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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Thirty Nine

Houghton | J Johnson | M Purcell | Minor | Mills | Ploth | T Arthur


HOUGHTON - Edward HOUGHTON ranks among the early settlers of Harrison County, having been here two years prior to the organization of the county, the date of his coming being June, 1851, when he was in the pride his young manhood, but upon whose face and form time has left her inevitable marks. A man who has been a resident of this goodly county for a period of forty years, most naturally finds a place among the sketches of representative men.

Concerning his earlier career it may be stated that he was born in the state of New York, July 3, 1831, and is a son of Eli and Deborah (DWENELL) HOUGHTON. The father was a farmer, which avocation he followed in the Empire State until about 1840, when he emigrated to Illinois, which was the wild prairie land of the West. After eleven years, and in the autumn of 1851, he removed to Minnesota, where he spent the remainder of his days, sinking into that dreamless sleep know as death, December 21, 1865, aged sixty-eight years. His good wife, the mother of our subject, died in Illinois in 1842.

Our subject remained in Minnesota until his coming to this county in 1851. He was united in marriage April 8, 1856, to Mary A. ELLISON, a native of Missouri, born August 28, 1838. Their home has been blessed by four children---Isaac Eli, James C., Mary R. and Nellie. Nellie and James are deceased. Eli is married and lives at Portsmouth, Shelby County, where he is engaged in the grain and agricultural implement business.

Mary married George SHREEVES, and they are residents of Harrison County, on section 15 of Cass Township.

When Mr. HOUGHTON came to the county there was no one living in Cass Township except John and Lewis BARNEY, Bryant and William JOLLY and Uriah HAWKINS, and the first assessment Mr. HOUGHTON says was made by a man named GREENE, who at the same time collected the taxes.

The first four years of our subject's residence in Harrison County he lived with his brother-in-law, Samuel FULLER, who came to the county during the month of April, 1851, taking a claim of about seventy acres of timber land on section 17, in what is now known as Six-mile Grove. In October, 1855, these two gentlemen went to Wright County, Minn., FULLER dying in Minnesota in 1876. Mr. HOUGHTON returned to Harrison County, having been absent less than two months, and settled on the site of his present home, which is section 16, of Cass Township, where he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land to which he has added, until he now has four hundred and eighteen acres. Of this two hundred and thirty-five acres are under the plow, while the remainder is in excellent timber and pasture land.

Success has marked the honest industry of this pioneer who came to the county (which was then scarcely within the pale of civilized life,) possessing only the magnificent sum of fifty cents, and a pair of hands not afraid to work. While living with his brother-in-law he managed to get hold of some calves, and to enter a hundred and twenty acres of land, but having to borrow money of Judge Stephen KING, with which to purchase a yoke of oxen for a breaking team, with which he broke six acres of his own land, and fifteen of an eighty-acre tract which he and FULLER owned together. After returning from Minnesota, he bought another yoke of oxen and commenced opening up a home in what was then the wilds of Harrison County, which was then within the limits of the "far West." In the spring of 1856, he erected a log house 16x18 feet, under the roof of which he lived for fourteen years, then built his present commodious farm house, the main part of which is 16x26 feet, two stories in height, together with an addition 16x36, and one story high.

Politically, our subject affiliates with the Republican party, and during his residence in this county has held the offices of member of Board of Supervisors four years, and Township Trustee and School Treasurer for a period of over twenty-five years.

Mr. and Mrs. HOUGHTON are professors of religion and believers in the faith and teachings of the Latter Day Saints Church.

To the younger man of today, this brief story of one man's life, with its co-incident toil and changes gone through with, by a youth reared amid the culture and beautiful surroundings of a farm home within the Empire State, on down through the attending hardships, found in opening up a country upon which the Red Man of the forests had but just bid a long farewell to, and subsequent labors in putting a large tract of land into a perfect state of cultivation, should teach a lasting moral which is this: That in this country, and with our form of government, under ordinary circumstances, a crown of success, both socially and financially, awaits the young man who starts in life with the determination to win by hard work and honesty.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 747-748-749
Family Researcher: NA
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JOHNSON - Jonas O. JOHNSON, an enterprising farmer and the proprietor of two sawmills, whose residence is on section 15, of Clay Township, came to Harrison County in the month of February, 1873, and settled in Cincinnati, where he bought of J. W. BRITTON a one-half interest in a sawmill, which interest he held until April, 1878, when he sold out, and in July, 1879, he went to Oregon, for the double purpose of making a visit and to find a suitable location. In October of that year he returned to Harrison County, and in December bought back an interest in the sawmill with Mr. BRITTON, with whom he was in partnership until 1881. In 1880 they moved the mill to Washington County, Neb. He sold out there finally and bought a mill in Iowa, in partnership with J. W. BROWNRIGG, on Horseshoe Lake, which they operated until September, 1881, and then removed the mill to a point north, on the Soldier River, in Clay Township. In December, 1881, Mr. BROWNRIGG died, the firm owing some on the property, but our subject paid these debts off, and in June, 1883, traded the mill for one hundred and forty acres of partly improved land. In the autumn of 1885 he bought the mill back again and moved it to his own place, where in May, 1887, it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and is still in operation. His residence was also burned shortly after the mill was destroyed, which necessitated the building of a new house. In December, 1890, he is partnership with W. W. STANSBERRY bought another mill, propelled by a Russell & Co's. traction engine.

