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HAMILTON COUNTY IOWA BIOGRAPHIES

J. E. Adams

J. E. Adams is the proprietor of the Meadow View stock-raising interests. Her fame in this respect has gone abroad, and her reputation is the plain result of the united efforts of many worthy men who are devoting their lives to this branch of industrial activity. Mr. Adams is the proprietor of the Meadow View stock farm, and is widely known as a business man of ability of determination and of strong force and character. He is yet a young man, but the success which he has achieved might well be envied by many of twice his years. His birth occurred March 11, 1870, his parents being Jesse and Minnie (Subberbs) Adams, who were pioneer people of Hamilton county, and from an early period in the development of this portion of the state the father has been a witness of its growth and progress. He is still living, but his wife died in 1891. Of the family of nine of nine children born unto them, seven are yet living, Mr. Adams of this review being the oldest. The others are: A. F., who makes his home in Freedom township; Dora, who is the wife of Peter Schwiebert, a resident farmer of Independence township; Minnie M., the wife of Isaac Kemmer, who is living in Boone county, Iowa; Eva, the wife of Edward Beaver, of Freedom township; and Carl and Roy, who are at home.

No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for J. E. Adams in his youth. His father attended to his business training in order that he might be equipped for the duties of cultivating the soil and raising stock. The schools of the neighborhood afforded him his educational privileges, and what not engaged with the duties of the school-room and the pleasures of the play-ground he worked upon his father's farm, being thus engaged up to the time of his marriage, which important event in his career occurred on teh21st of December, 1892, the lady of his choice being Hilda Sonerholm. The wedding was celebrated near Kamrar, Iowa, when the lady was twenty years of age, her birth having occurred at Elkhart, Indiana on the 24th of July, 1872. Her parents, John and Louisa E. (Mast) Sonerholm, are now living in Webster City, having been residents of Hamilton county for more than a quarter of a century. They arrived in 1876 and lived upon a farm unti the spring of 1902, when they took up their abode in the county seat in order that the father might enjoy a well earned rest from the arduous duties of field and meadow. In their family were nine children, namely: Mrs. Adams; Mrs. Emma Hanson, of Hamilton township; Louis, who is also living in Hamilton township; Lena, the wife of Oscar Olson, of the same township; Mrs. Anna Riley; Augusta, the wife of W. C. Schweppe, of Independence township; Carl, Gusta and Frank, who are still living with their parents. In 1892 Mr. Adams of this review purchased eighty acres of land. At the time of his marriage he took his bride to his new home, where they have since lived, their united efforts making it a very attractive farm, for Mrs. Adams has capably superintended the affairs of the household while her husband has attended to the duties of the field and of the stock yards. He has built here a splendid residence, has fenced his fields, has put up barns, planted trees and in fact has added all the modern equipments which are found upon the model country homes of the twentieth century. He is engaged in the breeding of Poland-China hogs and of Durham cattle and has done much to improve the grade of stock in this locality. He keeps registered cattle and the Meadow View stock there produced. He sells his stock at both public and private sales. His labors have been of direct benefit to the community, for every man who aids in improving the grades of stock raised helps other farmers b ecause he enables them to command better prices in the markets for the cattle, hogs and horses raised. In the home of Mr. and Mrs. Adams are two interesting daughters; Hattie Louise, who was born October 7, 1893; and Mabel Helena, born the 1st of October, 1895. The parents are consistent and valued members of the Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal church, taking an active part in its work. Mr. Adams is a Democrat and upon that ticket has been elected as road supervisor. He has also served as road supervisor. He has also served as school director and was elected to the office of constable, but would not qualify, for the does not covet political honors or emoluments, being content to do his duty as a private citizen. He is a valued representative of the Modern Woodmen Camp at Webster City, served as its worthy advisor and has also been venerable council of the camp, which has recently been removed from Tremaine to Webster City. Public-spirited, progressive, he has given active support to measures tending to promote the welfare of the county along material, social and intellectual lines.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Charles Aldrich

Charles Aldrich was born at Ellington, Chautauqua County, New York, October 2, 1828. He attended the public schools and for one year was a student at Jamestown Academy. In 1846 he entered a printing office, learned the trade, and in 1850 established a paper at Randolph. In 1857 he removed to Iowa and located at the then frontier town of Webster City, Hamilton County, where he established the Hamilton Freeman in May of that year. In 1860 he was chosen Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the Eighth General Assembly and in 1862 was reelected. In September of that year he entered the military service as adjutant of the Thirty-second Infantry Regiment, serving a year and a half. In 1865 he became editor of the Dubuque Daily Times and in 1866 purchased the Marshall Times which he conducted for about three years. He again served as chief clerk of the House in 1866 and 1870. In 1872 he was appointed one of the commissioners to investigate the claims of the settlers on the lands embraced in the Des Moines River grant. When Congress provided for a commission to examine into these claims Mr. Aldrich was one of the members. In 1875 he served on the Hayden Geological Survey in the western Territories. In 1881 he was a member of the House of the Nineteenth General Assembly from Hamilton County and was the author and advocate of a bill to prohibit the use of free railroad passes by public officials. In 1887 he was instrumental in having a tablet placed in the court-house of Hamilton County, on which were inscribed the names of the members of the company from that county which, in 1857, marched to the relief of the survivors of the Spirit Lake Massacre. At the assembly gathered upon that occasion a large amount of valuable historical material was secured in the addresses of several of the chief actors in that great tragedy. From early life Mr. Aldrich was a collector of autographs of notable persons and during Governor Sherman's administration he conceived the idea of making his collection the nucleus of a historical department for the State. He was granted space in the State Library where he worked for several years in collecting manuscripts, photographs, files of early newspapers and historical documents of value which were recognized by legislative action and became the foundation of the Historical Department established in 1892 of which Mr. Aldrich was appointed Curator. He has since given his entire time to the upbuilding of this department and conducting the Annals of Iowa a historical publication which was established in 1863. He was one of the Commissioners appointed by the State in 1895 to erect a monument to the memory of the victims of the Spirit Lake Massacre. In addition to many years' work in journalism, Mr. Aldrich has been a frequent contributor to scientific and historical publications.

[Iowa Biography By Benjamin F. Gue, 1903 - Transcribed by AFOFG]


William O. Butler

WILLIAM O. BUTLER, who is manager of a lumber business in Blairsburg, represents one of the pioneer families of this portion of Iowa. He is a son of John and Martha (Griggs) Butler, old settlers of Hamilton county. The parents were natives of Pennsylvania. The father came west in the early '50s, settling in Webster City, which was then known as Newcastle. After a year he returned to Pennsylvania, where he was married, and at once brought his bride to his new home, locating on a prairie farm near Webster City, about 1854. The land was all wild and there was plenty of game, furnishing many a meal to the early settlers. Mr. Butler helped to break the prairie close to the old stone schoolhouse north of the town and carried on general farming here until 1862, when he returned with his family to Pennsylvania, remaining there until 1869.

