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

Van Buren County Biographical Sketches Transcribed Below


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HENRY CLAY RANEY, attorney-at-law, of Fairfield, was born in Cedar Township, Jefferson County, on the 11th of December, 1855, and has spent the greater part of his life in this county, where he is widely known as a promising young lawyer and enterprising citizen. His parents are William and Hannah M. (Loomis) Raney. His father, a native of Berkeley County, Va., first came to Iowa on a prospecting tour in 1844, and two years later located in the new State, making a settlement in Van Buren County, whence he removed to Jefferson County in 1851. He here met and married Mrs. Raney, who came with her parents to the county in 1839. Her father, Nathaniel Loomis, was a native of New York, but previous to his emigration to Iowa had been a resident of Holmes County, Ohio. Both Mr. and Mrs. Raney are still living and make their home on a farm, where they settled in 1851. 

The subject of this sketch, Henry Clay Raney, spent his boyhood days in the usual manner of farmer lads, and until he had attained his majority remained at home, aiding his father in the cultivation of the land. He pursued a collegiate course after attaining his majority, graduating with the first class from Parsons College, June 16, 1880. Previously he had attended the academy at Birmingham during several winter seasons, but on the return of summer he would again be found following the plough. However, he resolved to enter upon some other occupation or profession as his life work, and made choice of the law. After completing his college course, he began fitting himself for legal practice in the office of Leggett & McKemey. In August, 1882, he was admitted to the District and Circuit Courts of the State, and four years later, in October, 1886, was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State, and in the United States Circuit and District Courts. He continued with the firm of Leggett & McKemey until December 4, 1883, and then began practice in his present office, where he has now carried on business for seven years. He is also connected with one of the leading industries of Fairfield, being a partner in the Drain and Tile Works, in which he purchased an interest in October, 1886. 

On the 8th of February, 1883, in Birmingham, Iowa, Mr. Raney was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary M. Bogle, a daughter of Samuel Bogle, of that place, and a native of Lick Creek Township, Van Buren County. Unto them were born four children, two of whom are now living  William Alex, the eldest, died at the age of one month; Franklin Clay was burn August 8, 1886; Ralph Bogle died at the age of one year; and Elery Murray was born March 11, 1890. 

Mr. and Mrs. Raney are members of the Presbyterian Church, and in the social world are held in high regard, having many warm friends throughout the community. In politics he is a supporter of Republican principles and has served as City Solicitor of Fairfield for four years, proving a capable and efficient officer. He possesses energy and determination, and his success in life is assured if he continues in his present course.

REV. THOMAS AUGUSTUS RENFRO, pastor of the Christian Church of Milton, Van Buren County, was horn in Madison County. Ill., May 4, 1835, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Hall) Renfro. His father was born in Kentucky, July 23, 1800; and was of Scotch descent. His mother, a native of North Carolina. was born August 31, 1806. In their family were seven sons and four daughters and with the exception of two all are yet living. Accompanied by his wife and children, Mr. Renfro in 1845, emigrated to the Territory of Iowa and located a claim in Polk County. Two years later he removed to Eddyville, and in 1849 we find him living in Oskaloosa, where he was engaged in the manufacture of brick and in bricklaying. He removed to Stewardville, Mo., in 1858, but after two years returned to Iowa and located in Indianola. His death occurred June 27, 1886, when about eighty-six years of age and his wife died November 2, 1865. 

Our subject was the sixth in order of birth in the family. He was educated in the Oskaloosa High School under Prof. Drake and became a bricklayer, which trade he followed for some time. On the 7th of September, 1859, in Abingdon, Jefferson County, he was united in marriage with Miss Emma Ploughe, daughter of Jacob and Jane (Caldwell) Ploughe, both of whom were natives of Kentucky, the former horn May 26, 1800, and the latter March 6, 1800. The family came to Iowa in August, 1848. There were ten daughters and one son and Mrs. Renfro is the youngest. Her father died January 23, 1867, and her mother passed away September 9, 1878. To Mr. and Mrs. Renfro have been horn the following children: Elizabeth Jane, born October 27, 1861, is now the wife of Fred Kneisel, of Clark County, Mo.; Florence Viola, born April 25, 1866, is the wife of Alfred C. Jolly, of Milton; and Alice, born June 24, 1860, died on the 18th of July of that year. 

