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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


J. J. Lindsay, M. D.






GEORGE ACERS.     The early records of Delaware county make frequent mention of the name of Acers.    In talking with old settlers concerning events of an early day in the county the time or place of a given transaction is often fixed by referring it to the starting of the Acers' settlement or the building of the Acers' mill or the founding of the old town Acersville, and so on.  One of the handsomest shafts in Manchester's city of the dead bears in large letters the name of Acers.   The stranger is naturally led to suppose from these things that among the men who sought homes in this locality at an early date and who were actively identified in some way with the upbuilding of this community there must have been some strong armed and strong hearted pioneers by the name of Acers. And this, on investigation, proved to be true. There were three brothers of that name: John, Henry, and George, who cast their worldly fortunes with the scattered settlers of that locality early in 1850 and labored long and arduously with them in their efforts to subdue the wildness of the country and render it fit for the arts and industries of civilization. Of  these

three brothers only one now remains a resident of the county, that one being the youngest, George, a brief biographical sketch of whom is here inserted, preceded by some more general facts concerning his ancestry for the benefit of those of his name who may come on in after years to read this record.

      The name of Acers is traced in this country to Massachusetts. It is an English name, and probably the first one bearing it in America was among the early settlers of the Old Bay State.  William E. Acers, the father of George Acers, was born there. This was more than a century ago.  He started the name West when a young man, going when about thirty years of age to Herkimer county, N. Y.  He married a young lady of Alamont, Grand Isle county, Vt.  He was always engaged in the peaceful pursuits of agriculture. There was nothing remarkable in his personality or his history. He was a man of plain tastes and quiet habits, led an active, industrious and fairly successful life, dying in the home of his adoption, a place in which he always took much interest and for which he always exhibited much attachment. His first wife bore the maiden name of Atta Scott. She was a daughter of Henry Scott and was born in Grand Isle county, Vt. She died in Herkimer county, N.Y., in the year 1828.  The seven children of this union are: Elliott, now deceased; John, well and favorably remembered by the citizens of Delaware county as Dr. Acers, being now a resident of Clay county, Tex.; Christiana, formerly wife of Orso Inglis, being now deceased; Henry, whose remains now rest in the cemetery at Manchester, he having spent the greater part of a long and active life here; George, whose name heads this notice; William, a resident now of Clay county, Tex., and Allen, living in Port Byron, N. Y. William E. Acers, father of our subject, married, the second time, a sister of his former wife, Margaret her Christian name, she having been born in Grand Isle county, Vt., who died in 1852, leaving one child, a daughter, Atta, who died in Herkimer county, N. Y., at the age of nineteen, in 1847. His last marriage was to Caroline Duel, who was a native of New York and who died in 1884. The issue of this union was one son, Frank, now residing in New York.

       George Acers, the subject of this biographical notice, was born in the town of Warren, Herkimer county, N. Y., April 23, 1818. He was reared on a farm and resided in his native place till 1850, when in company with his two brothers and his and their families he emigrated West, coming direct to this state and making his first stop at Ead's Grove, Delaware county, June 7, that year.  In the latter part of the same month he made a selection of a homestead and settled where the town of Manchester now stands, before, however, Manchester had an existence. He resided there till October, 1852, when with a desire of getting nearer to timber and water, and combining with this as much prairie land as possible, he moved further up the river and located on the place where he has since resided. In selecting homesteads in those days the settlers found themselves  very much like our first parents, "with all the world before them where to choose a place."  A magnificent body of land of more than a thousand acres lay around the spot where Mr. Acers erected his primitive dwelling, and this he might have had under the liberal laws of that date had he so desired. But land was then almost as free as air and water, and the large hearted settlers never thought of the crowding for elbow room, which a few years would bring. He contented himself with a small patch compared with what he might have had.  Locating near the river and in the timber for the benefit of wood and water, his farm started out from that point towards   the prairie, and as the land had to go through the painful stages of clearing, grubbing, burning and breaking, the more desirable prairie land was mostly seized upon by the incoming settlers before his farm reached the prairie in its outward growth.  He had to finally content himself with a tract  of about two hundred and eighty acres.    It was and is, however, one of the finest bodies of land in the county.  Mr. Acers has  reduced nearly all of it to cultivation, clearing and grubbing out nearly half of it  with his own hands.  Beginning, as all did, with a small frame dwelling, fifteen by twenty, and a small  truck patch, his homestead grew from year to year, the log, pole and small frame buildings being replaced with frame ones and the small clearing in the timbers widening, until now his farm is one of the best improved and truly most desirable places in Delaware county. Mr. Acers has certainly been a builder if nothing else.   His place shows this. His neat and substantial dwelling and his large and conveniently arranged barns and outbuildings tell at once to the passerby of the years of patient toil and planning, and the gradual but steady steps by which his place has come to be what it is. Like a wise husbandman Mr. Acers has put the accumulations from his farm back into the soil from which they came. He has given all the years of a somewhat long and active life to his farming pursuits, and he has succeeded far beyond the average man.   Mr. Acers knows something of pioneer life.  When he settled in Delaware county the county was almost as it was when it came from the hand of the Maker.  It is true that the settlers had no savages to contend with as did the early pioneers of the central and southern states, but the wildness of nature, the savagery  of the  elements,  the  distance from markets, the inconveniences of the modes   of   transportation, the bountiful lack of the necessaries of life, the incessant toil and the thousand other trials of the first settlers proved greater impediments to the settlement, growth and development of the country than the savages could, had they been here even in considerable numbers.  All these early trials Mr. Acers went through with, bearing his part courageously and discharging his whole duty as a citizen with faithful exactitude, never aspiring to be more than an humble citizen, his life having been singularly free from any evidences of that grasping, overreaching spirit by which many men are prompted in seeking a foothold in a new country. In the labor of making for himself a home out of the rude and inhospitable elements of the West  Mr. Acers has been ably assisted by his faithful wife, and this record would fail of one of its chief purposes if it did not preserve this fact in connection with his history. Mrs. Acers accompanied her husband to this country, and she has stood by his side helping him in all his struggles since, having borne him the companionship he sought with her hand for more than forty years.  Mr. and Mrs. Acers were married in Herkimer county, N. Y., April 23, 1848.  Mrs. Acers was born in Duanesburg, Schenectady county, N. Y., July 6, 1828. She is the eldest child of Jesse D. and Hannah (Tallman) Scott, both of whom were also natives of Duanesburg, Schenectady county, N. Y., the former born there May 31, 1806, and the latter March 10, 1810. These were also early settlers of this, Delaware county, coming here in 1853. The mother died here May 5, 1858, an industrious, pious, good woman. The father is still living, being at present a member of Mrs. Acer's household.

