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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Seventy Seven

Ervin | Cowan | Schriver | Kemmish | Hoyer | Norman | O Copeland | F Copeland | Pitts

ERVIN - Edwin ERVIN, came to Harrison County, June 22, 1856, and located on section 36, of Jefferson Township, where he purchased two hundred and forty acres of land, upon which he lived until the spring of 1862, and then moved to his present place on section 35.

Mr. ERVIN was born in Washington County, Ind., May 4, 1824. His parents were Robert and Isabella (McNIGHT) ERVIN, who reared a family of ten children, our subject being the fourth. The father was a farmer, and died in Indiana April 12, 1866. His birthplace was in Kentucky, the date being April 25, 1797. His wife is also a native of Kentucky, born April 28, 1797, and died in Indiana.

Our subject remained at home until eighteen years of age, when he started out in life for himself. He worked out by the month, chopping wood and clearing up timber land, for which he received $7.00 per month. In 1845 he purchased eighty acres of land in Howard County, Ind., which he sold the following spring, and in June of that year enlisted in the Unites States Army as a Mexican soldier, serving until the spring of 1847, when he was discharged in Mattimaurice, Mexico, and then returned home, purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Howard County, which later on he sold, and purchased a farm in Cass County, in the State of Indiana, which he sold in the spring of 1856, and came to Harrison County, Iowa. He came overland with two horse teams and four yoke of oxen. Notwithstanding this journey was made over trackless prairies and unbridged streams, it will always be remembered by our subject as one of the most enjoyable trips he ever made. Within his "Prairie Schooner" might have been seen a happy family, wending their way Westward, like the Star of Empire, in search of a new home in the West.

Our subject was united in marriage February 1, 1849, to Catharine (RIDER) RIGGLE, daughter of David and Mary Ann RIGGLE. She was born in Ohio, November 20, 1829, and is the youngest child of a family of fourteen children, twelve of whom grew to manhood and womanhood.

Mr. and Mrs. ERVIN are the parents of three children � Mary E., born April 2, 1850; William E., December 2, 1855. Died June 16, 1858; and an infant son, born May 14, 1861, died in infancy.

Politically, Mr. ERVIN affiliates with the Republican party. He stands high in the community in which he has resided for so many years.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 361-362
Family Researcher: NA
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COWAN - Thomas V. COWAN, came to Harrison County in November, 1877, and settled on his present farm, which is situated on section 25, of Jefferson Township, having purchased the place the autumn previous. Of his earlier life it should be stated that he was born in Washington Co., Pa., May 28, 1821, the son of George and Jane (CONN) COWAN, and is the third child of a family composed of thirteen children, of whom ten are living. The father died in Hancock County, W. Va., in September, 1860, having lived there since 1841 with his family.

When our subject was fourteen years of age his father moved to Ohio and engaged at work in a woolen factory, as did our subject, who labored in that capacity at Steubenville for eight years. In 1841 the father went to Virginia, but our subject remained at Steubenville until 1843, at which time he went to Pennsylvania. In 1856 he came to Poweshiek County, Iowa, and engaged at wagon-making at Brownsville, and there remained for about fifteen years, when he engaged at farming until coming to Harrison County.

Perhaps the most important event in this man's life occurred June 17, 1845, at which time he married Hannah Jane MATCHET, a native of Washington County, Pa., born March 1, 1823. She is the eighth child in a family of eleven children. Mr. and Mrs. COWAN are the parents of ten children: Joseph M., Mary A., George M., John J., Edward G., Jennie M., Charles R., Sadie E., Frank L. and Willie.

