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Hamilton County, Iowa
Deaths In Memoriam

Whether death is the friend or enemy of mankind, we leave to the contemplation of philosophers. We know it is always near us and when it comes into a community, it brings with it a wave of sadness. We stop for a moment, the usual activities of life, to drop a tear of sympathy or give a word of comfort to the bereaved, and then, "the world moves on." There are among the "silent ranks" of Hamilton county, many characters whose daily life endeared them to their fellow men, and whose death was, in a way, a public bereavement, and we stop for a moment, therefore, to make passing mention of some of these:

A. J. Allen

A. J. Allen, a familiar figure, died May 26, 1897. He was born in New York in June, 1821, came to Webster City and engaged in harness business in 1871.

J. P. Allington

J. P. Allington died August 7, 1897. He was born in New York in 1820, came to Iowa in 1856 and to Hamilton county in 1874.

Benjamin Beach

Benjamin Beach died in Webster City April 14, 1893. He was born in New Jersey, in 1829. He came to Hamilton county in 1854. Was married to Alvina Dulin in 1865. "Uncle Bennie" was an important factor in the pioneer history of Webster City.

Reuben S. Bennett

Reuben S. Bennett, a pioneer bachelor, passed away in October, 1898. He left an estate valued at about $25,000. A woman from Montana by the name of Ruby J. Britt appeared and claimed that she was a daughter of Bennett's and heir to his estate. After a long trial, she won her case in court and was adjudged to be Bennett's sole heir. Reuben Bennett was a peculiar character and lived the life of a recluse. He was a man of strict honesty, and one who was moved by many generous impulses.

Charles Biernatzki, Sr.

Charles Biernatzki, Sr., died in Webster City August 14, 1896. He was born in Poland in 1819, where he served in the ranks of the rebellion in 1846. He came to Hamilton county in 1858 and located in Independence township.

Henry Biernatzki

Henry Biernatzki died March 18, 1893, aged thirty-five years. He was a son of Charles Biernatzki, Sr., and had lived in the county practically all his life. He was a good business man, well known and universally respected.

Joseph M. Bone, Jr.

Joseph M. Bone, Jr., died in Washington territory, November 3, 1884. He was but twenty-seven years old. He had been raised in Hamilton county and had married Miss Minnie Tremaine, daughter of Hon. Ira H. Tremaine. He had moved to Washington territory in hope of improving his health.

John G. Bonner

John G. Bonner died at his home in Lakins Grove August 9, 1896. He was born in Maryland in 1809, was married to Mary Sedel in 1834 and came to Hamilton county in 1859.

Mrs. Willson Brewer

Mrs. Willson Brewer died Friday March 26, 1896. She came to where Webster City is now located in 1850 and was one of the first white women to live in Hamilton county. Her husband died in 1857. She survived him almost forty years and was eighty years old at the time of her death. She was born in Virginia in 1816.

Ulis Briggs

Ulis Briggs died August 26, 1890, at sixty-nine years of age. He came to Hamilton county in 1857 and had resided here ever since.

Allen Brock

Allen Brock died at his home in Webster township December 23, 1893. He was born in Indiana in 1813. Moved to Hamilton county in 1855, settled on a farm near Saratoga and resided there until his death.

C. H. Brockschink

C. H. Brockschink died February 7, 1899. He was born in Germany February 2, 1828. He came to America in 1852 and after living in Ohio a short time located in Webster county, Iowa, in 1857. He came to Hamilton county in 1864 and located in Freedom township. He was a successful farmer and a respected and honored citizen.

Judge Granville Burkley

News came to Webster City in July, 1884, that Judge Granville Burkley had died at his home in Boulder, Colorado. He was injured by a fall from a horse and this resulted in his death. He was one of the first settlers at Homer and had lived in the county until after the close of the war.

Wesley Cary

Wesley Cary died at Webster City, August 20, 1884. He was for many years a prominent business man. Wesley Carey was born September 8, 1824, at Boston, Erie county, New York. He married Hannah M. Ross in 1863 at Freeport, Illinois. He came to Webster City in 1873 and engaged in the lumber business.

