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Bennezette Township





Contributed by John D. McLaughlin. Note: Mr. McLaughlin's family website contains data, maps, and pictures about the town of Daugherty in Cerro Gordo County, as well as the history of the four townships of Bennezette, Dougherty, Scott (Floyd County), and West Fork (Franklin County). In addition, it includes a very readable plat map of those townships.

Early Settlement

In the early days the township of Bennezette was in the Dubuque Government Land district, as was almost the entire county. The first settler was William A. Keister, who arrived here in 1854, and took his claim in the northeast of the southeast quarter of section 1. Here he erected a dwelling, but after a short time sold the place to William Kingery, and purchased the northeast quarter of the same section where he yet resides. Mr. Keister was born in Montgomery county, Ohio, in June, 1830. When quite young his parents moved to Warren county, Indiana. In February, 1852, he there married Mary J. Miller, a native of Ohio, born in 1833. the following year after marriage he removed to this county and township as stated. In 1862 he enlisted in the Thirty-third Iowa Infantry, and served with it until the close of the war, participating in fourteen engagements. He was honorably discharged at Montgomery, Alabama, July 22, 1865. returning to his home he resumed farming, and in 1867 erected his present residence. Mr. and Mrs. Keister have eight children living - Annie, Louis A., John A., Milton W., Alfred B., Iona, Ora E. and C.O. Mr. Keister at present holds the office of justice of the peace.

In 1855 John J. Chase came to Bennezette township from Waverly, and drove his stakes on section 4. He remained but a short time. In 1856 William Kingery, a native of Indiana, purchased the farm of Mr.Keister. He remained there until 1865, when he removed to his present home on section 13 in Coldwater township. At the same time, came Hamblin, a native of Ohio. He took up a claim in the southeast quarter of section 30. In 1863 he removed to Butler Center. His whereabouts at present are unknown. Another early settler was William Mufley, a native of the Empire State, who claimed the northwest quarter of section 1. He is now living at Osage.

Milton Wilson, a pioneer of 1857, is a native of new York, born in Niagara county, in 1826. His younger days were spent on a farm. On the 17th of April, 1850, he married Adaline Freer, a native of Niagara county, New York. He subsequently moved to Lockport and engaged in the boot and shoe trade. In the fall of 1852 he removed to the town of Cambria, and returned to farm life. In 1856 he sold out, and in the spring of 1857 started west. Arriving at Buffalo the family took passage in a boat for Milwaukee, from which point they came overland to Butler county, and located a claim on section 15, Bennezette township. Mr. Wilson at once erected a shanty in which the family lived until a more comfortable house was built. For some time they were without a stove, Mrs. Wilson doing her cooking by an open fire. Ten children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson - George W., E. Frank and R.L., who were born in New York; Mary H., Cora A., Ida L., Douglas, Addie J., John C.S. and Ed. M., born in Iowa. Mr. Wilson has been prominently identifed with the interests of both town and county. He was one of the first county supervisors elected in 1859, serving a term of one year; was again re-elected in 1860; elected again in 1878, serving for three years. He had held town offices, and is at present town clerk, an office he has filled several years. In politics Mr. Wilson is a democrat. He cast his first vote for President, for Lewis Cass, of Michigan. He sold his first wheat at Cedar Rapids, 110 miles distant, at sixty cents per bushel. That was the nearest market at the time.

Among those who came in 1857 were Ira A. and Cyrus D. Chamberlin, Oliver Evans, William P. Woodworth, Samuel Overturf, Orin C. Smith, John A. Smith, George O'Brien, Philip, John and Micahel McKinney, John and Philip Kelley, John P. Mills, and James H. Morris.

