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1915 Harrison County Iowa Biographies
Page Twenty Three

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Smith | Stageman | Starlin | Stearns | McIntosh | Stebbins | Stern | Stocker | Stoker |

William Anderson SMITH - Probably the best known stock raiser of Harrison county, Iowa, is William A. Smith, who has been a resident of this county since 1888. As a breeder of horses, hogs and mules he has a reputation which extends throughout the state and, in fact, some of his best stock is shipped to all parts of the United States. He has those qualities of perseverance and industry which always command success and the necessary will power to carry forward to successful complexion anything to which he turns his attention.

William Anderson Smith, the son of William H. and Artimissa (Van Dyle) Smith, was born December 1, 1861, in Hancock county, Illinois. His parents were natives of Illinois and both of them lived in that state all of their days. The paternal grandfather of Mr. Smith was Caleb Smith, a native of Kentucky, who lived to be ninety-two years of age.

William A. Smith was one of eight children born to his parents. His father died in 1875 and thus he was early thrown upon his own resources. He received a common-school education and has since supplemented this with wide reading and observation, so that he is today one of the best-informed men of his community. In 1885 Mr. Smith located in Dawes county, Nebraska, and entered a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres. He remained there only three years and then came to Harrison county, Iowa, and in the same year rented a farm in Soldier valley for three years. In 1904 he bought one hundred and seventy acres in section 1 of Boyer township and lived there until 1913. He then disposed of this farm and bought his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres in section 24 of Lincoln township. He engages in general farming and stock raising, but gives most of his attention to the latter phase of farming. He handles standard-bred trotting horses, having been an extensive breeder of horses for more than twenty years. He has Percheron stallions and was the owner of the famous stallion, �King L,� and has named his farm after this horse. His Percherons are imported from abroad and rank among the best horses bred in the state. He has shown his best horses at the fairs and has won many prizes. He does not develop his own colts, but raises them until they are a year or two old and then sells them to men who develop them. He sells and ships horses to all parts of the United States. He raised one horse which was considered the best animal ever shipped out of the state of Iowa. He also raises jacks and in 1914 sold a three-year-old jack for eight hundred dollars, the record price for this county. In addition to his horses and mules, Mr. Smith keeps registered Poland China hogs.

Mr. Smith was married February 16, 1888, to Laura McWilliams, a daughter of Thomas B. and Julia (Cole) McWilliams. The parents of Mrs. Smith were born in Ohio and Indiana, respectively, and both came to Harrison county in 1856 with their respective parents, settling in Soldier valley and Boyer valley. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are the parents of four children, two of whom are living, Wilma Alice, born April 1, 1889, and Mable E., born January 6, 1896. Both daughters received a good education in the common schools and later in the Woodbine Normal School. The other two children died at the ages of two weeks and five years, respectively.

Mr. Smith and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. In politics, he gives his support to the Democratic party and has been the treasurer of his township for many years. He has also served on the school board and in both offices gave careful and painstaking service to his fellow citizens. Mr. Smith is a man of excellent business ability and is rightly classed as one of the representative men of his township and county.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 587, 588, 589
Family Researcher: NA
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John F. STAGEMAN, M. D. - Who can estimate properly, or convincingly, the influence for good upon the life of a community wielded by the village physician? What record, save that of the great Recording Angel, ever will contain a complete transcript of the unselfish labors of the healer who goes about his business in behalf of ailing humanity, all uncomplaining, patiently, devotedly and sincerely giving himself, the strength of his hand, of his mind and of his heart, to all who call for such relief of bodily suffering as may be therapeutically possible? A mere formal historical and biographical work, of this character, is highly informative and instructive and to future generations of this county this volume will be held as a priceless heritage of the past, but there is very much that future generations ought to know of the doings of their forebears that can not be put down in cold letters and figures on a printed page. Among these phases of communal life that only can be recorded in the hearts of men here below, that relating to the unselfish labors of the village physician properly may be considered as of paramount importance. While no attempt will be made to convey a further message of sentiment in that connection on this page, it is but proper that, in a work of this nature, something of the life's record of the well-known and popular physician, whose name forms the caption for this biographical sketch, shall here be presented for the information of those generations yet to come who will want to know all that is obtainable of the history of the devoted men and women who wrought, giving the best that was in them, in order that richer material blessings, than they had ever known, might descend upon those who were to follow.

