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Audubon County


1889 Bios Index




ISAAC W. REED, of the firm of Reed Brothers, extensive farmers and dealers in livestock, has been a resident of Audubon County since 1883. He is the second of a family of eleven children, eight of whom survive. The father, John Reed, is a native of Pennsylvania, arid was born in 1812. The mother, Mary (Brewer) Reed, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and after her marriage to John Reed they came to Poweshiek County, Iowa, and settled near Montezuma, where they remained until 1883, when they came to Audubon County. They now reside in Leroy Township. Isaac W. Reedwas born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1857, and at the age of twelve years came to Poweshiek County, Iowa, with his parents. He received the advantages of a district school education, and was thoroughly drilled in the details and management of a farm. He remained with his parents until his majority, when he formed a partnership with his brother, John J. Reed, under the firm name of Reed Brothers. They began farming by renting the farm of C. H. Cross for six years.In the spring of 1889 they rented and moved to the farm of John C. Bonwell, which covers 720 acres. They have the farm well stocked, and employ three men, and run five teams during the busy sea son. In the season of 1888 they raised 10, 000 bushels of corn. They fatten from fifty to 100 head of cattle annually. The Reed Brothers are very successful farmers, devoting their whole time to the business. The grand father of Isaac W. Reed was Isaac Reed, who removed from beyond the Alleghany Mountains and settled in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, at an early day. He was descended from an old English family, three or four generations of whom were born in America. Isaac Reed married Miss Jannett Johnson, and reared a family of twelve children. The mother of Isaac W. Reed, Mary (Brewer) Reed, is a daughter of Henry Brewer, of German descent, and Mary (Randolph) Brewer, who reared a large family. Mary (Brewer) Reed was born March 22, 1819, and is the mother of twelve children, eight of whom are living -- James Z., John J. and Isaac W. (twins), William, Herman E., A. C., Mary E., Harriet M., and four who died in childhood. Isaac Reed, the grand father of Isaac W., was a spy during the Indian troubles in the early settlement of Pennsylvania.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 773.

JOSEPH M. REYNOLDS is the senior member of the firm of Reynolds & Ide, merchants at Brayton, Iowa. Messrs. Reynolds & Ide carry a general stock, and bothbeing active business men they do a large and prosperous trade.Both gentlemen are welland favorably known. Mr. Reynolds was born in Orange County, New York, in the heart of the great cheese and butter region, January 4, 1852. He is the third of a family of six children of Patrick and Mary (Muden) Reynolds, who were born and reared in Ireland.The father was born in the county of Longford, and the mother in the county of Leitrem, near the Shannon River.In the fall of 1839 the parents emi grated to America, landed in the city of New York,and at once proceededto Orange County. Patrick Reynolds at once identi fied himself with the old Whig party, and became a warm supporter of the same. On the organization of the Republican party his sympathies were with it, and he fought in the war of the Rebellion. From Orange County the family removed to Muscatine County, Iowa, in January, 1854.For many years the father was employed by the C., R. I. & P. Railroad, and was a valued and trusty man.He died at West Liberty, Iowa, honored by all who knew him. His wife is still living, and is now a resident of Des Moines. The boyhood days of JosephM. Reynolds were passed in West Liberty, where he re ceived his education. On leaving school he accepted a clerkship for a shorttime; he then entered the employ of the railroad com pany, beginning at the bottom round of the ladder. He rose to the position of passenger conductor, when he met with an accident that caused the loss of two fingers of his left hand. He then took up the study of telegraphy, and became an operator and station agent in the employ of the C., R. I. & P. R. R. Co., for a period of ten years. In 1876 he came to Brayton and opened the station, and contin ued there until 1886. In 1887 he embarked in the mercantile trade, purchasing the stock of W. Bartlett & Son, and associating him self with O. F. Ide, Esq. Mr. Reynolds is a thorough business man, and in connection with his mercantile interests he carries on farming and stockraising to a considerable extent. Mr. Reynolds was united in marriage in 1881 to Miss Lillie Bartlett, the only daughter of Washington Bartlett, Esq., whose biography appears on another page of this volume. This union has been blessed with one child Beatrice. Although young she is quite accomplished in music. Owing to failing health Mr. Reynolds has traveled considerably during the past two years. He is one of the active members of Audubon Lodge, No. 217, I. O. O. F.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 805.