Mrs. D. D. Chase

Wednesday, May 7, 1884, occurred the death of Mrs. D. D. Chase. She was born in Perry, N. Y., in 1838, and had lived in Webster City since 1858. Her maiden name was Harriet E. Bell, being the second daughter of Col. Ralph Bell. Her illness had been long and painful. She bore her suffering with characteristic fortitude. She was a woman of education, culture and much force of character.

W. L. Church

December 26, 1891, occurred the death of W. L. Church at Port Angeles, Washington, and as a tribute to his memory is reproduced an article appearing in the Port Angeles Democrat at the time: "Capt. Win. L. Church was born in Richland county, Ohio, in 1862. In 1846 he enlisted in the Third Ohio Infantry and served in the Mexican war. In 1847 he returned from the war and was married to Louisa Jane Swanger. In 1851 he moved to Dekalb county, Indiana, and in 1853 was appointed lieutenant in Company G, Indiana State Militia. In 1855 he came to Hamilton county and a year later, moved to Springfield where his family was at the time of the Spirit Lake massacre. In the fall of 1857 he enlisted in the Iowa Frontier Guards and became a lieutenant in one of the companies. At the breaking out of the Civil war, he enlisted in Company F, Second Iowa Cavalry, and was made lieutenant, but resigned about three months later. In Hamilton county he followed the business of farmer and auctioneer, and was very popular.''

John R. Clark

John R. Clark died in Haukinson, South Dakota, March 22, 1892, at the age of sixty-six. He was born in New York in 1816 and moved to Hamilton county in 1857 and settled on a farm in Cass township and lived there until 1881. He was the father of Will L. Clark, at one time editor of the Argus.

T. A. Conklin

T. A. Conklin was found dead in his buggy near his home in Webster City November 20, 1899. The coroner's jury pronounced his death due to heart failure. On the same day the family received a telegram announcing the death of Mr. Conklin's son Dudley at Great Falls. Montana.

Mr. Conklin came to Hamilton county in the sixties. When he came here he purchased a fine farm in the suburbs of Webster City, where he lived for more than thirty years. He was a man of good education and took great interest in public matters.

Albert Cook

Albert Cook died in February, 1895. He was born in Vermont in 1808. Came to Iowa in 1855 and moved to Hamilton county in 1865. He was a constant resident of Webster City until the time of his death.

Mrs. Harriet Newell Cooper

November 13, 1883, occurred the death of Mrs. Harriet Newell Cooper at the home of her daughter, Mrs. L. L. Treat. She was born at Bach, N. Y., in September, 1818, and moved to Webster City with her husband, William Cooper, in 1857, since which time she had been a constant resident. She was among our earliest settlers and was well known and highly respected.

Capt. Lewis Crary

Capt. Lewis Crary died June 4, 1888. He was born at Avon Springs, New York, on January 27, 1836, and came to Webster City in 1869, since which time he has been engaged in the hardware business. He had been mayor of Webster City from 1883 to 1887.

Bayard Detlor

Bayard Detlor, for twenty years a merchant in Webster City, died May 23, 1891. B. Detlor was born in Ontario in 1846 and came to Webster City in 1871 and immediately engaged in business. About four months prior to the time of his death, he began to shown signs of insanity and it was at last found necessary to send him to the hospital at Independence. On May 23 he escaped from the hospital and when found he was dead, having drowned in a small stream near the hospital.

O. C. Donaldson

O. C. Donaldson, a pioneer shoe dealer, died April 3, 1892, aged sixty-two. He was born in Maryland in 1830, and came to Hamilton county in 1878. He was the father of Oscar F. Donaldson. He was a man of rare intelligence and unflinching integrity.

Dewey S. Doolittle

Dewey S. Doolittle died at his home in Cass township January 9, 1891, aged sixty-one years. He was born in Vermont November 11, 1829. Moved to New York in 1843. He was married to Carolina Hays in 1851. Moved to Wisconsin in 1855 and to Hamilton county, Iowa, in 1865. He left two sons and five daughters. He was a farmer, well known and highly respected.

S. T. Edwards

S. T. Edwards, founder of the Webster City Argus, died in May, 1883. He was a sufferer from consumption. He was about thirty-six years of age at the time of his death.

