"N" Biographies

John P. Negus, who was for many years one of the leading citizens of Lyon county, is now a resident of Morningside,Sioux City, Iowa. He was born in Courtland county, New York, September 16, 1838. When seven years of age he came west with his parents to Jefferson county, Wisconsin. There they remained until April, 1884, when Mr. Negus removed to Lyon county, Iowa, and settled on Section 7, Richland township. There he made a specialty of sheep raising. Mr. Negus enlisted in the United States service in Company E, First Wisconsin Cavalry, January 2, 1864, and was honorably discharged July 19, 1865. Mr. Negus led the first prayer meeting and organized the first class of the Methodist Episcopal church at Inwood – then called Pennington. He also collected money for building the first Metodist Episcopal church at Inwood, in 1887.

Mr. Negus was married May 1, 1862, to Frances E. Green, a native of Onondaga county, New York, who was born April 17, 1842. Two children were born to them, Charles Freddie (deceased), and Luella Fanny (now Mrs. E. G. Foulkred). In 1892 the family moved to Inwood and ten years later, in 1902, Mr. Negus built a house and moved to Morningside, Sioux City, Iowa.

Ole Nilson, who is one of the old and honored residents of Logan township, Lyon county, where he has long followed agricultural pursuits, and bears in his blood characteristics of his ancestry, was born in Norway, February 29, 1864, the son of Nils Christofferson, a Norwegian farmer, and a man of high standing and the utmost personal integrity. The northwest is greatly indebted to the Scandinavian race for much of its early development, and Mr. Nilson has contributed brain, brawn and muscle to the making of this new country.

Reared under the parental roof, he remained at home until he reached the age of fourteen years, doing farm work and attending the local school. At that age he began sailing the high seas, and continued as a sailor before the mast, until he reached the age of twenty years, when he felt the attraction of the new world and the inspiration of its wonderful life. Accordingly he crossed the ocean, and landing in the city of New York made his way west to Lyon county, where he bought a farm and entered upon the tillage of the soil. In this occupation he has been highly successful, and is now numbered among the most prominent and prosperous farms of this great county.

Mr. Nilson and Miss Anna J. Sheie, who was born in Iowa in 1862, were married in 1889, and she has proved everything that he could wish for, alike as wife, mother and friend. To them have come a family of seven children: Alvena, Nailor, Simon, Morris, Arnt, Clarence and Iva, -- all of whom were born in Lyon county, and together constitute a most promising and attractive family of young people.

Mr. Nilson has studied political matters quite thoroughly and has seen fit to take strong Republican ground, and at the present time he is a member of the school board and superintendent of highways. Since coming to this county he has been its most enterprising citizen, and has never hesitated at any effort or sacrifice to build up its best interests.

His farm comprises some two hundred acres, the most of which is under high cultivation, and the balance devoted to meadow and pasture. His farm buildings are modern and in good condition, and the grove on the farm, which is unusually good, was the result of the planting of his own hands.

Frank Noll, who is now one of the leading citizens of George, Lyon county, did not find his way to financial independence along "easy street." It was only by hard and patient work, close economy and persistent pluck and energy, that he has come to his present good standing. Mr. Noll was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1862, and when he had attained his majority crossed the ocean, and found a home in the United States.

For a time he was employed as a farm hand, but he soon left the farm work, and went to St. Paul, where he secured a position as coachman. For three years he held this position, and saving his money felt himself at the end of that time ready to undertake a business for himself. In company with his cousin, William Noll, he came to George in 1888, and then started a business as agents for agricultural implements. Frank Noll, seeing that the firm was handicapped for money, went back to St. Paul and resumed his old work as coachman. This was not enough to give the needed push to the business, so he bought out his cousin, and by doing his own canvassing throughout the county soon brought his trade up to better figures. He now has a stock valued at more than $10,000, and his yearly trade amounts to at least $15,000. He has also added to his machinery trade a full line of harness goods, and is running both manufacturing and repair shops, which under his management have proven very profitable. In 1895 he built a modern and attractive home for his family, and five years later put up a store, which his growing trade demanded. It is 50 by 80 feet, two stories high, and by using an elevator the upper floor is devoted to buggies, carriages and wagons, perhaps the most complete carried in this part of the county.

Mr. Noll was married in 1895 to Miss Etta Wilts. She is a native of Wisconsin, and has become the mother of four children: Francis, Earl, Roy and Frederick. Mr. Noll and family are members of the Catholic church. In politics he is Independent.

