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Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Biographies - 1891 History of Harrison County Iowa

Page Eighty Two

Cowan | Bolch | Roberts | Kemmish | Curtis | Williams | Pugsley | Cochran | Meech

COWAN - Edward G. Cowan, who resides in the heart of Six-Mile Grove, on the west half of section 17, has been a resident of Harrison County since the spring of 1877, coming to these parts with his parents when he was nineteen years old.

He was born in Poweshiek County, Iowa, and is a son of Thomas and Hanna (MATCHET) COWAN. The father was a native of Virginia, and reared a family of ten children, of whom our subject was the sixth child. His brothers and sisters were as follows: Robert, Mary A., and George, deceased; John J., Jennie M., deceased; Edward G., Sadie E., Charles R., Frank L., and Willie, deceased.

Our subject was married August 24, 1879, to Dora STONER, of Harrison County, daughter of Andrew J. STONER, a native of Ohio, who had a family of seven children, of whom our subject's wife was the fourth child. The family consists of Emma, Rosa, deceased, Ella Dora, Alice T., deceased: William C., and John W. Five of these children are living in Harrison County.

Mr. and Mrs. COWAN are the parents of three children � Bert M., born Mary 23, 1880; Raymond E., September 16, 1882; Bessie M., February 14, 1891.

After coming to Harrison County our subject remained at home two years, assisting his father on the farm in Jefferson Township, then for two years he rented land and farmed on his own account. Having been quite successful, and also having faith in the agricultural resources of this country, he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Cass Township, paying $7 for a part of and $15 per acre for the remainder. The buildings consisted of a one-story house 16x28 feet.

This was in 1881 and he continued farming until the spring of 1891, when, on account of ill health, he engaged in the grocery business in which he is now doing well.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 902-903
Family Researcher: NA
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BOLCH - Peter BOLCH, a successful farmer of section 33, Allen Township, has been a resident of the county since September 22, 1873. When he first came to the county he worked for William CUTLER, of Magnolia Township, by the month on a farm. He continued to work by the month for about one year, and then commenced work on his account. Being unable to buy land on his own the first year, he and his brother farmed on rented land, after which they purchased the farm upon which our subject now resides, their sister keeping house for them. They continued to operate the farm in company for seven years, at the end of which time he purchased his brother's interest. At the time they purchased the place there was about one hundred acres under cultivation, but now he has about one hundred and fifty under the plow, while the remainder is in pasture and meadowland, his whole farm now containing five hundred and sixty acres, all in one body and fenced.

He was born in Washington County, Ohio, his parents being John and Elizabeth (KUHN) BOLCH, natives of Germany. They were the parents of seven children, our subject, (the third child) was born February 24, 1854. The names of his brothers and sisters were John, Mary, Frank, Joseph, Adam and Elizabeth (twins), all living except Adam.

Our subject remained in the Buckeye State, with his parents, until he was nineteen years of age, when he came to Harrison County, Iowa. When he was nine years of age, his father was a soldier in the Civil War, and he was thrown on his own resources, having to work out for his board, attending school when he could.

He was married April 14, 1880, to Jessie E. HEFFORD, daughter of William and Sarah (RATLIFF) HEFFORD, natives of New York and Illinois respectively. They had three children, our subject's wife being the eldest, and was born in Magnolia, Iowa. The names of the children are as follows: Jessie, Hattie and Rubie. Mr. and Mrs. BOLCH are the parents of four children, born as follows: Nellie, February 12, 1881; William, February 11, 1883, deceased; Eva, October 25, 1885; Ruth, January 6, 1888.