Ira A. and Cyrus D. Chamberlin were natives of Vermont. They both took up claims on section 34; Ira securing his present farm, on the northeast quarter; and Cyrus, the southeast, where he remained until his death, in 1866. Ira A. Chamberlin was born in Windsor county, Vermont, on the 22nd of February, 1831. His younger days were spent in school and on the farm. In 1852 he moved to Illinois, remaining one year in Cook county. He then moved to Michigan, where he spent four years in Ottawa county. In 1857 he came to Iowa and settled in Bennezette township, Butler county, where he took a claim on section 34. In 1861-2 he built his present frame house, and married, in 1867, Mrs. Hannah, widow of Cyrus Chamberlin. They have had two children - Agnes B., and Martilla J. Agnes died in 1875, in her fourth year. Cyrus D. Chamberlin, brother of Ira A. Chamberlin, was born in Windsor county, Vermont, May 25, 1827; died of consumption, in Bennezette township. Butler county, Iowa, in 1866. In 1854 he left his native State, locating in Micheigan. In 1857 he moved to Bennezette township, and took a claim on section 34. In 1859, going to California, he engaged in mining until 1862, when he returned to Bennezette township. In 1864 he married Miss Hannah Hall. Mr. Chamberlin was a respected citizen, making friends wherever he went. Sorrow at his death was felt by all.

Oliver Evans was born in Columbia county, New York, September 15, 1825; when but four years of age his father died. His mother soon after married again. In 1840 the family moved to Cayuga county. In 1853 Oliver left his native State and settled on a farm in Ogle county, Illinois. In 1856 he spent a month in Iowa prospecting. The following spring he attended the land sale at Osage. On the 1st day of June, 1857, he arrived in Butler county and made a claim on section 17, township No. 93, range 18 west, his present home, where he has lived a life of single blessedness. In politics he is a republican; cast his first vote for President, for General Taylor.

William P. Woodworth and Samuel Overturf were natives of Pennsylvania, moving here in 1857. Mr. Woodworth planted his stakes around the southwest quarter of section 35, where he remained until 1872, when he moved out of the county, but subsequently again became a citizen of Butler county by locating in Pittsford township. Mr. Overturf selected the northwest quarter of section 35, but remained here only two years. His present residence is also in Pittsford. These two pioneers named the township "Bennezette," in honor of their native town in Pennsylvania.

Orin C. Smith was an Ohio man; he came here from Michigan, and entered a farm on section 27. When the war broke out he enlisted; and upon his return, settled in the townships just south of this, remaining there until 1882. His present residence is in Wright county. His brother, John A.. Smith, was also a pioneer of 1857, settling on section 34. He removed to Pittsford township in 1867, and is now living in Minnesota.

George O'Brien, who came here with his parents in 1857, from Illinois, settling on section 21, was of Irish extraction. In 1876 he removed to Coldwater where he died. His sister, and a brother, John, now live in Coldwater. The three McKinney brothers, Philip, John and Michael were natives of Ireland and came from New York State to Illinois. In 1857 they came to Butler county, and took claims on sections 17, 28, and 30, in Bennezette township, where they stayed long enough to prove their claims, then departed, but returned in a few years and sold the land.

John P. Mills, a native of New York State, came here in 1857. He claimed the northeast quarter of section 8, and remained until 1858, when he left for parts unknown. James H. Morris was another of the pioneers of 1857, coming from Illinois and settling on section 33. After remaining a few years he removed to West Point township, and has since died. Among others who settled in the township during this year were Augustus Clukey, Peter Galipo, Warren Caswell and Mr. Ward. Charles Miller, a native of Pennsylvania, settled on his present homestead on section 35 in 1859.

In 1863 Benjamin Boyd came to the township and settled on the southeast quarter of section 9, where he still resides. About the same time James Mitchell came and settled on section 34. After remaining here a number of years he removed to his present home in Rock county, Minnesota.

William Hesetroad also came about this time and took a homestead on the southeast quarter of section 10, where he lived one year, when he sold his claim to Alexander Campbell, a native of New York, and bought his present farm in Coldwater township. Mr. Campbell lived here about two years, when he sold the farm to Francis Maxwell, the present owner. John Maxwell, a brother of Francis, came at the same time and purchased the southeast quarter of section 10, where he still lives. In 1862 B. H. Barnett, in company with his parents, located their present home on the southwest quarter of section 2. In 1864 John Calvert came from New York and settled on the northeast of section 16, where he remained about three years; then sold out and moved to his present home in Butler township, where he now resides.

