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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Eighty One

Irvin | Gunnette | Dray | Fitzgibbon | Fagan | Van Slyke | Chaffee

IRVIN- Frank M. IRVIN, a farmer residing on section 17, Union Township, has been a resident of Harrison County since April 20, 1863, and will form the subject of this biographical notice.

He was born in Alabama on January 3, 1887 [as printed in bio], and is the son of William and Martha (ATWOOD) IRVIN, the former a native of Virginia and the latter a native of Georgia. Their children were as follows: Milton V., Sylvanus H., deceased; Ansel W., deceased; Addison M., deceased; Elizabeth P., deceased; Isaiah C., deceased; Mary T., Frank M., and Harriet A. Our subject's father died when he was about ten years of age, his mother having died three years prior to that time. After the death of his father, he went to learn the carriagemaker's trade, with Sarven Brothers, with whom he remained four years. He then worked at his trade two years elsewhere, after which he commenced to work at his trade for himself, and followed this business until the black war-cloud of the Rebellion darkened the peaceful horizon. When the mutterings of Civil War shook the foundations of the great Republic, he suspended business and came to Chicago, where he remained one year, and then went to Rock Island, where he worked at his trade eight months. From that point he went to Council Bluffs, but shortly afterwards came to Harrison County.

One of the most important events of this man's life occurred December 2, 1867, when be was united in marriage to Amanda V. DICKINSON, the daughter of Richard and Saphrona DICKINSON, natives of Kentucky and Ohio, respectively. They were the parents of four children: William H., James W., Amanda V., Isaiah H. Mr. and Mrs. IRVIN are the parents of one child, Saphrona, born September 22, 1868.

Mr. and Mrs. IRVIN are both acceptable members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, belonging at Harris Grove, where they assisted in erecting a new church in 1890.

Upon coming to Harrison County, our subject worked at the carpenter's trade, by the month, for about four years. When he came here he did not have enough money to pay his lodging over night, but by "shoving the jack plane" early and late, he earned a span of colts, which he traded to William TOWNSEND for ninety-three acres of land in St. John's Township, paying $4 per acre. He gave the colts and $50 in cash for the land. He made substantial improvements on this place, including good buildings and a rail fence, which he mauled out himself, from native timber cut upon a ten-acre lot in Calhoun Township. He remained upon this place ten years, sold out and bought the place he now occupies, which then consisted of one hundred and forty-five acres of wild land. This he improved, provided good buildings and an orchard of four hundred trees.

In 1864 he enlisted from LaGrange Township, as a member of the Third Iowa Battery, and went to Little Rock, Ark. He was in the service about fourteen months, but was in no regular engagements, and received an honorable discharge.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.830-831
Family Researcher: NA
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GUNNETTE - Albert GUNNETTE, whose farm is situated on section 26, of Union Township, came to Harrison County in the summer of 1874 with his mother, who was a widow. He lived with Samuel WOOD until fourteen years of age, when he hired out to work by the month on a farm, and three years later went to farming on his own account, receiving at that time $133 from his father's estate. In the fall of that year our subject bought the farm on which he now lives, paying, $25 per acre for the same.

Our subject was born in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, March 10, 1868, and moved with his parents to Michigan, where his parents died when he was about three years old. His father's family consisted of ten children, three of whom are now living, and are as follows: John M., Minnie M., and Albert.

Our subject was married January 23, 1890, to Nellie B. CHILDS, daughter of A.J. and Fannie CHILDS, who had four children, of whom our subject's wife was the oldest. These children were as follows: Vinnie, Eliza, Nellie and Jesse. The parents were natives of Indiana.

Mr. And Mrs. GUNNETTE are the parents of one child�Vernie A., born January 3, 1890.

Politically, our subject affiliates with the People's party.

