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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
David E. Fussell
David E. Fussell, deceased, as an early settler, as a successful business man, and as a worthy citizen, deserves a place among the representative men of the county in this volume. He was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, October 30, 1822, and on his father's side was of German descent, his grandfather having come from the old country to America during Colonial days and settled in Pennsylvania, whence he removed to Muskingum County, Ohio.
Our subject had very meager advantages for securing an education but he made good use of such opportunities as he did have and supplemented them by study at night even after a hard day's work. Having thus prepared himself for teaching he engaged in that calling for several years. Among his pupils was a Miss Rachel Jennings, whose womanly ways attracted his attention and ultimately won his affections. She was born in Perry County, Ohio, February 29, 1828, and has therefore seen the recurrence of her birthday but fifteen times. Her parents, Isaac and Rhoda (Thorpe) Jennings, were of Irish and English descent respectively. They were among the early settlers of Perry County and both lived to a ripe old age, he dying in Ohio and his wife at the home of Mrs. Fussell in this county. They were faithful members of the Regular Baptist Church and in their family were fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, thirteen of whom lived to be grown, and of whom Mrs. Fussell is third in order of birth.
The year 1844 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Fussell in this county, he taking a claim four miles west of West Union, but after a short time he returned to Ohio. In the spring of 1846 he again came West, but having been away from his claim two years it was jumped, and he located in Linn County. Three years later he settled at Bear Grove in Smithfield Township. At that time there were only two houses in West Union and the entire county was almost in its primitive condition, but just opening to civilization. Starting here a poor man he worked hard and underwent many of the trials and difficulties incident to pioneer life. While clearing up a farm he would carry his dinner, consisting chiefly of wild meat and corn dodgers, to the woods, and the weather being cold he would often have to break the frozen bread with his ax before it could be eaten. About 1851 he traded for a tract of brush land on section 25, Westfield Township, and though it was four miles from his home he walked back and forth each day while preparing a shelter for his family. However prosperity attended his efforts. The boundaries of his farm were extended and the number of acres increased, until at one time he owned over two entire sections, and his homestead farm was one of the finest in the county. By good management and increasing toil he became one of the wealthy men of this part of the county. He had also other sources of income than that derived from landed property, being quite an extensive money loaner, but he never charged more than 10 per cent. interest. In connection with his brother Adam he purchased a hardware store in Fayette, which they carried on for a number of years, in the meantime building the storeroom now occupied by Graf & Son. In 1874 Mr. Fussell moved to Fayette to enjoy a little well-earned rest, but he was spared only a few years, dying March 4, 1883. Such were the hardships he had endured that he was broken down physically by the time he was forty years of age, when he should have been in the prime of manhood.
Politically, Mr. Fussell was a Democrat until the war after which he identified himself with the Republican party. He was not a man to seek official recognition but served as Township Trustee and in other minor offices. He was a member of the United Brethren Church as is his wife. He was a man honorable in his dealings, liberal to worthy causes, charitable to the needy and universally esteemed. His family consisted of twelve children: Isabella; Cordelia married Samuel Fortner and died in Whitfield, Kan.; Martin H., born January 15, 1852, wedded Mary L. Kingsberry and resides in this county; Dorcas is the wife of Lewis Stansbury of this county; Horton V. married Nellie Wait and is living in Charles City, Iowa; Pomeroy B. wedded Jane Holsworth and lives in California; Elias married Stella Gregory and resides in this county; Frank H. married Ida Bray and makes his home in this county; Ophelia is the wife of Charles Wiley, of Charles City, Iowa; Amantha; Etna V. married Henry Nobles; O. G. makes his home with his mother.
When Mr. Fussell came to Iowa he had a wife and $40 but his wealth and family increased to an unusual extent. His widow still resides in Fayette, a splendid example of the hardy pioneer mothers.
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