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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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Parker. The parents were members of
the Universalist church, oi which Theo-
dore Schreiner served as trustee for many
years. He passed away April 14. 1897,
and his wife afterward died at the home
f her son, John A., the remains of both
being interred in Forest Home cemetery.
John Augustine Schreiner supplemented
his early education, accjuired in the com-
schools, by study in Howe's Academy, at
Mount Pleasant, and in the Iowa Wes-
leyan University, from which he was
graduated in the class of 1868, with the
degree of Bachelor of Arts. Soon after
leaving school he began railroad engineer-
ing and construction work, and for nearly
forty years he has been county sur\-eyor
and civil engineer. He was one of the civil
engineers during the construction of the
World's Columbian Exposition, at Chi-
cago, and he was the assistant engineer
on the Wabash. Pacific & St. Louis Rail-
road for four years. He was also con-
nected with tlie surveys of the Missouri
and Mississippi rivers for the general gov-
ernment, and in the line of his profession
has done .important work in connection
with railroad construction and general
surveying and engineering.

On the 5th of January, 1893, Mr.
Schreiner was married to Miss Mary Em-
erson, a daughter of Sylvester and El-



niira (Fuller) Emerson, Ijoth of whom
were natives of Ohio, the former Ijorn in
1825, and the latter in 1826. The mother
died on Christmas day of 1891, and the
father's death occurred on the 17th of De-
cember, 1900. He was a tailor by trade,
and in March, 1862, he brought his fam-
ily to Iowa, settling* in Mount Pleasant,
where he opened a tailoring establishment.
He spent a part of his time during his
residence here as head cutter for the lead-
ing clothing store of Mount Pleasant — the
Eshelman store — with which he was con-
nected for thirty years. He ^cted as cut-
ter and had charge of the operative de-
partment of the business. Both he and his
wife have now passed away, their remains
being interred in Forest Home cemetery.
In their family were three children, James
W. died in March, 190 1, at the age of
fortv-six years, leaving a wife who, in
her maidenhood, was Miss Nellie Vogel.
Mary is now Mrs. Schreiner. Charles F.,
who married Miss Jane Grublj, resides in
California. Mrs. Schreiner was Irani in
Ohio, June 16, 1858, and was educated
in the public schools of Alount Pleasant,

Mr. Schreiner resides at 510 North
Main street. He has completed a resi-
dence of fifty years in Henry county, and
lias witnessed many changes in Mount
Pleasant and the outlying districts. He
witnessed the first burial in the Forest
Home cemeter}\ w^hicli occurred in No-
vember, 1856, fifty years ago. In poli-
tics he is a republican and he belongs to
the Grand Army of the Republic, being
entitled to membership therein because of
his service as a member of Company A,
Fortv-fifth Iowa Infantry during the

Civil war. He was only sixteen years of
age when he enlisted and he served for
one hundred days during the last part of
the war, his regiment being called to re-
lieve soldiers and act on guard duty. Mrs.
Schreiner is a member of the Episcopal
church and both our subject and his wife
are held in high regard here, being repre-
sentatives of old pioneer families wliile
their excellent qualities of heart and mind
endear them to a large circle of friends.
Mr Schreiner has led a busy and useful
life and at all times has been honorable
and straightforward in his business rela-
tions, so that he has the respect and con-
fidence of all with whom he has been
associated in his widely diversified busi-
ness, social and fraternal relations.


Nicholas Miller is one of the early pio-
neer settlers of Henry county and one of
its oldest living residents, having passed
the eighty-fourth milesionf" on life's jour-
ney. He makes his home in New London
township, wdiere he is now enjoying a
well earned rest. He conies of German
lineage and the Miller family was es-
tablished in Pennsylvania at an early
day. Jacob Miller, father of our sub-
ject, removed from the Keystone state
to Perry county, Ohio, settling in Somer-
set about 1810, finding a wild and unim-
proved district there, much of the land
being still in possession .>f the govern-
ment. He took up a half secti(«n. the

