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Robert and Mary Jeanette Alexander left York County Pennsylvania and came to Iowa in the 1870s. They bought a farm north of the blacksmith shop in Grove Township where Norma Frain still lives. Mrs. John Frain and Hollis have passed away, and Lawrence is in a nursing home in Council Bluffs.

Robert and Mary Jeanette had five children; Mary Elizabeth who married George Frain, William Alonzo who married Stella Kennedy, Ella Belle who married John J. Kilgore, John who married Bell Alexander, and Joseph who married Sarah Mercer.

Mary Elizabeth and George Frain were the parents of Mattie, Viola, Nettie, Lydia, Henry, Elmer, Sylvester, John Arthur, Clarence, Ernest, and Leona. Most of them lived in Pottawattamie Co. all their lives.

John and Bell Alexander moved to Council Bluffs and had three sons; Alonzo, Alfred and James.

Ella and John [Jack] Kilgore were the parents of Arthur, Vesta Viola and Clyde who was killed in Argonne, France during WW I. Two sons died at an early age, Ralph and Carl and are buried in the Carson Cemetery.

Joseph and Sarah were the parents of Delpha, Morris, Vena, Jennie, and Verne Alexander. They moved to Adair and later to Polk County.

Written and submitted by Gail Meyer Kilgore 2003.


George Frain walked from Fayette, New York to Cedar County Iowa in 1837 to see if he would like living in Iowa. He built a two room house, put in a crop amd walked back to New York after his family. The next year they came to Iowa. About 1850 two of his sons, Peter and John, came to Pottawattamie county.  John didn’t like it but Peter stayed working as a ferryboat captain, farming and working in a mill.

Peter married Lydia Smith daughter of John Smith of Grove Township. His sister Mary Catherine married Lydia’s brother Stephen.

Click for full photo and caption
George and Mary Frain

The rivers and streams always seemed to go out of their banks with every heavy rain and anything in their path was washed away. During one such time as the water started coming into the mill, Peter lashed his wife and son to the upstairs steading of the mill so they would not be thrown around if the mill went. Soon it was washed down river where it lodged against some fallen trees. They spent the rest of the night on the roof of the mill until they could see to climb down. The next time Peter was not too fortunate. Lydia and the children were taken to her folks but Peter stayed to move the flour to the upper room and was expected to follow on horse when he had finished. However, the sand bags did not hold and the mill was washed away. This time Peter was drowned, October 12, 1861.

Peter and Lydia had four children George, Elizabeth who died when she was 16, Mary Frain Cavern who lived in Missouri and Margaret [Mag] Price, who lived in Kansas.

George worked out among the farmers and hauling grain to and from the mill with an oxen team when he was quite young. His favorite companion was his Uncle Steve, who taught him several trades so he could always find work even though he was only a boy. He always liked to tell his grandchildren that he once plowed up Macedonia. Old Macedonia was west of the present town and he was hired to plow the sod where the present town now is, walking behind an oxen team and sod buster or walking plow.

On March 5, 1875 he married Mary Elizabeth Alexander, daughter of Robert and Mary Jeanette Alexander. Their children were Masey Mabel [Mattie] who married Otto Roberson. Viola married Jacob Houser. Lydia married Frank Flowers. Margaret Janet married Albion Barr. Leone married Guy Armstrong. Oliver Allen died at am early age. Henry married Myrtle Houser. Elmer married Alta Barker and lived in Blair, Nebraska. Sylvester [Vess] married Helen King. John married Hattie Bisbee. Arthur married Joy Swacker. Clarence married Olive Freeman and in later years he married Gladys Campbell and lived in Council Bluffs. Ernest married Bertha Swacker and lived in Lincoln, Nebraska.

George and Mary Frain spent all their married life in Pottawattamie County except for one year when they tried living in Kansas. The hot winds and rattle snakes they would see crawling under the wall paper of the soddy or across the kitchen floor soon made them hurry back to Iowa the next year.

John and Hattie Frain became the owners of the old Home Place which Lawrence and Hollis Frain farm. Children of John and Hattie are Neva who married Lloyd Kuhr and lives near Blair, Nebraska; Gay who married Eldon King and lives in Council Bluffs; Lawrence, Hollis and Norma Frain. [The Frain family is originally from Chester Co., PA, DeFrain was the surname in Chester Co.]