Chas. F. Fenton

Chas. F. Fenton died at Webster City February 1, 1891. He was born in Salsbury, Herkemer county. New York, August 9, 1826, and came to Webster City in 1856. He was one of the owners of the pioneer steam sawmill. He engaged in real estate business for a while and later in life, in stock business. He established the Pioneer Lumber yard and shipped to Webster City the first lumber stock that came west of the Iowa river to this region. He was one of the original incorporators of the First National Bank and was connected with that institution until the time of his death. He was a member of the board of supervisors in 1870 and again in 1885. He was married to Lyda A. Moore January 22, 1867. His wife and four daughters survived him.

Michael Foster

Michael Foster died at his home in Cass township August 28, 1897. He was born in France in 1819, came to the United States in 1840 and to Hamilton county in 1856. He had lived until his death in Cass township.

John W. Funk

John W. Funk died on the morning of the 22d of September. He was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1827 and came to Hamilton county in 1858. For thirty years he was a familiar figure in Webster City, being usually employed as a bookkeeper in some of the banks.

Jackson Groves

Jackson Groves, died March, 1881. He was born in West Virginia in 1818, came to Iowa in 1854 and located in Hamilton county in 1855. He was a successful farmer and a leader in the affairs of Hamilton township.

H. G. Gulp

H. G. Gulp died November 7, 1896. He was born in Marshall county, Iowa, in 1864. Came to Hamilton county in 1892. Soon became engaged in the real estate business as a member of the firm of Gulp and Lee. During his short life here he did probably more than any other man to advertise and boom Hamilton county land. His frequent trips to Illinois always resulted in scores of land seekers, who seeing our natural advantages, were only too eager to buy our land.

A. Haswell

A. Haswell died in Webster City February 13, 1895. He was born in Ohio in 1832, moved to Hamilton county in 1856. His first wife was Julia A. Cunning who died in 1861. His second wife was Maggie Sinclare who survived him. He enlisted in the Twenty-eighth Iowa Infantry August 12, 1862, was captured by the confederates in 1864 and was confined in Tyler prison in Texas for about fourteen months. He was honorably discharged from the Union army July 7, 1865. He was a man of good education, religiously inclined and often filled the pulpit of his home church. He was also a graphic writer.

Lars Henryson

Lars Henryson died at his home in Randall November 14, 1896. He was born in Norway in March, 1822, and came to Hamilton county in 1858, being one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Randall. He was always a prominent figure in his portion of the county.

O. W. Hicks

O. W. Hicks, formerly editor of the Graphic Herald, died at the insane asylum Monday, October 9, 1899. He was a man of about thirty-six years' of age, unusually bright and active and was a man of great promise. About four months prior to the time of his death he lost his reason and never recovered it.

L. B. Hill

L. B. Hill died at the Hamilton County Poor House February 19, 1898. He was born in 1818 and was therefore eighty years of age. He came to Hamilton county in 1854, engaged in farming and at one time was one of the wealthiest men in the county. He had for many years owned a fine farm within sight of the poor house, where he died, a county charge.

Albert Hoffman

November 13, 1886, occurred the death of Albert Hoffman. He was born in Germany in 1835 and settled in Webster City in 1857. He was for some years a member of the hardware firm of Fairchild & Hoffman and in later years was city marshal and constable. He was well known and highly respected.

“Lottie” Young Hunter

“Lottie” Young Hunter died May 11, 1891. She was a daughter of F. D. Young and wife of W. F. Hunter of the Freeman. She was about twenty-five years of age and a woman of unusual promise. She was born in Maine in 1865. Moved to Hamilton county with her parents in 1874. Graduated from the Webster City high school in 1884 and attended Cornell college at Mt. Vernon, Iowa. She was married to W. F. Hunter December 22, 1887.

D. S. Jewett

D. S. Jewett died at his home in Cass township on August 27, 1884, in his fifty-fourth year. He was one of the earliest of Hamilton county's pioneers. The following sketch by Charles Aldrich gives a very good word picture of this good man:

THE LATE LIEUTENANT JEWETT

"I understand that a life-long friend of D. S. Jewett will write a notice of the deceased; but I also wish to say a word concerning him. I first met him at 'Camp Franklin,' near Dubuque, in 1862, where we were mustered into the Thirty-second Iowa infantry volunteers. I remember Lieutenant Jewett, as a private at first, but afterwards a non-commissioned officer. He was then a rosy-cheeked, stalwart, handsome young man, resolute and determined, always ready for duty and always ready to do his duty to the utmost. Of the nearly one thousand men who were in that regiment, it is difficult to remember many individuals after this lapse of time, but my recollection of him seems very distinct. He was a good soldier, who shrank from no duty, however laborious or dangerous. In private life, while always outspoken and independent in his expressions, he always commanded the sincere respect of his associates, and died as he had lived, surrounded by friends. He was always a student and thinker, and was one of the best informed men in our county. He was singularly quiet, retiring and reserved in his general deportment, though warm and abiding in his friendships. You could always tell just where to find him, and if you counted him as a friend you could confide in him and depend upon him under all circumstances. He led so quiet and unobtrusive a life that, aside from those who knew him intimately, he scarcely passed for his true worth. But a large concourse of people followed his remains to the grave and expressions of the deepest and kindliest sympathy for the man and his bereaved family were heard on every hand. In all the relations of life he acted the part of a true man and an exemplary citizen. High consideration was his honest due for in addition to noble qualities of head and heart, he went out to fight for his country, and if need be to die that the nation might live."

H. H. Johnson

H. H. Johnson died December 9, 1887. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1847. During the war he was a member of Company A, 25th Iowa Infantry. After the war, he was admitted to the bar, but never practiced his profession. He was elected county superintendent of Hamilton county in 1877 and reelected in 1879 at the same time doing newspaper work. In 1882 he went to South Dakota and engaged in newspaper work, but two years later returned to Hamilton county too broken in health to follow any vocation. He left a wife and two children to mourn his death.

John W. Lee

John W. Lee died at his home in Cass township, March 4, 1884. He was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, March 12, 1835. He was the eldest son of Daniel and Maria Lee and a brother of F. Q. Lee. He came to Hamilton county in 1858. He was married to Harriet E. Brewer in November, 1859, and at once settled in Cass township. In early life he was a school teacher and was county superintendent of schools from 1861 to 1865. He was a member of the board of supervisors that built the courthouse in 1876. By occupation he was a farmer and in his business transactions was successful.

Jotham M. Lyon

Jotham M. Lyon died March 21, 1899. He was the son of Peter Lyon and came to Hamilton county in 1852. He was born in Indiana August 1, 1837, and was married to Mary Willis in 1865. Mr. Lyon left the house to attend to some cattle and a short time later was discovered by Mrs. Lyon lying on the ground by the kitchen door unconscious. He never recovered.

Peter Lyon

Peter Lyon died at Webster City February 20, 1897. He was born in Indiana in 1811. He moved to Hamilton county in 1852 and in 1868 moved to Kansas, hut returned to Hamilton county in 1889. He was a typical pioneer.

Judge J. D. Maxwell

Judge J. D. Maxwell, died November 4, 1882. The following is a tribute to his memory written by Charles Aldrich:

"Judge Maxwell is Dead!

"Though we had seen him fading slowly into the silent land, from the effects of age and toil and wasting disease, and knew that his time at farthest could be but short, these words fell upon the ear like a stunning blow. For many years he had lived the quietest of home lives, yet his was one of the familiar forms on our streets, and his name was prominently identified with the early history of our town and county. A man of most decided opinions, to which he gave expression with the greatest freedom, he was an agreeable person to meet, for he was a fine talker, possessing a large fund of anecdote and information, and genial, kindly, friendly and pleasant, in his ways. His acquaintance was quite large, and while our local politics in early days made Him and his public acts somewhat of a bone of contention, his private life was not only a blameless one, but in all respects most exemplary and commendable. It may in all truth and sincerity be said that he lived and died without an enemy—respected and esteemed by the entire community.