Shortly after his marriage, Mr. Renfro settled in Lucas County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming until thinking it was his duty to respond to the country's call for troops he enlisted in August, 1862, becoming a member of Company G, Thirty-fourth Iowa Infantry, from which he received an honorable discharge August 15, 1865. He took part in a number of important engagements, including the attack upon Vicksburg, the battle of Arkansas Post and others. After the war he came to Van Buren County and settled in Jackson Township, where he engaged in farming until 1875. He began preaching in 1871, but did not devote himself entirely to that work until four years later. He has had charge of the church in Mt. Sterling, Lawn Ridge, Prairie View and Salem, Mo., and other places in Iowa. For nine years he was employed in Lawn Ridge and the call was again extended to him. He has now had charge of the church in Milton for four years and is doing excellent work as its pastor. He is respected throughout the community and is greatly loved by the people of his own church as is indicated by his continued service. He has ever taken an active part in temperance work, and in all reforms and interests for the upbuilding of the community and the advance of its general welfare. In politics he is a Republican having supported that party since its organization.

HON. JAMES WILLIAM RICE, a prominent and influential citizen of Farmington, is well known all over Van Buren County and is deserving of a representation in this volume where are recorded the lives of the pioneers and leading citizens of the county. A native of Massachusetts, he was born in Waltham, June 11, 1821. He traces his ancestry back to 1620, when the founder of the family in America, one of the Pilgrim fathers, landed from the "Mayflower" at Plymouth Rock. His father, James Rice, was born in 1796 and wedded Dolly L. Carr, who was four years his junior and was also a descendant of New England ancestry. Unto them was born a family of four children, one son and three daughters, namely: Dolly, who became the wife of Thomas Drummond, emigrated westward in 1839, settling in Fairfield, but died in Danville, Ill.; Jane, married Thomas Crim and they became residents of Van Buren County but her last days were spent in Keokuk; Hannah L., was the wife of Jonathan Bedell, of Denver, Col.; and James W., completes the family, of which he was the eldest. The father died in Massachusetts in 1834, after which Mrs. Rice became the wife of Abner Kneeland, a noted infidel and the founder of the Boston Investigation Society  a man who gained a world-wide reputation on account of the position which he took regarding religious subjects. Three children were born of this marriage -- Albert, a ranchman of Colorado died in 1885; Susan, wife of Thomas B. Boler, of Farmington; Maria, wife of George D. Johnson of Rosedale, Kan., Mr. Kneeland died in Van Buren County in 1844, and the death of his wife occurred in Farmington in 1872. 

James William Rice acquired his education in the academy of Concord, Mass. and the High School of Boston. When a lad of fourteen years he was bound out to the painter's trade in the latter city and after the expiration of his term of apprenticeship followed that business for a number of years. In 1839, he accompanied his parents to the West, the family locating on a farm near Farmington, where be continued to make his home until 1875, since which time he has lived in the town. 

On the 1st of January, 1848, Mr. Rice was united in marriage with Sarah A. Smith, daughter of Silas and Sarah W. (Wilder) Smith. She was also a niece of Marshall Wilder. By their union were born three children. yet living, namely: Mrs. Ella L. Whitten; Nellie, wife of L. L. Therme, the present Postmaster of Farmington; and Mary A., at home. 

In early life Mr. Rice was a Democratic Abolitionist, that is he entertained the principles of Democracy and was also strongly opposed to the institution of slavery. On State and National questions he yet supports the Democracy, but at local elections votes for the man and not, the party. The fellow citizens of Mr. Rice appreciating his worth and ability have frequently called upon him to serve in public positions. For six years he held the office of Mayor of Farmington, was Town Clerk for three years, Justice of the Peace for fourteen years and Notary Public for six years. The duties of these offices he has ever discharged in a prompt and faithful manner, thus winning the respect of even his political enemies. In his business he has prospered and by an upright life he has won the respect of both young and old, rich and poor. He has ever been a friend to education and to all moral and social interests and has done what he could for the advancement and upbuilding of the county.

