|Harrison County Iowa Genealogy|
Harris | Purcell | Fountain | H Beebe | R Beebee | McVey | O Smith
HARRIS - Hon. D. H. HARRIS (Portrait), more familiarly styled Judge Harris, editor of Missouri Valley Times, is too well known throughout the length and breadth of Iowa, and especially of the Missouri Slope to need an intoduction to the readers of this volume. But for the information of those who may come after him, it may be said in this connection that Mr. HARRIS came to Missouri Valley when that town was yet in it infancy and established the Times in the month of June, 1868. The first paper was issued July 3rd, and he has been editor-in-chief ever since, with the exception of four years. For a full account of the history of this newspaper the reader is referred to the city history of Missouri Valley.
A man who is three-score-and-ten years old, if he has improved his time and talents, has had ample time to accomplish much toward filling the short space necessarily alloted to him for a biographical notice in the history of his home county.
Our subject was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, at what is now the city of Dayton, July 21, 1821. He is the son of Daniel and Marcy (BOKER) HARRIS. The father was from Massachusetts and the mother from Pennsylvania. His parents died when he was but nine years of age, and he went to Maury County, Tenn. to live and remained there until 1854, and there received his early education in the common schools, after which he engaged in the mercantile business, then read law and was admitted to the bar in Maury County, and practiced law there for four years, and in 1854 removed to Audubon County, Iowa, remaining there until 1862, following the practice of law until 1876 in various places. He was elected County Judge of Audubon County, in 1856, being the second Judge of that county. He served two terms as Judge, and in the autumn of 1859 was elected as a member of the House in the Eighth General Assembly of the State of Iowa, serving in the regular session of 1860 and the extra (war) session of 1861. His district comprised four counties. In 1886, he was elected to the Twenty-first General Assembly, serving with distinction and in a satisfactory manner to his constituents. Politically, the Judge is a Democrat, and one who is ever ready to defend the principles of that party, being at all times ready to give a reason for the hope within him concerning his political faith.
He was united in marriage July 29, 1841 to Martha M. WHITE, who is a native of Tennessee, by which union ten children have been born, all of whom are still living, six sons and four daughters -- Mary Isabel, wife of John Crane, of Exira, Iowa; William J., Daniel W., of South Dakota; Clarinda C., widow of John P. Lahman; John W., at home; Robert H., at home; Edwin T., of Sheldon, Iowa; Ellis N., in South Dakota; Virginia Tennessee, wife of William W. Rutledge, of Castleton, N. Dak.; and Emma E., wife of Charles H. Russel, now of Clarinda, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. HARRIS have fourteen grand-children and one great-grandchild. They are exemplary members of the Christian Church. He is a member and a leading spirit in the Masonic and Odd Fellows lodges, at Missouri Valley, and his wife is identifed with the Eastern Star and Rebecca degrees of these orders.
Among the most enjoyable occasions it is the good pleasure for man and wife to take part in, is that of a Golden Wedding anniversary which bespeaks of fifty years of wedded life. Such a boon is of rare occurrence, but Providence has permitted Judge Harris and his estimable wife to travel life's journey as man and wife for a half century, and to rear a family of ten children, with never a death in their household the family chain being yet unbroken. So it was that on July 29, 1891, a large company of their good friends at Missouri Valley and elsewhere, assembled at the Judge's residence, and after the marriage ceremony was renewed, a reminder of that day in 1841 when they embarked in life together, many golden gifts were bestowed upon this worthy couple, who count their friends, wherever they have lived, by the one word legion. Among such gifts was a purse filled with gold presented to the good wife and mother, while a magnificent Elgin gold watch was presented to Mr. HARRIS, with befitting remarks, and the watch itself having an appropriate inscription engraved upon its chaste case.
Judge HARRIS has been a strong political factor in the Hawkeye State, for many long years; and while he is a man of deep convictions, and in his editorial writings, at times, scathing, yet he perforce of his genial and manly course, makes but few personal enemies, and like most men who express their political and religious convictions, regardless of fear or favor or of what the world may say, he stands to-day high in the estimation of a very large class of people in Western Iowa. At one time he edited the Defender, at Exira, Iowa; and also a paper called the Capsheaf, at Atlantic, Iowa; and the Kansas Democrat, at Independence, Kan., which has given him a diversified editorial experience as the conductor of a genuine Democratic journal.