John F. Stageman, M. D., physician and surgeon, of Persia, Harrison county, Iowa, was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, January 8, 1876, the son of John and Eliza (Sutherland) Stageman, well known citizens of that city, and was the fourth born to his parents' union, those children, in the order of their birth, being: Harry, a well-known painter and decorator of Council Bluffs; Nettie, wife of George Roe, who resides at Harlan, Iowa; Frank, who is a locomotive fireman, running out of Council Bluffs; John F., the subject of this narrative; Ada, the wife of August Heinze, who resides in Pottawattamie county, Iowa; Iva and Nancy, infants, deceased.

John Stageman, father of John F., was born in 1828, in Cumberland county, England, where he followed the trade of painter and decorator until 1849, when he decided to come to America for the purpose of bettering his prospects of fortune. He located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he worked at his trade for a period of one year and then, attracted, as were so many others about that time, by the golden lure of California, made the overland trip to the gold fields. Finding, after two years of diligent prospecting in California, that gold was not to be found by all, he returned to Council Bluffs and resumed his trade as painter and decorator, in which he became quite successful. He married Miss Eliza Sutherland, who was born in the year 1850 in San Antonio, Texas, and remained in Council Bluffs the remainder of his life, dying there in 1907. His widow still lives at Council Bluffs.

John F. Stageman, M. D., was reared in Council Bluffs, where he graduated from the high school, after which he decided upon a mercantile career and, for eight years, served as a clerk in various stores, in Council Bluffs. He then determined to become a physician and entered the Creighton Medical College, at Omaha, Nebraska, from which institution he was graduated in 1903. Looking about for a suitable location for the practice of his chosen profession, he was attracted to the situation in Persia, Harrison county, Iowa, and opened an office there. He quickly made his presence felt in his new home and has been highly successful in his practice, which has attained a wide scope in Persia and vicinity.

Since locating in Persia, Dr. Stageman has taken an active part in promoting all the best interests of the town and community and ever is found in the forefront of those who have the public welfare nearest at heart. He has been successful in a material way and is one of the stockholders in the Persia Savings Bank, beside which he owns city property, both in Council Bluffs and Persia.

Dr. Stageman was united in marriage with Miss Vesta Lang, February 11, 1904, who was born in Persia, Iowa, in 1885, daughter of James and Mary (Roundy) Lang, the former of whom was a native of Scotland, the latter a native of Shelby county, Iowa. To Doctor and Mrs. Stageman three children have been born, John, James and Olive, all of whom are at home, and there is no happier household anywhere than is theirs. Both he and his wife take an active part in the social activities of the village and are deservedly popular among their wide circle of friends. They are members of the Reorganized Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and he is an earnest adherent to the principles of the Republican party.

Not only is Doctor Stageman recognized as an efficient practitioner, in his private practice, but this fact has been recognized by the public, which has shown its appreciation of his ability by making him public health officer of the town of Persia.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 886, 887, 888
Family Researcher: NA
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Bruce C. STARLIN - The whole career of Bruce C. Starlin, the proprietor of the Missouri Valley Granite Works, has been spent in this city. His grandfather was one of the early settlers of Harrison county and a prominent citizen of La Grange township for many years. Mr. Starlin learned the marble cutter's trade in his father's shop and since 1906 has been managing the business which his father established in Missouri Valley. He turns out as fine monumental work as can be found in the state, and has one of the flourishing business concerns of the city.

