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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Twenty Eight

Divelbess | Wolcott | Schwertle | Town | C Bolter | L Bolter

DIVELBESS - Benjamin A. DIVELBESS, a farmer of section 4, LaGrange Township, may well be counted a pioneer boy of Harrison County, for he came with Charles CARVALHO in May, 1853. Mr. CARVALHO took a claim and remained there until the spring of 1854, this settlement being at Bigler's Grove when our subject was only eleven years old. CARVALHO moved to Harris Grove, LaGrange Township, and purchased a claim of Michael MCKINNEY, afterwards entering the land, and lived upon the same until 1861. Then they crossed the plains with horse teams to California, taking a drove of cattle with them. Here CARVALHO and our subject remained until the autumn of 1871, when Mr. DIVELBESS returned to Harrison County, and for one year rented land of Mr. LONGMAN, in Jefferson Township, and in December, 1872, he came to the farm he is now living upon, having rented the same of Mr. LONGMAN. In the spring of 1873 our subject bought forty acres of wild land from William ORR, on section 4, of LaGrange Township, but still continued to live on the farm that he rented from Mr. LONGMAN, and in 1878 he purchased the same. He has added to the improvements already on the place, and also to his land, until now he has three hundred acres.

When he first came to the county Council Bluffs (then called Kanesville) was their nearest postoffice and trading point. Upon one occasion CARVALHO had to make three trips there with ox-teams to get a plow; he obtained the necessary irons and had to do the woodwork after he got home. In the winter of 1854-55 he attended school in a house on what is known as the William DAKAN farm, in Union Township, the same being a subscription school, and J. B. MCCURLY being the teacher.

Our subject was born in Holmes County, Ohio, May 9, 1842, and in 1846 his mother died, and a year later he went to live with Charles CARVALHO; in 1853 they left Steuben County, Indiana, with ox-teams enroute for Harrison County, Iowa. As has been related before, our subject remained with CARVALHO until 1871, when he left him in California, and came back to Harrison County.

He was married October 19, 1870, having returned from Caifornia on a visit. He married Miss Fannie LONGMAN, by whom six children have been born -- Daniel A., born in California, Harold B., Nellie A., Minnie M., Benjamin F., and Alice E.

Fannie (LONGMAN) DIVELBESS was born in England June 14, 1846, and came with her parents to America in 1851, living with her parents in Harrison County until the date of her marriage.

Daniel S. DIVELBESS, father of our subject, was of German origin, but he was born in Pennsylvania about 1810, and died in Steuben County, Ind., in September, 1871. The mother, Rosella (PHENICE) DIVELBESS, was born in Pennsylvania about 1815, and remained there until married. She died in Steuben County, Ind., in 1846. They were the parents of six children, our subject being the fourth.

Politically, Mr. DIVELBESS is a Republican, and his father was a Whig. His brothers are scattered thoughout the country, two living in Kansas, one in California, and one was killed at Petersburg, Va., in 1864.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 810,811.
Family Researcher: Carolyn Divelbess Denning
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WOLCOTT - Roger WOLCOTT (deceased), came to Harrison County in October, 1859, driving a team through LaFayette County, Wisconsin. He located on Section 30, St. John's Township, where he took a claim, built a small house in which he lived until September, 1860, when a new residence was built. At the time of his death he owned five hundred acres of land. He was born May 14, 1827, in Cobourg, Upper Canada, and came to Kane County, Illinois, in 1840, locating in St. Charles, where he worked at the carpenter's trade with his father, and also farmed. He remained there until 1854, and then removed to Wisconsin, where he bought a small farm. He was married in August, 1853, at Elgin, Illinois, to Zrina COLE, daughter of Ethan and Lucretia (GILSON) COLE, by whom five children were born; Asa, Ethan, Albert, Roger, Mary Ellen.