In 1884 Mr. HARRIS was a delegate-at-large to the Democratic National Convention, and was the first man in Iowa to raise a flag of honor of Grover Cleveland. Twice served on the electoral Democratic ticket of Iowa, and in 1888 was the Democratic candidate for Congress in the Ninth Congressional District, running considerably ahead of his party ticket. He has served four terms as Mayor of Missouri Valley, and filled many other minor offices in the city and county. As editor he has conducted the Guthrie County Leader, Harrisonian of Missouri Valley; Kansas Democrat, of Independence, Kan.; Audubon County Defender; Atlantic Capsheaf, and then returned and bought his old office, which had been changed to the Missouri Valley Times. He began his editorial profession in 1864, and has been connected with the business ever since.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 451-453.
Family Researcher: Diane Hettrick
Diane Hettrick shares this D. M. Harris Family TreeHusband: HARRIS, Daniel Mathias �D.M.� �Judge� Born: 21 July 1821, Dayton, Ohio (Greene or Montgomery County) Parents: HARRIS, Israel? Married: 29 July 1841, Maury County, Tennessee Died: 9 Oct 1911, Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa Wife: WHITE, Martha Minerva �Minerva� Born: 15 Mar 1823, Hickman County, Tennessee Died: 17 Jan 1898, Missouri Valley, Harrison County, Iowa �at 4:50 p.m. of paralysis� Buried Rose Hill Cemetery. Church: Christian Church, on corner of Fourth and Superior Street, Rev. J.L. Johnson and Rev. Caudle, Pastors, Missouri Valley, Iowa. Their Children: 1. HARRIS, Mary Isabella �Belle� b. 5 Jun 1842, Williamsport, Maury, Tennessee m. CRANE, Ino; 24 Dec 1859 d. before 1939, Griswold, Cass., Iowa 2. HARRIS, William James �Jim� b. 8 Mar 1844, Cathey�s Creek, Maury, Tennessee m. TOWNSEND, Florence A.; 16 Jun 1870; Panora, Guthrie, Iowa d. 23 Feb 1943, Doty, Lewis, Washington died at 99, peacefully in his bed, of old age 3. HARRIS, Clarinda Campbell �Hon� b. 12 Sep 1847, Williamsport, Maury, Tennessee m. LAHMAN, C.C. d. 21 Aug 1924, Missouri Valley, Harrison, Iowa 4. HARRIS, Daniel Webster b. 6 Oct 1849, Williamsport, Maury, Tennessee m. HALL, Lusetta Jane d. before 1939, Denver, Colorado 5. HARRIS, John Wiley �Jack� b. 25 Feb 1852, Williamsport, Maury, Tennessee m. TAFT, Hattie B.; 17 Oct 1875 or 1877, Exira, Audubon, Iowa d. 1 Feb 1930, Missouri Valley, Harrison, Iowa 6. HARRIS, Robert Henry �Bud� b. 23 Mar 1854, Williamsport, Maury, Tennessee m. CHAPMAN, Frances, 1874 d. 12 Oct 1936, Missouri Valley, Harrison, Iowa 7. HARRIS, Edwin Truman �Mack� b. 26 Jul 1856, Audubon Co. Iowa m. ? d. May 1939, Huntington Park, California 8. HARRIS, Ellis Nathaniel �Ellis� b. 8 Jul 1859, Exira, Audubon, Iowa m. SEABURY, Ethelin d. 1944, Minneapolis, Minnesota 9. HARRIS, Virginia Tennessee �Tenn� b. 10 Jan 1862, Exira, Audubon, Iowa m. RUTLEDGE, W.W. d. 25 May 1948, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, heart attack 10. HARRIS, Emma Eudora �Em� b. 7 Mar 1864, Panora, Guthrie, Iowa m. 1. RUSSELL, Charles H. 1887. m. 2. LISLE, C.A. 1908 d. 29 Jan 1939, Missouri Valley, Harrison, Iowa
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PURCELL - Samuel PURCELL, a farmer living on the east side of Willow River on section 14, in Magnolia Township, came to Harrison County, in the autumn of 1855, stopping about one month near Elk Grove, in Jefferson Township, then moved into Pottawattamie County, where he remained until the latter part of 1864, at which time he came back to this county and bought eighty acres of wild land, constituting a part of his present farm. He improved this farm, his first house being of logs. He remained on that place until the fall of 1869, sold and bought two hundred and twenty-five acres on the same section, which is now all under a high state of cultivation.
