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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
Philetus L. Champlin
Philetus L. Champlin, deceased, was born in Madison County, N. Y., December 7, 1827, and was the eldest child of Josiah B. and Fannie (Tallett) Champlin. His father was born in the Empire State, July 31, 1802, and on the 29th of October, 1826, was united in marriage with Miss Tallett, whose father, a Hessian soldier, came to America during the Revolutionary War in the pay of the English Government. He decided to locate in this country and had one sister and four brothers who also became residents of New York, where they engaged in farming. By the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Champlin seven children were born - Granville E., who married Amanda Miller, by whom he had four children, is engaged in the nursery business in Jefferson Township and also keeps on hand many head of fine cattle and Norman horses; Obedience, born February 4, 1830, died on the 29th of August, 1848; Lydia L., born July 26, 1833, is the wife of Addison L. Spencer, who is engaged in the livery business in Leonardsville, N. Y., and unto them have been born three children; Emerancy, born March 15, 1836, married Sidney Lewis in Columbus, N. Y., and came to Iowa in 1864, locating in Jefferson Township, this county, where he engaged in farming until his death, which occurred August 31, 1872. His widow now makes her home in Oelwein. They were parents of two daughters; Elijah B., born June 3, 1837, enlisted in the Sixty-first New York Infantry, the regiment being assigned to the Army of the Potomac, and took part in a number of engagements, including the battle of Fair Oaks. He died in July, 1863, in the hospital at Newark, N. J.; Ann E., born July 11, 1839, became the wife of Rev. George J. Crandall in Madison County, N. Y. They have four children and reside in Rhode Island, where he is engaged in ministerial work. The father of this family died in September, 1876, having long survived his wife who passed away in 1840.
Our subject was reared to manhood in his native State and came first to Iowa in 1860. He purchased 80 acres of land in Jefferson Township, but did not then locate thereon, returning to New York, where on the 24th of January, 1864, he was united in marriage with Miss Phoebe Miller, who was born December 13, 1830, and is a daughter of Stephen and Fanny (Hyde) Miller. In their family were Benjamin S., who was born July 16, 1824, married Martha B. Coon in Madison County, N. Y., and emigrated westward to Dane County, Wis. In 1864 he enlisted for the late war with the rank of Captain, having previously served as Sergeant at Arms in the State Senate in 1862. He now resides in Wausau, Wis., and by his marriage has three children: Edward C., born January 24, 1866, wedded Miss Janet Coon in Madison County, N. Y., and now resides in North Brookfield, that State, where he operates a cheese factory. Mrs. Champlin is the next younger. Ambrose H., born October 20, 1832, was joined in wedlock in June, 1854, with Marcia Fowler, and unto them have been born two children. He is a machinist by trade but since the war has engaged in farming. He enlisted in October, 1863, in the One Hundred and Eighty-first New York Infantry, was wounded at Spotsylvania Court House in the left shoulder and still carries the rebel lead. He received his discharge in October, 1864. Gurdon H., born August 7, 1836, enlisted in the Tenth New York Cavalry in November, 1861, and was discharged on account of disability in March, 1862, but in July, 1863, re-enlisted, becoming First Sergeant in the Fifteenth New York Cavalry. His death occurred June 22, 1864, a prisoner at Stanton, Virginia.
About two years after his marriage, Mr. Champlin brought his family to his farm in this county, which he had purchased in 1860. The home has been blessed with the presence of six children, but four are now deceased. Almon H., born June 14, 1866, living in Oelwein; the second child, a daughter, died in infancy; Gurdon B., born August 9, 1868, died on the 3d of September, 1869; and Carleton E., born May 20, 1870, is at home; Fannie C., born September 12, 1871, died March 7, 1873; and Roscoe S., born February 7, 1874, died February 8, 1875.
Mr. Champlin was an industrious and enterprising farmer and to his original purchase added until three hundred and forty-five acres paid tribute to his care and cultivation. In connection with general farming he engaged extensively in raising thoroughbred Short-horn cattle and a number of these animals are still on his farm. As a citizen, he was true to every trust reposed in him. In 1875 he was elected by the Republican party, of which he was a stanch supporter, to the office of County Supervisor, which position he acceptably filled until 1878. In 1874 he helped to organize the Fayette County Farmers Mutual Insurance Association and for fifteen years never failed to attend its annual meeting. In 1885 he was elected Treasurer of the Association and served in that capacity until his death. He was one of its prominent and efficient members and was also one of the organizers and incorporators of the State Tornado Insurance Association, of which he was director for several years. He took an active part in politics and was an ardent temperance worker, also a zealous member of the Universalist Church in Oelwein. He was always found on the side of right in social and moral reforms, and his death, which occurred May 14, 1890, was mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. His widow still resides on the farm with her son Carleton. They have a pleasant home and a comfortable property which yields them a good income, supplying all their needs.
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