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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 11 of 85)
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i\Ir. and Mrs. Gheen have three sons
and two daughters. Anna is the wife of
Orlo Carnahan, a farmer of Trenton
township, by whom she has two children,
Mabel and Grace. Fred, who is associ-
ated with his father in business, married
Grace Byrum, of Mount Pleasant. John
is also engaged in business with his father.
Lizzie is the wife of George Grace, a
farmer residing in Marion township, and
they have three children, Edgar, Myrta
and LeRoy. Benton Hall Gheen completes



the family. The family residence is a
fine home on South Main street sur-
rounded by six acres of ground beautifully
kept. Mr. Gheen is a member of Mount
Pleasant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons, and in early life was
connected with the Xenium lodge of
which he was secretary. His life has been
characterized by close and unremitting dili-
gence and an expediency in mastering
conditions and overcoming difficulties.
There have been no sensational chapters
in his life history but with a thorough un-
derstanding that "there is ,no excellence
without labor" he has so directed his ef-
forts that year by year has added to his
capital and proven the force of his sa-
lient characteristics as concjuering factors
in the struggle that is continually being
waged in the business world. Investiga-
tion into the methods that he has followed
shows that he has ever been honorable
and straightforward in his dealings with,
his fellow men and therefore accorded the
respect and uniform confidence of the en-
tire commimity.

AV'hile not an aspirant to office he ha.s
been an efficient worker in the ranks of
the democratic party, and has been for
years a member of the democratic town-
ship committee from 1866 until leaving
the township, and also attending different
conventions up to the state, a period cov-
ering twenty-five years. In April, 1888,
Mr. Gheen was appointed by President
Cleveland for the Sacs and Fox Indians,
whose reservation is in Lamar county,
making his hetidquarters at Lama, al-
though retaining his residence in Marion
township. He had the distriluition of
over fiftv-one thousand dollars, which they

preferred in silver dollars. He held the
office nearly four years, until a succes-
sor was appointed by President McKinley.
Although paying out so much, he had no
serious trouble with the Indians, and was
congratulated by republicans and the de-
partment at Washington for the accuracy
of his accounts.


Jesse Mathews is the owner of a splen-
didly improved farm in Canaan township,
his place forming one of the most attract-
ive features in the landscape, by reason
of the richly cultivated fields and the ex-
cellent and substantial jDuildings upon the
farm. His residence is a large dwelling
of eleven rooms, built in modem style of
architecture, and all of the other build-
ings are in keeping with this fine home.
Mr. Mathews is a representative of one
of the old New England families that was
established in Connecticut in colonial days.
His paternal grandfather was Jesse Math-
ews, who was born in the Charter Oak
state, and who removed to New York,
settling in \\'a}ne county. Herman
Mathews, father of our subject, was born
in Wayne county, and, having arrived at
vears of maturity, was married \.o Ann
Lester, a native of Pennsylvania. He
there turned his attention to agricultural
pursuits, and upon the home I'ann oc-
curred the birth of Jesse Mathews, on the
23d of January, 1831. Two years later
the parents came with their family to the


middle west, settling in Michigan, and The desk, too, on which the older schol-
after a short time went to Indiana, where ars wrote their exercises, was formed by
they lived for two years. They next took placing a slab upon wooden pins driven
up their abode in Hancock county, Illi- into the wall. The methods of teaching
nois. and two years later came to Iowa, were almost as primitive as the furnish-
settling in Lee county, wdiere the father ings, instruction being given in little else
purchased a farm of eighty acres, which than the "three R's." Mr. Mathews
he developed and improved for four years. Vv'orked at farm labor when not occupied
fie then sold that property and moved to with the duties of the schoolroom, and
Lowell, Henry county. Iowa, where he continued at home with his father until
erected the first house built in the towni, twenty-four years of ag'e, when, desirous
and there he lived for about five years, of having a farm of his own, he purchased
working at his trade of a millwright, put- seventy-one acres of land in Danville
ting up the mills now run by Sampson township. Des Moines county, Iowa. This
Lewis, and then removed to Danville was fenced and partially under cultivation,
township. Des Moines county, where he and he at once took up the work of fur-
again purchased land, making his home ther development and improvement. He
thereon for twenty years, or up to the bought a house, which he moved to his
time of his death. Throughout his entire place, and otherwise improved the farm,
life he devoted his energies to general ag- tilling the fields for nine years, after which
ricultural pursuitst and was thus engaged he sold the property and invested in three
until his labors were ended in death in the hundred and twenty acres of land, of
year 1881. He had long survived his which twenty acres was timber land in


