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Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. online

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Online LibraryHobart Publishing Company (Chicago)Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. → online text (page 10 of 85)
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ciously invested his money in land, which
proved to be underlaid with rich coal and
marble deposits. With all his splendid
success he was a man of kind heart and
generous disposition, his employes ever
finding him not only just but generous,
and his wife possessed equally commend-
able traits of character.

Aaron Packer, father of our subject,
was in early life a potter, and afterward
conducted an extensive mercantile estab-
lishment in Pennsylvania. Later he set-
tled in Jefferson county, Ohio, where he
engaged in farming and stock-raising, and
the last years of his life were passed in
Clark county, Ohio, near South Charles-
ton. He was always an earnest repub-
lican, unfaltering in his advocacy of the
principles of the party, and he, and his
wife were members of the Friends' church.
He died in 1877, when more than ninet}-
years of age, having for some time sur-
vived his wife, who passed away in 185 1,
at the age of sixty 5^ears. Their remains
were interred in Ohio, the former near
South Charleston and the latter near
Mount Pleasant, Ohio. In their family

were seven children, but all have passed
away, namely: Isaac, Thomas, Elizabeth,
Hannah, Elisha, Sarah, and Benjamin.

Thomas V. Packer acquired his early
education in the district schools of Penn-
sylvania and Ohio. He learned the coop-
er's trade in the latter state and followed
it until 185 1, when he came to Iowa. He
was an excellent workman in the line of
his chosen occupation. After taking up his
abode in this state, however, he settled
upon a partially improved fann of three
hundred and twent}' acres on Skunk river
near Oakland, Henry county, and turned
his attention to the improvement of that
fami, which he had purchased, and which
he continued to cultivate until 1862, when
he removed to a fann in Lee county, near
Salem. His last years were spent in re-
tirement in Salem. In 1844 Air. Packer
was united in marriage to Miss Margaret
Linton. The original ancestor of the Lin-
ton family came to America with the Wil-
liam Penn colony and preached the first
Quaker sennon in Philadelphia. Her par-
ents were Mahlon and Ann (Hilles) Lin-
ton, in whose family were seven children
who grew to maturity : Sarah. William,
Samuel Linton, Mary Linton. Josq:)h Lin-
ton. Isaiah, and Margaret, who became
Mrs. Packer, was the youngest of the
family. All of the sons of the Linton
family were employed by the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad in the early days of its
construction as civil engineers.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Packer
was celebrated in Washington county.
Pennsylvania, near Brownsville, en the
17th of April, 1844. Mrs. Packer
^^-as educated in Washington county, at-
tending the public schools and the girls'



boarding school. Her parents died wlien
she was young. She afterward made her
home with her brothers and sisters until
she was married, at which time Air. and
Mrs. Packer removed to Ohio, where they
continued to reside until 1851, when they
came to Henry county, residing in this
part of die state until called to their final
rest, the remains of both being interred
in the cemeteiw at Salem. Mrs. Packer
was a successful teacher in Pennsylvania
near Brownsville prior to her marriage,
and her children and grandchildren seem
to have inherited her capability in this

Unto Mr. and Airs. Packer were born
nine children, of whom seven are li\'ing.
Annie E., who JDegan teaching in a coun-
try school and has since been identified
with school work. She -was for seven
years principal of the high school at Bona-
parte, Iowa, and for more than ten ^'ears
was assistant principal at Whittier College
at Salem, Iowa. She has also been an
instructor in teachers' institutes during
the summer months, sometimes conducting
four during a singie season. She was
county superintendent of Heniy countv
before entering Whittier College to as-
sist as principal, was also county superin-
tendent of Van Buren county, and in 1899
she was elected county superintendent of
the schools of Henry county, entering
upon the duties of the office in January,
1900, and has since filled this position in
a most creditable and acceptable manner.
She is well qualified for the office and
under her guidance the schools have made
splendid advancement, as she has ever held
high the standard of public education.
She is a devoted member of the Congrega-