CHARLES C. RISK, senior member of the firm of Risk, Hufstedler and Whitham, the leading dry-goods firm of Fairfield, and also a member of several other mercantile houses, is a native of the Hawkeye State, his birth having occurred in Washington County, November 16, 1839. His parents, R. C. and Susan (Roberts) Risk. were pioneers of Brighton, Washington County, Iowa, of 1837. They were originally from Pennsylvania, and on their emigration to the West located first in Northern Illinois, near Rockford, where they spent a few years and then came to Iowa, settling in Brighton. Mr. Risk's father was engaged in farming and merchandising and is now engaged in loaning money and attending to his landed interests. 

The subject of this sketch was reared to farm life and was educated in the private and common schools of the neighborhood. He began his business career as a salesman in his father's store in Brighton and in 1862 was admitted to partnership. One year later he formed a partnership with Charles Kremer, under the firm name of Risk & Kremer, general merchants, which connection continued three years, when Mr. Risk bought out his partner and continued the business one year, when he sold out and removed to Manhattan Mills, Keokuk County. The succeeding two years he spent in milling, and merchandising in that place, part of the time as a partner of his father and part of the time connected with Mr. Bryon. The year 1869 witnessed his arrival in Fairfield, where he embarked in merchandising for himself. In 1871 he took Mr. Sheward, a former clerk, into partnership, but after a year and a half that connection was dissolved. In September, 1873, he associated with him as a partner William M. Hufstedler, the firm being Risk & Hufstedler, dealers in dry-goods, boots and shoes. In 1882 J. M. Witham bought an interest in the business and the existing firm was formed. The house has a complete tailoring establishment connected with it, and does an annual business of about $30,000. 

In addition to the extensive mercantile house in Fairfield, of which he is the head, Mr. Risk is connected with several others of considerable importance in neighboring cities, which he established, and of which he is yet either sole or part owner. In 1869 he established a general store in Libertyville, Iowa, which he operated alone until 1888, since which time Rola Warner bus been his partner and is now resident manager, the business being conducted under the firm name of Risk & Warner. When that establishment was placed in good working order Mr. Risk started a general store in Birmingham, Van Buren County, in 1872, and continued operations alone for ten years, when he sold out to Joseph Graham an interest in the business, which is now carried on under the style of Risk & Graham. He is also engaged in milling in Merrimac. The firm of Bryon, Risk & Saltzman are proprietors of the Merrimac Mills, of that place, and are doing an extensive and successful business. During the past year they converted into flour upwards of thirty thousand bushels of wheat, besides grinding some ten thousand bushels of other grain. The firm also owns a stock farm of three hundred and twenty acres in Walnut Township, where they annually feed about two hundred head of cattle. At one time Mr. Risk was running stores at Perlee and Ioka, Iowa, in addition to those previously mentioned, having in all five separate stores at the same time. He did all the buying for the five and kept all Eastern accounts and paid all bills, and during this period kept the books for the Fairfield firm. In connection with J. W. Burnett, he owns the Fairfield Canning Factory, having been identified with that enterprise for three years. He is also owner of a stock farm of about three hundred acres lying in the township of Fairfield, where he feeds about two hundred head of cattle annually. He has been successfully engaged in the stock business for the past five or six years, and during 1889 he fatted and sold two hundred head of cattle. 

Mr. Risk was married in Washington County, Iowa, on the 22d of August, 1864, to Miss Sarah J. Townsend, a daughter of J. D. Townsend. Mrs. Risk was born in Lawrence County, Pa., and came to Iowa in 1861. 