wife, who passed away in i860. In their New London township, Henry county,
family were eleven children, nine sons and while the remainder was situated in
two daughters. Canaan township, one hundred and
Jesse Mathews was the second in order fifty-eight acres being on section 21,
of birth in the father's family, and was and the remainder on section 22.
only two years old when taken by his par- It had all been burned over in a
ents to Michigan. He lived successively prairie fire, and Mr. Mathews fenced the
in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, his home property and placed eighty acres under
being in the pioneer districts, where the cultivation. He built a granary the fol-
family aided in subduing the wilderness lowing year and lived in an old house
and planting the seeds of civilization. His called the Steamboat house, which he con-
youth, therefore, was passed amid pioneer tinned to occupy until his success justified
environments and surroundings, and his his erection of a fine two-story residence
education was obtained in one of the typ- of eleven rooms and three large halls,
ical old-time log school houses. In one This was built in 1882, *and is the most
end of the room was a large fireplace, and commodious house in the township. It
the benches, having no backs, were made is attractively and comfortably furnished
of hewed logs resting upon wooden pins, and stands in the midst of a well kept



lawn. He has likewise built a barn, thir-
ty-two by sixty-two feet, with twenty foot
posts, and this furnishes ample shelter for
his horses and his hay.

On the 29th of April, 1856, Mr. Math-
ews was united in marriage to" Miss Caro-
line Patterson, who was born in Indiana,
and is a daughter of Joseph and Louisa
(Foster) Patterson. Seven children bless
this union : Adolphus. a farmer, residing
upon a tract of land adjoining his father's
place; Emerson, a resident agriculturist
of Canaan township ; Aldred, who is en-
gaged in the drug business at IMount
Union ; Ella, the wife of Joseph Lynch,
who resides in Marion township ; Fay.
who married Frank Crocker, and lives in
Canaan township; and Eflfa, the w4fe of
John Chandler, who resides upon her
father's farm, and Wilfred, who died at
six months of ag^e. The wife and mother
died December 31, 1877.

Mr. Mathews has led a very busy, use-
ful and active life. In his younger years
he worked on plank roads, in sawmills
and in grading railroads, thus performing
much arduous toil. He was engaged in
this way until twenty-seven years of age,
when he began giving undivided attention
to general farming, and in addition to
tilling the soil he has successfully raised
horses, cattle and hogs, his sales of stock
adding materially to his annual income,
Li 1892, however, he suffered from an
accident, his left ankle being crushed
by cattle running over him. Since
then he has been unable to do heavy
work, but still superintends his farm-
ing operations, and in all of his work
he is practical, his methods result-
ing successfully in the acquirement of a

competence. Mr. Mathews has long been
an advocate of the principles of the repub-
lican party, to which he gave his first
presidential vote. He has been school
treasurer and road supers-isor, and all mat-
ters pertaining to general interest are sure
to receive his hearty endorsement and co-
operation. He has now passed the sev-
enty-fifth milestone on life's journey, and
he well deserves a rest from acti\'e work
because his life has been one of unremit-
ting diligence and of unblemished integ-
rity in trade transactions.


Hon. Thomas F. Campbell, president
of the Henry County Farmers' Mutual
Insurance Company and a prominent re-
tired farmer living in ]\Iount Pleasant,
was born near Shelby ville. in Shelby
county. Indiana, on the 9th of August.
1844. his parents being Hugh and Cheney
(Ray) Campbell. The father was born
near Knoxville. Tennessee. The pater-
nal grandfather was one of five brothers
who came from Scotland to this country
prior to the Revolutionary war and served
as a soldier in the struggle for independ-
ence. He was with the Southern Army
and he participated in addition to the
engagements of that war in the battle
of Horse Shoe Bend with the Indians.
After the close of hostilities he located
near Knoxville. Tennessee, where he con-
ducted a large plantatiiMi. being recog-
nized as one of the prominent men oi hi?



day. There he spent his active hfe, but
shortly before his death came to the north
and made his home with his son.