Bruce C. Starlin, the son of John A. and Nellie (Bullard) Starlin, was born in Missouri Valley, Iowa, July 25, 1880. His father was born in Athens county, Ohio, and his mother in Greensboro, North Carolina. John A. Starlin came to Harrison county, Iowa, when he was about twelve years of age with his father, George Starlin, who first settled near Beebeetown, in La Grange township. George Starlin is said to have been the second man to vote the Republican ticket in that township. George Starlin was a farmer and later moved to Missouri Valley, where his death occurred in 1884, and his body is buried in Missouri Valley cemetery.

John A. Starlin was born on a farm and moved west with his parents, who lived for awhile at St. Joseph, Missouri, and later came by ox team to Harrison county, Iowa. In 1877 John A. Starlin established a monument business in Missouri Valley, having learned the trade with William Thomas, who is now located at Omaha, Nebraska. He continued the monument business at Missouri Valley for nearly thirty years, retiring in the spring of 1906, at which time he turned the business over to his son, Bruce C., and went to the state of Washington, where he is now living on a claim about sixty miles north of Spokane. He expects to move to Spokane as soon as he proves up his timber claim. The other two children of John A. Starlin and wife, John Mortin and Jessie, are living with their parents in Washington.

Bruce C. Starlin was educated in the high school at Missouri Valley, and as soon as he left the public schools began to work with his father in the monument shop. Upon the removal of his father to Spokane, Washington, in 1906, he took complete charge of the business in Missouri Valley and has since been conducting it in a manner which shows that he is thoroughly acquainted with every detail of the business. His shop is equipped with the latest machinery and tools for doing high-class work of all kinds. He has a complete equipment of pneumatic tools and the work turned out of his shop is not excelled in any other shop in the state. He employs two men the year round and during the busy season hires extra help in order to take care of his business.

Mr. Starlin was married April 2, 1902, to Mary Belle Terry, of Little Sioux, Iowa, a daughter of Erastus Terry and wife, and to this union two sons have been born, Terry, born January 21, 1903, and Clement, born November 6, 1910.

Mr. Starlin is a member of the Republican party, but has never taken an active part in political affairs, although he is a believer in good government and does all he can to further its interests. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is a member of the Izzer Society, the monument dealers' association, which was organized for looking after the interests of monument dealers. Mr. Starlin is a wide-awake and public-spirited citizen and well represents the younger type of business men in Harrison county.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 598, 599
Family Researcher: NA
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Frank D. STEARNS - The career of Frank D. Stearns in Harrison county, Iowa, began in 1875, when he came here as a lad with his parents and located in Logan. He has lived in that city for the past forty years and has taken an active part in every phase of its welfare. He has devoted the major portion of his active career to the mercantile business and is now manager of the Farmers' Mercantile Company, of Logan.

Frank D. Stearns, the son of DuRenn and Eliza (Rodgers) Stearns, was born on November 4, 1861, in Clinton county, Iowa, and was one of six children, the others being Logan, Benjamin W. of St. Louis, Missouri; Ada E., living in Texas; George W., editor of the New York Tribune, and one who died in infancy.

DuRenn Stearns was born in 1836 in Ashtabula county, Ohio, and was reared in his native state on the farm and came to Iowa early in its history and engaged in farming in Clinton county for a few years. He later moved to Scott county, Iowa, where he operated a restaurant at Davenport. In 1875 DuRenn Stearns and family located in Logan, Iowa, where he was engaged in the real estate business until 1891. During his active career in Logan, Mr. Stearns was city clerk and mayor, holding the latter office at the time the first system of waterworks was established in Logan. After leaving that city DuRenn Stearns located in Rock Rapids, Iowa, and in Denver, Colorado, before he finally retired to St. Louis to make his home with his son, Benjamin. Mrs. Stearns was born in Indiana in 1837 and died at St. Louis, December 23, 1914.

