O'Brien and Osceola Counties, Iowa

For O'Brien County
For Osceola County
Indianapolis, Indiana


J. L. E. PECK.

Picture of J.L.E. PECK.

J. L. E. Peck was horn August 18, 1852, at Killworth-on-the-Thames, near London, Middlesex county, Ontario, dominion of Canada. His great- grandfather, Jacob Peck, was born in 1770, and his grandfather, Washington Peck, was born April 12, 1801, each in Massachusetts, and each removed west near Toronto, Canada, about 1825. Washington Peck was a rover all his life and had a large family, four daughters and three sons, namely: Elizabeth Whiffin, of Barnia, Canada; Mary Ann Banghart, of Tucson, Arizona; Emma Colvin, of Los Angeles, California; Jane Keys, of Colorado; David Abbott Peck, of Northboro, Iowa; Egerton E. Peck, of Westboro, Missouri, and Edmond G. Peck, a frontiersman of the west as early as 1849, when but twelve years of age. Washington Peck and family made two overland trips with ox team across the plains, first in 1852 and again in 1857- 1859, returning via Panama, and at times resided in Canada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Utah, California, and rounded up in Centralia, Washington, where he spent his last twenty-five years, and from which he was sent to the Territorial Legislature about 1865. The whole family being coopers they all spent eighteen months at Salt Lake and made up for Brigham Young a large amount of what were known as wooden bolts into barrels, tubs, buckets and other vessels, and made one of the strikes of his life so far as money was concerned, in that then wild country where such articles could not be procured.

David A. Peck, the father of J. L. E. Peck, was born November 29, 1829, near Toronto, Canada, and grew up a cooper by trade, which he continued for some years, and then cut down and cleared up a heavily wooded farm of one hundred acres near London. In 1862, with his family and the subject of this sketch, he emigrated to Atchison county Missouri, near Rockport. Later on, during the war, under a prevalent fear that the lands of rebels would be confiscated in Missouri and that the titles would be bad, he moved to Page county, Iowa, and bought a farm, then largely prairie, at two dollars and fifty cents per acre, on which he resided thirty-five years, until his death. December 8, 1897, and on which his youngest son, David Arthur


Peck, born November 27, 1872, still lives and owns the old homestead. David Peck spent much of his life as local preacher, establishing churches and Sunday schools and doing other church work in northern Missouri and Page county, Iowa. His wife was Eliza Jane Carey Peck, a cousin of the poets, Alice and Phoebe Carey. Her mother was Beulah Foster Carey and her father Francis King Carey, residing at Killworth, Canada. Benjamin Foster, great-grandfather of J. L. E. Puck, was killed at the battle of Lundy's Lane, fighting on the American side in the War of 1812. The great-grand- father, Francis Carey, was three months on the ocean coming over from Ireland and experienced a shipwreck, in which the passengers had to take possession and manage the sailing vessel. He settled near Albany, New York, and was a contractor on the stone work on the capitol building.

The family of David A. Peck consisted of J. L. E. Peck, the oldest; Edward Washington Peck, of Pasadena, California; Robert E. Peck, hardware merchant, and David Arthur Peck, each of Northboro, Iowa, and Johanna Peck Mawhinney and Minnie Peck Blanchard. sisters, each deceased in 1902. A daughter, Ida, aged sixteen, died November 27, 1870.

The subject of this sketch attended the district schools until fourteen years of age, then took a course of three years at the academy at College Springs, Iowa. At seventeen he commenced teaching school in the rural schools, and taught five years. This being the period of the growing up of the early families, he had large schools of sixty or more. He then took a course at the State University of Iowa, at Iowa City, and graduated there June 16, 1874. He studied law and was admitted to the bar. He formed a partnership at the law with Eric P. Johnson, at Decorah, Iowa, and remained there nearly three years. He arrived in Primghar June 27, 1877, and on September 1, 1877, formed a partnership in law with Isaac W. Daggett, which continued about one year. Later he had his office in the bank building of John R. Pumphrey. On July 30, 1878, he met with an accident, breaking his left limb, a compound fracture, which, on account of bad surgery, left him lame for life. This left him in debt nine hundred dollars. He got back to work in 1879, just as the campaign for county offices was opening, and at once took part in the agitations of the county and was elected for two terms as county auditor, serving from 1880 to 1884. The main questions and items during his two terms of office and in which he participated, were the rebonding of the old county debt of two hundred thousand dollars, and reducing the rate of interest on same from ten to seven per cent. It took seventeen thousand signatures by himself as auditor to sign up those bonds and coupons. He took part in the second trial year and subsequient years in


getting the county on a cash basis. He sold eleven of the sixteen sections of school land and loaned the proceeds under the state laws. He took part, as auditor, in the largest tax sale of about thirty thousand dollars ever held in the county. Mr. Peck, as auditor, laid out and established eight hundred miles of roadways, on section lines on the then prairies, it being done when land was cheap, that no damages would be asked for. As auditor he organized Dale, Union and Omega townships and named the latter.

On June 15, 1882, Mr. Peck was married to Alice Wilkinson, of Westboro, Missouri, and they commenced keeping house in Primghar June 24th. Their immediate family consists of two daughters, Demia Eliza Peck, born October 11, 1884, and Beulah Frances Peck, born February 8, 1886. One son, George David Peck, died when five months old. Alice Blanchard, born July 7, 1895, the child of his sister Minnie, has been raised in the family since 1903, and is now a teacher in the rural schools of the county. Ralph Carey Mawhinney, a son of his sister Johanna, was raised in part in the family from twelve to seventeen years of age.

George Harmon Wilkinson, the father of Mrs. J. L. E. Peck, was born February 27, 1830, in Seneca county, New York, and died at Westboro, Missouri, February 2, 1913, and with his wife, Demia E. Wilkinson, resided with his daughter in Primghar for ten years. The grandfather of Alice Peck, John Wilkinson, was a Methodist minister, born in 1794. Likewise her great-grandfather, also a John Wilkinson, resided in Seneca county, New York, the family later removing and settling near Tiffin, Seneca county, Ohio, this great-grandfather being a soldier the the Revolutionary War on the American side. A sister of Mrs. Peck, Elmetta E. Wilkinson, resides with her in Primghar. Frank B. Wilkinson, her brother, resides at Westboro, Missouri. He was married to Mary E. Rerick, daughter of ex-County Recorder Isaac L. Rerick, of Primghar. They have three sons, George Rerick Wilkinson, aged twelve years, Burdette Frank Wilkinson, aged eleven years. and Everett Wilkinson, aged nine years.

J. L. E. Peck has been a member of the board of education twenty-four of his thirty-seven years in Primghar. and president of same about fifteen years of that time. He was referee in bankruptcy under appointment of Hon. Oliver P. Shiraz, United States district judge of the northern district of Iowa, from August, 1898, to September, 1903, and acted in ninety-one bankruptcy proceedings. He has been commissioner of insanity for thirty of the thirty-seven years, and has acted in the commitment of about six hundred persons to the several state hospitals. He was mayor of Primghar two years, 1896‐1897, and a member of the town council nine years. He was


one of the ten men who signed the guaranty to the Ilinois Central Railroad to furnish twenty-two miles of right of way from Archer to the Cherokee county line, and thirteen acres for depot grounds at Primghar. He has practiced law during all the years. He has participated in much of the court and public records. In the early years he did much abstracting on each of the six sets of abstracts of title in the county, and has examined hundreds of abstracts for land purchasers in many states. He was cashier and manager of the Primghar State Bank for four years, 1886‐1890, and has been a stockholder and director in the Primghar Savings Bank since it started in 1894. In brief, he has participated in scores of the sundry county affairs as detailed in this history.

In 1903, with his family, Mr. Peck removed to Indianola,Iowa, to give his daughters the privileges of Simpson College. After their graduation there he returned to Primghar in 1907. During his time there he was a member of its city council, practiced law, and its mayor, B. F. Clayton, being absent one year in Europe, Mr. Peck acted in his place by appointment. He has dealt much in land, and has farmed much both in O'Brien and Dickinson counties, in this state, and for twelve years also in the Red River valley; in fact, since 1901 has farmed each year more than one thousand acres in crops.

He was partner of David Algyer in 1894, and in the latter part of that year was formed the law, loan and abstract firm of Peck, Artherholt & Ingham, composed of himself, Wade W. Artherholt and Clarence W. Ingham. This continued until 1898. He was later partner with Mr. Artherholt, as Peck & Artherholt, after returning from Indianola. In 1891, with F. M. McCormack ("Pomp"), he wrote up twenty-four chapters of a history of O'Brien county, which were then published in the O'Brien County Bell, and just now (1914) is one of the editors of this later history of the county. His full name is John Licinius Everett Peck.


A man's achievements generaly depend upon his inherent ability to seize hold upon opportunity and divert it to the channels in which he is specialy proficient. This proficiency of man is notably enhanced by the development of the brain activity and a broadening of the faculties through education. While many men have made splendid success without a college


education, it is noteworthy that a man is more able to grasp an opportunity and turn its course to his immediate personal advantage if he has been blessed with good mental training. This will enlarge his horizon and temper his impulses as nothing else will. The marked success which has characterized the life work of John McCandless, of Sheldon, Iowa, is due to his strong personality, wide and humane sympathy and understanding, and to the fact that he has had the advantages of an excellent education. Descended from a long line of intelligent forbears of Scotch ancestry, he belongs to the best class of citizenship in his county.

John McCandless, the president of the Empire Loan and Trust Company, of Sheldon, Iowa, was born May 11, 1855, on a farm in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. His parents, Philip and Margaret (Stonecipher) McCandless, were of Scotch ancestry, the first member of the family coming to this countrv in 1808. The McCandless farm in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, has been in continuous possession of the family for four generations, the original deed to the land being dated 1808. Philip McCandless and wife, who are buried on the old homestead, reared three children to lives of usefulness and honor: Margaret, George and John. Margaret is the wife of A. C. McGill, a prominent and wealthy banker of Montezuma, Iowa. George lived in Pennsylvania on the home farm until his death in 1912.

John McCandless was reared to manhood in the county of his birth. He finished the local schools and then entered Washington and Jefferson College, from which institution he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the spring of 1877. After leaving college he went to Pittsburgh, where he read law for two years, and then entered the University of Michigan law school. He completed his legal education in this excellent school and was at once admitted to the practice of his profession in Michigan. Upon his return to his native state he was admitted to practice in all the courts of that state, but left the state before he tried to built up a clientage.

The connection of Mr. McCandless with Iowa began in 1880, when he came to Montezuma and started in to practice law, and at the same time conduct a loan business. He continued to live in Montezuma until 1892, when he located in Sheldon, Iowa, and became connected with the Empire Loan and Investment Company. This company was organized in 1880 by C. S. McLaurie, George W. Schee and Edward Brown, and during the thirty-four years of its career has negotiated many millions of farm loans without a dollar's loss to its clients. This company is a unique organiza-


tion in many ways. Its motto is "Steadfastness" and its business is service. Under one management, conservative and efficient, there have been grouped four departments and over each is placed an expert whose services are for the use of the clients of the company. The four departments of the company are as follows: Financial, real estate, legal and insurance. The financial department loans money on carefully selected farms in northwestern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and eastern Dakota, a farming district that has no equal in the world, buys mortgages and other paper secured by real estate; pays the highest current rates on time deposits, which are invested in first mortgages, and offers for sale at all times mortgages from five hundred dollars and upward. The real estate department of the company supervises the buying and selling of real estate; appraises real and personal property; cares for the rental and maintenance of property owned by non-residents, and at all times has land for sale, in the territory in which they are making loans. The legal department of the company execute private and judicial trusts; acts as guardian, executor, receiver, trustee and administrator; draws deeds, contracts, wills and other legal documents, gives legal advice and makes a specialty of examining abstracts and perfecting titles. The fourth department of the company is insurance. They are in a position to give all forms of insurance, farm, fire, tornado, automobile, liability and life insurance. They also sell bonds for all occupations.

This company was reorganized March 1, 1914, with the following officers: John McCandless, president; E. B. Starrett, vice-president; C. O. Button, treasurer; Edward C. Starrett, secretary. Mr. McCandless had been the secretary-treasurer of the company from 1892 until the time of his election to the presidency of the company. His election is a tribute to the excellent work he has done for the company during the twenty-two years he has been connected with it. Mr. McCandless is heavily interested in the Empire Loan and Trust Company and also has large private land holdings in Iowa and adjoining states.

Mr. McCandless was married in 1884 to Kate L. Buchanan, of Washington, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Robert and Margaret Buchanan. To Mr. and Mrs. McCandless have been born three children: Robert B., a banker of Fulton, South Dakota; Margaret, the librarian of the Sheldon public library, and Bethana. The famiy are consistent members of the Congregational church and are greatly interested in church work.

The Republican party has claimed the support of Mr. McCandless, but the stress of business has been so heavy that he has never been active in political affairs. However, he is deeply interested in good government and


lends his aid to all measures which will secure it. Fratenially, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias.

Mr. McCandless is a man of upright and moral character, active in religious circles and kindly disposed toward those less fortunate than himself. He is a fine type of the American citizen who lives a full and complete life and O'Brien county honors itself in placing him among the representative men of his county.


That industry and sound judgment, combined with a wise economy, both of time and money, are the surest contributing elements to success, is exemplified in the life of William Briggs, president of the Primghar Savings Bank. Success in this life naturally comes to the deserving, because of their possession of the necessary attributes and the ability to succeed along a well defined line of endeavor. A great number of the men of standing in every community are self-made, having started at the bottom of the ladder and worked upward. Such a man is William Briggs, of whom this brief review is written.

Mr. Briggs was born October 25, 1860, in England, the son of Stephen and Sarah (Holmes) Briggs, who emigrated to Lyons, Clinton county, Iowa, in 1861, while William was yet an infant. Stephen Briggs engaged in various occupations at Clinton and was for a period of years proprietor of a ferry across the Mississippi river, between Lyons, Iowa, and Fulton, Illinois, having built the new boat, "J.P. Gage." He prospered during his active life and at the time of his death was president of the First National Bank and Lyons Savings Bank of Lyons, Iowa. He died in Lyons in 1912. He was the father of six children, as follows: Mary, who died in England; Albert, a resident of Illinois; Harry, also of Illinois; Arthur, a real estate man at Lyons, Iowa; Mrs. Robert Blake, who lives in Chicago, and William.

William Briggs received his education in the public and high schools of Lyons, Iowa, and when still young entered the employ of the First National Bank of Lyons. He was but a little over sixteen years of age when he entered this bank and was afterwards promoted to the position of teller. In 1896 he came to Primghar and became president of the Primghar Savings Bank. He is engaged to a considerable extent in the buying and selling of lands and controls a large acreage. He is a Republican in politics and is enterprising and progressive.


The Primghar Savings Bank was organized November 15, 1894, by William Briggs, John H. Archer, George W. Schee and others. The paid up capital is $30,000, with a surplus of $10,000 and undivided profits of $5,600. The deposits are in excess of $175,000. The bank owns its own building, a handsome brick structure erected in 1894 at a cost of $8,000, and has considerable real estate holdings, consisting of city property, lands, etc. The present ofiicers are: William Briggs, president; John H. Archer, of Sheldon, Iowa, vice-president, and who is also vice-president of the First National Bank of Sheldon, Iowa, and president of the Bank of Archer; L. T. Aldinger, cashier; J. L. E. Peck, D. H. Smith, William Briggs, John H. Archer and L. T. Aldinger. directors. The correspondents of this flourishing concern are the First National Bank of Sheldon, Iowa, and the Corn Exchange National Bank of Chicago. It also keeps an account with the Peoples' Trust and Savings Bank of Clinton, Iowa, and Sanborn Savings Bank of Sanborn. Iowa.


No profession offers greater opportunities for honorable and distinguished career than that of the law. Neither does any other profession require greater preparation or more profound ability on the part of the person who enters the legal profession as a means of attaining eminence and emoluments of a high order. Few avenues forming the open sesame to success are closed to the able and gifted attorney; he is by virtue of his knowledge of the science of government and the niceties and intricacies of law, a leader; because of his training, he becomes the adviser of business concerns and is frequently the trusted and efficient coadjutor of those who do things on a large scale. We place the lawyers in our high places and bestow upon them qualified powers as administrators of government: we reward those among this great fraternity who exhibit capabilities which fit them for places of honor and distinction. This volume would be incomplete were it not to contain a resume of the life of Otto Hillock Montzheimer, a leader of the bar in O'Brien county and an attorney of exceptional attainments.

Mr. Montzheimer was born February 16, 1867, in the town of Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. He is the son of Julius Herman Montzheimer, a native of Minden, kingdom of Prussia, Germany, and who was born March 13, 1834. J. H. was the son of Frederick Montzheimer, born in 1794, in Koenigsburg, Prussia, and Emily Renschuch Montzheimer, a native of the city of Berlin, where she was born in 1800. Julius emigrated to America in 1858, and on

Picture of O.H. MONTZHEIMER.


November 6, 1860, was married to Isabelle Belle Hillock, a native of Michigan. He is the father of the following children: Marie Powell, of Lawrence, Kansas; Frederick, who died in infancy; Otto H.; Arthur, of Joliet, Illinois, chief engineer of Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company, and James L., of Newport, Washington.

Julius H. Montzheimer enlisted August 16, 1861, as private secretary to the renowned General Sigel, and was mustered into the service at St. Louis, Missouri, September 3, 1861. He became a member of Company K, Seventeenth Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry. On December 30, 1861, he was commissioned second lieutenant, said commission to date from September 3d. He was promoted to a first lieutenancy of Company E, of the Seventeenth Missouri Volunteer Regiment, November 1, 1862, and acted as secretary to General Sigel, who was then in command of a brigade. He was appointed aide-de-camp on Sigel's staff in December of 1861; in May of 1862 he was assigned to the staff of General Osterhaus. He contracted malarial fever in Helena, Arkansas. He participated in the following battles; Bentonville, Missouri, on March 2, 186; Pea Ridge and numerous skirmishes. He suffered injury through a fall from his horse near Rolla, Missouri, November 19, 1861; received a flesh wound in the right thigh from ambush June 29, 1862, while on the march from Jacksonpot to Helena; was engaged in a skirmish at Salem. Missouri, while on a march to escort General Sigel to Batesville, Arkansas, in May, 1862. He resigned on account of disability and was discharged December 4, 1862. After retiring from active engagements he resided for some time at Gallup, New Mexico, and later at Burbank, California, where he died September 25. 1913.

Otto H. Montzheimer, with whom this narrative is directly concerned, was educated in the public and high schools of Webster City. Iowa, and graduated in June, 1885. He decided to take up the profession of law and studied for one year in the law department of the State University at Iowa City. In March, 1888, he was admitted to the practice of law and located in Primghar May 22, 1888. Since coming to O'Brien county his rise has been rapid, and he is rated as one of the most successful practitioners and men of substance in the county and in western Iowa. His vocations are varied and he handles considerable land and real estate on his own account. Mr. Montzheimer is corporation attorney for the five railroads entering O'Brien county, and his legal duties require his absence from home a great deal of his time. His private law practice likewise requires his presence at frequent intervals in the surrounding counties.


Politically, Mr. Montzheimer is allied with the Republican party and. while he has never desired nor sought political preferment, he has rendered substantial assistance to his friends who have had political ambitions. For a number of years he has been a member of the board of insanity commissioners and is vice-president of the First National Bank of Primghar. In 1909 he wrote and compiled, with the assistance of George W. Schee, a "Biographical Data and Army Record of the Old Soldiers of O'Brien County." This valuable work is found in the home of every veteran in O'Brien county and also in the homes of many of the citizens and is prized very highly.

Mr. Montzheimer is prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity, being at present master of Rising Star Lodge of Masons at Primghar; for twelve years past he has served as high priest of the local chapter of Royal Arch Masons; is a Knight Templar, and a member of the Consistory, being a Mason of the thirty-second degree. He is an influential member of the Congregational church of his home city, and is a strong advocate of temperance and good moral living, lending his influence in this direction at every opportunity.

Mr. Montzheimer was wedded July 10, 1891, to Jennie Fenton, of Webster City, Iowa, who is the daughter of Charles and Lyde A. Fenton, residents of Webster City.

This review is intended as an appreciation of Mr. Montzheimer's accomplishments and, while deficient in a proper presentation of the many striking and capable qualities in which he excels, it may serve as an inspiration and guidance for the young men of the present day who are seeking to attain eminence in one of the learned professions. No man who has been identified with the history of O'Brien county is more worthy of an honored place in this work than he.


Success is only achieved by the exercise of certain distinguishing traits and it can not be retained without effort. It is often found that heredity has an important bearing upon the destiny of the individual, but in the main his success depends to a greater extent upon the cultivation of his talents and upon the exercise of persistent and indefatigable industry toward the attainment of a certain goal. Those who have succeeded in reaching a place of prestige and have retained the esteem of their fellows have be-


gun early in life the struggle for supremacy. Nowadays men usually obtain official position in their home community through being the known possessors of ability, such as will commend them peculiarly to the successful conduct of the duties to which they are assigned by the people. A man of this class is Harry C. May, county treasurer of O'Brien county, who is a pronounced example of self-made manhood and who enjoys the reputation of being a conscientious, dignified and honest public official through- out the length and breadth of the county.

Mr. May was born on a farm in Whiteside county, Illinois, January 22, 1858. His early home was located near the town of Como. His father was Henry May, a native of Massachusetts, and his mother was Martha Currier, born in Boston, Massachusetts, February 20, 1822, and died September 9, 1894. The May family in America originated with Capt. John J. May, who came from the town of Mayfield, England, in 1640 and settled in Boston, Massachusetts, with his two sons, John and Samuel. A sister of John J. May became the wife of Gov. William Bradford. The Mays were thorough Puritans and were long prominently identified with the Puritan colony. John May (II), the direct ancestor of Harry C. May, born in 1628, became a freeman in 1660, was a prominent and strong figure in the colonial life of Massachusetts and participated in the Boston Tea Party. John May (III) was a selectman and a deacon of the Roxbury church. Benjamin May (IV) was a plain farmer who lived on Jamaica Plain. His tombstone still stands in the cemetery at the corner of Washington and Eustice streets. Benjamin's first wife was a daughter of Stephen Williams. Lemuel May (V) was a farmer of Jamaica Plain and occupied the greater part of the whole of the May estate, which had been in the family for three generations. Benjamin May (VI) was also a farmer. Henry (VII) was reared in Boston and was a wheelwright who built and operated the stage coach "Osceola," which plied from West Roxbury to Boston for a number of years. He was later a "Forty-niner," made a trip to California and made some money in the gold fields. He remained in the West for three years, and then emigrated with his wife and family to Illinois and engaged in farming. He died February 12. 1889, having been born October 19, 1815. He was the father of three children: Mary Olds, of Rock Falls, Iowa; William, of Milford, Iowa, and Harry C.

From John May, who came to America in 1640, have descended the greater part of those who have born the name of May in New England and carried it to all parts of the country. A book printed in England in 1694,


entitled "Worthies of Sussex, England," places the home of the May family at Mayfield, a town in Sussex, and ascribes a Portuguese origin to the Mays.

Harry C. May was educated in the public schools at Como and pursued a commercial course in Records & Bradford's Commercial College in Boston. He came West after graduation and located in Sac county in 1880. His first crop was killed by an early fall of snow, he having sixty acres of land sown to flax, which was destroyed. He sold out and came to O'Brien county and began clerking in a general store at Hartley. For several years he was employed in stores at Hartley and Sanborn. He was elected clerk of the district court in the fall of 1905 and served four years. He was then employed as bookkeeper in the Primghar Savings Bank for four years. In the fall of 1912 he was elected county treasurer and took up his official duties January 1, 1913. He is the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of good land in Minnesota.

Mr. May is politically allied with the Republican party. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the encampment at Sanborn, and is religiously associated with the Congregational church.