In the latter year he again came to Hamilton county and bought a farm in Cass township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits and stock-raising until 1882. He then formed a partnership in stock-raising with John Funk and they successfully carried on business for five years. In 1887 Mr. Butler entered into partnership with his son, Charles Butler, on the prairie farm. This connection was maintained for a few years and the father then retired to Webster City, where he has since lived, being now in his seventy-fourth year. He has been connected with the work of improvement and growth of this county, which he has seen developed from its wild state to its present prosperous condition, ever bearing his part in the work of improvement. He is now numbered among the valued and honored pioneer settlers here. When he first arrived in Newcastle, now Webster City, he lived in a log cabin which was used for a hotel. The first home which he owned was also a log cabin, made f rom native timber.

Until him and his wife have been born ten children and with the exception of one, who died in infancy, all are yet living. They were reared amid the pioneer scenes of Iowa and the family has ever been a respected one here. These children are: Mrs. Florence Blazier, of Webster City, who has four children: Albert, a railroad man of Webster City; Clara, who died in infancy; William O.; Charles, also of Webster City; Ada, the wife of John Kearns, of the same place; Mrs. Robinson, whose husband is a farmer of Hamilton county; Mrs. John Balentine, who lives upon a farm in Lyon township; Mrs. Kauffman, of Storm Lake; and John, of Webster City.

William O. Butler, the fourth in order of birth, was born in Hamilton county, December 3, 1862, and is indebted to the public school system for the educational privileges he enjoyed. After attending the district schools he became a student in the high school and afterward pursued a business course. At the age of nineteen he engaged in teaching in the district school, following the profession for about four terms in Hamilton and Wright counties. At the age of sixteen he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for about eighteen years. He worked at his trade for twelve years in Kansas and for six years in Hamilton county, as a contractor and builder, and has erected a number of the best buildings in Webster City. On then 1st of January, 1902, he removed his family to Blairsburg and took charge of the Lane-Moore lumber business at that place.

On the 29th of May, 1887, Mr. Butler was united in marriage to Mary Blazier, who was born in Kansas, July 4, 1869.

They were married in Beloit, that state. Mrs. Butler is a daughter of David and Charity (Winget) Blazier. Her father is now deceased, while her mother is living in Nemeha county, Kansas. Five children have been born unto our subject and his wife: John, aged fourteen; Isabel, Roy and Wilbur, aged respectively twelve, seven and four years; and Clyde, born in 1902. Mrs. Butler is a member of the Christian church of Webster City. Both our subject and his wife are well-known in Hamilton county, having already made many warm friends in Blairsburg, although they have but recently arrived in the village.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


B. F. Derr

B. F. Derr has been longer identified with the mercantile interests here through a continuous period than any other resident of Webster City, and his efforts have contributed in a large measure to the commercial prosperity of the county seat. In business he has ever sustained an unassailable reputation, and as one of the honored and respected merchants of Webster City we gladly present his record to the readers of this volume.

Mr. Derr was born in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, on the 31st of October, 1836, his parents being William T. and Mary (Griesemer) Derr, both of whom were of Pennsylvania German lineage and spent their entire lives in the Keystone State. The father was a tailor by trade. The son pursued his education in the common school until he had mastered the elementary branches of learning, and afterward entered an academy. At the age of fourteen he left his old home, removing to the west. He became a resident of Hardin county, Ohio, and there resided until 1865. In the meantime he was married, having in 1863, led to the marriage altar Miss Ethalinda Carroll, who was born in Tiffin, Ohio, on the 6th of December, 1836, a daughter of Ophir and Phidilue (Goodin) Carroll, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. They, too, were of German lineage, and Mr. Carroll was a carpenter by trade. He died in Ohio, and his widow afterward came to Iowa, locating in Des Moin es, where her remaining days were passed. She was married the second time, becoming the wife of J. W. Letson of Canton, Ohio, who is yet living, his home being in Yatesville, Texas. Mrs. Derr has one sister, Mrs. L. H. Bush of Des Moines, and Mr. Derr has one brother and two sisters; H. W. Derr, who is living in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Mary, the wife of Biglow Hoffert; and Olive Zigler of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Throughout almost his entire business career Mr. Derr has been connected with mercantile pursuits. After his removal to Ohio, he secured a clerkship and continued to act in that capacity until his marriage. He remained in Ohio for about a year after his marriage, and in 1865 came to Iowa, settling in Homer, Hamilton county, where he owned a drygoods store, as a member of the firm of Dickey & Derr, which was afterward succeeded by Derr & Myers. In 1871 he traded his stock of goods for a farm of four hundred and eighty acres in Freedom township, and this he still owns, paying on a basis of eight dollars per acre for the land, which has rapidly increased in value until it is now a most desirable tract. In the same year Mr. Derr came to Webster City and purchased the general store of L. L. Treat, continuing the business in this place under his own name until 1899, when he admitted F. T. Hook to a partnership, and the latter is now conducting the store. The stock completely fills a large double-front store building and embraces drygoods, cloaks and notions. His stock is valued at twenty-five thousand dollars, and the sales of the house are extensive and are constantly increasing. Throughout his entire business career Mr. Derr has enjoyed a richly merited success. He thoroughly understands the needs of the trade, has been careful in his purchases and through his unfailing courtesy, reliability and fair prices has won and retains a very liberal patronage. In addition to the income received from the store he also receives a rental of twelve hundred dollars per year from his farm.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Derr have been born three children: Vernie, died at the age of five months, and Mason A., died in 1899, at the age of twenty-eight years. He was a clerk in his father's store. The only daughter of the family, Millie May Allington, now makes her home with her father. In 1899 Mr. Derr suffered a paralytic stroke, which has incapacitated him for business, and he spends his time at his elegant residence in Stockdale street in Webster City. An earnest Christian gentleman, he has long been a member of the Baptist church and for twenty-five years has served as one of its trustees. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, the Legion of Honor and the Ancient Order of the United Workmen. His business career is one which reflects credit upon the city with which he has so long been identified and his efforts have contributed in a large measure to the commercial prosperity and at the same time have brought to him splendid success. He and his wife are numbered among the most highly esteemed residents of Hamilton county, which has been their place of abode for thirty-seven years.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


O. C. Donaldson

O. C. Donaldson, long identified with mercantile interests in Webster City as a dealer in boots and shoes, was regarded as one of the honored and representative men of this community. He was born in Emmitsburg, near Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 1830, and comes of a family of English lineage. His parents were Fielding and Catherine (McAllister) Donaldson, and the latter was a native of one of the eastern states. She belonged to one of the old families of the country, and her father was a hero of the Revolution who valiantly fought for independence. Fielding Donaldson, the father of our subject, was a very successful business man and accumulated much wealth, but he assumed certain debts of honor and died in only medium financial circumstances, passing away when our subject was but a boy. Both he and his wife held membership in the Presbyterian church, and the latter died in 1850. They had five children, but the only survivor is Charles Donaldson, who makes his home in Fairfield, Iowa.

