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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 12 of 85)
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township. Here he built a new barn
twenty by thirty-two feet with a shed for
the horses, twelve by thirty-two feet. It
is the largest barn in the community and
is a monument to the progressive spirit
and practical methods of the owner. He
has also improved his house, has put up
a windmill and corn crib and now has a
valuable farm equipped with all modern
conveniences. He uses the latest improved
machinery in the care of his fields and ev-
erything about his place is neat and
thrifty in appearance, indicating his care-
ful supervision. He has always engaged
in the tilling of the soil and each year har-
vests good crops. He also raises cattle
and Chester White hogs, having about
forty head of the latter. He lived upon
his farm until the death of his son, when
his wife's health, through her sorrow^ be-
came so impaired that they removed from
the farm to Trenton, where they have re-
sided since the ist of October, 1905. Their
only son was a young man of lovable dis-
position, often acting as peacemaker
among his school associates and his kindly
nature and genial temperament won him
the love and esteem of all who knew him.
To his parents he displayed most filial
attachment and his death came as a crush-
ing blow to them. Both Mr. and Airs.



Evans are members of the Church of Gk)d
and in his pohtical affihation he is a repub-
hcan. For six years he served as school
directoi", but otherwise has held no pub-
lic office, giving his time and attention to
his business affairs. Both he and his wife
are held in high esteem and have a very
large circle of warm friends in their


Nicholas Rich is the owner of a valu-
able farm property in Henry county, his
home being in Jefferson township, where
he has altogether seven hundred and for-
ty-seven and one-half acres of valuable
land, the greater part of which is arable.
He is a native of Canada, his birth having
occurred in Ontario, on the i6th of March.
1844. His parents were Peter and Bar-
bara ( Schlatter) Rich, both of whom were
natives of Alsac<^- France, in which coun-
tiy they were reared and married. Cross-
ing the Atlantic to Canada in 1842, the
father purchased land there and began
the development of a farm, but was per-
mitted to enjoy his home for only a few
years, passing away there in November,
1850. The mother resided there until
1853, when she sold the property and
went to Indiana, settling near Fort Wa}Tie,
living there for about four years, when
she then came to live with Nicholas, and
died at his home, April 20, 1885.

Nicholas Rich was the eleventh in order
of birth of six sons and six daughters.
He lived with his mother until twenty-one

years of age, and attended a Ger-
man school in Canada until nine years of
age, when he removed to Indiana, where
he continued his education in the public
schools. He also largely assisted his
mother, his father dying when the
subject was but six years old. and
gained practical knowledge of farm
methods, for he worked in the fields and
meadows and also cared for the stock. He
was thus well qualified to take charge of
a home of his own, when he started out in
life on his own account. On the 22d of
February, 1865, he was united in mar-
riage to Miss Annie Huser, who was born
in Indiana, and was a daughter of Philip
and Fannie (Musser) Huser. both of
whom were natives of France. Mrs. Rich
attended the German schools in her na-
tive state. She is an estimable lady, who
has been a valuable helpmate, as well as
companion, to her husband on life's

Following their marriage, ]\Ir. and
Mrs. Rich removed to Lee county, Iowa,
where he engaged in the operation of a
rented farm for ten months, and then
came to Henry county, where he rented
land for five years. He carefully saved
his earnings during that period, so that he
was able to invest in sixty-six acres of
land in Jefferson township, of which for-
ty-six acres have been placed under cul-
tivation. He took up his abode upon this
farm, and from time to time has added to
the property as his financial resources have
increased, until he now owns three hun-
dred and sixty-five acres in one tract on
section 15. He also has tv^o hundred and
forty acres on section 19, eighty-two and a
half acres on section 30, and sixty acres