"In the early history of our county he was a leading and important character. He was our first county judge, elected at the old-time April election of 1857, and reelected at the October election of the same year. This office was the most important one, under the old order of things, as a brief explanation will show. Previous to 1860 the county judge not only wielded all the power now possessed by our board of county supervisors, but vastly more. His powers were larger in the way of incurring indebtedness, and the probate business was all transacted in his court. The county judge was an autocrat, if he felt disposed to make himself such, and it is a lamentable fact that too many of them abused their privileges and powers, and ran their counties so deeply into debt that they have been unable to meet their obligations even yet. Upon Judge Maxwell most delicate and important duties devolved. He had not only to settle all matters of joint interest with Webster county, of which this county originally formed a part, and until the legislative session of 1856, but it became his duty to organize our own county and set all of its machinery in motion. The transcribing of the records was one of these most important labors, which was performed under his direction and supervision. Here, as in all new counties, vexatious questions arose about the building of a courthouse, the removal of the county seat, the construction of bridges, the location of roads, etc., etc., upon which men took sides as their interests were affected, and acrimonious discussions and contentions arose. During the two years and a half in which he held this most laborious and most thankless office. Judge Maxwell was a subject of much criticism; but there is not a man among us who would today express a doubt that he always acted from conscientious motives, aiming to do his duty by the people he was serving. It is also a question whether what he did do was not at the time the best that could be done under all the circumstances of conflicting interests. Certain it is that he gave the county a prudent and economical administration, and never wasted or misappropriated a dollar of its funds. One of these days we shall doubtless have a local historian, who will find enough in our apparently 'short and simple annals' to fill a great quarto volume. If such a task is ever undertaken, Judge Maxwell's acts cannot be ignored or escape scrutiny; but his record will bring only praise and not censure upon his memory. "His private life was pure, upright, praise worthy in all respects. He was a kind husband, a most tender and affectionate parent, and a sincere, sympathizing, reliable, abiding friend. He took a deep interest in all of the local concerns of Webster City and Hamilton county, and every step of our upward and onward progress gladdened his heart. He had long been a professing Christian, remarkable for his unaffected piety and his firm faith in the promises of the Divine Master. His pastor, visiting him only a very few days before his death, found him with a clear mind. His preparation for the great change which awaits us all was perfect and complete. He had no doubt of a better life beyond the grave. His death-bed was a triumphant one.”

'The chamber where the good man met his fate
Was privileged beyond the common walk,
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heav'n.’

"Judge Maxwell was born in Washington county, Virginia, in 1808, and was therefore seventy-four years of age. He removed to Tennessee, and thence to Edgar county, Ill., where he resided until 1854, when he settled in this county. He enjoyed the personal acquaintance of two presidents—Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson."

F. J. McConnell

F. J. McConnell died at his home in Independence township, December 14, 1889. He came to Hamilton county in 1856 and had been prominent in local affairs ever since. He was a native of Ireland, but in early boyhood moved to New York. While living in New York he was married to Armilla Cook. In his youth he was a molder by trade, but after coming West engaged in farming, which business he followed with good success.

John Meeks

John Meeks died at Webster City February 1, 1891. He was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, in 1828, and came to Webster City in 1856. He with Chas. Fenton who died the same day, hauled the printing outfit for the Hamilton Freeman from Dyersville with an ox team in 1857. He left a wife and two daughters and one son surviving him.

B. F. Miller

B. F. Miller died May 31,1896. He was born in Virginia February n. 1833 and he came to Webster City in 1867 and established the first bank in Webster City, what is now the Hamilton County State Bank. He later established the Farmer's National Bank.. He was a man of great force of character.

A. M. Potter

May 19, 1882, A. M. Potter, for many years the landlord of the Potter House, died of heart disease. He was born in Oneida county, New York, in 1814. He came to Webster City in 1865, since which time he had been a continuous resident. His wife had died two years previous to his demise. He left six children—three sons, Allen, Milton and A. M., Jr., and three daughters, Mrs. A. A. Cook, Mrs. E. R. Lee and Mrs. E. W. Olds.

John Rhodes

John Rhodes died in June, 1892. He came to Hamilton county in 1851, and built the first brick store building in Webster City. He moved to Indiana in 1867 and finally settled at Anamosa, where he died.