O. C. Donaldson pursued his education in the schools of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and after completing a literary course took up the study of medicine. At the age of twenty years he removed to Uniontown, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in practicing, making his home in that place until 1858, when attracted by the business opportunities of the west, he came to Iowa and arrived in Fort Dodge at the time of the great land sale, which is one of the memorable events in the history of that place. Subsequently he took up his abode in Iowa City. On the 17th of September, 1870, he was united in marriage to Mary S. Sinnett, whose birth occurred upon a farm in Parke county, Indiana, June 27, 1842, her parents being Samuel and Susan L. (Higley) Sinnett. The former was born in Dublin, Ireland, on St. Patrick's Day about 1818; the latter was a native of Marcellus, New York. They were married in Tioga county, New York, and there Mr. Sinnett engaged in farming until his removal to Parke county, Indiana, where he continued his agricultural work, making his home in that place for three years. They then removed to Muscatine, Iowa, where he remodeled a home that has been erected for fifty years. There he engaged in farming, owning and operating land two miles from the business section of Muscatine. In early life he was a Jackson Democrat, but afterward became identified with the Greenback party. His religious faith was that of the Presbyterian church, and he died in November, 1900 while his wife passed away in November, 1898, both being laid to rest in the cemetery in Muscatine. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sinnett were born eight children, the eldest being Mary S., now Mrs. Donaldson. Jennie S. resides upon the old homestead farm in Muscatine. Georgia A. is the wife of Russell B. George, of Chicago, Illinois. Isabella is also living on the home place in Muscatine and Samuel T., the next member of the family, carries on the work of the home farm. Charles E. married Miss Cora Freeman, and resides in Muscatine. John Harris, died at the age of twenty-eight years. The youngest of the family died in infancy.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson were born four children: Oscar F., born in Iowa City, January 20, 1872, married Miss Ella Camron, of Webster City, Iowa, where he still resides. They have one son, Ralph Fielding born in September, 1901. Oscar is filling the position of bookkeeper for the Litchfield Manufacturing Company. Mary C., born April 4, 1873, died July 31, 1889. Sarah, born in Iowa City, August 13, 1876, resides with her mother. Samuel S., the youngest, born in Webster City, July 27, 1879 died on the 15th of December of the same year.

After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson they removed to Iowa City, where he carried on business until 1878, when he came to Webster City, and established a boot and shoe store here. He soon secured a good trade, which increased with the growth of the town, and as his reliable business methods became known to the public. Success attended his efforts as the years passed by and he acquired a comfortable competence through the legitimate channels of trade. In early life he was a Republican, but when the Greenback movement was organized he joined the ranks of the new party. He always refused to hold office, although he never failed to loyally support his honest convictions. He was a member of the Congregational church, and by his friends was spoken of as a "grand good man," so honorable was his life and so true was he to all the duties and obligations that devolved upon him in the home, in business or in citizenship. He died April 3, 1892, and was buried in the cemetery at Webster City, but although ten years have since passed he is not forgotten, his memory being still enshrined in the hearts of many friends. Mrs. Donaldson is now living in a comfortable modern home at No. 1204 South Superior street, and is one of the highly esteemed ladies of Webster City.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


A. K. Doolittle

A. K. Doolittle, section 10, Cass Township, was born in Washington County, New York, February 15, 1823, a son of Ambrose and Esther (Hyde) Doolittle. When he was nineteen years of he went to Wyoming County, New York, where he lived until 1845, when he moved to Green County, Wisconsin, and entered government land near Albany, which he improved, living there until 1867, when he came to Hamilton County and bought 160 acres of wild land in Cass Township, which he has improved and now has one of the best farms in the township. He has a good residence and farm buildings, everything about the place indicating the care and thrift of the owner. Mr. Doolittle was married in 1845 to Caroline, daughter of John and Antha Parrey. They have eight children - Lizzie, wife of S. W. Wade; John, of Cass Township; James, of California; Antha Jennette, wife of George Phelps, of California; Addie, wife of J. M. Dunbar; William W., Carrie, wife of George Smith, and Harry. In politics Mr. Doolittle cases his suffrage with the Republican party. He is an energetic, industrious man and is one of the prosperous and representative citizens of the township.

[Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Hamilton and Wright Counties, Iowa
Lewis Biographical Publishing Co., 113 Adams Street, Chicago, 1888; transcribed by Karen Seeman]


John Hunt

John hunt, a well-known citizen of Hamilton County, was born in Dutchess [sic] County, New York, January 26, 1815, a son of Joseph and Maria (Wood) Hunt. When he was a child his parents moved to Ulster County, and subsequently to Orange County, New York, his entire youth being spent in his native State. He worked on his father's farm until twenty-one years of age, and then began working at the carpenter's trade, which he followed several years. In 1852 he removed to Madison, Wisconsin, where he lived four vears and then moved to a farm on which he lived until 1864, when he came to Iowa, and after a short sojourn in Webster City located on a farm in Boone Township, where he lived until 1885, when he retired from the active duties of farm life and moved to Webster City, where he has a pleasant and comfortable home. Mr. Hunt was married in 1841 to Elizabeth J. Hull, a native of Orange County, New York. They have three children living - Leander, Minerva J. and Doretha J. Their eldest daughter, Huldah M., died at the age of twenty-two years. In politics Mr. Hunt is a Republican. He is very firm in his convictions of right and wrong, and strictly honorable in all his dealings.

[Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Hamilton and Wright Counties, Iowa, Lewis Biographical Publishing Co., 113 Adams Street, Chicago, 1888; transcribed by Karen Seeman]


Amos Julian

Amos Julian is a retired farmer living in Kamrar where he is filling the office of postmaster. At the time of the Civil war he joined the Union army and was a valiant and loyal soldier of the north, putting forth every effort in his power to maintain the supremacy of the Union and to uphold its starry banners upon the southern battlefields. His war record was indeed a creditable one and in all other relations of life he has been equally faithful and true.

Mr. Julian was born in Champaign county, Ohio, in 1830. He is a son of George and Sarah (Mattox) Julian, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Pennsylvania. The father was a farmer by occupation and both he and his wife died in the Buckeye state. In their family were four children. The three sons all served in the Union army and those still surviving are: Amos, of this review, and Mrs. Sarah Buck, of Hamilton county, Iowa.

Amos Julia pursued his education in the schools of Auglaize county, Ohio, whither his parents had removed during his boyhood days and there he was reared to manhood, working on a farm during much of the period of his youth. In the year 1853 he left the state of his nativity and removed to Bureau county, Illinois. There he was married in 1857 to Sarah Jay, of Ohio, after which he rented a tract of land and engaged in farming thereon until he had acquired sufficient capital to enable him to purchase eighty acres of land in Henry county, but during the hard times prior to the Civil war he lost his farm. When the country became involved in danger he put aside all business and personal considerations, accounting no personal sacrifice too great that would help to save the Union. In 1862 he enlisted as a member of Company H, One Hundred Twelfth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Cambridge, Illinois, under the command of Captain G. W. Sroufe and Colonel T. H. Henderson. With his command he went to the front and at different times served under Generals Carter, Burnside, Sherman, Thomas and Scofield. He participated in the battles of Monticello, Calhoun, Philadelphia, Campbell Station, Knoxville, Strawberry Plains, Bean Station, Muddy Creek, Kelley's Ford, Resaca, Georgia, New Hope, Georgia, Pine Mountain, Utah Creek, Jonesboro, Atlanta, Columbia, Tennessee, Franklin, Nashville, Fort Anderson, Town Creek and Wilmington. He was in twenty-four general engagements and one hundred twelve skirmishes during the service and took part in five bayonet charges. He participated in Sander's raid through eastern Tennessee and for eleven months was in the cavalry service. He was never wounded and has no hospital record and was never excused from duty for a half day. He has, however, a record for faithful service and unremitting loyalty to his duty and his country and was always found at his post whether on the picket line or on the firing line. He enlisted on the 15th of August, 1862, and received an honorable discharge on the 7th of July, 1865.

