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

Van Buren County Biographical Sketches Transcribed Below


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HIRAM Q. SHAFFER, a pioneer settler of Van Buren County, engaged in farming on section 27, Lick Creek Township, has lived at his present home since 1846, and from a forty-acre farm it has been increased until now three hundred and forty-three acres pay tribute to his care and cultivation. 

A native of Ohio, Mr. Shaffer was born in Harrison County, March 21, 1826, and is a son of George and Margaret Shaffer. His paternal grandfather, John Shaffer, was a native of Germany, and died in Van Buren County, Iowa, October 17, 1851. His father, George Shaffer, was born in Pennsylvania, where he grew to manhood, receiving a good education. He served as Lieutenant in the War of 1812, and was present at Commodore Perry's victory. Leaving his native State, he removed to Ohio, where he became acquainted with and married Miss Margaret Saltzgiver, a native of Adams County, Pa. They began their domestic life in Harrison County, Ohio, where Mr. Shaffer engaged in farming in connection with work at his trade of carpentering. In 1845, he came to the Territory of Iowa, bringing with him his family and his aged father. Making a location in Lick Creek Township, he entered a quarter-section of land from the Government, which in consequence was in its primitive condition, not a furrow having been turned or an improvement made, but he built a cabin thereon, and as week by week passed the amount of improved land grew, until at length a finely cultivated farm supplied the wants of his family. Thirty years it continued to be his home, and he then sold out to his son, removing across the Des Moines River to Pittsburg, where his last days were spent, his death occurring on the 18th of May, 1875. His good wife had died on the 16th of July previous. They were the parents of nine children, five sons and four daughters: Mary, widow of William Pickens, of Wapello County; Hiram, of this sketch; Henry, of Oregon; John is living in Kansas; Jane, whose home is in Jacksonville ; Jacob and Peter, who reside in Kansas; Mrs. Elizabeth Bergen, of Texas; and Matilda, deceased. The father of this family was a faithful member and active worker in the Lutheran Church, in which he served as Elder for many years. While living in Ohio, he served as Justice of the Peace for nine years, and filled the same office two terms in Van Buren County. He was first a Whig, and then a Republican, and took an active interest in political affairs, being an influential member of the county conventions. His sagacity and good judgment made him a successful business man, and an upright life won him the confidence of all, so that his word was as readily received as his bond. 

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who upon his father's farm in Ohio was reared to manhood, and in the subscription schools of that day was educated. He had attained to mature years when he came to Iowa, and for some time after his arrival he worked as a farm hand, but in 1851 began life for himself. On the 5th of May, 1853, he married Miss Nancy Johnson, who was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., March 16, 1835, and is a daughter of John and Catherine Johnson, who removed with their family from Ohio to Iowa in 1836. Her father was a native of Ireland. She has two brothers living, but the other members of her family are now deceased. 

After his marriage, Mr. Shaffer settled upon a rented farm near Kilbourn, which he operated two years. During that time, by the practice of industry and economy, he accumulated a small capital with which he purchased forty acres of raw land. He had first to clear away the brush before he could erect a house, and the land all had to be broken, but a short time sufficed to work a complete transformation, and in the years which have since come and gone, the boundaries of his farm have been extended until now his landed possessions aggregate three hundred and forty-three acres. He is also engaged quite extensively in stock raising, breeding a good grade of horses. The greater part of his farm products he feeds to his stock, which fact alone shows that his business in that line is not very limited. 

Mr. and Mrs. Shaffer have no children of their own, but have reared an adopted son, Stephen, who was born January 23, 1867. He has been an inmate of their family since he was six weeks old, good educational advantages were afforded him, and he has received all the care and attention of an own child. They are also rearing a girl, Eva, now thirteen years old. Mr. Shaffer is a progressive and enterprising citizen, and manifests an interest in all that pertains to the welfare and up-building of the county. The cause of education finds in him a special friend, and he served as Treasurer and President of the School Board until he would no longer accept the office. He cast his first Presidential vote for Zachary Taylor, and was a supporter of the Whig party until the rise of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks. Forty years have come and gone since Mr. Shaffer's arrival in Van Buren County. When he came to Iowa, the flourishing city of Ottumwa contained but two houses and a blacksmith shop. Wild deer were yet plentiful, and the Indians in many localities were far more numerous than the white settlers. Although hardship and trials attended the establishment of a home in a new community, many of the citizens of Van Buren County to-day would give much for the honor of being numbered among its pioneers.

JAMES SHEPHERD was born in Hagerstown, Md., March 15, 1800. At the age of one year his parents moved to Clinton County, Ohio, where he grew to the age of manhood and learned the shoemaker's trade. On March 7, 1821, he was married to Jane Sherman, and lived in Clinton County until 1827, when, with his wife and two children, he moved to Salem, then in Sangamon County, Ill., where he worked at his trade, and also milling, farming and other pursuits. He was twice elected Tax Collector of Sangamon County, and moved to Springfield in 1838 or '39. He was a warm personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. During the campaign of 1840, he was engaged as assistant editor of the State Register, and made several speeches in the county advocating the election of Martin Van Buren to the Presidency. In May, 1843, he made a trip to the Territory of Iowa, looking for a location to establish a newspaper, and selected Keosauqua, Van Buren County, as the point, and in the June following sent his eldest son, Jesse M. and J. L. T. Mitchell, both printers, who had learned the trade in Springfield, to take charge of and run the paper, the first issue of which appeared July 3, 1843, and was called The Iowa Democrat and Des Moines River Intelligencer, which they continued to publish until July 1, 1844, when he purchased the interest of J. L. T. Mitchell, and dropping the latter part of the name, continued the publication of the Iowa Democrat with firm name of James Shepherd & Son, until 1847, when he bought Jesse M. out, and became full owner, and continued its publication until 1850, when he sold the office. On the removal of his family to Keosauqua, October 8, 1844, he went into the hotel business, in the Des Moines House, near the court-house, now torn down, and ran it one year, and in the spring of 1847 bought the Keosauqua House, on Front Street, which he continued to run until 1866, when he sold it and went on a farm, and two years later bought a house on First Street, and opened out in the hotel business again, which he continued to run until the death of his wife, September 22, 1870. In 1845 he put in a bid for and was awarded the contract for carrying the mail from Keosauqua to Ottumwa, and also to Bloomfield. He was twice a candidate for the legislature, but failed of an election, but was frequently elected to minor offices, and was a Justice of the Peace for years. In 1860, he in connection with his son, James S. bought the Des Moines News, published in Keosauqua, being the same printing press and office he shipped to this place in 1843, which paper they continued to publish until the fall of 1865, when they sold the office. 