From this time the addition to the settlement was more rapid. J. E. Downing, Richard Parish, John Newborn, John H. Lockwood, A. J. Lockwood, Alfred Tabor, Oliver McGee, Michael Wade, W. J. Adams and others crowded in. Further on in this chapter will be found a number of "settlers of a later day" treated at length.

First Occurrences

The earliest birth known was that of Louisa, daughter of William A. and Mary Juster, born December 29, 1855. In November, 1874, she was married to Harvey Williams, and now resides in Fairbault City, Minnesota. Another early birth was that of Mary H., daughter to Milton and Adeline Wilson, born May 30, 1858. She was married October 26, 1878, to Philip Van Buskirk, and now resides on section 12 in Bennezette. The first marriage in the township was that of John Bartlett to Miss Adelia Muffley, in 1859, at the residence of the bride's parents. Elder Moss, of Colwater township, officiated. The first deaths occurred in the fall of 1857 when Allen and Sarah L., son and daughter of William Kingery, were called from earth. Their remains were interred in the German burying ground in Coldwater township. Elder Moss officiated at the funeral.


The first religious services within the limits of Bennezette were held in 1858, by Elder Moss, in the house of William Kingery, on section 1. The Elder was of the German Baptist or Dunkard persuasion, and lived in Coldwater. The neighborhood generally turned out, and meetings were occasionally held, but no society was organized. A number of Methodists were also among the early settlers, and in 1861 meetings were held at the school house, on section 1, Moses Davis, an itinerant reverend, preaching. Elder Inman, of the Free-Will Baptist; Rev. S.D. Stone, of the United Brethren, and Elders Sheldon and Henry, Disciples, also preached occasionally; but no organizations were effected.

Baptist meetings were also held in Bennezette quite frequently. Elder Button was one of the preachers. The school house of District No. 3 was used, and for two years services were held quite regularly; but no organizations was formed, and the citizens who are now of that faith worship in the church, just over the line, in Franklin county. A Sabbath school was organized in the school house in District No. 1, in 1868, with William Keister as superintendent. It was a Union school, and had quite a good attendance. It did not thrive but a short time. Another Sunday school was organized in 1878, at the school house in District No. 3, with Mr. Wissler as superintendent. This is still continued at the church in Franklin county. In 1878 a Methodist class was organized in Bennezette by Elder Sproul, at the school house in District No. 6. John Tindall was class leader, and there were eight members. Preaching is held every two weeks, at present by Elder Camp, from Hansel. This is known as the Bennezette class.


This township, for educational purposes, is divided into nine districts, and the schooling facilities are fully up to the average townships of Butler county. The first school house was built in 1861, in the northeastern part of section 1. It was a frame building and the town was taxed to pay for it. Here the first school in the township was held the winter following, with Miss Mary A. Briggs as teacher, her wages being $14 per month, she to "board herself." There were ten scholars in attendance. In 1873 the present house was erected on section 11.The old house is now in use as Mr. Skillen's granary. This district is known as No. 1.

In 1864, District No. 2 was set off, and during the following year, a school house was erected on section 9, in which Dan McDonald, now postmaster at Grand Forks, Dakota, taught the first school, with six pupils in attendance. In 1882 the old school house was sold at auction, leaving this district without a building. One of the first schools in District No. 2 was taught by Eliza J. Logan, in the winter of 1864, being a four months' term. The teacher is now Mrs. John Jamieson, of Belmond, Iowa. District No. 3 was set off in 1872 and during the same year a school structure was erected in the southeastern part of section 6, which is still in use. Miss Arvilla Niece first taught in this district.

Shortly afterward, District No. 4 was formed. This district is without a house, and the scholars attend in other districts. District No. 5 is holding school in a house in the northeastern part of section 21, which was erected in 1882. It is a frame building, and is very neatly furnished. David McKinney taught the first school here. The school house in District No. 6 was erected in 1874, on section 23, and was a very neat frame building. This building was demolished by the tornado in 1878, and the present building was erected the same year. The first school was taught by Miss Annie Ward. Miss Susie Frisbie taught the first school in the present house.

