IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1889 Bios Index




ROBERT H. DAVIDSON, an early settler of Douglas Township, was born in Brooke County, West Virginia, August 22, 1820. He is a son of William and Sarah (Hawkins) Davidson, natives of the State of Pennsylvania. The father was a carpenter and farmer by occupation. His grandfather was Thomas Davidson. When Robert H. was ten years old his parents removed to Monroe County, Ohio, where he grewto manhood; he was reared to the life of a farmer, and obtained a limited education in the common schools. He remained under the shelter of the parental roof until his maturity, when he was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Canada, who died, leaving one child William E., a resident of Ohio. Mr. Davidson was married a second time, to Maria J. Stoots, by whom he had five children Charles S., Nora C., the wife of Elisha Fiscus; Ida, wife of Henry Gillett, and two children who died in infancy.Mr. Davidson's present wife was Mrs. Lacy E. (Reasoner), widowof William Kunkle, of Guthrie County, Iowa; eight children were bornof this marriage Vantura, wife of John C. Baker; Anna B., wife of Bert B. Givens; Calvin F., Fred B., Joseph W., Milton H., Maud and Kittie Lulu. In the spring of 1857, when Iowa was considered to be the frontier, Mr. Davidson removed his family from Noble County, Ohio, to Guthrie County, Iowa; there he worked at the carpenter's trade, and cultivated his farm of 120 acres. Selling out his possessions in Guthrie County,he removedto southwestern Missouri, and remained there eighteen months; the climate of that latitude not agreeing with him he returned to Guthrie County, and resided there until 1873, when he came to Audubon County.Helocated upon his present farm, which is situated on the east fork of the west branch of the Nishnabotna River; the land is fertile, and there is a natural grove upon the place, which adds very materially to the value of the farm. Mr. Davidson devotes considerable attention to the feeding and raising of good grades of livestock, and has been very prosperous in this enterprise. In politics he is inclined to the principles of the Republican party.He has served histownship as justice of the peace for fourteen years, the period of his service beingindicative of the respect in which his judgment is held.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 822.

WILLIAM E. DAVIS, of Exira Township, was born in Wales, in the village of Merther, May 28, 1839. When he was five years old his parents emigrated to the United States, and settled in Minersville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. His father, David Davis, was a miner by occupation, and followed this calling the greater part of the time after he came to America. Later in life, however, he removed to Trumbull County Ohio, and there died in 1861.His wife, Lucy (Todd) Davis, died in Minersville In 1852; she was the mother of nine children, only three of whom survive. William E. was the second child, and he attended the winter schools of Minersville until he was fourteen years old. At the age of ten years he began working in the mines, and when he bad reached his sixteenth year he made a regular hand. He continued this occupation until he was forty years of age. Mr. Davis was first united in marriage to Martha, daughter of John James, of Trumbull County, Ohio. Two children were the result of this union, one of whom is living David. In 1864Mr. Davis entered the Union army, enlisting in Company D, One Hundred and Seventyfirst Ohio Volunteer Infantry.He was sent to guard Johnson's Island, and later was taken prisoner at Cynthiana, Kentucky. He was held for thirtysix hours, when he was paroled and ordered to Camp Denison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, and was there exchanged andordered back to Johnson's Island. He served the full term of his enlistment, and was mustered out of the service in August, 1864. He then returned to Trumbull County, and thence went to Rock Island County, Illinois, and engaged in coalmining for two years.He then went to Henry County, Illinois, and worked in the mines at Green River. In the spring of 1879 removed his family to Audubon County, Iowa, having purchased eighty acres of wild land in1872. Since thenhe has added to his first purchase until he owns 240 acres, which lie has developed into a fine stock farm. He has been very successful in the feeding of cattle, and occasionally ships a carload to eastern markets.Mr. Davis's second marriage occurred in 1864 to Mrs. Martha Evans, widow of Edward Evans, and daughter of Daniel Davis.Five children were the result of this union Lucy, the wife of T. Thomas; William, Benjamin and Leona, at home; one died in infancy. By her first marriage Mrs. Davis had seven children, only one of whom is living Elizabeth, wife of H. Hill.Mr. Davis has served a number of years as school director. In political matters he is rather conservative, but in State and National elections he votes the Republican ticket.He began life without any capital, but by diligence, hard work and economy he has accumulated a comfortable fortune.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 739.