Hugh Campbell, born in Tennessee, in
1 80 1, was reared to manhood there and
when a young man of twenty-one years
removed to Shelby county, Indiana,
where he settled upon a tract of raw land
With characteristic energy he began its
cultivation and in the course of years
developed it into a good property. In
that county he married Miss Cheney Ray,
who was born near Wilmington, North
Carolina, and went with her father's fam-
il_\' to Indiana. The home property of
Mr. Campbell embraced four hundred
acres of rich and cultivable land. In the
development of this place he endured the
usual hardships and trials incident to pio-
neer life. Their home on the frontier
was far separated from the contingen-
cies of the older east, for around them
lay an uncut forest. From his own door-
w'ay Mr. Campbell shot deer and wild
turkeys. The farm implements were of
a very primitive character compared to
the improved agricultural machinery of
the present day, and it required much ar-
duous labor to bring the fields under cul-
tivation. In public affairs Mr. Campbell
was prominent and influential and was
called to various county offices. Again
he cast in his lot with pioneer settlers,
when, in the spring of 185 1, he came to
Henry county, Iowa, and purchased
twenty-five hundred acres of land from
Samuel Wells. This was all wild and
unimproved, save for a tract of about
eighty acres. He divided this land among
his children, who improved their respec-
tive portions and the father also devel-

oped a good home for himself. In the
early days he espoused the cause of abo-
lition and when the Republican party was
formed to prevent the extension of slav-
ery he joined its ranks. Both he and his
wife held membership in the Methodist
Episcopal church, and his death occurred
in September, 1870, while her death oc-
curred April zy, 1883. They had eight
children who reached adult age, while
four died in childhood: James H., now
of Nebraska ; Mrs. Maria Leach ; Mrs.
Martha J. Lafferty ; Robert, who died in
1900; Susan, the wife of J. W. Keith;
Mrs. Emily Payne, Thomas F., and Mrs.
I. J. Holt.

Thomas F. Campbell was a lad of
about seven summers when brought by
his parents to Iowa, and in the common
schools near AVayland he acquired his
early education, which was supplemented
by study in Howe's Academy. In 1862
he enlisted as a defender of the Union
cause, becoming a member of Company
K, Fourth low^a Cavalry. The regiment
was engaged in active duty in Missouri,
Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisi-
ana, Georgia and Alabama, completing
its services at Atlanta. Mr. Campbell was
on active duty throughout that entire
time and was never home on a furlough.
He was too young to be promoted, but
proved a brave and loyal soldier and re-
turned home with a most creditable mili-
tary record.

On again reaching Iowa, Mr. Camp-
bell resumed the occupation of farming,
to which he had been reared, early be-
coming familiar with the w'ork of the
field and meadow. His father had given
him land six miles north of Mount Pleas-



ant, which he improved, residing thereon
from 1867 until 1892, and during that
time bringing his farm up to a high state
of cuhivation. He added to the original
tract until he owned two hundred and
forty acres of land, which was splendidly
developed. He carried on general agri-
cultural pursuits and stock-raising and
for a number of years dealt in high bred
Norman horses, continuing in this busi-
ness until the spring of 1905. In 1892,
however, he sold his farm and removed
to Mount Pleasant, where he now has an
attractive home. He was one of the or-
ganizers of the Henry County Farmers'
Mutual Insurance Company, has been a
director and vice president and is now the
chief executive officer. His official serv-
ice with the company covers fifteen years
and he has been president since 1902.
This company has had a successful career
from the beginning and its risks now rep-
resent about three million dollars.

On the 8th of January, 1868, Mr.
Campbell was united in marriage to Miss
Hattie E. Button, a daughter of Willard
Button, and they have six children :
Hugh, who is now a merchant of Mount
Pleasant; Ada. the wife of C. Carnahan,
a resident farmer of Henry county ; Susie,
the wife of W. E. Young, also a farmer;
Alice, a teacher in the schools of Mount
Pleasant; Carrie, who is teaching in New
London, and Bessie, who is now a stu-
dent of the Iowa State University. The
parents are members of the Congrega-
tional church. Miss Button was edu-
cated at Bunkirk. also Howe's Academy,
Mount Pleasant, and was at home until
her marriage. Hattie E. Button was
born near Bunkirk, New York, a daugh-