District No. 7 erected their school house on section 25, in 1882, and the first school was taught by Miss Florence White. The school house for District No. 8 was erected in 1863, on section 34, and the first school was taught in the winter of 1863-64, by Miss Addie B. Fay. That school house was used until 1882, and the scholars of the district now attend in No. 7.

School District No. 9 erected their school house in 1868, on section 32. In 1873 this house was removed to section 29. The first school was taught in Sylvanns Hamblin's house, on section 30, in 1862, by Mrs. Mary Smith. Two or three terms were taught in this place.

Coldwater Post Office

This office was established in Franklin county a number of years ago. About 1875 it was moved to Bennezette township, and John H. Lockwood was appointed postmaster, with the office at his house on section 6. Mail arrived there twice a week from Sheffield and Marble Rock. The office is still in existence at the same place.

John H. Lockwood was born in Saratoga county, New York, November 24, 1817, where he received his education in the district school, with one term at the Schuylerville Academy. In 1865 he came to Iowa and lived for a while with his brother, who was one of the pioneer settlers in Franklin county, just across the line. He bought wild land in the town of Bennezette, on section 6, which he had improved. On December 30, 1846, he married Miss Mary M. Fax. They have seven children - Edwin A., Olive E., Harvey J., Emily F., Eliza C., Ida May and Dora E. Mr. Lockwood was for some years superintendent of schools in his native town of Wilton, as well as teacher in the public schools of New York State and Iowa.

Wilson's Grove Post Office

This was an office established in April, 1878. Milton Wilson was postmaster, with the office at his house on section 15. Mail arrived once a week from Greene during the first year, and after that twice a week from Sheffield. The office was discontinued in the fall of 1880.

Indian War

It is said by the early settlers in this vicinity that the northern part of Bennezette was once the scene of an Indian battle. The account of the tragedy is somewhat incomplete, as time has marred the memory of those who were cognizant of the facts. It seems that two tribes, the Winnebago's and Sioux, carried their fight into Butler county, and in maneuvering the Winnebagos found a good place for defense on section 5. They threw up earthworks and fortified themselves as best they could. The Sioux discovered them, and greatly outnumbering them rushed down upon the little band. A terrific conflict ensued, in which the Winnebagos were almost annihilated. This is said to have taken place in 1853, and the early settlers used to visit the scene of the combat and pick up many trinkets, such as knives, broken guns, beads and jewelry.

Official Organization

According to the first division of the county into townships by Judge Palmer, in February, 1855, Bennezette was made a part of the township of Ripley, then embracing nearly one-half of the county. On the 3rd of March, 1856, another division occurred, and the territory now comprising Bennezette was made a part of Coldwater, and merged into the organization of that township. In this shape matters remained for about two years, when on the 4th of March, 1858, it was set off from Coldwater, and ordered organized by Judge Converse, Samual Overturf being authorized to call the first election. This same gentleman bestowed the name of Bennezette upon the township, after his town in Elk county, Pennsylvania.

First Election

The first election was held at Samuel Overturf's house on section 25, on the 5th day of April, 1858, and the following officers were elected: Clerk, William P. Woodworth; trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, Milton Wilson, Samuel Overturf; road supervisor, Cyrus D. Chamberlin; constables, Thomas Overturf, Orrin C. Smith.

Second Election

At the regular election, October 12, 1858, the following officers were elected: Trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, Milton Wilson, Samuel Overturf; clerk, William P. Woodworth; assessor, William A. Keister.

1859 - Trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, William A. Keister, Milton Wilson; clerk, William P. Woodworth.

1860 - Trustees, Charles Miller, William H. Muffley, Orrin C. Smith; clerk, William P. Woodworth; assessor, Ira A. Chamberlin.

1861 - Assessor, Ira A. Chamberlin; clerk, Oliver Evans; trustees, Sylvanus Hamblin, Milton Wilson.

1862- clerk, Oliver Evans; trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, Sylvanus Hamblin, Milton Wilson. 1863 - Trustees, Milton Wilson, Charles Miller, James Mitchell; clerk, William P. Woodworth.