Mr. JOHNSON was born in Sweden, near that magnificent city of Stockholm, in 1844, and when three years of age accompanied his parents to America, the family locating in Jefferson County, Iowa. His father was killed on the Ohio River enroute to Iowa. Our subject remained with his mother until thirteen years of age, at which time she died. He then went to live with a brother-in-law, and soon commenced to hustle for himself.

He went to Wayne County, Iowa, and worked on a farm by the month until August 2, 1861, when he enlisted in Company I, Fourth Iowa Infantry, and went South to St. Louis, where he was mustered into service. Among other engagements he was at the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark., March 6,77 and 8, 1862. He was discharged on account of disability, November 20, 1862, and returned to Wayne County, Iowa. In the spring of 1863 he came to Omaha and made two overland trips to Ft. Laramie with ox-trains. December, 1863, he again enlisted as a member of Company A, First Nebraska Cavalry, and operated in Nebraska, Kansa, Wyoming and Dakota, and in the Indian country. He was discharged in the spring of 1866, at which time he went to work steamboating on the Missouri River, following that and rafting until 1873, when he came to Harrison County, where he embarked in the lumbering business.

He was united in marriage, in Holt County, Neb., January 25, 1887, to Miss Matilda F. STANDSBURY, daughter of Henry and Lucy (Long) STANDSBURY By this marriage union two children were born�Henry A. (deceased), and Jonas E.

Mrs. JOHNSON was born in West Virginia, August 8, 1864, and removed with her parents to Harrison County, and from there to Holt County, Neb., where she remained until the date of her marriage. She is a member of the Seventh Day Advent Church.

Mr. JOHNSON belongs to Barnes Post, No. 103, G. A. R., at Mondamin. Politically, at this time he is identified with the Farmers' Alliance party, and has always voted an independent ticket. In 1887 he was elected to the office of Township Clerk, which office he filled several terms. When he came to this county he only possessed $10. He has walked across the State of Iowa, from eat to west, and part of the time slept out of doors, with-out a blanket or other covering to shield him from the elements. Indeed his has been an eventful life; and while he has seen much hardships, he is now surrounded with a comfortable home.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.
Family Researcher: NA
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PURCELL - Marion PURCELL. Thirty-five years ago, and three years after Harrison County was organized, and when our subject was about seventeen years of age, he came to this part of the wild West, and has seen the county developed from one stage to another, has seen the nimble-footed deer, forever frightened from the country by the quicker speed of the screaming locomotive, the modern-day emblem of civilization.

He was born in Putnam County, Ind., May 15, 1839, and is the son of Benjamin and Ella A. (TYLER) PURCELL, natives of Kentucky, and who were the parents of thirteen children: John M., deceased; Marion, Emiline; Thomas, and Sara J., deceased; Nephi, Alma, Nancy A., Matilda, Permillia, David, Josephine and Benjamin.

Our subject lived with his parents on the farm in the Hoosier State, until they exchanged that for the Hawkeye State in 1856. They first settled in Pottawattamie County, where they leased land one year, and then removed to this county. It will be remembered in this connection, that our public school system, in all its perfection, stands out in great contrast, over the common district school, found in Indiana at an early day. As our subject's parents were very poor people, their son was not permitted to receive the liberal education now vouchsafed to almost any farmer boy of to day.

Our subject was married July 8, 1858, to Emiline (BOONE) PURCELL, daughter of Emmet and Betsy P. BOONE, natives of Kentucky, who had a family of seven children: An, Jane, Amanda, Emaline, Samuel, John and Laura. By this marriage union four children were born: Sylvester T., Benjamin C., Columbus M., and Emaline. For his second wife our subject married Miss CRAWFORD, daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Logan CRAWFORD, by which marriage union two sons were born: Oliver R., and Ira M. For his third wife, Mr. PURCELL married Lucy PICKARD, daughter of John PICKARD, a native of New York. By this marriage union three children were born: John, Frank P., and Oscar.

