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Biographical Sketches
Boomer Township


Farmer, P. O. Council Bluffs, was born in London, England, in 1812. He was raised a farmer and has followed that almost his entire life. He was raised in Buckinghamshire, and farmed there till he was twenty-one and then went to London, and into the dairy business, and continued living there till he came to America in 1849. He was educated in Aspley and Rugby Schools. After leaving school he farmed largely under the Duke of Buckingham. After coming to America he followed farming in Pennsylvania for two years, and then moved to Dubuque, Iowa, followed farming and cattle dealing. Moved into Pottawattamie County in 1865; has followed farming and stock-raising ever since, feeding from three to five car loads of cattle for shipping each year. He has nearly 100 cows now, and has built a creamery for his own use. His farm consists of about 800 acres, all under fence, and his farming is stock-raising mostly. He has only been on his present farm for about eight years. While in England he was largely dealing in stock, and has traveled a great deal on the continent attending to his business. Soon after coming to America he was in Iowa, when there was not a railroad in the State, and when Indians and buffalo roamed over the prairies. Mr. Burbridge was married in England in June, 1844 or 1845, to Miss Elizabeth Downs. They have seven children living and four dead - four sons and three daughters living. Two are married and farming for themselves, the others are at home. His boys all follow farming, and intend that shall be their future occupation. Mr. Burbridge's life has been one which shows what a man with a determination can do, for he has had his reverses as well as his successes, but has never been discouraged. He is now one of the leading farmers and stock-raisers in Boomer Township.


Farmer, P. O. Council Bluffs, was born in England in 1839, son of Charles Darrington. Mr. Darringtoa arrived in New York May 1, 1860. He crossed on a sailing vessel; there were 600 on board; they were four weeks on the ocean. After coming to America, he went to Nebraska, where he lived for three years, and then went to Utah, where he lived for nine years, and then came to Pottawattamie County, Boomer Township, April, 1872. He bought his present place at that time and has been on it since. He has always followed farming. His father also followed the same occupation. His parents never came to America; both are now dead. He was educated in England. He was twenty-one years old when coming to America. He was married in Utah in 1866 to Miss Mary Ann Sabey, born in England. They now have nine children - seven boys and two girls. When first buying in Boomer Township he paid $20 per acre for 120 acres. It was improved. But since he has bought land that cost about $10 per acre. His farm now consists of 360 acres. His farm is well improved. His farming is mostly raising corn, cattle and hogs. When Mr. Darrington came to America in 1860 it was with nothing and alone, but by energy and perseverance he has made a success of his life. He has always voted the Republican ticket, but does not trouble much about politics. Mr. Darrington has no relations in America, but has three sisters living in England.

DEUR, Joseph

Farmer, P. O. Missouri Valley, was born in France, in 1830, near the Switzerland line. He came to America when he was nineteen years old, and first settled in Oswego County, N. Y., after staying in the city of New York for about a month. He lived in Oswego County till 1859, and then came to Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and settled on his present place iu the fall of the same year, and has been on it ever since. Most of his life has been spent in farming. His father died when he was two years old, and mother when he was twelve; from that on he had to make his own way. When he landed in New York, he had only $15. Mr. Deur had oue brother, who came to America two years first, but Mr. Deur did not know anything of him for some time. This brother was killed in a coal mine near East St. Louis, Ill., by the mine caving in. Mr. Deur has four sisters in the old country. He was married in New York, in 1857, to Miss Jeaunette Mohat. She was born in New York, but her parents were from France. They have eight children - five boys and three girls. One of the daughters married, and one son in the lumber business in Missouri Valley, Harrison County, the remainder are at home. When buying laud he bought 100 acres and paid $8 per acre. There was not a house between his place and Harris Grove at that time. What settlers that were near him were on Honey Creek; none had got out into the prairie. His farm now consists of 580 acres, and farm well improved. When first coming he had to buy a yoke of cattle on time, getting them of Dr. George McGavern. Everything that they had to buy then came from Council Bluffs. Every pound of butter or meat, unless they could make it, they had to get from Council Bluffs. No horses to work, but all cattle, and Mr. Deur did not know much about it, but had to learn. He is a member of the Catholic Church, and votes the Democratic ticket. His farming is mostly stock, and has about seventy-five head of cattle and horses, besides hogs. About 340 acres of his farm are in cultivation, the rest in meadow and pasture. Besides his farm he has also property in Missouri Valley, two good residence houses. Mr. Deur was in the service, belonging to Company B, Thirteenth Iowa, going out in 1864, and remained till the close of the war. Frorn Iowa they went to Tennessee, and was at Nashville in the battle between Hood and Thomas, and then followed Hood down into Alabama, and then were sent back to North Carolina to join Sherman's command, and were with him till the close.