1865 - Clerk, Milton Wilson.

1866 - Trustees, Oliver Evans, Ira A. Chyamberlin; clerk, Milton Wilson.

1867 - Assessor, William A. Keister; trustees, William A. Keister, Oliver Evans, W.P. Woodworth; clerk, Milton Wilson.

1868 - Trustees, Byron S. Adams, James Mitchell, William A. Keister; clerk, Milton Wilson; assessor, Silas Knipe.

1869 - Trustees, Byron S. Adams, James Mitchell, Loughridge Barne; assessor, Ira A. Chamberlin; clerk, Milton Wilson.

1870 - Clerk, M. Wilson; justice of the pace, M. Wilson; assessor, W. A. Keister; trustees, L. Barnett, J. H. Lockwood, Ira A. Chamberlin; constable, B.H. Barnett.

1871 - Trustees, L. Barnett, J.H. Lockwood, Ira A. Chamberlin; clerk, M. Wilson.

1872 - Trustees, Charles Wilkins, E.A. Lockwood, Peter Ebling; clerk, M. Wilson.

1873 - Trustees, P. Ebling, Charles Wilkins, John H. Lockwood; clerk, M. Wilson.

1874 - Trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, W. F. Crouse, William Hassell; clerk, M. Wilson; assessor, J. H. Lockwood.

1875 - Trustees, William Hassell, W. A. Keister, Ira A. Chamberlin; clerk, M. Wilson.

1876 - Trustees, Ira A. Chamberlin, W. Hassell, W. A. Keister; clerk, M. Wilson.

1877 - Trustees, J. E. Downing, H.J. Lockwood, W. A. Keister; clerk, M. Wilson.

1878 - Trustees, J. E. Downing was elected for three years; William Wray for......, two years, and G.N. Carpenter for one year; clerk, M. Wilson.

1879 - Trustee, G N. Carpenter; clerk, John f. Clark; assessor, Peter Ebling.

1880 - Clerk, M. Wilson; assessor, Ira A. Chamberlin; trustee, William Wray; justices, C. B. Head and W.A. Keister; constables, Peter Ebling, J. A. Keister.

1881 - Trustees, J. E. Downing, W. F. Crouse, to fill vacancy; justice, L. L. Mabary, to fill vacancy.

The present officers of the township, who were elected at the November election in 1882, are as follows: Justices of the peace, Ira A. Chamberlin and W. A. Keister; township clerk, Milton Wilson; constables, G. W. Wilson and Peter Ebling; assessor, J. F. Clark; trustee, W. F. Crouse.

Special Elections for the Removal of the County Seat

An election was held April 5, 1858, for the removal of the county seat from Clarksville to Georgetown. There were twelve votes cast, all in favor of removing the county seat to Georgetown. April 4, 1859, there was another election held to vote on the removal of the county seat from Clarksville to Butler Center. There were thirteen votes cast - twelve for removal and one against. On the second day of November, 1880, at the general election, they were again called on to vote for the county seat removal. There were seventy-eight ballots cast. The result was: for Allison, seventy-two; against, six. Note: The records of the clerk's office are lost until 1865

Settlers of Later Days

In this connection is given the personal history of some of the representative citizens of Bennezette who arrived later than those already treated:

Benjamin H. Barnett, a native of New York, was born in October, 1845, in the City of New York. In 1852, when he was but seven years of age, his parents settled in Dubuque county, Iowa, which he made his home until November, 1863, when he enlisted in Company K, Ninth Iowa Cavalry, remaining with the regiment until February1, 1866, when he was honorably discharged at Little Rock, Arkansas. He then came to Butler county and bought land on section 1, in Bennezette township, which he has since improved. He was married in 1873 to Miss Lulu Crabtree. They have two children - Elsie and Lee.