Mr. Julian then went to Bureau county, Illinois, and the same year came to Iowa with his wife and two children, journeying by wagon. They spent the first winter near Webster City and in the spring of 1866 came to a place a little west of where Kamrar now stands. Her Mr. Julian secured eighty acres which he homesteaded and at once began its improvement and development residing thereon until 1897, when he came to Kamrar and continued until the 1st of March, 1901, as the owner of his farm, when he then sold that property. He had there one hundred and sixty acres of land which he sold to H. H. Carson. In Kamrar he purchased a home and also owns other property there, together with an elegant modern residence in Stanhope, which he rents.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Julian have been born six children, and with the exception of Arthur, who is at home, all are married. Nettie is the wife of E. E. Woodmansee, of Kamrar. Charles married Lizzie Royster, of Palo Alto county, Iowa. Mina is the wife of G. F. Klopple, of Kansas. George married Eva Lane, of Kamrar, and is serving as assistant postmaster here. Alva wedded Cynthia Jones, of Webster City. Mrs. Julian has three brothers who are yet living; Andrew J., Daniel and William, and a half sister, Margaret Julian, who lives in Princeton, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Julian now have fifteen grandchildren.

During President McKinley's administration Mr. Julian was appointed postmaster and still holds his commission. He is a Republican in his political views, having been identified with his political views, having been identified with the party since its organization. He is a prominent and valued member of Winfield Scott Post, G. A. R., of Webster City, and maintains pleasant relationship with his old comrades by this means. His former activity in business now enables him to live in practical retirement from labor, but he is proving at the present time his fidelity in public office which is as marked as was his loyalty to his country when he followed the great flag upon the southern battle fields.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


H. W. Kleckner

H. W. Kleckner, who is a resident of Hamilton county, having resided here only five years, but who is accounted already among the representative farmers of Rose Grove township, was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, May 31, 1866, and is a son of Joseph and Harriet (Houk) Kleckner, who removed to Green county, Wisconsin, in 1868, settling in Monroe. There the father purchased land and carried on farming until the year 1892, when he took up his abode in Monroe City, where he spent his remaining days in retirement from farm labor. He passed away June 13, 1895, and the mother died on the 28th of March, 1880. In the family were ten children, of whom but two are now deceased, while eight are yet living. Three of the members are residents of Kansas; one resides in Minnesota; and two are living in Hamilton county. All received good common school educations and were thus well fitted for life's practical duties. The father was a Democrat in his political affiliations and was again and again honored with elections to local offices, being an office holder during nearly his entire residence in Wisconsin. Both he and his wife were members of the Lutheran church and were earnest Christian people.

H. W. Kleckner of this review worked on a farm and at the age of twenty-one years he began farming on his own account by renting his father's land, which he continued to operate for eight years. On the expiration of that period he purchased his present farm and in 1895 he removed to Monroe, where he lived for one year. In the spring of 1897, however, he removed to Hamilton county, Iowa, taking up his abode in Rose Grove township, where he has since made his home. He now has two hundred acres of rich and arable land on section 35 and has made good improvements since coming here. Upon the farm is a comfortable residence, a large barn and other necessary outbuildings for the shelter of grain and stock. There is also a good orchard and all kinds of small fruit are to be found in abundance. The place is well fenced and is thus divided into fields of convenient size. Mr. Kleckner carries on farming and has a small herd of shorthorn cattle and owns some fine farm horses.

On Christmas day of 1892 was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Kleckner and Miss Ida E. Winger, a daughter of Charles and Sarah (Eftley) Winger, both of whom are natives of Germany. The home of our subject and his wife has been blessed with three children: Mabel I., Clarence and Ralph B. Mr. Kleckner votes with the Republican party and cast his first presidential vote for William McKinley in 1896. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias Lodge, of Radcliff, and in social circles is popular because of his sterling qualities of manhood. He has ever been an energetic, hard working man and that he is now numbered among the successful agriculturists of this community is due to his own progressive and well directed efforts.

[A Biographical Record of Hamilton County, Iowa New York and Chicago; The S. J. Clark Publishing Company, 1902, p. 307-308; transcribed by Karen Seeman]


George W. Lee

The life work of George W. Lee forms no unimportant chapter in the history of Webster City and of Hamilton county. He came here in pioneer times, has dealt largely in real estate and has been closely identified with religious work for the benefit of mankind. He looks at the world from a practical and humanitarian standpoint and while he has won splendid success in his business affairs he has at the same time put forth every effort for the general good and has faithfully performed his duties of citizenship and met his obligations to his fellow men.

A native of the Empire state, George W. Lee was born in Trenton Falls, Oneida county, New York. His father, Reuben Lee, was born at White Hill, New York, September 21, 1810, and was a son of John H. and Ruth (Kelsey) Lee, the former born in Massachusetts, August 26, 1784, while the latter's birth occurred in Killingworth, Connecticut, November 3, 1791. Reuben Lee was the second in a family of nine children who reached years of maturity. He became a farmer and lived in New York from his boyhood days until 1873, when he came to Iowa, making his home in Webster City until his death. Throughout his active business career he carried on agricultural pursuits and the successful conduct of his business affairs won for him a comfortable competence. He was an Abolitionist in the early days when slavery existed in the south and voted with the Whig party, and when the Republican party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery he joined its ranks and continued one of its earnest supporters until his demise. He and his wife were devoted and faithful members of the Baptist church for more than half a century and his influence in that direction led to marked advancement in the moral development of his community.

On the 15th of September, 1832, Reuben Lee married Hannah Collins, a native of Herkimer county, New York, born November 23, 1811, and a daughter of George and Zurviah (Pool) Collins. Her father was born in Cheshire, Massachusetts, January 9, 1777, and her mother was a native of Stevenstown, New York, born August 18, 1787. Her only brother, George Collins, was a captain in the One Hundred Thirty-second New York Regiment in the Civil war and died in the battle of the Wilderness. Four sons were born until Reuben Lee and his wife: Henry S., born July 27, 1836; Edwin R., born December 2, 1839; George W., and John H. (twins), born October 26, 1849. All are prominent business men of Webster City. Reuben Lee was a man respected for his sterling worth and wherever he went his honorable upright life commended him to the confidence and good will of those with whom he came in contact.