FRENCH, Thomas

Farmer, Council Bluffs, came to Pottawattamie Couuty first in 1852, but did not remain but a short time, and then went to the mountains, freighting from the Missouri River to the mountains. He was engaged in this business till 1867. His home from 1852 to 1867 was just where he happened to be, but two winters he wintered in Council Bluffs. In 1867, he bought his present farm, and has been on it ever since. The first land he bought of a man named Butterfield, and the place his house is on of Perry Reel, paying $20 per acre for 150 acres, and paid Mr. Butterfield about the same. On the farm there were about ten acres broken, and a shanty built on it, but no other improvements, although they had lived here for years. Mr. French went into general farming business when first coming, as fast as he could, but had a good deal to contend against. He has hauled corn to Council Bluffs and sold it for 10 cents per bushel, and had to take goods at a high price, in pay for the same, and wheat he has also hauled there and got 40 cents per bushel. At first he hired help, but from the prices received for grain, they could not pay their way. When moving to his farm, many old settlers told Mr. French that fruit would not grow, but he went to work setting out trees, and now has an orchard which has been bearing so as to make it paying. Besides orchards, he has forest groves, etc. Mr. French has two farms, 280 acres in each, and it has cost him from $7.50 to $20 per acre. It is all improved, about half in cultivation, the other half in pastures and meadows. Mr. French has one of the best residences in Boomer Township, a large brick, two stories and a basement. He built it in 1870. It is 36x14 feet. He also has a large barn. Mr. French has been successful in business, but has always worked hard for it, and that is how he has made what he has. He is an Englishman by birth, and came to Council Bluffs direct from England in 1852; was six months making the trip, which now he could make in a few days. Left Liverpool January 7 and came to New Orleans, and then up the river to St. Louis, rested a few days, and then came up the river to Keokuk, and from there took an ox cart and crossed the State to Council Bluffs, landing July 3. He was born May 27, 1832, son of James French. Mr. French has no relatives living at all, except one brother, who is still in England. He has been married twice, first in 1856, in Utah, to Miss Sarah Ann Spyge. She came from near Mr. French's home in England, just across the street, and they had played together when small children. He had five children by first wife, all living now and in Pottawattamie County. Married second time, in Pottawattamie County, to Miss Mary Roberts; by this wife he has three children living; married in 1868. He is Democratic in politics.

HAINES, Wilfred

Farmer, P. O. Crescent City, was born in Council Bluffs in January, 1851. His mother died when he was only a year or two old, and then he went to Canada, and lived there and in Prince Edward's Island and New Brunswick till he was nineteen years old, and came back to Council Bluffs spring of 1869. Mr. Haines is the youngest of eleven children, all but the oldest and the youngest dying when they were young. His brother went into the army, and never got hack. He was killed while in Missouri. Mr. Haines and his father were lost from each other from about 1858 till 1868. When by advertising, they found out the place of each. Mr. Haines' father was out through the mountains, and in this way they were lost from each other, for the people Mr. Haines was with, changed to different parts of the English provinces. Since coming here in 1869, his home has been in Pottawattamie County, and the next year came to the farm, and has been on it since. The farm of 570 acres is owned by his father, David Haines, of Council Bluffs, but their business is in partnership. On their farm, they have about 200 acres in cultivation; the remainder is in grass, pasture land and timber, having some of the best timber land in the township; his farming is corn and stock, feeding about two car loads of cattle a year. Mr. Haines has been married twice, first about 1872 to Miss Rosa B. Roberts, and second time in 1880 to Miss Dorcas Page, daughter of Thomas Page. Mr. Haines has three sons. Mr. Haines is Democratic. He is a member of the M. P. society.


Frmer, P. O. Honey Creek, was born in Galway, Ireland, about 1827; came to America 1853. In 1855. he came to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and ran a dairy for Presley Sanders, brother of ex-Gov. Sanders, of Nebraska; was at Mt. Pleasant for about five years, and then to Glenwood, Mills County, working for Tootle, Green & Co., in a store. Came to Council Bluffs after about five years spent in Glenwood, and was in the dairy business for some time, and then went to plastering for John Hammer. March, 1867, he came to Broomer Township, and went to farming and has been engaged in that business ever since. He traded for fifty acres of land before coming here, but now his farm consists of 250 acres. His farming is general, but mostly stock-raising. He was married in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to Miss Nora Lines. They have six children, four boys and two daughters. He is Democratic in politics, and is a Catholic.