JOSEPH RIDPATH, farmer and stock raiser, Audubon County, Iowa, was born inMontgomeryCounty, Virginia, on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, September 21, 1829. He is the son of James A. and Rebecca (Kelsey) Ridpath, who were the parents of five children. The father was a native of Virginia and a farmer by occu pation, and the motherwas of German descent. The grandfather of our subject was a native of England, and was brought to this country at the age of eight years. Joseph is a cousin of the historian, John Clark Rid path, aresident of Greencastle, Indiana. He passed his boyhood in Ross County, Ohio, whither his parents had moved when he was one year old.His father died here three years later, leaving him an orphan when a mere child. The mother and children, a few years later, removed from Ross County, Ohio, to Putnam County, Indiana, where they bought a piece of land in the green woods, which they partly cleared out.During this time Joseph was bound out to Henry Picket, with whom he remained until his eighteenth year. Mr. Picket proved to be a good father, and when Joseph left him, gave him a suit of clothes, a horse, saddle and bridle. In the meantime the mother and other members of the family had removed to Parke County, In diana. Here the mother was again married and passed the remainder of her days. In 1849 Mr. Ridpath left Putnam County and came to Mahaska County, Iowa, where he bought forty acres of land, paying $1.25 per acre. This he improved, and added to it eighty acres, more, on which he resided until the spring of 1880, when he removed to Au dubon County, Iowa. Mr. Ridpath was mar ried to Miss Betsey Jarrad, of Mahaska County, Iowa, by whom four children were born Henrietta, wife of G. H. Petty; Thomas M., Otis (deceased) and Albert. The mother died in Mahaska County. Mr. Ridpath was married to his present wife in May, 1866. Mrs. Ridpath's maiden name was Rebecca J. Petty, and she is a daughter of James B. Petty, a native of Ohio. On the breaking out of the late civil war Mr. Ridpath enlisted in Company E, Thirtythird Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was immediately sent to Lit tle Rock, Arkansas, under General Steele. He was then sent to Camden, Arkansas, and on the defeat of General Banks he was ordered into the Seventh Army Corps. He was fol lowed and overtaken at the Saline River, and had a sharp engagement with General Price's forces, in which a good many men were killed and wounded and taken prisoners.He was then ordered back to Little Rock, thence to Mobile, Alabama, where the siege continued eight days. He was then ordered to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and then to New Orleans, where he was transferred to Company E, Thirty.fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. August 15, 1865, he was mustered out of the service at Houston, Texas. He then returned to Mahaska County, Iowa, where he engaged in the more peaceful pur suits of agriculture, having served his coun try faithfully and honorably. He is a member of the G. A. R., Allison Post, No. 34, of which he is QuartermasterSergeant.Mr. Ridpath's farm consists of eighty acres of well-improved land.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 753.

JOHN RILEY, physician and surgeon, Exira, Iowa, is a native of the State of Illinois. He was born in Bureau County, near the spot where Neponset now stands, August18, 1850, and is the second in a family of seven sons, all of whom lived to maturity. John and Abigail (Burnet) Riley were his parents, and they were both natives of New York.Mrs. Riley's mother and General Slocum were first cousins, and they trace their ancestry back for five generations. John Riley, Sr., is also a doctor, and he and his wife are both living at Spring Hill, Illi nois. He was one of the pioneer physicians in Illinois. He was educated in New York, and came to Chicago by way of the lakes, and thence across the prairies by wagons.In his younger days he conducted a large and profitable practice, and gained some distinction in that section of country. John Riley, Jr., passed his boyhood in Whiteside County, Illinois, whither his father had removed when he was an infant. His primary education was received in the district school, and later he attended the Academy of Prophetstown, and finished his literary education at Fulton, Illinois. He then began teaching school in Clinton, Iowa, and continued in this profes sion for six years.While engaged in teach ing he took up the study of medicine, and afterward entered the office of Doctors Mc Cormick & Smith, the leading physicians of the place.After reading under their direction for some time he entered the medical department of the Iowa State University, and was graduated from that institution in 1880. He then came to Exira, and began the prac tice of his profession, to which he has devoted the whole of his time and energies with gratifying results. Dr. Riley was married August 26, 1880, to Miss Mary J. Powers, a native of Ohio. She was a graduate of the Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio, and for some time was engaged in teaching at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They have two chil dren -- Ethel M. and John. The Doctor is Master of Exodus Lodge, No. 342, A. F. & A. M., and M. W. of the A. O. U. W. He is a member of the town council, and is now president of the school board; he is also a member of the Iowa State Medical Society, and president of the Botna Valley Medical Association. Of the seven sons in this fam ily three are physicians, three are lawyers, and one is a farmer. One of the attorneys died in March, 1888; he had studied law with Mrs. Foster.Their names are Charles, at torney; John, physician; William, attorney (deceased); George W., attorney; Bruce, phy.. sician; Lincoln, physician; and Henry Clay, at home on the farm in Illinois. All are married, except Bruce.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 719.