Mr. May has twice been married, his first marriage being with Ella Brumley on November 22, 1887. She died on February 27, 1890. His second wife is Mrs. Hattie Richards, whom he married November 25, 1894, and who has two daughters by a former marriage, Ella and Alta. Mr. May is well liked, sociable, accommodating and a prime favorite among his many acquaintances and friends.


Banking has ever been considered the most important of commercial occupations. No institutions have contributed more to the development and upbuilding of the western country than the banking concerns. The banks of O'Brien county, without exception, are bulwarks of strength and stability, and have been the mainstay and support of the municipalities and the country round about in important ways. The First National Bank, of which Mr. Hinman is the official head, ranks high among the similar institutions in the county. To be head of such an important concern calls for exceptional ability and attainments such as will command and carry the respect of associate banks and the patrons. The president of the First National Bank of Primghar carries, easily and in a dignified manner, the responsibilities


engendered through the important duties he has to perform. His abihty is unquestioned; he possesses a profound aptitude for the banking business, and has achieved a pronounced success in his chosen field.

Ralph T. Hinman was born October 15, 1867, in Albion, Marshall county, Iowa, the son of John F. Hinman and Ellen A. (Foote) Hinman, extended reviews of whom appear in this work. He was educated in the common schools and, like his father before him became a farmer. He came to O'Brien county with his parents in the year of 1882 and resided on the family farm in Baker township until the removal of the family to Primghar, in 1893. Mr. Hinman devoted part of a summer season in the employ of an implement concern in Sheldon. He was in the employ of J, S. Nye, of Primghar, for some time and then entered the employ of George W. Schee, who was engaged in banking and the land business. He remained in Schee's employ until Mr. Schee sold out his holdings in the Primghar State Bank, and upon the organization of the Primghar Savings Bank he was employed by this concern for a time. July 8, 1896, he formed a partnership with George R. Whitmer, for the purpose of conducting a private bank known as the Farmers Bank. Mr. Whitmer was president and Mr. Hinman was the cashier. Some years later this bank was merged into the Farmers National Bank, with a capital of thirty thousand dollars. with Mr. Whitmer as president; W. A. Sanford as vice-president, and Mr. Hinman as cashier. Mr. Whitmer eventually sold his interest to George R. Slocum, after which the consolidation of the First National and the Farmers National Banks took place. This was effected December 5, 1904, with R. T. Hinman as cashier: H. W. Smith, president, and O. H. Montzheimer, vice-president. In January, 1913, Mr. Hinman was elected president of the concern. He is interested in considerable farm land and is the owner of six hundred and forty acres in O'Brien county, with a half interest in four hundred acres in Minnesota and also has lands in Oregon.

Mr. Hinman was married October 4, 1898, to Harriet Hill, daughter of fraternally connected with the blue lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the chapter, commandery, and the Mystic Shriners. He is a frequent attendant and a liberal supporter of the Congregational church.(sic)

Mr. Hinman was married October 4, 1898, to Harriet Hill, daughter of Roland Hill, formerly of Alton, Iowa, but now a resident of South Dakota. They have one child, Doris M., born July 15, 1899, and now a student in the Primghar high school.

The First National Bank, of which Mr. Hinman is the efficient president, was practically organized in 1889, the charter being issued November


11th of that year. The first president was Frank H. Robinson; vice-president, Charles H. Slocum. The capital stock was $50,000. In the year 1913 the bank's statement disclosed the following facts: Capital, $50,000; surplus, $10,000; resources, including deposits, $300,000; undivided profits, $15,000. The bank is the owner of its own quarters and the business is conducted in a handsome, two-story brick building, erected in 1902 at a cost of $10,000. In 1912 the interior was completely remodeled and new fixtures installed, with a new and modem safe, large vault with safety deposit boxes, etc., at a cost of $8,000. This bank is one of the best equipped for the transaction of business in northwestern Iowa. Considerable real estate is held in fee simple by the bank, consisting of lands, city lots, and buildings which have also been charged off with the fixtures. This concern has connections with the First National Bank of Cherokee, and the H. W. Smith and Ed Smith Bank, of Morrison, Illinois. The present officers are: R. Hinman, president; Roy King, cashier; O. H. Montzheimer, vice-president; R. T. Hinman, O. H. Montzheimer, W. H. Sanford, of Cherokee, Roy King and H. W. Smith, directors.


An enumeration of those men of Osceola county, Iowa, who have won honor and public recognition for themselves and at the same time have honored the localities to which they belong, will find James E. Townsend occupying a conspicuous place in the list. The same qualities which have made him one of the prominent and successful men of his county have also brought him the esteem of his fellow men, while his career has been one of well-directed energy and honorable methods. As a township official, as a county official and as a city official he has ever striven for the best interests of his fellow citizens, and in no way has he fallen short of that high sense of duty which should actuate every good American citizen.

James E. Townsend, a resident of Osceola county for the past forty-two years, was born on a farm in Michigan on February 14, 1843. His parents, Eletham and Eliza (Tedman) Townsend, were natives of New York and Connecticut, respectively, both families being early settlers in New York state. Shortly after they were married, Eletham Townsend and his wife moved to Michigan, reared their children in that state and lived there the remainder of their days. They were the parents of nine children: Sherman, a resident of Michigan; Judson, who lives in Spokane, Washington; Rufus, of Green-


wood, Wisconsin; James E., whose life history is here recorded and five deceased.

James E. Townsend was educated in the schools of Michigan and lived with his parents until twenty-three years of age. He then traveled for a few years in the West for the purpose of seeing the country and incidentally looked for an opening where he might settle. He married in 1871 and two years later decided to permanently locate in Osceola county, Iowa. He reached this county March 17, 1873, and located on section 8, Oilman township, and obtained government patent No. 9842. He erected a little, fourteen by twenty-four-foot house and here he and his young wife started to make their fortune upon the wide and trackless prairies which they had entered. They managed to live through the grasshopper years, which were so trying to every one in this section of the state, and within a few years were on the high road to prosperity. In the eighties Mr. Townsend began to increase his land holdings and subsequently owned four hundred and eighty acres in Gilman township, which he still retains. It is not possible for the farmer of today to realize the discouragements which met the early farmers of this county, and for this reason the life history of these pioneer farmers is interesting to the present generation. It is sufficient to say that Mr. Townsend and his wife faced all of their discouragements with brave hearts and have lived to see the land which they entered become a prosperous farm, yielding handsome returns. When the bank at Ashton, in Gilman township, was organized Mr. Townsend took an active part and is now the vice-president of that financial institution.

Mr. Townsend was married in October, 1871, to Emma C. Jones, a native of Michigan and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Jones, and to this marriage have been born six children: Clara, a trained nurse of Ashton, Iowa; E. B., who lives in South Dakota; Frank, who is living near Berkshire, New York; James, a farmer of Gilman township, this county; Oeorge, of Murdo, South Dakota, and Robert, who is now operating his father's farm. Mr. and Mrs. Townsend have nine grandchildren, Ruth, Frances, Elizabeth, John, Margaret, James III, Roberta, Richard and Helen.

Mr. Townsend has always taken an active part in Republican politics, and has been honored by his party on several occasions by being elected to township and county official positions. In his home township he has been justice of the peace, trustee and president of the school board. In 1891 he was elected treasurer of Osceola county, and was subsequently re-elected, filling that important office to the entire satisfaction of the citizens of the county. After moving to Ashton he was elected mayor of that city in the spring of


1911 and administered the duties of that office in a way that marked him as a man of abihty. In all of these positions he has exerted himself in favor of the best measures and has been a determined foe of grafting of every sort, and for this reason he is held in high esteem by the citizens of the county, irrespective of their political affiliations. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, being one of the oldest members of this order in the county. Such is the history of James E. Townsend, one of the grand old men of Osceola county, a man who braved the dangers and hardships of a new country and who had the foresight to see the future possibilities of this rich farming country. The brave and unselfish lives of such men as he will be remembered long by their descendants, and for this reason their careers are fittingly preserved in this volume.


One of the best known and loved men of Osceola county was the late William J. Miller, who died on July 17, 1914, at his home in Sibley, Iowa. He was born on a ship bearing the United States flag while his parents were coming from Ireland, their native land, to this country, his birth occurring on November 7, 1844. He was reared to manhood in the state of New York and received an excellent education in Potsdam, New York, graduating from the Saint Lawrence Academy in that city. He entered the teaching profession in the state of New York and followed that profession in New York until 1872. He then went west and located in Sibley, Iowa, where he lived the remainder of his life. He taught in the schools of Sibley for several years and then served his county in various official capacities. He filled the office of superintendent of the Osceola county schools for a number of years in a very creditable manner. His next official position was that of clerk of the county and he administered the duties of this office in an efficient and painstaking manner, giving his fellow citizens honest and conscientious service. For the past sixteen years he had officiated as justice of peace in connection with his insurance business. After leaving the office of county clerk he engaged in the insurance business, and for twenty years was the financial correspondent for the Connecticut Life Insurance Company for the negotiation of farm loans. He had built up a large and lucrative business for this company by his careful and conservative methods.

Mr. Miller was married to Frances H. Perry in Potsdam, New York, in


Picture of W. J. MILLER

August, 1868. The one child born to this union died when two years of age. The only other relative which Mr. Miller left in this county is a brother, J. O. Miller, of Sibley. Mr. Miller was a regular attendant of the Congregational church and always very much interested in its welfare. Fraternally, he was a loyal member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and the Sibley lodge attended the funeral in a body and performed the Masonic services at the grave.

The life of this excellent citizen was singularly free from everything which might bring censure upon himself and that he was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens is well shown by a glowing tribute paid his memory by the Hon. J. F. Glover, one of his closest friends. In view of the fact that this summary of Mr. Miller's career was written by one of his most intimate friends and a man who appreciated his worth it is here given in full as published in the Sibley Gazette on July 23, 1914:

"In the death of William J. Miller, pioneer of Osceola countv and Sibley, the entire community received a distinct shock and suffered a distinct loss. Mr. Miller, as a homesteader, as a teacher, as a county official, as at all times a prominent citizen, has left wide circles of friends to mourn his loss, as well as his more immediate famiy. He was a man who made friends and held them. As a youth he was desirous of an education. As a student he was diligent; as a teacher he was faithful. While a teacher he was a student as well, of wider range than the school room, thus graduating into the educated, intelligent man.

"By natire he was quiet and unassuming. In all the relations of his busy life he was helpful to his community. He enjoyed the religious and social meetings of his church, which he always attended. He was interested in agriculture, in horticulture, in the poultry yard; interested in the quiet of his home life, in the society of his faithful wife and family relatives and in his books and papers. He was naturally conservative and not given to harsh expressions in political or religious discussions. He was always better pleased to have people meet on a reasonable plane of agreement than to have people 'at the outs.'

"He belonged to the world's peacemakers. Himself a worker, he sympathized with laborers: himself industrious and provident, he was a friend of the man of means, as well as a friend to the man who toiled with his hands. He was a man who preferred to consider the virtues of the individuals of the community than to dwell upon the faults of the members of the public. In his long service as a justice of peace, he was better pleased when men settled


their differences without acrimony and without litigation. He was attentive at trials and conscientious in his judgments.

"He was a man of purpose and a man of moral earnestness. Mr. Miller loved nature as he loved men. For him the bright sun and the blue sky, the fleecy clouds and the gentle rain, the growing trees and the wild flowers of the prairie land of his pioneer days, all had an interest and all contributed to his enjovment. He was provident, but hospitable; reserved, but sympathetic; quiet, but thoughtful. He was interested in his home and in his home surroundings. He was interested in school, church and public affairs. He was one of the safe and sane men of his community. He had little sympathy with men's differences, but enjoyed joining them in their harmonious relations. He was not of an aggressive disposition, but had the flrmness to do the right as he saw it. While his life as farmer, teacher and official was of a prosaic order, yet his nature was of the poetic character. He accepted conditions of toil and privation in the rough, hard years of loss by grasshoppers, but such conditions and small rewards of the pioneer and homesteader did not blind him to the beauties of the country, or shut his eyes to the brighter vision of the country's future. And when better days dawned, his rejoicing was as moderate as his fortitude was commendable before the better days came.

"Loved and respected by all people of all pursuits, by all parties and all creeds, by young as well as by old, it will be many years before the loving personality of William J Miller shall be forgotten. As he has gone over to join those who have gone before, so others shall follow him into that beautiful land where the brighter visions shall all have their full realization."


John Aldinger, who in his time was one of the leading and influential figures of O'Brien county, was born September 24, 1836, in Fairfield, state of New York, the son of John Michael Aldinger, a native of Germany. John was married to Sarah Evans, of New York state, March 8, 1860. In March, 1879, they came to O'Brien county and purchased a quarter section of land, graduallv added to his holdings and became a large landowner as before stated. He dealt extensively in land. They moved to Primghar in 1900. Mrs. Aldinger is the owner of a half section of land in the county.

Mr. Aldinger was prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity


and was a member of the Christian church, becoming affiliated with this denomination at Storm Lake, Iowa, where the family resided for five years previous to locating in O'Brien county, having come west from New York in 1874.

Sarah Evans Aldinger was born December 22, 1839, in Frankfort, Herkimer county, New York, and is the daughter of John and Ann (Townsley) Evans, natives of England. They lived and died in New York. Mr. and Mrs. Aldinger reared the following children: Ernest, born January 17, 1861, is a resident of Primghar, but of late has made his home in California; he is the father of two children, Hattie and Pearl; James, born March 3, 1866, in New York, has charge of the family estate; Lester T., born January 22, 1869; Frederick, born December 21, 1873, resides at Lansing, Michigan, and has one child, John; Mrs. Edith McDonald, born June 6, 1880, and resides at Arion, Iowa. Mr. Aldinger was Republican in politics.


Among the business men of Primghar, O'Brien county, Iowa, who have lived in the county for the past forty years and helped to place it in the front ranks of the counties of Iowa, is Frank L. Herrick, the leading abstracter of the county seat of O'Brien county. He was born February 27, 1859, in Watertown, New York, and is the son of Frederick and Malvina L. (Priest) Herrick.

Frederick Herrick and his family came from New York to Jackson county, Iowa, in 1859 and later located on a farm near Durant, Cedar county, where they lived until 1874. Previous to that year the oldest son of the family, Augustus F., had come to O'Brien county and homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres in section 12, in Carroll township. Here the family lived until the mother died, November 27, 1879. The father later remarried and settled in Des Moines, where he died in 1902. Frederick Herrick and wife were the parents of four children: Augustus F., who died October 25, 1877; Cornelia A., who died April 25, 1885; Homer L., and Frank L.. whose history is here sketched.

Frank L. Herrick came with his parents from New York to Iowa when he was about one year of age and lived in Jackson and Cedar counties until he was fifteen years of age. His elementary education was received in the Cedar county district schools. Upon coming to O'Brien county with


his parents in 1874, he immediately began to work upon the farm. He farmed nntil 1887, when he moved to Primghar and purchased a half interest in a merchandise establishment in that town. Later he worked for four years in an abstract office, and in 1894 he was elected county recorder of O'Brien county on the Republican ticket and served two terms to the entire satisfaction of the citizens of the county, and at the expiration of his term of office, in 1899, he entered the abstract business and has continued at this work up to the present time. He has a complete set of abstract books and is well qualified to do everthing which comes within his line.

Mr. Herrick has been twice married, his first marriage being March 19, 1881, to Jennie C. Richardson, who died July 4, 1894, leaving four children: Maud L., born March 9, 1882, died March 1, 1907; James M., born April 27, 1884; Alabel L., born April 27, 1887, died December 24, 1912, and Chester A. James M. lives at Butte, Montana, and is an employee of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Mr. Herrick was married a second time on August 19. 1909, to Jennie King, the daughter of William King and wife, of Primghar.

Mr. Herrick has been identified with the Republican party since reaching his majority and has been honored by his party by being elected county recorder. He is active in the councils of his party and his advice has been frequently asked by its leaders. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Modern Brotherhood of America. He and his wife are loyal members of the Congregational church and contribute of their means to its support. Mr. Herrick is a wide-awake business man and has gained the confidence of his fellow citizens because of his uprightness and honesty in all of his transactions. He is a man of plain and unassuming demeanor and easily wins friends.


Banking is a business and profession which calls for talent of a high order. To succeed in this oldest of commercial pursuits requires a high degree of intelligence, a great measure of personal integrity, a modicum of absolute honesty, and a broad sense of citizenship, which enables one to capably judge human nature, and at the same time retain the confidence and respect of those with whom he is thrown in contact in the course of the conduct of his business. Lester T. Aldinger is a true type of the broad-


minded citizen and banking official who has acheived a standing in affairs through his own etforts, beginning in a small way.

Mr. Aldinger was born January 2, 1869, in Oneida county, New York. His father was John Aldinger, who was born in September, 1836, and died in January, 1911. He migrated to O'Brien county in 1878, looked over the territory, returned home and then permanently located in Liberty township in 1879. His initial purchase consisted of three quarter sections. He increased his holdings and eventually became a large land owner. Being one of those far-seeing men, who has faith in the ultimate development of the country, he speculated in lands to a considerable extent and handled hundreds and even thousands of acres. At one time he was the sole owner of over one thousand acres of rich O'Brien county land. On account of failing health he disposed of the greater part of his holdings during the latter years of his life. At the time of his death he owned three hundred and twenty acres. He removed to Primghar in the fall of 1900 and here ended his days. He took an actve part in politics and was allied with the Republican party. He was a leading member of the Christian church. His wife, Sarah Evans, bore him the following children: Ernest E., of Primghar; James, a resident of Primghar; Lester T.; Frederick C, of Lansing, Michigan, and Mrs. Edith McDowell, of Primghar.

Lester T. Aldinger was educated in the district schools and the graded schools of Sutherland. He also pursued a commercial course at Shenandoah, Iowa. His younger days were spent in farming until 1896, when he purchased the grain elevator at Sutherland, Iowa, which he operated until January 1, 1900, when he removed to Primghar. In the fall of 1899 he was elected to the important office of county treasurer on the Republican ticket and served for two consecutive terms. After the close of his term of office, in 1904, he devoted some time to his personal affairs, and was again elected to fill the county treasurer's office in the fall of 1908, and served for two terms or until January 1, 1912. At the expiration of his official duties he became cashier of the Primghar Savings Bank. Mr. Aldinger is the owner of four hundred acres of the finest of O'Brien county land.

Mr. Aldinger is affiliated with the Methodist church and is a member of the Brotherhood of American Yeomen. He was married in 1903 to Belle Hill, a daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Hill, of O'Brien county, and who has borne him two children, Bernard, a graduate of the Primghar high school, and Harold, a student.

Mr. Aldinger is one of these exceptional, likeable characters, whose known integrity and uprightness makes for the best citizenship and serves


as an example for others to follow. He enjoys the distinction of being the only county official who was re-elected to the same office after retiring for a period of five years.


Among the highly respected citizens of Primghar, O'Brien county, Iowa, is Isaac L. Rerick, assistant doorkeeper of the Iowa State Senate. He is a native of the Hoosier state, having been born in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, May 4, 1834. the son of Henry and Julia Ann (Lamb) Rerick. His mother died when he was eight years of age, and his father in 1878. Henry Rerick was a native of New York, and one of the pioneers of Tippecanoe county, Indiana. In 1835, when Isaac L. was about a year old, his father moved to St. Joseph county, Indiana, where he lived until his death. The father of Henry Rerick was in the War of 1812, and died in that struegle. Henry Rerick was twice married and by the first marriage there were six children: John H.; Rebecca; Isaac L., whose history is recorded here; Hannah; Elisabeth and Hamilton. Several children were also born to the second marriage.

Isaac L. Rerick was reared in Indiana and there received his education. When he was twenty-one years of age he came to Iowa and spent two months in Delaware county, after which he located in Jones county. He worked there until February, 1856, being employed by an old Indiana acquaintance, as a wood chopper. In February, 1856, he returned to Delaware county and worked on a farm with another young man. Then the two young men bought eighty acres of prairie land and twenty acres of timber. They fenced forty acres of the land with a rail fence and sold his first crop for ninety dollars. Isaac L. then went to Boone county, Iowa, where he worked for a time at fifteen dollars a month.

Isaac L. Rerick was married in 1857 to Samantha Clark, of Boone county, Iowa, the daughter of Louis Clark, a merchant of Sweedspoint. Mr. Clark is now ninety-three years of age. Mr. Rerick enlisted September 28, 1861, in Company E, Fourteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served three years and three months in the southwestern part of the United States. He was in the battles of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth and was under fire for fourteen days between Vicksburg and Meridian, Mississippi. He was on the Red River expedition and other skirmishes in the


Southwest. He was wounded in his neck and laid for six months in a hospital, as the result of the battle at Pleasant Hill. He then went home on a furlough, but reported for duty at Keokuk, Iowa, in October, 1864, and was immediately sent to St. Louis. He was transferred to a company which was assigned to duty in Missouri and fought at Ironton in that state. At Ironton he served as quartermaster under General Ewing and saw very severe fighting. After this battle his regiment moved to Rolla, Missouri, and later was discharged at Davenport, Iowa, December 11, 1864.

After the war, Mr. Rerick returned to Jasper county, Iowa, where he lived until the spring of 1871. He then homesteaded on the western half of the northwest quarter of section 28, in Liberty township, and passed through all the troubles incident to the grasshopper plague in the latter seventies. In 1871 it only rained once during the whole year and succeeding seasons were either exceptionally dry or exceptionally wet, but, nevertheless, he stuck to it and came out all right in the end. In 1878 he and his family left the farm and moved to Primghar. where he obtained the contract for carrying the mail twice each week, between Cherokee, Primghar and Spencer. He carried the. mail for the next three years, and then in 1881 engaged in the lumber business with one thousand dollars worth of stock. The winter and spring of 1882 will never be forgotten by those who lived in the county at that time. Fuel and provisions were hard to get and, in fact, many people left the county in order to keep from starvation. In the fall of 1882 Mr. Rerick engaged in the real estate business and until 1898 lived in Paullina, following the ups and downs of a real estate agent. In 1888 he was elected recorder of O'Brien county and moved to Primghar; was re-elected and served until 1892, since which time he has handled insurance and real estate in this county.

Mr. Rerick is a member of Jordan Post, Grand Army of Republic, and is now vice-commander of the post, having previously served as commander. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in his political faith adheres to the old Republican party. He has been assistant door- keeper of the Iowa Senate for the past four years. Mr. and Mrs. Rerick have seven children: Henry, of Primghar; Manford, of Washington state; Mrs. Ida Belle Bunce, of Calumet, Iowa; Mrs. Matie Wilkins, of Westboro, Missouri; Dora, a deaconess in Sioux City, Iowa; Mrs. Bertha Yeager, of Wall Lake, Iowa, and Ross C, of Sioux City. Mr. Rerick has the honor of being one of the two survivors who helped locate the county seat of O'Brien county at Primghar, in 1872; a history of this is found in another part of this work, and furnishes one of the thrilling chapters in O'Brien county history.



Every country of Europe has contributed some of its best and warmest blood to the various states of our Union, but no country has sent here more independent, self-rehant and hberty-loving people than has Germany. Every branch of industry has felt the invigorating impulse of these people, and has responded with a firmer and more enduring progress. Strong and vigorous sons of the Fatherland, influential in every line of American activity, to them our country is largely indebted for the almost phenomenal prosperity which it now enjoys. Many of the first settlers of Osceola county, Iowa, were born in Germany, and among these there is no one who is more worthy of representation in this volume than Albert Romey, who has lived for the past forty-three years in this county.

Albert Romey, a distinguished veteran of the Civil War, was born April 12, 1844, in Dantzig, Prussia, Germany. His parents, Frederick and Louisa (Adams) Romey, spent all their lives in the land of their birth with the exception of six years which Frederick spent in America. He was a cabinet-maker in his own country and was in the United States from 1856 to 1862, when he returned to Germany, where he lved the remainder of his days. One daughter, Mrs. Mary Otto, had previously come to this country and settled in DeKalb county, Illinois, and it was to visit her that Frederick Romey and his son, Albert, came to this country.