In the fail of 1870, just after the death of his wife, his daughter, Mrs. Delazon Smith, arrived from Oregon, and in December, on her return, he accompanied her to her home in Albany, Linn County, and was with her at her death, January 1, 1871. From Albany he went to his son, Jesse M., in Baker City. Ore., where he remained until the fall of 1871, when he returned to Keosauqua, and again took charge of the hotel until 1878, when he again made a trip to Baker City, Ore., in the spring, and returning home again to Keosauqua in the fall, where he remained until his death, September 14, 1880. 

Mr. Shepherd was made a Master Mason, and received the chapter degrees in Springfield, Ill., and in 1845 was a charter member and first Master of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, and continued its Master for a number of years. While in Illinois he was Colonel of a regiment of State Militia, and his sword is now the property of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, by his gift. He was also one of the first members and High Priest of Moore Chapter, No. 23, at Keosauqua, and was a zealous Mason and a prominent member of the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of the State. In early life he was converted and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and continued faithful until called home to his Master. In the latter years of his life he was commissioned a local preacher, and was a worthy worker for Christ. He was the father of twelve children, six sons and six daughters, all of whom except five sons had preceded him to that heavenly home, where their mother had gone to give them welcome. Of the five sons still living, three are now engaged in the newspaper business, the eldest, Jesse M., in Baker City, and the youngest, Stephen H., at Vale, Ore., and James S.. at Mt. Ayr. Iowa; the other two, Charles W. is a Methodist Episcopal minister, member of the Iowa Conference, now stationed at Winfield, Iowa, and the other, Lewis C., is a harness-maker and resides at Mt. Ayr. In politics, James Shepherd was a Jacksonian Democrat, and although not a politician, as that term is understood to-day, he was an earnest advocate of his convictions, a forcible speaker and writer, and ready at all times to meet his opponents either on the stump or through the press.

JAMES SHERMAN SHEPHERD was born in Sangamon County, Ill., December 4, 1834. His parents, James and Jane (Sherman) Shepherd, were natives of Maryland and North Carolina respectively. In October, 1844, the family removed from Springfield, Ill., to Keosauqua, then Van Buren County, then Territory of Iowa. Here for the next six years the father published the Iowa Democrat, and also kept hotel until 1877. His mother died September 22, 1870, aged sixty-five years, and his father September 14, 1880, aged eighty years and six months. Of their twelve children, five sons, the oldest sixty-eight, and the youngest forty years old, are living. The subject of this sketch is next to the oldest living. He was first employed in his father's printing-office when only ten years old, the work at that time, however, not being steady, as he attended school regularly until sixteen years old. He then served a regular apprenticeship of four years, and jour work one year. In April, 1856, he was appointed Postmaster of Keosauqua, holding that office until the fall of 1860, when he resigned, he and his father having puchased the Des Moines News, at Keosauqua, to which he devoted his whole attention until the fall of 1865, when they sold the office. For the next fifteen years he was variously employed—at his trade, insurance, real-estate, running a hotel, selling patent rights, and for two seasons cutting stone. The 1st of January, 1880, he removed from Keosauqua to Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa, where he published the Corydon Democrat for two and a half years, and in the fall of 1883 was elected County Superintendent of Schools. He held this office during the years 1884 and 1885, and in November of the latter year he bought the Journal newspaper at Mt. Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa, of which he is the present proprietor, and has made it the leading official paper, as well as the fearless organ of the Democratic party in the county. He moved to Mt. Ayr from Corydon January 6. 1886. 

Mr. Shepherd was married to Miss Mary Moore, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Moore, January 9, 1862, and to them four children were born, two daughters and two sons, of whom three are living: Minnie (now Mrs. Hartshorn), Little J. and George S. The other son, Alvah C., died in Corydon, November 7, 1881. Mrs. Mary Shepherd died in Mt. Ayr, May 28, 1890, aged fifty-one years and nine months. Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1858. 

Mr. Shepherd was made a Master Mason in Keosauqua Lodge, No. 10, in January, 1856, a Royal Arch Mason in 1858, and Knight Templar in 1878. He has filled the office of Master in three different lodges, and is the present Master of Faith Lodge, No. 179, at Mt. Ayr. He is a zealous Mason, a conservative Democrat in politics, and endeavors to live a consistent Christian life.

ELISHA H. SKINNER, banker and general merchant of Birmingham, is a native of that town, his birth having occurred on the 24th of October, 1846. His father, Charles D. Skinner, was born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., May 21, 1816, and when thirteen years of age removed with his parents to Holmes County, Ohio. In 1839, he came to this county a single man and took a claim near Birmingham. Soon afterwards, however, he met a lady whose hand he sought in marriage — Miss Nancy Barnes, and on the 12th of November, 1840, they were united in marriage. Mrs. Skinner was a native of Holmes County, Ohio, and with her parents came to Iowa in 1839. Mr. Skinner made farming his life work. He took a lively interest in politics, though not for selfish ends; adhering to the doctrines of the old Whig patty until the rise of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks. In 1850, he made a trip to California, where he was engaged in mining for some three years. Returning once more to Iowa, he resumed his former calling, which continued to be his occupation until laying aside the duties of life, he was called to his final home. He died on the 24th of February, 1890, in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he had been a member for forty-seven years. His wife and seven children survive him, while five of the family have passed on before. 

Our subject was the fourth in order of birth. On the farm he learned the useful lessons of industry and energy and in the public schools and McArthurs Academy, of Birmingham, he acquired a good English education. Although seventeen years of age, in June 1863, he enlisted in Company C., of the Eighth Iowa Cavalry, and from Davenport went to Nashville, Tenn., and then on the Atlanta Campaign, participating in nearly all the engagements from Chattanooga to Atlanta. He was in the famous Kilpatrick raid, where a good part of his regiment was captured though he was more fortunate. Having returned to Nashville, reorganized and received fresh horses, the command marched to the Tennessee River to harass Gen. Hood in his movements. Having taken part in the battle of Spring Hill and Franklin, they went into Kentucky and were remounted, after which, returning, they participated in the battle of Nashville, driving Hood beyond the Tennessee River. In a cavalry charge near Tuscaloosa, Ala., Mr. Skinner received an almost fatal wound, a ball striking him at the lower part of the left ear and passing through his neck. Falling from his horse he was left for dead, not however without some kind-hearted rebel appropriating his hat, coat and shoes. He was found by a negro and taken to a house near by. When Gen. Forrest and his staff came up, the surgeon said it was not worth while to parole him as he would die before morning. But not so, after remaining there some three weeks, the rebels took him from his bed and made him walk thirty-two miles the first day under a summer's sun. Faint and exhausted, he laid down on the ground and told his captors that he would rather die than go farther. He was then put on a horse and taken to Columbus, Miss., but four days later was removed to Jackson, Miss. One morning a rebel officer ordered him to be ready to travel by one o'clock and at that hour he was put into an ambulance to be driven away, whether he was to be made a victim of retaliation or not was impossible to tell. After driving nearly all day, he was informed that he was being taken to Natchez to exchange him for a Confederate prisoner they wanted, but as there was no one there having authority to make such a change, it only remained to him to be driven back again. As soon as it was sufficiently dark he sprang from the ambulance and took to the woods. His pursuers were unable to catch him and by one o'clock that night he was within the Union lines. He presented himself to Gen. Davidson who gave him a pass to Cairo, Ill., where the Christian Commission furnished him with clean clothes, an inestimable gift. On the first boat he went to Nashville, where he met some of his comrades from Andersonville prison. Together they joined their command in Macon, Ga., where he remained until mustered Out at the close of the service in August, 1865. 