When he came to the county in 1855 his father was caught out of wood and it took him and another man five days to dig a road through the grove, about one mile from their house. During the same winter his father lost ten head of cattle. Deer were very plentiful but in the springtime it was found that a great portion of them had starved to death on account of the severity of the weather, their carcasses being found here and there throughout the country when the snow had disappeared; elk and wild turkeys were also found in great abundance. Mr. PURCELL stood in his door, in Pottawattamie County, and shot seven deer. There was no necessity for going to hunt deer, as they came around the cabin doors of the settlers in search of something to eat. All farm produce they raised in those early days had to be hauled to Council Bluffs. Our subject had been invited to take dinner with a neighbor where the meal consisted of boiled corn, but the friendly disposition and hospitality of those days, made up for the luxuries their tables lacked.
Mr. PURCELL was born September 8, 1827, in Putnam County, Ind., and remained at home with his parents until June 6, 1846, when he enlisted in the First Indiana Infantry as a Mexican soldier and was mustered in at New Albany, June 16, 1846, and took boat for New Orleans and from there took ship ("Big Adaline") for Point Isabel, reaching there some time in July, and from there they marched to Monterey, where he remained until his time expired and was discharged at New Orleans, July 10, 1847. There are twelve Mexican soldiers now living in Harrison County, five of whom enlisted in the same company as Mr. PURCELL. At the National Reunion of Mexican soldiers held at Des Moines, in September, 1866, the ladies of that city presented the Mexican veterans with a flag, and the Commander said that the company that represented the most members there should have the honor of carrying the flag, and it fell to Mr. PURCELL's old company. After leaving the United States service Mr. PURCELL returned to Indiana and went to farming, remaining there until the fall of 1855, when he started West.
He was united in marriage January 22, 1848, to Miss Artamissa BOONE, in Putnam County, Ind. By this marriage nine children were born -- Alonzo, Charles; Mary J. and Elizabeth, deceased; Ida; William, deceased; Eva, and two boys who died in infancy.
Atramissa (BOONE) PURCELL died in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, April 16, 1864, and September 3, 1864, our subject was married to Miss Susan HUNT, and they are the parents of eight children -- Bruce, Ella (deceased); Edward; Annis and Eliza (deceased), Minnie, Jesse E., and Andrew J.
Our subject's first wife was a direct descendant of Daniel BOONE, and she was born in Harrison County, Ind., April 22, 1829. Her mother died when she was a small child and she lived with her father until her marriage.
Susan (HUNT) PURCELL was born in Muhlenberg, County, Ky., October 10, 1839, and in 1852 came with her parents to Pottawattamie County, Iowa. They remained one year and then removed to Kentucky, and three years later came back to Pottawattamie County where she remained with her parents until she was married.
Mr. PURCELL was a member of Company A, Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry from July to October, 1863, when he was discharged for disabilities contracted in the Mexican War.
Mr. and Mrs. PURCELL are members of the Latter Day Saints Church.