Upon coming to this country, the PURCELL family bought eighty acres of land in Boyer Township, for which they paid $2 per acre. Their first improvements consisted of a "dug-out" covered with rails, hay and dirt, with no floor. It was the first habitation on Willow River, north of Elk Creek. This rude structure was occupied for two years, when a log cabin, 18x20 feet was erected, and provided with a board roof, while the land was fenced with forks and poles. When twenty years of age, our subject's father gave him his time, and it will be understood that it was well improved, (just at that time) for he went back to the Hoosier State, remained one year and a half, and returned with a bride. He rented land of his father, one season, providing himself with another prairie mansion ("sod house") but after one year moved down the Willow, near Magnolia, remained a year, then lived with his father a year, and raised a pair of mules, which he traded for forty acres of land in Magnolia Township. He sold this property and bought an equal amount of wild land near Elk Creek which he improved and lived upon for six years, and then sold and bought the place he now lives upon, consisting of a quarter section. For its size, there is no better found in Harrison County; it has a fine orchard of one hundred trees and plenty of small fruit.

When our subject came to Harrison County it was no unfrequent sight to see large droves of deer and elk; using his own language, "I have counted one hundred and twenty-five deer in one drove, and forty five elk, and I believe that I have killed as many as two hundred deer since I came to Iowa.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.740-741
Family Researcher: NA
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MINOR - Jacob A. MINOR, a farmer living in Cincinnati Township, settled on the farm in the autumn of 1873. He followed work as a section hand for about six years, his family living on the farm, which was rented. In the spring of 1872 he bought eighty acres, upon which they lived until 1885, then sold and bought the farm he now occupies. He has ninety-three acres of improved land. In 1890, he bought eighty-three acres one mile west from his home farm; the last-named he uses as a pasture. He has a fine bearing orchard of three acres and a good farm house and barn.

He was born in Wetzell County, Va., August 11, 1845. At the age of twenty he left home and rented a farm, and remained in that locality until 1869, and then came to Harrison County.

He was married in the county of his nativity in September, 1861, to Miss Sarah A. LONG, the daughter of Samuel and Polly LONG. By this marriage union there were six children born---Jefferson, Alexander L., Jerry, Belle, James and William, all living.

Politically, our subject is a Democrat. Our subject's parents were Alexander and Eva (BROWN) MINOR, both natives of Virginia, who came to Harrison County at the same time our subject did, and remained until their death, the father passing away in 1874, and the mother surviving until 1882. They were both buried in the Calhoun Cemetery, and were both members of the Christian Church. They were the parents of two sons and five daughters, of whom our subject was the youngest.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 744-745
Family Researcher: NA
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MILLS - Francis M. MILLS, one of the representative farmers of Allen Township, living on section 27, accompanied his parents to Harrison County in the month of August, 1868, and located in Lincoln Township. (See sketch of Charles MILLS.) Our subject's father gave him time when nineteen years of age, and he went to work by the month on a farm, and put his earnings into stock and took care of it by working out until 1877, when he went to the Black Hills. After he arrived in that wild country he worked for others for four months and then went into the wood business�buying and selling on his own account. He followed this for about two years, and then went to freighting from Pierre to Sydney, following that until 1880. Then he worked five months on the Northwestern Railroad, freighted another year, and then went to Montana, and hauled ties for the Diamond Railway Company. We next find him on the Yellowstone River, where he worked at railroading for about eight months, and then went to Ft. McGINNIS, where he assisted in constructing a toll road, and subsequently bought a quarter interest in it. He then built a boarding house and took up a ranch, and remained there two years, and then went to Maiden and remained there one year, working in the mines for about five months, and conducted the International Hotel for about four months. He was also at Sturgis City, Rapid City, Buffalo Gap and Chadron.

Our subject was born in the town of Duane, Franklin County, N. Y., and is the son of Charles and Mehitable MILLS, the former a native of Canada and the latter of New York. They reared a family of ten children, born in the following order: Harriet E., Francis M., Walter T., Scuyler J., Mehitable E., Lillie E., Roxy A., Elias E. Eva A. and Charles A.

August 29, 1880, Mr. MILLS was united in marriage to Norah McCRACKEN, the daughter of Daniel and Ann McCRACKEN, natives of Indiana and Missouri, who were the parents of six children, born in the following order: Charles, deceased; Mary A., Isaac, Nora, George H. and Frances J., deceased.