on sections i6 and 21. The last-named
tract is all timber land. He has always
carried on general farming, and has been
numbered for some time among the
largest raisers of cattle, hogs and sheep
in the county. He also keeps many head
of horses, and is a man of excellent busi-
ness ability, thoroughly capable of con-
trolling his extensive and important farm-
ing interests. He also owns a good resi-
dence in Wayland.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Rich have been
born the following children : Philip, who
is living in Jefferson township; Fannie,
the wife of Jacob Christner, who makes
his home in Jefferson township; Joseph,
who is living in Jefferson township; Bar-
bara, the wife of Philip Alder, of Trenton,
township ; John, at home ; Lydia, who
died at the age of two and a half years;
Jacob, David, Peter, Christian and Sam-
uel, all in Jefferson township. The fam-
ily is one of prominence in the community.
The sons have become good business men,
following in their father's footsteps in this
direction. Mr. Rich is a member of the
Mennonite church, and in politics is a
democrat. He sensed as township super-
visor for twelve years in Jefferson town-
ship, discharging his duties with prompt-
ness and fidelity. All who know him rec-
ognize in him a loyal and progressive cit-
izen, interested in the general welfare,
and in his private life displays unabating
energy, unflagging integrity and industry
that never flags. He certainly deserves
much credit for what he has accomplished,
as at the time of his marriage he had no
capital save willing hands and a resolute
spirit. He has achieved success, how-
ever, through his earnest purpose and dil-

igence. His life record may well serve as
an example worthy of emulation and as a
source of inspiration to others, showing
what may be accomplished, if one lias the
will to dare and to do.


The nineteenth century might properly
be termed the age of utility, especially in
the west. The vast region known as the
upper Mississippi valley was in the middle
of the century being opened up to civiliza-
tion, and the honored pioneers who found
homes in this fertile but undeveloped re-
gion ^^■ere men \\ho had to contend with
the trials and difficulties of frontier life.
Theirs were lives of toil. They were en-
deavoring to make homes, to cultivate
farms, to establish business enterprises and
often from early youth to old age their
lot was one of labor, but their importance
to the community cannot be overestimated
and the comforts and luxuries which we
today enjoy we largely owe to the brave
band of pioneer men and women who came
to the west during its primitive condition.
It is also encouraging and interesting to
note that many who came here empty-
handed worked their way upward from a
humble position in life to one of affluence,
that as the years passed and the country
improved prosperity attended their efforts
and \\ealth rewarded their earnest en-

To this class of honored men belongs
Anton Totemeier, one of the pioneer resi-




10 =

dents of Des ^Nloines county, who is still
living to enjoy the fruits of his former toil
and the blessings of civilization, which he
aided to establish in this section of the
countrv. He has now reached the vener-
able age of eighty-two years, and is hon-
ored and respected by all who know him
because of what he has accomplished both
for himself and the community.

Mr. Totemeier. was born in Heilegen-
kirchen, Lippe Detmold. Gennany, on the
23d of April, 1823, a son of Fred and
Elizabeth (Coolman) Totemeier, the name
formerly being spelled ToQtemeier. He
accjuired his education in the public schools
of his native country, and in accordance
w^ith the laws of his native land, served
for a time in the German army. He was
reared to the occupation of farming, and
has always followed this pursuit. At-
tracted by the opportunities of the new
world, where labor is unhampered by caste
or class, he sailed for America in 1848,
landing at New Orleans, w^ience he made
his way up the ]\Iississippi river to Bur-
lington. It the early years of his resi-
dence in Des Moines county he was con-
nected with a pork packing house, and also
followed plastering to some extent, but
when his labors had brought him suffi-
cient capital he made investment in eighty
acres of land in Des Moines county. He
then began farming on his own account
and as the years have passed by he has won
a place among the most prosperous, suc-
cessful and prominent farmers of this sec-
tion of- the state. He worked earnestly
and persistently year after year for a long
period, and as his financial resources in-
creased he added to his property until he
now owns four hundred and five acres, but

this does not by any means represent the
property which he has owned, for he has
purchased several hundred acres in Henry
county that he has deeded to his children,
giving to Henry, Samuel, August, Sophia,
Ernest, Mary, Louis and Fred each eighty
acres of land, and to James one hundred
and sixty acres. Mr. Totemeier also holds
several thousand dollars' worth of stock
in the New London Banking Company
and is most favorably known in financial

When Air. Totemeier came to Iowa he
found a w^ild and unimproved district and
upon his farm he built a log house, himself
daubing the chinks. Pioneer conditions
ever)''where, existed, and he and his family
met the usual experiences of life on the
frontier. There was much arduous labor
to be done in converting the land into pro-
ductive iield-s, and because of the remote-
ness from cities and the lack of rapid trans-
portation facilities the settlers were denied
many of the comforts known to the older
east, but these pioneer people were pos-
sessed of a brave and determined spirit
and they labored earnestly and energetic-
ally to subdue the wilderness and develop
their fanns, and in the course of years
Mr. Totemeier has become one of the
wealthy and best known citizens of this
section of the county. In 1905 he erected
a new residence of eight rooms upon his
farm with all modem conveniences and
an outside kitchen. The home is heated
with furnace, supplied w^ith hot and cold
water and in fact is a model dwelling — •
a fitting abode for Air. Totemeier in the
evening of life. Resting from his labors,
he is now able to enjoy the fruits of his
former toil.