Our subject embarked in life for himself at the age of twenty, having spent some time in a factory and at the harness-maker's trade, which he did not complete, however, but after he was of age he learned the wagon-maker's trade in Northern Pennsylvania. All of the worldly goods possessed by our subject have been won by hard work, perseverance and economy, and as a reward for his labors, he is now comfortably situated in the midst of pleasant home surroundings. Politically he votes independent.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.366
Family Researcher: NA
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SCHRIVER - Elmer E. SCHRIVER, a representative farmer of Union Township, and a resident of section 36, came to this county March 4, 1884, and commenced working land for his father, as he had not yet reached his majority. He planted and cultivated eighty acres of corn, and worked two years in this way, batching it, after which he rented land on shares. Subsequently his father bought the farm on which Elmer E. now lives paying $27 per acre for the same. His father paid $12,000 on the land, and made a present of the same to his son. There were sixty acres in this farm, which was under cultivation, with a fair house and orchard on the place. Among the improvements which our subject has put upon the place, may be mentioned the building of a barn 24 x 26 feet, with outbuildings and a well 24 feet deep, and a new fence around the farm.

Our subject was born in Nobles County, Ohio, May 27, 1864, and is the son of William and Martha SCHRIVER, who had a family of six children, as follows: Andrew J., Elmer E., Jennie, Susan M., Elizabeth and Mary. The father and mother were natives of the Buckeye State. Elmer E. remained at home until coming to Iowa. Subsequent to his coming West, however, his parents removed to Benton County, Iowa.

Mr. SCHRIVER was married, March 5, 1889, to Effie V. NORMAN, daughter of James and Rebecca NORMAN, who was the fourth child in her father's family. Mr. and Mrs. SCHRIVER are the parents of two children: William J. born July 25, 1890; and Noah, born October 22, 1891.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 366-367
Family Researcher: NA
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KEMMISH - Peter Charles KEMMISH, a farmer residing in Union Township came to the county in March, 1870, and located at Reeder's Mills, commonly called "Hard Scratch," where he followed the wheelwright's trade for three years, at the end of which time he moved to the site of his present home, which he purchased in 1870. His first tract consisted of eighty acres, but he now owns three hundred and twenty acres, all of which is surrounded by a hog-tight fence. His first residence was built of mostly native timber, and was 14 x 16 feet. This was built in the spring of 1872, and several additions have been made, until he now has a house the upright of which is two stories high 17 x 36 feet with an addition 16 x 24 feet.

Our subject was born in Portsmouth, England, February 8, 1844. He is the son of Charles and Elizabeth (WILKIE) KEMMISH. The father was a native of England as was also the mother. The family cam to America in the winter of 1853, and landed at New Orleans, from which point they came by boat to Keokuk, Iowa, and from there they emigrated with ox-teams to Salt Lake, Utah, where they remained three years, then removed ninety miles South, where they stopped until the spring of 1859. They then started overland by ox-teams for the states, making believe they were going to settle at Pravo, and when they got there said they were going to another place, and so on until they made good their escape. They came by the way of St. Joseph to Fremont County, Iowa, where they remained three years and moved to Pacific City, in Mills County, and in 1862, to a point about five miles east of Council Bluffs, where they halted one year, then moved into Council Bluffs, where they operated the "Farmers Inn" until three months before coming to Harrison county.

Our subject started for himself in the autumn of 1864, when he began working by the day, following this for six months, in Council Bluffs, after which he spent two and a half years in learning the wagon-maker's trade, receiving $7.50 per week for the first six months. After having mastered his trade he started a shop of his own at Tabor, Fremont County, which he ran for three years, afterward removing to Reeder's Mills as above related.

He was married near Council Bluffs, November 20, 1864, to Susan LIDGETT, a native of England, born June 14, 1846, the daughter of Nathan and Mary Ann (CROSLEY) LIDGETT, and is the eighth child of a family of nine children. Her people came to America in 1850, and died in Mills County, Iowa. The home of our subject and wife has been blessed by the advent of seven children, all of whom are living, except one who died in infancy. The children's names are as follows: Charles W., Annie M., James F., Nathan A., Curtis O., George B. and Sadie G.