McKEOWN, William

Farming, P. O. Harrison, was born in 1828 in Beckwith Township, County of Kent, Upper Canada. He is the son of William McKeown who died before our subject was born. His mother was Jane (Lucas) McKeown; she died in Boomer Township. He was raised on a farm, and has followed it for a living all his life. His parents both came from the old country, mother from Ireland, and father horn in Ireland, but of Scotch parents, and they were married in Montreal, Canada. He came to Pottawattamie County in 1847, and was at Bybee's Camp that winter. Was married May 9. 1848, also in this township, and has lived here ever since. His wife was Miss Eliza Jane Hall. She had come with her brother from Indiana in 1847. He entered his land, part in 1853 and part in 1855, entering 280 acres, most of which he still holds, and also has bought some meadow land in bottom on Big Pigeon. His farming is mostly corn, but has some stock. When here for some time there was no money to be obtained, so they worked for anything they could get - harvesting for a bushel of corn a day, and used a sickle. Their first house was made of logs, 14x16 feet, and covered with split boards. The first year or two, but little prairie was broken, because they did not have the teams, but would go where the timber was light and cut it off, then one yoke of cattle could break it. The cultivating was done with a. single shovel mostly, some working a horse, others an ox. Their milling first was at the old Indian mill on the Mosquito, but, in 1849, a mill was built on Pigeon Creek in Hazel Dell Township, and then they went to it. Some stores having been opened up, their supplies soon came from Council Bluffs, but the first season they crossed the river to a settlement on the Nebraska side, where there was a store. He is Democratic in politics; is a member of the re-organized Latter-Day Saints' Church. His grandfather was a millwright and was working at a mill in Ireland, when he was caught and crushed. His wife, or Mr. McKeown's grandmother, was sent for, so she went from Scotland to Ireland, and remained there, and her child was born there, but never saw his father. Mr. McKeown's father remained there till he went to Canada. Mr. McKeown has been married twice: first, in May, 1848, to Miss Eliza Jane Hall, who died in 1870; was married again, in 1873, to Miss Janet H. Kirkwood. He had eleven children by his first wife, nine of whom are still living; he had five by last wife, four now living. Of the thirteen living children, eight are boys and five girls; four are married. The oldest, William Alfred, is married and farming in Boomer Township. Two of his sons, Thomas Allen and Robert, are now engaged in the stock business in Nebraska. Joseph is also married and has a family; he also is farming in Boomer Township. Two of his d.aughters are married, and are also living in Boomer Township.

PAGE, Thomas

Farming, P. O. Harrison, was born in England, near Stratford-on-Avon, in 1818. Mr. Page's birthplace was near that of Shakespeare, and he has seen Shakespeare's birthplace many times. Mr. Page came to America in 1852, and settled first in Edwards County, Ill., and lived there for five years, and came to Council Bluffs in July, 1857. With the exception of four years, he has lived in Pottawattamie County ever since. Those four years he was on the frontier in Nebraska and Colorado. Came to Boomer Township in 1864, but did not buy his present farm till the winter of 1865, and since that time has been on his farm. His occupation from a child has been that of farming; his father, John Page, was also a farmer. None of Mr. Page's relatives came to America that he knows of.  He was educated in England in the common schools till he was nine years old, and then what other education he got was at night schools and Sunday school. When Mr. Page bought his present farm, there were no improvements whatever; no fence, grove, but open prairie. Now he has groves, good buildings and other improvements. His farm consists of 120 acres, and he does all kinds of farming. He has been married twice; first, in England, to Miss Elizabeth Painting; she died after he came West, and while in Nebraska. He was married the second time to Mrs. Margaret Newton. They were married in Nebraska. He has three children by first wife and six by second wife, and one dead. Two of his children are married, both in this township. Mrs. Page also has two sons living in Boomer Township. Mrs. Page was born in Yorkshire, England. She was married in England to George Newton. They came to Boston first. From there, Mrs. Newton, or Mrs. Page, came to Florence, Neb., with her two boys; was married in Nebraska to Mr. Page in 1858. Mr. Page is Republican in politics; is a member of the Mutual Protectionists and also a Granger. He has held almost all of the township offices.

PETERS, William Sr.