Mr. Risk is a Republican in politics, but has never sought or desired public office. He has preferred to devote his undivided attention to his extensive business interests, and has been eminently successful in the various enterprises which he has undertaken. Industrious and energetic, possessing good executive ability and a thorough knowledge of mercantile business, Mr. Risk has not only built up an extensive and prosperous business for himself, but has also aided others in getting a start, choosing his partners generally from those who have been his clerks for years and whose ability and trustworthiness he has fully tested.

JAMES B. ROBINSON, an undertaker and dealer in furniture, of Milton, claims the honor of being a native of Van Buren County. He was born in Winchester, Union Township, on the 2d of December, 1855, and is a son of John A. and Ella J. (Smith) Robinson, worthy pioneers of the county, a sketch of whom is given elsewhere in this volume. 

Our subject received a liberal education in his youth, his literary training being received in the Keosauqua High School and at the Birmingham Academy. He then ventured upon the study of medicine, and took two courses at the Keokuk Medical College, but not finding the profession to his taste, he did not complete the course of study. He established his present business in Milton in 1888, and is the proprietor of the only undertaking and furniture establishment in the city. He has built up a good trade and is doing a successful business. In politics he is a supporter of Republican principles, but has never sought or desired the honors or emoluments of public office. 

On the 11th of January, 1888, Mr. Robinson led to the altar Miss Ida Bennett, the union being celebrated in Milton. She was a daughter of Benjamin Bennett, and her birth occurred in Keosauqua, where her parents were early settlers. She died April 13, 1890, leaving one child, a son, Mark Leonard, who was born September 23, 1888.

JOHN A. ROBINSON of Keosauqua, has been a resident of Van Buren County, since 1850, and is widely and favorably known in the community where he makes his home. He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Lancaster County, June 4. 1832, and is a son of James B. Robinson. When a young man he learned the trade of blacksmithing in the Keystone State. In 1850, he resolved to seek his fortune in the West and came to the new State of Iowa. He chose Winchester as the scene of his labors and at that place carried on blacksmithing until 1871, when he removed to Keosauqua, where he still resides, continuing the business which has been his life work. 

In Winchester, in 1855, Mr. Robinson was united in marriage with Miss Ella J. Smith, daughter of Asa Smith. She is a native of Tennessee, her birth having occurred near Nashville in 1835. When a maiden of fifteen summers she came to Iowa, locating to Van Buren County, where she formed the acquaintance of Mr. Robinson. Three children have been born of their union, of whom two are yet living  James B., horn December 2, 1855, in Winchester, is a furniture dealer of Milton, and his sketch is given on another page of this work; Nellie F., the daughter, is a teacher of considerable ability, now employed in the schools of Keosauqua. The third child, Arthur, died at the age of two years. 

Mr. Robinson and his wife are faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which their daughter also belongs. This worthy couple also reared an adopted daughter, Mary Bird Robinson, who engaged in the profession of teaching. She was a young lady of intelligence and possessing many excellencies of character, but her death occurred at the age of nineteen years. Our subject and his wife, who for forty years have been numbered among Van Buren County's citizens, are highly respected in the community where they reside and their friends are many.

ED. H. ROCKWELL, one of the editors and proprietors of the Farmington Herald., was born in Huntington County, Ind., February 6, 1856, being the second of three children, whose parents were Dr. William and Hester (Bunnell) Rockwell. The Doctor was a native of Hartford, Conn., and a son of Horace Rockwell, so favorably known as a painter of portraits and landscapes, whose productions have found their way into the best art galleries, both at home and abroad. The artist lived to a ripe old age and died in Huntington County, Ind., whither he had emigrated with his family some time before. The Doctor followed his profession in the Hoosier State until the breaking out of the war, when he enlisted and was made Assistant Surgeon of the Eleventh Indiana Infantry under command of Gen. Lew Wallace. After serving some three years he returned and resumed the practice of medicine. At Ft. Wayne, Ind., he married Miss Bunnell, a native of Syracuse, N. Y., and a sister of Mrs. Lizzie B. Reed, who for six years was President of the Iowa Woman's State Suffrage Society, and who is widely known as a public lecturer. In 1867 Dr. Rockwell removed to Harrison County, Iowa, where he continued practice; he had, however, gone there two years before. Subsequently he journeyed westward to Richardson County, Neb. For a second wife he chose Mary E. Chase, with whom he removed to Decatur County, Kan , where he spent his last days. He was a stanch Republican but both of his sons are supporters of Democracy. The family, as above stated, numbers three children: Mrs. Hattie E. Tomlinson; Ed H., of this sketch, and F. W., who is represented elsewhere in this work. 