Written by Nova Kuhr. Submitted by: Gail Meyer Kilgore, Mar 2003


Arno Peter Graybill was a self-educated man and for many years a telephone lineman and maintenance man for the Western Telephone Co. in Carson, Iowa. He was also an efficient carpenter. Arno was born near Wheeler Grove in Pottawattamie Co. on Nov. 3, 1883 and died May 16, 1955. Arno's parents were John A. and Fannie [Green] Graybill, both natives of Pottawattamie County. Arno was married to Lula Grace Alley, who was born in Fremont County near Hillsdale, Iowa on June 4, 1886 and died Jan. 19, 1964. Seven children were born to this union: Ruth, Harold, Hope, Cloyd, Bea, Laura and Franklin. Ruth Ora married Stephen Brubaker in 1929 and died at the age of 22 years at the University Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. She left a son Don LaRance, who at the present time is a Principal in the Inter-City School in DesMoines, Iowa. Harold Wayne has retired from the U.S. Air Force and lives with his wife Lou in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hope Vera is married to Wayne F. Carr and lives in Carson, Iowa as do their two sons Walter and Ken with their families. Cloyd LeRoy is also retired from the U. S. Air Force and lives with his wife Irene in Mesa, Arizona. Their son Robert is a student at the Illinois University. Bea Grace died at the age of 16 months. Laura Lucile married Homer Good and lives in Estes Park, Colorado, and they have three sons, William, Richard andRandall. Franklin Arno lives with his wife Jeanne in Fort Collins, Colorado. They have a son Daniel and a daughter Kathy. Franklin is a professor at CSU in Fort Collins and has written several textbooks on statistics. Mrs Lula Graybill was know around Carson for her kindness and her neighbors and friends and was a hard working woman and a wonderful mother. Mr. and Mrs. Graybill and their children are all members of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints Church. Mrs. Graybill was living in her home at 812 Lucust Street at the time of her death. It had been the Graybill home for 52 years

John Arno Graybill, son of Levi and Patience Graybill , was born August 4, 1854 near Wheeler Grove, east of Macedonia, Iowa. He married Frances [Fannie] M. Green on Feb. 18, 1880 and to this union was born ten children, five of whom died in infancy. The other five children are: Arno Peter, Leslie Gould, Elba George, Vena Muriel and Neva Wanda. John was a carpenter by trade and both he and Fannie were affiliated with the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints. Fannie was born Aug. 4, 1861 in Fremont County, Iowa but lived in Carson, Iowa until her death May 26, 1920. She and Levi are buried in the Old Morman Cemetery, 3-1/2 miles east of Macedonia, Iowa.

Levi Graybill was born in Bloomfield Township, Jackson County, Ohio on March 12, 1818 and died Nov. 30, 1912. He married Patience Smith on June 21, 1841 and they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1845, from Nauvoo to Kanesville [now Council Bluffs, Iowa] in June 1846. In the spring of 1847 Levi discovered a stone and a fall of water in the Nishna Botna River at Old Macedonia, Iowa and posted a squatter's notice at the waterfall and cleared 80 acres of timber near the river. Here he built the first log cabin one-half mile south of main street in the present Macedonia, Iowa. He moved his family back to live in the log cabin, later they moved to Wheeler Grove. Levi and Patience had several children but only five grew to maturity. Salathiel, Lafayette, David, John and Patience [Mrs. Sidney Pitt]. Levi was a farmer and a self-sustained missionary for the early Latter Day Saints and later was rebaptized into the Reorganized Latter Day Saints. Patience was born Nov. 26, 1825 and died Aug. 14, 1895. Both Levi and Patience are buried in the Old Morman Trail Cemetery,3-1/2 east of Macedonia, Iowa.

Written by Neva Kuhn. Submitted by Gail  Meyer Kilgore 2003.


Henry A. Smith, now living in the village of Macedonia, has for a long period been connected with the farming and stock-raising interests of the county and is now engaged to some extent in carpentering and building. His birth occurred in this township, October 13, 1857, his parents being Stephen and Mary (Frain) Smith, who are now residing in Grove township, this county, where the father follows farming, to which pursuit his entire life has been devoted. In their family were four sons and a daughter: George M., who is now living practically retired in Tabor, Iowa; Willard E., whose home is in Macedonia township; Clara V., the wife of C. E. Bogue, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado; and Arthur J., at home.

The other member of the family is Henry A. Smith, who was reared to the occupation of farming and has always resided in this county. He was a pupil in the public schools and when he had mastered the common branches of English learning, he turned his attention to agriculture pursuits as a life work. He has prospered in his undertakings, bringing his fields under a high state of cultivation, and through his practical and progressive methods of tilling the soil has secured good crops, which have brought a very satisfactory price on the market. He is now the owner of two excellent farms in Macedonia township, one comprising one hundred and twenty acres of land and the other containing eighty acres. He now leaves the active work of the farm to others, but still gives personal supervision to his places. In 1901 he removed to the village of Macedonia and erected a residence, which he has since occupied. For five years he was engaged in the hardware business but has now retired from commercial pursuits. He is, however, engaged to some extent in carpentering and building and is thus identified with the improvement of the town.