Upon leaving home our subject had the sum of $40 in money, and when he was married had a very limited amount of household furniture and also $5 in cash. He has always been a hard working honorable man and reasonably prosperous. Both he and his wife are members of the Latter Day Saints church. Mr. KEMMISH was the oldest son in his father's family, and his father being in ill health, followed basket-making for a livelihood. Thus many of the family cares devolved upon the oldest son and his mother. He and his father bought grain of the Mormons, near Salt Lake, and hauled it by night time, and sold it to the Government soldiers, making a profit of about $1 per bushel. They really had to smuggle the grain through as Brigham Young and his followers were not in full sympathy with the government army. At this time our subject was a lad of but fourteen summers, hence it will be seen, that his has been a life of care, toil, and hardship.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 367-368
Family Researcher: Neil Bardsley (neil.bardsley@gmail.com)
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HOYER - Aaron D. HOYER, of section 8, Douglas Township, has been a resident of the county since May, 1878, when he bought a piece of wild land consisting of five hundred and sixty acres, of which he sold four hundred acres, first building a frame house 16 x 28 feet, with a basement and cellar the same size as the house. From year to year he has improved every opportunity of making a valuable home, which he now possesses. Our subject was born in Berks County, Pa., May 16, 1835. Like most of the boys reared in the old Keystone State, he remained under the paternal roof, assisted his parents in the country not free from stones and stumps, until he was twenty-eight years of age. He was a canal boatman during a greater portion of his young manhood, employed on the Schuylkill navigation.

Upon the same day which President Lincoln sent forth the Emancipation Proclamation (January 3, 1863), he was married to Miss Amelia F. BAUMANN, of Berks County, Pa., and of the city of Reading. They are the parents of six children, as follows: Frank M., Louis B., Ferdinand B., Ernest J., Bertha H. and Millie J., all of whom were born in Reading, Pa.

After Mr. HOYER'S marriage he was engaged in the hotel business, which he followed until he came to Harrison County, Iowa. His place of business was Reading, Pa. Prior to his marriage he was engaged in steamboating for a time, from Philadelphia to Georgetown, making three trips a week. During the spring of 1862 he made three trips from Philadelphia to Washington, D. C., his boat being loaded with gas coal, and the rebels had the Potomac River blockaded at two points, and the blockade had to be run to unload their cargo. After making these three trips the boat was chartered by the Government, and he carried stores for the army, coming back to Reading the fall of 1863.

Mrs. HOYER was born in the State of Baden, Germany, September 17, 1845, and emigrated with her parents to Reading, Pa., where she grew to womanhood.

Our subject is a member of the Masonic order, belonging to Charter Oak Lodge No. 401, at Woodbine, Iowa.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 368-369
Family Researcher: NA
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NORMAN - James H. NORMAN, of section 35, of Union Township, has been a resident of Harrison County since March 18, 1871, when he rented a piece of land near Logan, where he remained for two years, and then bought sixty acres of railroad land, for which he paid $7 per acre. It was wild prairie, and he at once broke forty acres of it, and built a story and a half house 16 x 24 feet, and enclosed the whole sixty-acre tract with a wire fence; also set out an orchard, erected stables and outbuildings, and farmed the place for two years. One season he sowed thirty-five acres of wheat, and did not reap a single bushel, all being destroyed by grasshoppers. This was a great calamity to Mr. Norman, as he had to sell his place and again become a renter of other men's land, which he continued for seven years. He then bought wild land, which he improved, and upon which he now lives. The same being a well-improved farm, provided with a one-story house 22 x 32 feet. Adjacent to the house may be seen a fine bearing apple orchard of one hundred and twenty-five trees, with a great abundance of small fruit, all giving the place the appearance of an orderly, well-kept home.

Our subject hails from the Buckeye State, and was born in Muskingum County, Ohio, June 24, 1827, and lived there until he was thirteen years old, then with his brother went to Carroll County, Ind., remained there a short time, and then went to Southern Indiana, working at whatever he could get to do so long as it was honorable.

