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Overfelt, Charles A.


Posted By: mjv (email)
Date: 10/30/2020 at 13:47:13

Charles A. Overfelt, farmer and stock-raiser, was born in Fulton, Callaway Co., Mo., in 1835. He is the son of Eli M. and Sarah S. (Parker) Overfelt. Eli Overfelt was born in Richmond, Va., Aug. 8, 1808, and was the son of Michael Overfelt, who was born in Germany and was married in Virginia, where he was engaged as a wagon-maker in his father’s shop. He was the father of Eli and Aletha. The latter wedded Capt. Charles B. Rodgers, who was a Captain of a company in the Florida war in which he was wounded, and was later a Captain in the Mexican War. He afterwards removed to Fulton, Callaway Co., Mo., where his death occurred. Keturah V. became the wife of Charles A. Robbins, a jeweler of Iowa City, one of the first of his profession in the new town. His death occurred there in 1856. Irena wedded William Russell, who was in early times a dealer in negros. They were residents of Fulton, Mo. John wedded Miss Staples, and after her death wedded for his second wife, Minerva Palmer. He was married a third time. Judith Sheppard becoming his wife. He is now a resident farmer of Callaway County, Mo. Elijah married Sarah Sheppard, and is also a farmer of the same county. William married in California, and during his lifetime was a ranchman and miner. Bethena was accidentally shot and killed when a child. Mary J. wedded Charles A. Robbins, after the death of her sister, his first wife; he since has since died, and his widow resides in Iowa City.

Eli, the eldest son of the above-mentioned family, wedded Sarah S. Parker, Nov. 7, 1833, and settled in the town of Fulton, Mo. He acquired his education while working at the bench, and while working at his trade, studied law and was admitted to the bar in that county. He then relinquished his trade, and about 1840, began the practice of law, continuing the same until his death. His attainments were of that character which made him the choice of the Democratic party of Callaway County, for Representative, and he was nominated and elected to that office in 1840. He was re-elected, served two years longer and died while in office. His was a life full of promise, and as an advocate of party principles, had no peer in his day. His death occurred Aug. 17, 1844. His wife still survives him at the ripe age of seventy-three years. She makes her home with her son, the subject of this sketch. She was the mother of eight children, two dying in infancy; of the remainder George married Mrs. Phoebe (Ellis) Foster, and is a resident shoemaker of What Cheer, Keokuk Co., Iowa. Mary J. is the wife of John Axtel, a resident of Wichita, Kan. After the death of her first husband, Mrs. Overfelt wedded John E. Overstreet, who was a resident shoemaker of Fulton, Mo. He was a native of Virginia, and during their married life two children were born, twins, James E. and Laura L. The latter died when twelve years old, in Iowa City. James is now a farmer in Idaho Territory, and is the husband of Kate McGloughlin. They are the parents of two children – Guy and Gertie.

Our subject, the eldest of Eli Overfelt’s children, grew to manhood in Callaway County, Mo. During his boyhood he went to St. Louis and worked at almost anything that he could secure. His father was an easy, good-natured man, who trusted everybody, and finally died a poor man, with a great deal of money due him, scarcely any of which was collectable, consequently Charles was left to care for his mother and the younger members of the family. He went back to Fulton, Mo., and learned the blacksmith trade, at which he worked until 1856, when he was kicked by a vicious horse and disabled, being obliged to abandon his trade. The next year he came to Iowa, and located in Iowa City, where for three years he drove a team for his aunt, Mrs. Mary J. Robbins.

In 1860, he came to this county and worked for B. W. Coe, until July 12, 1861, when he enlisted in Co. G, 6th Iowa Vol. Inf. When at Tipton, Mo., he was attacked with rheumatism, brought on by exposure to the rain and sleeping on the muddy ground, and in January, 1862, he was discharged on account of disability, and returned to Washington County. Aug. 27, 1862, he was married to Nora Williams, the daughter of Lorain A. and Eliza A. (Palmer) Williams, who came from near Aurora, Ill., to Washington County, in 1856, locating in Iowa Township. Mr. Williams was a native of Connecticut, a highly educated gentleman, and for many years taught school after coming to this county. They were the parents of two children, one dying at birth, and and the other, the wife of our subject. Mr. Williams later went to Missouri, and his wife is now living in her daughter’s cosy home.

Five children have blest the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Overfelt: Ola, the first daughter, died at the age of six months; she was followed by twin children, who died at birth; Katie L. has almost completed her education at the State Normal School, and is a teacher of this county; Charles Lester will have all the opportunities for an education which wealth can bestow. From an errand boy without a dollar, our subject has cared for his mother and her family, reared his own family, and has amassed a nice fortune. He has been a resident of Washington County for thirty years. He has been several times a member of the School Board, but unlike his father, he has espoused the cause of the Republican party. All of the sons of Eli Overfelt were soldiers in the late war. George was a member of Co. B, 22d Iowa Vol. Inf., of which he held a commission as First Lieutenant, Edward was in the 9th Cavalry.

The silver wedding of our subject and his wife was celebrated Aug. 27, 1887, the occasion being a most enjoyable one. To the good people of Washington County, and the residents of Iowa Township, no sketch will be read with greater interest than this of Charles A. Overfelt. Mrs. Overfelt was a teacher in Johnson County, Iowa, prior to her marriage, and for the past eleven years has been Treasurer of the School Board of District No. 4.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington County, Iowa (1887). Excerpt from Biographical Sketch of Charles A. Overfelt, pages 611-613.


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