Mr. Totemeier was first married in
May, 1848, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Miss
Henrietta Honeka, a daughter of Fred
Honeka. They had two children, one dying
in infancy, while Lizzie Fredericka died
in 1904, Mr. Totemeier giving to her hus-
band land and monies amounting to two
thousand four hundred and fifty dollars.
The wife and mother passed away in
1852, at the age of thirty-two years, and
on March 27, 1853, Mr. Totemeier was
again married, his second union being with
Anna Maria Elsebein Klusmann, born
April 24, 1830, in Westphalia, Germany,
who died a year later. Their only child
died at birth. In 1856 Mr. Totemeier
"was married to Carolina Fricke, and they
became the parepts of twelve children :
Henr)', Samuel, Ernest, August, James,
Louis, Mary, Sophia, Lena, all living; and
Louise, Minnie and Nettie, deceased. In
1881 Mrs. Carolina Totemeier passed
away at the age of forty-seven years, and
in 1882 Mr. Totemeier was married to
his present wife, who bore the maiden
name of Louisa Fricke, and was a daugh-
ter of Samuel and Amelia ( Dearsmark)
Fricke, being also a sister to Mr. Tote-
meier's third wife. She was born in Ger-
many, February 27, 1844, and in 1864
in her native country gave her hand in
marriage to William Overmeyer, by whom
she had seven children, namely : Hen-
rietta, William, Frederick, Joseph, Ed-
ward, Hannah and Lizzie. Of this num-
ber Joseph and Frederick are now de-
ceased. Mr. Overmeyer passed away in
1 88 1, at the age of fifty-eight years. Unto
the last marriage of Mr. Totemeier two
children have been born, Adolph and Carl,
and these sons are now superintending the

home farm, carrying on general farming
and stock-feeding under the supervision
of their father. They raise about two car-
loads of cattle a year and about sixty head
of hogs, and are enterprising, energetic
young business men. Mr. Totemeier has
been very generous with his children, aid-
ing them all in making a start in life and
thus they are largely relieved of the
struggle which characterized his early
business career.

Mr. Totemeier has been a very suc-
cessful and thrifty man, accomplishing
much since his arrival in America. He
came to this country in limited financial
circumstances, but by preseverance and
good judgment he has risen from humble
surroundings, becoming one of the richest
farmers of Des Moines county, and at one
time owning several hundred acres in
Heniy county, which he has deeded to his
children. He is a man of unquestioned in-
tegrity of character, always honest and up-
right in all his dealings and justly meriting
the trust and confidence which are uni-
fonnly given him. As a citizen he is es-
teemed because of his devotion to the gen-
eral welfare and his loyalty to his adopted
land, while his relations to his family have
largely been ideal. His life record has
been a credit both to his native country
and his adopted land. In 1903 Mr. Tote-
meier gave a large bell to the Presbyterian
church at an expense of two hundred and
seventy-five dollars and which is now used
for all church occasions.

Much of the civilization of the world
has come from the Teutonic race. Con-
tinually moving westward, they have taken
with them the enterprise and advancement
of their eastern homes and have become



valued and useful citizens of various lo-
calities. In this country especially have
they demonstrated their power to adapt
themseh-es to new circumstances, retain-
ing at the same time their progress! veness
and energ}-, and have become loyal and de-
voted citizeqs, true to the institutions of
"the land of the free," and untiring in pro-
motion of all that will prove of benefit to
their adopted country. Mr. Totemeier is
a splendid representative of this class and
he has led a life which is in nianv respects
worthy of emulation, having been loyal
in citizenship, honorable in ^business, and
faithful to his family and his friends. No
history of Des Moines or Henry county
would be complete without the record of
his career, and it is with genuin.e pleasure
that we present his history to our readers,
knowing that it will be gladly received by
his manv friends.