William Noll, one of the principal business men of George, Lyon county, and much interested in the successful operations of the local telephone company and the development of two large tracts of farm land, was born in Germany in 1863, where he received his education. When he had attained his majority he sought a better field for his energies and ambitions than his native land presented, and came to the United States. Here he worked as a farm laborer for a year, and then was variously employed for some three years more, after which he returned on a visit to his native land, to see his people and freshen his memories of the scenes of his youth. Coming back to Iowa he worked for a year on a farm in Osceola county, and in 1887, came to George, then hardly arrived at the dignity of a siding. He was one of the first to come, and his entrance was made on the construction train, as the passenger was not then running. He was the first to start the selling of agricultural machinery here, and in the spring of 1888 bought a building for that business, which he carried on under the firm name of William Noll & Company. For five seasons this enterprise was very successfully conducted, and was then disposed of, and Mr. Noll bought a half interest in a hardware store from the firm being Langon & Noll. Soon after he bought out his partner, and carried the business under his own name until 1899, when it passed into the hands of J.R. Beeman.

The first thing Mr. Noll did after getting out of business was to take his family and go to the old world on an extended trip. They went by way of Portland and St. Johns, landed in Ireland, and visited all the leading cities of the English empire, crossed the sea to Holland and visited once more the land of his youth. They attended the Passion play at Oberamargau, and returned by the St. Lawrence river route, traveled over Canada, and came home by the great lakes. It was a great trip and an education almost in itself.

Mr. Noll has purchased a half section of land near George, and a farm near Flandreau, South Dakota, of about the same size. In 1901 he bought the telephone franchise of the local company, and has installed a very complete system, to which many patrons have been won. Its value has more than doubled. He also owns the telephone exchange at Little Rock.

Mr. Noll was married in 1890 to Miss Anna, daughter of Daniel Hausman, who is still living in Germany. She became the mother of two children, and passed away in the spring of 1901. Her child, Carrie, is still living. In November, 1902, Mr. Noll was married a second time, Mrs. Elizabeth Morse becoming his wife and the head of his home. Mr. Noll is a Catholic, belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and votes the Democratic ticket. He has been a candidate on that ticket for the office of county auditor, but as this county is large Republican he lost the election. Various local positions have been very creditably filled by him, such as trustee and clerk of the town, and county supervisor, filling each office two terms. He was school treasurer, and for nine years has been a member of the city council.

J. E. North, M.D., is one of the popular and successful physicians of Rock Rapids, and owes much of his popularity not less to his thorough mastery of his calling than he does to his courteous and gentlemanly demeanor, his readiness to accommodate his patrons, and his honest and manly character.

Dr. North was born in Madison, Wisconsin, February 17, 1869, and in his third year was taken by his parents to a farm near Joliet, Illinois, where he was reared to manhood. In early youth he attended the district school, and in later years was a graduate of the Joliet high school. For some three years he was bookkeeper and stock keeper for a Joliet firm, and for about the same length of time was a postal clerk in the service of the United States Government. After the expiration of this second three-year period he became a student at the Hahnemann College, of Chicago, and completing a four-year course, graduated in 1895. During these four years he gave special attention to hospital practice, in which he took a post graduate course. After spending a few months in determining the most desirable location, he opened an office in Rock Rapids. Here he has been very successful in building up a large practice, in which he is greatly assisted by his wife, who is also a graduate of the same college and a member of the class of 1895 with her husband. They were married the year of their graduation. She is a stepdaughter of Dr. Kilgore, of Luverne, Minnesota, under whose supervision her medical studies were pursued. She has taken a post graduate course in nursing, and is regarded as a very capable physician. She is the mother of two children, Will Carlton, and Clarence Philbrick. Her ancestors came from Holland and settled in the east.

Selah P. North, father of Dr. North, was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, and was long an active miller. He is still living on a farm near Joliet, though he has been retired from active business for many years. His father also bore the name of Selah North, and was a direct descendant of John North, who came from New England in 1636, and made a home near New Haven, Connecticut. From him come many descendants, and the North family tree is a large one.

Dr. North belongs to the Blue Lodge and Chapter and Commandery of the Masonic fraternity, and is a member of Palladium Lodge, No. 91, Knights of Pythias, where he has occupied in turn all the official chairs. For three terms he has been its representative at Grand Lodge. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, while he and his wife belong to the People's church.


Compendium/Bios Index   |   Home

Webization by Kermit Kittleson - Aug. 2006