Mr. and Mrs. Andrew C. Whitney

Of all the home circles created in Alden and still remaining as a part of our community, that which came into being by the union of Andrew C. Whitney and Miss Mary Todd is entitled to especial respect as being the oldest. Its founders were united in marriage and partook of their first dinner in the home Mr. Whitney had already constructed with his own hands, and which, with the additions affixed as the family increased in size, has served as a comfortable home shelter ever since. This makes more than fortysix years without moving. A family of nine children has grown to manhood and womanhood, claiming the house as home, and it has been kept in such a state of repair that it seems well able to do as good service for another generation.

Mr. Whitney began the house in the winter of 1857-8. When he began the excavation of the cellar there was not a house, nor a tree, nor a shrub between it and the building now occupied by James Barnes, which was then a hotel. The giant elms now overshadowing the house were set out, as saplings, by Mr. Whitney a few years later.

Mr. Whitney was born in Franklin county, Vermont, on August 11, 1833, and began learning the carpenter trade when sixteen years of age. He became a resident of Iowa in 1855, stopping first at, Independence where he worked at his trade until June 1857 when he and his brother Irving, in company with Charlie White and Harry Hecker drove through to Alden. They spent the first night under the hospitable roof of the hotel then being operated by Mr. Cowles, which building, as previously referred to in these articles, is now the rear part of the Bigelow.

Miss Mary Todd was born in Broom County, New York, on November 26, 1839, and came to Iowa as a member of the family of her stepfather, Jesse Rogers, in 1856, preceding Mr. Whitney in the matter of arrival about half a year. One of her earliest impressions of the west was the contrast she discovered between divine services at her old and new home. The ministers were not only densely untaught but a large proportion of the congregation was made up of an incongruous mixture of people, many of whom would sit partially reversed in their seats during the sermon for the purpose of staring at the people behind.

Mr. Whitney's first occupation when he arrived in Alden was to assist in the construction of the Peabody house, now occupied by August Butt. Next he assisted in building the Jordan house, now the home of L. Rummel. During this time he boarded with a family where John Adam Rink lives, and plainly, from that place, saw the bolt of lightning which killed Hoeing and Peters in August 1857 in the building now occupied by H. Briese. The coffins Mr. Whitney made for these two men were the first ones he remembers making in Alden.

In the years afterward he made many in his shop standing about where C. A. Rummel's residence is. They were made to order only, of the best seasoned black walnut lumber and freshly varnished just before the funeral.

Mr. Whitney was in the furniture business in Alden for thirty years and probably would still be in it but for the fire which destroyed his establishment seven years ago. He was a member of the first town council and served in that capacity ten terms. He was also a member of the school board for several terms, town treasurer, etc.

Children of Andrew Clow Whitney and Mary Gardner Todd were:

Submitted by James WHITNEY