries of his Iand, his possessions now aggregating three hundred and eighty acres, part of which is under a high state of cultivation, while the remainder affords excellent pasturage to the fine stock which he raises in considerable numbers. Mr. Prall is practically a self-made man, having acquired his possessions by industry, energy and good management. which in almost every instance will bring about success. 

In Van Buren County, October 11, 1855, Mr. Prall led to the marriage altar Miss Aliza Singleton, a native of Ohio, born October 25, 1831, and came to this county with her grandparents in 1836, and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Singleton, both of whom died in Ohio some years ago. To this union have been born four children — Asa William, who is married and resides in Bonaparte, Iowa; Frances, now Mrs. Craig, of Des Moines Township, Van Buren County; Carrie and Della at home. Mr. Frail manifests considerable interest in political affairs and casts his ballot with the Republican party. He held the office of Township Trustee, serving with credit to himself and satisfaction to all concerned.

ANTHONY T. PREWITT, deceased, was a native of Kentucky, his birth having oc curred on the 25th of October, 1810. While growing to manhood he learned the tanner's trade and worked thereat until he came West. Prior to leaving his native State he was united in marriage with Sophrona J. Latimer, and, accompanied by his young bride, emigrated to Lee County, Iowa, in a very early day. About 1843 they removed to Van Buren County, where Mrs. Prewitt died November 9, 1845, leaving four children to mourn her loss, namely: Goldson, who is engaged in carpentering; James D., a farmer by occupation; Sarah J., wife of James Stuckey; and Ann M., wife of C. C. Reynolds. 

On the 14th of October, 1846, Mr. Prewitt was again married, his second union being with Nancy C., daughter of James and Mary A. (Miller) Rut-ledge, both of whom were of Southern birth, the former born May 11, 1781, and the latter October 21, 1787. The place of their nativity is not certainly known, but they lived in South Carolina and Georgia, prior to emigrating to Pike County, Ill. About 1824 they removed to Sangamon, now Menard County, Ill., where Mr. Rutledge built and operated a mill for some time. He afterward kept a tavern in New Salem and subsequently settled on a farm, where he died December 3. 1835. He and his wife were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and were intelligent and industrious citizens, well respected by all. Their family numbered nine children, as follows: Jane 0., John M., Anna Mayes, David H., Robert B., Nancy C., Margaret A., William B. and Sarah F. The third child, known in history as Ann Rut-ledge, was the lady to whom President Lincoln was engaged, and whose death, at the age of twenty-three, spread such a gloom over the young lawyer's life. In 1838 Mrs. Rutledge, with six of her children, removed to Van Buren County, Iowa, locating near the Jefferson County line. She died in Birmingham, that county, December 26, 1878, being over ninety-one years of age at the time of her death. 

Mrs. Prewitt was born in White County, Ill., on the 10th of February, 1821, and, with her family, settled in Van Buren County, as above stated. After her marriage she lived on the farm in that county, making it her home until 1880, when she became a resident of Fairfield, which is still her home. 

The death of Mr. Prewitt occurred on the 9th of February, 1864, and was the cause of deep regret throughout the entire community. He was a man that looked with wistful eyes to the moral advancement of the community and in every way possible aided in the triumph of right over wrong. He served as an Elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and made his religion a part of his life. Politically, he was a Republican, but he loved the quiet of his home more than the excitement of a public career, and in consequence never sought political distinction. He was not of a grasping disposition, but always strove to make his family comfortable, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand to those in need. 

The rearing and educating of the children fell largely upon Mrs. Prewitt, who tenderly and care-fully performed the duty thus left to her. The record of her children, four in number, is as follows; David, the eldest, died at the age of twenty-four years, leaving a wife and two children; Mary E. died in infancy; Anthony M. is a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, now engaged in pastoral work in California; and William S., an expert stenographer, is court reporter for the district. Mrs. Prewitt and her youngest son are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

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

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