Mr. Smith was married, in Grove township, in 1883, to Miss Ella Travis, a native of Jefferson county, Iowa, and unto them have been born three children: Grace, Fae and Harry, all at home.

In his political views Mr. Smith is a republican and his fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, have frequently called him to position of political preferment, so that he has filled all the township offices. He has been trustee, township clerk and in Grove township now serving as a member of the council. His duties have been discharged with promptness and fidelity and his worth as a public-spirited citizen is widely acknowledged. He belongs to the Masonic Lodge at Macedonia, and he and all his family are members of the Christian church of Grove township. In the community they are much esteemed and their circle of warm friends is an extensive one.

John Smith was born in Rowan County, North Carolina around 1800. In March of 1822 he married Elizabeth Martha Koonts or Koons. She was born in 1806 and was the daughter of George Koonts and Mary Elisabeth Eller. In the fall of 1823 the family of George Koonts and John Smith moved to Henry County, Indiana where John worked as a road supervisor and farmer. Around 1837 or 38 they moved to Adams County, Illinois. Children born to this family were Mary, who married George Greybil [Graybill], Patience who married Levi Greybil [Graybill], Hannah who married Perry Omen, James Saxton and George Greybil, Elizabeth Martha who married John Winegar, Lydia married Peter Frain, Nathan Sanford and John Sharpe. Stephen married Mary Catherine Frain. Samuel Joseph married Rachel Yokum, two sons died in infancy.

After the death of his wife Elisabeth in Adams County, he married Sarah Winegar. Their children were Rhoda Ann, Hiram, Samuel Carolos [Lot] and Abraham who married Olive Melissa Knopp. Several children died in infancy.

In the fall of 1847 Stephen Smith helped some friends and relatives move to Council Bluffs and he stayed there through the winter. Due to illness in the family and bad weather John Smith did not come all the way until April of 1848. He built the first house in what is now known as Macedonia Township and lived there six or seven years, In 1853 or 4 he built a house in Grove Township. He build a saw mill on Farm Creek and on Jordon Creek. Up until then the pioneers had been making their houses of round logs. However, the elements were against him and his saw mills were either washed away or damaged so badly he gave it up and devoted his life to farming. We know that he had a kind heart because when the Mormons were sick and starving out along the Platte he and some of his sons took some grain to the mill to be ground and took it to them so they could bake bread at least.

He served several terms as commissioner of his township and was a member of the County Board when the courthouse at Council Bluffs was built.

John Smith helped organize the first Religious Organization in Grove Township around 1863 and a church was built on the road north of the McKenzie Blacksmith shop near the Lawrence and Hollis Frain farm. Some of the first members were John Smith and wife Sarah, E. W. Knopp and wife, A. J. Fields and wife Sarah, James Otte and wife Mehitable, Levi Greybil [Graybill] and wife Patience, John Winegar and wife Eizabeth, Joseph Smith and wife Rachel and Stephen Smith. John Smith was president of the organization. John and Sarah and many of their descendants wre buried in the Latter Day Saints Cemetery in Grove Township.

Children of Stephen Smith and Mary Catherine Frain were Henry, George M., Mrs. Clara Bogue, Willard and Arthur.

Children of Peter Frain and Lydia Smith were George, Elisabeth, Mary and Margaret.

Stephen Smith, now living retired but still residing on his farm on section 27, Grove township, came to Pottawattamie county about the 1st of November 1847. On this day he arrived in Council Bluffs, where he spent the winter. In the following April his father arrived in Macedonia township, bringing his family with him, and there he built the first house within what is now the borders of the township. John Smith, the father, resided there for eight years or more, and in the fall of 1853 or 1854 became a resident of Grove township, settling on section 8, where he continued to reside until his death occurred, in 1870, when he was seventy-two years of age. His remains were interred in the cemetery of the Latter Day Saints in Grove township. He was a farmer by occupation and at one time he built the first saw-mill on Farm creek, which he operated for several years, thus becoming associated with the industrial development as well as the agricultural interests of the county. In politics he was originally a Whig, but upon the dissolution of that party became a Republican. He served for several terms as supervisor from his township and was a member of the county board when the first courthouse at Council Bluffs was built. As a determined pioneer and influential citizen he was well known in this county. His birth had occurred in North Carolina and he had resided for some time in Indiana prior to coming to Iowa. The wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Martha Koonts, was born in Indiana, and from that state they removed to Adams county, Illinois, where the death of Mrs. Smith occurred, in 1840.