Farming, Council Bluffs, was born near Berlin, Prussia, in 1817. He left Prussia in 1849, and went to England, and in 1850 came to America by way of New Orleans, and then to St. Louis. Mr. Peters was in the army nearly nine years, and was in the King's body guard. He had to leave on account of taking part in the Revolution, and was acquainted with Carl Schurz, Gen. Sigel, and others that were in the Revolution, and came to this country. Mr. Peters and his brother left together, and lost all their property by the Government confiscating it; they had $33,000 each in the bank. After coming to America he did any kind of work he could get to do, till he had money enough to buy a little farm near St. Louis, Mo.; but on account of health he sold that out, and went to California in 1854, and went to mining, went to Utah from California, and was married there March 20, 1858 to Miss Maggie Armstrong; she was born in Scotland, but came to America when young. During the civil war, he acted as scout on the plains; was with Gen. Corner. Mr. Peters has been all through the West; was in the employ of the Government, hauling provisions, etc., from Utah to California. In 1866, he came to Council Bluffs, and has been in Pottawattamie County ever since; lived in Council Bluffs for three years, and then came to his farm in 1869, and has been on it since. His farm now consists of 200 acres, about eighty-five in cultivation, the remainder in meadow and pasture land. His farming is raising stock and corn. He has had thirteen children, eleven still living, six boys and five girls. Oue son and two daughters are married; is a member of the M. P. society; he is Republican in politics. The brother who came to America he does not know anything about now, and the last he knew of his other two brothers they were in the Prussian Army. Mr. Peters' life has been oue of unusual interest. In crossing from New Orleans to Cuba, the vessel he was on struck on a reef and was wrecked. Mr. Peters was the only one saved. Other incidents, of his engagements with the Indians, would be interesting, but space forbids the enumerating.

PETERSON, Christian

Frming, P. O. Crescent City, was born in Denmark December 20, 1831, but he remained there till he was twentytwo years old; came to Missouri, and was there about a year, and then to Kansas, and remained in Kansas, but made several other changes before he settled in Pottawattamie County in 1867; tte spring of 1868, he bought his present farm, and moved onto it, and since that time he has been living here. He was married, in 1852, in Denmark, before he came to America, to Miss Anna M. Christenson. They have six children, three boys and three girls. His farm consists of 240 acres, about half in cultivation, the other half is in timber, pasture and meadow land. When first buying he only got eighty acres, and paid a little over $16 per acre, and since that time he has been adding to it and improving; his farm now is well improved. On the first eighty acres there was a little frame shanty and ditches for fences. He has been a member of the Grange since it started, and of the Good Templars; he is Republican in politics; he is also a member of the Mutual Protection Society.


Farming, Council Bluffs, was born in Putnam County, Ind., September 3, 1826, son of Eli Sigler, native of Tennessee. Mr. Sigler was raised in Indiana, and received his education there. By trade he is a tanner, and followed it till he came to Iowa, and has since followed farming. He came to Iowa in 1855, and entered his farm, and then went back to Indiana and stayed two years, but was preparing to come here. He was married in Indiana, in 1847, to Miss Phoebe Manker, born in Ohio. They have had nine children, six are still living - three boys and three girls, and three girls dead. Only two at home, the other four married; all in this county but the oldest son, and he is in Page County, Iowa, where he is in restaurant and grocery store in Blanchard, Iowa. In moving West, Mr. Sigler came in wagon with horse team, but sold them after coming, and bought cattle and began to break prairie. His farm is on Big Pigeon Creek, and when he came to it in 1857 there were not any horses on the Creek; the work was done with oxen. Wheat was cut with a scythe, and tramped out with oxen; then to get it made into flour they took it to William Reel's mill on Pigeon, where it was ground on the same stones as the corn, and they would bring it home bran and all together, and sift it at home; using bobbinet as a bolt. Robert Kent had the first fanning-mill on the creek, and would charge every fourth bushel for using the fan. When coming in 1855, he entered 200 acres of Government land, and pre-empted 120 of swamp land, and then when he came in 1857, he entered this 120 which he had preempted, and besides this he bought the claim of William Goodwin of 120 acres; but this was railroad land, so he had to pay the railroad company for it. He moved into a Mormon cabin on the Goodwin claim, and lived in it for about a year. In 1858, he bought his present dwelling house of William Reel, and moved it from Crescent City, and fixed it up, and moved into it in the spring of 1859. For some years his farming was mostly wheat; but now his farming is mostly stock and corn. His farm now consists of about two hundred and fifty acres, as he has been selling some. When each township had a member of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Sigler served for eight years, and besides this has held various offices in school and township. Mr. Sigler had joined a company in 1846 to go to the Mexican army, but while they were drilling and practicing in Green Castle, Ind., he was accidently shot through the wrist the day before they were to start, so that ended his service. He is Democratic in politics; is a member of the Grange, and in 1854 joined the Masonic fraternity, but since coming to Iowa, he has not not joined any lodge, because they are so far distant. Mr. Sigler's ancestors were German, his grandfather coming from Germany.


