Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 556-58. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


The subject of this review [Norman Densmore] took up his residence in Cerro Gordo county in the pioneer days and was prominently identified with the civic and material development and progress of this section of the state, so that he is well entitled to consideration in this publication. Though he now maintains his residence in the city of Des Moines, where he is president of the Iowa State Mutual Tornado Insurance Company, to whose executive affairs he is now giving virtually his undivided attention, he long held a position of prominence and influence in Cerro Gordo county, where he is remembered with all of confidence and esteem by those with whom he was associated and by all familiar with his earnest and productive career.

Mr. Densmore was born at Riga, New York, on the 19th of September, 1829, and is a son of Orrin and Elizabeth (Fowler) Densmore. The Densmore family was founded in America in the early Colonial epoch and the records indicate that in 1720 representatives of the name established their home in the state of Maine, whither they came from county Antrim, Ireland to which section the family had immigrated from Scotland. John Densmore was the founder of the family in America and from the old pine-tree state his descendents later located in New Hampshire, New York, and other sections of the Union. Daniel Densmore, grandfather of the subject of this review, moved from New Hampshire to the state of New York, where he passed the remainder of his life. When sixteen years of age the Hon. Norman Densmore, to whom this sketch is dedicated, moved to the state of Wisconsin and he made the major part of the journey with a team and wagon. By attending Beloit College of that state he effectually rounded out his earlier educational discipline. He achieved prominence as a surveyor and ran a line for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad out of Chicago. He then turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, with which he continued to be identified at Rock county, Wisconsin, until 1877, when he removed with his family to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, and secured a tract of land in Bath township, where he reclaimed a productive farm and became one the representative agriculturists of this section of the state. He accumulated a landed estate of about two hundred and twenty acres and he continued to reside upon this fine homestead until 1891, when he removed to Mason City. Here he became an interested principal in the Cerro Gordo County Farmer's Mutual Insurance Company, of which he was secretary in 1905, when he removed to Des Moines, where he has since been incumbent of the office of president of the Iowa State Mutual Tornado Insurance Company. While still residing on his farm, Mr. Densmore represented Cerro Gordo county in the state legislature for two terms. He was one of the prime factors in the organization of the Farmer's Co-operative Association of Rockwell, Cerro Gordo county, and served as its president for about a decade, and he was otherwise influential in public affairs. In politics he a stanch adherent of the Republican party and he attends the Congregational church, of which his devoted wife was a member. She died in Mason City in 1898, at the age of sixty-five years.

In the year 1854, in the city of Chicago, Mr. Densmore was united in marriage to Miss Delia Webster, of Palestine, Illinois. She was left an orphan at an early age and was reared and educated in Illinois. Concerning the five children of this family the following brief data are incorporated: Ellis, who died at the age of thirty-one years, at Bingham, Alabama, was at the time identified with one of the leading iron manufacturing concerns of that state; Elsie is the wife of A. E. Joiner of St. Paul, Minnesota; Ray is an employe of the American Bridge Company of Chicago; Dr. Ora of Mason City is individually mentioned in this work; and Webb is a senior lieutenant in the United States navy, being now assigned to recruiting duty with headquarters at Cedar Rapids and with a branch office at Mason City. He was graduated as an electrical engineer in Highland Park College and for several years thereafter held a position in the shops of the Pullman Car Company, but has been a member of the United States navy since 1897.

NOTE: Norman Densmore died on April 11, 1920. Fidelia "Delia" (Webster) Densmore was born on March 18, 1834, and died on April 4, 1989. Ellis Densmore died on December 11, 1887. Ray Densmore was born in 1861, and died in 1932. They were interred at Rockwell IA.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014



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