ANTHONY N. DETWILER, of Lincoln Township, is assured of his success in life in being a descendant of German ancestors, on both his father's and mother's side. He was born in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, near the village of Allensville, January26, 1840. He is the secondson of Christian and Caroline(Ham) Detwiler, natives of Pennsylvania. The father was a gunsmith by trade, which he followed for many years.In 1854 he removed his family to Johnson County, Iowa, and settled on a farm near Iowa City, where he lived the remainder of his days.He died in his sixtyeighth year, and hiswifeis still living, making her home with her daughter, Mrs. J. M. Gibson, of Lincoln Township, Audubon County. Anthony N. Detwiler passed his youth in Johnson County, Iowa, receiving his education in the common schools. He taught one term, and in August, 1861, he entered the army for the defense of his nation's flag, enlisting in Company H, Second Iowa Volunteer Cavalry. He was sent to Davenport, Iowa, thence to St. Louis, thence to Bird's Point, opposite Cairo, Illinois, and thence south to Island No. 10. Afterward he went to New Madrid, and thence across the country into Tennessee, where he joined the forces returning from Columbus.He was wounded in a battle with buckshot, and was disabled for a few days. He also took part in the battle of Iuka, and was taken prisoner in the battle of Nashville, Tennessee, and was held for three months at Jackson, Mississippi, where he was handled pretty roughly by his captors. After his release he returned to his regiment, and soon after the news of General Lee's surrender he was ordered to Selma, Alabama, where he wasmustered out and sent to Davenport, Iowa; there he received his final discharge and pay, having served his country faithfully for four years and two months. At the time of his discharge he ranked as QuartermasterSergeant. Returning to Johnson County, Iowa, he became an honest tiller of the soil, renting lands until he was able to buy a farm of his own.As a farmer he was quite successful, and carried on the business extensively until 1886, when he sold his farm inJohnson County, and removed to Audubon County.After looking over the countyhe bought 160 acres on section 35, which is beautifully situated and of a very superior soil. It is drained by the Nishnabotna River, is well fenced and most of the land is seeded down to grass. In 1886 Mr. Detwiler built a substantial residence, which is surrounded by a fine grove and very attractive in appearance.In1870 he was married to Miss Nancy J. Shaffer, daughter of David and Agnes (Miller) Shaffer. She was born and reared in Indiana, and was living with her sister in Johnson County at the time of her marriage. The result of this union has been six children Adda, Edna, Carrie, Dora, Mollie and Christian A. Mr. Detwiler is one of the active members of Allison Post, G. A. R.In politics he is a staunch Republican, taking an active interest in the party and its successes.He is a man of genial disposition, of public spirit, and has the confidence and respect of all who know him.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 809.

JOHN B. DOAK, Treasurer of Audubon County, Iowa, is a native of the State of Pennsylvania, born in Columbia County, on a farm near Bloomsburgh, October 19, 1851. He is the eldest son and second child in a family of four sons and four daughters, all of whom are living. His father, Henry Doak, is a farmer by occupation; his mother was Dorcas Brothwell, a native of Pennsylvania, and a daughter of Dr. C. Brothwell; both parentsare living on a farmnear Bloomsburgh, the father in his sixtythird year, and the mother in her sixtyfirst. The boyhood of our subject was spent in his native county, attending the district school; later, he entered the Normal School at Bloomsburgh, and afterward taught two winters. He remained with his parents until his twentyfirst year. He then went to Lehigh Coal Mines, and remained there four years, having various connections with the coal company. In 1877 he went to Saint Joseph County, Michigan, stopping near Three Rivers. In 1879 he came to Audubon County, stopping at Exira, where he spent one winter; he then came to Audubon and remained one year. He then went to Fort Collins, Colorado. In 1881 be returned to Audubon County, and acted as a clerk in a store until he was elected treasurer of the county in 1887. Mr. Doak assumed the duties of this office January 1, 1888. He is a member of the Veritas Lodge, No. 392, A. F. & A. M.; of Amity Chapter, No. 93, R. A. M., and of Godfrey Commandery, No. 44, K. T.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 723.