Although in his eighty-fifth year, he is still in sound health, vigorous in body, and his mind is as bright and his spirits as elastic as when he was a youth, a condition which he ascribes to his temperate habits, the outdoor life he has led, and his simple democratic ways in all things. Mr. Scott passed his mature years in farming. He has lived an easy and in many ways an eminently satisfactory life, one that has been as free from disappointments and petty annoyances as that of the average man, albeit it has had its heavier shadings, not the least of which was the loss of his companion many years ago. Mr. Scott is an ardent democrat, having cast his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson in 1828, and he has voted the democratic ticket steadily since. Mr. and Mrs. Scott had born to them a family of thirteen children, of whom Charlotte (Mrs. Acers) is the eldest. The second, Melissa, now wife of Charles Sanders, resides at Rockford, Ill. Rebecca, who became the wife of William Hosnell, died in this county. John is living in Manchester, this county. Matilda is the widow of Albert Raymond, a former well known citizen of this county. She resides in North Manchester. Austin married and settled in New York and there died. Eliza Ann became the wife of Henry Edmunds and died in this county. Cornelius lives in Manchester. Aristides lives near Earlville, this county. Sonoma was married to David Saulspaugh, of Chicago, and is now deceased. Allen went to southern Kansas in the early "seventies," and it is believed became a victim of the treacherous Bender family. Demosthenes resides in Harrison county, Ohio, and Margaret, the youngest, is the wife of Charles Uttley, of this county.

Mr. and Mrs. Acers are the parents of four children, all of whom are grown, married, and themselves the heads of families. Attie M. was first married to Captain James M. Noble, who was one of Delaware county's best citizens and faithful soldiers in the late war. After his death she became the wife of Chauncy Sager, and now resides with her husband in Milo township, this county. Mary is the wife of Luther Sly, of Delaware township, this county. Owen lives in Concordia, Nebr. Albert C. lives near the old home place and is engaged with his father in farming.

     Mr. and Mrs. Acers have a pleasant home and are surrounded by all the comforts and conveniences of life.  In that home friend and stranger alike find welcome, both preserving much of the old-time hospitality and being of that generous, open nature that renders them keenly alive to all those social amenities that go to sweeten life and make it worth living.  They are both home people, being very domestic in their tastes and strictly attentive to their own affairs.  Mr. Acers has never been in public life to any extent, restricting his attentions in this respect to the exercise of his franchise as a citizen.  He is a republican in politics, being in former years a Whig.  He cast his first presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and he voted the Whig ticket as long as that party was existence, and after the rise of the republican party he has steadily adhered to its teachings.  Although past his seventy-second year he is still active and works every day on the farm. He is pleasant in manner, genial, and companionable, a good neighbor, and as this sketch will show, a valuable citizen.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 367-371; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson