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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Seventy Five

Esycheek | Kessler | J Jefferson | I DeCou | S DeCou | Greenfield | Hall | L Jefferson | Roden

ESYCHEEK - Joseph ESYCHEEK, of Douglas Township, a resident of section 27, has been a resident of the county twenty years, coming as he did in spring of 1871. He is another example of the opportunities given to a man of industry and frugality in the growing West, where caste is thrown aside to a good degree, and where all men work on an equal footing, and where some fail and others succeed.

When our subject came to the county he went to work as a section hand, on the railroad, which work he followed for four years, and then purchased forty acres of wild land, near Woodbine, paying $480 for the same. There were twelve acres broken upon the place at the time he bought it. He at once broke the balance, built a house and barn, and remained there about five years, and then moved to Mud Creek, where he bought eighty acres of wild land at $7 per acre. He fenced and improved this, when he sold it and bought his present farm. This was also wild land and cost him $11 per acre. Here he built a house 14x18 feet, one story and a half high. He has sixty acres under cultivation.

Our subject was born in Bohemia in 1855, and came from that country when but three months old, landing in Quebec, and lived with his parents until he was sixteen years of age, and then went to work on a farm by the month. He came from Canada direct to Iowa, first stopping in Jones County, from which locality he came to Harrison County.

George ESTCHEEK, father of our subject, had three children � John, Joseph and Anna, all of whom are living. Our subject was married March 23, 1888, to Tony FERICK, daughter of Joseph and Anna FERICK, natives of Bohemia. She was the youngest of a family of five children. Her parents never came to America. The mother died when she was but four years of age. Mr. and Mrs. ESYCHEEK have been blessed by one child � Emma, born October 4, 1890. Mrs. ESYCHEEK was a widow at the time she married our subject, her first husband's name being WYRAK. They had the following children, all of whom are still living � Mary, James and Anna.

Mr. and Mrs. ESYCHEEK are members of the Roman Catholic Church. He commenced life poor, and has always been a hard worker, but like most of the foreigners, who came to the New World, he has succeeded in obtaining a comfortable home.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 320
Family Researcher: NA
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KESSLER - Joseph KESSLER, an uncle of H. C. HARSHBARGER, came to Harrison County in 1858, and bought a piece of land on section 28, of Boyer Township. He was born in Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1825, moved to Spencer County, Ind., in 1839, remained there ten years, and then moved to Mahaska County, Iowa, and from there to Guthrie County, where he remained until he came to this county. He was married while living in Indiana, his wife only living two years, after which he made his home with John HARSHBARGER, his brother-in-law. He sold his farm in Boyer Township in 1867, and went to Lincoln County, Kan., where he died in 1874. During the Civil War was a member of Company C, Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 321
Family Researcher: NA
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JEFFERSON - John W. JEFFERSON, the son of Luke and Mary A. (FARNSWORTH) JEFFERSON, a sketch of whom appears at another place in this book, was born July 17, 1853, in Boyer Township, Harrison County, Iowa, has been a resident of this township all of his life, and remained under the paternal roof until about 1881, but had been working his own farm, which his father gave him when he was eighteen years of age, for some time previous to 1881. His farm is located on section 35, of Boyer Township, and consists of one hundred and sixty acres of well-improved land. In 1881 he built a frame house 16x24 feet, one story and a half high, and one year later made an addition of 14x20 feet, making the whole a fair-sized and comfortable house. He also has good outbuildings and everything shows evidence of being well cared for.

March 1, 1885, he took to himself a companion in the person of Elizabeth DENNIS, of Ringgold County, Iowa, by which union four children have been born; Myrtle A., January 7, 1886; Mary E., July 19, 1887; Mable O., January 17, 1889; and Edith B., February 17, 1891.