Marble cutter, Missouri Valley, Harrison Co., was born in Utah Jan. 16, 1857; came to Pottawattamie Co. in October, 1806, settling in Boomer Township. He is the son of Thomas Thomas, who was born in Wales, and came to America in 1853 and settled in Utah, and remained there till 1866. He and family came to this county; died January 17, 1877. His wife died June 19, 1877. They left a family of eight children, of whom W. H. is the oldest, being only twenty when the family was left to his care. The family have remained together ever since, and during the five years Mr. W. H. Thomas has bought another farm of eighty acres, and ten acres in a timber lot, all in cultivation and pasture and hay land. He had partly learned his trade of marble cutter before his father died, and since has completed it, and now is engaged in following it, while his brother runs the farm. His marble shop he has on the farm, and his work finds its way into all of the cemeteries within twenty miles each way, some of his finest monuments going to Council Bluffs cemeteries. He is a member of the Mutual Protectionists. He is Democratic in politics. Mr. Thomas was elected Assessor of the township when he was twenty-one years old, and has held it ever since; has also been Secretary of School Board for three years.


Farmer, P. O. Council Bluffs, was born in England in 1847, in Suffolkshire; son of G. W. Ward. Mr. Ward's parents moved from England when he was about four years old, coming to Pottawattamie County in 1851; stayed here for one year, and then emigrated to Utah in 1852, and that was his home till 1872. He came back to Pottawattamie County and settled on his present farm in 1873. He bought open prairie, paying for the first land $10 per acre, and $12.50 for the remainder. His farm consists of 235 acres; about eighty acres in cultivation; the remainder is in pasture and meadow land. His farming is raising corn, cattle and hogs. Mr. Ward was educated in Utah in common schools. He has always followed farming, and that was also his father's occupation most of his life. His mother died in 1860, and his father in August, 1882. Mr. Ward is one of eleven living children, one dead. He was married, in Utah, to Lizzie Saby. She was also born in England. She came to New York in 1862, and to Utah in 1863. They were married in 1867. They have eight children, four boys and four girls. He is Republican in politics, but does not take much interest in politics. Is a member of the M. P. Society. His farm is well improved with good buildings, etc. Ezra T. Benton, a Mormon minister, came out from Utah and preached that the Mormons should not remain here but go on. That is the reason Mr. Ward's parents moved on in 1852. They were stopping in Harris
Grove at the time.


Farmer, P. O. Council Bluffs, was born in England September 10, 1835; came to America in 1863. First settled in Jersey City, N. J., then two years in Pennsylvania, and two years in the mountains, and the remainder here in Pottawattamie County on his present farm. In the old country, he followed boating, and since coming to America he has been in the rolling mills, and in the mountains he was working on the Union Pacific, and never farmed till coming to his present place. His farm consists of 160 acres. When buying, he paid about $8 per acre. He does general farming, corn, stock, etc., having about eighty head of cattle, besides other stock. He was married, in Wales, January, 1863, to Miss Sarah Williams. She was born iu Wales. They have seven boys and two girls. He is Democratic in politics. He was brought up under the Church of England, and was educated in England. Mr. Willmot had three sisters and two brothers, but he does not know where any of them are. His farm was all open when he came to it - no improvements.


Farmer, P. O. Missouri Valley, Harrison Co., came to Pottawattamie in the fall of 1866. and to his present farm in March, 1867; has been on it ever since. The first 80 acres that he bought was school land, paying $1.25 per acre. He is a native of Kentucky, Wayne County; was born in 1830. His home was Kentucky till he moved to Iowa in 1860, but lived in the eastern part of the State till 1866, when he came to Pottawattamie. When coming to his present farm, there was not a house between it and Harris Grove on the northeast. On Honey Creek to the north of him there were a few settlers. He has 200 acres in his farm, and twenty acres in timber besides, almost the entire farm being in cultivation. Mr. Wright was married, in Keutucky, in 1855, to Miss Rhoda Jane McCoighn. Tliey have eleven children. In 1854, Mr. Wright had been out through Iowa, and was in Council Bluffs when it was Kanesville. He is a member of the Grange and of the Masonic fraternity. He has always been a Democrat. Mr. Wright has one of the most substantial barns to be found anywhere. Its storage capacity for hay is over sixty tons. He has also demonstrated that fruit-raising can be done with success in Boomer Township.
Please note:  Oakland was at one time called Big Grove. Please note:  Oakland was at one time called Big Grove. Please note:  Oakland was at one time called Big Grove.

From John H. Keatley's History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, published by O. L. Baskin & Co., 1883