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Dewey, Ralph

DEWEY, FOWLER, MILLER

Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 10/13/2020 at 17:42:14

Ralph Dewey, farmer, residing on section 30, township 75 north, range 7 west, and attached to Franklin Township, is one of the earliest settlers of Washington County. He is a native of Summit County, Ohio, born Jan. 8, 1824, and is the son of Moses and Eleeta (Fowler) Dewey, the former being a native of Westfield, Mass., born April 29, 1789, and the latter of Northampton, Mass., born May 22, 1790. They were married Sept. 1, 1813. In about 1815 or 1816, they emigrated to Summit County, Ohio. Six children were born to them: Richard died in Ohio in 1882; Electa died in infancy; Norman died in Tomah, Wis., in 1875; Parmelia, the wife of Silas C. Thompson, lives in Monroe County, Wis.; Ralph is the subject of this sketch; Mary married James Kellogg, and is now deceased. Moses Dewey died in 1826, and Mrs. Dewey subsequently married Marshal Harrington, by whom she had one son, Elisha, now living in Ohio. She died in Summit County, Ohio, in 1843.

The subject of this sketch was placed by his mother when but five years of age with Isaac W. Kingsley, with whom he remained until he was twelve years old, during which time he attended the common winter school. He then went to Bainbridge with his mother. During the fall and winter of 1842-43 he attended the High School at Shalersville, Portage Co., Ohio. In the winter of 1843-44 he taught school at Shalersville, and about the same time took up the cooper trade, but soon afterward abandoned it. In the winter of 1844-45 he taught school at Mantua Station, Portage County, and in the following summer worked for his brother. In the fall of 1845, he came to Washing County, this State, and stopped at Brighton. In the following winter he taught school in Clay Township, and in the spring of 1846, returned to Ohio.

On the 28th of April, 1847, Mr. Dewey was married, at Shalersville, Ohio, to Miss Lucinda Miller, a native of Wayne County, Ohio, born Aug. 6, 1824, and daughter of Stephen and Lydia Miller. In the fall of 1847, he came with his wife to Washington County and settled in Clay Township, teaching school the following winter and also the two succeeding winters in the same district where he first taught, and chiefly engaged in farm work during the summer seasons. In 1851, he removed to Brighton, where he remained until 1859, engaged in farming. In the summer of 1858, he was nominated, and in the fall following was elected Clerk of the district courts. He was twice re-elected, and served for six years, with credit to himself and constituents. On retiring from office, he formed a partnership with Edwin Blair, and engaged in the grocery business. In 1866, he purchased the interest of his partner, but in 1867 closed out the business, but continued as Clerk until 1868. He was then chosen by the County Judge as Deputy Auditor and in the fall of 1869 was elected the firs Auditor of the county, serving during the years of 1870 and 1871. In the spring of 1872 he was employed by Mills & Co., of Des Moines, as traveling salesman, remaining with them some eighteen months. He was then appointed Deputy County Treasurer by J. W. Anderson, and remained with him one year. Retiring from that office He engaged in the insurance business, in which he continued till 1885. Among others offices held by Mr. Dewey is that of Mayor of Washington, during 1865 and 1867, being the first Mayor elected in the city, and Justice of the Peace.

In politics, our subject is a stanch Republican, and has affiliated with that party since its organization, having attended its first state convention in Iowa City Feb. 22, 1856. Mr. and Mrs. Dewey are the parents of five children: Charles A., a railroad agent, who resides in Memphis, Mo.; Laura E., died in infancy; S. B. is a jeweler in Washington; Richard P. and Lettie J. reside on the farm. Few men in Washington County are better known or more universally respected than Ralph Dewey, one of the pioneers of 1845.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Ralph Dewey, pages 444-445.


 

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