1 62


deed being signed by Thomas Jefferson
and his attention was devoted to the cul-
tivation and improvement of his farm up
to the time of his death, which occurred
in 1826. He left a family of seven chil-
dren, of whom Nicholas Miller is the
youngest and the only one now surviving.
Nicholas Miller was born in Perry
county, Ohio, June 7, 1822, and pursued
his education according to the old sub-
scription plan. The schoolhouse was
built of logs and the children who could
pay the largest subscription received all
of the attention from the teacher, while
the other scholars .were told to study their
A B C's. Nicholas Miller, whose parents
were in limited financial circumstances,
belonged to the latter class. His mother,
however, taught him as best she could
although her own education had been
acquired only in the German town. In
his youth he was trained to the labors of
the farm, early becoming familiar with
the arduous task of cultivating and im-
proving new land. Following the fa-
ther's death all of the farm was sold ex-
cept about seventy acres which the
mother retained. When thirteen years
of age Nicholas Miller began learning
wagonmaker's trade, being bound out b_v
his guardian to a very cruel man whom
he was to serve until he attained his ma-
jority and in remuneration for his work
was to receive his board and clothing.
He continued v/ith him for three years
and his clothing in that time was not
worth more than ten dollars. He then de-
termined that if his mother was willing
he would seek another employer. The
mother, however, did not consent but his
guardian bound him out to a second mas-

ter for four dollars per month and when
he had completed his apprenticeship he
was paid eighty dollars.

About that time Mr. Miller removed
westward to Henry county, Iowa, and
with his little capital he purchased two
lots in New London, on which he erected
a shop and a house. He had planned to
be married in the spring but owing to the
death of the bride's father the marriage
was not celebrated until the succeeding
autumn. He wedded Miss Mary Morris,
daughter of Isaac Morris. Later Mr.
Miller purchased property about a half
mile south of the public scjuare, com-
prising ninety acres of land on section 27,
New London township. There he lived
for a number of years, after which he dis-
posed of that farm. He had previously
purchased one hundred and sixty-six
acres and later he sold a part of this to
his son-in-law, John A. Ebblom but still
retained ninety-one acres of the tract.
He has placed all of the improvements
upon the farm and built his residence, d'j-
ing the greater part of the work himself.
He now has one of the fine farms of the
township, the land having been culti-
vated and improved until it is today one
of the most valuable and productive tracts
in this portion of the county. In connec-
tion with the tilling of the soil Mr. Mil-
ler has also raised some cattle and hogs
but now he is practically living retired
and makes his home with his son-in-law,
Mr. Ebblom.

IMr. and Mrs. ]\Iiller became the par-
ents of ten children, of whom seven are
yet living. They also reared other chil-
dren, making the number twenty-six
in all.



\\'hen Mr. Miller came to this county
it was largely a wild and unbroken tract
of land, in which the work of improve-
ment and progress had scarcely been be-
gun but he has seen it converted into one
of the most beautiful and productive dis-
tricts that can be found in all the Missis-
sippi valley. As an agriculturist he took
an acti\'e and helpful part in the work of
general improvement but he has never
been an office seeker nor sought to fig-
ure prominently in public affairs in that
connection. On one occasion he was
elected justice of the peac,e but would
not qualify. However, he served for
over forty years as school director and
the cause of education has found in him
a warm friend. Realizing his own lack
in this direction he resolved that others
should not suffer likewise if his aid and
influence could secure for them good
schools and he has always favored the
employment of competent teachers and
the upholding of a high standard of pub-
lic education. He has long been a mem-
ber of the Masonic Lodge at New Lon-
don and he is a member of the Metho-
dist Episcopal church, in which he has
held various offices. He is now one of
the venerable citizens of this part of the
county, respected and honored for what
he has accomplished through a long, busy
and useful life. All that he has pos-
sessed or enjoyed has been acquired
through his untiring labors. His youth
was the period of earnest toil but he de-
veloped thereby a self-reliance and force
of character that have made him a strong
and successful man and a review of Henry
county would not be complete without
mention of his name.