Edward Cummings, a native of Vermont, was born in Windsor county, August 25, 1824. He attended the district school and one term at Kilmball Union Academy at Meriden, New Hampshire. When quite a young man he went to Ohio, where he spent a year; then returned to Vermont and remained one year with his parents. He then went to Wisconsin, where, on account of ill health, he remained but one year and went to Ohio. In 1844 he located in Iowa county, Iowa, being among the early settlers. He made some improvements on a claim and one year later sold out and returned to Ohio, there learning the carpenter's trade. In 1850 he started across the plains with two horses and five oxen, in company with three others, for California. The company broke up before he got there, and he joined another. He finally sold his interest in the team, and buying a horse and saddle completed his journey on horseback, arriving at Placerville after about one hundred days. He there engaged in mining eight years; then went to Humboldt, where he engaged in the lumber business two years, and then to Los Angeles, where he engaged in farming one year. He then started on his return by the southern route, passing through Arizona and New Mexico, making short stops on the way. He arrived in Texas and spent the winter near Sherman. In the spring he started for Missouri, intending to spend the summer there. As it was in war times, he found it rather hot for him there, so he removed to Iowa, where he spent the summer. In the fall he returned to Ohio, and in the spring went into the government service, in the quartermaster's department, going to Cincinnati; then to Cattlesburg, where they joined Garfield's command; then to flat Lick, via Louisville. In four months he returned to Ohio. In 1866 he came to Tama county, Iowa, removed from there to Butler county, and bought his present home on section 35, Bennezette township.

William Lovell is a native of England, born December 7, 1817. In 1844 he came to America, landing at Quebec. He spent four months near Toronto, then moved to Michigan. The winter of 1849-50 he spent in Louisiana. In 1857 he settled in Will county, Illinois, remaining there until 1866, when he came to Iowa, and settled in Butler county, buying land in the township of Bennezette, on section 24. In 1875 he built his present home. He married, in 1852, Miss Anna Hart, a native of Yorkshire, England. They were blessed with seven children - Philip, Sarah, Mary, Emma, William M., Frank and Louisa. Louisa died February 14, 1870, three years of age; Emma died May 28, 1875, fifteen years of age; Mary died March 22, 1881, twenty-three years of age.

Francis Maxwell is a native of Donegal, Ireland, born in 1845. In 1863 he left his native land for America. Landing at Quebec, he went to Canada West, and spent a year farming, near Guelph, then moved to Ogle county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and selling dry goods until 1867, when he came to Iowa, and located in Butler county, buying land in Bennezette township, on section 10. In 1875 he built a nice frame house in which he now lives. On September 13, 1867, he married, in Illinois, to Miss Jane Dailey, a native of County Monahan, Ireland, but came to America with her parents when quite young. they have one son - Charles L.

John Maxwell, a native of Ireland, was born in Donegal, September 22, 1839. In 1863 he emigrated to America, in company with his brother, Francis, landing at Quebec, and going from there to Canada West, about thirty miles from Guelph, where he remained one year, then located in Cherry Valley, Ogle county, Illinois, where he engaged in farming and selling dry goods, until 1867, when he came to Iowa, and settled in Butler county, buying land in the township of Bennezette, on section 10, which he has improved, building his present fine home in 1880. The two brothers, John and Francis, who came to this country together, now each have a fine farm on the same section. He was joined in marriage, in March, 1869, to Miss Nettie Adams, a native of Jo Daviess county, Illinois. They have seven children - Willie, Eugene, Ezra, Nellie, Nettie, John, and Grace.

John E. Downing is a native of Ireland, born June 22, 1837. When quite young his father died. In 1849 he came to America with his mother. They landed at Boston, and went to Fall River, where he was employed in the Globe Print Works until 1856, when he went to Michigan and engaged in the copper mines. He was married there, in 1859, to Catherine Moroney. In 1861 they came to Iowa, and lived in Middlefield, Buchanan county, until 1867, when he bought land in the township of Bennezette, Butler county, on section 26. He soon improved the land, and built his present home. He is the present secretary of the Board of Education, which office he has held since 1877. He has ten children - Patrick J., Josie, Mary A., Ellen A., Michael, John, Theresa, Bridget, William Henry, and Ceceilia A.