After receiving his discharge at Clinton, Iowa, Mr. Skinner returned to Birmingham and once more resumed peaceful pursuits. For a time he was employed as clerk by the firm of Moss & Pitkin, and later was a salesman for the latter gentleman, Mr. Moss having retired. After clerking for ten years, he was admitted to partnership with Mr. Pitkin, which connection he has since continued with the exception of one year. They do an extensive mercantile and banking business and are ranked among the enterprising citizens of the place. 

At Birmingham on the 4th of November, 1866, Mr. Skinner was united in marriage with Miss Alice Gibbs, a native of Tippecanoe County, Ind., and unto them were born five children, but one died in infancy. The living are Walter G., Effie M., Bert and Nellie. Mrs. Skinner is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, Mr. Skinner is a Republican. During the second term of Gov. Larabee's administration, he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel on his staff. He is a member of the G. A. R. Post, of Birmingham, of which he has served as Quartermaster since its organization and has also been Treasurer of the city and school fund for a number of years. 

He takes a prominent part in the political affairs of his county, but without desire on his part of official recognition; He is accounted one of the foremost business men of Southeastern Iowa, and the reputation which he has gained as a man of enterprise and sterling worth is certainly well merited.

JUDGE JOSHUA S. SLOAN, one of the editors and proprietors of the Keosauqua Republican, was born in Waynesburg, Chester County, Pa., on the 29th of January, 1822, and is a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Steapleton) Sloan. When a babe of a year, in the spring of 1823, he was taken by his parents to Columbiana County, Ohio, the family settling on a farm in Wayne Township. For several years they continued to reside in that county but at length came to Iowa and took up their residence near the city of Iowaville. Their son Joshua received a common-school education, but not content with such a limited store of knowledge, by reading and study in leisure hours he acquired a fund of information which far exceeded that of many whose advantages were greatly superior to his own. His first business venture was that of teaching. In the spring of 1841 he was employed as a teacher in the district schools of Columbiana County, where he continued for ten years. The two succeeding years of his life he spent in teaching in Carrollton, Carroll County, Ohio, after which he came to Iowa. Here he resumed his former profession, being employed as a teacher in Iowaville and vicinity for more than a year, when he engaged in mercantile pursuits until the fall of 1859, when he was elected to the office of County Judge, of Van Buren County, Iowa. He entered upon the duties of the position January 2, 1860, and served for two years, when he was elected Treasurer of the county, which position he filled for ten consecutive years, being four times re-elected to that office, the first three years of this time he also served as Recorder. The honor thus conferred upon him is one very unfrequently bestowed and plainly testifies to his ability and faithfulness with which he discharged his duties. Later he served as Clerk of the District Court for a year, filling the unexpired term of J. W. Latham, whose death occurred while he was holding the office. 

In the spring of 1873, Mr. Sloan once more embarked in mercantile pursuits, continuing in that line of business until September, 1877, when he was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors of the county. He held the office three years and during the entire time was President of the Board. In December, 1877, he purchased an interest in the Keosauqua Republican, a weekly journal published at Keosauqua, of which he has since been one of the editors and proprietors. This paper has been placed upon a sound, financial basis as the result of the excellent business management of the proprietors, and has a wide circulation, which is constantly increasing. 

On the 14th of April, 1853, just previous to his removal to Iowa, Mr. Sloan was united in marriage with Miss Sarah A. Sinclair, and then brought his young bride to Van Buren County. When he was elected County Judge, they removed to Keosauqua where they have since made their home. They are the parents of five children yet living. The daughters are Frances, Maggie Ella, and Hattie C. and the sons are George and Rutledge. 

Mr. Sloan became a member of the Presbyterian Church in June, 1850, and continued his connection with that organization until the spring of 1872. As there was no longer a house of worship in the place of his residence, he united with the Congregational Church in the spring of 1877. In his early life he was a supporter of the Democracy, but in 1856, on the organization of the Republican party in Van Buren County, he joined its ranks and has since been one of its stalwart supporters. He was the first candidate of his party for the office of State Representative but was defeated by ten votes, the county having a Democratic majority.

JUDGE ROBERT SLOAN. Few counties, if any, in Iowa can boast of a larger list of talented men than Van Buren. Her sons, natural and adopted, have distinguished themselves in every avocation of life, and especially in the learned professions. Among those she delights to honor is the well-known jurist and attorney, Robert Sloan. Descended from Scotch- Irish ancestry, he has inherited the mental and moral qualities peculiar to that people. His paternal great-grandfather served as a Lieutenant under Gen. Braddock in the French and Indian War, but when the Colonies declared their independence he espoused the cause of liberty and rose to the rank of Captain. Robert Sloan, Sr., the father of Judge Sloan, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and when seven years of age came to the United States with his parents, who settled near Philadelphia, Pa. On reaching mature years, he wedded Miss Elizabeth Steapleton, with whom he moved to Columbiana County, Ohio, where he engaged in farming. The spring of 1853 witnessed the removal of the family to Davis County, Iowa. 

Judge Sloan was born October 21, 1835, and was, therefore, nearly eighteen years of age at the time of his removal to this State. His scholastic training was confined to the common school and a year's course in the New Lisbon High School. Such was his diligence in the pursuit of knowledge that, with these meagre advantages, he qualified himself for the profession of teaching, which he followed after coming to Iowa until 1860, with the exception of about two years spent in mercantile life in Iowaville. In the above-mentioned year he began to read law under Judge George G. Wright, then of Keosauqua, and was admitted to the bar in March following. The young attorney soon took a front rank among his professional brethren, and his reputation as a judge of law became established. At the general election of 1868 he was chosen Judge for the First Circuit of the Second Judicial District. Four years later he was elected Circuit Judge of the Second Judicial District, and re-elected in 1876. Thus it will be seen that Judge Sloan has filled a judicial chair for twelve consecutive years, and this is the highest possible compliment to his ability and popularity. After leaving the bench he became a member of the law firm of Sloan, Work & Brown, and has since devoted himself assiduously to the practice of his profession. 