Albert Romey was only twelve years of age when he came to the United States, and when fourteen years of age had hired out to work for a doctor in DeKalb county, Illinois. In the same year, however, he came to Fayette county, Iowa, where he worked on a farm until the opening of the Civil War. Although but a mere youth of seventeen and a resident of this country but five years, he was seized with the same patriotic zeal which caused the millions of native-born sons to flock to the standard of their country. He enlisted in the spring of 1861, immediately after Lincoln's first call, in Company F, Third Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served for four years and four months. His regiment was first stationed in Missouri, and while in that state he participated in engagements at Monroe Blue Mills, on the Missouri river, Hickory Woods and Mexico. He was then sent to St. Louis to embark on gunboats which were sent down the Mississippi river, up the Ohio and down the Tennessee to Fort Henry. He was in the sieges of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Island No. 10, Fort Pillow and Memphis. From Memphis he went to Vicksburg and was in all of the fighting up to the

Picture of ALBERT ROMEY.


surrender of that stronghold on July 4, 1863. He was then sent up the Yazoo river with their gunboat "Corandelett," which fought with the rebel ram "Arkansas." From here he went again to Island No. 10, in the Mississippi, where his regiment was stationed to prevent General Price from retaking the island. From Vicksburg his regiment was sent to Meridian, Mississippi, later returned and went to assist General Banks upon the Red River expedition and went up the river toward Shreveport, Louisiana, and was detached and assigned to duty with the First Missouri Artillery. His next engagements were the battles of Yellow Bayou, De Glase and Cross Roads. For twelve days he was in continuous action and on horseback all the time. After the Red River expedition was concluded he returned to Vicksburg and from thence was sent to Memphis; here he returned to his original regiment and was sent to Georgia, where he followed Sherman on his memorable march to the sea. He was finally mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, at the close of the war, having been a participant in engagements in eight different states and passed through hardships which would try the nerve of the strongest heart. During his entire service he lived out in the open, his command having lost their tents at the battle of Shiloh in the spring of 1862. He was wounded on two different occasions. but fortunately not seriously at either time. At Yellow Bayou, in Louisiana, he was wounded by a piece of shell while on a gunboat and later was wounded on the back by a sabre cut while a rebel cavalry were charging the battery.

Immediately after the close of his long service at the front Mr. Romey returned to Fayette county, Iowa, where he farmed for a year. In 1866 he was married to Lucy Carpenter, and the following year they went to Nebraska looking for a place to locate. However, the Indians were giving trouble in that state and they returned to Iowa and lived in Fayette county until 1871. At this time Osceola county was being opened for settlement, and in that year they went to the latter county and homesteaded five miles southeast of Sibley, on the northwest quarter section of township 98, range 41, and here they lived until 1880, at which time they moved to Sibley, where Mr. Romey engaged in the grocery business, and he has been engaged in that business continuously since that time, a period of more than thirty-three years. He still owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in Dickinson county, about nine miles from Spirit Lake.

Since coming to this county Mr. Romey has been in office practically continuously. He was postmaster at Sibley from 1897 to 1906. He has been county supervisor of Osceola countv for two terms and while living in


the county was township clerk and a member of the school board for several years. He has also been assessor of Sibley since becoming a resident of the city. He has always taken an active part in Republican politics and has been one of the leaders of his party in the county for more than forty years. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic post at Sibley, and has been a quartermaster since its organization. He and his family are loyal members of the Methodist Episcopal church and render to it their earnest support at all times.

Mr. Romey and his wife have reared five children, all of whom are still living: E. A., a hotel proprietor of Dante, South Dakota; George A., cashier of the bank at Melvin. Iowa; Mrs. Lucile Ruth Velin, whose husband is a farmer of this county; Mrs. Abbie Wilburn, of Sibley, Iowa; Mrs. Bessie Wilson, who is railroad agent at Elko, Nevada.

And this is the history of a sixteen-year-old German lad who came to this country without any knowledge whatever of its language, customs or institutions and yet by his own indomitable energy and pluck has made a name for himself in this great republic. Fortunate, indeed, is the county which receives such emigrants, and Osceola county is to be congratulated that Albert Romey decided to make his permanent home within its borders. He has been devoted to his adopted country, and has always taken an active interest in everything which he felt would benefit his community in any way. No man stands higher in the esteem of his fellow citizens in this county today than does Mr. Romey, and when the work which he has done is taken into consideration it can be truthfully said that he is one of Osceola county's representative men.


Among the many substantial farmers and stock buyers of O'Brien county, Iowa, who are now living lives of ease and comfort, there is no one who is more deserving of honorable mention in this volume than George E. Phinney. From the Buckeye state he has come to make his home in this garden spot of the world, and since coming here has been classed among the most industrious and prosperous farmers of his locality. He comes from an honorable and distinguished ancestry, his forefathers being prominent people in the history of Massachusetts. George E. Phinney, the son of William Wirt and Cecilia (Clemens) Phinney, was born in Ohio in 1866. William W. Phinney is the son of Caleb


and Rebecca (Hunter) Phinney, both of whom were born in Massachusetts in the years 1805 and 1804, respectively.

Caleb Phinney was a farmer in Massachusetts and a man of great ability. He was a selectman in Massachusetts from 1847 until 1850, and served in the state Legislature from the Boston district in 1852. He died about 1882 in the state where he had lived a long and useful life. Caleb Phinney and wife were the parents of six children: Mary, John, William Wirt, Elizabeth and twins, Edwin and Edward. Mary became the wife of H. K. Whitten, an attorney of Chicago. She was a graduate of Mt. Holyoke Seminary and a woman of great refinement and culture. She and her husband are both deceased; John married and moved from Massachusetts to Kansas, where his death occurred; Elizabeth died in infancy, while Edwin and Edward, twins, are both married and living in Springfield, Massachusetts.

William Wirt Phinney, father of the immediate subject of this review, received a good education in the schools of his native state, and when twenty- one years of age began working for himself. He was engaged in business in the South for a few years and then went to Michigan and engaged in the lumber business, which line he followed for two years, after which he went to Ohio, where he received an appointment to a position in the State Reform School, and here he remained for several years. From Ohio he came to O'Brien county, Iowa, at the time that the town of Sutherland began to boom. He had made a trip to this county the year before and purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land, and on coming here the second time he settled on the farm and remained there for three years. Later he purchased eighty acres of improved land and kept the four hundred acres for several years before he disposed of it. William W. Phinney was married in 1852 to Cecilia Clemens, of Montrose, Pennsylvania, who was born in that state in 1838. To this union were born five children: Nettie, who died in infancy; William, who died at the age of forty years, dying suddenly on his way to Chicago: Bert, who is engaged in business in Sutherland, this county; George F., retired, and Bernard, of Superior, Wisconsin.

George F. Phinney received a good, common school education in the schools of Ohio and came to this county with his parents when he was sixteen years of age. He began farming for himself at the age of twenty-one by renting land in this county. In 1892 he purchased an eighty-acre farm and three years later added another eighty acres. To this tract of one hundred and sixty acres he added a third eighty in 1905, so that he now has two hundred and forty acres of highly improved land in O'Brien county. He has put fifteen thousand dollars' worth of improvements on this land and it is now


worth several times the amount which he originally paid for it. He lived on this farm until 1910, when he rented it for a year and then disposed of it, buying twenty acres of city lots in Sutherland. He has improved his town property and now owns three valuable residences in the city of Sutherland. For the past four years he has been engaged in the buying and selling of live stock and has been meeting with success in this line of business.

Mr. Phinney was married in 1890 to Carrie Bickerton, of Clay county, Iowa, who was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1871, and to this union have been born two children, Frank and Marion, both of whom are now attending school. Politically, Mr. Phinney is a stanch Republican, but has never felt that he could spare the time from his agricultural duties to engage in politics. However, since moving to Sutherland he has taken an added interest in political affairs, and is an active supporter of all measures which he feels will benefit his home town in anyway. He and his family are loyal members of the Methodist Episcopal church, of Sutherland, and contribute liberally of their means to its support. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Brotherhood of American Yeomen. Mr. Phinney is a man of pleasing personality and good business qualities and is recognized as a representative citizen of liis town and county.


Among the men of the younger generation in Osceola county who are taking their part in the life of the community is Ed Gaster, the present postmaster of Ashton. Although he has been a resident of the county only about twenty years, yet such has been his life since coming to this county that he has become recognized as an influential citizen of his town and community. He is guided by correct principles of conduct, and with the business ability which he has shown since becoming a resident of Ashton, it is safe to conclude that in the years to come he will be numbered among the prosperous men. of his home town.

Ed Gaster, the son of F. W. and Susan (Ratzlaff) Gaster, was born in Pierce, Nebraska, April 30, 1885. His father was born in Wisconsin in 1850, while his mother was a native of Germany, her birth occurring in 1855. F. W. Gaster and wife were married in Nebraska and later moved to Yankton, South Dakota, where he followed his trade as a brick and stone mason. From Yankton the family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where


they lived five years. In 1895 they moved to Ashton, where they are now living. They are the parents of seven children, all of whom are living in Ashton: Henry, Louise, Ed (whose history is here presented), Frank, Mrs. Anna Adkins, Will and Alice.

Ed Gaster was educated in the schools of Sioux City and Ashton, coming to the latter city with his parents when he was ten years of age. After leaving the school room he commenced to work in a general mercantile establishment in Ashton and clerked there for twelve years. In 1910 he was appointed postmaster of Ashton and has been filling that position since that time. In addition to serving as postmaster he also conducts a novelty and confectioners' store, and has his full share of the trade in his particular line of business. Two rural routes are served from Ashton and make daily trips through the surrounding country.

Mr. Gaster is a Republican in politics and has always been interested in the affairs of his party. He is a wide reader of current events and keeps well informed on the main issues of the day. He is a member of the German Lutheran church and is a liberal supporter of that denomination. He is still unmarried and lives with his parents. Mr. Gaster is a young man on the threshold of life, and his career so far justifies the predictions of his many friends that he will eventually become one of the substantial men of his community. He lives a clean and wholesome life and is faithful to every duty which has been thrust upon him, and for this reason he enjoys the confidence and esteem of all who have been associated with him in any capacity.


The life of the scholarly or professional man seldom exhibits any of those incidents that seize upon public feeling and attract attention to himself. His character is generally made up of the aggregate qualities and qualifications he may possess, as these may be elicited by the exercise of the duties of his vocation or the particular profession to which he belongs. But when such a man has so impressed his individuality upon his fellowmen as to gain their confidence, and through that confidence rises to high and important public trust, he at once becomes a conspicuous figure in the body politic of the community and state. James Johnson Billingsly, the efficient and popular superintendent of the O'Brien county schools, is one of the scholarlv men of northwestern Iowa who, not content to hide his talents


amid life's sequestered ways, has by the force of an indomitable will and a landable ambition, forged to the front in an exacting and responsible calling and earned an honorable reputation as the head of one of the most important branches of public service.

James Johnson Billingsly, the present county superintendent of O'Brien county, was born May 3, 1859, in the western part of Pennsylvania. His parents were Robert and Jane (Gilliland) Billingsly. Robert Billingsly was born in the northern part of Ireland, of Scotch-Irish, Protestant, Calvinistic Presbyterian ancestry. The Gilliland family traces its ancestry back to colonial times. Robert Billingsly and family left Pennsylvania and settled in Michigan, where the parents lived the remainder of their lives.

James J. Billingsly was educated in the rural schools of southern Michigan and at the Coldwater high school, then entered Valparaiso University, at Valparaiso, Indiana, and graduated from that institution with the degree of Bachelor of Science. At the early age of nineteen he began teaching and taught for several years in the district schools of southern Michigan. In 1884, at the age of twenty-five years, he came to Iowa and taught two years in the eastern part of the state. Following this he was principal of the Onslow (Iowa) school for three years, principal of the Monmouth I (Jackson county) school for one year, superintendent at Wyoming, in Jones county, for two years, and in the fall of 1892 came to Primghar as superintendent of the city schools. He continued in this capacity from 1892 until 1898; in the latter year he was superintendent of the Sanborn schools and was retained in that capacity for the following six years. He then spent two years out of the school room and in 1906 took charge of the Paullina school for two years. In 1908 he was elected county superintendent of schools of O'Brien county and was re-elected in the fall of 1912.

Since takinog charge of the schools of O'Brien county, Professor Billingsly has brought them to a high state of efficiency. He has one hundred and thirty rural schools and six city schools under his charge. The county has two hundred and seven teachers; during his administration he has had their salaries increased and the general standard of education in the county greatly improved. He has had several new buildings erected, and has installed forty modern heating and ventilating plants in various parts of the county. At the present time five of the broadest young people of O'Brien county are taking the extension course at Ames, in order to return to the county and do better work in the school room. At the last of the year there were twenty teachers of the county who were attending the summer schools at various universities and colleges in the state.


Professor Billingsly is a Republican in politics and, being a man of wide reading and close observer of men, he is naturally well posted in all these political questions of tbe day. Fraternally, he is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Mystic Shrine. While he has devoted all of his time to his school interests, he has made some careful investments in land and now owns eighty acres in O'Brien county and one hundred and twenty acres in Grant county, Minnesota. Since coming to this county, Mr. Billingsly has identified himself with tbe community life and has taken an important part in all of tbe various measures of tbe social, intellectual and moral life of Primgbar and the surrounding comnmnity. He has proven himself equal to any emergency in which be has been placed, and to every position in which honored, and as a ripe scholar and gentleman of cultivated taste and high ideals. He fills a large place in tbe public view. For this reason he enjoys tbe esteem and Conifidence of all with whom be comes in contact.


Henry Rerick, a prominent abstracter and business man of O'Brien county, was born in Boone county, Iowa, August 8, 1858, and is tbe son of Isaac L. Rerick, whose history is presented elsewhere in this work. Mr. Rerick was educated in tbe public schools of O'Brien county, and remained on the home farm until he was nineteen years of age. then went into the abstract business in Primgbar and was engaged in the abstract and banking business for the next eight years. He came to Primgbar December 25, 1878, having lived on tbe homestead with his father's family tbe eight years previous in tbe southern part of O'Brien county. He drove tbe stage frequently for his father, while the latter was employed as mail carrier between Cherokee and Primgbar.

Mr. Rerick was elected treasurer of O'Brien county in tbe fall of 1889, taking tbe office January 1, 1890. He served his county well and faithfully for the next six years in this capacity, and upon his retirement from the office of county treasurer he organized an abstract and loan business, under the firm name of Boyer Abstract Company.

Mr. Rerick is a Progressive Republican in bis political belief, while religiously he is affiliated with the Congregational church. He was married May 10, 1882, to Clara, tbe daughter of Thomas G. Stewart, a pioneer settler who came to this county in 1876. Mr. and Mrs. Rerick are tbe parents of


three children: Mrs. Hallie C. Rosencrans of Primghar; Kenneth H. who is associated with his father in the abstract business, and Dana, who is still under the parental roof.

As an abstracter, Mr. Rerick has been remarkably successful and has made few mistakes in his career and he enjoys a reputation far beyond the limits of this county. To be successful in this line of endeavor, much depends upon sound judgment, knowledge of law, probate, real estate and court, as to what can affect title. Mr. Rerick has written an enormous amount of records, systematically showing every transfer affecting real estate in the county, indexed both ways as to the property and in the name of the owner.


Iowa has always been distinguished for the high rank of her bench and bar. Perhaps none of the newer states can justly boast of abler jurists or attorneys. Many of them have been men of national fame, and among those whose lives have been passed on a quieter plane there is scarcely a town or city in the state but can boast of one or more lawyers capable of crossing swords in forensic combat with many of the distinguished legal lights of the country. While the growth and development of the state in the last forty years has been most marvelous, viewed from any standpoint, yet of no class of her citizenship has she greater reason for just pride than in her judges and attorneys. In Judge William Dayton Boies are found many of the rare qualities which go to make the successful lawyer and jurist. He possesses, perhaps, few of those brilliant, dazzling, meteoric qualities which have sometimes flashed along the legal horizon, riveting the gaze and blinding the vision for the moment, then disappearing, leaving little or no trace behind; but rather has those solid and substantial qualities which shine with a constant luster, shedding light in the dark places with steadiness and continuity.

William D. Boies, judge of the twenty-first judicial district of Iowa, comprising the counties of O'Brien, Osceola, Sioux. Lyon, Plymouth and Cherokee, was born on January 3, 1857, in Boone county, Illinois. According to tradition apparently reliable, the Boies family is descended from old French Hueuenot stock of northern France, where the family was substantial and influential. The founder of the Boies progeny in America was a native of Ireland, whither his ancestors had gone to escape religious persecution in their native land. The first record of the American branch is



found in Massachusetts, where a direct ancestor of Judge Boies settled in 1700. It is likewise recorded that both the paternal and the maternal grandparents of W. D. Boies fought in the Revolution in behalf of the American colonies.

The father of Judge Boies was William Dayton Boies, Sr., a native of Erie county, New York. His mother was Sarah C. (Bugbee) Boies, also of New York state. William D. was the son of Eber Boies, a resident of New York and whose wife was a Miss Henshaw. The mother of Sarah C. Bugbee was a descendant of the Lovejoys.

In the year 1845 William D. Boies. Sr., migrated to Boone county, Illinois, and settled on a government homestead with his family. Here he lived the life of a pioneer and his children were born. In 1873 he removed to Buchanan county, Iowa, and purchased a farm. The remainder of his days were spent in Buchanan county, dying in 1905. He was the father of the following children: Eugene M., deceased; Horace L., a farmer in Buchanan county; Inez M. Hoyt. deceased in 1887, formerly of Sycamore, Illinois; Charles E., a farmer and stockman of Independence, Iowa; Alice, who died at the age of two years, and William D.

Judge Boies received his education in the public schools near his Illinois home and in the Belvidere high school. He entered the State University at Iowa City and graduated in the law department in 1880. He began the practice of his profession in Sanborn, O'Brien county, where he remained until 1887, gradually building up a wider acquaintance throughout the territory until such time as he deemed it advisable to remove to a larger city. In 1887 he removed his office and place of residence to Sheldon and has built up a splendid law practice. He was successful from the beginning of his career in the county and, previous to accepting the appointment as district judge, had the largest clientele of any attorney in O'Brien county and is one of the most widely and favorably known attorney's in western Iowa.

Judge Boies received his appointment as district judge on January 1, 1913, having been appointed by Governor Carroll. Judge Boies' term will expire January 1, 1915. At the June primary, 1914, (nonpartisan) he was nominated as his own successor for four years more. He has not been unmindful of his duties as a citizen while attending to his extensive law practice, and it is worthy of record that he served for ten years as a member of the Sheldon city school board. Like many other successful men of this section, he had an abiding faith in the inevitable rise of land values, and naturally invested in a considerable acreage. At the present time his land possessions include fine farms of eight hundred and eighty acres near Sheldon,


all of which, excepting three hundred and twenty acres in Sioux county, lies in O'Brien. He has one thousand one hundred and twenty acres of farm lands in eastern South Dakota.

Judge Boies is afliliated with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, being a member of the lodge, chapter, commandery and the consistory, as well as the Mystic Shriners. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at LeMars, Iowa.

Judge Boies' wedded life began on November 24, 1881, at which time he married Lillian E. Biddinger, of Buchanan county, daughter of James Biddinger, who came to Iowa from Ohio. They have two children, Leon Louis and Russell Lowell.

In active practice. Judge Boies has an unimpeachable record of thirty- two years in O'Brien county previous to his ascendency to the bench. During t his time he was one of the most successful attorneys before the bar of western Iowa. In his present exalted position his career has been all that his previous record promised. His qualifications for the office of judge are unquestionable. First of all, he has the integrity of character, and then he possesses the natural ability and essential recquirements, the acumen of judicial temperament. He is dignified, just, and unassailable in his private capacity and in his judicial prestige. He is able to divest himself of prejudice or favoritism and consider only the legal aspects of the question submitted. No labor is too great, however onerous; no application too exacting, however severe, if necessary to the complete understanding and correct determination of a question. These are, indeed, words of high praise, but these encomiums are justified in every particular, for the Judge has proven himself a distinct man in all the term implies, and its implication is wide. His career on the bench and at the bar offers a noble example and an inspiration, while he has never been known to fail in that strict courtesy and regard for professional ethics which should ever characterize the members of the bar, his career reflecting credit upon the judiciary and dignifynig the profession to which he belongs.

Personally, Judge Boies is genial and easily approached, possessing to a marked degree those qualities which win friends and make him a pleasing companion. He has always stood ready to identify himself with his fellow citizens in any good work and extend a co-operative hand to advance any measure that is calculated to better the condition of things in the community. The judge has a well-selected library of over two thousand volumes, equal to any in this part of the state and a private library of over five hundred volumes.



Among those who stand as distinguished types of the wurld's workers is Dr. Frank Sherman Hough, who is one of the able and honorred physicians and surgeons of northwestern Iowa. A man of fine intellectual and professional attainments, of most gracious personality, of strong and noble character, and one who has labored with zeal and devotion in the alleviation of human suffering, he is clearly entitled to representatition among the progressive and enterprising citizens of Osceola county. He is devoted to his chosen vocation and has lent honor and dignity to the medical profession, having due regard for the highest standard of professional ethics and exhibiting marked skill in the treatment of disease.

Dr. Frank S. Hough, the proprietor of the Sibley Hospital, was born in Lexington, Kentucky, December 22, 1864. He is the son of George W. and Candace C. (Bates) Hough, both of whom were natives of Michigan. When Doctor Hough was born his father was living in Lexington, Kentucky, temporarily for his health. George W. Hough, a native of Michigan, was the son of Simon and Abigail (Reynolds) Hough. Simon Hough was of English descent and moved to Michigan from New York state. Abigail Reynolds had several brothers in the Revolution. She was originally of English descent and settled in Connecticut upon coming from their native land. Both the Hough and Bates families were among the earliest pioneers in the state of Michigan. Candace C. Bates, the mother of Doctor Hough, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Bates, the father being a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln.

George W. Hough enlisted in 1861 in the Seventeenth Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and at a time when it must have taken a great deal of courage to leave home. At the time he enlisted he was a senior in the State Normal School and the young girl to whom he was to be married was a member of the same class and, in fact, they were engaged to be married before he went to the front. He served one year and then contracted rheumatism which so disabled him that he was honorably discharged from the service on account of this disability. Immediately after returning from the service, he and Candace Bates were married and they went south for his health. Later he became a member of the Hough, Patton & Company, brush manufacturing concern in Detroit, becoming a prominent factor in the business and social life of the city. When onlv twenty-eight years of age he was president of the Detroit common council and acting mayor. He served as register


of deeds of Greene county, Michioan, was a member of the State Legislature and a man who was rated at a hundred thousand dollars. He is now living a retired life in California at the age of seventy-five. George W. Hough and wife were the parents of seven children, the Doctor being the oldest one of the family. The other children are as follows: Mrs. E. H. Cooper, of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Wilcox, deceased, whose husband was a minister; George S., who lost his life in a fire in Detroit, while a member of the Detroit fire department: Fred R., chief electrician at Ann Arbor University, Michigan; Henry P., a prominent electrical engineer of Detroit, and one child, deceased.

Dr. Frank S. Hough was educated in the Detroit high school, the Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake, the Michigan Agricultural College at Lansing, State Normal School at Ypsilanti, Michigan, and graduated at the Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery at Detroit with a degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1890, at the age of twenty-five.

After graduating from the medical college in 1890 Doctor Hough had been engaged in newspaper work as a reporter upon the Detroit Evening News and the Sunday Journal at Toledo, Ohio, as well as other papers' in the Middle west. Immediately after graduating he began to practice medicine in Detroit and for the next seven years followed his profession in that city. At the same time he was on the teaching faculty of his alma mater as instructor in chemistry for two years and later as a professor of materia medica. He was also an assistant in surgery to Dr. Hal C. Wyman, a famous surgeon who was on the staff of physicians connected with the college. In 1897 Doctor Hough came to Sibley and has been practicing here since August l0th of that year. He has been remarkably successful as a surgeon and physician and has already made a name for himself throughout this section of the state. Realizing the need of a modern up-to-date hospital in his home town, he established a hospital in the eastern part of the city in 1911 and has accommodations for fifteen patients, cares for an average of six patients daily, with a total of over two hundred cases treated annually. Three nurses are kept in constant attendance at the hospital and such is the demand for such an institution that he intends to enlarge its capacity. It is needless to say that it has been a great aid to Sibley and the surrounding country.