Jesse PURCELL, father of our subject, was born at Old St. Redstone, now Pittsburg, February 20, 1788, and removed with his parents to Harrison County, Ky., where he married Miss Jane AKERS, and then removed to New Albany (or to where the place has since been built) and from there he removed to Harrison County, Ind., where he cleared up a piece of timber land but before he procured money enough to enter the same another man entered the land ahead of him, this being the second experience of the kind he had had. After this he removed to Putnam County and entered land that Greencastle stands on, which was then in a big woods; his claim contained two hundred acres. He went into partnership, freighting from Cincinnati to Louisville, also to Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Greencastle and other points. Owing to his partnership relations he failed, only leaving him $100, after which he entered eighty acres of land five miles from Greencastle, where he cleared up a fine farm, which he lived upon until 1853, and then sold and went to Vigo County, Ind., and came to Harrison County [Iowa] in 1856, and purchased an early settler's claim of one hundred acres, being a part of section 14, of Magnolia Township. There was a small log house on the place, which had neither doors or windows. He improved this place and lived there the remainder of his days, dying February 16, 1868. He had served in the War of 1812 and drew two land warrants. He left the Mormon Church at the time of the excitement over polygamy.
Jane (AKERS) PURCELL was born in Harrison County, Ky., and died in Harrison County, Iowa, May 25, 1868. They were the parents of twelve children, our subject being the ninth child.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 734-736.
Family Researcher: W.L. Barker
Quote from Joe E. Smith's History of Harrison County, "In 1855, a whole army of Purcells came, Jesse, the old father, and sons, Alexander, Samuel, Benjamin, Lewis, and William, all locating on the Willow River."
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FOUNTAIN - Jacob S. FOUNTAIN, a retired farmer, living on section 14, of Cincinnati Township, came to Harrison County in the summer of 1857, and settled in the village of Cincinnati, which town site is now being farmed by our subject, who operated a general store there for about four years, and sold out in 1861, when he went to hauling logs to the saw-mill, and floated the lumber to Council Bluffs. During the construction of the Union Pacific railroad, he made ties and sent them down to Omaha by the river.
Upon coming to the county, Mr. FOUNTAIN bought fifteen hundred and two thousand acres of land, most of which was swamp land. He lived in Parish City, until the summer of 1880, when he moved to his present home. To our subject belongs the honor of naming Cincinnati Township. In about 1858, he took a contract to drain that township, by the construction of swamp land ditches. Capt. John NOYES has the contract for all the swamp land, and being the Swamp Land Commissioner, he sublet the contract of this township to our subject, who finished the contract in 1861. He has sold off all of his land but five hundred and sixty acres, which is improved and divided into several farms, one of which has three hundred and twenty acres in it, and is used for a dairy farm by our subject and his son A.M. They keep fifty head of cows and one hundred head of young stock, and expect to feed seventy head of steers this season (1891-92).
When Mr. FOUNTAIN came to this place (California Junction) the place was all improved and had a two-story brick house with corresponding improvements upon the place, which was indeed a great contrast to the time when he first came to the county, at which time this portion of the county was a vast sea of prairie grass, which stood as high as a man's head. The first house he built in the county, was of cottonwood lumber, and now does good service as a stable. It stands on the old site of Prairie City. The first school taught in Cincinnati Township, was also held at our subject's house, in the winter of 1858-59. Miss Phoebe J. HOLDZKOM, now Mrs. DILLEY, was the person who taught. The first religious services were also held in this house, and continued to for several years. Mr. FOUNTAIN donated a part of the lumber and hauled it to Calhoun, to help build the Magnolia Methodist Parsonage.
When our subject first came to the county, the teams used were almost universally the kind which worked best under a yoke, and were guided by the words "haw" and "gee", with sometimes the additional words Buck! and Bright! Many are the trips he made to Council Bluffs with his ox-team, which would indeed seem a slow way of transportation to the present generation.
Mr. FOUNTAIN held many of the local offices since coming to Harrison County, including that of Justice of the Peace, and Township Trustee, and during the Civil War, interested himself in getting allowances for soldiers and soldiers' families. Times were very hard and this good man would go before the Board of Supervisors and speak for soldiers' wives, in the matter of having a few dollars appropriated to them, to assist them in purchasing the necessities of life. He was appointed Postmaster, at Parish City, under James Buchanan's administration, and held the position eleven years, and a part of the time was compelled to go to Magnolia for the mail.
In relating pioneer hardships, Mr. FOUNTAIN states how that at the beginning of the Civil War, the principal diet was corn bread, and upon one occasion, this food had to be produced by grating the ears of corn on a tin grater. He also speaks of taking three bushel of corn fifteen miles to mill, and made three trips before he got his meal, causing him to travel ninety miles. It is no uncommon thing in those days to use browned rye and burnt bran as a substitute for coffee.
To go back to our subject's earlier life, and inform the reader as to his domestic relations, his parentage, etc., it may be stated that he was born in New Castle County, Del., April 2, 1817. His parents died when he was young, and about 1830, he went to Camden, N.J., where he learned the harness trade. In 1832, the man for whom he worked went to Baltimore, and took him with him, and there remained until 1836, and then returned to New Jersey, where for three years he worked at his trade, and also in Pennsylvania. In the autumn of 1839, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he opened a shop, and carried on business until the fall of 1855, when he sold out. We next find our subject during the summer of 1856, on a visit in Kansas, and having a friend in Council Bluffs, he also visited him, and at the same time pre-empted a piece of land nine miles from that place, and returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, going by stage to St. Joseph, and from there by steamboat. The following spring he bought a horse team, and came overland, to Pottawattamie County, while his wife and family came by railroad, and boat to Council Bluffs. He remained on his claim a few weeks, proved up on it, and then came to Harrison County.
Mr. FOUNTAIN was married in Cincinnati, Ohio, March 20, 1845, to Miss Athalinda B. COOK, and they are the parents of eight children -- Mary E., William M., America E., Andrew N., Jacob (deceased), Charles A., and Rachel C., (twins), Anna L.
Athalinda B. (COOK) FOUNTAIN was born in Butler County, Ohio, September 26, 1826, and when small accompanied her parents to Indiana, and from there to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she remained until she grew to womanhood. Her father was Zachies COOK, who was born in New Jersey, and died in Indiana, about 1830. The mother, Mary A. (MURPHY) COOK, was also a native of New Jersey, and now lives with her daughter, Mrs. FOUNTAIN.
Our subject's father was Thomas FOUNTAIN, a native of England. He died in New Castle County, Del., in the autumn of 1829, at the age of forty-five years. Our subject's mother was Christiana (STREETS) FOUNTAIN, was born in New Castle County, Del., where she died in the fall of 1827. They were the parents of nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom our subject was the fourth child. His mother was a member of the Christian Church, while Mrs. FOUNTAIN and her mother are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Mr. FOUNTAIN is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, believing that party best serves the interests of the masses.
Charles A. FOUNTAIN, of the firm of Fountain Bros., dealers in dry-goods and groceries at California Junction, (who also handles all kinds of general goods, such as are needed for the country trade), is a son of our subject. He was born in Harrison, Iowa, June 14, 1862, and has always made his home with his parents. He engaged in trade with his brother A.N., in August, 1883. He is a member of the Independent Order of Good Templars at Missouri Valley, and stands high as a young rising business man.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 884-886.
Family Researcher: NA
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BEEBE - Henry O. BEEBE (Portrait), a farmer living on section 28, Taylor Township, came to the county in the autumn of 1859, and rented a farm in Magnolia Township the following year. He had obtained the place he now lives upon in 1858. He traded for eighty acres and entered sixty acres and commenced to improve his place in 1861. He built a little shanty, having to sleep in his covered wagon, the fore part of the season. With his ox-team he broke forty acres of land and put it in sod corn, potatoes and sugarcane.
In the fall of 1861 he traded for a house in Cincinnati Township, which he moved to his place. This building, 14x20 feet, served the family until 1884, when he built his present residence, the upright of which is 24x30 feet, with an ell 16x24 feet. Aside from his one hundred and twenty-acre home farm, he has a quarter section in Cincinnati Township; forty acres of meadow in the same township; eighty acres of pasture land in Taylor Township, besides sixty acres of pasture land in Cincinnati Township.