On the 15th of July, 1863, Jude Sloan wedded Miss Mary Brown, a native of County Westmeath, Ireland. born January 11, 1838. Her parents, William and Eliza (Alexander) Brown, were both natives of Scotland, but in early life emigrated to Ireland, where the mother died when Mrs. Sloan was a child of three summers. In 1847 Mr. Brown came to the United States and soon afterward located on a farm in Van Buren County, where he passed his remaining days, dying November 12, 1854. Mr. and Mrs. Sloan are the parents of seven children—Stella B., born November 26, 1864; Hugh B., September 1, 1866; Tede, September 13, 1868; Mary E., October 21, 1870; Della, born July 17, 1873, died November 29, 1878; Io. G., born July 14, 1876; and Robert E., February 4, 1878. 

Mr. and Mrs. Sloan are members of the Congregational Church. Politically, he has been a Republican since the organization of the party. For nearly thirty years he has been a member of the Keosauqua bar and the place he there occupies is second to none. Before a jury he is a forcible advocate, not so much on account of "honeyed eloquence" as the weight of character he brings to bear. Above the petty tricks of the profession, he is candid, dignified and earnest. But it is as a counselor and judge of law that he is best known and most highly appreciated.

DELAZON SMITH was born October 5, 1816, in New Berlin. Chenango County, N. Y. His parents were of that medium class of society from which many honored names have sprung. Early bereft of a mother's care (she died when he was in his ninth year), he was thrown upon his own resources, and from that period until his decease he struggled forward in the stern conflicts of life;. sometimes successful, sometimes defeated; but never despairing. At the age of fifteen. with all his worldly possessions tied in a small bundle, he started on that westward path which he pursued through life until he reached its fartherest limits and found a grave upon the shores of the Pacific. He stopped in Rochester, N. Y., about three years, with a near relative, assiduously laboring to acquire an education, and thus laying its foundation, he has ever since continued striving to expand and improve his mind, and to better qualify himself for the duties and responsibilities of life. From Western New York he journeyed to the manual labor school of Oberlin, Ohio, where he spent two years. Thence he went into a law office at Cleveland, Ohio, as a law student. While there he commenced to write for the public press. His inclinations and talents pointing out such a course, and an opportunity soon offering, he assumed the editorship of a paper called the Watchman, published in Rochester, N. Y. In this position he employed himself for two years, still devoting what attention he was able to his law studies. In 1840 he was the editor of a political paper called the Jeffersonian. Afterward, in the same year, he succeeded to the editorial conduct of the Western Herald. In 1842 he established the paper at Dayton, Ohio, called the Dayton Empire. In 1843 he Established the Miamian in the same place. During the years of 1840-1844, in addition to his editorial labors, he made electioneering campaigns in the States of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1844 he was appointed a special commissioner of the United States to the Republic of Ecuador, in South America. He was clothed with full powers, but finding himself unable from the convulsed and disorganized condition of the country to accomplish his mission he returned in 1846, after an absence of less than a year, and settled himself in Keosauqua, Iowa. He here occupied himself considerably in political affairs. In 1848, during the Presidential canvass, he edited the Iowa Democrat, published by James Shepherd. 

In 1837 Mr. Smith was married to Miss Eliza Voke, in Rochester, N. Y. Of this union, which continued about nine years, only a son survives. In 1848 he was married to Miss Mary Shepherd, daughter of James Shepherd, at Keosauqua. Of this union, which was broken by his death ten years and six months later, five children were born, all of whom, except one son, Delavan, now residing in Oregon, have passed to the beyond, the mother also dying January 1, 1871. 

In the spring of 1852, true to his westward instincts, Mr. Smith, with his family, started across the plains for Oregon. He arrived at Portland late in the season, wearied, poor and destitute, but by no means dismayed. He established a home in Linn County, where he continued to live until his death, which occurred November 18, 1860. 

Until April, 1851, Mr. Smith was irreligious. In that year, 1851, under the labors of Henry Clay Dean, he sought and obtained religion at Keosauqua, Iowa; his conversion being thorough, he immediately began laboring for Christ, and a great revival resulted. As soon as the case would permit he became a preacher of the Gospel, and was a power in the pulpit. He maintained his Christianity to the end, but on entering public life again in Oregon, he abandoned the pulpit for the rostrum and became the leader of his party, as well as at the head of the profession of law in Oregon. He was three times elected to the Legislature, and elected Speaker of the Lower House, which he filled with marked ability; he was an honored member of the Constitutional Convention, and at the first session of the Legislature after the adoption of the constitution and the admission of Oregon into the Union, he was chosen one of the United States Senators. He was a natural orator, and a powerful speaker on the stump. He also, in connection with his brother-in-law, J. M. Shepherd, published the Oregon Democrat at Albany. While in Iowa he joined the Masons, and was a worthy member of the fraternity until his death, beloved by his brothers, and received their care and attention during his fatal sickness and death, which occurred at Portland, Oregon, and his remains were taken to Albany, his home, where they were laid to await the general resurrection.

VOLONY VOLK SMITH was born in New York, and removed with his parents to Keosauqua, Iowa, in 1846. Here he attended school until his father went to the Pacific Coast, settling in Linn County, Ore., in 1852, Volony going with him. He continued his studies in the schools of Oregon until the spring of 1861, when he was appointed to a scholarship at West Point, for which place he left Oregon by steamer, arriving in New York City only to find that he had been superseded by another appointment, caused by a change in the administration; and the death of his father in 1860, leaving him without an adviser, he was thrown upon his own resources. Being now about twenty-one years of age, he decided to enter the United States service as a volunteer in the War of the Rebellion. He enlisted in a New York regiment, and served until the close of the war, when he was appointed to a position in the Freedman's Bureau, in the State of Arkansas. He filled this position for some time, was also elected County Clerk of his county in Arkansas, for two or three terms, and was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the State, on the ticket with Clayton as Governor, at the time of the adoption of the new Constitution of Arkansas. Clayton was elected United States Senator, but Mr. Smith failed to succeed him as Governor, owing to some technicality in the Constitution in regard to succession in office. Considerable trouble arose over the matter, and Volony was compelled to leave the State for safety. He was appointed by General Grant as Consul to the Isle of St. Thomas, which position he filled for three or four years, after which he returned to Arkansas, and has since resided there, filling many important offices both in the county and State. He was married in the State of New York about 1866 or '67. In politics he was in early life a Democrat, but in after years he told the writer that he was a Republican by force of circumstances. He was a very good speaker, and was admitted to the bar as a lawyer while clerk of the courts in Arkansas.