Mrs. Jefferson, wife of our subject, is the daughter of Ezekiel M. and Ruth Ann (MARSHALL) DENNIS, with whom she remained until the date of her marriage, she being the sixth child of a family of eleven children. Ezekiel DENNIS was born in Kentucky in 1834, and in 1846 came to Indiana. In 1854 he was married to Ruth Ann MARSHALL, of Warren County, Ind., who was born April 20, 1836, and moved to Warren County, Iowa, in 1855, and from there to Ringgold County.

Politically, our subject believes in the principles of the Republican party.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 321-322
Family Researcher: NA
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DeCOU - Isaac A. DeCOU, a farmer of section 5, Douglas Township, has lived in the county ever since he was twenty-one years old, coming with his parents in 1866. He was born in Simcoe, Norfolk County, Canada, where he remained until thirteen years of age, at which time his parents emigrated to Winneshiek County, Iowa. He remained at home until the spring of 1869 when he removed to his own place on section 5, of Douglas Township, which place he had owned in 1867.

He was married in January, 1869, to Miss Anna T. WHITE, in Boyer Township. By this union one child has been born � Arthur E. Mrs. DeCOU died in Douglas Township October 10, 1873.

Mr. DeCOU was again married September 7, 1876, to Sarah E. PORTER, in Delaware County, N. Y. By this union two children were born � Emily A. and Samuel R.

Politically our subject is a supporter of the Republican party.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 322
Family Researcher: NA
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DeCOU - Samuel DeCOU, came to Harrison County in the autumn of 1864, bought land and returned to his former home in Winneshiek County, Iowa, where he had improved a three hundred and twenty acre farm, coming there from Canada in 1853, and the following June came to Harrison County and settled on section 7, of Douglas Township, where he purchased four hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which there had been built a two-story brick house 24x36 feet. There were about one hundred and thirty-five acres under cultivation, and very fortunately Mr. DeCOU purchased the whole property for $3,750 and remained on that place until the spring of 1885 and then built a residence in Woodbine and moved to town. The first two years he lived in the county he made $4,000, but the next years were not so profitable, owing to the grasshoppper plague, which devastated this country.

Mr DeCOU was born August 12, 1807, making him eighty-fours years old at this writing. His birthplace was London District, Canada. His parents were both born in the United States, but removed to Canada before the birth of our subject, who spent his early years in the Dominion, leaving there in 1853. The father was born in New Jersey and the mother in Maryland.

Mr. DeCOU married Nancy AUSTIN in the month of December, 1829, and as the result of this union, one son and four daughters were born � Mary Ann, born October 17, 1830; Philip A. died in infancy; Rebecca, born January 25, 1833; Elizabeth A., August 19, 1835; and Susan F., September 27, 1837.

Mr. DeCOU's first wife died in Canada, where he was again married, to Elizabeth AUSTIN, and by this marriage five children have been born � Isaac A., born March 15, 1841; William H., February 10, 1844; Emily J., August 20, 1848; John S., August 17, 1851; Albert A., February 1, 1853, died in Harrison County March 9, 1890.

Mary Ann DeCOU married Rev. George CUTHBERTSON, a Presbyterian minister; Rebecca, single, employs her time in teaching at Hamilton, Ontario. Elizabeth A. married Joseph OTIS, and lives in California. Susan F. married Marshall FAIRFIELD, who also lives in California. The remainder of our subject's children are married and live in Harrison County, Iowa.

Mrs. DeCOU was born August 20, 1815, and was the daughter of Phillip and Mary (SLAUGHT) AUSTIN. The father was born in Orange County, N. C., in 1789, and died in Canada in September, 1876. The mother was born in New Jersey, November 1796, and died in Ontario, Canada, in March, 1865.

Mr. and Mrs. DeCOU are acceptable members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having joined in Canada in 1854. Politically our subject votes with the Republican party, but favors a reform.

Upon coming to this country. Mr. DeCOU's nearest trading point was Council Bluffs, as that was the nearest place at which farm produce could be marketed. A few of the necessities of life, could however be purchased at Magnolia, which was then the county seat. In coming from Winneshiek County to Harrison County, our subject drove through, making from one county seat to another, following the main roads diagonally across the State of Iowa, from north-east to south-west over many unbridged streams.

Being now far advanced in life, and living on borrowed time, as he is, our subject has retired from active engagement, and has divided his lands among his children.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 322-323
Family Researcher: NA
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GREENFIELD - Milton H. GREENFIELD, a resident of section 3, of Jefferson Township, came to Harrison County June 19, 1858, and consequently is numbered among Harrison County's earliest settlers. Upon coming to the township the first year he worked for Stephen King, and in May, 1859 caught the Pike's Peak gold fever, and started for that region. He got as far as Fremont, Neb., and soon returned to this county and engaged at work making brick near the town of Jeddo, in company with A. L. STONE. Two hundred thousand brick were burned, which found ready sale at from $7.00 to $10.00 per thousand. In the summer of 1860 he purchased seventy-eight acres of land on section 13, Jefferson Township, upon which his brick kiln was located. That year, in company with Jason Z. HUNT, he burned two kilns of brick, besides working HUNT's farm.

In 1862 was working part of the same place, and some of his own which had been improved, and in August of that year left his crops in the field, hired it taken care of, and enlisted in Company C., Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, wearing the soldier-blue in the service of his country until April, 1863, at which time he received an honorable discharge at Memphis, Tenn., for disability occasioned by measles, erysipelas and chronic diarrhea.

When he left the service he went to Dodge County, Wis., where he remained until October, 1866, and again came West. While in Wisconsin he followed farming and blacksmithing.

Mr. GREENFIELD was born in New York February 29, 1836. His parents were Willard and Susana (HUNT) GREENFIELD, and he is the eldest of a family of five children. In 1858 he started for himself, and came West, as above stated. He was married May 6, 1860, to Elizabeth A. KENNEDY, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (MARSHALL) KENNEDY, who were natives of Ireland, the mother coming to this country in 1821, and the father coming a few years later. Mrs. GREENFIELD was born in Athens County, Ohio, April 13, 1840, and came with her parents to Crawford County, Iowa, November 15, 1854.

Mr. and Mrs. GREENFIELD are the parents of a family of ten children. Charles W., born in 1861, died January 26, 1864, of small pox; Orren H., born April 17, 1863, died January 26, 1864 of small pox, twenty minutes later than his brother; Clarence M., born December 22, 1864; Jessie W., born November 27, 1866, died April 2, 1867; George M., born August 31, 1868, died October 4, 1869; Grace S., born August 23, 1870; Perry E., November 10, 1872; Willard S., August 21, 1875; Asa K., July 12, 1878; Ralph E., July 18, 1882.

John GREENFIELD, the grandfather of our subject, was born in New York, and died there at the age of ninety-seven years. He had been married five times, and left a family of fifteen children, one of whom was Susanna, the mother of our subject, who was married in 1834.

Politically, he affiliates with the Republican party, and in his religious belief is a Free-will Baptist.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 324, 327
Family Researcher: NA
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HALL - Matthew Hall, one among the earliest pioneers of Harrison County, and now a resident of Woodbine, settled on section 30, of what is now Douglas Township, and in Twelve-Mile Grove, during the month of April, 1853, where he bought a claim of one hundred and sixty acres of land, upon which was a rude log cabin. On the 24th of April he commenced to clear off some timber, and succeeded in clearing four acres, which he farmed that year, and upon what he raised from this subsisted the following winter. After two years he built a hewed log house 18x20 feet, in which the family lived for two years, then added a frame kitchen 10x20 feet, in which they lived until 1872, when he built a 16x20 frame upright, one and a half stories high. Our subject's farm now consists of two hundred acres. When he came to the country land was not yet in the market, but he "squatted" on land which in the spring of 1855 he entered, and lived upon the same until the spring of 1881, and then moved to Woodbine, where he purchased a residence, now one of the most desirable places in the town. Having spent many years at hard labor, and the health of his wife not being good, he very wisely removed to town, to take life easier. He now has three farms, all rented to good tenants. Mr. HALL has loaned some money since about 1859, for which he has never asked but ten percent., and now only requires eight per cent., which in these days of Shylocks and "money changers," who have exacted thirty, forty, and even fifty percent. for the use of their money, speaks very much to the honor and character of our subject.

During the hard winter of 1856-7 there were hundreds of deer in and about Twelve-Mile Grove, and it was no trouble for an ordinary dog to run them down and capture them, as these nimble-footed, small-limbed creatures in their flight, would almost invariably break through the sharp crust of the deep snows.

In the autumn of 1855 a party of six men, with a team, were driving hogs to Council Bluffs, and they came to Mr. HALL's in the evening for the purpose of remaining over night. At this time. Mr. HALL was living in the cabin, which was14x16 feet in dimensions, and the family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. HALL, their daughter, and a brother-in-law and sister of Mrs. HALL's, Joseph and Catherine HARRY, and yet they found room to store away these six men, who slept in one bed on the floor. The cabin was provided with a fireplace, built of logs and lined inside with sod, and they put a large "back-log" on before going to bed, and one of the jambs caught fire, but as one of the men had his feet close to the fire it woke him up, thus preventing what might have been a disastrous occurrence.

Mr. HALL early in life made it a rule never to go in debt; when he did not have the money the family practiced self-denial; many times Mr. HALL has gathered red-root leaves, which they used as a substitute for tea and they have browned wheat and dried carrots for coffee.

In the fall of 1857 there was a buffalo came from the south to our subject's place and broke down a gate and commenced feeding at a stack of oats, whereupon Mr. HALL got his rifle, and being only fifty or sixty yards from him, could have killed the animal, but his good wife begged of him not to shoot, as she was afraid he would do no more than to cripple and enrage the buffalo, which would then make a fight, and Mr. HALL, half believing it might be a tame buffalo, belonging to some one in the vicinity, did not shoot; however, it was killed about two miles east of there by George MEFFERD, who was with a party of men who gave it chase. This was the only buffalo ever seen by white men in Harrison County.

To return to the earlier years of our subject, it should be stated that he was born in Northumberland County, England, and at the town of Hexham, on the Tyne, May 1, 1819. His parents were poor people, who made their living by hard work, and our subject remained with them until about twelve years of age, when he went to live with an uncle in Weardale, West Gate, in the county of Durham, England, at whose place he remained four years, on a farm. He then returned to Northumberland County and lived with a family two years, spent six months at his uncle's, and then went to Lead Mill and hauled lead ore from Silver Tongue mine to Healyfield smelt mills. He next went to East Gate, in the county of Durham, and worked at farm labor a year, and the following season worked at Walishwalls for a year, and then went to a place called Riding Barns, where he worked on a farm for three years. The following year he worked at Shotly Bridge, after which he engaged to work in the Consett Iron Works, remaining three years. Here he was horse-keeper and onsetter in a coal mine. His work was performed eighty fathoms under ground. His next work was firing a stationary engine at a blast furnace at these mines, remaining one year, then fired a locomotive on the Stockton and Darlington railroad one year, after which he went to firing on the Great Western Railroad, at the town of Swindon. This road was a seven-foot gauge, and by faithfully performing his work he was promoted to be engineer, and remained with the company until January 23, 1851, when he sailed for America on the vessel "George W. Burns," and was ten weeks making the voyage to New Orleans, landing in that city March 10. After remaining there a few days he took a steamboat for Council Bluffs (at that time know as Kanesville). Soon after his arrival he bought a claim near Cresent City, on the little Pigeon. On this claim stood a log cabin, and there had been some breaking done. He bought two yoke of steers and two cows, and paid $110 for the claim of eighty acres. After purchasing this claim and stock his money was exhausted, and the first dollar he received in this country was for a book he sold. He had no wagon, but bought a sled for twenty-five cents, and loaned it to a neighbor to go to mill with, and he broke one of the runners, when our subject was again without a vehicle. So he and his neighbor, Robert KIRKWOOD, a Scotchman, who also was without a wagon, took a crosscut saw and sawed eight wheels from off a walnut tree, then made a pair of trucks for each of them, and by attaching the two "fearfully and wonderfully made" parts, two wagons were completed, one of which was the first wagon Mr. HALL ever owned, and was perhaps as strong, as well as odd looking, as anything of the kind ever used in the land of Egypt. But he thought himself rich in having such a conveyance.

The oxen Mr. HALL owned were not broken in a first-class manner, and when he went to plow one would lie down, which required an application of the ironwood whip in order to facilitate the agricultural pursuits. Mr. HALL remained on this claim from May, 1851, until 1853, when he sold his claim for $80, and then came to Harrison County.

Mr. HALL was united in marriage March 25, 1847, at New Castle, Northumberland County, England, to Miss Jane BELL, by whom one child, Mary J., was born March 3, 1848.

Mrs. HALL died in England July 27, 1849, and December 29, 1850, our subject was married to Elizabeth A. BOUSTEAD, who died February 12, 1883.

Mr. HALL was married to his present wife, Ellen WHITE, April 26, 1883. She was born in Houghton, Hampshire, England, March 13, 1837. She spent most of her life in Italy, France, Germany and London, coming to this country in 1872, and residing in Council Bluffs until the date of her marriage to Mr. HALL.

In his religious belief our subject is in full sympathy with the Latter Day Saints Church, uniting with the same in England in 1847, but has never believed in polygamy as practiced by the Utah Mormons.

Mrs. HALL united with this church November 26, 1887. Her father, Richard WHITE, was born in England, and died at Newberry, Berkshire County, December 17, 1871, at the advanced age of eighty-two years. Her mother, Elizabeth (BEVIS) WHITE, died in England March 11, 1867, at the age of sixty-three years.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 327-329
Family Researcher: NA
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JEFFERSON - Luke JEFFERSON was a member of the vanguard of civilization, who kindled his camp fire and set his stakes to remain in Harrison County, May 4, 1853, settling at Twelve-Mile Grove, Douglas Township; and by reason of his long residence his earlier and later prominence in the county is here given space for a notice concerning himself and family.

He was born June 24, 1827, in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, and when five years of age, with his parents, emigrated to America, landing in New York harbor in March, 1832, and went to Troy, remained two years and in 1834 removed to Portage County, Ohio, where they lived three years and then removed to Marion County, of that State, where the father died after arriving there.

Our subject remained with his mother until September 2, 1852, when they started for Iowa but halted in Macon County, Ill., and wintered there, coming on to Iowa in the spring. They made the journey from Ohio, crossing the great prairie States, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa with teams. While wintering in Illinois he renewed the acquaintance of Miss Mary A. FARNSWORTH with whom he had been acquainted in the Buckeye State, and believing that he would surely be in need of a faithful companion in the far west, to which point he was enroute, he made a certain practical proposition to her by which she became his wife, the marriage ceremony being performed September 16, 1852, and as this good helpmate will necessarily be closely connected with this sketch and all that pertains to it we will pause here to introduce the reader to their family of seven children -- John W., born July 17, 1853; Olive L., March 29, 1855; Phoebe, February 5, 1857; Thomas F., August 13, 1859; Mary H. C., March 31, 1861; Samuel L., March 23, 1863; Emma M., March 31, 1865; Emma died in infancy.

Mrs. JEFFERSON was a native of Ohio, born in Marion County, September 2, 1831, and twenty years later accompanied her parents to Macon County, Ill., where, as above stated, she married Mr. JEFFERSON and was true and faithful to her sacred vows until she died December 31, 1882.