Our subject and his wife were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Politically, Mr. WOLCOTT was a Republican. He passed from the scenes of this life June 8, 1884.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 926.
Family Researcher: Sandra Ball
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SCHWERTLE - F. W. SCHWERTLE, a resident of section 17, of Taylor Township, was born in Magnolia Township, April 8, 1858, and remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-two years old. He is a son of Frederick and Salome (BRECHT) SCHWERTLE. At the above named age, he went to farming for himself in Clay Township, his father giving him the use of seventy acres of land for three years, at the end of which time he purchased it. In 1887, he owned two hundred and forty acres in Clay Township, which he traded for his home in Taylor Township, consisting of three hundred and twenty acres.

Our subject received his education in the common schools of Harrison County, and attended the High School at Magnolia one term, as well as the High School at Missouri Valley one term. He was united in marriage in Taylor Township, September 12, 1887, to Miss Elizabeth O'CONNOR, daughter of John and Mary (MARLEY) O'CONNOR. By this marriage union three children have been born -- Salome M., Frederick J., and John.

Elizabeth (O'CONNOR) SCHWERTLE, was born near Davenport, Iowa, September 12, 1861, and accompanied her parents to Harrison County in 1869.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 398.
Family Researcher: N/A
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TOWN - Salem TOWN has been a resident of Harrison County for a quarter of a century, effecting his settlement as he did in 1866.

He is a native of Monroe County, N.Y., born February 5, 1820, at Henrietta. He is the son of James and Almira (WILDER) TOWN, and the grandson of James TOWN and David WILDER, of Massachusetts and Connecticut, respectively, and of Scotch and Irish extraction. The parents of our subject passed their lives principally in the State of New York, the father dying in 1838, and the mother in 1827. They reared a family of six children, our subject being the fourth child. His parents being farmers, he was brought up midst the scenes of rural life and educated in the subscription schools common to that day. At the age of sixteen he started on life's journey for himself, and followed farming in New York and Vermont, but after he was of age he engaged at boat-building, which took him over a large scope of territory. He followed this until he was twenty seven years old; spent one year at his old home in the Empire State, and in 1847 made his acquaintance with the rules and regulations of a pioneer life in the Badger State, locating at Lafayette, Wis., where he passed two years, then went to Jo Daviess County, Ill., and remained four years, and transacted business of an important character, for on April 4, 1850, Eliza J. REED became his wife, the marriage ceremony being peformed at Galena. His wife was born in Ireland, June, 1833, and reared a family of six children -- Almira J., wife of William H. MOORE, a native of Woodbine; William R., a resident of Page County, Iowa; Willis, residing with his father; George, a resident of the State of Washington; Anna, residing in Washington; Ida B., wife of Walter J. MCWILLIAMS, residing at Charter Oak, Iowa.

Our subject remained in Jo Daviess County, Ill., until 1855, and then moved to Fillmore County, Minn., where he remained until 1866, during which time he followed farming. From there he removed to Harrison County, Iowa, and in 1877 purchased an eighty-acre tract on section 33, of Harrison Township, which was wild land at the time. He rented a farm until 1870, adjoining his present place, and during that year removed to his own land into a small house that now does duty as a stable. In 1876 he erected his present residence, which is a frame building 20x28 feet, with an ell 12x16 feet. His farm is finely improved and is made beautiful and valuable by the presence of groves, orchards, etc. Our subject has done much toward the improvement of the country in general. When he came to the county it was little less than a wilderness, and a few years after the Indian had bid a long farewell to this domain, and wolves, deer and prairie chicken abounded in great numbers. Great are the changes of a quarter century, especially when the keen plowshare of civilization cuts its multiplied furrows.

Mr. TOWN is in the true sense of the term a self-made man, having started with nothing but pluck to carry him through, and "under his own vine and fig tree," surrounded with the comforts of a beautiful farm home, he enjoys the fruits of his labor. Politically, he is a Republican, and has always taken a deep interest in educational matters including the establishment of early schools. In his religious belief, for many years he was associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, but of late years has accepted the Universalists' doctrine. He was one of the organizers of the Dunlap Methodist Church, and aided in the construction of their church edifice.

