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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1082~


William Wohlgemuth Conklin


On a large farm in Bethel township may be found a fine specimen of one of the early pioneers, still well preserved, though at the advanced age of ninety-three. In William Wohlgemuth Conklin is seen a type of the class of men who made the west and stamped upon the communities where they settled their own individuality in a way so forcibly that it has survived for generations. Mr. Conklin is a native of New York state, belonging to a branch of the same family that produced the celebrated Roscoe Conklin. He was born in Montgomery county, December 24, 1816, of Mohawk-Dutch parentage. His father was a shoemaker and he, too, learned the trade as he grew up. About 1861 he joined the movement to the west and located in Rock county, Wisconsin, five miles south of Jamesville. He took a government claim of eighty acres, but in March, 1866, removed to Fayette county, Iowa, coming by team from Calmar and settling in the north edge of Bethel township. At that time the county was comparatively new and he was able to buy eighty acres at a very reasonable price. His claim was in section 4, and only a part of it had been cultivated, the residence being a log cabin. Part of the land was timber and part prairie. At later periods Mr. Conklin added to his possessions one hundred and twenty acres in lots of forty acres in Eden township and still owns two hundred acres he purchased in his earlier years. He became a fixture and has ever since resided in Fayette county, of which he has long been one of the most honored citizens. He joined the young Republican party at its birth and has ever since remained an ardent member. He has never missed voting for President since he became of age, has at various times served his township in official capacities and altogether has ever been regarded as a model citizen. One of his chief passions was a desire for the enlightenment of the people and with this end in view he used his constant influence for the establishment of schools and promotion of education. Meantime he stuck steadily to his farming and achieved a full measure of success among the best agriculturists of Fayette county.

On July 2, 1840, Mr. Conklin married Sally Margaret WELLER, who was born August 21, 1821, and ended her earthly career March 20, 1897. They have five children, four boys and one girl. Sarah E., the eldest, is the wife of William Arnold and resides at Bristow, Butler county, Iowa. Harvey F., the eldest son, married Charlotte Clark and has four children, Edward, George, Carrie and Effie, besides a daughter who died in childhood. He is managing a farm of over one hundred acres in Eden township. Holden T., the second son of the subject, married Eliza Burzee and had one child, Almira. He resided near the middle of Bethel township, where he died March 10, 1871. Sebastian W., the next of the family, was born April 6, 1853, in Rock county, Wisconsin, and came with his parents to Fayette county some years later. He married Mary A. Bell, by whom he has had five children, Rose, Bert, Will, Mabel, and Florence. Rose, the oldest of these, married Max FINCH and resides with her father on the home place. Bert, the second child, married Jessie Sturch and became a stenographer at Cedar Falls. Failing health compelled him to give up and he was brought back to his old home, where he died December 18, 1907. Of his two children, one died in infancy and the other is a son named Kenneth. Will is homesteading in South Dakota. Mabel married George Sturch, a farmer of Fayette county, and has one child, Veryl. Florence remains at home with her father. Sebastian W. Conklin, fourth of the subjects children, has lived on the home place ever since coming to Iowa, except two years spent in Oswego, Kansas. He returned to Fayette county and now owns one hundred and twenty acres of the old home place, his father making his home with him. Besides general farming, he deals in cattle quite extensively and has prospered in his ventures. Edgar W. Conklin, youngest child of the subject, died in infancy. Mary A. Bell, wife of Sebastian Conklin, was born at Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio, being a daughter of B. K. and Clarinda Hulda Bell. The mother was descended from Governor Bradford, who came over in the Mayflower. Mrs. Mary Conklin came to Fayette county with her parents about 1861, the family locating in the southwest corner of Auburn township. Her father died in 1883 and her mother in 1896. Iowa has no family connection which is more universally esteemed than the Conklins and no family of equal opportunities has done more than they for the upbuilding of Fayette county. Mrs. Conklin and two daughters belong to the Christian church, two other daughters belonging to the Presbyterian. Mr. Conklin is a Republican in politics.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Ann Borden


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