Doctor Hough was married in 1889 to Clara Randall, of Blenheim, Ontario, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Randall. To this union have been born five sons: Randall S., a student of the University of Wisconsin; Wyman George, a student of the University of Iowa; Frank S., Jr., a student in the Sibley high school, and Howell H. and Elliott Warren, who are in the


grade schools of Sibley. Doctor Hough and wife are justly proud of their fine sons, whom they are giving the advantage of every opportunity in order to prepare them for useful careers.

Doctor Hough is a member of the Osceola County, Sioux Valley, Iowa State and American medical associations and takes an active interest in the affairs of these various organizations. At the present time he is the president of the Osceola County Medical Society. He is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and has attained to the Knight Templar degree in that fraternity. He is also a member of various fraternal insurance societies. He and his family are loyal adherents of the Congregational church and contribute liberally of their substance to its support. The career of such a man as Doctor Hough is interesting in view of the fact that he is the means of doing so much good in the world. When he saw that Sibley needed a hospital he felt confident that the people of the city and community would patronize one if it was fairly modern. His foresight has been amply justified and he has not only been of incalculable benefit to the community, but he has also been financially successful.


The Prussians have always been known as people of courage and tact; they refuse to be downed by ontoward circumstances, but push onward when once a course has been determined upon until the coveted goal is reached. Innumerable instances of rare gifts in these lines might be mentioned, one of the best known in history occurring in the wars with Napoleon. Once he thought he had utterly crushed them, but a few days later they were routing his army at the great battle of Waterloo, joining the English at the proper crisis. Such people win in all walks of life, for they have not been trained to fail, or at least to admit their defeat if they do not succeed. Thus we are not surprised that one of their number, John Streit, should come to so favored a county as Gilman township, Osceola county, Iowa, and become well established.

John Streit, pioneer settler of Osceola county, Iowa, and one of the heroes of the "grasshopper war," was born January 27, 1844, in Prussia, and is the son of Michael and Lena (Straut) Streit. His parents came to this country when he was thirteen years of age and first settled in Kenosha county, Wisconsin. In 1873 they came to Osceola county, Iowa, and home-


steaded on section 4, in Gilman township, where they lived for several years, then moved to Ashton, where their deaths occnrred in 1900. Michael Streit served the three years in the Prussian army which is required of all German citizens before he came to this country, and to him and his wife were born five children: Mrs. Anna Singen, a widow now living in Ashton, this county; John, whose history is here presented; Mrs. Katie Shent, of Minnesota; Mrs. Eva Boor, of Ashton, and Andrew, a grain dealer of Ashton.

John Streit received his elementary education in the schools of his native land and when twenty-seven years of age left the paternal home in Kenosha county, Wisconsin, and homesteaded on section 4, in the northeastern part of Gilman township, in Osceola county, Iowa. He erected a small house and he and Nick Boor broke up thirty acres of this raw prairie land in the spring of 1871, and planted their first crop. They had plenty of work to do from the beginning in the county, using all of his spare time in breaking land for his neighbors. In fact, for the first two years most of his revenue was derived from his services to his neighbors in the capacity of a plowman. He was one of a very few of these early settlers who raised a good crop during the grasshopper years and saved it from the ravages of those voracious insects. He prospered as a farmer in this county and gradually added to his original land holdings until he had three hundred and fifty acres in Gilman and Holman townships. In 1903 he retired from actve farm life and moved to Ashton, where he is now living a retired life, surrounded by the comforts and conveniences of modern society.

Mr. Streit was married August 28, 1876, to Mary Becker, of Minnesota, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Becker. Mrs. Streit had come to Minnesota with her brothers, having been born in Prussia December 8, 1853. Mr. and Mrs. Streit are the parents of seven children: Helena, who is still at home; Michael, who is living on the old homestead; Mrs. Anna Wabrich, of this county, who is the mother of two children, Regina and Gregaon; Nicholas, of Marshall, Minnesota; George, on the home farm, and Mary and Otto, who are still at home with their parents in Ashton.

Politically, Mr. Streit is a stanch Democrat, but has never felt inclined to take an active part in political affairs. However, he has always been interested in the civic welfare of his community and has never refused to give his support to such measures as he felt would benefit the community. He was a young man at the opening of the Civil War and tried to enlist in the Union army in Wisconsin, but was refused on account of an injured wrist. Religiously, he and the members of his family are earnest and faithful members of the Catholic church, and give to it their earnest and zealous support at all


times. He has been a director of the Farmers' Co-operative Insurance Company, of Osceola county, for the past seventeen years, and takes an active interest in this association. His career since coming to this country has been all that could be desired, and his life in this county has been as an open book, wherein his neighbors might see the record of his daily life. He has always so conducted himself that he has merited the esteem of all who know him. and for this reason is eminently entitled to representation in this volume.


The name of Clarence H. Royce, the cashier of the Sibley State Bank, in Osceola countv, is well known to the readers of this volume and needs no special comment on the part of the historian. The purpose of these historical sketches is to present a compact biography of the lives of the representative men of the county, rather than to engage in any fulsome laudation. Suffice it to say that in the sixteen years that Mr. Royce has lived in this county, he has won a large and permanent place in business circles, and in the banking business, to which his energies have been devoted, he has gained more than local reputation. Not only has he made his mark as a business man, but as a citizen he has proved public spirited and energetic and fully in sympathy with the progressive ideas of the age.

Clarence H. Royce was born July 18, 1873, in Oconto, Wisconsin. He receive(da good educatiim in the schools of his home town and in 1898 came to Osceola county and organized a bank at Harris. He continued in full charge of this bank for the next eight years, when he disposed of it and then spent some time in the West. He returned to Sibley in May, 1910, and purchased an interest in the Sibley State Bank, becoming the cashier of the bank at that time. He has made his home for the past four years in Sibley and he and his wife and four children are prominent members of the society of the city.

The Sibley State Bank was organized November 1, 1894, by Frank Y. Locke, of St. Paul, Minnesota. The present officers are as follows: President, F. E. Kennedy; vice-president, A. W. McCallum; cashier, Clarence H. Royce: assistant cashier, L. D. Garberson. The directors are: George F. Sokol, F. E. Kennedy, C. H. Royce, A. W. McCallum and A. C. Winterfield. The bank now has a capital stock of thirty-five thousand dollars and is fast building up a reputation as one of the sound financial institutions of this sec-


tion of the state. Its excellent corps of officials have instilled confidence into the city and community, with the result that the bank has a large and ever increasing list of patrons.


Opportunity knocks once at every man's door, speaking figuratively, though oftentimes it is repulsed or mistaken fur the reverse; he who has the acumen and the foresight to grasp it at the psychological moment is certain of assured success. It takes many men of many minds to make up a stable and enterprising community; it requires many enterprising communities to make a great state. The hardy pioneers who created a wealthy and prosperous county out of the raw prairie in O'Brien county are deserving of praise and success for their efforts in behalf of the common good. It is not given to many citizens of this county to have been born amidst the first great period of the county's history and to have lived amid its greater development period. Such men have had opportunities and many have imprved them. John A. Johnson is one of the fevw men who were born in O'Brien county and have been reared to manhood within the confines of their native county. Opportunity was naturally within his grasp; he seized it and made good and is now one of the best known and most enterprising citizens of this rich and fertile portion of the commonwealth. John A. Johnson enjoys the distincion of being the oldest natve-born resident of O'Brien county.

Mr. Johnson was born on a farm in Highland township April 16, 1873, and is the son of William W. Johnson, one of the prominent pioneer figures in O'Brien county. His mother was Louisa Jacobs. W W. Johnson was born in 1844 in England, the son of George and Hannah Johnson, who emigrated from England to America in 1845 and settled in New York state. The Johnson family migrated to Cedar county, Iowa, in 1855, eleven years after their first emigration from the land of their fathers. George Johnson was born August 8, 1818, His wife, Mary Wilson, was born May 5, 1820.

W. W. Johnson enlisted in the Union service at Iowa City August 9, 1862, joining Company A, Twenty-second Volunteer Infantry, which was a component part of the Second Division, Fourth Army Corps. He was promoted to eighth corporal March 1, 1863. and promoted to seventh corporal May 15. 1863. He participated in the siege of Vicksburg, and on May 22,

Picture of W. W. Johnson.


1863, received a severe gunshot wound in the left shoulder. He was discharged at Vermillion. Louisiana, Octoher 19, 1863.

Mr. Johnson was married November 19, 1868, to Louisa Jacobs, who was born November 13, 1847, in Johnson county, Iowa, the daughter of John Jacobs, a pioneer settler of Johnson county, and a native of Berne, Switzerland. The wife of John Jacobs was a Miss Fankhauser, whose place of birth was in Ohio.

In March, 1871, W. W. Johnson removed to O'Brien county with his family and homesteaded on one hundred and sixty acres of land in section 20, of Highland township. He resided on this farm until 1880, when he removed to Primghar and engaged in the lumber business for one year. In the following year he went to Paullina and there operated a lumber yard until 1889. He then returned to Cedar county and invested in a farm near Cedar Bluffs, which he purchased for forty dollars an acre and sold three years later for fifty dollars an acre. In 1892 he returned to O'Brien county and made his home in Sanborn. He engaged in the lumber business here and also became connected with the First National Bank of Sanborn, which he conducted until 1899, when the Sanborn Savings Bank was organized to succeed it. He at that time disposed of his lumber business and has since been engaged in the buying and selling of farm lands in O'Brien county and Minnesota. At present he is the owner of one thousand three hundred acres of land in Stevens county, Minnesota, which he manages and to which he gives his direct supervision for six months of every year.

W. W. Johnson has been affiliated with the Republican party and served the county as a member of the board of supervisors from 1876 to 1878 and again in 1894, serving until 1899, inclusive. He is fraternally allied with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic, being a member of Kenyon Post, No. 339, at Sanborn. While a member of the county board of supervisors he took an active and influential part in rehabilitating the county finances, and cast his vote for the measure which made the countv warrants worth par instead of fifty cents on the dollar. He is the father of the following children: Mayme, deceased; John A.; Charles A., in railroad construction work at Tama City; Frank, a railroad man employed on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad out of Sanborn; Mrs. Hannah Jenkins, of Milford, Iowa.

John A. Johnson was educated in the common schools of his native county, the Paullina high school and the Cedar Rapids Business College,


graduating from the latter institution in 1892. He became engaged with his father in business and has been connected with the Sanborn Savings Bank since 1899, having served in the capacity of cashier since 1911. He is like- wise a director of the bank and is heavily interested in Minnesota farm lands, holding three hundred and twenty acres of land in the bordering state and being the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of fine O'Brien county land.

Politically, John A. Johnson is a Republican, and has served as township clerk and city treasurer. He is treasurer of several local lodges in which he holds active memberships. He is affiliated with the various Masonic bodies and is a member of the Mystic Shriners at Sioux City, being a Scottish Rite Mason of the thirty-second degree; he is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Brotherhood of American Yeoman.

John A. John.son was married May 24, 1899, to Edna C. Green and is the father of two children, William Valorus, born in May, 1900, and Glenn Green, born in May, 1903.

Mrs. Edna C. (Green) Johnson is the daughter of William Clark Green, one of the famous pioneer characters of O'Brien county. He was born in 1842 on a farm in Indiana, the son of McAllen Green, who migrated to Illinois and thence to Iowa in 1869. Father and son settled in Waterman township at this very early day, when there were very few settlers in the county. W. C. Green was married in Dixon, Illinois, to Malvenah Kidder, a daughter of Adoniram and Lydia A. (Powell) Kidder, natives of New Hampshire. Malvenah was born in New Hampshire in 1847. The Kidder family moved to Illinois in 1858. This marriage occurred in 1869. They immediately set out for Iowa, coming by rail as far as Cherokee and then driving overland to Waterman township. This pioneer couple enjoyed life in the early days to the fullest extent, there being plenty of timber for fuel along Waterman creek and the woods and prairie abounding in game of all kinds. Life was good to them until the "grasshopper days," when they were forced to endure several bad years. Mr. Green conducted a general store in Old O'Brien town until 1874, when he removed to the new county seat of Primghar with his stock of goods. In 1881 he engaged in the mercantile business at Sanborn, where he resided until his death, in May, 1911. He left a considerable estate at his demise, and during his later years he was successfully engaged in land speculation and real estate. He was a Democrat in politics and served as one of the first sheriffs of the county. He was an Odd Fellow.


W. C. Green was the father of three children: Nellie, deceased; Mrs. Edna Johnson, and Mrs. Lulu Anderson, a resident of Mitchell, South Dakota, and who is the mother of one child, Carl. Mrs. Green resides with her son-in-law, Mr. Johnson.

Two famous pioneer families of a famous county have thus been linked together by the best of bonds. It is as it should be ‐ the children will, in turn, become useful members of the body politic, and this memoir will serve as a valued souvenir of the days when their forbears were among the first comers to this fair and fruitful land and took such an important part in its development and emergence from the chrysalis state.


A lawyer by profession and for a number of years the efficient clerk of the district court of O'Brien county, William James Edward Thatcher has made his presence felt in this county, and as a public-spirited citizen, interested in whatever tends to promote the material progress of the community and the social and moral advancement of his fellow men, his influence has been salutary and his example worthy of imitation. Although still a young man in years, he has already assumed heavy responsibility and has proven himself equal to every emergency which has been thrust upon him. He is essentially a self-made man, teaching to earn his way through college and being from his earliest boyhood a youth of ambition and determination.

William James Edward Thatcher, the present clerk of the district court of the county of O'Brien, was born May 8, 1882, in Spencer, Iowa. His parents were Wiley Washburn and Mary (Kelly) Thatcher. Wiley W. Thatcher was a decorator by trade and was born in Peoria, Illinois. After his marriage he came to Iowa and located in Spencer about 1880. He is now engaged in the furniture business at Hartley.

William J. E. Thatcher is the only child of his parents and went with them from Spencer to Hartley in 1884. Shortly afterward they moved to Sanborn, where they remained two years, then returned to Hartley, where they are still living. He was educated in the Hartley high school and studied one year in the University of South Dakota and one year in the Commercial College. While he was attending school he taught in this county in order to pay his expenses in college, spending three years as a teacher in the public schools of the county. While teaching he began the study of law under Mr. Conn, of


Hartley. In 1906 he was appointed deputy clerk under H. C. May and two years later was elected to the important office of clerk of the district courts. Such was his excellent service in this office that he was re-elected and is now serving his third term, a fact which testifies to his efficiency in office as well as his popularity throughout the county. He was admitted to the bar in October, 1912. but, owing to the fact that he is still serving as clerk, he has not yet entered the active practice of his profession.

Politically, Mr. Thatcher is a Republican and very naturally has taken an important part in the interests of his party. He is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and also of the Order of the Eastern Star, Mr. Thatcher was married in August, 1908, to Hilma Johnson, daughter of August Johnson, and to this union has been born one son, Sherwood Yale, born January 23, 1912. Mr. Thatcher's straightforward methods have given him the confidence and good will of the people of the county and he is in every way deserving of the high esteem in which he is held by all classes. He keeps well abreast of the times, being a wide reader and a clear thinker. He is now in the prime of his life and many years of usefulness are still before him.


A retired farmer of Sibley, Iowa, who has been identified with the history of Osceola county for more than forty years is Orlando B. Harding. He is one of the men who came to this county when it was a trackless prairie and by ability and industry won a success through his farming operations. He has not only contributed to the material advancement of his county, but during the course of an honorable career he has been an influential factor in bettering the moral, social and intellectual welfare of his community.

Orlando B. Harding was born in Pennsylvania September 20, 1847, and is the son of Curtis and Elizabeth (Sands) Harding. Curtis Harding was born and reared in Pennsylvania of English parentage and in 1868 came to central Wisconsin from the state of Pennsylvania, where he lived until his death. Curtis Harding was twice married, and by his first marriage had six children, while to the second marriage nine children were born. Five of the children by his second wife finally settled in Iowa.

Orlando B. Harding was a son of the second marriage of his father and was reared and educated in the schools of Pennsylvania. In the spring of



1868 he was married and he and his young wife came with his father and the remainder of the family to Wisconsin, where Orlando and his wife settled in the central part of the state and lived there until 1873. He then moved to Osceola county, Iowa, and settled on section 2, township 98, range 41. Here they lived for twenty-seven years and reared their family to majority. They passed through all the experiences incident to the "grasshopper" period and although there were many times when things looked very gloomy, they remained with the farm and made a success of it. In 1900 the father and mother moved to Sioux City, where they lived until 1907, when they moved to Sibley, where they are now living. Mr. Harding still owns three hundred and twenty acres of fine land in Osceola county, having sold two hundred and forty acres in 1911 at a good price.

Orlando B. Harding was married May 17, 1868, to Emily Moyer, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Moyer, of Pennsylvania. To this marriage have been born seven children: E. L., who is on the father's farm in Osceola county; O. M.. who is living in Idaho on a ranch; Mrs. Almira Barkhuff, of South Dakota; W. L.. who is lieutenant-governor of Iowa, and is a candidate for re-election; C. E., who graduated from the University of Iowa and is now publisher and postmaster in Church's Ferry, North Dakota; Mrs. Stella Hall, whose husband is a farmer in Osceola county, and W. W., an architect of Sioux City.

W. L. Harding, one of the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Orlando Harding, was born in Osceola county in 1875. After receiving a good common school education, he studied in Morningside College, later studied law in the State University of South Dakota, then located in Sioux City, Iowa, where he has been a prosperous lawyer. He has served three terms in the Legislature from Woodbury county and in the fall of 1912 was elected lieutenant-governor of the state.

Politically. O. B. Harding is a Republican and has held various township offices at the hands of his party. He and his family are loyal members of the Methodist Episcopal church and have always taken an active part in all the activities of that denomination. Mr. Harding is one of the industrious pioneers of the county, who has always been firm in his convictions, whether religious, political, intellectual or financial, and it can be said that he has always taken the right stand on every important question. He and his wife have reared a large family to lives of usefulness and have the satisfaction of knowing that their children are performing well their part in the world of today.



O'Brien county, Iowa, has reason to take pride in the personnel of her corps of medical men from the earliest days in her history to the present time, and on the roll of honored names that indicates the services of distinguished citizens in this field of endeavor there is reason in reverting with gratification to that of Dr. Milo Avery, of Primghar, who has attained eminence in his chosen calling and for a number of years has stood among the scholarly and enterprising physicians in a community long distinguished for the high order of its medical talent. He realized early that there is a purpose in life and that there is no honor not founded on worth and no respect not founded on accomplishment. His life and labors have been eminently worthy because they have contributed to a proper understanding of life and its problems.

Dr. Milo Avery, one of the most prominent physicians of Primghar and vicinity, was born October 27, 1853, in Vermont. His parents, Melwell Malcolm and Abby (Robie) Avery, were natives of the same state and descended from an old New England family. Melwell M. Avery came west after the Civil War, in 1865, and bought land near Montour, Tama county. Later he moved to Cherokee county, where he died. Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Avery were the parents of four chiklren: Doctor Milo; Delno, deceased; Mrs. Abby Brown, of Texas, and Jonathan R., of Montour, Iowa.

Doctor Avery was educated in the Montour high school and later entered the Wilton Collegiate Institute. His medical education was received at the State University at Iowa City and Rush Medical College at Chicago, graduating from the latter institution in 1884. He commenced practice at Springdale, Iowa, and after three years moved to Aurelia, in Cherokee county, where he practiced for the following seventeen years. He then spent a half year in Canon City. Colorado, for his health, and in May, 1907, located in Primghar, where he has since resided.

Doctor Avery was married October 8, 1878, to Jennie Dudley, the daughter of Jonathan and Rachel (Emery) Dudley. Jonathan Dudley was born in Ohio, June 28, 1833, and was one of the early pioneers of Muscatine county, Iowa. Mrs. Dudley died in the winter of 1913, at the advanced age of eighty years. Doctor and Mrs. Avery have two sons of their own and one adopted daughter, who was the niece of Doctor Avery. The oldest son, Dr. Harold Leroy, was a graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Universitv of Illinois; Dr. George Emery, the second son, is a dentist at Cherokee. Iowa; the daughter, Gladys Catherine Dudley, is still at home and is now fourteen years of age.


Doctor Avery has devoted his whole life to the alleviation of suffering and has always been interested in everthing which pertains to his chosen profession. He is a member of all of the various medical societies which might assist him in any way in keeping abreast of the times and is now serving his third term as president of the O'Brien County Medical Society. He also has acted as coroner of his county for the past five years. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, while in his religious affiliations he is connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, to which he gives generously of his means. Doctor Avery is a genial hearted man, and since residing in the county seat he has secured his share of the medical practice and is widely recognized as a man of superior talent.


The amount of good which comes from the work done by the church can never be calculated, for the reason that its results are not in a tangible form. In no profession do men lead such unselfish lives as those who minister to our spiritual wants. Their sole desire is to make the world better and lead men to higher and better things. Among the men of Osceola countv who are devoting their lives to the uplifting of their fellow men there is no one who deserves a greater amount of praise than Rev. John Peter Hofifmann, the pastor of the Ashton Catholic church. He is entirely unassuming and unpretentious and content in the thought that he is continuously putting forth his best efforts in following in the footsteps of the lowly Nazarene and inducing others to follow' in the same path.

Rev. John P. Hoffmann, the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ashton, Iowa, was born November 11, 1855, in the grand duchy of Luxemburg. His parents, John and Mary (Weber) Hoffmann, came to America in 1871 and located in Council Bluff's, in the Plumber settlement, Mills county, Iowa, upon a farm. Reverend Hoffmann received the elements of his education in his native country and upon arriving in this state with his parents he assisted his father upon the farm until he was twenty-three years of age. He then began his studies for the priesthood; he entered Calvary College in Wisconsin and took the classical course as outlined in that institution. He later took the philosophical courses at St. Joseph's College in Dubuque, Iowa, and followed this with the theological course in Montreal, Canada. He was ordained by his grace, Archbishop John Hennessey at St. Rafel's Cathedral,


at Dubuque on December 8, 1886, and assigned to the parish at Pleasant Valley, Carroll county, Iowa, immediately after his ordination. He remained here nine months and in September, 1887, was transferred to Festina, Winneshiek county, Iowa. He came to Ashton, January 27, 1890, and has been in continuous charge of the church at this place since that time.

Since coming to Ashton Father Hoffmann has had the satisfaction of seeing the church grow in members and influence, so that today it occupies a prominent place in the spiritual life of this community. In 1893 he built the church at a cost of eight thousand three hundred dollars and in 1910 built an addition which cost fourteen thousand dollars. The church is now modern throughout and is sufficient for the needs of the rapidly growing congregation. In [898 he was instrumental in having a five-room parochial school building erected, which is now under the charge of five Sisters. Later the parsonage was remodeled for a Sisters' dwelling, while the old school building was arranged as the parsonage. The First church building is now used as a public hall and opera house in Ashton. The church is now in a flourishing condition and is one of the important features in the spiritual life of the people of this community. Reverend Hoffmann is a man of genial personality and is untiring in his efforts to advance the good of his church in this community.


Official position usually tests a man's ability and qualifications to an extent that few situations do, and it is generally found that when a citizen measures up to the standard required in the conduct of an office within the gift of the people, he is well rewarded with further emoluments in appreciation of his manifold attainmenfs. It is frequently found that a man will become matured and have proceeded along ordinary lines for many years before his real worth is developed and he is able to fit in the special niche for which he was originally intended. These things we cannot control, but the historian can record for all time the plain facts incidental to each life which comes within the scope of his field. This review will especially treat of Joseph B. Stamp, the genial and kindly auditor of O'Brien county, whose success in politics and rise in public life has been little short of meteoric since he first held office in his home town.