Isaac Rothrock

Isaac Rothrock died at his home in Liberty township, February 8, 1899. He was born in Pennsylvania July 25, 1825. Came to Iowa in 1856 and to Hamilton county in 1882. He was a farmer and lived for many years near Blairsburg.

Horace Segar

Horace Segar died February 3, 1892. He was born in New York in 1816. Moved to Hamilton county in 1855. He located in Cass township and continued to reside there until his death. He left a wife and five children.

J. D. Sells

J. D. Sells died February 6, 1892. He was born in Ohio in 1818 and came to Hamilton county in 1857. He purchased land in both Hamilton and Wright counties and added to it until he owned about eleven hundred acres at the time of his death. Mr. Sells was the father of thirteen children—six by his first wife and seven by his second. He was one of the strong men of this part of the state.

Geo. Shipp

Geo. Shipp died November 18, 1897. The Freeman gives the following account of his life: George Shipp was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, July 12, 1815, a son of James and Catherine (Helman) Shipp. His father was a native of Pennsylvania and his mother of Maryland. When he was seven years old his parents moved to Wayne county, Ohio, where they were early settlers and where they lived the remainder of their lives. In 1833 George Shipp went to Millersburg, Ohio, where he was employed as clerk in a mercantile house four years. He then returned to Wayne county and engaged in business for himself several years. In the spring of 1852, in company with a hundred men, he started overland for California, taking with him two hundred head of cattle and a number of horses. They were five months on the road. After his arrival in California he engaged in stock raising, and remained two years, when he returned to Ohio and lived until 1856, when he came to Hamilton county, first locating on the farm which is now a part of Webster City. A few years later he embarked in the mercantile business and became an important factor in the growth and improvement of the town, and never withheld generous support from any good work. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers National Bank and was its vice president from the start. In the earlier history of the town Mr. Shipp was treasurer and recorder of Hamilton county two years.

J. D. Stitzer

J. D. Stitzer died at his home near Homer July 4. 1896. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1820, moved to Hamilton county in 1868.

Otto W. Story

Otto W. Story died at his home in Cass township March 7, 1888. He was born in Chautauqua county, New York, May 24, 1824. Was married to Phoebe Carver August 5, 1847, and came to Hamilton county in 1854, where he lived until the time of his death. He owned a farm about two miles from Webster City in Cass township. He left a wife, four sons and one daughter. The sons were "Park," Norman, Byron, Emery, the daughter's name was Ella. O. W. Story was a quiet, peaceable, honorable citizen.

Michael Sweeney

Michael Sweeney died very suddenly and unexpectedly May 11, 1888. He had gone out for a walk after breakfast intending to visit some land a short distance north of Webster City. About nine o'clock his lifeless body was discovered by L. N. Maxon, lying in the road near the Maxon farm. He had evidently suffered from a stroke of apoplexy.

Michael Sweeney was born in Ireland in 1828 and moved to Hamilton county in 1855. He was a member of the Spirit Lake relief expedition in 1857. He was elected sheriff in 1861 and held the office four years and was afterwards appointed clerk of courts and held that position for eight years. He was unmarried and his only heirs were distant relatives. He was a prominent figure in Hamilton county affairs from the day of his arrival to the day of his death.

Wm. Tatham

Wm. Tatham, resident of Fremont township, died December 12, 1898. He was born in Ohio February 13, 1833, and came to Hamilton county in 1864. After living here four years, he went back to Ohio, but in 1882 returned to Hamilton county, where he continued to reside the remainder of his life.

O. B. Vincent

On September 5 occurred the death of O. B. Vincent. He was a native of Pennsylvania and came to Hamilton county in 1869. He was a prominent man in politics and in lodge work, being an active member of the Odd Fellows.