Being left an orphan boy at the tender age of three years, and having to face the cold world as our subject did, he is entitled to much credit; having faced adversity manfully as he has, he can now enter into the enjoyment of his home circle with a right hearty good will.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp.830-831
Family Researcher: NA
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DRAY - Thomas DRAY, a farmer living on section 36, of Cincinnati Township, came to Harrison County in the spring of 1871, and first settled in St. John's Township, where he rented land for five years, and then bought one hundred and fifteen acres on section 6, of St. John' Township. There had been fifteen acres of breaking done, and a small frame house erected and with some additions and improvements, this served as a residence until August 1891, when he moved to his present place, having a good frame house and other substantial improvements.

Our subject was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, February 7, 1838. When twelve years old his parents moved to Allen County, Ohio, and he remained with them until he was twenty-two years of age. Then farmed on his own account and was in a saw-mill a short time, remaining on the farm and in the mill up to 1871, when he came to Harrison County.

He was united in marriage, October 18, 1860, in Hancock County, Ohio, to Miss Mary S. HAMILTON, by whom ten children have been born�John R., born August 8, 1861; Andrew, October 17, 1862; Samuel, September 28, 1864; Alvah, July 26, 1866; Emma, July 26, 1868; Nancy October 23, 1869; Rebecca, September 8, 1871; Nettie D., February 26, 1874; Nora M., May 24, 1876; Amanda J., August 19, 1879. Rebecca died April 2, 1872, Amanda, August 22, 1885.

Mary S. (HAMILTON) DRAY was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, February 3, 1840, and moved with her parents when a child to Hancock County, where she remained with her parents until the date of her marriage.

Our subject's father was Robert DRAY. He was also a native of the Buckeye State, born about 1793, and died in Allen County, Ohio, in April 1867. His wife, the mother of our subject, was Rebecca (BATTLES) DRAY, who was born in Ohio in 1800. And still lives on the old homestead in Allen County. Mr. and Mrs. Robert DRAY were the parents of twelve children, our subject being the youngest. His mother was a member of the Christian Church.

Mrs. DRAY'S father was John HAMILTON, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1807, and when a young man came to Ohio. He had learned the blacksmith's trade before leaving the Keystone State. He died in Hancock County in 1877. His wife's maiden name was Elizabeth SHAW, who was born in Ohio in 1814, and remained here until the date of her marriage, and is now living in Hancock County, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. HAMILTON were the parents of eleven children, Mrs. DRAY being the third child. The parents were members of the Presbyterian Church, and were devoted exemplary Christians.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 742-743
Family Researcher: NA
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FITZGIBBON - Michael FITZGIBBON, a successful farmer living on section 24, of Calhoun Township, came to Harrison County in the month of March, 1837, and settled on his present place, which he bought from the heirs of William McDONALD. This place consists of one hundred and sixty acres, now all well improved. He built a house in the winter of 1886-87, which is 14x26 feet, and everything about the place gives evidence of thrift and good management.

Mr. FITZGIBBON was born in the County of Limerick, Ireland, about 1846, and at the age of eleven years was left an orphan, his mother dying when he was ten years of age and his father a year later, after which he worked out receiving the handsome sum of twenty-four shillings a year, and followed this until he came to America, in 1871, never receiving higher than $40 per year. When twenty-four years of age he bid farewell to old Erin, took boat for America, landed in Castle Garden, and immediately went to Melrose, Mass., where he worked six weeks at $1.75 per day, which, to him, seemed big money. After that he came to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, by rail. His elder brother was living there at the time, and he worked in that section at $12 per month for about a year, and then went to work on the Northwestern Railroad as a section hand, continuing this for three years, receiving from $1.25 to $1.50 per day, from which he managed to lay by about $20 per month. He then worked for his brother a year, bought him a team and commenced farming for himself on rented land until he came to Harrison County. He came to America with no means, but has been prospered reasonably well in this country.

January 9, 1878, our subject was married to Mary SENNETT, a native of Iowa, born June 26, 1855. She was the daughter of William and Katherine (PURCELL) SENNETT. Mr. and Mrs. FITZGIBBON have reared a family of five children, all of whom are still living�Margaret, Edward J., William J., Katherine and Salome. The family belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, and Mr. FITZGIBBONS, is his political belief, is in sympathy with the Democratic Party.