Politically our subject is identified with the Republican party, and in religious matters he is a Roman Catholic in belief.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 903
Family Researcher: NA
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ROBERTS - James Roberts, a resident of section 4, Jackson Township, came to Harrison County during the month of February, 1865, and first located on the farm he now occupies, which at the time of his coming consisted of six hundred and seventy acres of wild land. He built him a house 18X35 feet, one story and a half high with an addition 18x32 feet, and also built a barn and cattle sheds all being painted, even to his tool house, which was 14x30 feet. He built granaries and corn cribs, the latter having a capacity of four thousand bushels. He procured fine water by the digging of wells, over one of which he erected a nicely adjusted wind-mill. He has two tenant houses on his farm. The land under cultivation amounts to a half-section, while the balance is in meadow and pasture land, and about one hundred acres of timber. His whole landed estate is surrounded by a good fence, the driveways through which are provided with substantial wooden gates. For three years during our subject's residence in the county he was visited by an army of callers whose room was better than their company. In brief it may be said that the grasshoppers destroyed his crops during these years, teaching him the Scriptural saying "that even a grasshopper shall be a burden unto them." Yet he survived all of these discouragements and financial back-sets and to-day has one of the finest places in Harrison County, and the passer-by enjoys looking out upon his broad acres with their tastefully painted buildings and his generally well kept premises; yet, little realizing the struggle through which our subject and his family have gone in order to bring this all about.

Mr. ROBERTS' birthplace was England and the date of his birth was September 21, 1810, making him eighty-one years old at this time, eleven years beyond the allotted time of man. His parents were John and Martha ROBERTS, who were also natives of England. Their children were as follows, John, William, James, Thomas, Mary, Betsy, Sarah, Martha and Rebecca.

Our subject and his sister Rebecca are the ones surviving.

Our subject remained in England until he was forty-three years of age and then bid farewell to his native land and sailed for America. For New York he went to Syracuse and there worked at the carpenter's trade. After following this for two years in the Empire State he went to Michigan and located at White Pigeon. He worked at his trade there for three years and then came to Iowa County, Iowa, and purchased six hundred acres of land, which he subsequently sold to a German Colony and removed to Monona County, where he purchased eleven hundred acres of land near Onawa. He bought a sawmill in that county, also, but through litigation he left Monona County, in the fall of 1858, without a dollar. He went to Colorado and settled at Denver, where he built two store buildings on Blake Street and two dwelling houses on Curtis Street. He remained there eight years and then disposed of his property and returned to Harrison County.

Our subject was married in December, 1853, to Charlotte HAGERMAN, a daughter of William HAGERMAN, a native of New York. Mrs. ROBERTS' parents had nine children.

Our subject and his wife have three children � Mary A., Martha and Jemima. After being companions on the road of life for thirty-eight years the angel of death called the good wife and mother from the scenes of this life, during the month of February, 1891. Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 904-905
Family Researcher: NA
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KEMMISH - Daniel KEMMISH, whose history in Harrison County dates from October, 1865, when he came from Council Bluffs to these parts, with his parents, will form the subject of this biographical notice.

By nationality, Mr. KEMMISH, was an Englishman, having been born at Portsmouth, July 15, 1848. He is the seventh child of a family of eleven children, and when he was five years of age his parents emigrated to the United States, landing at New Orleans and thence up the Mississippi River to Keokuk, Iowa, from which point they started for Utah Territory by ox-teams, crossing the Great American Deseret, which at that time was the home of the Indian and the prairie dog. They remained in Salt Lake City three years and then removed to a poiint ninety miles south of Salt Lake and remained until 1859, and then returned to St. Joseph, MO, halted a few months and then came to Fremoent County, Iowa, where they rented a farm for two years. We next find the family at Pacific City, Mills County, Iowa, and later at a point five miles east of Council Bluffs, where in 1862 they bought forty acres of land; they remained on this only a short time, after which they moved into Council Bluffs and operated the pioneer hotel known as "The Farmers' Inn" and there remained until about three months before coming to Harrison County.

Mr. KEMMISH was united in marriage, April 2, 1870, in Pottawattamie County, to Nettie ENIEX, a native of Ohio, born August 16, 1853, daughter of Jerry and Francais (DENNY) ENIEX, and she is the youngest of a family of three children. Her parents came to Pottawattamie County in 1867. Mr. And Mrs. KEMMISH are the parents of the following children, Frances E., Katie M., Jerry C., Fourth M., Lee W., Blanche, Missie, and one who died in infancy.