Frank D. Stearns was fourteen years old when his parents located in Logan, and he has made that city his home ever since. He received his elementary education in the common schools of Davenport and Des Moines. At the age of eighteen he commenced to work in a hardware store in Logan and a year later became a clerk in a dry goods store. He remained in the latter store for five years and then started to work in the grocery store of his father-in-law, John W. Stocker. After the death of the latter in 1893, he became the manager of the store and continued in this capacity until 1901, at which time his father-in-law's estate was settled, and the Stocker Mercantile Company was organized. Mr. Stearns became the president and manager of this company and retained this position until the firm was dissolved. In 1913 he became the manager of the Farmers' Mercantile Company, of Logan, and is now holding this position. Mr. Stearns has a financial interest in this company and is already giving evidence of his excellent business ability in administering the duties connected with his office as manager.

Mr. Stearns was married in 1885 to Kate B. Stocker, who was born in Illinois in 1862, the daughter of Capt. John W. and Susan (Bonney) Stocker, both of whom are deceased. Her parents were natives of Ohio and early settlers in Harrison county, Iowa. Mr. Stearns and his wife are the parents of three children, Benjamin, who is treasurer of Harrison county, and Susan B. and Robert, who are still at home with their parents.

The Republican party has long claimed the support of Mr. Stearns. He has been a member of the city council of Logan for the past twenty years, a fact which speaks well for the confidence which his fellow citizens have in his ability and integrity. The family are members of the Presbyterian church. Mr. Stearns is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Royal Highlanders and the Order of Eastern Star.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 522, 523
Family Researcher: NA
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Lemuel MCINTOSH - Lemuel McIntosh was born January 28, 1857, in St. Johns township, Harrison county, Iowa, the son of George R. and Barbara J. (Frazier) McIntosh, who were natives of Putnam county, Indiana, who came to Harrison county in 1856 and located on a tract of land where Missouri Valley now stands. They were the parents of seven children, of whom Lemuel was the eldest.

Mr. McIntosh received his education in the common schools, living at home until his marriage. He then bought eighty acres of land where he now lives. He paid twenty-five dollars an acre for it and in 1892 he sold it for thirty dollars an acre and in 1912 he bought it back, giving one hundred and thirty dollars an acre for it. The farm was slightly improved when he first got it, but it has since been improved and is now one of the best farms in St. Johns township.

Mr. McIntosh was married, January 5, 1887, to Harriett E. Weaver, who was born in Williams county, Ohio, the daughter of William and Lavina (Steele) Weaver, natives of Pennsylvania. Harriett Weaver had come to Harrison county for a visit and Mr. McIntosh told her that women were more plentiful in Ohio than in Harrison county at that time and asked her to stay in Iowa and be his wife, as they needed her in Iowa more than in Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh have two children, George W. and Eugene, both of whom are still at home with their parents.

Mr. McIntosh engages in general farming and stock raising and now owns three hundred acres of land and his own threshing outfit. He uses a steam engine for that purpose and does his plowing with a gas engine. His stock is not thoroughbred, but it is of excellent quality. His horses are of the Percheron breed and have taken prizes at the county fairs.

Mr. McIntosh is a Democrat and though he has held several minor offices he has never been an office seeker nor particularly active in political affairs, preferring to devote most of his time to his agricultural interests. Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh are among the most highly respected citizens of their community and among the best known farmers in Harrison county. Mr. McIntosh is interested in all public questions and to them he devotes considerable time and energy.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 603, 604
Family Researcher: NA
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George W. STEBBINS - The Stebbins family have been identified with the history of Harrison county, Iowa, since 1873, when they drove to this county with ox teams from Minnesota. George W. Stebbins was nine years of age at the time, and has spent his whole life, since that year, in this county. He has been engaged, in general farming and stock raising, and now has a well-improved farm in Raglan township, where he makes his home.