Adam Kyle was born at Hessian, now a part of Germany, October 1, 1820. His father died when he was but two years old. When nine years of age he came to America, with his mother. they settled in Pennsylvania. In 1842 he settled in Jo Daviess county, Illinois; one of the early settlers. He there bought mining property, and engaged in mining until 1849, when he started for California, crossing the plains with three teams, in company with eight others; taking their camping utensils with them and camping out on the way. They were one hundred and forty days making the trip. They located at Hangtown, now called Placerville, and engaged in mining until 1854. He then went to San Francisco, taking a steamer for home. He crossed the Isthmus, went up the Mississippi river to Rock Island, and there hired a buggy to take him to Jo Daviess county. He soon after started for Wisconsin, where he settled in Grant county, buying a farm one and one-half miles from Lancaster, where he lived until 1870, when he sold it and came to Butler county, Iowa, buying his present farm, on section 16, township of Bennezette, where he now lives. He married, February 22, 1856, Theresa Foak. They have ten children - Maggie and Elizabeth, the oldest, are twins; John, Herman, Veronica, Catherine, Adam, Francis, Joseph, and Theresa. Mr. Kyle's mother is still living with him, in her eighty-seventh year.

Gawn S. Killen, native of Ireland, born in County Down, April 4, 1832. His father was a mason by trade, and he learned that trade when quite young. In 1848 he left his native land for America, landed at New York; went to Batavia, and there worked at his trade, also worked at farming. In 1868 he came to Iowa, and was employed as mason on the Insane Asylum at Independence, three years. He then came to Bennezette, Butler county, and bought a farm on section 1, which he has improved, and built his present home. He married in October, 1858, Miss Jane Livingston. they have three children - John, Robert and James.

Michael Wade was born in Kilkenney, Ireland, in 1831. In 1851 he left his native land for America; landing at New York he went to Kingston, where he engaged in a stone quarry for one year, getting out flag stones; he then went to Charleston, South Carolina, where he stayed seven months; from there he went to Oxford, Massachusetts, working in a woolen mill six months; then returned to Charleston, South Carolina, where he was engaged with the United States Coast Survey, remaining with them eleven years. He then went to Wincoski Falls, Vermont, where he was employed in a woolen mill. In 1863 he came to Iowa, and engaged in railroading in Dubuque county until 1868, when he removed to Charles City, remaining in the same business. In 1871 he came to Bennezette, and bought land on section 7, there building his present home. He married in 1858 Miss Mary Breen. They have eight children - John F., Martin E., Catherine, Mary E., William, Margaret and Agnes.

Joseph H. Brownell was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania, February 26, 1834. In 1856 he moved to Winnebago county, Illinois. In 1857 he moved to Iowa, buying land in Black Hawk county. In 1863 he removed to California, where he engaged in freighting and farming for two years, when he returned to farming in Illinois. In 1872 he came to Iowa, buying a farm in Bennezette on section 24, where he built his present home. He married December 2, 1858, Miss Mary Collier, a native of Illinois. They have four children - Florence L., J. Clarence, George W., and Ernestine E.

Franklin Pierce Kent was born in Essex county, New Jersey, September 10, 1852. In 1860 his parents moved to Floyd county, Iowa. In 1863 they moved to Charles City, where he attended school. In 1873 he came to Bennezette, Butler county, settling on his present home in section 8. He married in 1878, Miss Addie Frisbie; they have three children - Vera E., James F. and Annie D.

John Tindal was born in Sandusky county, Ohio, February 3, 1847. His father, who was a farmer, was one of the first settlers of Tama county, Iowa, moving there in 1852. Here John received his education. In 1876 he came to Bennezette township, Butler county, buying his present farm, on section 16. He was married, in 1870, to Miss Margaret Crouse. They have three children - Aggie, John H., and Edwin.

L. L. Mayberry is a native of New Jersey; born in Warren county, May 23, 1834. In 1840 his parents moved to Oakland county, Michigan. In 1847 they moved to Ogle county, Illinois, among the earliest settlers of that county. L. L.'s younger days were spent on the farm. He was married in 1865, to Miss Mary, daughter of Robert Light, Esq., of Ogle county, Illinois. They have four children - William W., Robert R., Margaret E., and James L. March 17, 1877 Mr. Mayberry came to Bennezette township, Iowa, and bought his present farm, on section 31.