JAMES T. SNIDER, veterinary surgeon of Lebanon, Iowa, was born in Jefferson County, Ind., November 2, 1828. He traces his ancestry back through several generations to a Mr. Snider, a gentleman of Scottish birth, who left his native land in the early part of the eighteenth century, and, braving the dangers of an ocean voyage, came to America. He was the great-grandfather of our subject, and in the Revolutionary War he took an active part as a member of the Colonial forces, while his son John, the grandfather of our subject served in the War of 1812. Since the landing of the progenitor of the family in America, his descendants have been numbered among Virginia's citizens. In 1804, in that State, John Snider, father of the Doctor, was born. He was reared to manhood in Virginia, where he followed farming and shoemaking in pursuit of fortune for some years. In 1826, he married Jane Walker, who was born in Ohio, in 1812, and was a daughter of David Walker, a native of Ireland. They became the parents of nine children, of whom seven are yet living, as follows: James T., of this sketch; Francis M., a resident of Elk Horn County, Neb.; Silas A., who is living in Wayne County, Iowa; Samuel, of Grand County, Colo.; Elizabeth C., widow of Emery Glass, of Sumner County, Kan.; Cynthia, wife of Isaac Babb, a resident of the Indian Territory; Jane, wife of Israel Salters, whose home is in Appanoose County, Iowa. With his family Mr. Snider emigrated Westward in 1843. He chose the Territory of Iowa as the scene of his future labors, and located in Van Buren County. He took an active interest in the political affairs of the community, supporting the Republican party, and was accounted one of the leading citizens of the neighborhood. 

In the usual manner of farmer lads, James T. Snider spent his boyhood days, in which no event of special importance occurred. As the schools in a new settlement are not of a very advanced grade the educational advantages which he received were limited. The summer of 1846, he spent in the Western wilds of Iowa and Nebraska, making his home among the Indians, until 1850, when he crossed the plains, following the army of gold hunters en route for California. Such a journey was not unattended by great risk and peril, and the train to which Mr. Snider belonged, encountered the Comanche Indians in two very severe engagements, in which several of the white men were wounded. The Indians suffered considerable loss, and only gave up the fight at the killing of their chief, who fell at the hands of our subject. At length the party reached Hangtown, Cal., and Mr. Snider made a location in Diamond Springs, Placer County, where he engaged in the grocery business with good success, and also followed mining for eighteen months. He then returned to Iowa, somewhat richer than when he started. The return journey was made by way of the Isthmus of Panama, during which he spent some time in sight-seeing on the Isthmus and on the Island of Hayti. In December, he landed at New York City, and continued his journey homeward, where he at length arrived, after having traveled across the entire country. and around it. Mr. Snider then engaged in buying and selling horses until 1856, when he embarked in the mercantile business in Lebanon, in which line he continued until 1860, when he began traveling over the country as a peddler. Later he engaged in the hotel business, but in the spring of 1864, he laid aside business pursuits, feeling that his country needed his services. 

On the 4th of January, 1864, he enlisted in Company G, Third Iowa Cavalry, serving under Capt. John Stiger, while Col. J. W. Noble commanded the regiment. After participating in the battle of Memphis, Mr. Snider was placed on detached duty, and stationed at Little Rock. Ark. His two brothers, Frank and Silas were also in the service, being members of Company G, Thirty-Sixth Iowa Infantry. At the close of the war he was mustered out, and received his discharge August 19, 1865, after which he returned to his home in Iowa. He then took up his present profession, that of veterinary surgery, which he has since continued. He has gained a wide reputation in the line of his present business, and his large practice yields him a good income. He has a host of friends won by his honest dealings, fair treatment and ability. 

In 1854, Mr. Snider was united in marriage with Elizabeth A. Wilson, a native of Ohio, who died in 1872, leaving one child, a daughter, Mary Jane, who died in 1887. Mr. Snider was again married in 1874, his second union being with Martha Jane Harris, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Purcell) Harris, who are numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County of 1836. The father was born September 3, 1799, in Pennsylvania, and his marriage was celebrated May 31, 1827. Twelve children were born of the union, but only three are now living. The father died February 4, 1847, and the mother passed away December 19, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Snider have no children of their own, but are rearing an adopted daughter, Elizabeth Kellar. 

In his political affiliations, Dr. Snider is a supporter of the Democracy. He has held sevcral local offices of trust, was Constable for a number of years, two years filled the position of Justice of the Peace, after which he acted as Assessor, and is now Township Commissioner. He is also President of the Lebanon Cemetery Association, Past Master of Keosauqua Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M., and a Trustee in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has witnessed almost the entire growth of Van Buren County, and on the list of its honored early settlers his name is enrolled.

JOHN BRYCE SPEES, M. D., retired physician of Birmingham, was born in Bracken County, Ky., October 16, 1814, and is the only survivor in a family of seven children, six sons and one daughter, of whom he was the eldest. The parents were Christian and Mary (Young) Spees, and the family is of German and English extraction. The paternal grandfather of our subject, a native of Germany, crossed the Atlantic and located in Pennsylvania, where he met and married a lady of German descent. Their son Christian was born in the Keystone State in 1788, and when a lad of nine summers accompanied his parents on their emigration to Kentucky, which State was then in such a wild and unsettled condition that they had to live in forts to protect themselves against the Indians. On reaching man's estate, Christian Spees married Miss Young who was born about 1795 in Pennsylvania. Her ancestors were of English birth and were among the early settlers of Virginia during Colonial days. In the State where their marriage was celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Spees continued to make their home until their lives on earth were ended and they were called to the rest prepared for the righteous. Mr. Spees made farming the means of maintenance for his family, but as a labor of love performed much service as a local minister in the Methodist Church. He was ably seconded in his noble efforts by his wife and the influence which they exerted for good was certainly not without its results. They died in 1852, within a day of each other, of cholera. 

The early history of Dr. Spees is a record of struggles to overcome the disadvantages which surrounded him in his youth. He had almost no educational opportunities, yet he was of a studious nature and determined will and by private study he became well informed, fitting himself for the profession of teaching, which he followed several years. Every moment which he could find from his school duties he devoted to reading medicine and under the direction of his cousin, Dr. S. J. Spees, and his brother, Dr. T. M. Spees, of Hillsboro, Ohio, he continued his studies. In 1843 and 1844, he attended a course of lectures in the Ohio Medical College of Cincinnati. His first visit to the Territory of Iowa occurred in 1843, when with the desire to better his financial condition he made a claim near Ottumwa upon which he built two cabins. He then returned and took the course of lectures before mentioned but during his absence his claim was jumped and on his return, finding that he could do nothing to regain possession of his property, he started once more for Ohio, but fate had other things in store for him and the West was yet to be his home. He believed that the village of Birmingham offered fair opportunities for one of his profession and at that place opened an office but at the end of the first year he found himself $50 in debt for his board and because he could not pay, his landlord drove him off. However he had not the money with which to go elsewhere and it was necessary that he remain where he was. Perseverance, energy and ability at length won him a patronage and for fifteen years he practiced very successfully in this community. Throughout the country round about, calls were made for Dr. Spees and often he would ride as much as fifteen or twenty miles. He not only manifested an interest in his profession as the means whereby he might gain a livelihood, but his sympathy for his patients and genial and pleasant words proved an excellent tonic in the sick room and made him many warm friends. As his financial resources increased he made judicious investments in land and he is now the owner of one thousand, six hundred and forty-five acres, much of which yields to him a golden tribute. He has now practically retired from the practice of his profession but, still prescribes for a few old friends who are not willing to change their well known family physician for a stranger.