John Champlain Codner is a prominent
representative of industrial interests of
New London, being proprietor of the
Codner mills and elevator. He was born
in West Point, Lee county, Iowa. April
6, 1858, and is a son of Job and Han-
nah Raner (Graham) Codner, both of
whom _ were natives of Athens county,
Ohio, the former of French and English
lineage, w^hile the latter was of Irish de-
scent. The paternal grandfather, John
Champlain Codner, was captain of a ves-
sel that ran into Lake Champlain and

discovered that body of water, and it was
named in his honor, the middle name be-
ing chosen.

When only eight years of age the sub-
ject of this review, who was named for
his grandfather, accompanied his parents
on their removal to New London, Iowa,
and in the public schools of this town he
acquired his education. On account of
poor health he turned his attention to
farming, feeling that the outdoor life
might prove beneficial. He followed that
vocation until 1889, when he was ap-
pointed by President Cleveland to the posi-
tion of postmaster of New London, in
which capacity he served for one year. He
then retired from the office in order to
become a factor in the commercial life of
the city, joining John Buckingham in the
establishment and conduct of a meat mar-
ket under the firm name of Buckingham
& Codner. After a year this partnership
was dissolved and in connection with
James H. Biesen, Air. Codner purchased
the business of Farrell & Redfern. They
remained together until 1894, when their
store was destroyed by fire, after which
Mr. Codner engaged in the racket busi-
ness, purchasing the Baptist church prop-
erty and erecting a business block upon
that corner. This was in 1895 and he
continued to conduct the store for eisfht
months, after which he purchased a third
interest in a meat business and became a
member of the firm of Codner & Lyman.
Some time afterward H. Codner pur-
chased Mr. Lyman's interest and the firm
of Codner Brothers was then formed and
existed for a year, when H. H. Codner
sold out to Edward Roach. The firm of
Codner & Roach continued business for



two years, when Mr. Roach disposed of his
interest to J. B. Hiles and the name of
Codner & Hiles was found upon the sign-
board for six months, after which Mr.
Codner was alone in business for six
months and then sold a half interest to
Dave Pickering. The firm of Codner &
Pickering existed until 1899, when our
subject sold out to his partner. In that
year he entered the employ of his brother,
H. H. Codner. who in 1900 established the
present mill and elevator business at New
London. He erected the buildings and
conducted the business under the name
of H. H. Codner until 1902, when Wil-
liam H. Fye was admitted to a partner-
ship and the firm style of Codner & Fye
was assumed, being so continued for
about eight months. On the ist of April
1903, J. C. Codner purchased the half
interest of Mr. Fye and the business was
then carried on under the name of Cod-
ner Brothers until January 28, 1904,
when J. C. Codner purchased his broth-
er's interest and has since conducted the
business alone. He deals in all kinds of
grain and also coal and coke and until the
20th of July, 1905, he likewise dealt in
lime, cement and cement blocks and
builders' supplies, but on that day he
rented to Andrew Johnson the part of
the building in which he carried on that
line of business and Mr. Johnson is still
conducting the enterprise, while Mr. Cod-
ner concentrates his energies upon the
grain and elevator business. The ca-
pacity of the elevator is about one hun-
dred thousand bushels and in the month
of August, 1904, he shipped over forty-
two thousand bushels of oats, which he
bought and sold the same month. He has

a forty-horse power steam engine and a
fifty-horse power boiler and he has all the
necessary machinery for operating a first
class plant. His business has constantly
increased both in volume and importance
and he is now a leading representative of
the grain trade in Henry county.