Albert Meyer was born in Germany, in August, 1843, where his occupation was farming. In 1866 he emigrated to America. Landing at New York, he started immediately for St. Paul, Minnesota, where he was employed in a packing-house eight years. He then engaged in draying four years. In 1878 he came to Bennezette township, Butler county, Iowa, and bought his present farm, on section 21. He was married in 1864, to Miss Caroline Kath. They have two children - Bertha A., and Helena H.

Jacob, son of Elder Philip Moss, was born in Indiana, February 9, 1845. In the fall of 1855 his parents moved to Coldwater, Iowa, where he attended school; later devoted his time to agricultural pursuits. In 1876 he bought a farm in Bennezette township, on section 11, moving his family there that winter. He was married in 1866 to Miss Catherine J. Sturtz. They have four children - Clarence, Franklin, Owen and Bertha.

Aaron M. Harter was born in Carroll county, Indiana, July, 1841. In 1856 his parents moved to Dayton, Butler county, Iowa, settling on section 19. His father still occupies the original claim. His mother died April 1, 1881, in Vernon County, Missouri. In August, 1862, he enlisted in the Thirty-Second Iowa, Company G. While in the service he lost his eye-sight, and was otherwise disabled; and was honorably discharged July 8, 1865, when he returned home and consulted a physician, with whose assistance his sight was restored. He then commenced studying medicine, and has since practiced, making diseases of the eye a specialty. He had made permanent cures where the patients were totally blind. In 1874 he went to Missouri, where he engaged in mining in Jasper and Vernon counties. In 1875 he returned to Iowa and carried on his father's farm for two years. In 1878 and 1879 he moved to Waterloo, where he practiced medicine. The year 1880 he spent in Greene. In 1881 he moved to Bennezette, and bought his present farm on section 16. He was married in 1868, October 1, to Catherine Earnest. They have two children - Charlie W., and Nora A.

William F. Crouse is a native of Ohio, born in Ashland, March 13, 1841. When in his thirteenth year his father died, and his mother with the family moved to Wisconsin. In 1866 he married Miss Mary C. Crabtree. In 1869 he came to Iowa, and bought a farm in Bennezette, on section 24, which he has since improved. They have nine children, but three of whom are now living - John W., Etta Mabel and Florence May. In 1878 they buried six children in one month. They died of that dread disease, diphtheria. Mr. Crouse enlisted in August, 1862, in the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, Company I. He was with the regiment until the close of the war, and was honorably discharged in June, 1865. He has filled offices of trust in the town, and is at present trustee.

Charles Miller was born in Clearfield county, Pennsylvania, the 7th of April, 1834. In the summer time he was engaged on the farm, and in the winter season he worked in the woods getting out lumber. In 1859 he came to Iowa and settled in Butler county, town of Bennezette, section 35. He improved the land, and in 1875 built a substantial frame house. He married in 1856 Miss Catherine Lewis. They have seven children, all boys - G. William, Robert L., Reno J., Charles G., Daniel B., Orley and Lewis. (Additions and Corrections by Steve Miller: Charles Miller was born on April 7, 1832, at the Miller homestead, Millers Run, Cameron County, Pa.)

William Wrey is a native of Ireland, born in county Tyrone in 1829. In 1847 he emigrated to America, and made his home in Philadelphia, where he was employed in a carpet factory, also in a sugar refinery, and in the Pennsylvania R.R. depot. In 1861 he came to Iowa, buying land in Pittsford township. In 1879 he traded his farm there for land in Bennezette on section 31 and 32. He lives on section 31. Isabella Smith became his wife in 1852. She died in March, 1868, leaving eight children. Their names are - Margaret, William J., James M., Robert S., Jane, Ulysses G. and Annie J. He married his second wife, Miss Aravilla Niece, in 1875. She has three children - Harry H., Andrew N. and Earl R.




This page was last modified on April 20, 2021