After a companionship of forty years along the meandering journey of life, our subject was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who passed to the unseen world February 7, 1890 -- a true friend, a faithful wife, and a loving mother.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 793,794.
Family Researcher: Barbara Cady
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BOLTER - Hon. Lemuel R. BOLTER (Portrait), attorney and State Senator, residing at Logan is justly entitled to a biographical notice in this connection having been a resident, and pre-eminent in both public and private life, in Harrison County since 1863.

All have a part to perform in the great drama of life. The race is made, the outcome determined, our destinies decided, just in proportion to our opportunities, endurance and ability. These are the marks that inevitably distinguish the successful man from the one who fails in life's conflict. We write now of a man thoroughly and favorably known, not alone in his own county but in the great commonwealth of Iowa, and in general throughout the western country where he has lived and labored for more than a quarter of a century.

But before reviewing his life-work, his labors and achievements here and elsewhere, it is best to acquaint the reader with his ancestry and something concerning his earlier years before he became acquainted with this section of the West.

Mr. BOLTER was born July 27, 1834, in Richland County, Ohio. His parents were Alexander and Nancy (SHIVEL) BOLTER. The BOLTER family are of Scotch descent and trace their family history back to Edinboro, where Leonard BOLTER, Sr., was born in 1678, and in 1715 emigrated with his brother, Benjamin, to America and settled on the coast of Maine where he engaged in trade with the West Indies. Leonard BOLTER had a son named after him and this son, Leonard Jr., was great-grandfather to the subject of this sketch. He was born in Maine in 1720, and he also followed trading with the West Indies. He shipped hay of their own raising and brought back fruit. He married Jane FLOOD and by such union three sons were born -- Lemuel, Benjamin, and John. Lemuel was born in Cumberland County, Maine, in 1760, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, enlisting when sixteen years of age, and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine.

At that period one bullet and three buckshot were employed with which to load muskets; the former missed but the latter took effect in his knee and were never removed. He finally settled in Cass County, Mich., where he died in 1841, and was buried in Shavehead Cemetery, Porter Township, of the above named county. Our subject erected a fine monument to his memory in 1890, on which may be seen the following inscription:

"No drafts were made
Our services were proffered
No back pensions were paid
No bounties were offered

The deceased, Lemuel BOLTER, married Sarah Jane ROSE in 1784, and they had but one child -- Alexander F., who was the father of our subject.

Alexander F. BOLTER was born February 14, 1807, and followed farming throughout his days. He was married in 1831, to Nancy SHIVEL. Lemuel R., of whom we write, was the only child, the date of his birth being July 27, 1834, in Richland County, Ohio. When one year of age he removed to Cass County, Mich., where our subject passed his youthful days, enjoying sports and pleasures as only boyhood can. He attended the district school and later the graded schools at Mottville, in St. Joseph County; also at Hillsdale College. He received an excellent business education, his favorite study being mathematics. After leaving school he taught one term in Cass County, Mich., and March 21, 1852, he left Mottville in company with John EVERHART (who subsequently proved to be a friend indeed), Sheridan and Mark LANE. Their outfit consisted of a wagon and three yoke of oxen, while their objective point was the newly discovered gold fields of California. These four young, ambitious men wended their way over broad, unsettled prairies, through dense forests and unbridged angry streams, with nothing to pilot them through the vast wilderness save their own good judgment and each others' counsel. At last Council Bluffs was reached (then known as Kanesville). After leaving this place they were in company with various overland trains headed for the same region in the far away West. Some days the train had three and other thirty teams. Crossing the Great American Desert at that day with ox-teams was quite different in point of romance and hardships than when one today boards the "Overland Flyer" upon the Union Pacific rail route.

