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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 24 of 85)
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ture until he joined W'ilford D. \\'allar
in the lumber trade.

The lumber business now conducted
under the firm name of Linder & Wal-
lar, was established in 1895 by the firm
of Codner & Swift, who continued in
control of the enterprise until 1898, when
they were succeeded by the present firm.
They handle all materials found in a first
class lumber yard, including all building
supplies and they are doing a jobbing busi-
ness as lumber merchants as well. Their
yard is located at the east end of Depot
street on East Boundary street. Their
patronage is extensive, having constantly
developed, and their business increasing
through their capable management, their
straightforward dealing and earnest desire
to please their patrons.

Mr. Linder is a member of the Ma-
sonic Lodge of New London, which he
joined in 1894. He also belongs to the
Cumberland Presbyterian church. His

home relations have Ijeen ver}' pleasant.
On the /th of January, 1865, he was
united in marriage to Miss Finetta Zion,
a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Gana-
way) Zion, and a native of Des Moines
county. Four children have been born
unto them: Luella, the wife of Parne
Talbert, a resident of Washington town-
ship, Des Moines county; William A.,
who is also living in that township; Ella
May, at home; and Elizabeth A., the wife
of Perrell Hemmings, of New London.
The members of the household occupy
an enviable position in social circles and
the friends of the family are almost as
numerous as their acquaintances. Air.
Linder has led an active, busy life, in
which close and unremitting attention to
his interests has been a dominant element
in his success. His fellow townsmen
speak of him as one worthy of their trust
and he is classed with the citizens of New
London, whose commercial activity and
enterprise constitutes the basis of the
citv's growth and development.


John Francis Hemmings, who has been
eneaeed in the milling business in New
London since September, 1890, and is a
most prominent representative of the in-
dustrial interests of the village, was born
in Danville township. Des Moines county,
Iowa, May 31. 1866, and is a son of John
and Mary (Wilks) Hemmings. ^^'illiam
and John Hemmings came from England



to America and located first in Augusta
township, Des Moines county, but after
four years removed to Danville township,
where John Hemmings spent his remain-
ing days. His birth occurred January 24,
1834, and his parents were Thomas and
Catherine ( Nutt) Hemmings. His en-
tire life was devoted to general agricul-
tural pursuits and he became known as
one of the leading and representative
farmers of Danville township. He was
also active and influential in public af-
fairs and at one time served as road su-
pervisor. His life was ever honorable
and upright and exemplified his belief in
the teachings of the Congregational
church, with which he long held mem-
bership, being identified with the organi-
zation of that denomination at Danville,
where for many years he served as one
of the church trustees. He died October
12, 1886, at the age of fifty-two years
respected and honored by all who knew
him. He wedded Miss Mary Wilks, who
was born in Oxfordshire, England, Sep-
tember 9, 1836, and is a daughter of
Jesse and Alice (Williams) Wilks. Her
mother died in New London, September
29, 1897, ^^ the advanced age of eighty-
nine years, having been born in 1808. Fol-
lowing the death of her husband Mrs.
Hemmings resided upon the old home-
stead farm until 1891, when she removed,
to New London, wdiere she purchased a
nice home that she has since occupied.
She still retains possession of one farm
in Danville township, however, and some
timber land, but she sold the old home
place in 1904. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hem-
mings were born the following named :
Mary A. now the wife of J. W. Carden ;

Alice Ellen, the widow of J. P. Sharp;
Frederick is a resident of Perry, Iowa,
where he is engaged in business as a hard-
ware merchant. James Archibald is a
barber of Holiday, Missouri. Jesse P.
is a clerk in the Brown mercantile estab-
lishment, in New London, and married
Lizzie Linder. Ray ^^"ilks is employed
as a salesman in a clothing store in x\l-
l^ia. Iowa.