The subject of this biographical notice, after pursuing a course in the Little Sioux public schools began life on his own account. After farming for a couple of years he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he was employed as salesman by the firm of Randall & Dickey, dealers in implements, after which he entered the freight department of the Rock Island Railroad Company. We next find him running a hotel in Voltaire, Sherman County, Kan., and in 1887 he came to Farmington and joined his brother in business, the publication of the Farmington Herald. 

At Fall City, Neb., on the 15th of April, 1879, Mr. Rockwell was joined in wedlock with Miss Maggie E. Peters, daughter of Fulton Peters, a native of Germany. Her mother, Euphrasia Barada Peters, was born in Genevieve, Mo., and her mother was a French lady. Her father was none other than the celebrated Antonoine Barada, who lifted with his hands the stone that serves as a step to the United States Arsenal at St. Louis. The weight of the stone sixteen hundred pounds, the date of the feat and his name are thereon engraved. That is the heaviest bare handed lift on record. To Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell were born two children  Rena E. and Walter F.

F. W. ROCKWELL, who with his brother, Ed H., owns and edits the Farmington Herald, is a native of Pleasant Mills, Ind., born March 15, 1861. With his parents he came to Iowa, and in Harrison County, where the family located, he acquired his education, attending the public schools of Little Sioux. Almost his entire life has been devoted to journalism. At the age of fifteen he began to learn the printer's trade, and two years later he trod the rough and thorny path of a pedagogue. Before he had reached his majority he was editor and publisher of the La Harpe, I11., Sun, and subsequently of the Dallas Spirit; also was for some time connected with the Burlington Hawkeye as telegraph editor, and later became manager of the mechanical department of the same. In 1886 he established the Herald, and the following year was joined by his brother, Ed. H. Several efforts had been made to carry on a paper at Farmington, but so often had the project failed that the people were afraid to subscribe for a whole year; many would only take the paper for a quarter, so as not to lose so much if it went down. Such was the character of the Herald and such its management, that it soon gained the favor of the people and was placed on a sound financial basis. The Rockwell brothers deserve no little credit for the masterly way in which they have worked up the enterprise, giving to their subscribers one of the best journals in the country. The paper is devoted largely to local interests and deals but little in politics. However, in May, 1890, they started the Radical Jeffersonian Democrat, which shoots the grape and canister of the old line Democracy regardless of whom it hits. These gentlemen are also interested in the Farmington Music Company and other business enterprises. 

In 1883 F. W. Rockwell was united in marriage with Clara A. Madison, a lineal descendant of the President. She is a native of Dallas City, Ill., and they have two children  G. Idylmarch and an infant. Mr. Rockwell is a gentleman of considerable literary taste and ability, and has won a place among the local poets.

JONATHAN D. ROWLAND is the junior member of the firm of Rowland Bros., general merchants of Milton, Iowa. He is a native of this State, his birth having occurred in Davis County, on the 4th of November, 1853, his parents being Samuel P. and Elizabeth (Russell) Rowland. The early life of our subject passed uneventfully. His education was acquired in the district schools of the neighborhood, and at the academy of Troy, and he was reared upon the farm until twenty-two years of age, when he left the parental roof. On approaching years of maturity, he was united in marriage with Miss Mamie Claflin, their marriage being celebrated in Johnson County, Kan., on the 27th of February, 1872. The lady is a daughter of Major Wallace Claflin, deceased, who was born in Van Buren County, Iowa, and was a son of Ira Claflin. He graduated from West Point. Mrs. Rowland is a native of Hagerstown, Md., and by the union of the young couple, two children, sons, have been born: Lamar, born November 23, 1883; and Downs, born on the 19th of September, 1885. 

