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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory


Jacob Platt




     In the death of Jacob Platt on the 26th of August, 1914, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Williamson, in Hopkinton, Delaware county lost one of its most valued, representative and honored citizens. He was a Civil war veteran, a farmer and a merchant, and in the later years of his life lived retired. His birth occurred in Uniontown, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 10th of August, 1840, His father, John Platt, was born in New Jersey and was of English lineage. In Pennsylvania he wedded Martha Gettis, a native of Ireland, and they became the parents of nine children, of whom four died in infancy. The father was a carriage and wagon maker by trade.
    On the 2d of April, 1843, John Platt left the east, accompanied by his family, and came to Iowa, entering land from the government in the vicinity of Colesburg, Delaware county. At that time the lands had been surveyed and were open for settlement, the Indian title having been extinguished soon after the close of the Black Hawk war. There was no limit to the land which one person could secure, the only stipulation being that a dollar and a quarter per acre should be paid for the property. After entering his original claim the father purchased land and eventually became the owner of a half section. He built a log cabin which was the pioneer home of the family in this county, but later erected a frame residence in which he reared his family. They bore all the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life in Iowa, but in time the early conditions gave way before an advancing civilization and, like others, the Platt family prospered and were able to enjoy the comforts of life.
     The children of the household were as follows: John, the eldest, learned the printer's trade in Dubuque and in 1850 went to California, where he published a paper. He died at the age of seventy two years. Mary became the wife of Cyrus McNamee, a farmer and miller, and died in 1857, leaving a husband and one daughter. Her husband went to Oregon a few years ago, but the daughter, now Mrs. L. P. Walker, is living in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Andrew F. was a farmer and died March 10, 1914, leaving a widow and a number of children, but the widow passed away soon after his demise. Henry, a farmer of Iowa, married and reared a family. He died in 1903, leaving a widow and several children.
    Jacob Platt was the fifth in order of birth and in the district schools acquired his education. He was only two years of age when the family arrived in Iowa, so that he was familiar with the history of the county's development and progress from 1843 until his demise and there were few men who had more intimate knowledge of the events which have marked the growth of the county. His educational opportunities were such as the district schools of that period afforded. In the summer months he worked upon his father's farm until about the time that he attained his majority, when he enlisted for service in the Union army, joining the Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry on the 28th of July, 1861, remaining with that command until honorably discharged. In 1863 he reenlisted for another term of three years and served until 1864, when he became ill with malaria and was put in the hospital at Davenport. On the 2d of August, 1863, he was commissioned second lieutenant of Company G, Ninth Iowa Infantry, in recognition of valor and meritorious conduct on the field of battle. He participated in many hotly contested engagements, including the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on the 6th, 7th and 8th of March, 1862, General Curtis commanding. Of the sixty four men of his company who entered the engagement in the morning, only fourteen answered the roll call at night. From that point on Mr. Platt was under almost steady fire until the regiment, which had been twice recruited, went to Mission Ridge in the Lookout Mountains, where a hard fight was fought for many days. They then proceeded to Ringgold, which was the last engagement in which Mr. Platt took part. The whole regiment then reenlisted and he was sent home on a month's furlough, but during that period he was taken ill and was ordered to the hospital. After being discharged from the hospital he was too weak to return to his regiment and was honorably discharged from the service on the 25th of July, 1864. He made a most creditable military record and he wrote some graphic accounts of his military experiences which were published in the local papers and read before the historical society.
    Mr. Platt was married twice. He first wedded Miss Mary E. Sloane, who died at the birth of their daughter, who is now Mrs. Jennie Blanchard, of Terre Haute, Indiana. On the 24th of March, 1864, Mr. Platt was united in marriage to Miss Mary M. Dickson, who was born July 17, 1846, a daughter of Missouri and Elizabeth Frances (Bragg) Dickson. As early as 1837 the father came to this state from Springfield, Illinois, and located at what became known as the Dickson settlement. Clearing the timber from a portion of his land, he made ready to erect a house for his family, who arrived the following year, in 1838. At this settlement the first post office in that part of the county was established. Mr. Dickson was probably the first permanent settler in the county, although previous to the time of his arrival there had been white traders in this locality, one of these being Henry Teegardner, who settled in Colony township and was killed by the Indians. Mr. Dickson was a soldier of the Black Hawk war.
    To Mr. and Mrs. Platt were born eight children, of whom Missouri J. and Clara died in infancy. The eldest child of the second marriage was Selena Diminue, who was born December 10, 1866, and became the wife of the Rev. George M. Tourtellot, of Albion, Iowa. She died in 1901, leaving a husband and four little children, Platt, Paul, Philip and Mary, who are living with their father at Hudson, Wisconsin, the father being a Presbyterian minister there. Joseph Dickson Platt, the only living son, was born August 27, 1868, and is engaged in the insurance business at Fort Scott, Kansas, although at the present time he is acting as administrator of his father's estate at Hopkinton. He married Miss Bertha Mallan and they have a son, James Dickson. Mary E., born December 16, 1872, was liberally educated and is a fine musician. She became the wife of F. C. Williamson, who died in Montana about five years ago, leaving a widow and three children, Arthur D., James Jacob and Rachel E. Mrs. Williamson owns a homestead in Montana but now lives with her children in Hopkinton. Adele, born June 22, 1879, is the wife of N. S. Peterman, an undertaker of Toledo, Iowa, and they have one daughter, Helen. Margaret, born January 27, 1882, is the wife of O. U. Van Horn, an undertaker of Garwin, Iowa, and they have a son, Paul. Ventura M., born September 27, 1884, is the wife of Ralph Jenkins, a farmer of Garwin, this state.
    Mr. Platt devoted much of his life to general agricultural pursuits but in order to educate his children removed to Hopkinton that they might have the benefit of the schools there, and the last thirty four years of his life were spent in that town. After taking up his abode there he embarked in merchandising and was connected with the commercial interests of the city for a number of years, although in the latter part of his life he lived retired. He was the owner of two farms, comprising two hundred and fifty four acres, and upon these farms he raised blooded cattle and hogs, for which he was awarded several prizes at the various county fairs. He was especially interested in cattle raising and at the age of sixty-nine years completed the agricultural course at Lenox College. In addition to his farm property he owned a residence and a business block in Hopkinton, the first story of which was used as a store and the upper story as a hall. In all of his business affairs he was most energetic and led a busy and useful life. He was never afraid of hard work nor close application and his intelligently directed efforts brought him substantial success.
    At different times in his life Mr. Platt belonged to several societies but gradually dropped his membership in all save the Grand Army of the Republic, of which he continued a loyal and valued representative to the time of his death. He was also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and the spirit of true Christianity permeated him in all of his life's relations. His political allegiance was given the republican party and he filled a number of public offices, including that of justice of the peace.
   He left behind him the memory of a well spent life and the more tangible but less valuable property interests which he had accumulated through his business ability. He was also the author of some most interesting historical sketches giving an account of his military experiences and also of pioneer conditions in Delaware county. These are most valuable, presenting a clear picture of conditions which existed here a half century or more ago. He was always deeply interested in everything pertaining to the welfare and progress of the community and cooperated heartily in many movements for the general good. One of the local papers said of him: "In his family relations he was kind and generous; in his social relations he was warm-hearted and responsive." One of the other papers spoke of him as "a generous and kind-hearted father, a valuable citizen, a faithful Christian who identified himself with all that was good and true." Mr. Platt felt with Lincoln that "there is something better than making a living making a life." A modern philosopher has written, "Not the good that comes to us, but the good that comes to the world through us, is the measure of our success"; and judged by this standard Mr. Platt led a most successful life.


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 311-314.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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