SAMUEL F. DONALDSON, a farmer of Lincoln Township,was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, October 18, 1837. He is the youngest of a family of eight children of Robert and Ann (Felton) Donaldson.Her mother was Catherine Kincade, of ScotchIrish descent, who came to America to look after her father, who was supposed to have lost his life in the Revolutionary war. The great-grandfather of Samuel F. Donaldson, Isaac Donaldson, after serving in the Revolutionary war, was killed by the Indians in 1783, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. At the same time an aunt and seven children were taken prisoners. The children were killed by the Indians, and after ten years the aunt made her escape.James Donaldson, the grandfather of Samuel F., served in the war of 1812. Robert Donaldson, the father of S. F. Donaldson, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on the farm owned by his father, James Donaldson. The grandfather on the mother's side was Robert Felton, a native of Scotland. He also served in the war of 1812.The father of our subject, Robert Donaldson, remained in Westmoreland County, following the occupation of a carpenter until 1850, when he removed to the wild woods of Indiana, settling in Wells County.There he cleared out a farm and remained until his death, which occurred in 1880. His wife, the mother of S. F. Donaldson, died in 1861.Samuel F. Donaldson was thirteen years of age when he removed with his parents to Indiana. There he grew to manhood, attending the common logcabin schools, and receiving the usual training of a farmer's son. In 1861 he enlisted in Company A, for three months' service, at the first call for 75,000 men.On the expiration of the three months he enlisted, on the 30th day of August, 1861, for three years, in Company A, Thirty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was immediately made chief musician of the regiment, and served in that capacity for four and a half years.He was honorably discharged at Brownsville, Texas, February 20, 1866. He then returned to Wells County, Indiana, and engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1868, when he removed to Polk County, Iowa, and settled on a farm near Polk City. There he resided until the spring of 1880, when lie came to Audubon County, settling upon his farm in Lincoln Township, which was then wild prairie.Upon this new farm he erected a board shanty, twelve feet square. which sheltered the family until better quarters couldbe provided.However, before these temporary quarters could be provided the family lived in wagons.The first thing to be done was to break out the new farm, and make arrangements for the home. What has been accomplished can best be realized by making a visit to Mr. Donaldson's farm. The place is well fenced, and is stocked with reasonable numbers of hogs, cattle and horses. The residence is attractively surrounded by a grove which was planted by Mr. Donaldson. September 4, 1861, occurred the marriage of Samuel F. Donaldson and Lizzie Marshall, of Wells County, Indiana, in which place she was born and reared. She is a daughter of Robert and Mary A. (Weisner) Marshall, natives of Scotland and Ohio respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson have had born to them four children Kate F., wife of J. L. Van Dorn (the latter died in 1885); Anna E., William F. and Bonnie C.Mr. Donaldson was elected clerk of his township in 1882, and has served in that office ever since until the present time. He is a member of Veritas Lodge, No. 392, A. F. & A. M., at Audubon, and of Utopia Lodge, No. 161, I. O. O. F., at Gray, being one of the charter members. He is also a member of the Hiawatha Tribe, No. 16, I. O. R. M., and of the G. A. R. post at Manning, and is a member of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, and also the Universal Brotherhood. In politics he actively supports the issues of the Republican party.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 786.

GEORGE M. DUBOIS,deceased, was one of Audubon County's most enterprising citizens. He was born in the State of Indiana in 1850.When a small child his parents emigrated to Jones County, Iowa, where they settled, and where he grew to manhood.He received a common school education and was reared a farmer, becoming well skilled in his occupation. In 1878 he came to Audubon County and secured a farm in the southeastern corner of Leroy Township, which he broke and improved in many ways. The place was well fenced, there was a comfortable residence, a large frame barn, and other buildings for stock. He planted a grove, which added very much to the attractive appearance of the place.At the time of his death the farm contained 357 acres. Mr. Dubois was an excellent judge of livestock, and was very successful in their care. He was a man of quiet force and great energy, working late and early in all kinds of weather. He was married in his twentyninth year to Miss Ella Bowdish, of Audubon County, Iowa a native of the State of Indiana, and a daughter of Ira and Sallie E. Bowdish. She came to Iowa with her parents in infancy.Mr. and Mrs. Dubois are the parents of three children Anna Pearl, Dolly D. and Mabel. Mr. Dubois died December 19, 1885, of consumption. After the death of her husband Mrs. Dubois took charge of her farm, and conducted it with much ability until her marriage to Mr. James M. Pratten in 1886. Mr. Pratten is a native of England, but came to America when in his youth. He has worked in various kinds of business, but is a practical farmer, and is an excellent judge of stock. Mr. and Mrs. Pratten are the parents of one daughter -- Alice M. Pratten.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 757.

Contributed by Marthann Kohl-Fuhs, April, 2005.

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