After a seven-years' residence in Indiana he went back to Ohio and worked until 1851, and in 1852 came back to Carroll County, Ind., again, where he remained until the spring of 1854, and then came to Adams County, Iowa, remained a week, and went to Illinois, where he worked by the month. He then engaged at farming and fishing with a seine, which business he followed for fourteen years, and then came to Harrison County, as above related.

Our subject was married during the month of November, 1851, to Jamima DEAN, daughter of Elijah and Nancy DEAN, natives of Ohio. By this marriage one child was born, and two years after the marriage the wife died. Our subject was again married August 31, 1856, to Rebecca WILLIAMS, daughter of John and Sarah WILLIAMS, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Pennsylvania. They had a family of eight children, of whom our subject's wife was the youngest, Benjamin Squire, Sarah J., John and Rebecca, and three deceased. The names of our subject's children are: Sarah E., Anna Eliza (deceased), Lillie J. (deceased), George and Effie. Clarence Tucker, a grandchild of our subject came to live with them in 1891.

Politically, Mr. Norman is a supporter of the Republican party, and in religious matters a Methodist Episcopal.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 366-367
Family Researcher: NA
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COPELAND - Oliver H. P. COPELAND, was born in Indiana, in October 1859, and accompanied his father, Wickliffe B. , to Harrison County in 1852. He was married in October 1873 to Emma DOVE, and they are the parents of one child � Myrtle, whose mother died in September 1879. In December 1887 Mr. COPELAND married Delila LEWIS, by whom one child was born � Mabel. Oliver P., resides on the same farm with his father and attends to the carrying on of the old homestead.

V. S. COPELAND, second son of W. B. COPELAND was born in Putnam County, Ind., February 23, 1850, and accompanied his parents to Harrison County in 1852. In 1870, in company with his brother, F. J. COPELAND, he purchased a farm in Union Township. February 4, 1879, he was married to Lillie V. BROWNELL, daughter of Charles BROWNELL, of Rockford, Ill. By this union three children were born: Ida May, Charles W., and Jane. In 1882 he sold his farm and engaged in the furniture business at Logan. In 1884 the building and entire stock of goods were burned. He then erected the building now occupied by the Observer office, and resumed the furniture trade, which he closed out in 1887 and moved to a farm in Delaware County, Iowa, and is now farming in Beadle County, S. Dak.

Catherine S. COPELAND, only living daughter of W. B. COPELAND, was born in Harrison County, Iowa, September 18, 1853. She attended the Logan schools, taught school about a year and in 1878 married A. J. DAVIDSON, a printer by trade and has since then followed the meanderings of her husband's travels over most of the Western States.

James H. COPELAND, fourth son of W. B. COPELAND, was born in Harrison County, Iowa, December 31, 1857. He attended the Logan public schools, until sixteen years of age, when he clerked in the store of P. J. RUDESILL, for four years. He then followed teaching for two years, after which he went to San Francisco, Cal. remained one year and then married Alice WILLIAMS. After returning from California he worked as car accountant in the Chicago & Northwestern railway offices at Missouri Valley. He resigned that position and moved to a farm near Chadron, Neb., where he has since resided. Mr. and Mrs. COPELAND are the parents of two children � Belle and Earl P.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.371
Family Researcher: NA
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COPELAND - Flavious Josephus COPELAND, a resident of Logan, Iowa, came with his parents to Harrison County, Iowa, in 1852.

He was born in Putnam County, Ind., October, 24, 1847, passing his early years at home with his parents attending the district school and assisting his father until 1864, when he left his father's home. He taught one term of school after which he attended the Western College at Glenwood, Iowa, now known as Glenwood Seminary, one year, and then attended a select school one year, and began teaching; he followed this, summer and winter, until 1876, when he had taught twenty-three terms. He was married July 1, 1874, to Ida S. STEPHENS, a native of New York, born 1853.

Mr. and Mrs. COPELAND are the parents of eight children as follows: Ada B., Jennie L., Tennie A., Nellie L., Grace G., Frank B., Tillie Pearl, and Josephine S., all born in Harrison County, Iowa.

