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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Quintus C. Babcock
The gentleman to a brief review of whose life and characteristics the reader's attention is here with directed, is numbered among the foremost citizens of Fayette county and has by his enterprise and progressive spirit contributed in a material way to the industrial, commercial and educational advancement of the county. He has in the course of an honorable career been most successful in his business affairs and is well deserving of mention in this history of Fayette county.
Quintus C. Babcock is a Yankee by nativity, having been born in Orwell, Vermont, on March 20, 1837, and is the son of Stephen O. and Emeline (Cooper) Babcock. Mr. Babcock was reared on the parental farmstead near the village of Orwell, and received his education in the schools of that locality, which for that early day were of a high order of efficiency and thoroughness. In 1857 he accompanied his parents on their removal to Fayette county, Iowa, they locating first at the town of Fayette. To still further round out his mental discipline the subject attended the Upper Iowa University three years. In 1860 the subject's father bought a farm in Smithfield township, this county, to which the family removed. In 1867 Mr. Babcock married and the year following he began farming on his own account in the same locality, owning a splendid tract of four hundred acres. He was prospered in his operations and added to his landed possessions from time to time as he was able until he is now the owner of sixteen hundred and fifty acres, much of it being a superior quality. Aside from a quarter section which lies in Fairfield township, this land all lies in Smithfield township. In 1892 Mr. Babcock moved to the city of Fayette, where he has since continued to reside, though he still gives his personal attention to his extensive farming operations. He is practical and progressive in his methods and keeps in close touch with the most advanced ideas and methods in Agriculture.
In 1867 Mr. Babcock was united in marriage with Mary Ellen Stevenson, a daughter of William and Ellen D. (Comstock) Stevenson. She was a native of Ohio and came to Fayette county about 1858. Her father had died in Ohio when she was two years old. Mrs. Babcock died June 1, 1897, and on August 4, 1903, he married Mary E. Bailey, who was born at Fowlerville, Livingston county, New York, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Simpson) Bailey. John Bailey came from Freckingham, England, in young manhood, his wife having been born in county Antrim, Ireland, though descended from Scotch Covenanters. She came to America with her sisters when she was sixteen years old. In 1875 Mrs. Babcock's parents came to Fayette county, Iowa, locating just north of Oelwein. In 1887 the family moved to Fayette, in order to give the children an opportunity to attend Upper Iowa University. After Mrs. Bailey came to Fayette she was engaged by the board of trustees of Upper Iowa University to be matron of one of the boarding halls. She held this position fourteen years, which was the longest period any person has ever held the position at the university. She was assisted by her children and the students that she came in touch with numbered many hundreds, perhaps thousands, the largest number attending at the at any one time being one hundred and fifteen. Mrs. Babcock taught school in Waudena, Randalia and Fayette before her marriage. Mr. Babcock himself had in his earlier days also engaged in teaching school, having in 1858-59-60, taught two winters at Arlington. There the pupils were all crowded into one room and for his service Mr. Babcock received twenty dollars a month and "board around." He there gained an interest in educational affairs that never left him.
Mr. Babcock has taken an active interest in business interests other than agricultural, being considered an able and shrewd business man. For five years he served as president of the Fayette County Mutual Insurance Company. In the Spring of 1904 he was elected vice-president of the State Bank of Fayette, which position he still holds. He has been a member of the board of trustees of Upper Iowa University since 1891 and since 1904 he has served as president of the board and in which capacity he has rendered invaluable services in the interests of the institution. In June, 1907, when the university was preparing to celebrate their semi-centennial, he started the endowment fund of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars by giving twenty-five thousand himself to start the subscription. The entire fund was raised thereby securing thirty thousand more than had been promised by Andrew Carnegie if the one hundred and fifty thousand dollars should be raised.
Religiously Mr. and Mrs. Babcock are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and for many years he served as a trustee of the church, being at the present time a member of the official board. In every line of activity in which he has engaged Mr. Babcock has exhibited business qualities of a high order, his advice and counsel being considered desirable. His interest on educational matters is deep and his support and influence are ever given to every worthy object. He is a man of genial disposition and fine personal qualities, which commend him to the high regard of all who know him. He enjoys a wide acquaintance throughout Fayette county and his friends are legion in number.
~transcribed by CMD for Fayette County IAGenWeb
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