In his political belief our subject is a supporter of the Republican party. Our subject started in life on his own account at the age of fourteen years, going to Denver, Colorado. He hauled lumber to rebuild Julesburg in 1865 and remained in that country about nine months, returned to Iowa but soon went back to the West, and was snowed in during the winter of 1866. In January he started back on foot in company with twenty others. He had been engaged at ox-team freighting in the West, but upon his return worked in the brickyard in Council Bluffs, continuing that until the date of his marriage, when he came to Harrison County to make a permanent home. He has always been a hard worker and earned, as well as lost, large sums of money. In one instance he lost $900 of wages, earned as freighting across the plains. He has had fully his share of frontier hardships, crossing the plains as he did at that early day, and not unfrequently lying all night behind a pile of ox yokes, watching for the red men. His life's story reads like a romance, but he knows full well its reality, and now seated by his fireside he may relate to his children these early day experiences, by which they may profit.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 832-833
Family Researcher: Neil Bardsley (neil.bardsley@gmail.com)
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CURTIS - George O. CURTIS, recently proprietor of a livery, food and sale stable at Logan, will form the subject of this notice. He was born in Walworth County, Wisconsin, January 10, 1856, and remained with his parents on the farm until 1886, and then established his livery business. At first he operated the Lusk House barn, beginning april 3, 1886, and changed to his present location in March, 1888.

He was married in Burlington, Racine County, Wisconsin, January 6, 1880 to Miss Rilla GAYLORD, and they are the parents of one child, Cora, born November 22, 1883. Mrs. CURTIS was born in Spring Prairie, Walworth County, WI, July 24, 1859 and in 1878, with her parents removed to Burlington, that State, where she remained until the date of her marriage. His father, Harvey M. CURTIS, was born in Bridgewater, Oneida County, NY, October 17, 1818, and in 1839, he located in Milwaukee, WI, where he clerked in the general store of L. Ward & Co., one year and was then Deputy Sheriff of Milwaukee County one year, and subsequently removed to Mineral Point, Greene County where he bought lead for L. Ward & Co. After one year in that capacity, returned to Milawukee, and engaged in the lumber business. At the time he was at Mineral Point, lead ore was all carted to Milwaukee. After remaining in the lumber business at Milwaukee for two years, he went to Walworth County, and purchased wild land, which he improved and cultivated until the time of his death, which occurred April 29, 1890.

His wife Eliza A. (SMITH) CURTIS, was born in Jefferson County, NY, March 10, 1825, and she remained at home with her parents until married, and after her husband's death came to Logan, Iowa and is now making it her home with her son George O. They were the parents of three children: Harvey W., born January 15, 1852; George O., January 10, 1856; Anna L., born January 11, 1858, died August 23, 1868.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 840
Family Researcher: NA
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WILLIAMS - E. Burr WILLIAMS, editor and proprietor of the Dunlap Reporter was born in Essex, VT , December 25, 1868, and is the son of Lyman S. and Mary (GORTON) WILLIAMS, who had a family of three children, of whom our subject was the second child. He attended his first term of school at Estherville, Iowa, to which point his parents moved when he was three years of age. Subsequently he attended school at Essex, and completed his education at Columbus Junction, Iowa. When thirteen years of age he commenced working in a newspaper office, and has followed that line, generally speaking, ever since, the art preservative having been a special hobby of his life. In March, 1891, he came from Estherville to Dunlap and purchased the Reporter.

His parents still reside at Estherville, Iowa, where his father is Postmaster at present, but is a contractor and builder and has also followed farming. He served from 1861 to 1865 in Company I, Sixth Vermont Infantry, enlisting as a private and coming out as a Captain.

See history of Dunlap for detailed history of Reporter.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 840-841
Family Researcher: NA
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PUGSLEY - James Oscar PUGSLEYhas been a resident of Harrison County since 1866. He was born in Athens County, Ohio, September 15, 1844, and is a son of Oscar and Betsy (OWENS) PUGSLEY. The father died in 1844, and the mother still resides in Ohio. Our subject was his parent's only child. His early life was spent in the Buckeye State, where he attended the common schools. He began farming for himself in 1864, and two years later located on section 26, of Morgan Township, where he owns four hundred acres of land, which is all enclosed by a good fence, and one hundred and sixty acres of which is under the plow, while the balance is in pasture and timber land. Mr. PUGSLEY devotes most of his time and attention to stock raising.

He was united in marriage December 26, 1864, to Lodia A. NOYES, daughter of Joseph and Matilda NOYES, natives of Ohio. By this marriage union two children were born: Clara, now Mrs. LEWIS; and Nathan L. Mrs PUGSLEY died March 10, 1884, and January 1, 1886, Mr. PUGSLEY married Anna E. HARDING< a native of Ohio. By this marriage union one child has been born: Ruby A., June 10, 1887.