In political sentiment, Mr. Rowland is a Democrat, and a stanch supporter of that party, with which he has affiliated since attaining his majority. He is not only connected with the business interests of Milton as a member of the firm of Rowland Bros., but is also a director and stockholder in the Citizens' Bank. He is one of the live young business men of the city, whose future promises success, and if he pursue the path in which he is now walking, in a short time he will doubtless be ranked among the substantial and leading citizens of Van Buren County.

ROBERT R. ROWLAND, senior partner of the firm of Rowland Bros., general merchants, of Milton, is a native of Van Buren County. He was born on the 5th of December, 1813, his parents being Samuel P. and Elizabeth (Russell) Rowland, and was reared to farm life receiving such educational advantages as were afforded by the common schools of that day. However, not desiring to make farming his life work, he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits and in Milton, in 1864, opened a dry-goods store. He has since continued in that line of business and is probably the oldest merchant, in years of service, in Milton. During the twenty-six years in which he has given his attention to that pursuit, he has been associated with several partners. The firm of Rowland Bros. was established in the fall of 1876 and with the exception of about two years has carried on operations continuously since. They carry a general line of merchandise and have a large and constantly increasing patronage which results from the excellent grade of goods which they carry and their courteous treatment and prompt attention to the wants of their customers. 

On the 2nd of April, 1874, in Davis County, Iowa, Mr. Rowland was united in marriage with Miss Fannie Thayer, a native of Adams County, Ill., and a daughter of Oliver Thayer. Unto them were born four children, three sons and a daughter, but they have lost one son. The daughter, Nettie, is the eldest, her birth having occurred March 23, 1875; Orin, was born October 26, 1877; Herbert December 30, 1879; and Robert died at the age of eight months. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rowland are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and are soon to have one of the finest homes in Milton, which is now in process of erection. He is also the owner of a farm of one hundred and five acres in Davis County, which he has leased. In politics, Mr. Rowland is a Democrat and is an enterprising and successful business man of good standing.

SAMUEL P. ROWLAND is the owner of a fine farm of four hundred acres lying partly within Davis and partly within Van Buren County, his old homestead being situated just across the border line in the former county. This gentleman, who is widely and favorably known throughout the community, is a native of Delaware, born on the 4th of September, 1810. His parents, John and Deborah (Connell) Rowland, were also natives of that State, where our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth in the usual manner of farmer lads, he attending school in the winter season and working on the farm in the summer months. When he had arrived at years of maturity, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Russell, a native of Delaware, born February 22, 1813, and a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Bower) Russell, who were also natives of the same State. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Rowland was celebrated in Delaware in February, 1836, and unto them was born a family of eight children, of whom four are now deceased. The living are: Deborah Ann, wife of Thomas Price; Robert, Mary and Jonathan D. 

The year 1840 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Rowland and his family in the Territory of Iowa, where he has since resided. He has made farming his life work, and in that pursuit has acquired a handsome competence, which supplies him with all the necessaries and comforts of life. As before stated, his original homestead is situated just across the boundary line in Davis County, but his fine farm of four hundred acres also lies partly in Van Buren County, where he has resided for the past seventeen years. He is an honored pioneer of the community, and has been a witness of the entire growth and progress of Iowa made during the past half century. He is respected by all who know him, being a man whose upright character has won him universal regard.

SAMUEL P. ROWLAND is numbered among the early settlers of Iowa. He located in Davis County, in 1845, three years before the land sales and is now living in Milton. He was born in Sussex County, Md.. September 2, 1810, and is a son of John and Deborah (O'Conner) Rowland. The days of his boyhood and youth were spent in the usual manner of farmer lads, and after attaining to mature years he was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Russell, the wedding being celebrated on the 18th of February, 1840. The lady was born in Sussex County, February 22, 1813, and is a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Barr) Russell. The following children were born unto them: John W,, who died at the age of twenty-one years; Debora, now Mrs. Price, of Jackson Township; Robert R; Mary; Hannah, who died at the age of eight years; and Jonathan D. 

