Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 333-35.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Calvin Willis Garberson

In the history of the successful men of Buena Vista county mention

should be made of Calvin Willis Garberson, who is now living retired in Storm Lake.  For many years, however, he was connected with agricultural interests, and in the tilling of the soil gained the success which now makes him one of the prosperous and valued residents of this locality.  He was born in Clarion county, Ohio, September 26, 1846.


His father, Jonathan Garberson, was a native of Ohio, born March 21, 1821, and his life record covered the intervening years to January 18, 1876.  The family was founded in America in colonial days, and when the colonists attempted to throw off the yoke of British oppression representatives of the name served in the Continental army in behalf of the cause of independence.  Calvin Willis Garberson now has in his possession a sword which belonged to his grandfather, Job Garberson, when he was defending American interests in the Revolutionary war.


Jonathan Garberson was a miller by trade and, on coming to Iowa in 1858, settled upon a farm in Story county which had been purchased by his father.  There he lived up to the time of his death, bringing his fields under a high state of cultivation until the place annually yielded rich harvests.  It is now the property of his son Calvin.  He was a very industrious man, never indulging in useless expenditure, and though he started out in life empty handed he reared a large family and gave to them many of the comforts that go to make life worth the living.  He was a Baptist in religious faith, was active in church work and served as one of the church officers.  His political views were in harmony with the democratic party and upon that ticket he was elected to several township offices.  He married Lucinda Ami Chapman, who was born in Ohio and died April 7, 1884, at the home of her son Alvin Willard, in Elk township, this county, having for some years prior to her death resided with her sons.  She was of English decent and in early life was a member of the Baptist church, but in later years became a member of the Christian church.  By her marriage she became the mother of fourteen children.


Calvin Willis Garberson was one of twin brothers.  There was one older member of the family.  He was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist.  He attended the country schools and afterward pursued his studies in Albion College at Albion, Iowa. He then returned home to take up the work of the fields with his father and for forty years he has been identified with the farming interests of Buena Vista county, either in the active work of the fields or as the owner of good farm property.  He arrived in this county May 19, 1869, and settled in Elk township, securing one-half of the southwest quarter of section 34, which he took up as a homestead from the government.  Not a furrow had been turned nor an improvement made on the place, but with characteristic energy he began its development and soon brought the fields under a, high state of fertility.  With the exception of one year he continuously resided in Elk Township until 1894.  He then removed to the farm in Nokomis township on which he lived for six and one-half years, and in 1901 he came to Storm Lake to find better facilities for educating his daughters.  Here he is now living in honorable retirement.  He has been very prosperous, and from time to time he has added to his property holdings until his landed possessions now aggregate twenty-seven hundred acres in Buena Vista and other counties.


In l873 Mr. Garberson was married to .Miss Mary Matheson, who was born near Toronto, Canada, July 19, 1853, and is a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (Armour) Matheson.  Her parents came to the United States April 12, 1869, and soon afterward settled in Elk township, Buena Vista county, becoming pioneer residents of this part of the state.  They bore their full share in the work of development and progress as the county was converted from a wild region into one of rich productiveness, settled by a contented and prosperous people.  Mrs. Garberson's mother died August 15, 1871, and was long survived by her husband, whose death occurred June 25, 1905.


Unto Mr. and Mrs. Garberson were born six children:  Wallace Clayton, now a practicing attorney at Sibley, Iowa, who married Lola Carmichael and has one child; Gertrude, who died in infancy; Aura and Rena, both at home; Grave, who died January 1, 1907, in her twentieth year, when a sophomore in college; and Bessie, at home.


Mrs. Garberson and daughters belong to the Presbyterian church, while in early manhood Mr. Garberson held membership in the Christian church.  In politics he is a democrat.  He has served as a member of the board of supervisors and has held a number of township offices, the duties of which he has discharged in a prompt and capable manner.  His life has been an active, busy and useful one, and his diligence has been rewarded with success.  He is now one of the extensive landowners of the county, and his large possessions indicate his life of thrift and energy.