In 1 88 1 was celebrated the marriage of
John Champlain Cochier and Miss Lillie
Caroline Biesen, a daughter of Herrman
Biesen. They have three children : Irena
Maude, the wife of Ellis McCune, and a
resident of Xew London ; Mabel May, the
wife of S. P. Mott, of Batavia, Iowa,
where he is a telegraph operator ; and Le-
Roy C, who is his father's assistant in

Some time after the death of Mrs.
Codner, Mr. Codner was again married,
his second union being with Ellen Agnes
Roach, a daughter of Patrick and Cath-
erine (Hennessey) Roach. By the sec-
ond marriage there are four children :
Job, who died when between three and
four years of age; Katie, who is now a
student in the schools of New London ;
George Walker, also a student ; and John

In his fraternal relations Mr. Codner
is an Odd Fellow, belonging to New Lon-
don Lodge, No. 56, Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, in which he has passed
all the chairs. He is likewise a member of
the Encampment. Politically a stalwart
republican, he served for fourteen years
as constable of his town. Mr. Codner has
a wide and favorable acquaintance in
Henry county. Each step in his business
career has been thoughtfully planned and
carefully made, and he has been therefore
a progressive one. Starting out in life



ill a humble capacity, he is graduany ex-
tended the field of his usefulness and is
today in control of a large and profitable
business, which is not only a source of
individual profit, but is also one of the
desirable elements of commercial and in-
dustrial activity in New London.


That David Henry Barr is serving his
eighth term as mayor of Wayland is am-
ple proof of his popularity and the high
regard in which he is held by his fellow
townsmen. He is one of the foremost citi-
zens of Wayland and enjoys the distinc-
tion of having been its first mayor. His
term of office expires in the spring of
1906. Having retired from active farm life
he is now in business in Wayland. He
does collecting and is also agent for sev-
eral fire insurance companies. He is also
a notary public, having accjuired that title
in 1888, consequently with his municipal
duties and his own private business af-
fairs he is a busy man.

The home of his childhood was in Alle-
ghany county, Pennsylvania, where he
was born July 14. 1838. His father was
Alexander Barr. born in Pennsylvania,
and his mother, Lydia (Killen) Barr, also
a native of the Keystone state. The
mother died when our subject was an in-
fant, and his older sister became his fos-
ter-mother, caring for him until he was
fifteen years of age. He then went to live
in Jefferson county, Ohio, with his fa-

ther, who married again. In 1855 the
family moved to Henr}' county, Iowa,
making the trip in a wagon and spending
thirty days upon the journey. On the eve
of All Saints' day they arrived at Mount
Pleasant, where they ended their journey,
making a home here for two years. Then
they exchanged village life for that of the
farm, having rented a tract of land four
miles west of Mount Pleasant. The fa-
ther, after years of service upon the fami,
finally went to live with one of his son'?,
where he remained until his death, in 1868.

David Henry Barr began life for him-
self at the early age of seventeen years.
For the first year he was employed by P.
P. Ingalls, and later jjy Joseph McDowell,
who was at that time presiding elder for
the district.

In /Vugust, 1861, he responded to his
country's call and enlisted in Company G,
Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Captain McFar-
land in command. He went first to St.
Louis, thence to Jefferson City, Missouri,
and from there to Pittsburg Landing,
where on April 6 and 7, 1862, he partici-
pated in one of the fiercest combats of the
Civil war — the battle of Shiloh. He was
taken ill very soon after this and was sent
to a hospital in Keokuk. Iowa, and on No-
vember 30, 1862, was honorably dis-
charged on account of disability.

He returned to Wayne township, Heniw
county, and began the work of a cai-penter.
this, however, proved too much for his im-
paired health, and he decided that an out-
of-door existence would prove more bene-
ficial in restoring his health, accordingly
in T870, he purchased a farm in Jefferson
to^^•nship. For ten years he devoted him-
self to the cultivation of this fami. then he



sold it and purchased sixty acres in the
same township. In 1889 he finally gave
up the strenuous life of a farmer and
moved to Wayland, where he became a
pioneer in the newspaper business, bring-
ing out the Wayland News in 1892. He
conducted this enterprise until 1896, when
he sold out to Manford Bolding and went
into the business in which he is now en-
gaged. In Alarch, 1900, he took a jour-
ney to the far west and bought a farm in
Lincoln county, Washington, where he
lived eighteen months, then sold it and
took up a homestead claim. He soon be-
came owner of this land and improved it,
then when a fitting opportunity presented
itself, sold it and returned to his native
towai, where he has since resided.

On the 7th of October, 1858, Mr. Ban-
was united in marriage to Margaret Mor-
ganstern, \Ahose birthplace was Boston,
Massachusetts. She was a daughter of
Adam Morganstern and early in her life
the familv went to Ohio, where she at-
tended school. After gaining a common-

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 12 of 85)