In the public schools of his native state George W. Lee pursued his education, graduating in a business college, after which he put aside his text books and came to Webster City, Iowa in 1873, securing employment in a mercantile establishment here. He learned the drug business and afterward entered into partnership with his brother, E. R. Lee, under the firm name his brother, E. R. Lee, under the firm name of Lee Brothers, in the conduct of a drug and jewelry store which they carried on successfully until 1884, when this relation was discontinued and George W. Lee entered into partnership with his twin brother, J. H. Lee, in the furniture business. They sold out in 1890 and our subject then opened a real-estate, abstract and insurance office, since which time he has carried on business along this line and has also engaged in placing loans. He is one of the most extensive and prosperous real estate dealers of Webster City, his operations covering many important realty transfers. No resident of this locality has a more accurate or comprehensive knowledge of real-estate values. He closely watches the market and owing to his reliable business methods has had a large and growing clientage where by his business has been attended with a splendid degree of success.

On the 16th of March, 1880, Mr. Lee wedded Mary E. Cavana, who was born October 8, 1852, in Oneida county, New York, their marriage occurring at Iowa Falls, Iowa. The lady is a daughter of M. P. and Mary (Hughes) Cavana, who were natives of Oneida county, New York, and in whose family were six children who are yet living, while six have also passed away, Mrs. Lee, the second child, is a graduate of Whiteston Seminary, of New York, and for eight years was successfully engaged in teaching. By her marriage she became the mother of three children: Edith Rosalind, born October 19, 1882; Marion Ruth, born August 22, 1889; and Eunice Hannah, born October 9, 1896. Miss Edith is a graduate of the Webster City high school in the class of 1897 and of the scientific department of the State Normal school at Cedar Falls in the class of 1901. She has since spent one year teaching in the south building of the Webster City high school and will continue her studies at Oberlin College, Ohio.

In his political views Mr. Lee is a Republican and has several times served as a delegate to the county and state conventions and has held the office of secretary of the Republican central committee for two years. All of the family have for the last ten years been identified with the Congregational Church. He was originally a Baptist and one of the most influential members of that church. He served as chairman of its board of trustees, was identified with the Sunday-school work as superintendent for ten years and was in charge of the construction of the house of worship and to a large extent raised the money for that purpose. One of the memorial windows of the new church was placed there by Mr. Lee and his brothers in memory of their father and mother. For a number of years he was an active factor in the work of the former Young Men's Christian Association and has served as secretary and president in Webster City. He belongs to Acacia Lodge, No. 176, A. F. & A. M., is a Royal Arch Mason and belongs to the Order of the Eastern Star. He aided in organizing the lodge at Williams. He was the first superintendent of the County Sunday-school Association and has been untiring in his efforts to promote the moral development of his community. His activity in business has not only contributed to his individual success. but has also been an active factor in the development of this portion of the state. He is now accounted one of the honored pioneers of Hamilton county. In his private life he is distinguished by all that marks the true gentleman and his is a noble character. His natural endowments were a quick and strong temper, a warm heart and genial manner and a quiet courtesy. To control the first and to make his life an expression of the other traits is the task which nature assigned him. Those who know him know nothing of the struggle, but have been daily witnesses of the victory. Kindness has been one of the motives of his life and it is safe to say that no man in Webster City enjoys to a higher degree the respect and friendship of his fellow men than does George W. Lee.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Thomas Francis O'Brien

Rev. Thomas Francis O'Brien, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic church of Webster City, Iowa, is a native of the neighboring state of Illinois, born in Rock Island, November 29, 1855, and is a son of John and Ann (Kelly) O'Brien. For two or three years the father was engaged in the meat business in Rock Island, but in 1857 removed to Dubuque, Iowa, where he resided until his death, which occurred in 1888. The mother is still living in that city at the age of seventy-two years. In the family were nine children, of whom our subject is the eldest.

Father O'Brien received his primary education in the public and parochial schools of Dubuque, and later took a classical course at the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, Niagara, New York. Subsequently he pursued a philosophical course at St. Joseph's College, Dubuque, and a theological course at Milwaukee and Montreal Seminaries, being ordained a priest on the 7th of March, 1880, by Archbishop Hennessey of Dubuque. He was first assigned to Eagle Center, Black Hawk county, Iowa, in April of that year, and remained there for twelve years, being then transferred to Duncombe, Webster county, where the following six years were passed. In 1898 he came to Webster City to take charge of his present parish and has sine remained at this place. He came here to build the church at the request of the bishop and has met with most wonderful success in his work at this place.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Edward Peterson

Edward Peterson, who is occupying the position as cashier in the State Bank of Stratford, is one whose business integrity and ability commend him to the confidence of the public and therefore he is well qualified for the onorouse duties which devolved upon him in connection with the banking business of this place. He has always resided in Iowa, being one of the native sons of Webster county, where his birth occurred July 20, 1869. His father, D. A. Peterson, yet follows farming in Webster county and under the parental roof the subject of this review was reared, early becoming familiar with the work incident to the cultivation of the fields. The common schools afforded him his educational privileges and after he had put aside his text books there he learned telegraphy in Dayton, Iowa, being employed in the day office at that place for six months. On the expiration of that period he went to Jewell Junction, where he remained for a year, and later he entered the recorder's office at Fort Dodge as assistant to D. A. Peterson, his father, who filled the position of county recorder in 1891-2. In the latter year he again resumed agricultural duties and pursuits and in 1894 became an active factor in banking interests of Hamilton county, entering the State Bank of Stratford as bookkeeper. He filled that position until 1897, when he was elected by the board of directors to the position of cashier and is still incumbent. He is a stockholder and one of the directors of the bank and since his connection with the institution his success and his financial standing are attributable in no small degree to his earnest efforts and to his thorough mastery of the banking business. He is a popular cashier, being always genial and obliging as well as prompt, energetic and business-like in the prosecution of the duties that devolve upon him.

In connection with his banking interests, Mr. Peterson is the owner of one hundred and sixty-acres of valuable land south of Stratford. His political support is given the gold branch of the Democratic party, as he is in favor of the standard money for this country that will be recognized throughout all lands and received for its face value. In public affairs pertaining to Stratford and its welfare Mr. Peterson takes a deep interest and his loyal devotion to the general good is recognized by his fellow citizens who have elected him to the office of mayor, in which position he is now creditably serving.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Arvid R. Samuelson

Arvid R. Samuelson, who is conducting a photograph gallery in Stratford, is a young business man who keeps thoroughly in touch with the advancement that is being continually made in his profession, and in the conduct of his business in Stratford he receives a liberal patronage. He was born in Van Buren county, Iowa. March 8, 1873, and is a son of John O. and Olive (Hulmstrom) Samuelson, both of whom were natives of Sweden, in which country they were reared and married. The father came to America prior to his marriage, returning to his native land for his bride, and in 1872 he brought her to the new world. They established their home in Iowa and for three years were residents of Van Buren county, after which they spent a year in Lee county. Mr. Samuelson was engaged in a sawmill there. He then went to Webster county and purchased eighty acres of land in Hamilton township. This he still owns, making his home thereon. Throughout the intervening years he has carried on agricultural pursuits and the farm is now under a very high state of cultivation, the well tilled fields bringing to him a good financial return as the years have passed. His wife died in December, 1882, and was laid to rest in the Hardin township cemetery, after which Mr. Samuelson was again married, his second union being with Jennie Nelson, with whom he is now living upon the home farm. By his first marriage he had two sons, our subject and Oscar, the latter a resident of Uniontown, Washington. There is also a halfsister, Daisy, who is yet with her parents.