Mrs. PUGSLEY is a member of the Christian Church and politically, he is a Republican. Our subject has one of the finest farm-homes in Harrison County, and has come into possession of all his property through his own untiring labors.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 841-842
Family Researcher: NA
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COCHRAN - Sanford H. COCHRAN, a most successful attorney-at-law, practicing at Logan, and in all the higher courts of the country, has been a resident of the county since 1874. In September of that year, he located at Missouri Valley,where he opened a law office and remained until 1881, and then removed to Logan.

Mr. COCHRAN was born May 20, 1852, at Carmi, White County, IL. He is the son of Sanford and Martha E. (JOHNSON) COCHRN, and is the youngest son of a family of five children. The father served in the Mexican War, in Capt. LAWLER's Independent Cavalry Company, and was a bugler in the same. During the Civil War he was Captain of Company B, Fifty-sixth Illinois Infantry, serving aobut three years. Our subject had two brothers in the First Illinois Cavalry, who served a year and a half each during the Civil War.

Our subject commenced his schooling in Carmi, IL, where he attended until about fourteen years of age, and then attended Unionburg Seminary, Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale, and then went to West Point Military Academy, remained one year, and then went to Iowa University, graduating from the Law Department, June 30, 1874.

Mr. COCHRAN was united in marriage, April 13,1877, to Mary E. SHIMMINS, who was born in Darlington, WI. She is the daughter of Phillip and Jane (WARE) SHIMMINS, natives of England. Our subject and his wife are the parents of one child, Vernice, born May 25, 1882.

After graduating from the State University, Mr. COCHRAN was upon two occasions put on a committee to examine the law class at the University. Every profession has men within its ranks who are better fitted for some other calling; this is true in the pulpit, in the medical and legal fraternities, and then again, each one of these professions has followers, who seem in every particular just adapted to their chosen profession. That Mr. COCHRAN is gifted in the direction of a keen, far-seeing, brilliant legal mind, none who know him will doubt.

Politically he is a stanch Republican of the progressive type, and is familiar with the great issues that have been pending, and tested by the political parties of this country, and gives an intelligent opinion for the political policy he endorses. In 1887 he was made a candidate with four others for the office of District Judge, but Judge Ladd was the successful candidate. The campaign was a very animated one, yet Mr. COCHRAN never went outside of his own county to canvass, but received the support of the county from beginning to end, and received the highest number on at least two ballots, and defeated Judge MC CULLUM, who was then on the Bench, and came within two ballots of receiving the nomination, but by a compromise Judge LADD was the successful man. This showed the popularity of our subject, and had he not lived in another Congressional District, from which some other candidates did he would quite likely have been nominated and elected. But he is the last man to deplore the condition. He is not a candidate for office, and prefers to excel in the regular practice of his profession, than to bear the honors of any office. He has been eminently successful, and in a number of cases , exhibited marked ability, together with a thorough knowledge of the law. In the case of GLENN vs JEFFREY, of Monona County, he succeeded in securing title to fifteen hundred acres of land for the settlers; the case being finally tried before the Supreme Court. In the Cadwell Bank case; the criminal case wherein the State of Iowa was the plaintiff, and in the defense of John RICHARDSON, for murder, our subject won a good reputation for the manner in which he conducted the cases to a successful end.