Near Birmingham, on the 9th of April, 1848, Dr. Spees and Miss Susanna Endersby were united in marriage. The lady was born in Gilden Morden, Cambridgeshire, England, December 17, 1824, and when seventeen years of age accompanied her father to this country, locating in Hillsboro. Henry County. He died in Lee County at the age of seventy-five years. The Doctor and his wife began their domestic life in a portion of the house which is still their home and seven children came to bless their union — Cephus, a resident farmer of Van Buren County; Thomas L. and Linnaeus R. who died in childhood; John C., a farmer of Lewis County, Mo.; Mary M., wife of David Miller, a resident of Van Buren County; Florence E., wife of William Spees who is also living in this county, as does Helen I. and her husband, George Manning. 

Dr. Spees is known throughout the greater part of Iowa and is one of the honored and prominent pioneers. In many ways he has been identified with the upbuilding and advancement of town, county and State. He helped to secure the corporation for Birmingham and served as Mayor of the city. He came to this place when four families constituted its population. He was the first to build away from the square and thus give a new direction to the town. 

In past years Dr. Spees has given employment to a great many men, and always paid them promptly. Five different men who were his tenants, made sufficient money while in possession of his property to enable them each to buy homes of their own. He has acted generously with his patients, never having sued any of them for pay for his services and cheerfully given his attendance to those unable to pay. 

With the State history he is also connected. As a candidate of the Whig party, he was elected in 1850 to the State Senate from this district. He assisted in establishing the capital at Des Moines and in publishing the first statutes of Iowa. On the dissolution of the Whig party he joined the new Republican party, but in late years has been independent in politics. A faithful friend to many, he in turn has many friends who respect and love him for the valuable service he has rendered in time of affliction.

JOHN R. STEVENS has been manager of the Edward Manning store, of Cantril, for the past five years. He is a native of Van Buren County, and a representative of one of its pioneer families. His father, A. N. Stevens, was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1808, but when quite small was brought by his parents to the United States. The family is of Scotch-Irish descent. Having attained to mature years, Mr. Stevens sought the hand of Miss Sallie Deshields in marriage. The lady is a native of Maryland and in her maidenhood removed to Indiana where she became the wife of Mr. Stevens. For several years they continued their residence in that State, when in 1840, they emigrated to the Territory of Iowa, locating in Van Buren County. 

John R. was born on the 8th of September, 1850, and his early life was spent in the usual manner in which boys pass their time. He acquired a good common school education, after which he learned the science of telegraphy, which business he followed in Iowa for a number of years. In the year 1879 he was made agent for the Chicago, Burlington & Kansas City Railroad, at Cantril, which position he occupied for four years when he embarked in the drug business. Later he engaged in general merchandising but sold out and took charge of Mr. Manning's store in 1885. The stock is composed of general merchandise to the value of $8,000 and he is assisted in the care of the same by one salesman. 

Mr. Stevens and Miss Gettie E. Stemple were united in the holy bands of matrimony in 1874. The lady was born October 28, 1858, and is a daughter of Samuel and Sarah Stemple, natives of West Virginia. Their union has been blessed with seven children, as follows: Roy A., Clarence J., Seba L., Verne F., Nellie L., Thayne and Bliss A. 

Mr. Stevens is a member of Apollo Lodge, No. 461, A. F. & A. M. and an adherent of Republican principles. He is an enterprising and progressive citizen and the fidelity which he displays in the management of the Manning store indicates him to be a man of uprightness. His sterling worth has won for him many friends and it is with pleasure that we record his sketch in this volume.

J. W. STEWART, a farmer and stock-raiser of Polk Township, Jefferson County, residing on section 27, claims Ohio as the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Richland County in 1839. In a family of four children he was the eldest and the parents were Samuel and Eliza (Fletcher) Stewart, the former a native of Ohio, and the latter of Virginia. They were married in the Buckeye State, where Mr. Stewart continued his farming operations until 1851, when he moved with his family to Van Buren County, Iowa, and purchased a partially improved farm. Four years later, however, he left the West and made a location in Fauquier County, Va., where he carried on agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred in 1862. His wife continued there to reside until she also received the final summons, her death occurring in February, 1876. There are one son and two daughters of the family yet living, the daughters being Mrs. Elizabeth Swain, of Fairfield and Mrs. Maranda Huff, of Orleans, Neb. 

The son, whose name heads this sketch, spent his boyhood days in Ohio, Iowa and Virginia. He was a lad of twelve years when he left his native State and became a resident of Van Buren County, Iowa, and at the age of fifteen years we find him with his parents, living in Fauquier County, Va., where he attained to man's estate. His time was spent in a manner not unlike that of most farmer lads and after attaining his majority, be embarked in farming for himself. He was married in Fauquier County, Va., in 1867, to Miss Elizabeth M. Case, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Adam and Margaret (Stewart) Case. Her father was born in New Jersey and her mother in Ohio. He came to Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1855, and for some years engaged in merchandising in Fairfield, where he ranked among the leading business men. His death occurred in January, 1873. He took quite an active part in political affairs, supporting the Republican party and was an influential citizen in the community. His wife died the year of their removal to this county. 

Mr. Stewart continued his farming operations in Virginia until 1876, when he too came to Fair-field. He spent the winter in that city and the following spring purchased an improved farm of one hundred and sixty acres. That quarter section is now one of the most highly improved in the township. Everything necessary to a model farm may there be seen; it is provided with good buildings and the home with its entire surroundings gives evidence of the capability and industry of him who has its operation in charge. The home is blessed with the presence of seven children, four sons and three daughters, as follows: Frank, Madge, Charles, Edward, George, Hattie and Helen. The parents are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of Abingdon, and to all social, moral and educational interests, Mr. Stewart is a warm friend. As a member of the School Board, he has done efficient service for education by advancing the grade of schools and providing teachers who are capable of discharging the duties of the profession. As every true American citizen should do, he feels and manifests an interest in political affairs and casts his ballot for the Republican party.

ANDREW STONEBRAKER, Treasurer of Cantril, won the position which he now holds as the result of his worthiness, ability and the high regard in which he is held by his fellow townsmen. He is a retired farmer of Van Buren County, having since 1883 made his home in Cantril, where he is the owner of the finest residence of the village. It is a tasty and commodious two story dwelling, surrounded by towering maples, while the beautiful lawn in the front is adorned with many plants whose lovely flowers and fragrance add not a little charm to the scene. A fine bearing orchard at the rear of his home is another of its pleasant additions. Here surrounded by all the comforts which go to make the life worth the living, Mr. and Mrs. Stonebraker expect to spend their remaining days. 

