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. 370-71.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Lewis J. Metcalf

Lewis J. Metcalf is the owner of valuable farming property in the west, including a half section of land in Storm Lake township.  He makes his home, however, in the city of Storm Lake and from this point superintends his agricultural interests.  He is a native of Lafayette county, Wisconsin, his birth having there occurred July 25, 1857.  His parents were John E. and Harriet Adelia (Richards) Metcalf, the former a native of Delaware and the latter of Wisconsin.  Both were of English descent and the father was a farmer and stockman.  On leaving his native state he removed westward to Illinois with his parents, being at that time but a mere boy.  He was reared under the parental roof in what was then a pioneer district and he acquired a common-school education.  Attracted by the discovery of gold in California in 1849, he made the long journey across the plains and over the mountains to the Pacific coast and was fortunate in his mining operations there, accumulating several thousand dollars.  He afterward located in Wisconsin, where he worked in the lead mines for some time and subsequently turned his attention to farming and stock-raising.  He met with a goodly measure of prosperity in his undertakings, so that in his later years he was enabled to enjoy all of the comforts of life. He voted with the republican party and died in 1902 at the age of seventy-two years.  He married Harriet Adelia Richards, who was born in Wisconsin and died in 1878 at the age of thirty-five years.  Their family numbered seven children, of whom Lewis J. was the third in order of birth.  Following the loss of his first wife Mr. Metcalf afterward married Nettie Herrick, of Iowa, and unto them were born two children, but both are now deceased.  In 1876 John E. Metcalf removed from Wisconsin to this state, settling with his family at Storm Lake, where he resided until called to his final rest in 1901.


Lewis J. Metcalf spent a portion of his youth on the home farm and acquired his education in the public schools of Darlington, Wisconsin.  He has largely been engaged throughout his connection with business interests in the work of buying and shipping cattle, and during the past few years has fed cattle on an extensive scale.  He owns a half section of land in Storm Lake township, lying partly within the corporation limits of the city, has a farm of a quarter section in South Dakota and a similar amount in .Nebraska, together with a quarter section in Grant township, this county.  He also has considerable town property and in 1903 he built a modern residence on Genesee street, it being one of the finest homes in Buena Vista county.  His extensive landed interests are the visible evidence of his life of well directed thrift and enterprise.  He has worked diligently to secure success and in all of his business methods has been straightforward and reliable, so that he enjoys to the fullest extent the confidence and good will of his fellowmen.  In 1878 Mr. Metcalf was married to Miss Ada Tolley, who was born in Wisconsin and died in 1886 at the age of thirty years.  Their two children were:  Clarett Adelia, a teacher of instrumental music in Storm Lake; and Roy Harold, who is [a] traveling salesman for a dry-goods house of Omaha, Nebraska.  Mr. Metcalf chose for his second wife Miss Carrie Mabel Butler, who was born in Wisconsin.  They had two children:  Florence Mabel, at home; and John Robert, who died in 1896 in infancy.  Mrs. Metcalf is a member of the Universalist church.  Mr. Metcalf is a stalwart republican in his political views but the honors and emoluments of office have had no attraction for him, as he has always preferred to devote his attention to his business affairs.  He is a man of determination in all trade transactions and in his farm work has carried forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken.  His judgment is rarely, if ever, at fault concerning the value of property and his judicious investments make him one of the substantial residents of the county.