tional church and also belongs to the P.
E. O. Society and to the Eastern Star.
Rebecca, the second member of the Packer
family, was a successful teacher in Iowa
and Nebraska, and after teaching for eight
years near Lincoln, Nebraska, died in that
city in 189 1. Ada Packer became the wife
of Thomas H. McConnaughey, who died
in July, 1903. She was a teacher before
her marriage and is now teaching in the
Central school at Mount Pleasant. Mr. Mc-
Connaughey was a sergeant in Company
AI of the Fourth Iowa Cavaln,' in the Civil
war and ser\'ed throughout the period of
hostilities. He was wounded at Vicks-
liurg, which occasioned a slight lameness
throughout his entire life. Alahlon L.
Packer, residing in Salem, Iowa, mar-
ried Sarah Jacobs, a niece of William
Jacobs, \\ho was one of the compilers of
the Lippincott Encyclopedia. They have
four children: Joseph L., Harold, Paul,
and Leah. William Albert Packer resides
at Bonaparte, Iowa. A. H. Packer, who
is principal of the Lincoln school in Fort
Madison. I. L. Packer resides in Salem.
Emma married J. H. Jacobs and died in
Kansas in 1895. Nellie married J. H.
Collatt, of Salem.

In his political affiliation Air. Packer
of this review was an earnest democrat
and ser\-ed as township trustee and in other
local offices. He was greatly interested
in the cause of public education, sei"ved as
a member of the school board, always de-
claring that "his school tax was the best
tax which he paid." He, and his wife were
members of the Friends' church and hon-
orable principles and upright conduct char-
acterized their entire lives. Air. Packer
passed away in Februaiy, 1898,- at the age



of eighty-four years, while his wife died
February 15, 1897. No more worthy or
respected people were numbered among
Iowa's citizens. They were kindly in
spirit, generous in disposition, loyal to
justice, truth, and right and they stood as
champions of every interest for the public
\\- el fare and at the same time reared a
family who are indeed a credit to their


Andrew Singer, who after an active,
useful and honorable business career ex-
tending- over many years, is now living a
retired life in Mount Pleasant, was born
in Bubenheim, province of Rhine-Hessen,
Germany, on the 31st of December, 1827.
He is the only surviving member in a fam-
ily of seven children, whose parents were
Jacob and Maiy (Meierhoefer) Singer.
The father was born in Germany between
1780 and 1790, and was a prosperous
farmer of that country. His wife sur-
vived, passing away in her native country
at the advanced age of eighty-four years.

Andrew Singer was reared and edu-
cated in his native land, and in 1850 came
to America. Making his way down the
Rhine and crossing to England, he sailed
from London to New York. He was a
passenger on one of the old-time sailing
vessels, which w^as forty-nine days in mak-
ing' the voyage. He came to America on
a prospecting trip, and was so well
pleased with the country that he decided
to remain. The first few years were spent

in New York and New Jersey, and he
learned the baker's trade in Brooklyn, de-
voting two years to mastering the busi-
ness. In 1854 he came to the west, set-
tling in Burlington, where he was em-
ployed as a baker for a year, after which
he removed to Mount Pleasant, Iowa,
where he occupied a similar position for a
a year. He was then admitted to a part-
nership by his employer, and the business
was conducted under the name of Milo
Shaw & Company, and the relation Ije-
tween them w^as successfulh- maintained
from 1856 until 1858, on the expiration of
which period Mr. Singer sold his interest
and removed to Sumner, Kansas. He went
there with a number of eastern and Iowa
men, who had established, prior, a town
site company during the Pike's Peak ex-
citement, who had expected to make Sum-
ner an outfitting point. It was located on
the Missouri river, four miles below Lea-
venworth, and before Mr. Singer went to
Sumner had many improvements and
good buildings, and wdien he located there
the outlook was good for a growing town.
Mr. Singer, with a partner, bought ten
lots and started to put up a good bakery,
paying $300 in gold for them, and made
an arrangement to erect a bakery, but
soon found that the enterprise would not
be successful, and he took a contract for
excavating on streets, and while superin-
tending that job there was a cave-in. and
he* was completely buried. Fortunately
for him, he was soon rescued, and he was
exhumed nearly dead and with a crushed
(broken) leg. Pie was thus laid up for
four months, and was incapacitated for
real labor for a year. In 1859 he returned
to ]\Iount Plea.sant (he had to pawn his