Chas. Wickware

Chas. Wickware died May 4, 1893. The following account of his life appeared in the ''Annals of Iowa:" Lieut. Charles Wickware, who recently died at Webster City, was a heroic soldier of the army of the Potomac. He enlisted as a private, in the Sixth Vermont Infantry, near the beginning of the war. He was shot through the body at the battle of Savage Station, and lay all night on the battlefield, falling into the hands of the enemy. He was taken to Libby prison, but soon after exchanged, and under skilful treatment at the hospital in Philadelphia finally recovered so far as to be able to rejoin his regiment in the field. In the terrible battles in the Wilderness he lost an arm. He was promoted to lieutenant in a colored regiment and served gallantly to the close of the war. He settled at Webster City in 1868, and held many important offices in the city, county and district, serving with the utmost fidelity. He was an active and honored member of the Grand Army of the Republic from the time of its organization to the day of his death.

C. E. Wilder

C. E. Wilder died after a brief illness, on the 9th of May. Ed. Wilder was well known throughout the county. He was a soldier in the Union army and a member of the Webster City post of G. A. R.

Sumler Willson

Sumler Willson died December, 1882. From a tribute written by Charles Aldrich are extracted the following words:

"Mr. Sumler Willson was born in the town of Arkwright, Chautauqua county, N. Y., on the 10th day of March, 1827, and was consequently fifty-five years of age. He was the youngest of five children—four sons and a daughter. He settled first in Palmyra, Wisconsin, but came here in 1855, with his brother, Hon. Walter C. Willson, where he has since resided. The accident which bereft him of life was a very singular one—one that would not occur again in a lifetime. He was riding a pony which was a most docile and trusted family pet. He used a stirrup covered with a heavy leather guard, so that it was impossible for his foot to pass through it. But the pony slipped and fell upon its right side, and by some curious happening the rider's foot slipped between the stirrup straps, where it was held as if in a vice. Mr. Willson could only remember that he received three heavy blows. It seems that the pony kicked him in the face, side and chest. He was of the impression that his own excitement and alarm scared the little horse, and made it run, and that had he only kept more quiet he might have escaped injury. When the pony reached home the boot was still between the stirrup straps. It seemed evident from the first that he was very dangerously injured and few who saw him could indulge any expectations of his recovery. But he lingered nearly two weeks, watched and ministered to by tender and loving hands, though all that skill and care could accomplish was but to smooth his way to the grave. That he held out so long after such severe injuries, was no doubt due to the scrupulously temperate manner in which he had always lived—and had he been but forty years of age it is quite probable that he would have recovered. When apprised of the serious nature of his injuries he quietly and calmly remarked that he was prepared for any result— the end if it was to come. Thus closed the useful life of one of our most eminent pioneers—a man who has been especially prominent in the making of Webster City and Hamilton county.

"During the long period in which Mr. Willson lived among us, it is but truth to say that scarcely another man has at times exercised greater influence, or possessed a wider circle of friends. Especially was he a favorite with the young men. He has held some positions of trust, which he always filled with ability and fidelity. In the strife and turmoil of local politics, and the settlement of local issues incident to this as to all new regions, he was never an indifferent spectator, but an earnest, wide-awake, vigilant actor. These contests made him both warm friends and bitter enemies, but it is the highest tribute we now can pay him—a tribute, too, which he would regard with pride were he here to see it set down to his credit—that his circle of friends who now lament his death includes scores of good people who were his friends and warmly attached to him from the start. That they have clung to him with hooks of steel, through fair weather and foul, shows that he possessed the attributes of high and honorable manhood. A man can be judged by the style and character of his friends, as well as by any other outward indication. Applying this standard to Sumler Willson, he must be assigned a prominent and enviable place in the community—for he stood high in the regard of the best people both of the town and country, as well as of the adjoining counties."

R. N. Woodworth

R. N. Woodworth, for years a familiar figure in Webster City, died in Texas February 14, 1899. He came to Webster City about the year 1869 and engaged in real estate and abstract business. He enjoyed the confidence and respect of the people of Hamilton county.

Mrs. J. W. Young

Mrs. J. W. Young died February 2, 1899. Margaret Young was born in Maine in 1844. She was married to J. W. Young in 1866 and came to Hamilton county in 1882. She had never enjoyed the best of health and the patience and fortitude with which she bore her suffering excited the admiration and sympathy of all who knew her.

(The History of Hamilton County, Iowa, Vol. 1, 1912)
Transcribed by Cathy Danielson


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