The family of which our subject is a descendant is of German extraction and was established in America in the year 1700. The father of Andrew Stonebraker was born near Hagerstown, Md., in 1765, where he was reared to manhood. In 1798, he married Lizzie Aultfather and unto them were born three children, but the mother did not long survive the birth of the third child. After the death of his first wife, Mr. Stonebraker emigrated to Ohio, where in 1815 he was united in marriage with Barbara Barr, who was horn in Pennsylvania in 1785, and was a daughter of Daniel Barr, also of the Keystone State. That marriage was graced by nine children, the fourth in order of birth being our subject. 

Andrew Stonebraker was born on the 8th of July, 1821, in Belmont County, Ohio, where he was reared to manhood, receiving such educational advantages as the common schools afforded. He was reared to farm life and chose that occupation for his own, and ere his removal to the West he had become owner of one hundred acres of choice land in Athens County, Ohio, which yielded him a golden tribute for the care and labor which he bestowed upon it. In 1873, he left the Buckeye State, after disposing of his property, and came to Van Buren County, Iowa. Upon his arrival he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land and began the development of a fine farm. Many improvements he added which greatly enhanced the value of the land and the well cultivated fields indicated the thrift and enterprise of the owner, but at length, having accumulated a competency sufficient for all his wants in coming years he laid aside business cares and in 1883, as before stated, came to Cantril. 

In August, 1844, Mr. Stonebraker was joined in wedlock with Susanna Keefer, the marriage being solemnized in Ohio. The lady is a native of Belmont County, that State, born in April. 1827, and a daughter of William and Jane Keefer. Her paternal grandparents, Casper and Mary Keefer, were of German descent. Nine children have been born of this union, seven of whom are yet living, namely : James A., Silas A., Charles V., Sherman T., Narcissa J., deceased wife of Louis Zimmerman; Mary E., wife of Henry Moore; Alice A., wife of Wesley Welch; Viola M., wife of Martin Saar; and William Henry, the eldest of the family, who was killed at the battle of Corinth, Miss., during the war. 

The father also donned the blue and marched southward in defense of the old flag. He served as a member of Company K, of the Sixty-Third Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, under Capt. McGinnis and Col. Sprague. He enlisted November, 1861, but was not actively engaged, for owing to illness he was placed on the sick list and at length was discharged in September, 1862, on account of physical disability. His duties as a citizen have ever been performed with the same loyalty and faithfulness as characterized his war record. He is a man of progressive ideas and enterprising spirit who gives support and encouragement to all worthy interests, while to the poor and needy he is a benefactor. In politics Mr. Stonebraker is a Republican; for three years he served as School Director, for a similar period was a member of the City Council of Cantril, and in March, 1889, he was elected to his present office, that of Treasurer. He and his wife are faithful members of the Christian Church of which he is an Elder, and by all who know them are held in the highest regard.

JACOB STONG, a pioneer settler of Van Buren County, is engaged in general merchandising in Kilbourn, where he is doing a good business, his sales amounting to $7,000 a year. His enterprise and thrift have won him a place among the leading merchants of the community and his business is an important addition to its mercantile interests. 

Mr. Stong is descended from an early New England family. His grandfather Philip Stong, was born in Germany where be learned the trade of a millwright, and with his parents came to this country locating in Pennsylvania. The father of our subject was born in 1790, in Chester County, Pa. In 1825, at the age of thirty-five years, he was married in Lancaster County, Pa., to Miss Mary Stagers who was born in that county in 1806. Twelve years later in 1837 he came to Iowa and entered three hundred and sixty acres of land in Lick Creek Township, which tract now comprises what is known as the Anson place. After making a contract for the erection of a house, he returned to Pennsylvania in order to dispose of his business interests in that State. He sold his farm for $20,000 and received an additional $5,000 for personal property. In 1838, accompanied by his wife and four children, he again made the journey to the Territory of Iowa and settled upon the land which he had previously located. For two years they resided in a log cabin, surrounded by many Indians while the wild game which was quite plentiful furnished them many a meal. It is no easy task to transform the raw prairie into a highly cultivated farm, but Mr. Stong and his sons performed that labor and at the time of his death he was the owner of two hundred acres of fertile land which yielded him a good income. He possessed business ability of a high order, was sagacious and far-sighted and as the result became a wealthy man. Many hardships and difficulties were endured by the family during the early history of the county, for even wealth could not always procure the necessaries of life for the markets and mills were so far distant that it was often almost impossible to reach them. On one occasion the family lived on boiled corn for a week and for a whole year their bread was made of rye flour. Mr. Stong was a Democrat in politics and filled a number of minor official positions. He was a faithful and valued citizen and in the War of 1812 defended the stars and stripes. His death occurred August 12, 1859, and his wife died in 1864. Six children, five growing to mature years, were born unto them — John who was born in Pennsylvania, was killed at the coal bank of Centerville. in 1880; Joseph is now engaged in farming in Kansas; Jacob is the next younger; Mrs. Sarah Maxwell and Mrs. Susanna Shaffer are also residing in Kansas, and Sylvania died in infancy. 

Our subject was but two years of age at the time of the emigration of the family to Iowa, where he has since made his home. While en route for the West the boat on which they had taken passage exploded and his father was knocked down although not seriously injured, but thirteen men on board were killed. Jacob helped to clear and develop the homestead farm and shared with the family the privations of pioneer fife. He remembers many incidents of interest concerning those early days, which if they could he given in detail would make an instructive and exciting story. On one occasion twelve chiefs in full Indian dress came to their house and demanded entertainment for the night. They were accommodated on the floor, for the homes of that day usually had no spare beds. During the night one of the children called for water several times, but the hired girl with whom the little one was sleeping was afraid to get up on account of the Indians. The mother heard the call and arose to get the water and in order to hand it to her child she had to reach over the girl, who seeing the arm stretched across her, thought it was an Indian about to cut her throat and screamed at the top of her voice; in fact, could hardly be pacified. The Indians however gave no heed to the occurrence and in the morning left for other scenes, having molested nothing. 

The primary education of our subject was acquired in the subscription schools, which he attended only in the winter season as his services were needed upon the farm in summer. This did not satisfy him however and at the age of twenty-six, with an earnest desire to overcome the lack of education, he attended select schools at Mt. Pleasant and Ashland. Subsequent reading, experience and observation have also added greatly to his store of knowledge and he is now a well informed man. He taught two terms of school and then worked at the carpenter's trade for some time. On March 29, 1863, he was united in marriage with Miss Cynthia A. Ranard, a native of Indiana, born March 5, 1844, and their union has been blessed with eight children -- Myrtis, who was born March 6, 1864, and is now the wife of D. Skinner, of Lick Creek Township, Van Buren County; Frances A., born December 13, 1865, is the wife of James Elrick, a merchant of Pittsburg; Alice, born February 28, 1868, is the wife of Oscar Short, of Lick Creek Township; Benjamin, born March 29, 1870, is employed as salesman in a store at Pittsburg; Emma J., born October 25, 1871, is the wife of Oscar Hootman; Jesse, burn April 18, 1874; Ernest L., February 2, 1878, and Stephen, June 9, 1884, are at home. 