August 18, 1862, he enlisted as am ember of Company C, Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry. He went South and was on detached service much of the time. His regiment was in several battles, in which he did not take part. They were with Gens. Steele and Prentice most of the time, in Arkansas and Louisiana. Our subject was discharges at new Orleans, August 24, 1865, and was paid off at Davenport, Iowa. After coming out of the service he went to Hampden, Mass., and remained until the spring of 1866, and then came to this county.
Mr. BEEBE was born in Hampshire County, Mass., June 16, 1832, the son of Abner L and Dolly (MILLER) BEEBE. The father was a native of Connecticut, while the mother was born in Massachusetts. When our subject was quite young his parents moved to Hampden County, Mass., and in 1853 he went to Bureau County, Ill., returning to the �Bay State� that fall; remained at home until the spring of 1856, when he again came West, with the expectation of location in Illinois, but was unable to obtain Government land, so pushed on as far West as Omaha. He spent the winter of 1856-57 in De Soto, and in the spring took a claim of one hundred and sixty acres, in company with his brother Lyman, at a point near where Blair now stands. They did not keep this land, however, only one year, and in the summer of 1858, he farmed in Washington County, Neb., and the following season, 1859 on April 1, he started for Pike�s Peak, crossing the plains with ox teams, returning to Harrison County the next fall.
Mr. BEEBE was united in marriage in Hampden County, Mass., to Mary A WINTER, the daughter of Alpheus and Prudence WINTER. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, belonging to Boyd Post, No. 379, at Modale. Politically he affiliates with the Republican party. Mr. BEEBE is no office-seeker, but has held the position of Trustee and Assessor of his Township.
Our subject and his estimable wife are the parents of five children: Charles L., Ora A., Lena R., George H., and Wells W, (deceased).
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 413-414.
Family Researcher: NA
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BEEBEE - Ransom W. BEEBE, ex-liveryman at Missouri Valley, has been a resident of Harrison County for twenty years. In 1871 he located in La Grange Township, where he engaged at farming, purchasing land in sections 24 and 26, of that township. He followed farm-life until 1888, and then entered the livery business at Missouri Valley. To inform the reader more concerning his personal and domestic relations, it may be said that he was born in Madison County, N. Y., April 28, 1835. He is a son of James L. and Alma C. (WILLIAMS) BEEBEE. The BEEBEE family was originally from Wales, but have been in New York State for many generations. The Williams family were from England. The father was a contractor, and helped construct the Erie Canal, and also assisted in enlarging the same. He was also extensively engaged in farming. The mother died in 1885, in La Grange Township, this county, and was buried at Council Bluffs. Our subject was the fourth child of a family of nine sons and two daughters. Of this number five and one daughter is living. H. C. BEEBEE lives in Council Bluffs. Three live in La Grange Township; a sister, Mrs. Carrie MOSHER, lives in Cayuga County, N. Y. The father came to Harrison County in 1871, and carried on farming in La Grange Township until the spring of 1891, and then returned to the Empire State, where he now resides. He is now eighty-two years of age, though quite active for one so old. He was again married in1890, to Mary WARHOUSE.
Our subject's great-grandfathers were both in the Revolutionary War, and were men of much distinction in their day and generation.
Our subject was married in September, 1866, at Buffalo, N. Y., to Catherine MYERS, who was a native of Erie County, N. Y., and born in Fairview Township. Her parents were farmers, and are both deceased. June 9, 1887, the Angel of Death visited the home of our subject in La Grange Township and claimed his wife while yet in the prime of her young womanhood. She was buried in the Logan Cemetery. She was an exemplary Christian lady, a member of the Presbyterian Church, and beloved by all who knew her.
Mr. BEEBEE married for his second wife Annie O'CONNOR, in March, 1888. This lady is a native of Iowa, the daughter of Thomas and Marie O'CONNOR, farmers living in La Grange Township. By this union two children were born�Alma; born August 27, 1889, and Annie, born November, 1890.