George W. Stebbins, the son of Abner M. and Armeta Stebbins, was born on November 1, 1854, near the city of South Bend, St. Joseph county, Indiana. His parents were natives of Vermont and Indiana, respectively, his mother's people being early settlers of Indiana. Abner Stebbins and his wife did not live long in Indiana, after their marriage, owing to the fact that the neighborhood in which they resided seemed to be infested with the ague. Consequently, they removed to Dodge county, Minnesota, where they lived for seven years. They felt then that they could improve their condition by going farther south, and started to drive through to Harrison county, Iowa, with an ox team. After being on the road six weeks, they located about one and one-half miles west of Magnolia, where Abner Stebbins lived until his death. Six children were born to them, George W. being the third in order of birth, the first two, Merrick and Monroe, being twins.

George W. Stebbins lived with his parents until he was married. He received a good common school education in his boyhood days and spent his time, until his marriage, assisting his father on the home farm. After his marriage, he bought one hundred and twenty acres of land in Raglan township, and on this farm he has since made his home. There were no improvements whatever on the farm when he purchased it and, by his own good management and unceasing industry, he has made it one of the most attractive farms of the county.

Mr. Stebbins was married on October 24, 1883, to Mandy Abrams, who was born in Bigler's Grove, Harrison county, Iowa, and is a daughter of George and Sarah (Vore) Abrams. The Abrams family came to Harrison county, in 1853, and were among the very first settlers to locate here.

Mr. and Mrs. Stebbins are the parents of eight children, five of whom are living, Effie, who married Walter Blankenship, and lives two and one-half miles southwest of Logan; Verne, who married Perry Blankenship, and lives two and one-half miles west of Pisgah; and three, Roy, Clarence and Opal, who are still living at home. The mother of these children died on February 7, 1911. Opal is now keeping house for her father and two brothers, Roy and Clarence.

Mr. Stebbins is a Democrat, but has never been active in the affairs of his party. He and his sons are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The wife and mother was also a loyal member of this same denomination, and gave to it her hearty support, at all times. Mr. Stebbins is a progressive farmer and is highly esteemed throughout the neighborhood, where he has long made his home.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 937, 938
Family Researcher: NA
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Jacob T. STERN - No nobler character ever lived within the borders of Harrison county than the man whose name heads this memorial. He usually was known as �Father� Stern and was the father of the well-known Almor and Willis L. Stern, of Logan. He was proprietor of Linnwood Farm, at Harris Grove, where he settled April 30, 1857.

The Stern family is descended from good old Quaker stock, and Jacob T. Stern was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1814, the son of John and Phoebe Stern, who reared a family of fifteen children, twelve of whom reached manhood and womanhood. Jacob T. Stern attended school with the noted traveler and poet, Bayard Taylor. He was left an orphan at the age of six years and was placed in a Quaker family of wealth, with whom he remained nine years. He mastered the plasterer's trade, followed this for a time and then turned his attention to agriculture, farming in Pennsylvania until 1853, in which year he came west as far as Florence, Nebraska, soon thereafter arriving in Harrison county, where he became a highly successful, scientific and practical farmer. In 1841 Mr. Stern married Millicent B. Fletcher, who was born in England in 1820. To this union were born five children, Amy Ann, Ettie R., Ernest, Almor, Willis L.

Mr. Stern voted with the Republican party, always being able to give a good reason for doing so. Both he and his estimable wife were of the Friends (Quaker) faith. He was the founder of the now numerous farmers' clubs found within Harrison county, as he organized the first one in his home township � La Grange. For more than a third of a century he was the local weather forecaster and crop reporter for the Government, under direction of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C. After his decease his wife took the daily observations, and when she passed away the son, Willis L., took the instruments and has ever since kept the record. Father Stern was a fine writer, and his articles were seen in many eastern and western papers and magazines. In the days of the abolition sentiment (before the war) he was a strong anti-slavery advocate and a vigorous debater on that theme. He also was a conductor on the �underground railroad� and helped many a slave escape to the north into Canada. He was a personal friend of Frederick Douglass, who sent him congratulations on his golden wedding anniversary, which was celebrated September 30, 1891. He died in the nineties, mourned by the entire community, for indeed Father Stern was one of the world's noblemen.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 660, 661
Family Researcher: NA
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John W. STOCKER - Among the numerous soldiers of the Civil War who became leading business factors in Logan, Iowa, is numbered the former well-known citizen whose name heads this article. His was a busy career. He came to Harrison county in March, 1857, when this country was almost a wilderness, locating at Little Sioux, where he followed carpentering. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company C, Twenty-ninth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, serving his country until 1865. He was promoted to first lieutenant, and during his long residence in this county was familiarly known as �Captain� Stocker.