David C. Langston, a veteran of the
Civil war, who at one time was closely as-
sociated with building operations in
Alount Pleasant, but is now hving retired
in the enjoyment of the fruits of his
former toil, was born June 2, 1826. in the
village of Dunlapsville, Union county,
Indiana, his birth place being his father's
farm. He was a son of James and Jane
(Cook) Langston. The father was born
in Charleston, Pennsylvania, April 3,
1797, and the mother's birth occurred in
that state, February 8, 1799. They were
married on the i8th of March, 18 19, and
in order to provide for his family ]Mr.
Langston followed the occupation of farm-
ing. He was also a minister of the Bap-
tist church in Union county, Indiana, and
in the later years of his life he removed to
Wabash, Indiana, where he also made his
home upon his farm, devoting his ener-
gies to its cultivation and improvement.
He died in October, 1875, leaving behind
him the priceless heritage of an untar-
nished name. His wife survived until
1877, and her remains were interred near
New London, Iowa, while Rev. Langston
was laid to rest in Wabash, Indiana. Mrs.
Langston was also a member of the Bap-
tist church and like her husband was an
earnest Christian. In their family were
twelve children, but David is the only one
now living. The others were: John
Cook, Jeniza, Hiram, Robert, Bennet. Al-
len, Mary Jane, George W., and Emily.

David C. Langston, whose name intro-
duces this record, acc|uired his education
in the schools of Union county, Indiana,
after which he learned the carpenter's



trade under the direction of an uncle, fol-
lowing that pursuit for three years in his
native state. He was married in Indiana,
January 29, 1846, and in 1848 came to
Iowa, settling on a farm near Burlington,
where he carried on general agricultural
pursuits for six years. He next removed
to a farm north of New London and his
attention was devoted to the tilling of the
soil there for six years, after which he
hrought his family to Mount Pleasant,
still making his home at the place where
he first located here, although his original
house Avas burned. He lives at No. 309
East Madison street, where he is com-
fortably located in a pleasant resident
part of the city.

At the time of the Civil war Mr.
Langston, responding to the country's
call for aid, enlisted as a member of Com-
pany K, Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry and
served for three years. He participated in
the battle of Hainesville Bluff, Arkansas
Post, the siege of Vicksburg, and the siege
of Jackson, Mississippi, and then, his
health becoming seriously impaired, he
was sent to Eustus House Hospital, at
Keokuk, Iowa He had done duty under
command of Generals Grant and Sher-
man and after being honorably discharged
he returned to Mount Pleasant, where it
required two years for him to recuperate
from his military service. At the end of
that time he began contracting for car-
penter work, built the first elevator in
Mount Pleasant, has erected many resi-
dences and barns, probably numbering
thirty in this city and county. He was
thus closely associated with building op-
erations for a number of years, but is now
living: retired.

On the 29th of January, 1846, Mr.
Langston was united in marriage to Miss
Hannah Moore, who was born February
II, 1824. in Franklin county, Indiana, and
was a daughter of Joseph Moorfe, a farmer
of that state. Both he and his wife spent
their entire lives in Indiana, and there
they reared a family of six children, but
all are now deceased, with the exception
of Mrs. Langston. L'nto our subject and
his wife have been born six children : La-
fayette, who died at the age of thirty-nine
years ; Amanda, who died, the wife of W.
A. Coulter, leaving six children : Henry,
of Oregon, who married Ella Holt,
and has nine living children : Mary,
the wife of John J. Hill, of Louisa comity,
by whom she had two children ; Frank,
who died at the age of three years; and
Anna, at home.

Mr. and Mrs. Langston are devoted and
valued members of the Presbyterian
church. In ^xjlitics he is an inflexible
adherent of republican principles, and for
four and a half years he served as over-
seer of the city poor. He has been re-
tired for ten years, enjoying a well earned
rest. In manner he is exceedingly genial
and pleasant, and is a gentleman whom to
know is to respect and honor.


William F. McClary, deceased, who
was interested in various industrial and
commercial purusits in Mount Pleasant
for manv vears and thus an active factor



ill the substantial progress and develop-
ment of the city, was born at Canterbury,
Xew Hampshire, June 25, 1842. There
he spent his boyhood and youth, while the
public schools afforded him his educational
privileges. Before leaving the east he was
married March 2"/, 1862, to Miss Celes-
tia A. Dicy, a native of Northfield.