Stephen Smith was born in Henry county, Indiana, January 28, 1836. His father wedded a second time, having wedded Miss Sarah Winegar in Adams county, Illinois, after losing his first wife. She accompanied her husband to Pottawattamie county and died here in 1882. By the two marriages there were seven sons and six daughters. Those of the family who came to Pottawattamie county were: Mary, Patience, Hannah, Elizabeth, Lydia, Rhoda, Anna, Stephen, Joseph, Hiram, Carlos and Abraham. Two brothers of the family died in early childhood. Of the children Stephen, Lydia and Abraham are still living, the sister being a resident of Cheyenne county Kansas, while the brother makes his home in northwestern Nebraska.

Stephen Smith was eleven years of age when he came with his father to Pottawattamie county. In Illinois he had attended subscription schools, but owing to the fact that this county was a frontier district in which the homes were widely scattered he had no educational advantages in this locality. He has always followed farming as a life work. In early days he underwent the hardships, privations and experiences incident to pioneer life and performed the arduous task necessary to the development of a new farm , but as the years passed he was very successful and now is enabled to live retired in the enjoyment of all of the comforts and some of the luxuries of life.

In Mills county, Iowa, Mr. Smith was married to Miss Mary C. Frain, who was born May 31, 1837, and was brought to Iowa at an early period in its development when about five years of age. The family home was established in Cedar county, where both father and mother died. To her husband she has been a faithful companion and helpmate on life's journey and they have reared a family of five children: Henry A., living in Macedonia; George M., of Fremont county, Iowa; Mrs. Clara V. Bogue, of Eagle county, Colorado; Willard E., a farmer of Macedonia township; and Arthur J., at home.

Mr. Smith of this review was reared in the faith of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, but is not connected therewith at the present time. In politics he is an earnest Republican, having supported the party since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln. He has served in various township offices and as township trustee altogether for about seventeen years, a fact which indicates his fidelity to duty and the confidence and trust reposed in him by his fellowmen. Wherever known he is held in high esteem and his good qualities entitle him to the record which is uniformly given him, while his close application and industry in business have justly merited the success that has came to him through his farming operations

Willard E. Smith, who is engaged in general agriculture pursuits on section 27, Macedonia township, was born May 12, 1865, in Grove township, this county, and is therefore a representative of one of its old families, his parents, Stephen and Mary (Frain) Smith, being still residents of Grove township. Their family numbered four sons and a daughter: Henry, of Macedonia; George, of Tabor; Clara, the wife of Charles Bogue, of Colorado; Willard E., of this review; and Arthur, at home.

No event of special importance occurred to vary the routine of farm life for Willard E. Smith in the days of his boyhood and youth. He remained with his parents until he attained his majority, with the exception of two years spent in Colorado and Montana -- 1884 and 1885. He was engaged mining in the former state and was employed upon a ranch in the latter. He then returned home, was married at the age of twenty-one years and started out his life on his own account as a farmer of Grove township. He first rented one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he cultivated for three years, and on the expiration of that period he bought a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Macedonia township, where he resided for three years. On selling that property he made investment in two hundred and forty acres, constituting the northwest quarter and the west half of the southwest quarter of section 24, Grove township, which he now owns. In March, 1905, however, he bought his present farm and took up his abode upon this place, comprising one hundred and eighty acres on sections 22 and 27, Macedonia township. He therefore has a total of four hundred and twenty acres in the two farms and is cultivating both tracts, raising grain and stock. He is a large stock feeder and shipper, and his business is bringing to him a very gratifying financial return.

Pleasantly situated in his home life, Mr. Smith was married in 1887 to Miss Susan Knox, who was born in Youngstown, Ohio, October 21, 1867, and came here at the age of ten years with with her parents, Andrew and Matilda (Young) Knox, natives of Ireland, who were married, however in Massachusetts. The family home was established in Grove township when Mr. Knox brought his wife and children to Iowa and upon the farm which he there developed and cultivated both he and his wife spent their remaining days. Unto Mr. & Mrs. Smith have been born eight children: Ruby, Lois, Lottie, Ralph, Dart, LeRoy, Violet, and Lyle. The family attend the Presbyterian church and Mr. Smith belongs to Ruby Lodge, No. 415, A. F. & A. M., of Macedonia. For one term he served as trustee of Grove Township, but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking, although he gives stalwart allegiance to the Republican party.

John Smith bio written by Nova Kuhr, submitted by Gail Meyer Kilgore, Mar 2003
Henry Smith, Stephen Smith and Willard Smith bios extracted from History of Pottawattamie County 1907 by Field and Reed, submitted by Constance Diamond, 2003


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