Politically, Mr. COPELAND is a member of the Republican party and in religious matters is a Methodist.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.371-372
Family Researcher: NA
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PITTS - Alexander J. PITTS, a farmer, whose well-tilled lands may be found on section 11, Douglas Township, has been a resident of Harrison County two decades, coming as he did in the spring of 1871, and purchasing two hundred and forty acres of wild land, which had never felt the keen edge of the plowshare until his coming and laying bare its virgin sod. The first year he built a small frame house in which he lived that summer, and then constructed a barn which he used for residence purposes for two years, at the end of which time he built the house in which he now lives, the same being 30 x 34 feet on the ground, by fourteen feet in height. His present farm contains a half section of land, provided with a good well-cared for tenant house.

When he first came to the county there were but two houses between his place and Dunlap, one of these being a "dug-out". There were thirty-two votes cast in Douglas Township at the fall election after he came. Our subject was born in that banner county of the Empire State � Orange County, N. Y., June 3, 1819, which makes him seventy-two years of age at this writing. He was left an orphan, both parents dying by the time he was eleven years old, and from this time on he knew what it was to battle in life, unaided or cheered by the council of a kind father and a loving mother. He worked on a farm for his board and clothes for five years, for the privilege of going to school a few weeks each winter. Becoming convinced at the end of that period that life had more in store for him than simply the servitude of a slave, and believing in the theory that a skilled mechanic could always command better wages than a day laborer, he learned the blacksmith's trade. The first year he received $20, out of which he had to clothe himself. They required him to remain five years in order to learn the trade which is three times the present apprenticeship for such a trade. He was paid the following sums, including his board, for the respective years, $20, $30, $40, $80, and the fifth year, $200. He has followed blacksmithing nearly all of his life and operated a shop on his farm in Douglas Township up to 1881.

During the war he was engaged at shipbuilding in New York, for which he received large pay, the same placing him in independent circumstances. After the close of the war he returned to his old home in Orange County and purchased a sixty-acre farm, which after seven years, he sold, doubling his money. The cattle with which the farm was stocked, brought as high as $100 per head. After the disposition of this property he came to Iowa.

Miss Esther GARVEN, of Orange County, N.Y., became his wife August 26, 1840. They are the parents of eleven children: James G., Stevenson, Clement D., Eli W., Sarah G., Francis A., Rosa L., George C., Emeline D., Charles V. W., and Eugene. Stevenson, Francis, Rosa, George, and Clement are deceased.

Esther (GARVEN) PITTS, wife of our subject, is a native of Ireland, born April 15, 1822. When twelve years of age, in coming with her mother, she came to Orange County, N.Y.,where she remained until the time of her marriage.

To return to more personal matters concerning the subject of our sketch, it should be stated that politically he is a Republican, and voted for William Henry HARRISON, as well as for all the Republican Presidents, including the grandson of "Old Tippecanoe," Benjamin HARRISON, now President of the United States.

Mr. and Mrs. PITTS are both members in good standing and zealous workers in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Eli W., fourth son of our subject, enlisted in Company D, Sixty-ninth New York Infantry in 1861, and was shot in the left leg, causing the same to be amputated above the knee. In consequence of which he was in the hospital at Baltimore for one year and then returned to New York, and from there accompanied his parents to Iowa. He met with a railroad accident which caused the amputation of his other leg, which terminated in his death at the Soldier's Home, at Dayton, Ohio. Eddy, grandson of our subject, a bright boy of thirteen summers, born in December, 1878, and a son of Eugene PITTS, lives with his grandfather.

In conversation with this man now living on borrowed time (having passed his three-score years and ten) and listening to him while he recounts the events of his checkered life, fraught with so many vicissitudes, disappointments and joys, and learning of the sacrifice he and his good wife were called upon to make, in sending forth their son to do battle in defense of our country, we cannot but feel that his pathway has not always been by the side of still waters and yet he has met life with all of its changing scenes only as a true manhood can.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.372-373
Family Researcher: NA
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