It was in 1845 that Mr. Rowland, accompanied by his family started Westward. He crossed the Mississippi into Iowa, and on the 29th of April located in Davis County, making his home near the boundary line of Van Buren County. He owned land in both counties and engaged actively in farming until 1874, when he removed to Milton. He still owns his farm, three hundred acres of rich land paying tribute to his care and cultivation. He attends the Methodist Church and in politics is a stanch supporter of Democratic principles.

JOHN W. ROWLEY, of the firm of Sloan & Rowley, editors and proprietors of the Keosauqua Republican, is a native of Ohio. He was born in New Garden, Columbiana County, July 23, 1846, and is a son of Theodore B. Rowley, who was born in Victor, N. Y., August 6, 1817. Coming to Ohio during childhood, Theodore Rowley formed the acquaintance of Miss Emeline Watson, who was born in New Lisbon, Ohio, August 5, 1820, and on the 18th of May, 1842, they were united in marriage. Unto them were born three children: Anna, who died in childhood; John W., of this sketch, and Lavina. 

When a lad of eight years, with his parents, John W. Rowley removed from New Lisbon, Ohio, to Van Buren County, Iowa. They reached their destination in December, 1854, and the following spring located near Utica. Our subject received a common-school education and for eight years, from 1867 to 1875, engaged in farming during the summer months, while the winter season was spent in teaching. He continued his residence in the vicinity of Utica until 1879. He was married to Miss Amanda M Thompson, daughter of Elder David Thompson, near Bonaparte, Iowa, October 27, 1868. She was born in Highland County, Ohio, October 27, 1849. Three children, sons, grace their union  Roland B., Frank W. and Clinton C. They also lost one child, Lena A., their only daughter, who was the second in order of birth. She died on the 17th of March, 1873. 

Mr. Rowley has been a member of the Christian Church since 1867, and in politics he is a stalwart supporter of Republican principles. In 1875, he was elected on that ticket to the position of Superintendent of Schools, of Van Buren County, in which he served until January 1, 1880. On the 15th of November of the previous year he purchased an interest in the Keosauqua Republican, and in the latter part of the month removed with his family to Keosauqua, from his farm in Cedar Township. He is still one of the proprietors of the paper, which is devoted to the interests of the county and the Republican party. Its owners are business men of merit and progressive citizens of the community in which they make their home. In 1880 Mr. Rowley was appointed by President Hayes to the position of United States Supervisor of Census, having under his jurisdiction twenty counties. Soon afterward he was appointed a member of the State Educational Board and served four years, most of the time acting as its Secretary. In 1890 he received an appointment from President Harrison to the position of Supervisor of Census, his territory including twenty-one counties, and in that work he is engaged at the writing of this sketch.

WILLIAM RUSSELL, deceased, is ranked among the pioneers of Van Buren County, Iowa. He made a location in Des Moines Township in 1844, during Territorial days, and subsequently was a resident of Jackson Township. He was born in New Jersey in 1790, and on attaining to years of maturity was united in marriage in Kent County, Del., in 1834, with Mrs. Ann Pennington, widow of Benjamin Pennington, and formerly a Miss Wilson. She was a native of Delaware, and by her previous marriage became. the mother of one daughter and two sons  Sarah Ann, who wedded James Price and died in 1876; George, who is a Justice of the Peace and leading citizen of Milton, Iowa, and whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume; and Benjamin, who married Elizabeth Cowger, and is a harness-maker of Milton. 

In 1835 Mr. Russell removed with his family to Indiana, and nine years later, in 1844, crossed the Mississippi into the Territory of Iowa. He made a location in Des Moines Township, Van Buren County, then a wild and sparsely settled region. He embarked in farming, but subsequently removed to Jackson Township, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1849. He was a member of the Methodist Church and a Democrat in politics. His wife survived him many years, dying in April, 1879.

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

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