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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 846~




"Of all the men whose lives have honored and blessed Fayette county, none is more deserving of mention than the late John Sackett Brewer, who was one of the sterling pioneers here and who did his full share of the work of developing the county along all lines. He was born in Lodi, Seneca county, New York, on March 18, 1818, and was the son of William S. and Hester (Jones) Brewer. The father, a native of Catskill, New York, a farmer and lumberman, was twice married. Hester Jones being his second wife; she was born in Ulysses, Tompkins county, New York, in 1784 and died in 1819, when thirty-five years of age, leaving a family of four children, one son and three daughters.


The son, John S., of this review, was reared on a farm and served an apprenticeship to the wagonmaker's trade in Lodi, Seneca county, New York, at which trade he engaged at North Hector, New York. On September 18, 1840, he was married in his native town to Charlotte A. Simmons, who was born in Burdett, Tompkins county, New York, December 25, 1817, the daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Meisner) Simmons. This union resulted in the birth of nine children, three sons and six daughters, namely: William Wirt, born in North Hector, New York, November 27, 1841, married Maggie McDonald and now resides in Omaha, Nebraska; Elizabeth A., born in North Hector, May 17, 1843, is the widow of D. J. Page, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; James Madison, born in New York, December 21, 1845, died in Wisconsin, December 7, 1847; Catherine, born in Rock county, Wisconsin, October 2, 1846, is the wife of N. C. Spencer, a resident of Union township, this county; Henrietta, born September 2, 1848, is the wife of William M. Kenzie, of Union township; John Henry, born September 14, 1849, died January 9, 1876; Mary Augusta, born in Iowa, November 10, 1852, died August 27, 1854. All younger than James Madison and older than Mary Augusta were born in Wisconsin. Eve, the youngest, born in Fayette county, January 15, 1857, is the widow of E. C. Dorland, late of West Union, and one child died in infancy.


In 1845 Mr. Brewer moved to Rock county, Wisconsin, and located in the town of Porter, where he carried on wagonmaking and farming until June, 1852, when he emigrated with his family to Iowa and located in West Union, where he opened a wagon shop and was engaged in the manufacture of wagons and carriages for nine years. In September, 1862, he proved his patriotism by enlisting in the Union army, Company C, Sixth Iowa Cavalry, and on April 7, 1863, was transferred to Company F, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, with a recruiting commission. He assisted in recruiting Company F, of the latter regiment, of which he was commissioned first lieutenant on June 3d following. His regiment was assigned to the Department of the West and was engaged in operations against the Indians in Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado, Mr. Brewer taking part in the battle of Julesburg, Nebraska, and Rosebud, Wyoming, besides numerous skirmishes. His horse was shot from under him at the battle of Julesburg and he was wounded in the fall. After the close of the war, he resigned, November 3, 1865.


Mr. Brewer engaged in farming near West Union, after his army experience, and made his home in West Union almost continuously after coming here, and he was identified with many of the city's leading interests. He was one of the stockholders of the Bank of West Union, also was stockholder and director of the Fayette County National Bank of this place. He was one of the incorporators of the First National Bank of Sheridan, Wyoming, and was for many years prominently identified with the financial affairs of Fayette county. He was a fine type of our sterling, self-made American manhood, self-reliant, progressive, and a man of sound business judgement, and during his residence here of nearly forty years he played a very important role in all circles here. His course was uniformly upright and honorable and he was highly esteemed as a citizen. He was always a Democrat, and he was liberal in his religious views, having more faith in good deeds than in man-made creeds. He was a member of West Union Lodge No. 69, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, having united with the Masons on the organization of that lodge.


The death of this prominent citizen and highly esteemed neighbor and friend occurred in 1891, and he was followed to the grave in 1902 by his faithful life companion."