Immediately after his marriage, Mr. Stong embarked in business as a cabinet maker, opening a shop in Kilbourn, where he carried on operations for twelve years. In 1875 he began his present business of general merchandising which he has since continued. His stock at the beginning was valued at only $300, but now his annual sales amount to $7,000 and a branch store at Pittsburg yields him $2,500 per year. Mr. Stong carries only the best grades of goods, which in addition to his genial and affable manner has secured him his liberal patronage. He is a valued citizen and for three years served as Assessor. He cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas, has since supported the Democracy and has frequently attended the county conventions of his party as a delegate. His wife is a member of the Methodist Church and a lady possessing many excellencies of character.

DR. ROBERT JONES STUDRDIVANT, deceased, is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Van Buren County and was one of its leading citizens. As he was widely known and as he was greatly instrumental in the upbuilding of the county and the advancement of its best interests, we feel this work would he incomplete without his sketch. He was a native of Virginia, his birth having occurred in Abingdon, on the 18th of September, 1804. His parents were Anthony and Jemima (Sheckleford) Sturdivant. His father was a highly educated man and held a professorship in Abingdon College where our subject acquired the greater part of his education. While yet quite young in years, he went to Sullivan County, Tenn., where he taught school and studied medicine. In 1830, he was united in marriage with Miss Ann Smithson and the following year removed with his young wife to Salina, Ind., where he embarked in the prosecution of his chosen profession. Scarcely had the Black Hawk War been brought to a close and the contested territory opened for settlement, than the Doctor determined to seek a home in that locality. Suiting the action to the word, in the autumn of 1836, he started for the land beyond the Mississippi and made a settlement in Van Buren County, Iowa, which was then a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. That was his last move, for so admirably was he suited and so prosperous were his undertakings that he had no desire to go elsewhere. He purchased land and erected a humble pioneer cabin and like the other hardy early settlers began to develop the wild prairie and make a home. The same land on which he located was the place of his residence at the time of his death yet the changes which had there been wrought were very great. 

Sorrow visited the pioneer home in 1843, Dr. Sturdivant suffering the loss of his wife and two children who were called from this earth to the better land. In 1845, he was again married, his second union being with Miss Margaret Cavin who still survives her husband. A family of sixteen children were born unto them but only nine are still living. 

The Doctor, by the exercise of thrift and industry, supplemented by good business ability, became one of the substantial farmers of Van Buren County, and as the result of his forty-four years of patient toil he left his family in comfortable circumstances. He was a man of fixed purpose and determination and unswerving integrity. When he believed himself to be in the right nothing could deter him from pursuing the path which he had marked out, and his upright course won him both the confidence and high regard of those with whom business or social relations brought him in contact. A firm believer in the truths of the Bible he met death fearlessly, anticipating joyfully the life beyond the grave. The community however, lost one of its worthiest citizens, his friends an interesting and instructive associate, and his family a devoted husband and father. 

After the death of the Doctor, Mrs. Sturdivant married George W. Sturdivant, half brother of her former husband, and is now a resident of Bonaparte, Iowa.

L. F. SUMMERS, M. D., physician and surgeon of Milton and the senior partner of the firm of Summers & Rice, druggists, is also a member of the Milton Hardware Company. It will readily be seen that he is one of the leading and representative business men of Milton and as such we are pleased to record his sketch in this volume. He was born in Scotland County, Mo., August 17, 1849, and is a son of David and Alice (Stevens) Summers. His father was a native of Greenbrier County, Va., born about the year 1812, and in early life went to Missouri. He was a millwright by trade and erected one of the first grist mills in Scotland County, and for many years also engaged in farming. Mrs. Summers, the mother of our subject, was born in Decatur, Ill., in 1825, and removed with her parents to Missouri in girlhood, becoming acquainted with Mr. Summers in Scotland County, where their marriage was celebrated and where she still resides. They were parents of four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom the eldest is the Doctor ; Lois E., is the wife of J. C. Yenter, of Washington; Amanda L., is the wife of James Douglas, of Scotland County, Mo.; David, married Laura Hammond and is a farmer of Scotland County. 

Mr. Summers continued to reside in that county until his death which occurred in 1852. His wife survives her husband and is still a resident of that county. She was married again in 1858, to John Rice, a farmer by occupation, and of the second marriage six children were horn, five sons and a daughter. Clora A., the eldest, is the wife of Chipman A. Van Dyke, of Oregon; Charles H., married Ellen Beswick, and resides near Memphis, Mo.; William H. is single and makes his home in the same place; John A., wedded Miss Mary Graves and is a member of the drug firm of Summers & Rice, of Milton; Albert A., married Miss Arwilda Ruse, and resides near Memphis, Mo.; Grant, who completes the family, is a member of the Milton Hardware Company. Mr. Rice Sr., father of the above named children, was a soldier in the Union Army during the late war, serving in Company M, Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, and died in the hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., in 1864. 

Dr. Summers received his primary education in the public schools, after which he pursued a partial course in the Memphis College, of Memphis, Mo. Having determined to make the practice of medicine his life work, in 1872 he became a student in the Keokuk Medical College, but did not complete the course. The same year he spent six months in practice in the Marine Hospital, at St. Louis. The following year he came to Milton and opened an office but subsequently returned to the Keokuk Medical College, and after a course of study was graduated in the class of 1876. He continued practice in Milton and in 1878 opened a drug store in that place which he carried on alone until 1880, when J. A. Rice was admitted to partnership, a connection which continues until the present writing in the fall of 1890. In 1888, the Doctor became associated with others in the organization of the Milton Hardware Company, which is now one of the important mercantile houses in the county. In addition to his other business interests he is proprietor of a fine stock farm of two hundred and forty acres lying two miles southwest of Milton. He breeds sheep and horses extensively, making a specialty of road horses. 

On the 7th of March, 1876, in Milton, Dr. Summers, was united in marriage with Miss Nettie Bell, who was born near Delphos, Ohio, and is a daughter of Freeman Bell. Four children were born of their union, three daughters and a son — Mabel Alice, Jessie Bell, Etta Catherine and Loyd Freeman. Mrs. Summers, is a member of the Methodist Church and a lady of culture, having many friends in the community. The Doctor is a Republican in politics. He is an enterprising and successful business man, who by his own efforts has accumulated a valuable property, and in his profession he has won a prominent place as physician and surgeon and has built up an extensive practice. For seventeen years Dr. Summers has been known to the people of Van Buren and adjacent counties, and during that time his course has been such as to win the respect and esteem of all with whom he has had business or social relations.

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

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