Mr. Stamp was born November 3, 1861, in the town of Gainesville,


Wyoming county, New York. His father was William Stamp, who was born February 24, 1822, in Yaddlethorpe, Lincolnshire, England, the son of William Stamp, who died March 1, 1833, at the age of forty-five years and who was born at Frodingham, Lincolnshire, England, and took to wife Catharine Altoft. The latter was born at Botsford, England, county of Lincolnshire, and died April 27, 1862, at the age of seventy-one years. The father of Joseph B., who is better known as William, Sr., was married to Sarah Pinder, who was born at Crowley, Lincolnshire, England, April 27, 1825. Mr. and Mrs. William Stamp reared the following children: George, born July 14, 1845; John, born November 15, 1847; Catharine, born August 13, 1849; Rebecca, born October 25, 1851; Edward, born May 17. 1853, and deceased at the age of twenty-five years; William, Jr., born August 15, 1855; Isaac, born July 5, 1857; Mary, born August 6, 1859; Joseph, born November 3, 1861; Sarah, born November 2, 1863; Adelbert and Adell, twins, born February 6, 1868. William Stamp migrated to America and settled in New York in about 1850. His demise occurred in the land of his adoption, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits. George Stamp died in 1904; John still resides in New York; Mrs. Catharine Quick lives in San Diego, California; Rebecca died in 1903; Edward is a resident of San Diego, California; William died in New York in 1878; Isaac is a resident of New York; Mrs. Mary Brewer lives at Bliss Station, Wyoming county, New York; Mrs. Sarah Kaynor resides in Ellensburg, Washington; Mrs. Adell Copeland and Adelbert reside in New York.

It is with the life and fortunes of Joseph B. Stamp, however, that this chronicle is directly concerned. He received a good education in the schools in the locality of his New York home and early engaged in teaching at the age of twenty years. In 1882 he became employed as clerk in a general merchandise store in New York, but became dissatisfied with his job, its emoluments and dreary outlook for the future, and "pulled out" for the West. He landed at Ames, Iowa, and secured a position in a general store in Strawberry Point, a nearby town. He worked here for about nine months and then returned to Ames and again took employment in a general store and creamery. He remained at Ames for three years, then removed to Clinton, Iowa, where he had similar employment for one year. For three years he then managed a shoe store at Rochelle, Illinois. In 1887 he came to Sanborn, O'Brien county, and operated the Clark Hotel. In 1888 he went to Spencer, Iowa, and opened a large hostelry, which he conducted for thirteen years. For a short time thereafter he was engaged in the real estate


business at Clear Lake, Iowa, and in 1902 went to South Dakota. He led the life of a rancher for five years in South Dakota, and in 1907 returned to Spencer, where he was employed in a tile factory from April to September. He again returned to Sanborn and became transfer foreman for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. A few months later he was promoted to the chief clerkship of the railroad business at this division point. It is well to add here that Mr. Stamp has been engaged in railroad work off and on for over twenty-five years. He served as president of the Sanborn school board for six years and was elected mayor of the city in the spring of 1912. He defeated a very strong man for the mayoralty and his political opponents so admired him that they ran him for county auditor. It is a remarkable fact that when he was elected auditor, in the fall of 1912, he received two hundred votes out of a total of two hundred and eighteen cast in the city of Sanborn. This is evidence of the high esteem in which Auditor Stamp is held by those who know him. He is a Republican in politics. His fraternal connections are with the Knights of Pythias at Spencer, of which lodge he is a charter member; the blue lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Sanborn, and the chapter of Royal Arch Masons at Primghar.

Mr. Stamp's happy wedded life began in 1888, when he was married to Anna W. Kaynor, who has borne him three children: Joseph, who assists his father in the auditor's office; Dorothy Sarah, a teacher in the Primghar schools; Donald H., now in Seattle, Washington. By a first marriage Mrs. Anna Kaynor Stamp had six children, namely: Kathryn, a trained nurse, who specializes in obstetrics and performs the duties of her calling in Primghar and Sheldon; Beatrice Kaynor Schroeder, who died at Spencer in 1904; Frank K., residing in Seattle, Washington; Warren F., at Beacon Falls, Connecticut; William Kirk, of Springfield, Massachusetts; William Kaynor, a resident of Dubuque, Iowa.

It is characters such as is possessed by Mr. Stamp that leave an impression upon the understanding which means much for good in the community. His conduct of the high office to which the people have called him has been such as to commend him favorably to all classes in O'Brien county. He possesses one of those rare, genial, whole-souled dispositions which compels an immediate and sincere liking on the part of the people with whom he comes in contact in the routine of his duties and daily life. No citizen of O'Brien county is eminently more entitled to representation in this valuable work, and this review is presented for the perusal of his many friends and acquaintances.



A man of strong character, good business ability and possessing all of those qualities which make an efficient public official is Homer E. Richards, the present treasurer of Osceola county, Iowa. Starting in life as a teacher in the public schools and later serving many years as a railroad telegrapher, he acquired habits of industry and integrity which have made him an important figure in the life of his county. He has also served as a postmaster, and was for many years bookkeeper and assistant cashier of a bank, and in all of these various capacities he has acquitted himself with credit. He has performed all of his duties in a way which was highly satisfactory to all of those concerned.

Homer E. Richards, treasurer of Osceola county, Iowa, was born in Pepin, Pepin county, Wisconsin, in January, 1866, the son of Linus and Isabel (Lowry) Richards, natives of New York and Michigan, respectively. Linus Richards was born in 1823 and died in 1878. He came west to Galena, Illinois, in the early fifties, and from there freighted goods to Reed's Landing, Minnesota, where he opened a general grocery store. During the Civil War he was provost marshal of Minnesota, and at the close of the war moved to Pepin county, Wisconsin, where he again engaged in the mercantile business until his death. He was twice married, having one child by the first marriage, Linus G., and lby his second marriage there were three children: Homer E., whose history is here delineated; Clarence A., who lives at Langford, South Dakota, and Mrs. Althea Robertson, who is a resident of Steele, North Dakota. The second wife of Linus Richards is now living in Steele, North Dakota, with her daughter.

Homer E. Richards graduated from the Pepin high school in Wisconsin, and while attending school worked at the printer's trade. However, at the age of fifteen an unfortunate accident changed his whole career. At this time he lost his right arm while working in a sorghum mill. After this accident he went back to school and graduated from the high school and then taught in the public schools for two years, after which he learned the trade of a telegrapher and worked in Minneapolis for the first three years after qualifying for actual service. From that city he was transferred to Ellsworth, Minnesota, and from thence to Lake Park, Dickinson county, Iowa. In the fall of 1892 he became telegrapher and agent for the Rock Island Railway at Harris, Osceola county, Iowa, and has lived in this county since that time. He remained at Harris for thirteen years. Upon the organization of a bank there


in 1905 he became the bookkeeper and assistant cashier of the institution and remained in that capacity until 1911. In the fall of 1910 he was elected treasurer of Osceola county, and took his office January 1, 1911, at Sibley. In the fall of 1912 he was re-elected to this responsible position and will hold until January 1, 1913. While living at Harris Mr. Richards was postmaster from 1900 to 1910.

Mr. Richards was married in 1893 to Ida M. Ward, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Ward. of Ocheyedan, Iowa, and to this marriage have been born two children, Clarence C, born October 17, 1894, and Marie M., born April 27, 1896.

Mr. Richards has been actively identified with Republican principles and politics since reaching his majority and has always taken a prominent part in local political affairs. The Republican party nominated him for the office of county treasurer and as a Republican he was appointed postmaster at Harris. He and his family are attendants of the Congregational church and give to it their earnest support. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. Mr. Richards has always taken an active part in the various public enterprises which affected his community and has never withheld his hearty support from any movement which would be of benefit to the community at large. He is a man who keeps in close touch with current events and is always found on the right side of all questions affecting the welfare of his locality.


Among the women of O'Brien county, Iowa, who have witnessed the growth of this county from the time when it was largely a broad expanse of prairie to its present condition of finely cultivated farms, is Mrs. Evelyn (Pease) Steams, who was the third woman to live in the town of Sheldon. She and her husband, who has now been dead many years, were important factors in the material advancement of this county, and her husband will long be remembered as a man who stood for the rights of the settlers who were struggling to secure homes in this county.

John Tyler Stearns, the friend of the settler, and the husband of Mrs. Evelyn (Pease) Stearns, was born at Castleton, Rensselaer county, New York, April 12, 1841, and died after a long and useful career at Primghar, O'Brien county, Iowa, in 1906. He was the son of John E. and Elizabeth


(Proseus) Stearns. John E. Stearns was born February 5, 1810, in Lee, Massachusetts.

The Stearns ancestry has been traced back to the colonial days, and has been worked out from generation to generation to the great-great-grand- father of Mrs. Evelyn P. Stearns. The first Stearns whose history is on record was living at the time when Governor Bradford, of Massachusetts, was in office. He moved to Waltham, ten miles west of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and there reared a family of ten children, and the names of four of the sons have been preserved, David, Jonathan, Daniel and John. Jonathan, the second in line and the direct ancestor of John T. Stearns, of this narrative, married Beulah Chadwick, and moved to Milford, Massachusetts, where they reared a large family of children, Jonathan, Beulah, George, Ebenezer, Lydia, Abigail, David, John, Mary, Abraham, Hannah and Jonathan. John, the eighth child born to this marriage, became the direct ancestor of the branch with which we are interested. This John settled in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and was a soldier in the War of the Revolution. At the close of that war he was married to Lucy Merrill, and to this union were born eleven children, Polly, Sally, John, Abigail, Fanny, Thomas, Betsy, James, Beulah, Dumby and Betsy. Of these eleven children, John, the first son born and the third child, became the progenitor of the Iowa family of Stearns. This John married Nancy Esleeck, at Castleton, New York, August 28, 1808, and two years later John E., the father of John T., whose history is here presented, was born.

John E. Stearns moved from New York state to Iowa in 1856, settling in East Waterloo township, Black Hawk county. His wife, Elizabeth Proseus, was born in Castleton, New York, and died at Primghar in 1905. The family remained but a short time in East Waterloo township, afterwards removing to Cedar Falls, where they lived for a short period, then went to Mr. Stearns' farm, where his death occurred. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. John E. Stearns: John Tyler, the husband of Mrs. Evelyn Stearns, and Esleeck. The latter was born at Castleton, New York, in 1833, and was one of the early settlers of Waterloo, Iowa, and was one of the first engineers on the Iowa Central railroad and died in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1908.

Johm Tyler Stearns was educated in Castleton, New York, and came to this state with his parents when he was about fifteen years of age. After reaching manhood he became engaged in the hardware business at Hampton, Franklin county, Iowa, and was postmaster of that town when he was married to Evelyn Pease. While in Hampton he took up the study of law and


engaged in partnership with Attorney Davidson. Later he was admitted to the bar at Des Moines, and still later was admitted to the practice of law at Chamberlain, after which he was known as a land lawyer and eligible to participate in land litigation. He first came to Sheldon in 1873, and the following year came to Primghar, where he opened a real estate and abstract office. Two years later, however, we find him back in Franklin connty, the grasshopper plague practically driving out the settlers of O'Brien county. In 1880 he went to Chamberlain, where he remained for the next seventeen years. In 1897 he went to Primghar and took full charge of all the litigation which was connected with the "Squatters' Association," and carried their causes to a successful conclusion, winning many famous cases, some of the more celebrated ones being given elsewhere in this volume and are only briefly mentioned here. It is sufficient to say here that Mr. Stearns was looked upon as a friend of the settlers in every sense of the word. He became the County surveyor of O'Brien county and a city councilman of Primghar.

Mr. Stearns was married on October 13, 1869, to Evelyn Pease, the daughter of Jesse Thompson and Laura Ann (Mallett) Pease, and who was born March 14, 1848, at Hazel Green, Grant county, Wisconsin. Jesse T. Pease was born February 9, 1808, in Ohio, and was a descendant of an old Massachusetts family. One ancestor of the family served throughout the War of the Revolution. Jesse Pease moved from Ohio to Wisconsin, settling in Grant county before that state was admitted to the Union. He worked in the lead mines in Wisconsin in the early forties and in the later forties he went to California, being one of the many "Forty-niners" who made the overland trip to the Pacific in search of gold. Later the Pease family moved to Iowa and settled in Franklin countv, that state, where they bought a farm, and Mr. Pease died in this state March 15, 1882. Mrs. Pease was born April 23, 1815, in Medina county, Ohio, and died in Franklin county, Iowa, September 8, 1901. Mr. Pease and wife were married October 4, 1833, and to their union were born six children: Harriet A., born July 4, 1836, died March 16, 1839; George W., born October 25, 1838; Margaret A., born May 23, 1841; Esther, born February 20, 1844; Evelyn, of whom this chronicle speaks, born March 14, 1848; Charles H., born June 10, 1855.

Mr. Stearns was a prominent member of the Masonic order and was a life-long Republican in politics. They were the parents of three children: John Jesse, who died in infancy; Mrs. Laura Elizabeth Gregg, of Estherville, Iowa; and she has two children, John Ebenezer and Mary Evelyn; Mrs. Glow Esleeck Brooks, of Linton, North Dakota. Mrs. Stearns is a member


of the Daughters of the American Revolution at Estherville, Iowa, and holds membership in the Order of the Eastern Star at Primghar. Mr. and Mrs. Stearns took up a claim in South Dakota and homesteaded it in 1881. In 1909 Mrs. Stearns went to North Dakota and for sixteen months homesteaded on a claim of one hundred and seventy-two acres, which she still owns and which is now worth in the neighborhood of three thousand dollars. The claim is well improved with a stone house, well, and forty acres under cultivation.

Mr. Stearns was a plain, simple, dignifed man, who despised sham and pretense of all kinds. Although his life was a busy one, his private affairs and his home making heavy demands on his time, he never allowed it to interfere with his Christian obligations or the faithful performance of all his duties to the public. He had the greatest sympathy for his fellow men and was always ready to aid and encourage those who were willing to aid themselves. He commanded the respect of all classes by his exemplary life and his memory will long be revered by his many friends and acquaintances.


The man who devotes his talent and energies to the noble work of administering to the ills and alleviating the sufferings of humanity pursues a calling which in dignity and importance and beneficial results is second to no other. If true to his profession and earnest in his efforts to enlarge his sphere of usefulness, he is indeed a benefactor to all of his kind, for to him more than to any other man are entrusted the safety, the comfort and in many instances the lives of those who place themselves under his care. Among this class of professional men is Dr. Thomas D. Kas, whose name appears at the head of this sketch. He early realized that to those who attain determinate success in the medical profession there must be not only given technical ability but also a broad human sympathy which must pass from mere sentiment to be an actuating motive for helpfulness, so he has dignified and honored his profession by noble services, in which he has attained unqualified success.

Dr. Thomas D. Kas, a practicing physician and surgeon of Sutherland, O'Brien county, Iowa, was born in Sheboygan county, Wisconsin, in 1883. His father was born in Germany in 1851 and came to Wisconsin with his parents when he was four years of age. Upon reaching his majority


he engaged in farming and continued in that occupation until 1911 when he retired and moved to Randon Lake, Wisconsin. Peter Kas was married in 1871 to Margaret Block, who was born in Germany in 1853. To this marriage were born eight children: Mrs. Margaret Hann, of Wisconsin; Nicholas P., a farmer of Wisconsin; Mrs. Mary Dimmer, of Wisconsin; Mrs. Kathryn Schomer; John, who is farming the home place in Wisconsin; Jacob; Theresa, and Dr. Thomas D., with whom this narrative deals.

Doctor Kas graduated from the common school and high school at Waldon, Wisconsin, finishing his high school course in 1902. He then taught school for two years and went to the Sheboygan Falls high school, where he studied higher mathematics, chemistry and German. In 1905 he marticulated in the Medical College at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated in 1909. Immediately after graduating he came to Sutherland, OBrien county, Iowa, and started to practice in his chosen profession, and has built up a large and lucrative practice in Sutherland and tlie surrounding community.

The nature of Doctor Kas's profession prevents him from taking an active part in politics. However, he takes an intelligent interest in political affairs and never fails to cast his vote at election time. He prefers to cast his vote for the best men, irrespective of their politics. He is a member of that large and extensive class of citizens who are not tied down by party allegiance. Doctor Kas is still a young man and has a brilliant career before him, and, with the start which he has already made, it is safe to say that the future holds much in store for him.


The life of a veteran pioneer is full of interesting details which are not usually discernable in the writings concerning the commonplace and the mediocre. The story of the settlement of the great West will aalways have a fascinating effect upon the discriminating reader. What at one time was ignorantly referred to as the Great American Desert has been made to blossom like the rose and has been transformed into a garden of luxuriant fertility unsurpassed on the American continent. Many of the early pioeers of this section were Union veterans, who, becoming restless in the environment of their earlier homes, moved westward, often in company with their parents, and joined the tide of empire, thus becoming important and



influential fixtures in the stable conditions which naturally followed the conquest of a wilderness and its subsequent transformation. One of those, who lived a useful and honorable life and was an honored figure in his community, was Francis A. Gere, of Primghar, who died March 17. 1914.

Francis A. Gere was born April 25, 1835, near the city of Binghamton, New York, the son of Eleazar W. and Polly (Brown) Gere, natives of the state of Massachusetts. Eleazar was born December 7, 1796, in Chester, Massachusetts, and was married to Polly Brown on July 3, 1822. Both were descendants of old New England families. Polly Brown Gere was born October 16, 1802. In 1856 they migrated to Dodge county, Minnesota, at a time when Minnesota was sparsely settled and Indians roamed the prairies and forests of the Northwest. They resided in Minnesota until 1869, when they located in Cherokee county, Iowa. Here they ended their days and lie sleeping in the Gere burying ground on the old homestead in Cherokee county. They were the parents of the following children: Levi, born March 29, 1823; William Nelson, born December 21, 1823; Mary, born June 27, 1828; John Avery, born July 20, 1829; Samuel Allen, born June 14, 1832; Francis Asbury; Catherine Ann, born June 27, 1838; James Burris, born June 19, 1842; Sarah Jane, born March 4, 1843. Eleazar Gere was a pioneer settler in New York, Minnesota and Iowa, a distinction which falls to but very few men in the course of their natural lifetime.

Francis A., or "Captain Gere," as he was affectionately called, left New York state at the age of nineteen years en route to Illinois. He traveled by steamer from Buffalo to Chicago in 1854 and after his arrival in Illinois was employed in farm work for the summer season. He then went to Dodge county, Minnesota, and varied the time with farm labor and in the timber camps. He became an expert timber man and could run the rivers with a raft of logs with the most expert among the followers of this arduous and dangerous vocation. He resided in Dodge county until 1867, when he removed to Lucas county, Iowa. After two years' residence there he came to Cherokee county, traveling by prairie schooner hauled by a team of oxen.

During the Civil War Mr. Gere stayed at home by agreement with his brothers that he should be the one to assume the burden of caring for the family while they were away fighting for the preservation of the Union. However, he enlisted February 1, 1865, in Company A, One Hundred and Fifty- third Illinois Infantry. He refused a captain's commission and saw active service under General Thomas, his command being assigned to the Thomas brigade. He served under the direct command of Generals Milroy


and Dudley. During his service he was among the provost guards in Texas and Mississippi and was in many skirmishes with bushwhackers. He was mustered out September 9, 1865.

Mr. Gere homesteaded on eighty acres of land in Cherokee county and eventually increased his holding to two hundred acres. In the spring of 1888 he disposed of his holdings in Cherokee county and came to O'Brien county, purchasing one hundred and sixty acres in Dale township. In the year 1900 he sold his acreage to his son and retired to a well-earned rest in Primghar, where he and his estimable wife lived comfortably and happily in a pretty cottage until his death.

Mr. Gere was a member of S. F. Jordan Post No. 417 Grand Army of the Republic, and was a regular attendant at the post meetings. He was a charter member of the Cherokee post and has served as commander of the local post. He was a Progressive in politics. Mr. Gere was descended from a long line of soldier forbears. His brothers were all enlisted during the War of the Rebellion and it is recorded that his maternal grandfather was a continental soldier who served in the Revolutionary War.

Captain Gere always took an active part in Republican politics and was keenly interested in county and local civic affairs. He held the office of township trustee and frequently was a delegate to state conventions, where he lent his active influence and support to the promulgating of right principles and the nomination of worthy candidates. He was always a man of force and influence in the community in which he resided, and for many years was a well known political leader of recognized power and aliility.

Francis A. Gere was married in Dodge county, Minnesota, in 1857, to Nancy Maritta Alden, a direct descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, of New England (Doxbury, Massachusetts). The Alden genealogy reads as follows: John Alden married Priscilla Mollens, who bore him eleven children. The second in line was Capt. John Alden H, who took to wife Elizabeth Everell and had fourteen children. The third in line was Capt. John Alden III, whose wife was Elizabeth Phelps and who bore him twelve children. The fourth in line was John Alden IV, whose wife was Anna Brawe. Fifth in order of ancestry was John Alden, of Needham, who married Thankful Parker. Sixth in succession was John Adams Alden, a soldier of the Revolution, who was born at Midway, Massachusetts, July 11, 1762, and fought for independence on the battlefields of Rhode Island; he was married to Hannah Daniels and was the father of Rachel, Reuben, Phineas, Sally, Luther, Hannah. Ira, Mary, John and Lymon. Lymon Alden is the next in


direct line and was born March 27, 1806; he married Anna Halbert, came west to Dodge county, Minnesota, died there and hes buried in Dodge Center. The children of Lymon Alden were Hannah A., William Halbert, Albert Martin, Wealthy Ann, Nancy Maritta, Charles Luther, Mary Alice and Catharine Emma.

Mrs. Nancy Maritta Gere was born April 28, 1842, and is the mother of the following offspring: Lymon W., now deceased; William Francis, deceased; Mrs. Minnie M. (Schofield) Johnson, of North Dakota, is the mother of four children, Charles E., Walter Francis Schofield, Herbert Leroy Schofield and James Arthur; Mrs. Mary E. Fraser is a resident of Sorum, South Dakota, and is the mother of one child, Maritta, named after her grandmother; Mrs. Eva Frances Reaney, of Sheldon, Iowa, has three children, Ethel Aline, Ritta Alice and James Archie; Charles, now deceased; Anna, deceased; Mrs. Kate Alden Smith, of Sorum, South Dakota; James E. Gere, a farmer of this county.

In the full enjoyment of the closing years of a long and eventful life which was replete with good and useful deeds, this worthy couple resided in their cottage home at Primghar. They enjoyed the friendship and esteem of all who knew them and, because of the eminently noble lives which they led, fully deserved this review in the pages of this memoir of O'Brien county.


The office of biography is not to give voice to a man's modest estimate of himself and his individual accomplishments, but rather to leave upon the record a concise account of his career from birth to the final rounding out of a life of usefulness, such as has been enjoyed by the citizen whose name is inscribed at the head of this narrative. His character has been established throngh the estimation in which he is held by his friends and neighbors. Like many successful pioneer settlers of the West, he is self-made and, from modest and small beginnings. he has amassed a competence through the exercise of industry and a close application to the promotion of agricultural pursuits. William H. Brown, retired veteran farmer of Primghar, is one of the respected and substantial citizens of the town. His sterling worth and great personal integrity are beyond question in the land of his adoption.