Among other important cases with which Mr. COCHRAN has been connected, may be mentioned: the SPOONER ditch tax case; the Monona County ditch tax cases; and Schofield et al vs. Board of Supervisors of Harrison County; and a case of 1880, wherein he was engaged in the prosecution of the Western Millers' Association cases, involving the constitutionality of the "Iowa Fish Ways Laws," in which a decree was obtained under Judge LEWIS, of the District Court, holding them void. This decree virtually annulling section 3,058, of the Code as being unconstitutional. This case was one of much importance to owners of water-mill sites within Iowa, for by this decision it was determined that mill owners were not obliged to provide and maintain a means for fish to pass up or down a stream through a device provided for by such a law, as the one in question. But it is in the management and argument of important criminal cases and personal injury cases that the subject of this sketch greatly excels. As a close reasoner and magnetic and emotional orator Sanford H. COCHRAN has but few equals at the bar. While he commands large fees, we are told that someof his best efforts have been in the defense of the poor, who could pay no fee. He has accumulated a competence, is thoroughly business-like, ready to assist all public enterprises and is generous to those in misfortune.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 842-843
Family Researcher: NA
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MEECH - Harrison D. MEECH, a farmer of section 31, Calhoun Township, arrived in Harrison County with his parents, September 12, 1855, and settled in Calhoun Township when his father, William S. MEECH, purchased the I. G. GATES store property and engaged in the mercantile business, continuing in the same a short time, and then took his brother, Erastus W., in as a partner, when the firm was known as W.S. & E. W. MEECH. This partnerhsip continued until 1858, when the stock was sold to George THORPE, and moved to Jeddo. In 1863 W.S. MEECH operated a store, and in the spring of 1864 H. D. MEECH was taken in as a partner, and this firm continued to do business until 1874, when they went out of trade, submitting to the powers that be (the building of new railroad towns and other causes.)

William S. MEECH, the father of our subejct, was born in Hinesburgh, VT, November 19, 1814, and was the son of Erastus and Annis (LOCKWOOD) MEECH, and was of Welsh descent. Erastus was formerly a farmer near Hinesburgh, but later conducted a hotel at Cambridge, VT, which he sold to his son, William S., in 1842, and he operated it four years, then moved to St. Alban's Bay, VT, now famous as a summer resort, and was engaged in the hotel, stage and livery business about seven years. He was next found operating a hotel for two years, known as the St. Lawrence Exchange, at Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, and then spent several years traveling through Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, looking for a location, and finally selected Calhoun. In the spring of 1859, he, with Mrs. MEECH, fitted out three yoke of oxen and started for Pike's Peak (which at that time was all aglow with gold excitement), loading their wagon with groceries and provisions. After getting part way across the plains, they met scores and hundreds returning from that region, who gave anything but a flattering account of that much talked of land, and Mr. MEECH would have returned from Ft. Kearney but his good wife, full of brave and daring disposition, said: "No, let us go forward, and, if we are robbed, someone will have a good time eating up our provisions." They returned that autumn, and in the spring of 1860 they started out on a similar expedition; and in the spring of 1861 his son, Harrison D., went with him and drove four yoke of oxen, covering a distance of over sixteen hundred miles. His father followed the same business in 1862, and in 1863 Harrison D. followed freighting.

The father of our subejct, W. S. MEECH, died December 29, 1888. His wife's maiden name was Sylvia M. DEAN, and by this marriage there were two children�Helen F., now Mrs. R. G. FAIRCHILDS, of Monona County, Iowa, and H.D., our subject, who was born in Cambridge, VT, June 4, 1843, and with his father, remained in hotel life, attending a select school in St. Alban's Bay, and after coming to Harrison County, Iowa, acquired a good business education, having been pressed into the harness when twelve years of age. He had the care of the farm, while his father was running the store, and when eighteen years of age made his first trip across the plains, all of which made his a varied business career.

He was married October 25, 1864, to Maggie ELLIS, a native of Virginia, and the daughter of William and Eliza S. ELLIS. She is the fourth of a family of five children, and was born July 2, 1842. By this marriage union two children were born�Frank E., October 13, 1866; and Helen F., May 31, 1870, both at home.

Mr. MEECH and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which he has belonged twenty-four years.

Politically our subject is a believer in the general principles of the Democratic party, but on account of their liquor plank he has left their platform and votes with the Republicans.

Mr. MEECH now owns five hundred and fifty-nine acres of land, one-third of which is under the plow, twenty acres in first-class timber, and the balance in pasture land. The place is provided with a substantial farmhouse.

Frank E., son of our subject, attended the district schools in Calhoun Township, Missouri Valley High School, and took a six years; course at Simpson College, at Indianola, Iowa, graduating June 21, 1888, as a classic. He has since taken the post graduate couse, and the degree of A.M. was conferred upon him in June 1891.

Helen F., only daughter of our subject, graduated from Missouri Valley High School, attended the Woodbine Normal, attended college at Decaur, IL, and also a musical college one year, and has taught at Little Siouix and other places. She is now taking a musical course at Omaha and also follows teaching music.

Source: 1891 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 843-845
Family Researcher: NA
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