Mr. FITZGIBBON'S brothers and sisters are Thomas, Patrick, William and Richard.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 471
Family Researcher: NA
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FAGAN - Peter FAGAN, a farmer of section 15, La Grange Township, came to Harrison County in 1883, and has remained on the farm ever since. By birth he is a "Hawkeye," having first seen the light of day, November 25, 1862, at Dubuque, Iowa, where he was reared and received his education.

Edward FAGAN, the father of our subject, was born in Ireland in 1809, and remained in his native land until 1845, when he exchanged the Emerald Isle for the New World, sailed to America and came direct to Dubuque, Iowa, where for seven years he worked in the lead mines, and finally bought a farm near that city, upon which he lived until he came to Harrison County in 1883. His had been a life of toil and hardship, both in the land of his nativity as well as the United States. He died in the Roman Catholic faith, July 17, 1890.

Mary (O'ROURKE) FAGAN, wife of Edward FAGAN, and the mother of our subject, was born in Ireland in 1815, remained with her parents until the date of her marriage, which resulted in the birth of the following children" Sarah, William, John, Edward, Susann , Mary E., one who died in infancy, and Peter. Of those named, Sarah and Susann are deceased.

The FAGAN family are all firm believers in the Roman Catholic religion, and stand high as good citizens and industrious farmers.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 537
Family Researcher: NA
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VAN SLYKE - W. H. VAN SLYKE, City Marshal at Dunlap, has been a resident of Harrison County since 1872. He is a native of western New York and was born in 1841. His parents were Henry and Sally (FOLTS) VAN SLYKE, who were of German extraction. Our subject was reared in the Empire State and when twenty-one years of age, enlisted (August 12, 1862,) as a member of Company F, One Hundred and Sixteenth New York Infantry, and was discharged June 26, 1865, at Buffalo, N. Y., having served until the close of the war. He left the service as Orderly Sergeant and was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in 1863,but never served as such. He was wounded at the battle of KOCH'S Plantation in Louisiana, July 13, 1863, and came very near being taken prisoner by the rebels on that day. Among the engagements he participated in were Store Plains, Louisiana, May 21, 1863, Ft. Hudson, May 27, 1863, and was under almost constant fire for fifty-four days, during which time they were without relief. He was also engaged at the battle of Sabine Crossroads, Louisiana. The day following the battle of Pleasant Hill his command was ordered to Washington, and was sent from there by "forced march" to Shenandoah Valley and was placed under SHERIDAN'S command during the balance of the war, taking part in the battles of Cedar Creek, Fishers' Hill and Winchester, and from the date of President Lincoln's assassination they were held in Washington to guard prisoners. Our subject's company was one that stood well to the front for bravery, and the matter of endurance of hardships, always being ready for active duty.

In 1866, after the close of the war, Mr. VAN SLYKE worked in a cheese factory in New York, in which he had an interest and remained there until 1871, and then engaged in the furniture business for a short time in Jamestown, N.Y. He then came West, visiting several points, and in 1872 came to Dunlap, where he engaged in various pursuits until the spring of 1874, at which time he went on the merchant's police force for two years, but resigned that position and engaged in the manufacture of barbed wire with COLWELL, THOMPSON & Co., with which company he was associated for five months, and then returned to the police force and has acted in that capacity ever since. He has been City Marshal of Dunlap for nine years. He is a rock-rooted Republican and a member of Shields Post, No. 83, of the G.A.R., and was Quartermaster of this post from the time of its organization until 1891, when he was elected Post Commander but refused to accept the position. He is also an honored member of Hospitable Lodge, No. 244, of the A. F. & A.M. and member of Acorn Camp, No. 325, M. W. A.

Our subject was married August 1, 1866, to Miss Ermina R. COLWELL, born in Sardinia, N. Y. April 24, 1844. Mr. and Mrs. VAN SLYKE are the parents of six children�Bert C., located at Tacoma, in the employ of a surveying party; Carl H., telegraph operator in the employ of the North Western railway; Ada, deceased; Frank L., a book-keeper and expert penman in a bank at Manilla, Iowa; Lew S., deceased; Katie, deceased.