William F. McClary was a son of Ben-
jamin and Lydia C. ( Huntoon) McClary,
Benjamin was born in Sanbornton, New
Hampshire, and as a young man went to
Canterbury, being both a carpenter and
farmer. He there married Lydia E. Hun-
toon and then resided on and operated her
father's farm until they came west with his
son in 1862. Here he worked at the car-
penter's trade. Here both he and his
wife died. They were in the east mem-
bers of the Free Will Baptist church.
Celestia A. Dicy was born at North-
field, her parents being Samuel and Lydia
(Gale) Dicy. She was there educated
and later in Canterbury at the same school
with Mr. McClary, and later both attended
Gilmanton Academy. She taught school
for a short time before her marriage.
Samuel Dicy was born at Laconia, a son
of Samuel Dicy. He grew up as a farmer
and at Gilmanton he married Miss Gale,
and settled in Northfield, where he owned
a farm. He continued to live there until
his death. They were also members of the
Free \\\\\ Baptist church.

Believing that he might ha\e l^etter
business opportunities in the new but
growing west, Mr. McClary soon after
his marriage came to Mount Pleasant,
where he opened a harthvare store which
he conducted successfully for many years,
securing a good trade which made his

business a profitable one. He was also
employed by the company that installed
the water works system and was superin-
tendent of the plant during the time it
was under private ownership. He also
acted as superintendent several years af-
ter the city purchased the plant. At dif-
ferent times he was interested in various
manufacturing enterprises that were es-
tablished in Mount Pleasant, holding stock
in a number and thus contributing to
the substantial upbuilding of the city. As
his financial resources increased he made
judicious investments in property, becom-
ing the owner of business buildings in
Mount Pleasant and also farm lands in
Henry county, besides always having in
home on North Wliite street, where ?*Irs.
McClary still lives.

On coming to Mount Pleasant Mr. Mc-
Clary worked as a tinner in the stores of
Joseph Howe, James Shaw and Baron
Evans for a number of years, and then
embarked in the hardware business, the
finn name being first Griffith. Burket &
McClaiy. Later the firm sold out and he
bought out the AIcGregor hardware store,
which he conducted alone.

Mr. McClary took a \-ery deep and help-
ful nterest in the work of public prog-
gress and gave active co-operati<m to
movements that have been of material antl
far-reaching tenefit here. He served as a
member of the cit>' C(^uncil for the second
ward and exercised his official preroga-
tives in behalf of movements of reform
and progress. He always voted with the
republican party and never faltered in his
allegiance to its principles, for he believed
that it contained the best elements of good
eovernment. Although he had extensive

1 66


and important bnsiness interests he never
concentrated his energies upon his private
concerns to the exclusion of all outside
affairs, but recognized his duties and ob-
ligations to others and of citizenship and
fully met them.

Mr. McClary was an honored repre-
sentative of Henry Lodge, Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, in which he served
as noble grand and he was also a repre-
sentative to the grand lodge and one of
its officers. He likewise held member-
ship in the grand encampment and served
in various official j^wsitions in the local en-
campment. As deputy grand he had charge
of the installation of officers in this vicinity
at different times, and was captain of the
staff for many years. He was also a
member of the Knights of Pythias many
years. It was on the 27th of September,
1902, that Mr. McClary was called to his
final rest, leaving his widow and only son,
Frank E. McClary, who is represented
elsewhere in this work. He made an un-
tarnished record and unspotted reputation
as a business man. In all places and under
all circumstances he was loval to truth,
honor and right, justly valuing his own
self-respect as infinitely more to be pre-
ferred than wealth, fame and position.


Frank E. McClary, although one of the
younger representatives of business life
in Mount Pleasant, where he is engaged
in real estate operations, has made a cred-

itable name and gained desirable success.
He is a native son of this city, his parents
being William F. and Celestia A. (Dicy)
McClary, who are represented elsewhere
in this work. The son acquired his edu-
cation in the public schools and pursued a
business course in Howe's Academv.
Completing his education he became Jn-
terested in newspaper work and was the
founder, owner and publisher of the Daily
Mail, an independent sheet which had a
good circulation. On disposing of that
paper, however, he went to Chicago and
was connected with the Times-Herald,
remaining in the office for a year. His
next business connection was with the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Company, w'ith which he was associated
for five years, being at first engaged on
the construction work when the double
track was being laid across the state. Sub-
sequently he was given a position in the
general offices of the road at Chicago.