watch to get money to return to Mount
Pleasant), and liere he first found em-
ployment at Albia in a bake shop, and
worked at his trade till the breaking out
of war. On formation of the Eighth Iowa
Volunteer Infantry, in 1861, he went out
with them as a cook, and after the regi-
ment had got to the front, in Missouri,
while near Syracuse, he enlisted in Com-
pany — , Eighth Iowa Volunteer Infan-
try. Soon afterwards he was transferred
to Company E, Sixth Iowa Volunteer In-
fantry, and on account of his knowedge
of baking, was appointed by the quarter-
master as regimental baker. His regi-
ment served through Tennessee, Missis-
sippi, etc., and was under Grant's com-
mand, being under Colonel Brydolf and
(then) Major Corse. He was at Shiloh
and Corinth, etc. His leg getting worse,
in 1863, he was discharged for disability.
After his return from war he established
in business, the firm being Singer and
Budde. The firm was successful, and
owned a farm outside. After a fire Mr.
Singer personally built a three-story brick
block, where their business was conducted.
Mr. Singer also built a residence in the
city, he having put up the residence now
owned by Dr. Pitcher, and now owns
Kansas lands, owning 800 acres in Paw-
nee county, and there he is extensively
engaged in wheat raising, having 700
acres under cultivation during past years
on shares. •

On the nth of December, 1865, Mr.
Singer was united in marriage to Miss
Mary Budde, a daughter of D. A. and
Christina (Stomp) Budde. There were
three children in the Budde family who
grew up, of whom John G. Budde now re-

sides in Mount Pleasant. Mrs. Singer
was born in Amsterdam, Holland, Sep-
tember 16, 1844. Her parents were na-
tives of Germany, but went from that
country to Holland. In 1847 ^^''^y came
to America, locating in Burlington, Iowa,
where Mr. Budde carried on business as
a gardener. In 1868 they removed to
Henry county, and spent their remaining
days with Mr. and Mrs. Singer. The
mother died in July, 1872. and the father's
death occurred in April, 1873. their re-
mains being interred in Forest Home cem-
eter}'. They held membership in the
Dutch Reformed church, of which he was
an elder, and his political support was
given to the republican party. ]\Irs. Sing-
er was educated in America, being a stu-
dent in the schools of Des Moines county,
and her death occurred February 22, 1905,
her remains being laid to rest in Forest
Home cemetery. Unto Mr. and Mrs.
Singer had been born five children, all of
whom are living — namely: Anna M.,
who for ten years has been engaged in
teaching German and English in the Ma-
rion (Iowa) high school: Elizabeth C.
at home with her father; Flora L., now a
trained nurse in Chicago : John A., who is
with E. B. Caldwell and Company, in
Monmouth. Illinois, and Louise R., who
is teacher of German and English in the
high school at Chariton, Iowa.

Mr. Singer has been a stanch republican
since casting his first presidential vote for
Fremont. He was always opposed to
slavery, and was a champion of the Union
cause during the Civil war. He held
membership in the German Presbyterian
church, of which his wife was a member,
and he served as one of its elders.


In 1864 he became one of the charter Xew London, Iowa. Thinking to have

members, and in 1867 he was one of the better business opportunities in the new

building committee that erected the church and growing west the father brought his

in Mount Pleasant, and was active in the family to this state, journeying overland

affairs of the church until it consolidated to Burlington, where he spent the win-

with the Presbyterian church. In 1887 ter, and in the spring of 1850 settled upon

he rebuilt the elegant home at No. 300 a farm adjoining the village of Xew Lon-

South Main street, and is delightfully sit- don, known as the J. I. King place, and

uated there. When he became a resident owned now by J. M. Crawford. Later

of Burlington it was only a village, with he resided at different times upon various

no railroads. Many changes have oc- farms and in his old age he settled in the

curred there and in all parts of Iowa, and village, where his remaining davs were

Mr. Singer has ever been deeply interested passed in well earned ease. He died in

in the work of public progress and im- 1871, at the age of seventv-four vears

provement. He figured prominently in and his wife, long surviving him. passed

business circles in Mount Pleasant for away in 1884, at the age of eightv-four

many long years, and made for himself a years. Throughout his entire business

creditable name, at the same time winning career he had carried on general farm-

a very gratifying competence through his ing and had met with a fair measure of

well directed labors. His life record success. He was also active and influen-

proves what may be accomplished by tial in community affairs, and filled the

young men with the determination to win offices of township trustee and road su-

success here through the utilization of op- pervisor. He had been reared in the Lu-

portunities and the improvement of the theran faith, but as there was no church

business conditions which are found in (^f that denomination in this section of

America. the county when he came to Iowa, he and

his wife joined the Methodist Protestant


Henry Shopbell was reared in the us-
ual manner of farm lads, devoting his

HENRY SHOPBELL. attention to the duties of the schoolroom

and to the work of the home farm. He

Henry Shopbell, a veteran of the Civil thus early became familiar with the best

war, noAV living in New London, is a son methods of tilling the soil and caring for

