Transcribed by Pamela Wagler from: Biographical Review of Des Moines County, Iowa: Containing Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Many of the Prominent Citizens of To-day and Also of the Past, Hobart Publishing Company, Chicago, 1905.


During the early period of Burlington's history the subject of this review was for many years prominent in the city's affairs, and enjoyed high repute among her people because of his marked practical ability and his never-failing loyalty to the cause of progress and the right. He was born in Bedford, Bedfordshire, England, March 24, 1828, a son of Joseph and Mary (Bonfield) Augutta, the fourth of a family of seven children, all of whom are now deceased. He was reared in Bedford, which was also the native place of both his parents. As a boy of fourteen he was apprenticed to a barber, and learned that trade. About the age of twenty-five he decided to come to America, and after a six-weeks' voyage in a sailing vessel landed in New York, where for a time he was employed at his trade. From here he went to Cincinnati. After working at the latter city for a brief period he came West, arriving in Burlington in October, 1848. Here he was one of Burlington's early barbers, and for many years was located in the Barrett House, an old-time hostelry on the site of the present Tama building. There he conducted a three-chair shop, and was very successful in a pecuniary way, securing a large and profitable patronage. He accumulated considerable property, owning a lot at the corner of Third and Elm Streets, on which still stands a house that is a relic and landmark of early days, and also owning four lots on South Hill, where the family home has always been located, and still stands.

When twelve years of age Mr. Augutta sustained a severe injury by a fall on the ice, resulting in a stiffening of the knee through the formation of free cartilage at the knee cap, and in later years this caused what is known as "white swelling." This made necessary the amputation of the limb, the operation being performed in Burlington by Dr. Ransom and Dr. Nassau. Mr. Augutta was shortly afterward elected to the office of city treasurer, and he gave his time principally to public affairs during the remainder of his life. In the position of treasurer he served under the administration of Mayors Teedrick and Robinson, and was also elected to the office of city clerk, serving one term. He affiliated with the Democratic party, in which he wielded great influence, and at whose hands he received signal honor, although he enjoyed much popularity with men of all parties.

In Burlington, on Jan. 22, 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Jane Hays, who was born in Logan county, Ohio, a daughter of Samuel Hays, of Westmoreland county, Pa., and Violet (Watson) Hays of Ohio. Mrs. Augutta, whose mother died when she was but a baby of two years of age, is one of a family of four children, three of whom survive, the others being Robert Hays, of California, and Mrs. Margaret Rozier, of Clinton, Ill. The father remarried, and of this second union three children were born, only one of whom survives, namely, Mrs. Nettie Allander, of Missouri. The father of Mrs. Augutta was a farmer, but learned the trade of shoemaking, at which he worked at Jonesboro, Ill., and also in Burlington until he became too old for active employment. In Jonesboro, where he was well known, he held office of justice of the peace, and was highly respected for the strength of his character. He died at the age of eighty-three, and is buried in Aspen Grove cemetery, Burlington.

To Mr. and Mrs. Augutta were born four children, of whom but two are now living. Minnie holds the position of bookkeeper at Kelley's Agricultural Implement House, and Fannie is the wife of Mr. Eccles of Burlington, and has one child, Jane. William died Dec. 1, 1868, at the age of three months, and Joseph died at the age of twenty-eight years. The children were all young when, by death of their father, they were left to the exclusive care of the mother, and nobly has she performed her trust, giving to each the best of home training and educational advantages. Fannie (Mrs. Eccles) was educated in the public and high schools of Burlington, and before her marriage taught several terms in the city schools. Joseph attended the public school and also business college, on the completion of his education becoming a traveling salesman, a line of work in which he displayed unusual ability and promise. Miss Minnie, after quitting the public schools, pursued a thorough course of study in Elliott's Business College, of which she is a graduate. Since her husband's death Mrs. Augutta has erected a commodious residence at 1102 South Fourth Street, where she maintains a cheerful and pleasant home, and enjoys the society of cherished friends. She is a faithful member of the Baptist church and of its Aid Society, and was formerly a member of Ruth Lodge, Daughters of Rebecca, of Burlington, while Miss Minnie is a member of Paul Caster Lodge of the same order, being its treasurer at the present time.

Mr. Augutta was city treasurer of Burlington for nine years, holding that office at the time of his death, and his administration was universally commended for efficiency. He was a member of Washington Lodge, No. 1, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he was at one time noble grand, and was also a member of Eureka Encampment in that order. He was a prominent worker in religious affairs, being a member of the Episcopal church, in which he was accustomed to conduct the ritualistic services. His tastes were in some degree literary, for he owned a library of goodly proportions and was an extensive reader, possessing great general information and breadth of mind. He died April 29, 1872, at the age of forty-four years, and was laid to rest in Aspen Grove cemetery, mourned by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and universally and sincerely respected for his courageous and upright life. Domestic in his tastes and preferences, he was a loving father and an ideal husband, and to all his friends loyal, cordial, and unselfish.

Mrs. Augutta is a woman of much force of character, and for what she has achieved for her family by her own efforts is entitled to the highest credit and praise.

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