ALEXANDER H. ROBERTS, pharmacist, Audubon, Iowa, came to the place October 15, 1878, the day on which the town lots were first offered for sale. He is a native of the State of Iowa, was born August 26, 1848, in Des Moines County, twelve miles west of Burlington. His father, James Dorsey Roberts, is a native of Virginia, and a farmer by occupation. He removed to Iowa in 1838, and is now a resident of Henry County, Iowa, where he has lived since 1855. He was born in 1823. The mother of Alexander H. Roberts is Susan (McDonald) Roberts, a daughter of Alexander McDonald. She was born in 1826, and is still living. The family consists of four children, of whom A. H. is the second. The subject of this brief sketch was seven years old when his parents removed to Henry County, Iowa. He attended the common-schools, and later pursued a three years' course at Howe's Academy. After leaving school he taught for a time, and then went to Burlington, where he graduated at the Bryant & Stratton Business Col lege, and where he was employed as mailing clerk in the Burlington Hawkeye office for six months. He then embarked in the mercantile business in Corning, Iowa, where he remained twelve months. He went from Corning to Mount Pleasant, where he engaged in the drug business, in which business he has been engaged since that time. In the autumn of 1878 he came to Audubon and opened a stock of drugs, books and stationery. He is well established in trade, and is a very efficient druggist and careful pharmacist. Mr. Roberts was united in marriage, September 14, 1871, to Miss Lizzie Pritchard, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, a daughter of Thomas Pritchard, Esq. Mrs. Roberts was born in Henry County, Iowa, where her father was one of the earliest settlers, coming to the county from Philadel phia in 1834.Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have two children Ira Pearl and Ralph Pritchard. Mr. Roberts was a member of the first school board, serving six years.At present he is president of that body.He was also a mem ber of the first city council. He is a member of Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, A. F. & A. M., Mount Pleasant, Iowa; of Amity Chap ter, No. 93, R. A. M., Audubon, and of God frey Commandery, K. T., Audubon. He was the first treasurer of the Audubon County Agricultural Society, serving four years, and has been elected secretary for the coming year. In political matters he is rather con servative. He is an active member of' the Methodist Episcopal church, and has been since childhood. He is serving his tenth year as superintendent of the Sabbath-school, for the success of which he has been a faithful worker. Mr. Roberts has not only been an active spirit in all business enterprises in Audubon, but he has also been instrumental in elevating the morals of his adopted city. Reuben Roberts, grandfather of A. H. Rob erts, came to Iowa at an early day. He made the journey via the Ohio River to the Mississippi, thence via the Mississippi to Burlington. He came from near Wheeling, West Virginia, and was the father of twelve children.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 710.

OLIVER H. P. ROBERTS, a successful farmer and stockraiser of Leroy Town ship, was born in Lawrenceburg, Dear born County, Indiana, February 20, 1829. He is the oldest son of Moses and Elmira E. (Clark) Roberts. Eben E. Roberts, the father of Moses M. Roberts, was born in the State of Maine, and was a soldier in the war of 1812.Moses M. Roberts was also born in the State of Maine, and Almira E. Clark, his wife, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, andat an early day removed to Dearborn County, Indiana. She was the daughter of George Clark, who removed to Cincinnati, where he was a ship carpenter for many years. Moses M. Roberts and family removed from Indiana to Illinois, and settled on a farm in Henderson County. O. H. P. Roberts was at this time about twelve years of age.He received only a commonschool education, and remained on the farm with his parents until his twentyfourth year, at which time he was married to Martha W. Miller, the oldest daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Miller. In the fall of 1866 Mr. Roberts removed with his family to Audubon County, Iowa, andsettled on a farm in section 1, Leroy Township, on the east branch of the Nish nabotna River.The landwas wild, and neighbors were few and far between. E. J. Freeman, an old and tried friend, was Mr. Roberts's most intimate associate, with whom he passedmany happy hours. On first coming to the State his means were limited, and there were many hardships to be met, and many burdens to be borne; but his cour age and industry were equal to the test, and by diligence and good management he has one of the best farms in the neighborhood. The place contains 187 acres of choice land in a high state of cultivation. The residence, which is a twostory frame building, stands in the midst of a natural grove. There are also many pines and cedars growing near the house, which add to the attractiveness of the place as no other foliage can.Although they were planted by Mr. Roberts,they have grown to be forty or fifty feet in height. The farm is well stocked with the best grades of livestock, and everything is arranged with an eye to convenience and ease in the care of them.Mr. and Mrs. Roberts have seven children William S., Robert C., Ida L., Herbert M., Mary E., Lewis W. and Oscar P. Mr. Roberts has been officially identified with his township as trustee, and also as clerk. He is a member of Veritas Lodge, No. 302, A. F. & A. M. In political mat ters he is rather conservative. He was a staunch Union man during the war, and offered his services to his country, but was not accepted, on account of illhealth.In National elections he votes the Democratic ticket, but in local affairs he votes for the man best fitted for the office, regardless of party ties.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 719.

ALPHEUS F. RODGERS,a model farmer of Leroy Township, section 9, was born in the State of Michigan, Cass County, near Dowagiac, February 15, 1839. He is the third child of Samuel and Margaret (Burk) Rodgers. The mother was a native of Virginia, and a daughter of William Burk.The father was born in Preble County,Ohio, October 13, 1810. He grew to manhood in his native State, and at an early day removed to Michigan, where he carried on farming and milling as a business. He served as a soldier in the Black Hawk war. He received land war rants, with a portion of which he located land adjoining his home. He is still living, and is a resident of Benton harbor, Michigan. A. F. Rodgers passed his early boyhood in Michigan, receiving the advantage of a good common-school education. In the year 1854 he removed with his parents to La Salle County, Illinois, and worked on the farm with his father until he reached his majority; he then began life on his own account, fol lowing farming until 1864, when he started for the mines of Idaho and Montana. He left Omaha the 3d day of May, and arrived in Virginia City the 10th day of July. He engaged in mining in Last Chance and Hard Scrabble gulches, built a cabin, and the first hotel building in what is now Helena, the capital of Montana. Returning to Seneca, Illinois, he opened a meatmarket and dealt in livestock. Afterward he went into the lumber business, which he conducted suc cessfully until 1878.In March, 1879, Mr. Rodgers went to Audubon County, Iowa, and in March of the following year be moved his family to Audubon. October 21, 1880, he moved on his present farm, and devotes his time to general farming.He endeavors to raise good grades of stock, believing that it costs no more to raise a good animal than a poor one.The place is well provided with buildings for the protection of livestock. Mr. Rodgers was married August 23, 1859, to Miss Caroline Hurlburt, a daughter of Will iam and LaurindaHurlburt, of La Salle County, Illinois. Mr. Rodgers is a member of Veritas Lodge, No. 392, A. F. & A. M.; of Amity Chapter, No. 93, R. A. M.; and of Blaney Commandery, No. 5, K. T., at Morris, Illinois. In politics he is a Republican. Mrs. Rodgers's father was born and reared in Massachusetts; her mother was a native of New York State. Her parents were married in Ohio, and afterward removed to Illinois. The grandfather of A. F. Rodgers was Alex ander Rodgers, who married Miss Margaret Culton, a native of Rockbridge County, Virginia.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 766.

GEORGE M. ROSS, a successful agriculturist and stockraiser, of Cameron Township, has been a resident of Andubon County since 1878. He was born in Indiana County, near the town of Marion, Pennsylvania, May 4, 1851, and is the fifth of a family of eight children of Samuel and Elizabeth (McCowen) Ross. The parents were born in Ireland, and emigrated to the United States in their early married life, and settled in Pennsylvania; they are still living on the old homestead in Indiana County where they first settled. Seven of the eight children are living, five sons and two daughters. George M. was reared to the life of a farmer, and obtained his education in the common school.He remained under the parental roof until his eighteenth year, when he took up the responsibilities of life for himself. He went to Louisville, Kentucky, and engaged in retailing manufactured tobaccos, cigars and smoker's articles, in which he made money rapidly. He sold out the business and removed to Page County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming two years.In the spring of 1878 he came to Audubon County, Iowa, and bought a half section of choice land, which at that time was wild prairie land. He went to work with a will, and as time has passed he has added many valuable improvements.Mr. Ross has here to fore been engaged in general farming, but in the past two years he has given more at tention to the feeding of livestock, and has been quite successful; he has, however, suf fered heavy losses from cholera at times. Mr. Ross was married in the spring of 1878 to Miss Alice C. Price, a daughter of Fred Price, Esq., of Page County, Iowa. Four children have been born of this union David Cameron, Bessie, George and Samuel. Mr. Ross has been politically identified with his township as trustee, having been elected in the fall of 1888. He affiliates with the Republican party.His landed estate num bers 760 acres, 440 in Audubon County, and 320 in Woodbury County, Iowa. Mr. Ross was entirely without means when he began his business career, but he has not remained at the bottom of the ladder; he has exerted all his energies, and to no small purpose, as can be seen from the valuable property he has accumulated.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 785.

GEORGE B. RUSSELL, a prominent business man of Audubon, of the firm of G. B. Russell & Sons, dealers in dry goods, boots and shoes, and gentlemen's furnishing goods, is a native of Scotland. He was born February 16, 1833, and when five years of age his parents emigrated to America, landing in New York City, where they remained until George was twelve years old; they then removed to Portland, Dodge County, Wisconsin. Charles Russell, the father, a farmer by occupation, has retired, and is now living in Stoughton, Wisconsin, at the advanced age of eightyfive years. His mother, Ellen Crawford Russell, was a native ofScotland. Charles Russell and wife were the parents of three children -- James Russell,of the State of Georgia, one son deceased, and George B. Russell, the subject of this notice. He received the greater part of his education in New York, for on going to Wisconsin his school days had ended in a measure. At that time Indians were numerous, and the sight of them was as common as the sight of the whites. Young Russell remained on the farm with his parents until reaching his nineteenth year, when he went to the State of Georgia, where he remained two years, engaged in the bricklayer's trade. On his return to Wisconsin he was occupied with farming, and then with clerking in a store. In 1872 he removed to Exira, where he opened a stock of general merchandise, at the same time continuing his farming interests. By honest dealing and close application to business he built up a large and prosperous mercantile trade. In the fall of 1879 Mr. Rus sell started a store in Audubon, which was managed by his oldest son, Charles Russell, he himself continuingthemanagement of the business in Exira. In 1880 Mr. Bussell's family removed to Audubon, and he afterward closed the business at Exira, and concentratedall his capital in Audubon, where he has since resided.In 1888 he re moved his old store building, a frame structure, 24 x 80 feet, and erected a fine three story brick on the same lot. The size of the present store is 30 x 100 feet. The first floor is occupied by a stock of goods, the second story is fitted up in offices, and the balance of the building is finished for an opera house, which is well supplied with attractive scen ery and all the equipments of a firstclass opera house. It has a seating capacity of 600, and is an enterprise for which Mr. Russell deserves great credit. In 1857 Mr. Russell was united in marriage to Miss Jane Hutchinson, of Lowell, Dodge County, Wis consin, who is a native of the State of New York, and a daughter of Henry and Gertrude Hutchinson. The father died in New York, and after his death the mother and family removed to Wisconsin. Mrs. Russell is a person of unusual domestic qualities, and is perfectly at home amid her household duties. Mr. and Mrs. Russell have four children Agnes R., Charles, a member of the firm of G. B. Russell & Son; Gertrude C., the wife of John A. Nash, and James F., also a mem ber of the firm. Mr. Russell commenced at the bottom of the ladder, but has not re mained there.He owns several good farms in Audubon County, which he rents, and he has a neat, substantial residence, tastefully finished and furnished, in politics he takes an active part, voting for the man whom he thinks best fitted for the office. While he is not a member of any church he is a strong advocate of temperance in all things.He is public spirited, and ever stands ready and willing to assist in any work tending to the good of the community.
   From:  1889 Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon counties, pg. 798.

Contributed by Marthann Kohl-Fuhs, April, 2005.

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