Politically, Mr. BEEBEE had always been a Republican. He has served La Grange Township in various official capacities, having been member of the School Board there for fourteen years. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, and is a member of Geneva Lodge, No. 421, at Geneva, N. Y. In a general way, it may be said that our subject obtained his education in the common schools of New York, and came to Harrison County May 12, 1871, and in the same day of the year, in 1887, he passed over the road to bury his wife. He was an American Express messenger for fifteen years, ten years of which he ran between Cleveland and Buffalo. He relates how that, in one trip in 1864, he had charge of ten tons of specie.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 434-435.
Family Researcher: NA
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MCVEY - John W. MCVEY, of St. John's Township, ranks among the pioneers of 1857. He first looked upon this fair domain that year and in the autumn effected a settlement where he now lives, section 2, township 78, range 44.
Mr. McVey was born March 7, 1829, in Fayette County, W. Va. He is the son of Alexander and Jane (MOREHEAD) McVey, who were natives of West Virginia, and of Scotch-Irish descent. The father was a farmer, and also master of the tanner's trade. He died in 1868. His wife died in 1875. In 1852, Mr. McVey came to Stark County, Ill., remained one year, then returned to Virginia and was married. He remained four years, and then came to Harrison County. His early education was received at the common schools of West Virginia. In his father's family there were four sisters and three brothers, all now (1891) deceased but one sister and one brother, who still reside in Fayette County, W. Va.
Our subject was united in marriage June 26, 1854, in Fayette County, W. Va., to Miss Roxana ERVIN, who was a native of Monroe County, W. Va. She is the daughter of John and Elizabeth (MOREHEAD) ERVIN. As a result of their union, ten children were born, five of whom still survive. Elizabeth J., wife of Orlando SHINN, a resident of Calhoun Township; J. A. McVey, of the same township; Rosana, at home; Mary A., wife of Amos NORTON, of Wichita County, Kan.; Charles H., assisting his father at home.
Mrs. McVey is a member of the Christian church. Politically, our subject affiliates with the Democratic party, and has held the office of Road Supervisor and school director for several years. He started out in life to battle for himself, when twenty-two years of age. He had to borrow money with which to come West. From the original one hundred and thirty-two acres of wild land which was his first purchase, he has year by year made improvements and added thereto, until he now has a most excellent farm home of two hundred and sixty-eight acres, with an orchard of twenty acres, three-fourths of which is in bearing trees. His town property consists of three lots, two of which at this time rent for $6 and $10 per month. All in all, the man whose name heads this notice may count life a success.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 697.
Family Researcher: Donald W. Fey
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SMITH - Oscar L. SMITH, whose pleasant farm-house may be found on section 31 of Lincoln Township, near the waters of the Willow River, will form the subject of this notice:
Oscar was born in Joliet, Ill., in 1855, and is the son of Martin G. and Margaret E. (JOHNSTON) SMITH, natives of New York, who were the parents of four children -- Albert S., Adelbert, Oscar L., and Frank M. The father was a machinist, and worked for the McCormack Reaper Company, and finally removed to Stearns County, Minn., and in fighting the Indians, he overworked in building a fortification, and caught cold which terminated in death.
Our subject worked on a farm until sixteen years of age in Delaware County, N.Y., then at blacksmithing in Broome County, N.Y., from which State he came to Iowa, in 1881, and settled at Woodbine, where he wielded the sledge, and fanned the forge until he came to Lincoln Township.
He united in marriage, October 24, 1880, to Miss Mary M. OWEN, daughter of James K. and Mary M. OWEN, natives of New York. Mr. and Mrs. SMITH are the parents of one child -- Myrta R., born February 24, 1889. The parents are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Upon coming to Harrison County, our subject was in his own language "seventy five dollars worse off than nothing." His good wife taught for five years in Woodbine while he pounded at the forge. They bought a lot, built a house and shop and paid for it, and continued work at Woodbine for eight years, and then purchased eighty acres of land in Lincoln Township, upon which he now lives. He did considerable building, fenced his farm, set out one hundred and thirty fruit trees, and has followed farming and blacksmithing ever since. To one who succeeds through the role of industry, midst smoking forge and clanking anvil, there must be ascribed much credit, and it will also be remembered, that this man's companion, true to her marriage vows, has ever been a faithful helpmate.
Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, page 874.
Family Researcher: N/A
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