IAGenWeb Join Our Team

This page was last

updated on


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 xxxx~


Will H. Payne



A resident of Smithfield, Fayette county, who is known among his neighbors as an honest, straightforward man in all of his dealings, conscientious in his work as a farmer and citizen, is Will H. Payne, and it is with no misgivings that this brief tribute to his worth as a factor in the affairs of this locality is given place in this volume. He was born on the farm he now occupies, on October 5, 1868, and he received his education in the local schools, and also spent one year in the Upper Iowa University at Fayette and two years at the Iowa State Agricultural College, having made splendid records in each. He is the son of William Harvey and Laura (Clark) Payne, the father a native of Batavia, Genesee county, New York, born November 15, 1828, and he is still living in Fayette county, Iowa. He is the son of Stephen and Wealthy (Miner) Payne, natives of Vermont. During the war of 1812, Stephen Payne was captain of a sloop on Lake Champlain, in the service of the United States. Later in life he moved to Genesee county, New York, and thence to Cattaraugus county, that state, where he died in 1868; he was a zealous Whig and an active member of the Methodist church. His wife died in 1873; to them five sons and three daughters were born, William H. being the sixth child in order of birth. During his boyhood days he attended subscription schools in winter and worked on his father's farm in crop seasons he also worked out awhile as a farm hand. In 1851 he married and lived on a farm until the spring of 1861, when he brought his family to Fayette county, Iowa. About May 1st he purchased one hundred and seventy-six acres with the crops on the place, etc., paying eleven dollars per acre for it; the land was located in section 7, Smithfield township, where he still resides, having remained on the same farm half a century, during which time he has noted and taken part in many great changes in this community. When he took possession of the place there was a log house on it, but in due course of time this was replaced by a modern frame structure. He made a specialty of raising Norman horses and Holstein cattle. Politically, he was a Whig and when a boy took part in the campaign of Gen. William Henry Harrison, with the exception of drinking the hard cider which, he remembers, flowed freely at that time; later he became a Republican. It is indeed interesting as well as instructive to listen to his reminiscences of the early days, which he delights to talk of. When a lad of only eight or nine years he joined the old Washington Temperance Society and has never broken the pledge, and no doubt his long life has been due in no small degree to this fact. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, but his wife belonged to the United Brethren church. When the Prohibitory amendment was presented to the people of Iowa for their consideration, Mr. Payne labored untiringly in its behalf. He was for some time a member of the "Recholites," a temperance organization of the Methodist church. He cast his first vote for Gen. Zachary Taylor; he had the distinction of being one of the organizers of the Republican party in New York, and he voted for General Fremont in 1856 and he has remained loyal to the party since that time; he has never held other than minor township offices. On September 15, 1851, was solemnized Mr. Payne's union with Laura Clark, who was born in Genesee county, New York, in 1838, the daughter of Hubbard Clark, of Vermont, who served in the war of 1812 as a musician, having been present at the battles of Lundy's Lane, Ft. Erie and others of lesser note. Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Payne, namely: Mrs. Alice Gilmer, of Center township, Fayette county, was born October 18, 1854; Hannah, who was the wife of David Miner, of Missouri, was born on November 28, 1856, and died January 22, 1909; Mrs. Ada Odekirk, of Center township, was born January 3, 1864; William H., of this review; Mrs. Laura Ranney, of Bismark, North Dakota, was born March 5, 1871. These children were all well educated, having first passed through the common schools, then taken a course in the Upper Iowa University at Fayette. Will H. Payne has always made his home with his father on the farm here and he has been very successful as a general fanner and stock raiser. On December I, 1896, he married Amy I. Shepard, who was born in Lima, Fayette county, April 11, 1877, the daughter of Andrew and Rebecca R. (Elston) Shepard, both natives of Kentucky, who located in Iowa about 1867, not long after their marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Payne seven daughters have been born, namely: Thelma M., born September 28, 1897; Phila L., born June 8, 1899; Carol V., born September 4, 1903; Elizabeth R.., born August 14, 1905; Gwenda L., born August 15, 1908; Frances S., born January 22, 1910. Politically, Mr. Payne is a Republican and in fraternal matters he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Payne is well known in this part of the county as a raiser of fine, thoroughbred Holstein cattle, having perfected the breed that his father started many years ago, and because of the high quality of his stock they find a very ready sale at all times.



Contributed by Chuck Taylor


~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Ann Borden


back to Fayette Home