During their trip across the plains and through the mountain passes, the young, daring fortune seekers encountered war-like Indians, but at last reached Ragtown on the Carson River, at which point they sold their teams and "packed" across the mountains. The first day after commencing their march Mr. BOLTER was stricken with mountain fever and for two weeks (which time seemed to him an age) he lay stretched out with nothing but the canopy of heaven and the shade of a cedar tree to shield him from the changeable elements. The LANES -- his Michigan comrades -- pushed on, but EVERHART's noble impulses caused him to remain saying, "I will stay with you, 'Lem,' until you are better or dead, and do what I can for you." In due time BOLTER and EVERHART arrived at Volcano, the first settlement, October 14, 1852. They then went to Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, where, while walking upon the streets the first day, they were accosted by John J. CLARK, who wanted the services of a young man competent to do business where much figuring and clerical work was needed. He asked EVERHART if he knew where he could find such a man, whereupon EVERHART answered quickly, "yes by G-d, I do." and pointed to BOLTER who, after being questioned and cross-questioned, engaged with the man to enter the office of the Wells-Fargo Express Company at $300 per month, which was full $270 more than Mr. BOLTER expected the wages to be.

A little later the company paid his board, amounting to $25 per week more. The company acted in place of a bank and brought gold dust which was shipped to New York, upon which product they realized a net profit of $3 per ounce.

After remaining in the office about four months, and observing that men came in with from $2,000 to $10,000 worth of gold dust as a result of a weeks' work, young BOLTER caught the gold fever himself, resigned his position and started out prospecting, but was not as successful as many. After mining six weeks he returned to the town and engaged at clerking in a store which position he held for two years. During his sojourn in California he managed to lay by an amount sufficient to buy a good farm, improve it and stock it well. He returned home to Michigan October 23, 1854, and taught school that winter. The spring following he commenced the study of law with S. C. Coffenbury, a noted legal mind of his day, living at Constantine. He remained in the law office for two years, during which time, and on March 31, 1856, he was married to Caroline J. RINEHART, a native of Michigan, born April 14, 1842.

After leaving the law office our subject divided his time between teaching and the practice of law until October, 1863, when he fitted out two wagons drawn by horse teams and started West, having been in Harrison County the June prior and purchased a farm on section 12, of Jefferson Township, where Jeddo had been platted. He arrived with the family in November, 1863, and for seven years followed farm life and the practice of law. Not unfrequently would this man of energy attend court abroad for six weeks and return to make a full hand in the harvest field.

He was admitted to the bar before Judge Isaac PENDLETON in 1865. His legal business constantly grew in magnitude until he found it necessary to devote his whole time to it. From 1868 to 1880, this portion of Iowa was developing very rapidly and Mr. BOLTER's practice became quite lucrative. He was a hard worker and this, with a thorough knowledge of the law, made him eminently successful and especially before the Supreme Courts of the State in which there are few attorneys who have won more cases than he, some of which have been of great importance.

Not alone as financier and attorney-at-law has Mr. BOLTER been a successful man but in the role of a political worker he has singally distinguished himself, having represented his district as a member of the House of Representatives, as well as having been a member of the Senate. He has served more years, perhaps, than any other man in Iowa since the State was organized.

Politically he is a stanch Democrat and who can always give a reason for the faith within him concerning his political convictions. When one reviews this busy man's eventful career and notes his accomplishments and achievements, the wonder is how so much can be crowded into one man's lifetime. But ambition and work solve the problem in this one instance at least.

By reference to the political history of Iowa it is found that in the autumn of 1865, Mr. BOLTER was elected to a seat in the House of Representatives of Iowa -- that being for the Eleventh General Assembly. He also served in the same capacity in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth General Assemblies. He proved himself a strong, unyielding worker during all these years and was elected as State Senator, serving in the Twenty-first, Twenty-second, Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth General Assemblies.

In 1876 he was made the Democratic nominee for Congress -- the eighth district then comprising thirteen counties in Southwestern Iowa. Col. W. F. SAPP, of Pottawattamie County (now deceased) was the Republican candidate, and not unlike our subject, was gifted with native genius, had most excellent command of language, and a magnetic influence upon the people. The two political war-horses held their joint discussions each week day for thirteen weeks. The district had been going about five thousand Republican majority, but Mr. BOLTER ran ahead of his ticket in all voting precincts except one, where he carried his full party vote. This record has probably never been beaten in the annals of American politics. In his letter of acceptance of the nomination he closed by saying, "If defeated, a sufficient solace shall be found in the consciousness that I neither sold my friends or corruptly purchased my enemies to gratify my own ambition, or secure success in a just cause."