In his early youth Arvid R. Samuelson attended school in Webster county and after his mother's death his time was largely devoted to cooking and to doing housework. He left home at the age of twenty-five years and established the Pilot Mound Monitor, having perviously attained some knowledge of the printing business at Stratford. This paper was continued for six months, on the expiration of which period Mr. Samuelson sold out and entered the photographic gallery of Paul Morton at Boone. There he remained for three months, after which he opened a gallery in Stratford and has since continued business here. His studio is well fitted up class photographing and is the only gallery in the town. He keeps thoroughly informed concerning improved processes for his work, and has executed much work in his line of a very high order. Fraternally he is connected with the Modern Woodmen Camp. No. 4135, at Stratford, and in his political views he is a Democrat. He is a young man of genial and courteous manner and socially is very popular on account of his intellectual qualities.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Cyrus Smith

Cyrus Smith belongs to the little group of distinctively representative business men who have been the pioneers in inaugurating and building up the chief industries of this section of the country. He early had the sagacity and prescience to discern the eminence which the future had in store for this great and growing country, and, acting in accordance with the dictates of his faith and judgment, he has garnered, in the fullness of time, the generous harvest which is the just recompense of indomitable industry, spotless integrity and marvelous enterprise and important business interests. No history of Hamilton county could be complete without the record of his life, so inseparably interwoven with its annals in his career. He has been the promoter of so many interests contributing to the substantial upbuilding and progress, and his labors have been a most important factor in business development. It is therefore with pleasure that we present to our readers this record of his life.

Mr. Smith was born in North Charleston, Sullivan county, New Hampshire, on the 12th day of July, 1834, and is a son of William and Polly (Tenney) Smith. His father was a native of Massachusetts, and his mother was born in Hancock, New Hampshire, a daughter of Amos Tenney. She was the second wife of William Smith, whose first marriage was with Miss Elizabeth Crane, of Massachusetts. Four children were born of that union, but all are now deceased. Our subject had but one brother, Oren, who is engaged in gardening at Lincoln, Nebraska, and married Columbia Frost. The parents lived and died in the old Granite state, the father devoting his energies to agricultural pursuits throughout his business career. In an early day he gave his political support to the Democracy, but later he became a Republican, believing firmly in the principles of the party that stood as the defender of the Union during the trying hours of the Civil war. He held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church and his life was in consistent harmony with its teachings and principles.

Cyrus Smith pursued his education the country schools of New Hampshire, but his privileges in that direction were somewhat limited. Experience, observationand reading, however, have added largely to his knowledge and made him a well informed man. At the age of seventeen he bade adieu to home and friends in New Hampshire and started for the west, believing that he would find better business opportunities in the Mississippi Valley than could be found in the older states New England. Traveling westward to Rockton, Illinois, he there secured a clerkship in a general store where he remained from 1851 to 1854. In the latter year he removed to Dubuque, Iowa, where he was employed as a salesman in a wholesale boot and shoe house for a year.

In 1855 Mr. Smith arrived in Webster City and opened the first store here. Almost continuously from that time to the present he has been connected with business advancement and with the material upbuilding and progress of Hamilton county. There was no railroad at that time in this county and he hauled all of his goods from Dubuque, which was the nearest railway station and which was distant two hundred miles. Webster City was on a stage route but yet was considered a wild frontier region and many did not dream of the future in store for it. Land could be purchased from the government for one dollar and a quarter per acre and the farmers built little log cabins to shelter their families. Hamilton county was then a part of the district known as Webster county, but the district known as Webster county, but the following year a division was effected, forming the present Webster and Hamilton counties. Fort Dodge is the county seat of the former and Webster City of the latter. Much of the land was taken up by land warrants which had been purchased by speculators, yet many settlers came and also entered farms from the government. These were desirable settlers for they came to stay and to put forth every effort to improve the county as well as their financial conditions. The government land office was situated at Fort Dodge and to that point the pioneers had to go in order to make claim for their farms. Webster City was not incorporated until several years after the division of the counties, but it had a steady, substantial growth and in 1855 it was brought into closer contact with the outside world through the establishment of a post-office, Mr. Smith being appointed its first postmaster, in 1855. At that time Franklin Pierce was president of the United States, and James Campbell postmaster general. The post-office was conducted in a little log building, in which he also carried on his general store. It was the largest building on Boone river - thirty-two by twenty-five feet. The contract and specifications of the building are now in the possession of Mr. Smith. It was erected by Jackson Brewer, as contractor, and he was to furnish the material and build the structure in three weeks, at the end of which time he was to receive one hundred and twenty-five dollars for the completed building. Time passed and Mr. Smith was recognized as a most valued addition to the pioneer settlement. He not only brought a near market for the early settlers, but he also put forth every effort in his power to promote the progress, welfare and upbuilding of his section of the state. On the 27th of March, 1857, he was commissioned notary public under Governor James W. Grimes, and since that time has always held a similiar commission during his residence in Hamilton county. In 1857 he was elected as recorder and treasurer of Hamilton county and although the duties of the office were not so numerous as they are at the present time, he discharged the obligations devolving upon him with the utmost fidelity and was re-elected for a second term.

While filling the office of recorder and treasurer Mr. Smith was united in marriage on the 19th day of May, 1859, to Miss Teresa Mullooly, who was born in county Longford, Ireland, in the year 1841. Her parents on crossing the Atlantic to the new world took up their abode in LaSalle, Illinois. Her mother died, and Mrs. Smith afterward came to Webster City with her sister. It was here that she formed the acquaintance of our subject. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been born two children. The eldest, William C., died in LaSalle, Illinois at the age of nineteen months. The second child, Annie C., whose birth occurred in Chicago, Illinois, is now assistant cashier in the Hamilton County State Bank, a position which she has filled for thirteen years.

In the year 1861, Mr. Smith left Webster City and removed to Lyons, Iowa, where he accepted a position as bookkeeper in the Lyons City Branch State Bank, occupying that position until 1863. In the latter year he removed to Chicago, where he continued his residence until 1870, and was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade. In 1870, however, he returned to Webster City and again engaged in merchandising, conducting a general store from that time until 1884. He met with good success in his undertaking, receiving a liberal patronage. He next removed to Renwick, Humboldt county, where he organized the State Bank of Renwick, conducting that institution until 1886, but he had a strong love for the first city of his residence in Iowa, and returned to Hamilton county. He was cashier of the Hamilton County State Bank from 1886 until 1893 and in the latter year turned his attention to the real estate business which he conducted successfully until 1901, handling much valuable property and negotiating many important real estate transfers. He is also to some extent yet engaged in real estate dealing, in writing insurance, in making collections and in placing loans. He is a stockholder in the Hamilton County State Bank and in the Bank of Renwick. His landed possessions include a valuable tract in Alabama, and town property both improved and umimproved in Webster City. He is also interested in the Lawn Hill addition to this city.