Mr. and Mrs. MILLS are the parents of six children, as follows: Edna M., July 31, 1884; Dennie A., May 6, 1886; Hettie E., February 20, 1888; Flora E., February 15, 1890; and Walter A., July 18, 1891.

Politically our subject in not in full sympathy with either of the great National political parties. He is a member of the Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 749-750
Family Researcher: NA
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PLOTH - Charles PLOTH, a farmer living on section 23, Magnolia Township, first settled on section 27, in 1870, and bought eighty acres of land, fifteen acres of which had been broken, and a small log house erected thereon, in which he lived until 1875, and then sold the place and rented for a year, after which he bought his present place. At the time there were one hundred acres partly improved, and a frame house 16x24 feet, to which he added in 1881, and the same year built a barn 26x40 feet. His farm now consists of three hundred and eighty acres, divided about equally into three places.

When our subject came to Harrison County, it was yet quite new, and there had been but little settlement made along the Willow, so that during these twenty-one years of his residence in this country, he has seen many changes--the wild prairie-land having been transformed into a vast and productive garden spot.

Our subject was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, August 28, 1837, and remained in his good old German home, Strelitz, until he was seventeen years old, and then full of the energy, so well known to the German youth, he worked on the farm by the year, receiving $18 for the year�s work. This he continued for nine long years, until the spring of 1863, when he bid farewell to the Fatherland, and in company with his father�s family, sailed for America. They were six weeks and three days on the ocean, and after landing came direct to Cleveland, Ohio, where our subject worked two months on a farm; worked in a brick-yard three months, and then worked at whatever he could get to do, until the autumn of 1870, when he came to Harrison County, Iowa. When he arrived at Cleveland, he only had $20 but when he came to Harrison County he possessed $2,000, which he had earned working by the month and otherwise. While working in the brick-yard at Cleveland, he not unfrequently worked both day and night.

Our subject was married in Cleveland, Ohio, April 25, 1865, to Miss Caroline MICHAEL, and they are the parents of six children--Mary, Anna, Bertha, Matilda, Mollie and William. Mary, Bertha and Matilda are deceased.

Caroline (MICHAEL) PLOTH, was a native of Mecklenburg, Strelitz, Germany, born September 4, 1842, and came to America with her parents the same time that Mr. PLOTH and his parents came, and she also worked out by the month in Cleveland until she married. She had also worked out in her native land, for the magnificent sum of $12 per year, working for the same parties four years at one time. Her father died in Germany.

The father of our subject, Christian PLOTH, was born in Germany, and came to American and settled at Cleveland, where he worked by the day until he came to Harrison County, Iowa, where he died in 1883. His wife, the mother of our subject, died in the Old Country when Charles was but two years old, and he married again.

Mrs. PLOTH�s father was born and died in Germany. Her mother, Dora (GIESE) MICHAEL, was born in Germany, and died in Harrison County, Iowa, in 1887. Our subject and his wife are both members of the German Lutheran Church at Magnolia, as were the parents on both sides.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 659, 660
Family Researcher: NA
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ARTHUR - Thomas ARTHUR, an Attorney-at-law of Logan, Iowa, was born in St John�s Township, Harrison County, Iowa, July 12, 1860. He is the son of William ARTHUR, a highly respected farmer of Jackson Township, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. His mother�s name before marriage was Ella MCWILLIAMS. Our subject is of a family of eight children, of whom he is the oldest. The children are: Thomas, William T., a resident of Jackson Township; Anna, now Mrs. HALE, of Idaho; Fred, of Jackson Township; Mary B., Eugene L., Edwin and Leontine, at home.

Thomas attended the common schools at Harrison County, as well as the Magnolia High School, and attended the State University at Iowa City two years, graduating from the law department in June, 1881. At the age of seventeen he began teaching school in the country, continuing for two years. After graduating at Iowa City, he was made Principal of the schools at Little Sioux for one year, and in 1883, he was appointed Deputy County Clerk, which position he filled until the fall of 1886, when he was elected County Clerk by a majority of two hundred and eighty, he being the regular nominee on the Republican ticket. At the general election of 1888, he was re-elected by a majority of five hundred and fifty. After leaving the Clerk�s office, he began the active practice of law, which profession he still follows at Logan.

Politically Mr. ARTHUR is identified with the Republican party, and is one of the strong young Republicans of the county. He is a member of the Masonic Order, belonging to Frontier Lodge No. 382, of A.F. & A.M. at Little Sioux as well as Triune Chapter at Missouri Valley. He was born, reared and educated in Harrison County, and to have been elected to the important office of Clerk of the Courts by good majorities for two terms in succession, is a good index of his ability and popularity in his home county.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 660, 661
Family Researcher: NA
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