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. 419-20.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Ara B. Heath

Ara B. Heath, a practical and progressive farmer of Providence township, his home on the northwest quarter of section 26, was born in Iowa county, Wisconsin, November 17, 1868, his parents being James and Jane (Ayer) Heath.  The former was a son of Chandler Heath, a native of Maine and a well-to-do man, whose success in business enabled him to live retired for many years.  He was almost a nonagenarian at the time of his death.  His son, James Heath, was also a native of the Pine Tree state, and devoted the greater part of his life to agricultural pursuits.  He became an early settler of Wisconsin and there reared his family.  He married Miss Jane Ayer, who was also born in Maine and was one of several children, whose parents were Jonas and Leah (Nutting) Ayer.  They, too, were natives of Maine and lived to an old age.  Mr. Ayer followed the vocation of farming.  The death of James Heath occurred in 1876, while his wife survived him until December, 1903, and passed away at the age of sixty-eight years.  Both were Methodists in religious faith and their lives were guided by honorable principles.  Mr. Heath served his country as a soldier in the Civil war, and with Brackett's command was largely engaged in fighting Indians on the frontier.  Unto him and his wife were born seven children, four sons and three daughters:  Jonas, deceased; Georetta, the wife of Charles Campton, of Providence township; Frances, the deceased wife of L. A. White; Chandler, living at Mineral Point, Wisconsin; Leah, the wife of William Huxtable, of Newell township; Ara B.; and James, whose home is in Manzanola, Colorado.


Ara B. Heath was reared in Wisconsin to the age of sixteen years, spending his youthful days on the home farm, his time being divided between the work of the fields, the duties of the schoolroom and the pleasures of the playground.  In the spring of 1885 he and his mother and youngest brother sold the old homestead and came to Buena Vista county, Iowa, settling on the farm which is now his place of residence.  They purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land and Mr. Heath has improved this property until it is today one of the finest farms of the neighborhood, attractive in its appearance by reason of its substantial buildings, its well kept fences, its good grades of stock and its richly cultivated fields.


On the 28th of October, 1891, Mr. Heath was married to Miss Amy D. Wheeler, the daughter of John W. and Lovina Wheeler, who came to Iowa in 1881 and purchased land in Providence township, where they are still living.  They have but two children, their son being John P. Wheeler.  The union of Mr. and Mrs. Heath has been blessed with five daughters:  Florence, Mildred, Stella, Genevieve and Jeannette (twins).  Mr. Heath belongs to Newell Lodge, No. 232, I.. O. O. F., and the Modern Woodmen of America.  His political endorsement is given the republican party and he is known as a stalwart friend of education.  He has filled the position of school director for several terms.  He has also acted as treasurer of the school board.  In community affairs he is interested to the extent of giving his cooperation to many movements that have been beneficial to the community at large and he is everywhere known as a progressive, energetic farmer, whose success is attributable to his own labors.