In 1885 our subject was appointed by Gov. SHERMAN, as a delegate to represent the Ninth Congressional District in the Northwestern Waterway Convention, he making a stirring speech at Kansas City upon that occasion where he acted as President of the convention.

While Mr. BOLTER is a stanch Democrat he has always been so fortunate as to represent a strong Republican district. In the Sixteenth General Assembly, which was strongly Republican, he was made temporary Speaker of the House, a compliment to him, which has never been duplicated in any General Assembly.

Mr. BOLTER's family consists of a wife and three children -- Charles R., a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume; Carroll A. and Florence M., wife of Dr. I. C. WOOD, of Logan, Iowa. The well-known law firm of L. R. BOLTER & Sons, consists of our subject, Charles R. and Carroll A. BOLTER.

Unlike the man who has slipped noiselessly through life, existing, but with no special aim in view, our subject has been busy all his days. Every branch and avenue of commerce, politics and society within the radius of his home circle, especially the vicinity known as the Missouri Slope has felt his power and general influence. His legal mind has left its impression upon the bar of the State. His literary tastes and ability may be traced through the daily and weekly newspaper files, now grown yellow with the passing of years, while the effects of his hundreds of rousing political speeches has swayed party platform planks and molded more wholesome laws for the government of the people, he has had so frequently the honor to represent in the Legislative halls of the State. His keen perceptive faculties, the gift of nature, together with an almost iron constitution physically, which boon has been transmitted to him though a long line of sturdy, Scotch lineage, has fitted and carried him on a useful career.

His intellectual possession, coupled with his pleasing, happy manner of speech and general manner of address, has made him a popular factor in the great world around him. As an evidence of his popularity as a public speaker it only needs to be added that he has been called upon to deliver twenty-eight Fourth of July (National Independence Day) orations, covering one-fourth of the period embraced in our national history.

In the year 1891 he addressed the largest assembly ever convened at Iowa City on a similar occasion, this celebration being an American Bohemian gathering held July 4, at which the most prominent men of the West were present.

Not only regular hours of study and research through the days of this man's life, have given him the great store-house of knowledge from which to draw, but the midnight lamp was his companion for many years. Well might any young man pattern after the system of reaching success among men, as it is found in this brief review of Senator BOLTER's life.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pages 347-351.
Family Researcher: Chris Tumlin
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BOLTER - Col. Charles R. BOLTER, the Mayor of Logan, and a practicing attorney of the firm of L. R. Bolter & Sons, very naturally finds a place in the history of his county, where he has spent all the days of his life.

He is the eldest son of Senator L. R. BOLTER, and his mother's maiden name was Caroline J. REINHART, sketches of whom appear elsewhere in this book.

Charles R., was born in Cass County, Michigan, Ocober 21, 1859, of Scotch-German ancestry, and is one of three children born to his parents, all living at Logan, Iowa. His early life was spent midst the scenes of pioneer life in Harrison County, for he came here when he was but five years old. He commenced his education in the district schools of the county, at Magnolia, and also attended the High School at Missouri Valley. He finished his studies with the Class of '77, from the Iowa State University, at Iowa City, after which he studied law with his father two years, and then formed a partnership with him, the form being known as L. R. BOLTER & Sons.

Politically, Mr. BOLTER, like his father, can give a good reason for voting and working with the Democratic party, believing, as he does, that it serves the best interests of the American people. In March, 1888, he was elected as Mayor of Logan by a majority of seventy, was twice re-elected, and is the present Mayor of the city, and is also a member of the Governor's staff, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He belongs to Lodge No. 355, I.O.O.F.

Mr. BOLTER was united in marriage June 30, 1891, at Little Sioux, Iowa, to Miss Cora A. PRATT, the daughter of John and Mary (GLEASON) PRATT, who settled in Harrison County in 1859, but are natives of Vermont and Connecticut. They were the parents of five children, respectively, two of whom still survive, one being our subject's wife.

MR. BOLTER is a strong, popular young man, and is looked upon as a loyal leader in the political party to which he belongs.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 650,653.
Family Researcher: Chris Tumlin
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