Upon coming to this county our subject settled on a place on section 31, Douglas Township, the land was, however not yet in the market, but he claimed eighty acres upon which he lived until 1855, when he removed to the southeast quarter of section 26, of Boyer Township, which he had previously entered. On section 31, he had broken twenty acres and built a log cabin or rather moved it to that spot, as it was one that had been rudely constructed by the Mormons. On section 26, he built a frame building, designed for a stable eventually, but lived in it one summer while he was building his present residence which is a two-story frame house 30x34 feet, with a kitchen and wood-house added. The other buildings of the place consist of barns, graneries, corncribs, etc. His farm consists of three hundred and sixty acres in one body where he lives, and three hundred and fifty-three acres in Douglas Township. His farm with its substantial improvements and good location makes it among the desirable places in the county.

When Mr. Jefferson came to the county he was a poor man and had but one team and a cow which he bought in the Eastern part of Iowa and if the reader should visit his broad acres of to-day with all their charming surroundings he would know for a truth that his has been a life full of hard labor and good management. Politically Mr. Jefferson casts his vote with the Republican party.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 333-334
Family Researcher: NA
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RODEN - William T. RODEN, of St. John's Township, has been a resident of the county since 1868, and very naturally finds space for a biographical notice in this connection. The history of a county, State or nation is but the personal history of individuals, working single-handed, or co-operating together.

He was born, May 17, 1840, in Mississippi, and was the oldest of a family of four children, born to Felix G. and Elizabeth (RUSSIAN) RODEN, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Mississippi. Their children's names were William T., James G., (deceased); John, (deceased) and Nancy, now living in Oregon. Our subject's father's family moved from Mississippi, halting a while in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas and in 1854, emigrated to Siskiyou County, Cal., where the father followed farming, mining and stock-raising. In 1864, our subject went to Nevada, remained two years, then went to Montana, stayed three years and in 1868, located in this county. He now owns six hundred acres of land in this county, four hundred of which is under cultivation and all provided with a good fence. He has a spacious barn, costing $1,800, and for the accommodation of his growing stock of all kinds, he has provided his place with a complete system of water works, at an outlay of over $300.

When Mr. RODEN came to the county, he worked on the railroad for two years at $50 per month. We next find him on his farm, with nothing about him, except a team, harness and wagon and two cows. But by perseverance, hard work, and the exercise of good judgment, he has surrounded himself with a charming home, and is in the possession of one of Harrison county's most valuable farms, all of which has been made by his own efforts.

Mr. RODEN was united in marriage, April 22, 1869, to Miss Sarah KIRKLAND, the daughter of Samuel and Martha (HEMPHILL) KIRKLAND, both natives of the Buckeye State. Our subject and his wife's home has been blessed by nine children � Louis J., born April 8, 1870; Charles E., August 22, 1872; Royal G., October 29, 1874; Maud I., March 5, 1877; Felix, February 22, 1879; John Walter, March 28, 1881; Mable B., August 12, 1883; William A., April 13, 1886 and Bessie H. March 14, 1889.

Politically, our subject believes in the principles and general administration of the Democratic party.

In addition to his farm business, he is also in partnership with Frank ZAHNER in the stock business, buying and shipping live stock. During the past year, they shipped one hundred and six car loads, or 7,274 hogs and one hundred car loads of cattle.

Let his children and children's children look over the history of Harrison County and see who were the successful business men in agriculture and in trade and they will find in nine cases out of ten it is such men as our subject who started with no means, save a pair of willing hands and an eye to business, and invested properly after they had earned money. They are usually men endowed with a public spirit and business enterprise.

Louis J., the oldest child, taught his first term of school in the winter of 1891-92, in the Mill Creek District. He attended the Missouri Valley High School three years and one term at the "Woodbine Normal."

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 331-332
Family Researcher: NA
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