Since the organization of the party of Mr. Smith has ever been a stalwart Republican, unfaltering in his allegiance to its principles and in addition to the offices already mentioned, he has twice served as member of the city council, being one of the first to hold such an office. He has also been treasurer of the school district for six years, and over the record of his public career and his private life there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He witnessed the building of the railroad here in 1869 and has indeed taken an active part in advancing all interests calculated to prove of general good. Personally Mr. Smith has those qualities of manhood which make him popular and win for him the high regard of all with whom he is associated.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


William Spicer

William Spicer is numbered among the pioneer settlers of Hamilton county and is an affable, genial gentleman whose circle of friends is almost co-extensive with the circle of his acquaintances. From the time that he first took up his abode in Hamilton county he has been an active factor in its development and upbuilding and has watched with interest the progress made, placing his county upon a par with any in the great commonwealth of Iowa.

His birth occurred in Schenectady, New York, October 4, 1829, his parents being William and Celia (Buss) Spicer, both of whom were natives of England, in which country they were reared and married. The father came to America accompanied by his wife and their little son when he was twenty-one years of age, the year 1822 being that of their emigration, and they crossed the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, being over two months upon the way, during which time a severe storm occurred driving the vessel out of its course and delaying the voyage. The supply of provisions was exhausted and on this account the crew and passengers suffered greatly. At length, however, anchor was dropped in the harbor of Baltimore and for a year Mr. Spicer remained with his family in that city, working upon a plantation. He afterward removed to the western part of New York where he was engaged in farming until work was begun on the construction of the canal. He was then employed in that work until his removal to Schenectady, when he was engaged in the building of a new railroad known as the Schenectady & Ballston Railroad. The motive power was that furnished by horses and it was one of the first lines in the country. This road is still in existence and it is used to convey sightseers around teh country at a cost of fifty cents. Mr. Spicer continued to make his home in Ballston, the county seat of Saratoga county, until called to his final rest. He purchased a few acres of land there and made a comfortable home, passing away in 1877. His wife died in 1866 and both were laid to rest in the cemetery at Ballston. Mr. Spicer, after obtaining the right of franchise in America, became an advocate of Democratic principles and always supported the men and measures of that party. He held membership in the Baptist church and was a gentleman of genuine worth.

In his family were ten sons and two daughters: Jessie was twice married and she and both husbands are now deceased. James married Sarah Gleason and after her death was again married, his home being now in Saratoga Springs, New York. Richard is living in Lansingburg, New York. He served his country in the Civil war. William is fourth in order of birth. John enlisted under Colonel Crisely and being taken ill died during the service. Edward enlisted in the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, was wounded and died from the effects of his injuries. Franklin enlisted in the same regiment, was stricken with smallpox and died in New Orleans during the war. Arnold was married in New York and after the birth of a daughter his wife died. He subsequently wedded Jane Miller and they became the parents of four children. He lost his second wife, however, and by a third marriage he had three children. Removing westward he took up his abode at Lajunta, Colorado, and died July 30, 1901. He too joined the Union army under the command of Colonel Crisely and his health was greatly impaired by reason of the privations and hardships which he suffered during the war. Thomas was a member of the New York Artillery under command of Colonel Crisely. He lost his wife by typhoid fever and, contracting the same disease, he died six weeks after her death, leaving a little daughter who is now living in Ballston, New York. Mary is the decreased wife of Charles Young and at her death, which occurred in Saratoga county, New York, left one son. Amanda was married, but she died in New York. Leander, the youngest of the family, married a Miss McIntosh, who died leaving one daughter, and later he wedded Lizzie Osborn, by whom he also has one daughter. Their home is in Ballston, New York. Six of the members served in the Civil war. A monument is now standing in Ballston to perpetuate their memory.

William Spicer, whose name introduces this record, attended the schools of Ballston until he was twelve years of age. His educational privileges were somewhat limited, but reading, experience and observation in later years have greatly added to his knowledge. On putting aside his text books he accompanied his father to the forest in order to chop wood and thus aid in the support of the family. At the age of fourteen he left home to work for his board and clothing and afterward arranged to enter the service of Reuben Simmonds, with whom he was to remain until he was twenty-one years of age and was to receive in compensation for his services one hundred dollars in money, two suits of clothing and his board. He fulfilled the terms of his contract and afterward he began working for four dollars per month, copping wood. He also used the flail in threshing wheat. His money received from Mr. Simmonds was put out at interest at seven per cent. He then entered the service of a man with whom he remained for nine months, receiving twelve dollars per month. Thus, through the most indefatigable labor he made a start in life. As a companion and helpmate for the journey Mr. Spicer chose Miss Emeline Weed, their marriage being celebrated in Ballston, November 24, 1852. The lady was born in Saratoga county, New York, February 28, 1828, and was a daughter of George and Anna (Hall) Weed, also natives of the Empire state.

After his marriage, Mr. Spicer worked upon a farm for fifteen dollars a month and board for himself and wife. He was thus employed for about a year when he started out upon an independent venture, renting two hundred acres of land which he was to cultivate upon shares, receiving one third of the crop. There he remained three years and after much labor which he was to cultivate upon shares, receiving one-third of the crop. There he remained three years and after much labor during that period he found that he had one hundred fifty dollars as the surplus of his work. He then purchased a land warrant for seventy-five dollars, giving him the right to enter a claim of eighty acres.

Believing that he might have better opportunities in the west, Mr. Spicer made his way to Mt. Carroll, Illinois, and entered the service of the Mt. Carroll Seminary as a janitor, receiving sixteen dollars per month. His wife was employed as matron in that institution and was paid three dollars per week. Mr. Spicer, at the end of a year, took his land warrant to Dubuque and had it located in Howard county, Iowa. Locating thereon he at once began to clear and improve his farm and made it his home for eight years. While living there he had to haul his grain to McGregor's Landing, a distance of one hundred miles. He sold dressed pork there for two dollars and thirty-three cents per one hundred pounds. It was extremely cold in the winter months at that period and the pioneer settlers suffered greatly. There was no market for corn, and wheat brought only fifty cents per bushel when hauled to the market. Eggs sold for four cents a dozen in trade and none of the settlers could get credit. Times were indeed very hard. They had to pay five cents a pound for salt, and many of the farmers were so poor they could not buy that article and became ill from eating fresh fish. They cut up wheat sacks in order to make over-alls and only those who have gone through such experiences can fully know the history of pioneer life. Mr. Spicer, however, had come to the west to make a home and his great persistently of purpose enabled him to continue his work, winning success by reason of his indomitable will. In the early days they had to use lard for an illuminant fluid until tallow candles could be made.

During the Civil war Mr. Spicer sold his land in Howard county and removed to the vicinity of Homer, Iowa, purchasing a farm of one hundred sixty acres for five dollars an acre. He also bought forty acres of timberland at five dollars per acre. He improved his property, placing the prairie tract under a high state of cultivation, and as his financial resources increased he added to his place until it comprised four hundred and forty acres. In 1890 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife who died the 14th of October of that year and was laid to rest in Webster City, Iowa. He then determined to abundant farming and remove to the city. Accordingly he sold his two hundred and forty-acre farm and on the 1st of November, 1892, he took up his abode in the county seat.