Upon returning home at the close of the was Captain Stocker purchased an interest in the Woodbine woolen-mills, which he later sold to John Dally and settled at Magnolia, where he engaged in the furniture trade. In 1866 he was elected clerk of the courts. He farmed in section 11 of Magnolia township for a time, and then moved to the new county seat, Logan. He made a trip through the west in 1877. He returned and engaged in buying stock and grain; also in the grocery trade and handled many apples in car load lots.

To retrace his steps it should be stated that Captain Stocker was born in Vermont in 1835, the son of a Methodist minister. At the age of thirteen years young Stocker was bereft of his mother and was bound out to learn the miller's trade. Not liking this he ran away from his master and engaged himself to work in the woolen mills in Lowell, Massachusetts. He next is heard of in Buchanan county, Iowa, running a farm and selling corn at twelve cents and wheat at thirty cents the bushel.

Captain Stocker was much attached to the Grand Army Post at Logan and was an enterprising citizen. Under President Benjamin Harrison he received the appointment of postmaster at Logan, which position he filled acceptably and well until the election of President Cleveland when he had to step down and out. In a few years his health declined and he died September 7, 1893.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 643, 644
Family Researcher: NA
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Miss Julia STOKER - The biographies of successful women are unusual in works of this character, yet there are, in every community, a few women, who, by virtue of their superior ability and keen business judgement, are entitled to recognition far beyond that usually accorded to the sterner sex. But it is altogether extraordinary to find a young woman who has shown such wonderful executive ability as Miss Julia Stoker, a successful capitalist and the manager of her deceased father's great estate.

Miss Julia Stoker was born on August 9, 1890, in Washington township, Harrison county, Iowa, the daughter of Orsan and Elizabeth (Omen) Stoker. They were the parents of ten children, eight of whom are living.

Orsan Stoker was born on January 25, 1843, in Hancock county, Illinois, the son of Ellen and Margaret (Judd) Stoker. Orsan Stoker came to Harrison county, Iowa, in 1862, and bought land in Washington township. He made improvements upon this land, among which was a log cabin, sixteen feet square and here he and his family lived a few years, when the log cabin was replaced by a better house. He was an extensive breeder of Poland China hogs and Shorthorn cattle. Throughout his life, he was an energetic farmer and stockman. He built a splendid house near the town of Yorkshire, Iowa, later in life, and at the time of his death in 1908, owned nine hundred and seventy-four acres in Harrison and Pottawattamie counties. He was a member of the church of Latter-Day Saints and the Masonic fraternity.

Orsan Stoker's wife, the mother of Miss Julia, was born in 1847, in Holt county, Missouri, the daughter of Perry and Hannah (Smith) Graybill, the latter of whom was married three times. She is now living on the old home place.

Julia Stoker attended the eight grades of the Yorkshire school and has always remained on the home farm. She now manages all of her mother's interests and looks after all her affairs. Miss Stoker owns one hundred and fifty-seven acres of land, near Persia, in Washington township. She is very much in love with the work that has fallen to her lot to perform and is very competent for this work. She is a member of the church of Latter-Day Saints, well known in the community where she lives, and widely admired for her many sterling qualities.

Source: 1915 Harrison County Iowa History, pp. 959, 960
Family Researcher: NA
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