of Jacob and Catherine (Smith) Shop- the* crops and the stock and after he had

bell and was born in Licking county, arrived at years of maturity he resolved

Ohio, December 14, 1835. In his infancy to make the occupation to which he had

his parents removed to Mount Vernon, been reared his life work. Accordingly

Ohio, and later he attended the public in 1869 he bought one hundred and twen-

schools there, while subsequently his edu- ty acres of land in Canaan township. This

cation was continued in the schools of was comprised of two tracts, one of



eighty acres on section 12, and another of
forty acres on the same section. The
tracts did not join, however, and he after-
ward sold forty acres and invested in an-
other eighty-acre tract adjoining the orig-
inal purchase, so that he had an entire
quarter section. There were no improve-
ments upon the place when it came into
his possession and with characteristic en-
ergy he began the work of reclaiming
the wild land for the uses of civilization.
His son, George A. Shopbell, now owns
forty acres of the farm and operates the
entire amount. Mr. Shopbell of this re-
view has planted trees and he put in the
first plow and broke the first ground on
his present farm. It is now one of the
best improved properties in Canaan town-
ship, the fields being richly cultivated,
while good buildings have been erected
and modern improvements made.

On the 24th of December, 1870, Air.
Shopbell was united in marriage to Miss
Emeline Imbrie Anderson, a daughter
of Robert and Anges (Mercer) Ander-
son. She was born in Beaver county,
Pennsylvania, June 5, 1837, and came to
Henry county in the fall of 1869, the
family home being established in Scott
township, near Winfield. Four children
grace this marriage : George, who wedded
Clara L. Swertzfelger and resides upon
the home farm; Nellie, who died in in-
fancy; Nellie Agnes, the wife of Delbert
G. Gabbert, residing with her parents;
and Josephine Melissa, who died Janu-
ary 4, 1900.

Mr. Shopbell always followed farming
until he retired from active business life,
taking up his abode in New London on
the I St of January, 1885. He afterward

went to Kansas and homesteaded a tract
of land, living there for three years when,
on account of the health of one of his
children, he returned to New London in
1888 and has since lived on the Lowell
road. He now enjoys a well earned rest
for in former }'ears he was \'ery ener-
getic and active in his farm work and ac-
quired a good capital, which, together
with th.e income from his farm, enables
him to enjoy his remaining days without
further recourse to farm work.

At the time of the Civil war Mr. Shop-
bell manifested his loyalty to his govern-
ment by enlisting on the 4th of October,
1 86 1, in New London, as a member of
Company D, Fourth Iowa Cavalry. The
company was mustered in November 25,
1 86 1, at Mount Pleasant and the regi-
ment was assigned to the Army of the
Trans-Mississippi and attached to the
Fifteenth Army Corps under General
Sherman. However, the Fourth Iowa
did duty much of the time on the Missis-
sippi river and w^ith his command Mr.
Shopbell participated in the siege of
Vicksburg, the battles of Tupelo and
Guntown, Mine Creek and other impor-
tant engagements. At Mine Creek his
command captured more than his own
force numbered. Mr. Shopbell served
for three years and two months and was
honorably discharged on the 12th of De-
cember, 1864. He became a member of
the Grand Army of the Republic in Kan-
sas in 1887, and transferred his member-
ship to New London, Iowa, where he has
been several times commander of the post
besides holding other ofiices. On one oc-
casion he was, captured from his picket
post and taken to Little Rock, Arkansas,



where he was put in a prison pen but after
twenty-six days was paroled. He has al-
ways been loyal in citizenship whether in
days of peace or times of war and his de-
votion to the general welfare has been
manifested in tangible effort for the pub-
lic good. In politics he is an earnest re-
publican, while his father was a Jack-
sonian democrat. Mr. Shopbell was called
to the office of justice of the peace in Ca-
naan township and for fourteen years
served in that capacity, his decisions be-
ing strictly fair and impartial, so that his
course won him high commendation. He
is a devoted member of the Methodist
Protestant church, in which he has held
all of the offices. His life has ever been
in keeping Avith his professions and his
earnest Christian spirit has ever been
manifest in his conduct toward his fel-
low men as day after day he has met them
in business and social relations.