William H. Brown was born in Ross county, Ohio, July 12, 1842. The patenial farm was located near the city of Chillicothe. His father


was Samuel Brown, a native of Virginia. His mother was Margaret Clark, a native of Pennsylvania and descendant of an old colonial family. The earliest known ancestor of the Clark family in America was John Alexander, a native of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and who emigrated to America and settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in 1732. Hugh, a son of John Alexander, also resided in Pennsylvania. Mary, a daughter of Hugh Alexander, was born in 1762 and married Robert Clark. A son of this union, Robert Clark, born in January 15, 1781, was the grandfather of William H Brown. Margaret B. Clark, Robert's daughter, married Samuel Brown, October 17, 1833. They migrated to Linn county, Iowa, in 1852 and resided near Springville. They were the parents of the following children: Mary Frances, born October 10, 1834, and died July 2, 1854; Thomas Clark, born July 12, 1837, and who was a soldier of the Union in the Civil War; John Benjamin, born September 24, 1839, and who also enlisted in the Union service; James Allen, born September 28, 1845; Samuel Milton, born August 5, 1848, and died June 8, 1862; Susannah Catharine, born June 15, 1851. The mother of these children died April 4, 1856; the father died September 10, 1875.

William Hugh Brown received his education in the Springville, Iowa, schools. He enlisted in the year 1863 in Company H, Twenty-fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and served for one year and seven months. His service was principally along the Mississippi river and in Louisiana, participating in the Red river campaign. His command saw severe service around the city of Washington, in pursuit of General Early and down through the Shenandoah valley, thence by boat to Savannah, Georgia, and there met the army of General Sherman. His command was again sent by water to meet Sherman at Morehead City, North Carolina, on his northward march after the victorious march to the sea. He was discharged at Savannah and re-enlisted December 13, 1863. Mr. Brown's company belonged to the Fourth Brigade, Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, which was under the command of General Banks on the Red river expedition and fought at Mansfield, Moss Lane and Pleasant Hill.

This valiant soldier was wounded and crippled in the right knee at the battle of Winchester where he served under the dashing General Sheridan. He fought also in the battles of Opequon, Cedar Creek and Fort Fisher. He was honorably discharged from the army July 17, 1865.

In the year 1871 he came to O'Brien county and homesteaded on the southwest quarter of section 8, Center township. He and his family went safely through the grasshopper period of devastation in O'Brien county and,


unlike others who left the county to their future regret, they were too poor to get away from the county. He has added to his acreage, reared a family of seven children and has two hundred and forty acres of the finest land in O'Brien county. He removed to Primghar in 1904.

Mr. Brown was one of the first trustees of Center township and in concert with other settlers organized and named the township. He is a comrade of Sanborn Post, Grand Army of the Republic; has been a Freemason since 1868 and was a charter member of the Abiff Lodge, which was removed to Sutherland, and is also a charter member of the Primghar Lodge of Masons.

Mr. Brown was wedded July 16, 1864, to Anna Robinson, who was born October 26, 1862, (sic) in England, and is the daughter of William and Frances (Currah) Robinson. Her family emigrated to America in 1853 and first settled in Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where they owned a fine farm. After a residence there of nineteen years they came to O'Brien county and Mr. Robinson homesteaded on the west half of the southwest half of section 32, Center township. Mr. Robinson's sons purchased additional land. The father died in 1882 on the old homestead, leaving the following children: Mrs. Anna Brown; James, who died in Louisiana; Joseph E., of Jackson, Mississippi; George W., who resides near Madison, South Dakota. The mother of these children died in 1892. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson were charter members of the Primghar Methodist Episcopal church.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown's children are as follows: Mrs. Frances Ann Barkley served three years in India as a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal church, and married Rev. Barkley, who is a Methodist minister at Merrill; she is the mother of four children, Anna Evelyn, Ada Frances and twins, Alonzo John and Alice Jean; Samuel L. Brown, who is a resident of Madison, South Dakota, and is the father of two children, Vernon William and Lewis Rowland; Hugh Ernest, who resides two miles south of Primghar; Alice, who is working in the county treasurer's office; Edith M., a teacher in the Sheldon, Iowa, schools; Clara Emma, who teaches in South Dakota; William R., a farmer, and who has one son, Trueman George.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown have reared and educated an excellent family who are a credit to their parents and well known for their sterling qualities. They are among the most highly esteemed people of the county and enjoy the confidence and good will of all who know them. Kind and courteous in their relations with others, in private life and in the home they shine with a spirit which is always wholesome and elevating to those who come within the range of their influence.



A native son of Osceola county who has never wandered from the limits of his native heath is A. W. McCallum, formerly clerk of the district court and now a prominent abstracter of titles in Sibley. He is a man of force of will and. with a laudable ambition, has forged to the front in a responsible and exacting calling and earned an honorable reputation in his chosen line of business. His life has been one of hard study and research from his youth and the position to which he has attained is evidence that he possesses qualities of a high order.

A. W. McCallum, the son of Daniel D. and Angelina M. (Orr) McCallum, was born April 22, 1873, in Osceola county on a farm in what is now Ocheyedan township. Daniel D. McCallum was a native of Canada and his wife of Wisconsin. Daniel D. was the son of Daniel McCallum. a native of Scotland. He first settled in Canada and in 1856 located in Clayton county, Iowa. Daniel D. homesteaded on section 14 in Ocheyedan township, Osceola county, in June. 1872. He had been married two years previous in Grant county, Wisconsin, to Angeline M. Orr. He had served in the Civil War, enlisting in Company I, Twenty-seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and later in the Twelfth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served altogether fourteen months. He resided on his homestead in Ocheyedan township for seven years and then moved to Sibley and engaged in the practice of law. He served two years as judge of the old circuit court and served for several years as county attorney, holding this position at the time of his death, August 10, 1895. His wife was born in 1840 and is still living and now makes her home with her son, A. W., in Sibley. Daniel D. McCallum and wife were the parents of three children: A. W., whose history is here briefly delineated; Mary L., deceased, and Mrs. Florence A. Townsend, of Murdo, South Dakota.

A. W. McCallum was born in a genuine old-fashioned sod house. It was built by his father in 1872, when he homesteaded his farm. In this he lived for only the first year after his birth, accordingly does not have a very vivid remembrance of his first home. He was educated in the Sibley schools, but most of his education has been acquired from wide and extensive reading since leaving school. He has been an omnivorous reader all of his life and has never given up the habit of being a student. Early in life he began to take a part in public affairs and when only twenty-four years of age was elected as clerk of the district court of his county. Retiring from this four-


year office, he engaged in the abstracting of land titles and in this line of business he has been continuiously engaged since that time. To be a successful abstracter demands the closest scrutiny of details and a preciseness which only comes from good training. It is not too much to say that Mr. McCallum has all of those qualities which are necessary for the successful abstracter.

Mr. McCallum was married in 1902 to Beulah Burris. Fraternally, Mr. McCallum is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Knights of Pyihias. Mr. McCallum is a man of strong character and courteous demeanor, a man who has earned the respect and admiration of all of those who have been associated with him in any way.


The office of biography is nut to give voice to a man's modest estimate of himself and his accomplishments. but rather to leave upon the record the verdict establishing his character by the consensus of opinion on the part of his neighbors and friends. The life of the honorable subject of this review has been such as to elicit just praise from those who know him best, owing to the fact that he has always been loyal to trusts imposed upon him as sheriff of O'Brien county, and has been upright in his dealings with his fellow men, at the same time lending his support to the advancement of any cause looking to the welfare of the community at large.

Henry W. Geister, who is now serving his second term as sheriff of O'Brien county. Iowa, was born November 23, 1868, in Cook county, Illinois, and is the son of Joseph and Marie (Stalbaum) Geister, both of whom were born, reared and married in their native land of Germany. After their marriage they came to America and first settled on a farm in Cook county, Illinois, and in 1876 came to Iowa and located in Marshall county. Six years later the family moved to Cherokee county, where the father and mother died, the father passing away in 1909. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Geister were the parents of six children: William, of Colorado; J. G., of O'Brien countv, Iowa; George, of South Dakota; Mrs. Augusta Krekow, of Cherokee county, this state; Mrs. Caroline Grauer, of Cherokee county, and Henry W., the present sheriff of O'Brien county.

Henry W. Geister was reared and educated in Cherokee county, his parents moving there when he was about eight years of age. After reaching


his maturity he farmed in Cherokee county for a few years and in 1894 he came to O'Brien county, where he purchased a farm. However, owing to an unfortunate accident in 1892, by which he lost his right arm below the elbow by the accidental discharge of a shot gun, he was severely handicapped as a farmer. Consequently he gave up this pursuit and engaged in the implement business for a couple of years, after which he managed a bowling alley for four years, then put a dray line into operation in Sheldon, which he managed for three years. In 1907 he was appointed deputy sheriff and three years later was elected sheriff of O'Brien county. His honest administration of this important office proved so satisfactory to his party that he was renominated and in 1912 was triumphantly re-elected. In the discharge of the duties of this office he has proved faithful to the trust reposed in him by the citizens of the county, and it is safe to say that there is no more popular official in the county than he.

Mr. Geister is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. In politics he is a Republican and, being a county official, has naturally been closely identified with the politics of his county for several years.

56 Mr. Geister was married March 8, 1890, to Anna Ault, of Haverhill, Ohio, and to this union there have been born five children, Adda A., Marie M., Jennie C, Leroy O. and Fern A. Mr. Geister is a man of pleasing appearance and easily makes friends wherever he goes and he now has scattered throughout the county a host of warm friends who admire him for his many good qualities.


One of the well known names in O'Brien county is that of William H. Downing, a counselor-at-law who, though not long a resident of the county, is making his influence felt for good in the community. He is a close student, thoroughly understands the law, and is known as a man of steadfast integrity, not only in his professional capacity, but as a citizen and able public official. As mayor of Primghar he is giving his adopted city a good administration, and is fast becoming widely known as a lawyer of ability and force.

Mr. Downing was born September 16, 1876, on a farm in Bennezette township, Butler county, Iowa. He is the son of John E. and Catharine (Maroney) Downing, natives of Ireland, the former a native of county Cork, and the latter a native of county Clare. John E. Downing was born



June 22, 1837, and came to America when twelve years of age, in the year 1849. For a period of five years he was employed in the woolen mills at Boston, Massachusetts. In 1854 he went to the copper mining region of Lake Superior and worked in the mines of that locality for ten years. In 1864 he removed to Buchanan county, Iowa, and resided on a farm in this county until 1867, when he traveled to Butler county and filed on a government homestead. He developed and improved his land and in January, 1893, he retired to the town of Greene, in Butler county. He was one of the best known pioneer settlers of Butler county and was connected with the official life of the township in various capacities, being frequently called upon to serve in different township offices. He served seventeen years as township trustee and was prominently identified with the Democratic party in Butler county. John E. Downing was the father of twelve children, ten of whom are yet living: Patrick J., a farmer in Butler county, Iowa; Mrs. Josie Lovell, of Greene, Iowa; Mary, a resident of Waterloo, Iowa; Mrs. Ella Moss, of Greene; M. J., a citizen of Elmore, Minnesota; J. L., a Butler county farmer; Mrs. Theresa Stanton, of Greene; Bid, who resides in Waterloo; William H.; Mrs. Celia Kirk, of Waterloo.

William H. Downing was brought up on the farm and attended the district schools of his native county and the high school at Greene. He became ambitious to become a lawyer and, entering the law department of the State University, he graduated in 1900, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In September, 1900, he located in Primghar and has built up a lucrative practice in his chosen profession.

Mr. Downing is politically allied with the Democratic party, and has been the local central committeeman for several years. He was elected mayor of Primghar in April, 1912. For ten years to this date he had served as city clerk. Mr. Downing is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Lodge No. 1564, at Sheldon, Iowa; is affiliated with the Yeomen and is a member of the Catholic church.

Mr. Downing was married June 10, 1903, to Mary E. Earle, of Tipton, Iowa, and they had two children, one of whom is yet living, Marian A., born March 31, 1904, and died May 16, 1913, at the age of nine years, and Anna Catharine, born October 25, 1907.

Mr. Downing is recognized as a progressive citizen and an attorney of ability who is making his influence known in his adopted county. He is an earnest, forceful character who is well liked and highly esteemed by a host of friends and well wishers in O'Brien county.



It is a matter of great satisfaction to those citizens who are looking to the day when better government will be in vogue to find that public opinion is demanding and choosing better public officials. In times gone by Osceola county, Iowa, has had men in public offices who were not altogether efficient and faithful in their administration of their duties, but the county officials who are now in charge of the affairs of the county are a group of men who are of exceptionally high merit. Many of them are represented by biographical sketches in this volume, and without exception they are performing their duties faithfully and well and to the entire satisfaction of the citizens of the county. No more popular sheriff ever haled a prisoner into the courts of this county than Joseph Gill, who was elected in the fall of 1912.

Joseph Gill was born July 22, 1859, in Illinois, and is the son of Samuel and Nancy (Ulm) Gill. Samuel Gill was born in Pennsylvania, and when a small boy went to Ohio with his parents where he was reared to maturity. He married in that state and moved to Illinois in the spring of 1859, where he lived the remainder of his days. Samuel Gill and wife were the parents of eleven children, six sons and five daughters: Mrs. Lydia Hulble, who lives in Clay City, Illinois; Mrs. Mary Campbell, also a resident of Illinois; Rosa, whose husband is a banker at Puyallup, Washington; Mrs. Sally Tetrick, of Illinois; Minnie, who died in 1906; John E., of Clay City, Illinois; Jacob, who is a resident of Beaver City, Nebraska; George and Samuel, who are farmers near Clay City, Illinois; Morris, deceased in 1870, and Joseph, whose history is here briefly set forth.

Joseph Gill was educated in the district schools of his home county in Illinois and later attended the schools of Clay City in that state. He spent his boyhood days on the home farm and at the age of sixteen he left school and began to work. When he was twenty-one years of age he came to Black Hawk county, Iowa, and worked for two years at farm labor. In the fall of 1882 he came to Sibley, Osceola county, where he purchased a livery barn, and has lived in this city since that time. Since acquiring interest in the livery business in Sibley he has erected a new and commodious livery stable and has been doing a prosperous business ever since starting in this line. Upon his election to the office of county sheriff, in the fall of 1912, he sold his stock and barn in order to devote all of his time to the arduous duties of the sheriff's office. He is a man of great force of character


and his election to this office shows the confidence which people reposed in him throughout the county. He has always taken a prominent part in Republican politics of the county and his services have been recognized by its leaders.

Mr. Gill was married in March, 1887, to Alice Buckley, who died in October, 1902, leaving three children: George E., Sidney J. and Thelma. In March, 1904, Mr. Gill was married to Mrs. L. M. Ellison, of Sibley, who was the mother of two children by a former marriage, Zella and Ila.

Fraternally, Mr. Gill is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and Ancient Order of United Workmen, holding his membership in these lodges at Sibley. He has taken an active interest in all of the public enterprises of Sibley and vicinity since coming here and has given his hearty support to every measure bearing upon the public welfare of the city where he has spent so many years. Mr. Gill has been veiy successful as a business man and in his various transactions has so conducted himself as to win the confidence and esteem of all those with whom he has come in contact.


Trade and commerce have ever had an attraction for the class of individuals who seem best adapted to succeed in this oldest of callings. Of necessity, man himself is compelled to buy; likewise, it is necessary that others do the selling. The raw material is first prepared by skilled artisans in all corners of the earth so that the buyer can use it at first hand to supply his needs in every particular. A few out of the vast army of those engaged in merchandising seem chosen from among the aggregate for marked preference and are noted as being more successful than the average. We are often puzzled by this seeming discrepancy and wonder why more persons, who venture into the channels of trade and barter, do not succeed in this attractive vocation; but upon investigation, we find that the underlying causes for the success of one individual and the possible failure of the other to advance is due, in part, to the possession of different qualifications ‐ in some measure to heredity and, above all, to the decisive ability of the sucessful one to win where others fail or may be contented with a mediocre return for his exertions. It is evident that he of whom the biographer is pleased to write is a successful business man and a wide-awake citizen. Henry L. Williams, merchant of Primghar, is one of those broad-minded.


warm-hearted persons whose friends are loyal and who has succeeded far beyond the average in building up a substantial and remunerative business.

Henry L. Williams located in Primghar in October, 1887. He purchased a lot on the west side of the court house square and erected a store building, twenty-two by ninety-six feet in extent, in which he placed a line of dry goods, groceries, clothing and queensware. Until 1889 he conducted a general store. He then added another building of the same size and placed a stock of hardware. In 1891 he again increased the scope of the business by the addition of a large building, forty-four by ninety-six feet in dimension, in which he opened a furniture and undertaking department. In 1893 the buildings were remodeled and arranged on the departmental plan, with practically each department separate and under a different head. A drug store is included, operated under the name of the Primghar Drug Company, and received its inception in 1888, it being the oldest established drug business in the city. The Williams store buildings occupy nine lots in their entirety. The stock of goods usually carried will exceed twenty-fne thousand dollars in value. In 1890 Mr. Williams erected an opera house, which was conducted by a stock company until 1892, when he became the sole owner.

Henry L. Williams was born in January, 1860, in White county, Illinois, on a farm six miles distant from Grayville. His father was Jacob Williams, a native of White county and a descendant of an old Kentucky family. His mother was Mary Rawls, also a descendant of Kentucky forbears. Jacob Williams migrated from Illinois to Marshall county, Iowa, in 1868. He resided there on his farm until 1903, when he made his final home in Primghar, where he died in 1905. He was the father of the following children: R. W., a citizen of Primghar; Mrs. Susie M. King, of Primghar; Henry L.; .Sarah, wife of Harry Russell, grain dealer of Allendorf; Charles N., of Primghar; Mrs. Belle Machinson, a resident of Sibley.

Henry L. Williams was educated in the district schools and was reared to farm life. He followed farming as an occupation until he was twenty- four years of age. In 1884 he and his brother embarked in the hardware business at Morris, Iowa. One year later they traded the store for a tract of land and then traded the land for a general store at Panama, Iowa. They then conducted a general store at Laurel for about seven months and were engaged in business at Gilman, Iowa, for about six months afterwards. They opened stores at Dillon and Ferguson, in Marshall county, Iowa, and, success following their efforts in the mercantile line, they branched out with a store at Correctionville, and in 1887 established the Primghar


Store. For several years Williams Brothers conducted mercantile concerns at Gaza, Archer, Hartley, Primghar and other places. In the course of time, however, their other holdings were disposed of and Henry L. became the sole owner of the large establishment at Primghar.

Mr. Williams has been an active and influential factor in Democratic politics and at one time rose to the position of being one of the state leaders of the Democracy and was talked of as a candidate for governor of the state. He has held various positions of trust, having served as postmaster of the town of Archer during President Cleveland's administration. He has had the unique distinction of being the only postmaster being appointed to fill office in a town of which he was a non-resident. This peculiar situation evoked considerable comment and Mr. Williams became a widely known personage as the logical result. He is descended from a long line of old- fashioned Southern Democrats, but was not an advocate of free silver in the national campaign of 1896. He was a candidate for the office of state treasurer on the Democratic state ticket in 1894 and was a candidate for the governorship in 1896. For a number of years he has been a regular attendant at state conventions and is a well known figure among the members of the state Democracy. Of late years he has retired somewhat from active political affairs, but is still recognized as one of the leaders of the party in O'Brien county, having been for several years the practical and militant leader of his party in the county. In the year 1894 he, with three others, established the O'Brien County Democrat, the outcome of which deal in the end was that he became the sole owner of the newspaper, which he later sold.

Mr. Williams is a member of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, taking all the degrees and being a member of the Mystic Shrine at Sioux City. He is also affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Eastern Star chapter and the Modern Woodmen. His people have always espoused the Baptist faith and, while Mr. Williams himself is not identified with anvy church organization, he is very liberal in his support of religious institutions.

Mr. Williams has been twice married. In 1889 he was united in wedlock with Emma Hilsabeck, of Ferguson, Marshall county, and who died May 3, 1900. She was the mother of two children, as follows: Mrs. Marie Bossert, of Primghar; Russell, who is his father's assistant in the store, was born July 31, 1891, was educated in the Primghar public and high schools, and is married to Elsie Carr. The second marriage of this well-known gen-


tleman occurred December 25, 1900, when he was wedded to Effie Pittsenberg, daughter of Mrs. Clark, deceased.

Mr. Williams is one of these whole-souled, liberal gentleman, who inspires a sincere liking for his many manly qualities and is well worthy of a fitting representation in this biographical department of the history of O'Brien county.


It is the progressive, wide-awake men of affairs that make the real history of a community and their influence as potential factors of the body politic is difficult to estimate. The examples such men furnish of patient purpose and steadfast integrity strongly illustrate what is in the power of each to accomplish, and there is always a full measure of satisfaction in adverting even in a casual way to their achievements in advancing the interests of their fellow men and in giving strength and solidity to the institutions which make so much for the prosperity of a community. Such a man is he whose name appears at the head of this article, and as such it is proper that a review of his career be accorded a place among the representative citizens of the citv and county in which he resides.

Isaac Clements, ex-county recorder of O'Brien county, and now a prosperous merchant of Primghar, was born January 15, 1842, in Sangamon county, Illinois, the son of John and Lydia (Smick) Clements, natives, respectively, of Virginia and Kentucky. John Clements was born in Virginia in 1800, andd removed to Kentucky in early life, where he married Lydia Smick, after which they moved to Sangamon county, Illinois, and were among the pioneer settlers of the county which has been rendered famous through its being the home of Abraham Lincoln. John Clements built one of the first houses in Springfield, Illinois. In 1846 Mr. Clements and his family came to Dubuque county, Iowa, where they entered land ten miles west of Dubuque. He improved and developed his farm and sold it in 1855, after which the family moved to Centralia, in Dubuque county. During the Civil War he traded his property for a farm in Buchanan county, Iowa, where he lived until 1877, at which time he removed to Sangamon county, Illinois, where his death occurred February 3, 1877, on the anniversary of his birth. Mrs. Clements died in 1864 on the farm in Buchanan county, Iowa. To this union were born twelve children: William, who died at the age of twenty- one; Susan, who died in her girlhood; Thornton, who died at the age of


forty-five; Mary Jane, deceased; James, deceased; Nancy Arlinda, deceased; Sarah, deceased; Isaac, whose history is presented herewith; John, deceased; Eliza and Catherine, both deceased.

Isaac Clements enlisted in Company H, Sixteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in August, 1862. The colonel of his regiment was Alexander Chambers and the captain of his company was E. M. Newcomb. His company was assigned to the Seventh Army Corps, and participated in the battles of Lafayette, Tennessee, Vicksburg, Rome, Jackson, Grand Gulf, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain and Ezra Church. He was with Sherman on his famous Atlanta campaign, followed him to the sea, and later took the northern trip through North and South Carolina. He was present at the Grand Review which took place in May.,1865, at Washington. D. C., and was mustered out in that city on the last day of May, 1865. Immediately after the close of the war Mr. Clements returned to Iowa and worked in Delaware and Buchanan counties until his marriage on December 20, 1865. Shortly after his marriage he and his wife moved to O'Brien county, where they homesteaded in Floyd township. They put up a board shack, twelve feet square and sv-en feet in height, hauling the lumber from Cherokee. They had two cows, one team of horses, and, as Mr. Clements says, "I had a good time and a hard time." He suffered the grasshopper plague in the seventies, as did every other settler in the county, but, unlike many of the others, Mr. and Mrs. Clements stayed with their farm, although by the third year the grasshoppers had actually eaten up everything within sight. In 1882 they sold their farm and rented a farm in this county for the next four years.

Mr. Clements was elected recorder of O'Brien county in 1886, and has never done any farming since that time. After serving four years in this important office to the entire satisfaction of the citizens of the county he engaged in the mercantile business in Primghar, which he has been successfully conducting up to the present time. In politics he is a Republican and has always taken an active interest in the campaigns of his party. Fraternally, he is a member of Jordan Post, Grand Army of the Republic, and has served as commander of the local post. He is a member of the order of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Modern Woodmen of America. The family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They have one daughter. Mrs. Ella Johnston, of Primghar, who is the mother of three children, Bernice, Laverne and Judson.

Mr. Clements has passed through enough in the past three score years to satisfy an ordinary man, but he has never complained in any way. Since he established his mercantile business nearly twenty-five years ago he has


been very successful. He first established this business in 1891, in partnership with W. A. Rosecrans, and since 1903 has been in partnership with Earl Rosecrans, the son of his former partner. The firm enjoys a full share of the public patronage, and by earnest effort, strict business integrity and sound methods, have earned the confidence and regard of the public at large. Starting in life with practically nothing, Mr. Clements has, by his indomitable will, attained to a very comfortable competence, and because of his attainments he is entitled to the eminent standing which he enjoys in his community.