ter of Willard and Anna ]M. (Jenks)
Button. The Buttons were of New Eng-
land ancestry ; the father was born near
Norfolk, Connecticut, and the mother at
Amenia Union, New York. Soon after
their marriage they moved to near Bun-
kirk, where he was a farmer and came
to Henry county, Iowa, in the spring of
1864, and owned a farm seven miles north
of Mount Pleasant. This he improved.
He later moved to Page county. Iowa,
where he died February 29, 1904, and
the mother died about 1877. Mr. Camp-
bell gave his political allegiance to the
Republican party until 1876, since which
time he has voted for the democracy. He
has been active in support of the cause
of education and his services in this par-
ticular have been effective and far-reach-
ing. In 1899 he was elected to represent
Henry county in the twenty-eighth gen-
eral assembly, and on the minority side
he served on the committees of the agri-
culture, insane hospitals and others. His
well directed business efforts have re-
sulted successfully and he is today classed
among the substantial citizens of the
county in which almost his entire life has
been passed.


Edward Ezekiel \Miite. a representa-
tive of a pioneer family of Henry county,
is prominently identified with business in-
terests in Tippecanoe township, w here he
is now engaged in the raising and feeding
of stock and in the dairy business and he


also operates a stone quarry which is S. White, built the first log cabin in Flint

proving a profitable source of income. He Hills, now Burlington. In company with

was born April 24, 1849, i-^pon the farm his father and brother Nathaniel F. White

which is still his home. His paternal explored the Iowa purchase as early as

grandfather, Morgan White, was a native 1835, and there often saw the noted Sac

of Pennsylvania and married Miss Cath- warrior chief. Black Hawk. They staked

erine French, who was also born in the out claims for homesteads on Des Moines

Keystone state. Their son, Nathaniel F. river in what is now^ Van Buren county,

White, was born near Cincinnati. Ohio, Iowa, but becoming convinced that civil-

and when nine years of age accompanied ization would never permanently extend

his parents on their removal to Illinois, so far westward, they entireh^ abandoned

the family home being established in their claims. Nathaniel White w^as closely

Brown county, that state, in 1820. There associated with the agricultural and in-

he was reared to manhood amid the wild dustrial development of this part of the

scenes and environments of pioneer resi- state and is numbered among the valued

dence and he assisted in the arduous task and worthy pioneer citizens who aided in

of establishing a new home upon the fron- laying broad and deep the foundation for

tier. He was married in Brown county to the present progress and prosperity of the

Miss Mary A. Rose, who was bom in county. He died June 17, 1883. honored

Fleming county, Kentucky, and was and respected by all who knew him and

a daughter of Ezekiel and Catherine his wife survived until January 28. 1897.

(Stites) Rose, both of whom were na- They were the parents of four children:

tives of New Jersey. She had accom- Emeline, the wife of Samuel Summers;

panied her parents to Brown county, Illi- Rachel, who married Marcus K. Smith

nois, in 1828. After their marriage Mr. and resides in Jefferson county; John N. ;

and Mrs. Nathaniel F. White lived upon and Edward E. The surviving members

a farm in that county until 1836, when of the family are Rachel and Edward E.,

they came to Iowa, settling in Burlington, who is the youngest.

where they resided until 1839, and then In taking up the personal history of our
removed to Mount Pleasant. After a year subject we present to our readers one who
Mr. WHiite purchased eighty acres of land is widely and favorably known in Tippe-
on section 12, Tippecanoe township. It canoe township and the central portion of
was a tract of wild timber and in the Henry county. His early education, ac-
midst of the green forest he built a log quired in the district schools, was supple-
cabin of one room. Having thus provided mented by a course of study in Howe's
shelter for his family, he at once began to Academy in Mount Pleasant. He was
clear the land and placed fifty acres under reared to farm labor and at his father's
the plow. He also worked at his trade of death he purchased his sister's interest in
cabinet-making, which he had followed the old homestead, to w^hich he has since
ing his residence in Burlington and also added a tract of thirty acres so that the
in Mount Pleasant. His brother, Samuel farm now comprises one hundred and ten



acres of good land. The soil is rich and
productive and he carried on general
farming until 1900, since which time he
has rented his farm land, while he
new gives his attention to the rais-
ing and feeding of stock. He also
keeps a dairy and manufactures but-
ter, and this branch of his business is
a profitable one. He also has one of the
best stone quarries in the state, from
which he quarries magnesia limestone. He
furnishes building stone for the construc-
tion of various buildings in this vicinity.
In 1873 he became the owner of a farm of
ninety acres in Trenton township, which
he sold in 1874.

