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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 679~


William Alcorn


Fayette county owes a debt of gratitude to the large class of. enterprising Pennsylvanians who have located within her borders, for they are, as a rule enterprising and public-spirited, always to be relied upon in the more serious duties of progressive civilized communities. Of this worthy class the name of William Acorn and his parents should not be overlooked.  He was born in Greenville, Pennsylvania, July 28, 1834, the son of William and Elizabeth (Calahan) Acorn, the father spending his life there. William Alcorn, Sr. was educated in his native state and when eighteen years of age he came to Fayette county, Iowa, and he began clerking in a store soon after his arrival here in Elgin. Two of his brothers, Edwin and David, also came about the same time. David was one of the early blacksmiths in West Union. William and Edwin broke the prairie sod for many of the newcomers. Edwin moved to Minnesota and later to the state of Washington. David is living retired in Kentucky. William bought in all about four hundred acres of land in one body and engaged in general farming and stock raising, becoming well-to-do as a result of his large operations. He retired to West Union in October, 1904, and lived in honorable retirement until his death, July 23, 1905. He was a man of high principles and was influential and popular throughout the county. In September, 1865, he married Elizabeth Montgomery, a native of Delaware county, Iowa, but she was reared in Colesburg, this state; she was the daughter of Archibald and Elenore (Kilgore) Montgomery, both natives of Pennsylvania.  They came to Delaware county, Iowa, about 1840. Mr. Montgomery spent three years in California, having made the overland trip in 1849, when he followed farming, owning a number of farms, aggregating in all twelve hundred acres. He entered eighty acres and bought the rest, having been a keen business man and always grasped an opportunity at the right time. Politically, he was a Democrat, and religiously, a Presbyterian. William Montgomery, a brother of Mrs. Alcorn, was a soldier in the Union army, in the Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was sent home on a furlough and was killed while on the way.  His father went after him and he was buried at home.


To Mr. and Mrs. William Alcorn eight children were born, namely: Mary J., George E., Clara E., Archie C. William J., Sallie E., Lester G., all living at this writing.


Mr. and Mrs. William Alcorn are Presbyterians, and Mr. Alcorn is a Democrat and he has long taken considerable interest in political affairs. He made the race once for representative in the Legislature. He was formerly school director.


The history of Mrs. Alcorn's ancestry is an interesting one. Her maternal grandfather, William Montgomery, came to Delaware county, Iowa, later went to Missouri, later returned to Iowa. He was a miller by trade. He remained with Mrs. Alcorn's father until his death. He was a sterling pioneer and a strong character, having had the distinction of fighting in the war of 1812.  William Montgomery, the paternal grandfather of Mrs. Alcorn, was born in Pennsylvania in 1783, and he was taught the milling business in youth, which he followed in connection with farming all his life in Pennsylvania, in which state he married and reared his family. In 1837 he moved to Dubuque county, Iowa, and then came and stayed with Mrs. Alcorn's father until his death, in 1856, having survived his wife a number of years. He was the first justice of the peace in Colony township, Delaware county. He was a member of the Presbyterian church. Archibald Montgomery, son of William Montgomery, and father of Mrs. Alcorn, was born in Pennsylvania, October 2, 2805. In 1841 he visited Iowa and in 1842 he came with his family to Colesburg, Delaware county, Iowa. The Montgomery's were leaders in whatever community they lived.


~transcribed by CMD for Fayette county IAGenWeb (Oct 2011)