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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 925~


Thomas H. Foxwell


Perhaps no name on the list of Illyria township’s honored dead is better remembered or elicits more and deeper expressions of regret than that of the late Thomas H. Foxwell, a man who was long influential in local affairs and who played well his part in the development of this locality, so that his name should certainly be emblazoned on the pages of history. He was born on September 21, 1812, in parish Mullion, county Cornwall, England, and his death occurred in Fayette county, Iowa, when fifty-seven years of age. He was the son of William and Ann (Harris) Foxwell, the mother born in the parish of Constantine and the father in the parish of Mullion, England. He was a local preacher for fifty years in a branch of the Methodist Episcopal church and he built a chapel on his place; later he joined the Wesleyan Association and was a great temperance worker.


In 1807 he received a medal for saving several lives from the frigate "Anson" on the Loe Bar. He studied astronomy and was a great scholar. His death occurred in 1843; his wife came to America with her children in 1845, there being nine in number, namely: Ann Maria, who married Samuel James and went to Oregon; Susan, who married Thomas Moyle and lived at Yorkville, Wisconsin; John, who also lived in that place, is deceased; Elizabeth, who married H. Shepard, of Yorkville, is also deceased; William H., who was in the Civil war and who lived in Kansas, is now deceased; Thomas H., of this review; Mary Ann, who married Henry Gartdell and they are both deceased; Amy married Ed. Richards and they, too, are both deceased; Matilda died single. Thomas H. Foxwell received the advantages of a liberal education; he studied astronomy under his father, who was an expert, and the son also became a musician of much more than ordinary ability and was also an excellent vocalist. He first married Mary (Carter) Thomas, of the parish of Mullion, England.


Thomas H. Foxwell came to America in 1842 and locate at Caledonia, Wisconsin, where he secured a farm. His wife died in 1845 and he went back to England, remaining there two years; returning to America in 1849, he took up his residence again in Caledonia, Wisconsin, and in May, 1863, he came to Illyria township, Fayette county, Iowa. His second marriage was solemnized on October 5, 1852, to Frances Humphrey, who was born April 26, 1833, in county Cornwall, England; she was the daughter of Walter and Ann (Truscott) Humphrey, her mother being a native of Falmouth, England, and the father of the parish of Mawman, Cornwall, where Mrs. Foxwell was born. This family farmed there until 1849 when the parents, with their six children, started to America in the sailing-vessel "Java" and were six weeks on the voyage. They landed in New York City and soon came west to Caledonia, Wisconsin, where a son, Walter, had located on the previous spring, being associated there with Thomas H. Foxwell.


These two gentlemen came together to Illyria township, Fayette count, Iowa, and got land here and three years later the family took up their residence on the same, the father dying here in 1869, the mother surviving until 1887. He was an Episcopalian, while she was a member of the Methodist church. Nine children were born to them, namely: James died in London, when twenty-eight years old; Walter first married Charlotte VonVleet, and second, Elizabeth Elry; after her death he was married to Emily Harver; he was a farmer and his death occurred in Santa Barbara county, California; Elizabeth married John Paddleford, and they both died in California; William Henry died in infancy; William Henry, the second, who is also deceased, married Nannie Kentthorn; he lived on a farm in Illyria township; Sampson first married Hannah Van Vleet, and second, Angeline Kohler; he lives at Pacific Grove, California; Mary Ann is deceased; Frances, wife of Thomas H. Foxwell, of this review; Catherine H. married Morris Hitchcock, who is deceased; she is living in Tacoma, Washington.


In 1863 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Foxwell came to Illyria township, Fayette county, Iowa, where he had purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land. He sold off a part of this farm until the place now consists of two hundred and forty acres, and here he labored to goodly ends, laying but a competence for his family and here his death occurred. Mrs. Foxwell and children still live on the place and are successfully operating it. To Mr. and Mrs. Foxwell seven children were born, namely: Stephen H. died when two years old; Catherine M. married Thomas F. Richard, of Illyria township; Mary Ann, who formerly taught school in California, has for many years been a very successful teacher in Fayette county, this state; Charlotte E. married Frank L. Medberry and lives on a farm in Pleasant Valley township; Zephine is the wife of Rev. Wilbur F. Albright, who was born in Illyria township, this county; he was a missionary to Chili, South America, for twelve years, representing the Methodist Episcopal church. He formerly preached in Floyd county, Iowa, also at Burr Oak, East Dubuque and Manana, Iowa; he is also a teacher and is engaged at present in teaching at Lima, Iowa.


Stephen H. Foxwell, the first of the family to be born in Illyria township, Fayette county, was born on September 17, 1863; he has always lived on the old place and has devoted his life to farming. In April, 1907, he married Elizabeth Humphrey, the father now living in this township; Stephen H. Foxwell;; and wife are the parents of two children Frances Grace and Ellen Frances Foxwell, who is now teaching school at Wadena, Iowa; she has taught very successfully in Fayette county for many years. All these children have been well educated, and some of them have taken up music and painting. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and each member is highly respected in the locality, maintaining the high standard of living set by their worthy father.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Mary Aldrich

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