It is proper to judge of the success of a man's life by the estimation in which he is held by his fellow citizens, and nowhere can this be shown better than in the lives of men who take part in the public life of their respective communities. If a man in any county seat of Iowa should be elected to the position of mayor of his city for two terms, it would be some exidence that he was a man of influence in his community. Furthermore, if this same man had formerly been county superintendent of schools and a public and normal school teacher, it would be additional evidence of the worth of the man. Then if it were shown that, aside from public affairs, the man had made a pronounced success in the business world, it would show that he was well rounded in those attributes which make a man influential in his community. This statement indicates briefly the career of Thomas S. Redmond, who is now secretary of the Sibley Commercial Club and one of the most prominent business men of his city.

Thomas S. Redmond, the son of Patrick and Mary (Sullivan) Redmond, was born August 1, 1866, in Monmouth, Illinois. His father was a native of Ireland, his birth having occurred in that country in 1834, and his mother was born in the same country in 1839. Patrick Redmond came to America when a young man and first located in Doylestown, Pennsyhania, where he followed the occupation of a farmer. In 1865 he mved to Illinois and resumed the occupation of farming in that state, in which pursuit he was engaged for the next seven years, after which he moved to Henry county, Iowa, where he lived until 1889. He next settled in Sibley, Osceola county, where he farmed for a short time and then moved to Sanborn, O'Brien county, in 1895, where he is still living. His wife. Mary Sullivan, came to this country with her parents when a young girl. Patrick Redmond and wife



were the parents of five children: Mary, who is a resident of Sanborn; Lena, also of Sanborn; S. D., of Sanborn; Margaretta, the wife of Dr. E. J. Whitley, chief surgeon of the National Soldiers' Home at Danville, Illinois, and Thomas S., whose history is briefly outlined here.

Thomas S. Redmond is a man of unusual ability in many different lines. Inheriting a keen intellect from his parents, he has trained it in a way which has brought forth its latent possibilities. After receiving an education in the Common schools of the state, he attended Mt. Pleasant Academy in Iowa, and then began teaching school in Henry county, this state. When twenty- three years of age he came to Osceola county with his parents, and for fifteen years taught school in this county. His service, including teaching in the LeMars Normal School and Ashton public schools, where he served as principal, extended over the above mentioned period. In 1895 he was appointed county superintendent of schools of Osceola county to fill out six months of a term. Upon the expiration of his appointive term, he was elected to this office and was subsequently elected three times, serving until 1902 with signal success. While teaching he was president of the Northwcstern Iowa Teachers' Association, an honor which came to him unsought. Upon retiring from the office of county superintendent he decided to engage in the real estate business in Sibley, and has been no less successful in the business world than he was in the work of education. He deals in Osceola county land, as well as land in Minnesota, Dakota and Canada. During the course of a year he handles several thousands of acres, and in all of his transactions he has so conducted himself that he has won and retains the confidence of all of his business associates. He is the owner of two hundred and forty acres of land two miles east of Sibley, which he has improved and brought to a high state of cultivation. This farm he now rents and realizes a handsome profit upon his investment.

Mr. Redmond was married in 1896 to Edith Finster, of Sibley, and to this union there have been born two children, Marion and Donald. He and his family are loyal members of the Catholic church and render to it their zealous support at all times. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Columbus. In his political affiliations he has been identified with the Republican party since coming to this county and he has been one of the leaders of his party for many years. In addition to his services as county superintendent, to which office he was elected by the suffrages of the people of the county, he has also served two terms as mayor of the city of Sibley. While mayor, he took every advantage to further the interests of the city and sup-


ported every measure which he felt would redound to its credit. He was elected in the spring of 1908 and 1912, and it is safe to say that no more popular mayor ever held the oftice in the city than Mr. Redmond. He has been secretary of the Sibley Commercial Club ever since its organization in 1904, and has been largely instrumental in promoting all public measures affecting his city's welfare. In fact, no man has been more active in the general upbuilding and improvement of Sibley than he, and he is certainly earning the title of "progressive," and, in fact, in all matters of advancement he has taken the initiative and urged others to follow. Personally, Mr. Redmond is a most companionable man, uniformly courteous, strictly honest in all the relations of life, and a man who merits in every way the esteem of the people of his county and city.


O'Brien county has been fortunate in the number and character of its business men, those men who, with aid of the excellent farms of the county, have put this county to the front ranks of the counties of Iowa. As a farmer, as a public official, and as a business man, the subject of this sketch has done everything within his power to advance the interests of the county, and the various enterprises with which he has been connected have been conducive to the prosperity of the county to a marked degree. He has always exerted a strong influence for good in his community, being a man of upright principles and desirous of seeing the advancement of his community along moral, educational and material lines.

George Coleman, the son of Hiram and Anna Eliza (Boyle) Coleman, was born in Knox county, Ohio, in 1862. Hiram Coleman was born in Ohio in 1822 and was a merchant all of his life, dying in 1878. He was married in 1847 to Anna Eliza Boyle, who was born August 8, 1824, and died April 13, 1912. To Hiram Coleman and wife were born four children: James C, deceased; Chauncey E., deceased; Charles Burgess, deceased, and George, with whom this narrative deals.

George Coleman received a common school education in the schools of Ohio and in 1883, after the death of his father, he came with his mother and two brothers to O'Brien county, Iowa. His mother bought two hundred and forty acres of unimproved land for fifteen dollars an acre, adjoining the corporation of Sanborn. The three brothers then began to improve the farm


by constructing buildings, erecting fences and installing a drainage system, and set out four acres of mixed grove and orchard,, and in a short time had greatly enhanced the value of the farm and placed it in a position where it was yielding handsome returns on the original investment. They bought and sold stock of various kinds and did a great deal of feeding on the farm. They marketed on an average of two car loads of cattle each year.

George Coleman remained with his mother on the farm until 1899, when he was married to Nellie McConnack, who was born in Clay county, Iowa, in 1876, and came to O'Brien county with her parents when a small child. Before his marriage Mr. Coleman was elected sheriff of O'Brien county and served from 1897 to 1902. While holding this office he maintained his residence in Primghar, the county seat of the county. In 1904 Mr. Coleman moved from Primghar to Hartley and became interested in the telephone business and now owns and controls the Hartley Telephone Exchange, and has put the exchange into a position where it is giving efficient service to the people of Hartley and vicinity. Mr. Coleman, as a Repulilican, has always been actively interested in politics and, in fact, has held some sort of an office ever since he was twenty-one years of age. In 1912 he was elected mayor of Hartley, a position which he filled to the entire satisfaction of all the citizens of the city. He is a man of wonderful energy and determination and when he has a goal in view he lets nothing swerve him from his path until he reaches it. Mr. Coleman is the owner of three hundred and thirty-five acres of land in Minnesota and owns six lots in the city of Primghar, which he recently donated to that city for a public playground for the children.

Mr. Coleman and his wife are people of culture and refinement and have a host of friends who delight in sharing with them their hospitable home. He is a man who has taken an interest in every movement which he felt would help his city in any way and for this reason is regarded as one of the most representative citizens of Hartley and O'Brien county.


It is a well attested maxim that the greatness of a community or a state lies not in the machinery of government nor even in its institutions, but rather in the sterling qualities of the individual citizen, in his capacity for high and unselfish effort and his devotion to the public welfare. In these


particulars he whose name appears at the head of this review has conferred honor and dignity upon his locality, and as an elemental part of history it is consonant that there should be recorded a resume of his career, with the object in view of noting his connection with the advancement of one of the most flourishing and progressive sections of the commonwealth.

Ernest F. Broders, a banker and real estate man of Hartley, O'Brien county, Iowa, was born December 6, 1869, in Muscatine county, Iowa. He is the son of Peter F. and Sophia (Hanson) Broders. Peter F. Broders was born in Germany in 1840 and his wife was born in the same country in 1845. They were married in Muscatine county, Iowa, where they purchased eighty acres of land. Peter F. Broders grew to be a successful farmer and upon his retirement, a few years ago, to Durant, Iowa, he owned six hundred acres of land in this county. Mr. and Mrs. Peter F. Broders are the parents of eleven children: Mrs. Augusta Goettch, of Cedar county, Iowa; Mrs. Amelia Bernick, of Durant, Iowa; Henry, who is farming the home place; Mrs. Emma Denkman, of Scott county, Iowa; Mrs. Agnes Paulsen, of Davenport, Iowa; Mrs. Laura Telsrow, of Muscatine county, Iowa; George, of Saskatchewan, Canada; Emiel, deceased; Harry, cashier of the First National Bank of Hartley, and Ernest F., whose history forms the theme of this narrative.

Ernest F. Broders received a good common school education and at the age of sixteen went to Durant, Iowa, and worked in a general mercantile store for two years at seven dollars a month. He then took a course in the Davenport Business College at Davenport, Iowa, and affter graduating toured the Western states for a few years. He then came back to Durant, Iowa, and clerked in a store for two years. When he was twenty-five years of age he came to Hartley, Iowa, and opened a general mercantile store, which he managed until 1913. lu 1905 he was elected president of the First National Bank of Hartley and is still filling that responsible position. In addition to his other interests, he has extensive land holdings in various states in the United States, as well as in Canada. He is a fine type of the sturdy German who started in with practically nothing and has accumulated a very comfortable fortune.

Mr. Broders was married in 1908 to Bessie Waterhouse, who was born in Wisconsin in 1881. They have two children who are still at home, Ernest F., Jr., and Elizabeth. Politically, Mr. Broders is a Democrat, but has always been so busy with his many affairs that he has not had time to take an active part in politics. He is a believer in the efficiency of church work and is a liberal subscriber to the support of the various denomina-


tions in Hartley. Fratenially, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and takes a deep interest in the welfare of these two fraternal organizations. He is liberal minded, whole souled, kind hearted and a useful and noble man, and has won the praise and respect of all who know him. His life has been characterized by strict integrity of word and action, and among those who have known him long and intimately he is held in high regard because of his personal character and genial qualities.


The business man to a brief review of whose life and characteristics the reader's attention is herewith directed, is among the prominent business men of Sibley, Iowa, and has by his enterprise and progressive methods contributed in a material way to the industrial and commercial advancement of Osceola county. Although still a voung man, he has in the course of a business career, been most successful in the enterprise with which he is connected. He is a man of strong intelligence, good judgment and has been active in the affairs of his community and uses his influence in every way to better its development.

George F. Sokol, the secretary and treasurer of the Shell Lumber Company of Sibley, Iowa, was born August 18, 1880, in Jackson county, Iowa. He is the son of F. J. and Anna Sokol, both of whom were born in Bohemia. F. J. Sokol came to Iowa in 1855, where he followed the occupation of a farmer and merchant in Jackson county. In 1880 he moved to Jones county, Iowa, and engaged in the lumber business, building up a prosperous business there during the twenty-five years he was engaged in that particular line. His wife died in 1910 and since then he has lived a retired life in California. J. J. Sokol was one of the leading citizens of Jones county and was one of the most influential men of the county. He was a member of the county board of supervisors for seven years and represented the county in the Legislature for two terms. For several years before leaving Jones county he was heavily interested in the banking business in the county. F. J. Sokol and wife were the parents of four children: Mrs. Blanche Shuttleworth, of Sibley, Iowa; Mrs. Emma Shimerda, of Oxford Junction, Iowa; Dr. J. M. Sokol, of Spencer. Iowa, and George F., whose history is here briefly related.

George F. Sokol was educated in the district schools of his home county


and when eighteen years of age he entered Ames College, and three years later graduated in the agricultural course from that institution. He then engaged in the lumber business in Jones county, at Onslow, and remained there for two years. During the next two years and a half he was at Clermont, Iowa, in the lumber business, and in 1906 came to Sibley and became connected with the Shell Lumber Company as secretary and treasurer. He is a man of culture and refinement and of marked business ability. Since becoming connected with the firm he has shown business ability of a high rank and he is rapidly impressing those with whom he is associated as a man of unusual attainment.

Mr. Sokol was married April 6, 1910, to Agnes Nisbet, of Sibley, Iowa, and to this union have been born two children, Howard and Anna May. Fraternally, Mr. Sokol is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Sibley and also holds membership in the chapter of that fraternity. He is now treasurer of the blue lodge and chapter in Sibley. Mr. Sokol is one of the sterling and substantial citizens of Sibley, a man whose strong qualities demand respect and his genial disposition has won him many friends since becoming a resident of the city.


It is generally considered by those in the habit of superficial thinking that the history of so-called great men only is worthy of preservation and that little merit exists among the masses to call forth the praises of the historian or the cheers and the appreciation of mankind. A greater mistake was never made. No man is great in all things and very few are great in many things. Many by a lucky stroke achieve lasting fame, who before that had no reputation beyond the limits of their neighborhoods. It is not a history of the lucky stroke which benefits humanity most, but the long study and effort which made the lucky stroke possible. It is the preliminary work, the method that serves as a guide for the success of others. Among those in this county who have achieved success along steady lines of action is Willard A. Burlet, who is now rendering efficient service as cashier of the Bank of Moneta.

Willard A. Burlet, the son of John J. and Sarah (Bishop) Burlet, was born in Delaware county, Iowa, in 1866. John J. Burlet was born in 1836 in Switzerland. When a young men he came to this country and first settled in Indiana and later went to Chicago. He remained in Chicago for several


year'S working on the canal and on the steam ships, on the lakes. When he was thirty-one years of age John J. Burlet came to Delaware county, Iowa, and bought ninety acres of land. He continued to follow the life of a farmer until he retired in 1896 to Earlville, Iowa, where he died a few years later. His wife, Sarah Bishop, was born in Laporte, Indiana, in 1836. To their union were born three children: Charles, deceased; Flora, the wife of F. W. Anders, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Willard A., with whom this sketch deals.

Willard A. Burlet remained at home until twenty-one years of age. He received a good common school education and then graduated from the Earlville high school, later graduating from Bailey's Commercial College and thus being well equipped for a successful career. In 1888 he came to O'Brien county and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land, put six thousand dollars worth of improvements on the land and became interested in raising a high grade of live stock. He made a specialty of thoroughbred Durham cattle and Poland China hogs. He now owns four hundred and forty acres of land and a home in Hartley. He continued to work on the farm until 1908, when he retired from active farming and moved to Hartley. A short time later he took full charge of the bank at Moneta.

Mr. Burlet was married in 1888 to Francelia Medland, who was born in 1870 in Delaware county, Iowa. To this union have been born three children: Charles, a graduate of the business college at Spencer, Iowa, and now assistant cashier of the Moneta bank. He married Maggie Albright, of Hartley. Milo, the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Burlet, graduated from the Hartley high school and then took a course in the "Four C's" College of Des Moines. At the present time he is the only stenotype writer in O'Brien county. He is also connected with the bank at Moneta. Ethel, the youngest child, graduated from Hartley high school and later attended Drake College for one term. She is still at home with her parents.

Politically. Mr. Burlet is a member of the increasing class of men who cast their vote for the best man irrespective of party affiliations; in other words, he is independent in politics, with progressive inclinations. He has held various public offices, being at one time township assessor and at the present time secretary and treasurer of the school board of Omega township. He is a member of the Congregational church, but is now attending the Methodist Episcopal church in Hartley. Fraternally, he is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and takes a deep interest in the welfare and the work of these two fraternal organizations.



The rolling prairie between the fortieth and forty-fifth parallels of north latitude, which is folded in the loving embrace of the limpid silver of the Father of Waters on the east and the tawny gold of the Big Muddy on our western slope, is a garden of the Lord, which, in the liquid music of the Indian tongue, appropriately was named Iowa, "beautiful land." From the day when the first meadow lark intones her song of spring, which no Mendelssohn, no Mozart, no Grieg, or other inspired human genius can approach in its glorious motif of the ever-recurring miracle of the re-birth of nature, till that perfect season in the Middle west known as Indian summer, when the "frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder's in the shock," the sixty thousand square miles of Iowa soil are one vast workshop for the production of the "corn, the royal corn" which has within its yellow heart enough of food and wealth for all nations.

George W. Ward, who has been one of the largest farmers of the county, and is now living at Primghar, was born August 3, 1862, in Niagara county, New York. His parents were Charles and Amanda (Mitchell) Ward, both of whom were natives of the Empire state. Charles Ward came west in 1864, locating in Whiteside county, Illinois, where he lived the life of a farmer until his death, in August, 1898. Charles Ward and wife were the parents of four children, Harriet, May, Edward M. and George W., whose history is set forth in this narrative.

George W. Ward left Illinois when he was twenty-seven years of age and settled three miles south of Primghar, in Dale township, this county, where he bought the eastern half of section 24, for seventeen dollars an acre, and sold this same farm in the spring of 1913 for one hundred and twenty- five dollars an acre. When he came here he knew little of the possibilities of this county, but by hard work and close application to his agricultural interests, he added to his land holdings from time to time until he beecame one of the wealthiest men in his township. He is now the owner of three hundred and sixty acres in Center township; one hundred and sixty in Osceola county, Iowa; five hundred and sixty acres in Dickinson county, this state; eighty acres in Minnesota; eighty acres in Nebraska, and, in addition to his land holdings, owns a considerable amount of propery in Primghar. He has accumulated his land by farming it in the best possible manner and investing his annual proceeds in additional land. He has erected buildings on his various farms and during the last six years has purchased more than twenty-five miles of tiling on his land. He has built many stock silos, barns,



outbuildings, several miles of fence and has stocked all his farms with the latest improved farm machinery and implements. He has been a man of progressive tendencies all along the line and has never failed to take advantage of the latest improved machinery and scientific methods of agriculture.

Mr. Ward was married in November, 1893, to Amy Hatch, the daughter of E. W. Hatch, of O'Brien county, and to this union there have been born two daughters, May, born April 17, 1896, and Lois, born in September, 1899. The Ward family are all members of the Congregational church and are very much interested in the various activities of that denomination. Mr. Ward has recently built a fine, modern residence for the use of the church. Politically, Mr. Ward is a member of the Progressive party and heartily lends his support to its tenets. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Yeomen. By a life of earnest and conscientious endeavor Mr. Ward has won for himself the respect of all who have come in contact with him. For many years he has been an important factor in the civic, moral and educational life of his community, and no man stands higher today in the estimation of his fellow citizens than he.

A generous act on the part of Mr. Ward, and one which has earned the commendation of his fellow citizens generally, was his donation to the county of what is known as the O'Brien County Hospital, and which is to be maintained by the county. This splendid institution cost Mr. Ward between six and seven thousand dollars; and any doctor in the county has the privilege of bringing his patients to this hospital for treatment.


It is universally conceded that there are three factors which are more potent than all others in the advancement of civilization ‐ pulpit, platform and press. Of these three the press reaches places and conditions which the other two never touch. Public opinion, as voiced in the newspapers of our country, has as much influence in moulding legislation, advancing reforms and eliminating corrupt politics as all other agencies put together. A good newspaper, one which stands for the best interests of a community, is a blessing and the good that it can do is incalculable. It is the paper of the town which often is the only means of driving graft out of city affairs. The editor of a good newspaper is a man who touches the daily life of the community on every side and the editor who does his work honestly, fearlessly


and conscientiously deserves the praise of the community. Such a man is the subject of this brief review.

Willis W. Overholser, the pubhsher of the Sibley Gazette, was born November 20, 1868, in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. His parents, J. W. and Mary (Kurtz) Overholser, were natives of Pennsylvania, of German descent. They migrated to Iowa in 1880, settling at Correctionville, in Woodbury county, and for a time Mr. Overholser farmed and then engaged in the grocecy business in Correctionville for a number of years. J. W. Overholser and wife were the parents of three children: Margaret, a teacher in the Sioux City schools; Mrs. Anna Bryan, of Davenport, Iowa, and Willis W., whose history is related in this conection.

Willis W. Overholser was twehe years of age when his parents came from Pennsylvania, consequently he received the beginning of a common school education in his native state. After coming to this county he attended and graduated from the high school in Correctionville and later went to Cornell College, where he finished his education.

Mr. 0verholser served one term as postmaster of Correctionville under President Harrison and one term as postmaster of Ireton under President McKinley. From 1894 to 1905 he was editor and publisher of the Ireton (Iowa) Clipper. In 1906 he purchased the Sibley Gazette and has been publishing this continuciusly since March of that year. The Gazette is a large eight-page, seven-column paper, and has a circulation of over two thousand. It is the oldest paper in the county, having been established in 1872, and from the beginning has been one of the leading papers of the county. He has a staff of country correspondents and has a good share of the advertisements of Sibley. During the past few years the press of the Gazette has printed a county map and county directory. The paper espoused the Republican cause and is the official organ of the party in Osceola county. Mr. Overholser himself is an active supporter of his party and is at present the chairman of the Republican county central committee.

Mr. Overholser was married in September, 1892, to Bertha Lothian, of Correctionville, and to this union have been born four children, Ralph, Craig, Russell and Maxine. The family are earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal church and render it their hearty support at all times. Fraternally, Mr. 0verholser is a member of the Knights of Pythias and takes an interest in the work of that fraternal organization. Personally, he is a man of genial disposition and kindly impulses and since coming to this county has won a large number of friends who were attracted to him because of his many excellent qualities.



There is no profession which demands keener business ability than that of banking and the most successfnl bankers are those who liave not only keen business ability, but force of character and good judgment and foresight. It is true there are other elements that enter and reinforce these, such as perseverance and discrimination. In the beginning of his career in public life, Freeman R. Patch recognized that the foundation of success is earnest, persistent labor and with this in view he began to work earnestly and diligently in order to advance himself. The result has been that he has not only placed himself in the front ranks of the business men of this county, but has also taken his full share in the civic life of his community.

Freeman R. Patch, the cashier of the Hartley State Bank, and the son of Freeman R. and Malinda (Wier) Patch, was born in 1861 in Whiteside county, Illinois. His father was born in Vermont and was one of the early settlers of Whiteside county, Illinois. He followed farming until his death in 1862. He was twice married and the Patch brothers of Hartley, Iowa, were the two children by the second marriage.

Freeman R. Patch was only one year of age when his father died and he and his brother Frank were reared to manhood by their devoted mother, who died in 1907. He received a good common school education, finishing his schooling in Toledo, Whiteside county, Illinois. At the age of twenty- one he began farming in his native state and within a year he had come to O'Brien county, Iowa, to take a position in the bank established at Hartley by his brother, Frank. He has been the cashier of the bank since its organization, in 1882 and has seen it grow from a beginning to its present prosperous condition. It was the first bank in the county and on January 1, 1887, was reorganized as a state bank. Mr. Patch owns a share in the bank and has, in addition, extensive land holdings in O'Brien county and Canada in partnership with his brother Frank. He has an interest in the Hartley Lumber Company, also owns his beautiful home in Hartley.

Mr. Patch was married in 1886, at Algona. Iowa, to Myrtle Tennant, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Tennant, of O'Brien county. Her father was one of the pioneer settlers of the countv and a distinguished veteran of the Civil War. To this union have been born two children: Mrs. Delia Marie Randolph, a graduate of the Hartley high school and also of the musical department of Northwestern University of Evanston, Illinois. Her husband is the proprietor of the Pantatorium in Hartley. Roscoe F., the other child of


Mr. and Mrs. Patch, was born in 1891. is a graduate of the Hartley high school, also of the oratorical department of Northwestern University and is now a student in New York city.

Mr. Patch has always been so busy with his own interests that he has never taken an active part in political affairs other than to cast his vote at election time, adhering to the Democratic party. He and his wife are earnest members of the Presbyterian church and yield it their loyal support at all times. Mr. Patch has always taken an interest in the civic life of the community where he has lived and in all of his relations his highest ambitions have been to benefit his community and advance its various interests. For this reason he enjoys a large circle of friends and acquaintances throughout the county, who hold him in high esteem for his upright and straightforward way of living.