Mr. McClary returned to Mount Pleas-
ant after the death of his father to look
after the many interests which he had left
here and in connection with the manage-
ment of the estate he opened a real estate
office and has since been engag"ed in the
purchase and sale of lands. He has nego-
tiated many important realty transfers
and has thoroug'hly informed himself con-
cerning property values in this city and
outlying districts. For two years he was
also interested in the Mount Pleasant Ice
Company and was also manager of the
Mount Pleasant Oil Company.

Recognized as a leader in public affairs
and an active worker, Mr. McClary was
called to office in 1905, being elected a
member of the citv council from the sec-



ond ward. He is now chairman of the
street and alley committee and is also
serving- on other committees and in the
former position has made a special effort
to institute permanent and needed im-
provements in the streets. He belongs to
Henry lodge, Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, also the encampment, the can-
ton and Rebekah divisions of Odd Fel-

In May, 1895. at Lincoln, Nebraska,
Mr. McClary was united in marriage to
Miss Anna Ackerman and they have two
children, Ella and Earl. They occupy a
pleasant home on ^\'hite street and are
widely and favorably known in this city,
occupying an enviable position in social


Each comniunity has a few citizens
who are recognized as leaders in business
and public life, whose opinions are a po-
tent influence in public affairs and whose
labors are effective and beneficial in ad-
vancing general good. Of this class of
citizens Mr. Magdefrau is a representa-
tive and Way land owes much to his ef-
forts in its behalf. He is there success-
fully engaged in general merchandising,
and thereby contributes to the commercial
prosperity of the village. He has also
given tangible support to all plans and
movements instituted for the welfare of
the county and his fellow townsmen, rec-
ognizing his worth and ability have fre-
quently called him to public office. At the

present time he is serving for the second
term as a member of the city council.

Mr. Magdefrau was born in Prusssia,
Germany, on the 25th of September, 1845,
a son of John and Hannah (Fleichman)
Magdefrau, 1x)th (jf whom were natives
of Germany, in which country the birth of
Christian Fleichman, the maternal grand-
father, also occurred. In the schools of
his native country Herman Alagdefrau
pursued his education and remained in his
parents' home luitil about twenty-one
years of age, when attracted by the op-
portunities of the new world, he resolved
to try his fortune in the United States.
Accordingl}- he bade adieu to friends and
native land and sailed for New York city
in May, 1866, accompanied by his broth-
er Charles. In Germany he had learned the
shoemaker's trade and he remained in the
eastern metropolis from May until Sep-
tember, 1866, working at that occupation.
On leaving New York he came direct to
Henry county, settling in Mount Pleas-
ant, where his lirother John was employed
at cabinet making. ]\Ir. Magdefrau
worked at shoemaking for two different
men in Mount Pleasant for a brief pe-
riod and then went to Trenton, Iowa,
where he was employed for six weeks. He
then returned to Mount Pleasant, where
he worked from Christmas until the fol-
lowing April, when he came to Wayland,
arriving here on the 19th of April, 1867.
Here he embarked in business on his own
account, establishing a shoe shop, which
he conducted for two years. He then pur-
chased a small stock of ready made shoes
and gradually developed a business in that
line. In 1890 he retired altogether from
the business of manufacturing shoes, con-

1 68


centrating his energies upon the sale of
ready made goods. He now carries a large
and well selected line of boots and shoes
and has a good trade. When he ceased
to make shoes he added to his business
a stock of groceries and cjueensware and
he further extended the field of his opera-
tions in August, 1901, by the purchase of
a good line of dr\^ goods. He has since
conducted a general store and has a large
patronage, so that the amount of business
which he transacts annually reaches an
extensive figure.

On the 5th of February, 1873, ^Ir.
Magdefrau was married to Miss Eliza-
beth Rinner, who was born in Germany,
and with her parents went to Canada
when about eight years of age. Her fa-
ther was Conrad Rinner. Unto !vlr. and
Mrs. Magdefrau were born seven chil-
dren : Harry, who died at the age of a
year and a half; two sons, who died in in-
fancy ; a daughter who died when two and
a half years old; Elmer, who died in 1901,
at the age of nineteen years ; and Albert
and Frank, who are in business with their
father. The wife and mother died Janu-
ary 26, 1894, and her death was deeply
regretted by many friends as well as her
immediate family. On the ist of Octo-
ber, 1897, Mr. Magdefrau was again mar-

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 19 of 85)