Mr. Spicer was married November 2, 1892, to Mrs. M. Sibley, who was born in Erie county, New York, August 9, 1833, a daughter of Adam and Abigail (Churchill) Gensman, both of whom were natives of the Mohawk valley. They were married in the Empire state and her father there followed the trade of blacksmithing. Afterward, however, he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, but spent his last days in retirement in Webster City, Iowa. His political support was given the Democracy, and he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His religious faith was that of the Baptist church, with which he long held membership. He died January 11, 1889, at the age of eighty-six years and his wife passed away May 25, 1891, at the age of eighty-three years, their remains being interred in the cemetery at Webster City. Mrs. Spicer was one of a family of four children, being the eldest of the number. The others are: Levi, a blacksmith, who married Lucinda Middleditch and resides in Webster City; Olive, the wife of LaFayette Irish, of Erie county, New York; and Edward, who married Ann Grady and after her death wedded her cousin, and resides in South Lyons, Oakland county, Michigan. Mrs. Spicer was first married on the 24th of November, 1852, in Erie county, New York, becoming the wife of Dr. Marvin Sibley, who was the first dentist to locate within the borders of Hamilton county, where he continued to practice up to the time of his death. He was the son of Orion and Mahitable Sibley. By this marriage there were two children, one son still living.

Mr. Spicer has disposed of all of his farming interests but is the owner of two acres of land and some residence property in Webster City in addition to his home. He certainly deserves great credit for what he has accomplished and well may he be called a self made man, for without any pecuniary aid or influence in his youth he steadily worked his way upward, being entirely dependent upon his own resources from the age of twelve years. He has known hard work, has labored persistently and energetically, and as the years have passed success has come to him and he now is enjoying in honorable retirement from labor, the fruits of his former toil. He holds membership in the Baptist church and in politics is a stanch Democrat. His circle of friends is indeed very extensive and he is known as a citizen who has a deep interest in everything pertaining to the general welfare. Having no children of his own he has reared the orphan children of his brother. His is a kindly and generous nature, and one worthy of the highest regard. He has held a number of positions of trust in the county, and for eighteen years has been a treasurer of the school board. Having endured all the hardships and privations of pioneer life in Iowa, he is a splendid type of a frontiersman and with a courageous spirit he has met difficulties and obstacles, overcoming these by determined purpose. His work in improvement and development has closely linked his name with the pioneer history of this portion of the state and with pleasure we present to our readers his life record.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Darwin A. Wentworth

Darwin A. Wentworth was born in Stacksboro, Vermont, October 16, 1840, his parents being Anson and Irena (Davidson) Wentworth. The mother died about 1867 and the father's death occurred January 31, 1899, when he was in his eighty-fourth year. In the family were nine children, the living being Louisa, who resides in Mitchell county, Iowa; Olive, the wife of J. Carpenter, a resident of Vermont; and Ira, who is living in the same state.

The subject of this review was the second of the family and pursued his studies in the public schools of the Green Mountain state, after which he worked as a farm hand. During the Civil war he removed to Wisconsin, where he engaged in the operation of rented land. In 1870 he removed to Mitchell county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming for about ten years thence coming to Hamilton county. Here he secured one hundred and sixty acres on section 28. Blairsburg township of which sixteen acres were broken, while the remainder was wild and unimproved. The country was full of sloughs and needed to be cultivated and drained to make it productive farm land. There was also plenty of wild game. Mr. Wentworth remained on his first farm for seven years and then removed to his present place, where he now has one of the best improved properties in the neighborhood. He has engaged to some extent in the raising of graded cattle, making a specialty of shorthorns. When he began farm life for himself he had only a few horses and very little money, but he has sine acquired a competence and is now living retired from active labor leaving the management of the farm to his sons.

Mr. Wentworth was married March 18, 1869, in Brandon, Wisconsin, to Arloa Ingals, who was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1848, a daughter of Daniel and Nancy (Heath) Ingals, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania. Her mother died in 1851 and the father in 1855. Six of their eight children are yet living: John, of Pennsylvania; Staphanus, of that state; Mrs. Hulda Allen; Wesley, of Michigan; Mrs. Wentworth; and Mrs. Nancy Heath. of Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth have five children; William A., Jennie, Charley, Arthur and Walter. The daughter is the wife of Everett Bryan, of Williams township, who she married February 15, 1892. They now have three children, Ray, Clay and Fay, aged respectively eight, six and two years. In politics Mr. Wentworth is a Republican and is recognized as one of the standard bearers of the party in this portion of the state.

A Biographical record of Hamilton County, Iowa
New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1902


Mrs. Francis E. Whitley

Mrs. Cora Call Whitley, vice-president of the I. P. W. C, was born in Virginia in 1862. She is a member of probably the best known educational family in the state. Her father is the Rev. L. N. Call, a retired minister of the Baptist denomination, for more than twenty years he was a member of the executive committee of the state Board of Missions. Her mother, Mary Guyon Call, died in 1913. She was a scholarly woman, a reader, familiar with the best in classical and current literature.

Mr. and Mrs. Call in 1905 celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. At that time they received letters of congratulation and best wishes from friends in all parts of the world, from young men and women who had been inspired by them to activities in the business, professional and mission fields. These letters were bound in a volume and form an unusual testimonial to the great worth of such a life as they lived. Six children were born to Rev. and Mrs. Call: of whom a son died in infancy and a daughter, Grace, passed away when eight years of age. Another son, David Forrester Call, was professor of Greek at the Iowa State University, but died when twenty-nine years of age, just as a life of unusual usefulness and promise in the educational world was opening to him. He was succeeded on the university faculty by his sister. Miss Leona, who held the place twenty-three years. Another daughter, Miss Myra, is professor of Latin at the state college in Cedar Falls, where she has been eighteen years. Mrs. Whitley was educated in a denominational school. She was married in 1883 to Dr. Francis E. Whitley, a leading physician of Webster City. They have three children: Gladys, who is Mrs. Varict C. Crosley, of Webster City, a graduate of the State University of Iowa, with Phi Beta Kappa honors. She is a member of the state committee on music, I. F. W. C. The second daughter, Grace Bingham Whitley, is also a graduate of the State University of Iowa, with Phi Beta Kappa honors. The son, Guyon Call Whitley, is a student at the State University of Iowa. Mrs. Whitley is a writer of much ability, having contributed to many periodicals. She is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, joining on the service of John Jamieson, and is regent of New Castle Chapter. She has been for many years prominent in the state federation, having been for four years chairman of the tenth district, and served on state committees, before her election to the vice-presidency, which office she now holds. She belongs to three local organizations, the Wednesday Club, the Civic Improvement League, and the Humane Society. She has just pride in her sisters who deserve more than a passing notice: Miss Leona Call, Prof, of Greek in the State University, was the only woman at that time in any state university in the United States with the full rank of professor. She and Miss Myra Call have taken post-graduate work in the University of Chicago and in Ann Arbor, besides having studied abroad. They are both club women and P. E. O's. Her brother, David Forrester Call, who died at the age of twenty-nine, had achieved much. He had the degree Ph. D., was Professor of Greek at the State University, had been called to the chair of Greek in the Divinity School of the Chicago University and engaged to edit Harper's series of Greek text books.

[The Blue book of Iowa Women, by Winona Evans Reeves, Publ. 1914, Transcribed by Dana Kraft]



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