The father of our subject was Henry VAN SLYKE, born in Schoharie County, N. Y., in 1811, died at Ashford, Cattaraugus County, N. Y., about 1845. He was the son of Augustus and Betsy VAN SLYKE, who were descendants of HOLLANDERS but were natives of New York. The great-grandfather of our subject was Nicholas VAN SLYKE, who came direct from Holland. He carried a musket in the Revolutionary War and died in New York State. His son, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the War of 1812 and carried the same musket which his father had used in the Revolutionary War. Augustus VAN SLYKE was a farmer by occupation and died in 1865, at the age of eighty-seven years. His wife, the grandmother of our subject, died in 1868. They were the parents of the following children�David, a resident of Galesville, Wis., who is a Methodist minister; Andrew, a farmer of Chautauqua County, N.Y.; Henry, deceased; Nicholas, of Springville, N. Y., a brick-mason and plasterer by trade; Augustus, deceased; Orlena, wife of John NYE, deceased, a resident of Ashford, N. Y., Polly, deceased wife of John OYER, also deceased.

Henry, the father of our subject, was a farmer early in life but subsequently engaged in the hotel business. He married Sallie FOLTS, who was born in Herkimer County, N. Y., and is now living in Sardinia, Erie County, N.Y. She was the daughter of Joseph and Betsy FOLTS, who were also natives of the Empire State, and he was in the War of 1812 and was of Holland descent. They had a family of eight children�Timothy, deceased; Hyrum, deceased; William, a farmer residing near Mansfield, N. Y.; Oliver, proprietor of the hotel at Ashford, N. Y.; Sallie, the mother of our subject; Mary, deceased, in 1889; Margaret, wife of Morris WOODRUFF, a resident of Little Valley, N. Y.; Elizabeth, wife of Justin MUNGER, a resident of Olean, N. Y.

The parents of our subject had a family of three children�Joseph, deceased at the age of four years; William, our subject, and James, a resident O Sardinia, N. Y. By her second marriage our subject's mother had three children�Amelia, wife of Lewis SOULE, a resident of Collins Center, Erie County, N. Y.; Horace, a bridge carpenter of Springville, N. Y., and Eugene, a farmer living near Sardinia, N. Y.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 738-739-740
Family Researcher: NA
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CHAFFEE - Madison H. CHAFFEE, a farmer living on section 6, of Allen Township, came to Harrison County in the spring of 1868, and first located in BIGLER'S Grove, Boyer Township. He came with his parents, his father buying twenty acres of land and rented other land. He remained under the paternal roof until he was of age, when he bought forty acres of wild land in Allen Township, and made substantial improvements upon the same, including a frame house 14x22 feet; also barns and cribs. He added to his farm until he had two hundred acres. He remained there four years, and sold out and went to Woodbine, where he engaged in buying live stock, following the same for sox years. He next purchased the place he now occupies the same consisting of two hundred acres of partly improved land.

He was born in January, 1853, in Vermont. He is the son of Erastur and Maria CHAFFEE, natives of Vermont and New Hampshire respectively, who reared the following nine children�Arnold B., Ezera, Madison H., Hannah, Lura, Nettie, Carrie, (deceased), Chester and Charles K.

Mr. CHAFFEE was united in marriage, in April, 1884 to Nancy D. VAUGHN, the daughter of James D. and Anna WAUGHN, natives of Illinois. Our subject's wife was the fifth of a family of thirteen children � Lorenda, Sisney, Betsy Ann, William, Nancy, Hiram S., Joseph, Edmond, Charles, Mary A., Melvin, and Colonel (deceased).

Our subject and his wife are the parents of one child�Carrie A., born August 7, 1885. Prior to Mrs. CHAFFEE's marriage to our subject she was the wife of William WADE, by whom she had three children, one of whom is still living �Leavah.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 538-539
Family Researcher: NA
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