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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
CHARLES P. ESTEY
The subject of this sketch who is numbered among the leading business men of Fayette county, Iowa, has by an honorable and upright course of living earned for himself the high regard and sincere respect of all who have come in contact with him. A thorough technical knowledge of his profession, which he has conducted with a right conception of the highest business principles, have brought to him a large share of the public patronage, while his splendid personal qualities have commended him to his associates.
Charles P. Estey is descended from a long line of sterling ancestry, it being possible to trace the family history back to 1630, when Jeffrey Estey, a paternal ancestor eight generations removed, came from England and settled in Pottsfield, Massachusetts. In 1692 Mary Estey, who was the mother of nine children and a woman of rare Christian character, well educated and of a high intelligence, was hanged at Salem for witchcraft. Twenty years later the court which convicted her became convinced of its terrible error and in acknowledgment of this fact granted to the husband a judgment for the nominal sum of twenty pounds sterling.
The Estey family has numerous members, most of which are to be found in the New England states and one of whom is the head of the firm which manufactures the well-known Estey organs and pianos, other members of the family prominent in localities in various lines of business activity. The subject’s father, Warren Estey, was born at Lester Junction, Vermont, March 9, 1802, and was there reared and educated. On attaining mature years he learned the trade of a painter. He was married in 1832 to Clarissa Hayward and became the father of four sons and a daughter. In 1850 he left his New England home and went by canal to Buffalo, thence by lake to Milwaukee, going from there by wagons to Johnstown Center, Rock county, Wisconsin. He remained there until the spring of 1850, when, leaving his family there, he came alone to Iowa, buying a half section of school land near Postville. In the fall of the same he sent for the other members of the family. The Indians had left this section of the state but a short time prior to their coming, and the land was all wild and uncultivated. It was mostly prairie land, though there was a little timber near by Mr. Estey’s purchase. On the farm was an old sugar camp and burying ground of the Indians, who left behind them many relics of their former occupancy.
Charles P. Estey was born in Addison county, Vermont, in 1841 and accompanied the family on their journey westward. He attended the first school in Winneshiek county, Iowa, their home farm being just over the line in Allamakee county. During the Civil war he remained at home and assisted in the operation of the farm, while two brothers were in the military service. The older brother, Wilbur F. Estey, was a member of Company D, Third Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel Brown. He had an honorable military record and died in 1885. The other brother, John F. Estey, was born in 1838, and was a member of the Second Iowa Cavalry, under Colonel Hatch. During a great part of his service he was on detached duty as a spy, in which capacity he rendered effective service to the Union cause, meeting with a number of thrilling adventures and narrow escapes, in all of which fortune favored him. He is now residing in Tama county, Iowa.
In the spring of 1868 the subject of this sketch came to Fayette and began working at the painting trade, which he has followed uninterruptedly since. He soon acquired a reputation as a careful and conscientious workman and did some of the best work in this city. Eventually he began contracting on his own account and for a number of years he has performed the major part of the work in his line in Fayette and surrounding country, being known as a thorough, reliable workman, and honest and trustworthy in his dealings with others. On November 26,1861 Mr. Estey married Emily E. Stowell, and this union was blessed in the birth of three children, Carrie A., Addie M. and Charles. Carrie became the wife of William Miller, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church who is now residing in Brighton, Colorado. Addie M. lives in Des Moines, this state. Charles died in childhood. Mrs. Emily Estey died on June 8, 1867, and on March 3, 1869, Mr. Estey married Emma Scott, of Dover township, Fayette county, the daughter of W. H. and Mary (Meikle) Scott, the former born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, and the latter in Lenoxshire, Scotland. When Mrs. Estey’s mother was about twenty-three years old she came with her parents to the United States and joined a brother in Trumbull county, Ohio, where there was a settlement being of Scotch Presbyterians, the settlement being known as Little Scotland. In the spring of 1856 the family moved to Dover township, this county, and bought a farm of over two hundred acres, where they made their future home. To Mr. Estey’s second union were born two children, Blanche M. and Elbert Harrison. In 1891 Blanche became the wife of Rev. George C. Fort, D.D., a Methodist minister, who had been a former classmate of hers at Upper Iowa University. They are now living at Salina, Kansas, and are the parents of three children, Dorothy, George Hubert and Charles N. Elbert Harrison Estey is a lawyer at West Union, this county, in partnership with D.W. Clements. He graduated from the Upper Iowa University with the class of ’93 and subsequently was court reporter for two years under Judge Hoyt. He was located in Waterloo for seven years, and then became associated with the firm of Mullin & Picket, able lawyers, and was afterwards in partnership with George W. Dawson in the law practice there. He located in West Union in 1903. In the same year he married Mary E. Scoby, a daughter of George P. Scoby, of Fayette, and they have one son Robert F.
Religiously Mr. And Mrs. Estey are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which they give an earnest and liberal support. Politically Mr. Estey is a Republican and his first vote was for Abraham Lincoln in his second election. He has taken a commendable interest in local public affairs and is now rendering effective service as a member of the city council of Fayette.
Reverting to Mr. Estey’s family history, it is noted that he had three brothers, Wilbur F., John F. (who have been referred to heretofore in this article) and Daniel, who died in Wisconsin November 7, 1850. One sister, Clara M., died in 1857, at the age of twelve years.
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