Albert F. Bond
The oldest resident of Denison is Mr. Albert F. Bond. Not only is he the oldest. but he is one of the most respected of our people. Living here for more than half a century, there has been every opportunity to test him in the scales of public opinion and never in that long period of years has he disappointed his friends by any act of dishonesty, of unkindliness, or of bad citizenship.
Mr. Bond was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, March 12, 1836. He was a son of Eli B. and Celia Scott (Seagrave) Bond, both of whom were of old Puritan stock. As a boy he worked in the woolen mills of Worcester, where he lived for a number of years before the family moved to Oxbridge, Massachusetts. Later they lived at Springfield and at Milford, Massachusetts, and in 1851 the family migrated to Michigan, living first at Husdon, later at Adrian and then at Petersburg. The father had the contract for cutting wood along the line of the Michigan Central Railway and he followed the railroad, settling first one place and then another.
As a young man of twenty-one Mr. Bond came to Iowa with his uncle, J. D. Seagrave. In the party were also Mrs. Seagrave and Miss Lovina Seagrave, who afterward became Mrs. Franklin Prentice. The party went from Michigan to Dubuque by train, bringing with them their outfit, consisting of horses, wagon and necessary camp utensils. They then crossed the plains in a prairie schooner. They stopped in Delaware county, where Mr. Bond had had an uncle who died there and left a quarter section of land. They stopped and put in a crop of wheat, but growing impatient to reach their final destination they did not wait to harvest it.
They reached the little town of Denison, which at that time was hardly more than a name. Mr. Bond was a mason and plasterer by trade and he found immediate employment with Warren Calkens, making the brick of which the first courthouse and residence of J. W. Denison were built. When the brick-making was completed Mr. Bond turned his hand to his old trade and did the mason work on both of these buildings. Later with E. S. Plimpton he rented a farm and the two single young men lived together at what was called Bondville.
He resided at this point for several years and it was here that he was married on February 9, 1861, to Mrs. Emma King. To them four children were born, three of whom died in infancy; a daughter, Lina, growing to splendid womanhood only to pass away at a time when life gave greatest promise.
Mr. Bond removed to Denison in 1862 and during all these years he was busy not only with his farm but with his trade, and there was hardly a residence in the olden times which did not bear the mark of his handiwork. Mr. Bond was one of the first postmasters of Denison, holding the position for several years. He also for a short time was proprietor of the principal hotel of the city. Later he built a brick residence on the comer of Church and Pine streets. In 1875, when Denison was first incorporated, Mr. Bond was elected as the first mayor, receiving a majority of forty-nine votes out of a total of about one hundred and sixty.
Mr. Bond was also honored by many other positions of trust. He was constable and township treasurer, township trustee, assessor, school director, and for many years was justice of the peace. That Mr. Bond was always close to the masses is shown by the fact that he defeated such notable men as H. C. Laub and W. A. McHenry for the office of mayor and Leslie M. Shaw for the office of justice. Mr. Bond was reelected mayor and was succeeded a year later by W. A. McHenry.
The later years of his life he has spent in his modest home overlooking the beautiful Boyer valley, cultivating his little farm and engaging in the manufacture of the delicious Bond ice cream, which for years has been one of the luxuries of Denison. Failing health has caused Mr. Bond to dispose of this business and to content himself with home duties and his work as a market gardener, in which line he is an expert.
Mr. Bond has been a conscientious and consistent Christian and loyal member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and one who has done all that his means would allow to further the cause of his church and of all good things. Better than money, Mr. Bond has given to the community the example of a quiet, kindly, true-hearted man, who never yet has failed a friend and who holds high place in the affectionate esteem of all who know him.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.