Success in what are popularly termed the learned professions is the legitimate result of merit and painstaking endeavor. In commercial life one may come into possession of a lucrative business through inheritance or gift, but professional advancement is gained only by critical study and consecutive research long continued. Proper intellectual discipline, thorough professional knowledge and the possession and utilization of the qualities and attributes essential to success have made Dr. M. M. Trainer eminent in his chosen calling and he stands today among the scholarly and enterprising- dentists of his community.

Dr. M. M. Trainer, a successful dentist of Sibley, Iowa, was born November 2, 1850, in Pennsylvania. His parents, John and Caroline (Burnham) Trainer, were natives of the same state. The Trainers are of Irish descent, the American branch of the family going back to the time when three brothers came from Ireland in the earlv history of the country. One of the three brothers, Michael, settled in Pennsylvania, and married Betsey Allison, who was of English extraction. To this union were born nine children: John (the father of Doctor Trainer), Hannah, Sarah. Wallace, Joseph, Grimes, Esther, Jane and James. John Trainer was born in Pennsylvania July 4, 1804, and died in 1886. His wife, Caroline Burnham, was born in 1816, and is one of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Chester Burnham. Charles C. Burnham was twice married and had two families of ten children each.


Charles C. Burnham has an interesting history. He was born in the little country of Wales and came to Philadelphia in 1800 and when a yonng man learned paper making. In 1811 he went with the Spanish to LaGuayra, South America, and worked in a paper mill which had just been completed there. The paper mill had been put into operation for the purpose of manufacturing paper on which to print the laws of the country. The famous Caracas earthquake in Venezuela destroyed the mill and at the same time brought death to thousands of people. Mr. Burnham, however, fortunately escaped. The country paid him in a cargo of sugar and coffee and with this he set sail for Baltimore in 1811 and was captured by the British. They confiscated his cargo and took him as a prisoner to the Bahama islands, from whence he escaped on a Spanish ship. His knowledge of Spanish probably saved his life at this time, since he arranged with the captain to take him to Baltimore and set him free. He immediately enlisted in the American navy, and no doubt the fact that the British had confiscated his cargo induced him to join the Americans in order to fight against them. He served in many famous engagements, among which was the sea fight between the "Frolic" and the "Wasp." He later enlisted in the militia during the War of 1812 and served to the end of that struggle. He then married the daughter of his captain (Capt. William Stearn.) and later received grants of Pennsylvania land in return for his services in the war. He received two tracts of land in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania, one of four hundred and forty-four acres and another of somewhat less acreage. He immediately moved upon one of these tracts, but, despairing of making a living upon the land, he leased it to a tenant for twenty-one years and never went back to it. Subsequently he lost track of the land and although the Trainers still have the original title deed to the land, they have never presented their claim. Charles C. Burnham died at the age of eighty-four years.

John Trainer and wife were the parents of seven children: James, deceased, a former principal of the Sibley schools; John Core, of Carroll county, Iowa, and a former superintendent of the Sioux county, Iowa, schools for two years; Winfield Scott, deceased, former principal of the Indiana, Pennsylvania, schools; Morris M., whose history is here related; Mrs. Emma Moore, of Knox, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Anna Stratton, of Strattonville, Pennsylvania; Jennie, a music teacher of Grandview Washington.

Dr. Morris M. Trainer was educated in the common schools of his county in Pennsylvania and later attended an academy and normal college in Pennsylvania, after which he taught school in Pennsylvania for a time and then studied dentistry for two years. Still later he pursued a post-graduate course


in dentistry in Chicago in order to better equip himself for the practice of his present ]profession. He practiced for a time in Pennsyhania and in 1881 came to Iowa and settled in Sibley, where he has pursued his profession for the past thirty-three years. He was a pioneer dentist of northwestern Iowa. For a time he and another dentist at Sheldon were the only ones within the radius of fifty miles. Doctor Trainer has kept abreast of the advances in his profession and has been eminently successful since coming to this state. He has enjoyed a large practice ever since coming to the county.

Doctor Trainer has been twice married, the first marriage occurring in 1883 to Irene Stear, who died many years ago. To this first marriage two sons were born. Kenneth, a stenographer at Kansas City with the Armour Grain Company, and Don, a bookkeeper for the Illinois Life Insurance Company at Chicago. Some years after the death of his first wife Doctor Trainer married Mrs. Viola Jones, who had two children by a former marriage.

Doctor Trainer has always taken an active part in the ci\vc life of his city and has served as city clerk for eight years. Fraternally, he is a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He and his wife are earnest members of the Congregational church and render it their zealous support. He has always been interested in everything which affected the welfare of the people, particularly from the view- point of their health. Accordingly he has taken an active interest in the National Hygiene Association as well as the National Congress of School Hygiene, in both of which organizations he holds membership. His long career in this community has been fraught with much good to its people and no movement which might better his community has been made which did not find in him a hearty and enthusiastic supporter.


Invulnerable integrity and high purpose characterized the life of Hon. John F. Hinman, an honored citizen and former honest official of O'Brien county, who left an indellible impress upon the civic and industrial annals of the county and upon whose record rests no shadow or blemish. His strength was as the number of his days, and not only did he accomplish much in connection with the practical affairs of life, but his nature, strong and vigorous, found denotement in kindly tolerance and human sympathy, generous deeds and worthy service. He was a farmer by occupation, but was a man


of high educational attainments, who placed his abilities at the service of his fellow men. and who served his county in a position of honor and responsibility.

Hon. John F. Hinman was born in Derby, Orleans county, Vermont, August 27, 1827. He was reared to young manhood and educated in Vermont. When yet a young man he came to Iowa to seek his fortunes in the western land opportunity. He located in Marshall county on a farm. Here it was that he married Ellen A. Foote, December 20, 1866, in the city of Marshalltown. They resided in Marshall county until 1882, when they removed to O'Brien county and settled on a farm in Baker township. On Mr. Hinman's election to a seat in the Iowa Legislature in 1892 they moved to Primghar and there made their final home. Mr. Hinman's services in the Legislature were always found to be in behalf of the best interests of the people of the state and his home county and he seemed peculiarly fitted to perform the duties of his official position.

Mr. Hinman was one of the pioneer live stock men of western and central Iowa at a time when markets were far distant. For years he made a business of buying up and feeding large herds of cattle and great droves of hogs, which he would fatten for marketing and then drive them to Iowa City for shipment to Pittsburgh and the Eastern centers. He was the owner of a half section of land in Baker townslhp, O'Brien county, which he bought for eight dollars an acre. He died November 1, 1904, sincerely mourned by all who knew him as a good and useful citien, a Christian gentleman of scholarly attainments upon whose name no stain rests.

His widow, Mrs. Ellen A. (Foote) Hinman, was born October 20, 1839, at Nelson, Portage county, Ohio, the daughter of Asel and Caroline Foote, natives of the state of Connecticut. The Foote family is of English extraction and settled in Connecticut in the year 1630. Nathaniel Foote was the original progenitor of a large and worthy list of descendants. Samuel Foote fought for his country in the Revolutionary War. Commodore Foote was a commander of vessels in the War of 1812. Nathaniel Foote was born in the town of Colchester, England, and came to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1630. A descendant of his, Rodger Foote, settled in Ashtabula county, Ohio, in about 1820. The Foote family boasts a genealogy embracing eleven generations in an unbroken line from the time of Nathaniel Foote, of England. Mrs. Hinman came to Iowa alone and here met and married Mr. Hinman. The children of this estimable couple were as follows: Ralph T., of whom a review is presented in this volume; Bert, who was born December 12, 1870, and died October 28. 1875; Ethel, born October 15, 1876. and died July


17,1878; Nellie, wile of Williani H. Eddy, born October 2, 1879, and married to Mr. Eddy at Boyden, Sioux county. Jnne 17, 1902, and is the mother of two sons, Hinman and Warren.

Mrs. Ellen Hinman passed away on Wednesday, November 5, 1913. She was a member of the Congregational church, and was favorably known as a oood Christian lady, a kind and faithful mother and an excellent neighbor.


Notable successes have been achieved by the pioneers of this favored, fertile section who have had from the outset an abiding faith in its inevitable development and could see in the distant future the transformation of the wilderness of prairie into a rich and smiling landscape of fertile and productive farms and prosperous cities and villages. Some men seem born to the accomplishment of great things and move irresistably onward toward the goal of achievement, with fortune smiling on their pathway at every turn. They are optimists in every sense of the word, who see in the darkest hour of impending disaster a brightening of the ways and a certainty that the outcome of it all will eventually be for the best. The pioneers of O'Brien county were men of hardihood, who were not daunted by reverses. The foregoing applies especially to the men of iron determination who had the courage to remain and face the bitter struggles of the "lean years" and have lived in the plenteous aftermath which followed. One of these is Joseph Shinski, capitalist and leading citizen of Sheldon, who has seen the city develop from a mere railroad station into its present opulence and has taken an actve and influential part in its onward progress.

Mr. Shinski was born in New York city, the son of Basil Shinski, a native of Poland. His mother was Catharine Morgan, who was born in Ireland. Basil left his native country and emigrated to America when a young man. He located in New York city and there met and married Catharine Morgan. He was a hatter by trade and had a store of his own in New York city. Being ambitious to do more for his family than the great city afforded in the way of opportunity, he came west and located in Lake county, Illinois, where he homesteaded on government land in the year 1845. At the outbreak of the Civil War he endeavored to enlist in the Union service in behalf of his adopted country. Mayhap the warrior blood of his fighting forefathers stirred him to this patriotic resolve and he was successful in being



accepted, but was persuaded by friends and neighbors that he should not go to war on account of his age. He was then nearly sixty years of age, having been born in 1808. His death occurred in November, 1869. Catharine, his faithful wife, died in 1868, having been born in 1818. They were the parents of the following children: Mary, deceased; Basil, deceased; Adeline, deceased; Elizabeth, a resident of Wisconsin; Jacob, a citizen of Los Angeles, California.

Mr. Shinski attended the schools in the neighborhood of the Lake county farm and studied two years in the Waukegan Academy. He tauyht school for four years and then entered the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and studied there in the year 1865. He was very poor and of necessity earned his own way through the academy and the universiy. The parental farm was a rather poor, stony piece of land and was barely capable of giving the family sustenance. Consequentlw Joseph Shinski is a self-made man in every particular. After completing his studies in the university, he taught school in Lake county for a number of years during the winters, working at various pursuits in vacation time, and also speculating in tax titles to some extent. In the spring of 1873 he journeyed to Sioux Citv, Iowa, and from there came to the new town of Sheldon, where he opened a general merchandise store. He staged in business through the lean "grasshopper" years, when failure after failure occurred. At one time he would have sold out if he possibly could, but there happened to be no one within range who had money enough to buy his stock. During this period he carried many people upon his books who were unable to pay. All business was mostly done on credit during the "hopper" invasion, as there was no money in circulation and many gave up the fight. However, Mr. Shinski survived and prospered according to his deserts for sixteen years. In 1889 he disposed of his business and has since been engaged in handling land and the loan business. He has been very active in buying and selling Iowa land. At the present time his land holdings are considerable. He owns one thousand acres of land near the city, which is valued at two hundred dollars an acre. He resides in one of the finest residences in Sheldon and is the owner of six residence and rental properties.

Mr. Shinski is politically allied with the Republican party and has served his home city two terms as mayor, has been justice of the peace, and has been a member of the school board. It is said of him that he made an able executive during his mayoralty incumbency. He served as a member of the county board of supervisors from 1900 to 1903 inclusive.


His religious connection is with the Catholic church, of which he is an influential and valued member. His business judgment was in demand when the congregation of this church set about the erection of the magnificent cathedral at a cost of forty thousand dollars. He had practical charge of the erection of this fine building and was a very liberal contributor to the financing of the same.

Mr. Shinski was married in 1875 to Helen M. Kelley, of Sioux City, who has borne him two children: Mrs. Maude E. Brock, wife of Dr. W. R. Brock, of Sheldon, and Mrs. Margaret McKillip. whose husband is engaged in the wholesale produce business in Sheldon. He is one of those early settlers who had a sublime faith in the future of his adopted city and county. He stayed during the lean years and consequently reaped a harvest and gained through an abiding foresight. O'Brien county land has been his investing field and he has been actively engaged in building up his home city. While Mr. Shinski has traveled extensively during late years, he is of the firm opinion that O'Brien county well deserves the name "Garden Spot of the World," which has frequently been applied to its sixteen miles square of territory. Such citizens as he are a benefit to their communitv and are well worthy of a fitting representation in the annals of O'Brien county.


The gentleman whose name heads this paragraph is widely known in O'Brien county and is one of the honored citizens of Primghar, where he is living in honorable retirement after a strenuous life of activity in connection with agricultural pursuits. His well directed efforts in the practical affairs of life, his capable management of his business interests and his sound judgment have brought to him prosperity, and his life demonstrates what may be accomplished by any man of energy and ambition who is not afraid to work and has the perseverance to continue his labors in the face of any disaster or discouragement that may arise. In all the relations of life Mr. Dewey has commanded the respect and confidence of those with whom he has been brought into contact and a biographical history of this locality would not be complete without a record of his career.

James T. Dewey, a gallant veteran of the Civil War and a retired farmer of Primghar, was born August 8, 1842, in York, Washtenaw county, Michigan, the son of Cyrenus and Beulah (Wilcox) Dewey, both of whom


were natives of Vermont, but died in Michigan. Mr. and Mrs. Cyrenus Dewey reared a family of nine children, Martin, Maria, Sarah, Harrell, Mary, James, Martha, Cyrus and Esther.

James Dewey grew to manhood in his native state and when he was nineteen years of age enlisted in Company H, First Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in as a corporal at Adrian. He was wounded in action and later attached to Company K, Fifth United States Artillery, from August, 1862, until April, 1864. At the expiration of his three years' service he was discharged on August 30, 1864, but re-enlisted on March 15, 1865, in Company H, Eighteenth Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered on March 26th of that year, joined his regiment at Huntsville, Alabama, on March 29th, and was immediately transferred to Company E, Ninth Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry, on June 25, 1865. He was mustered out of the service at Nashville, Tennessee, September 15, 1865. He served in the battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hills, Spottsylvania Court House, North Amie River, Petersburg, Gettysburg, and many others of minor importance. He was slightly wounded at the battle of Mahern Hills, but was able to continue in the service. He attended the reunion at the Gettysburg battlefield on June 30, 1913. Immediately after the close of the war Mr. Dewey went to Iowa and settled in Buchanan county. Two years later he married Lizzie E. Bascom in that county, who was born in Okemos, Ingham county, Michigan, and was the daughter of Willard and Hannah (Stewart) Bascom, who were early settlers in Michigan and natives of New York state. They came to Michigan in 1842 and to Buchanan county, Iowa, in 1865. Later they moved to O'Brien county, this state, in 1871, and homesteaded in Highland township on section 12. Mr. Bascom died in 1879, while his widow survived him until 1897. They were the parents of four children, Mary Ann, Maria, Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. Dewey, and Henry.

Four years after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Dewey moved to O'Brien county and homesteaded in Highland township. They managed to exist through the famous grasshopper period and other troubles of the time. In 1905 they sold their quarter section and bought a tract of land near Sutherland. having moved to Primghar in 1898.

Mr. and Mrs. Dewey are the parents of three children: Hattie is the wife of Dr. H. C. Rogers, and they have three children, Cecil, Helen Catherine and Evelyn; Nellie is the wife of L. L. Funk, of Kansas City, Missouri, and they have two children, Donald and Dorothy Edward, who died in 1882. Mr. Dewey is a Prohibitionist in politics. He is a firm believer in the princi-


ples of this party and is known as one of the stanchest temperance advocates in the county. He is abstemious in all of his habits and has lived a clean and wholesome life during his whole career. He and the members of his family are devout adherents of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which they contribute liberally of their means.


One of the first settlers of Osceola county, Iowa, was Andrew Culver. He settled in this county on June 13, 1871, on a soldier's claim. This was at the very beginning of the influx of settlers in this county and accordingly he is conversant with the entire history of the county from its beginning. His father was one of the most influential men of the county in its early history and was the first county treasurer elected. Mr. Culver has arisen to his present position without other assistance than a strong will and a willing heart, coupled with those qualities of integrity and honor which are always in concomitance of the successful man's career.

Andrew Culver, a contracting carpenter of Sibley, Iowa, and the son of Andrew M. and Anna (Kennedy) Culver, was born February 1, 1846, in Portage county, Iowa. His father was born in August, 1811, near Springfield, New York, and was married in Portage county, Ohio, to Anna Kennedy. Andrew M. Culver's father settled in the Western Reserve of Ohio early in the last century and in 1850 the family moved to Albany, Athens county, Ohio. While living here Andrew M. was mustered into the Ohio National Guard and later served in the Union army in the one-hundred-days' service. Andrew M. and his son Andrew were both in Company H, One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and served for one hundred days. The Culver family lived in Athens county until March, 1865, and then moved to Wisconsin, where they lived six years. In the fall of 1870 they moved to southwestern Iowa and in the following spring came to Osceola county where they homesteaded on section 24, township 29, range 42, about one and one-half miles south of Sibley. During the first summer the family lived in a board shanty, twelve by eighteen feet and seven feet high. In the fall of 1871 they built a house fourteen by twenty-four feet and fourteen feet high and also a sod stable with a roof. The first year Andrew broke up twenty-five acres of land. During the grasshopper years they suffered as did all the other settlers of this section of the state and were oftentimes practi-


cally on the verge of starvation. One summer the grasshoppers ate up twenty-five acres of fine corn, after it had a good start. Andrew M. Culver was elected county treasurer in the fall of the first year that they lived in the county and served for two years. He lived on his homestead until about 1879, and then sold out and bought eighty acres near Sibley, where he lived three years. He then moved to Sibley where he lived until his death, April 10, 1904. His wife died June 2, 1876. Andrew M. Culver and wife were the parents of a large family of children: One who died in youth; Alonzo, a soldier in the Thirty-sixth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was killed at Lewisburg, West Virginia, in a battle on May 23, 1862; Mrs. Drusilla Bean, deceased; Mrs. Melissa Thomas, deceased; Andrew, whose life history is here presented to the reader.

Andrew Cuher received a limited common school education in the schools of Ohio and, as had been indicated, moved with his family from place to place until he finally reached Osceola county in the spring of 1871. Like his father, he received a soldier's claim and at once set to work to improve his land. He was married in the fall of 1871 and then started to housekeeping upon his homestead. Here they lived for ten years, starting in with a very small shanty in which they lived for a few months. In 1881 they sold their farm and moved to Sibley where they have since lived with the exception of one year when they resided in Morrison, Iowa. For twelve years Mr. Culver was employed in the Sibley Flouring Mills, but, the work proving too arduous, he engaged in carpentering and contracting. Since engaging in this business he has been very successful and now owns three valuable residences in Sibley as well as several lots.

Mr. Culver was married on November 29, 1871, to Fanny Marden, who was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 29, 1851. She is the daughter of Edward and Mary (Hayter) Marden, natives of England. Her parents came from England and settled in Wisconsin, where they were married, living all of their days in that state. The father died in 1869 and the mother in 1894. Mr. Culver had met his wife while his parents were living in Wisconsin. They were sweethearts in that state before he left for Iowa. Accordingly as soon as he had established his claim in Iowa he returned to Wisconsin, where they were married. They are the parents of six children: Edgar, a druggist and chemist in a wholesale drug house in Sioux City, Iowa; Cleo, a trained nurse and the widow of H. N. Aplin, has three children, Mildred, Bruce and Warren; Mrs. Lottie Mittinger, of Minneapolis; Bruce, who is assisting his father in the carpenter work, and Arthur, who died at the age of four, in 1882. Theer are now four generations of the Culver family living


in Osceola county, as follows: Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Culver; their daughter, Mrs. Leo Aplin; Mrs. Aplin's daughter, Mrs. Mildred Whitacre, and Mrs. Whitacre's daughter, Miss Elva Whitacre.

Mr. Culver is a Republican in politics, but has never had inclination for public office. Religiously, he and his family have been loyal members of the Methodist Episcopal church, while, fraternally, he is a member of the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Grand Army of the Republic. Mr. Culver is a man of optimistic nature and during his long residence in this county he has won a host of friends who admire him for his genial and unassuming nature.


Among the many foreign nations which have contributed their quota to the cosmopolitan population of O'Brien county, there is no country which has furnished a finer type of citizens than has Ireland, and this county may justly be proud of its hundreds of substantial citizens. There is at least one son of the Emerald Isle who is now living in Primghar, who is a gallant veteran of the Civil War, and George G. Blake, who is now residing in the county seat with his children, is one of those deserving men who ha^'e cast their fortunes with the vast territory west of the Mississippi.

George G. Blake, while not a resident of long standing in the county, yet is nevertheless ably represented by his worthy children, who are now living in the county seat. He was born July l0, 1833, in Belfast, Ireland, his parents being of English descent. His father was an English tithe collector, and at the time of George's birth was residing temporarily in Belfast. Robert and Anne (McWilliams) Blake were the parents of eight children, Eliza, Anna, Rachel, Margaret, Maria, George S., Robert and James. The Blake family came to America in 1842, settling near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they remained for about twelve years, when they went to Illinois, where Robert Blake died in 1863.

George G. Blake received part of his education in Ireland and the remainder of it in Wisconsin. At the opening of the Civil War he enlisted in Company E, Ninety-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, August 22, 1862, and served for three years. He participated in twelve battles of importance, among which were Germantown, Vicksburg, and the siege of Petersburg in the spring of 1865. In this latter battle he was engaged in two fierce charges on the works. After the battle of Vicksburg, General Grant's army was divided, and about one-third of the troops were sent to Sherman


in ihe eastern part of Tennessee, and the remainder were attached to the army of General Banks on the Red River expedition. Mr. Blake was attached to the Red River expedition and was later transferred with his regiment to Petersburg, where he participated in the final charges upon that city. He was a participant in the Grand Review at Washington, D. C, in May, 1865, and was mustered out in August of the same year. He arrived in Illinois August 22, 1865, and shortly afterward went to Minnesota, where he worked as a missionarv among the Indians. He received twenty-six dollars a month and his board, and continued at this work for the next four years.

Mr. Blake was married in 1869 and at once bought a farm at Shell Rock, Minnesota. The land for which he paid seven dollars an acre in 1869 is now worth one hundred and sixty dollars an acre up to two hundred dollars an acre. After buying his farm he settled down to the life of a farmer and became one of the most successful agriculturists of his neighborhood. He appliefl with quiet determination to the task of improving and developing his farm and bringing it to a high state of cultivation, with the result that his efforts were abundantly successful. Several years ago he retired from active work on the farm and went to Primghar to spend the rest of his days with his children.

Mr. Blake was married to Mary Little and to this union were born six children: Mrs. Nettie Smith, of Primghar, who has four children; Mrs. Minnie Metcalfe, who is the mother of three children; Clara, the wife of J. W. Boyd, of Clarksville, Iowa, has one child living; Mrs. Abigail Whitehouse, of Sioux Falls, Iowa, (sic) who has three children; Mrs. Julia Soules, of Tolly, North Dakota, who has two children, and Robert, who is living on his. father's farm in Minnesota, and is married and has four children.

Mrs. Blake died several years ago and Mr. Blake, at the earnest solicitation of his children in Primghar, left his farm in Minnesota and took up his residence with them in Primghar, and he is now making his home with his daughter, Mrs. Nettie Smith.

Fraternally. Mr. Blake is a member of the Masonic order and is a loyal adherent of the Baptist church. In politics he has always advocated the principles of the Republican party, but has never been an active worker in the ranks of his party. Mr. Blake has lived a useful life. He and his good wife reared a family of children who have become useful members of society, and now, in his declining years, he can look back over a life which has been well spent. The gallant old veterans are fast passing away, and we can not do them too much honor while they are still living, and his tribute to this veteran is but a feeble expression of what is due to him.

O'Brien County Iowa Genealogy - The IAGenWeb Project