Among the oldest residents of Mount
Pleasant Enos Gheen is numbered. ha\ing
for a long period been identified with die
business and public interests of Henry
county. He is now conducting lumber
and fuel yards with a trade that is indica-
tive of his straightforward methods, his
earnest desire to please his patrons and his
conformity to a high standard of com-
mercial ethics. His natal day was Decem-
lier 4, 1844. and his birth occurred near
the famous old Brandvwine battle-ground

near Westchester, Chester county. Penn-
sylvania. His parents were Enos and Ann
( Seeds) Gheen. and his grandfather was
John Gheen, also a native of Chester
county, in which district the great-grand-
father had settled on emigrating from
Scotland to America about the time of the
Revolutionary war in Scotland, the name
being spelled (lohegan. but was changed
prior to coming to America. John Gheen
was a farmer and blacksmith and at the
old home in Chester county Enos Gheen
was born and reared. He gave his atten-
tion to agricultural pursuits and while
still a resident of the Keystone state was
married to Miss Ann Seeds, who was born
and reared in that locality, and was a
daughter of Emmor C. Seeds, who was
of Scotch-Irish lineage. Thinking to en-
joy better business opportunities in the
west, Mr. Gheen came to Henry county,
Iowa, on the 29th of March, 1863. He
had previously purchased a farm in Ma-
rion township about four and a half miles
north of ]\Iount Pleasant, becoming owner
of one hundred and seventy acres of par-
tially improved land. \Y\\\\ characteristic
energv he began its further development
and cultivation and made his home thereon
until his death, which occurred December
16, 1 87 1. His wife, long surviving him,
passed away on Thanksgiving day. of
1903. Both held membership in the Birm-
ingham Friends Meeting in Pennsylvania,
of which ^Ir. Gheen was a trustee. In
his earlier life he attended meeting held in
the old building used as a hospital after
the battle Brandywine. His grandfather.
Elias Hicks, was the founder of the Hick-
site liranch of Quakers.

Enos Gheen pursued his early education



in Isaac Martin's Academy, at Malbor-
ville, Pennsylvania, and after the removal
of the family to Iowa became a student in
Howe's Academy at Mount Pleasant, thus
acquiring more than an ordinary educa-
tion. In 1865 he began teaching, follow-
ing the profession for two years in the
winter seasons, while in the summer
months he worked upon the farm. He
then concentrated all of his time and ef-
forts upon agTicultural pursuits, taking
charge of his father's farm and carrying
on the place after the latter's death. Sub-
secjuently he purchased a part of the old
homestead but the mother retained pos-
session of the original eighty-acre tract
upon which the residence was luiilt. To
his place Mr. Gheen added from time to
time as opportunity afforded until he
owned a fine farm of two hundred and
forty acres of the old home place and one
hundred and twenty acres in Trenton
township. He gave his attention to agri-
cultural pursuits and to the raising of high
bred stock, both branches of his business
proving profitable. Active and energetic
in the care of the fields he annually har-
vested good crops as a reward for the
labor which he bestowed upon his fields
and was accounted one of the representa-
tive agriculturists of the community.

On the 13th of August, 1874, Mr.
Gheen was married to Miss Amanda Bee-
son, of Marion township, Henry county,
Iowa, a daughter of Amos and Lydia
Beeson, who were farming people and
came to this state from Ohio. They, too,
were members of the Society of Friends,
or Quakers. The Beesons lived at one
time in Xenia, Ohio, and on the paternal
side came originally from North Carolina,

while on the maternal side they were con-
nected with the Pickering family who
were a well known old Virginia family.
Mr. Gheen took his bride to the home farm
and thereon retained his residence until
1899, when he came to Mount Pleasant
and established a lumber and fuel busi-
ness on North Main street on the tracks
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railroad Company. Here he occupies a
whole block, conducting a large business
as a dealer in wood and hard and soft
coal. He has three teams employed in
delivering and he is also conducting an
extensive lumber business, having a large
planing mill and sawmill at the yards and
also another sawmill in Trenton town-
ship, eight miles to the northwest. In
connection with this plant he has an out-
fit for and does well boring and drilling,
also selling and putting up windmills. The
business is now conducted by Mr. Gheen
and his sons under the firm style of the
Gheen Fuel Company. They purchased
the plant of die Mount Pleasant Manu-
facturing Company and now have the
leading lumber yard of the city, with rail-
road tracks on each side, thus affording

Online LibraryHobart Publishing Company (Chicago)Biographical review of Henry County, Iowa, containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past .. → online text (page 10 of 85)