On the 25th of October, 1877, occurred
the marriage of Mr. White and Miss Dora
A. Bell, who was born in Henry county
and is a daughter of John Davage and
Rachel (McBride) Bell. They had two
children but one died in infancy. The
surviving daughter is Florence Effie, who
was born June 13, 1881, and is now acting
as her father's housekeeper, for Mrs.
White was called to her final rest on the
15th of September, 1883. her remains
being interred in Tippecanoe township.

Mr. White's life has been one of con-
tinuous activity, in which he has not been
denied the satisfactory reward of earnest
and persistent labor. As the years have
gone by he has extended the field of his
operations and is today well known as a
representative of stock-raising, dairying
and quarrying interests in his native
county. He is practical in his business
views and methods and his industry is
supplemented by keen business discrimi-
nation and unfaltering enterprise. Public
opinion is not divided concerning his

worth as a citizen and business man and
many warm friends entertain for him
genuine regard and confidence.

Mr. White was for many years a demo-
crat but of late years has been independ-
ent. For fifteen years he was road super-
visor, and also has held different school
offices. In religious matters he is liberal
in his belief not being especially connected
with any creed.


Daniel Webster Evans, ownincf a farm
on section 4, Trenton township, but re-
siding in the village of Trenton, was born
in this township, September 6, 1859, and
is a representative of one of the prominent
pioneer families. His parents were Evan
and Ann (Williams) Evans, both of whom
were natives of Wales and die latter was
a daughter of Hopkins and Annie Wil-
liams. Mr. and Mrs. Evan Evans became
early residents of Jefferson township,
Henry county, driving across the coun-
try with ox teams from New York in
1836. It was a long, slow, and tedious
journey and at night they camped out
along the roadside and in the day time
covered a few miles. At length, how-
ever, thev reached their destination and
]\Ir. Evans purchased land, becoming the
owner of two hundred and twenty-five
acres in Jefferson township, of which for-
ty-five acres was timber land, while the re-
mainder was prairie. The entire tract
was unimproved, but he began its cultiva-




tion and development. He was a great
trader and owned considerable land in Jef-
ferson township which he afterward traded
for eighty acres in Ringgold county,
Iowa, that he subsequently sold. He re-
moved from his farm to Wayland in 1894,
and there died in 1896. His wife still sur-
vives him and yet makes her home in
Wayland. In their family were four sons
and four daughters, of whom two sons
and three daughters are yet living.

Daniel W. Evans, the fifth in order of
birth, resided with his parents until sev-
enteen years of age, after which he went to
live with his sister, ]Mrs. S. J. Tilger,
about three-fourts of a mile east of
Trenton. He acquired his education in
the common schools and on starting out
in life on his own account he began the
operation of the old home farm, which he
cultivated for a year. He then married
Miss Ella Cook, who was born in Tren-
ton township and had been a student in the
public schools. Her parents were James
and Maria (Wateman) Cook, natives of
Ohio, who came to this county about
1850. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Evans was
born one son, Harry- Glenn, who was born
September 5, 1887, and pursued his edu-
cation in the common schools, in Howe's
Academy, at Mount Pleasant, and in the
Wayland high school, which he attended
for eighteen months. He then became ill
with scarlet fever which developed into
brain fever and he lived for only forty-
seven hours after being taken ill, pass-
ing away December i, 1904, his remains
being interred in Green Mound cemetery,
at Trenton. His death came as an almost
unbearable blow to his devoted parents.

It was on the i8th of February, 1882,

that Mr. and Mrs. Evans A\ere married
and they immediately aftenvard began
housekeeping on a tract of land of forty
acres west of Trenton, which Mr. Evans
had previously purchased. It was prairie
land and was all well improved. For six-
teen vears he made his home thereon, and
then sold that property and bought eighty
acres adjoining his old home place, at the
southwest corner of section 4, Trenton

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 11 of 85)