John Francis Hemmings, the other
member of the family, was reared upon the
old homestead farm in Danville town-
ship, Des Moines county, and acquired
his education in the public schools there.
When not busy with his text-books he
worked in the fields and was thus en-
gaged until twenty-five years of age.
Since September, 1890. however, he has
been connected with milling interests in
New London. At that time in connection
with his brother-in-law. John Wesley
Carden. he built the elevator located north
of the depot in New London on the site
of the old elevator which was erected by
J. M. Crawford. The new plant has a
storage capacity of eighteen thousand
bushels. Mr. Hemmings and Mr. Carden
also installed a flour and feed mill outfit
equipped with a thirty horse power steam
engine. In 1905. however. Mr. Hem-
mings made a change by replacing the
steam engine by a twenty-fi\'e horse
power gasoline engine. The elevator
building is now used for two business en-
terprises, as the milling interest is now a
separate institution. For two years the
elevator was conducted by J. W. Carden
& Company, under the name of the New
London Roller Mills, the capacity of the
milling plant being thirty-five barrels. For



about five years, however, no flour has
been ground on account of the scarcity
of wheat. The partnership with Mr.
Garden continued for about seven years,
but four years after the erection of the
property it was leased to I. H. Redfearn,
who continued its operation for about
two years, when Mr. Garden returned.
Later the plant was leased by H. H. Cod-
ner and E. Swift, who remained in charge
for a year and Mr. Codner continued for
a year longer. During the succeeding
year the plant was not operated. At the
time Mr. Codner withdrew he sold his
half interest to Anton Totemeier and
about a year later A. D. Hayes purchased
his interest and has since -conducted the
grain business. Following the erection
of the plant Mr. Hemmings has continu-
ously been in control of the milling busi-
ness and is now grinding corn, graham
and buckwheat flours. The cost of the
plant was about eight thousand dollars.
It is now in operation each day and the
products there manufactured find a ready
sale on the market because of their ex-

On the 15th of December, 1891, Mr.
Hemmings was united in marriage to
Miss Anna Laura Sperling, a daughter
of Edward Ludlow and Jennie ( Wing)
Sperling. Her mother was twice mar-
ried, her first husband being a Mr.
Hays. Unto our subject and his wife
have been born four children: Wil-
liam Sperling, Bernice Helen, Gladys
May, and Alice. The parents are
members of the Presbyterian church at
Middletown, in which Mr. Hemmings
at one time served as trustee. In busi-
ness he has achieved success through hon-

orable effort, untiring industry and ca-
pable management. By perseverance and
determination he has overthrown the ob-
stacles which barred his path and he is
esteemed in the \-illage in which he makes
his home fur his genuine worth, his
broad mind and public spirit.


Christian Hess Swearingen, a highly
respected and enterprising citizen of
Henry county, w^as born November 25,
1853, ill Scott township, where he still
makes his home. He is a son of Louis
and Clarinda (Kelly) Swearingen, the
former a native of Virginia and the latter
of Clark county, Ohio. The paternal
grandfather, John Swearingen, was also
a native of the Old Dominion. The par-
ents were married in Clark county, Ohio,
whence they removed to Louisa county,
Iowa, in October, 1849, and two years
later they took up their abode in Scott
township, Henry county, where the father
entered one hundred and sixtv acres of
land from the government. The farm
was situated on section 14 and the place
was entirely raw and unimproved, but
with characteristic energy he began its
cultivation and development and as the
years passed by he transformed the wild
prairie into very productive fields. He
afterward bought forty acres of timber
land on section 14 and later he purchased
an additional tract of timber land of forty-
five acres in section 10, Scott township.



He made all of the improvements upon
his property, his first home being a little
frame dwelling of one room which shel-
tered ten people. A year later he put an
addition to the house, adding two more
rooms, twenty-two by eighteen feet each.
From the time of his arrival in Henry
county until his death he resided continu-
ously upon the old family homestead with
the exception of two years, which w^ere
passed in Kansas and Nebraska. He died
in the former state on the loth of Feb-
ruary, 1891, having long survived his
wife, who passed awav about the vear

In the family of this worthy couple
were ten children, eight sons and two
daughters, of whom Christian H. Swear-
ingen was the ninth in order of birth. He
was reared upon the old home farm and
remained continuously under the parental
roof until after he had attained his major-
ity with the exception of a brief period of
six months. When twenty-two years of
age he began working as a farm hand in
the neighborhood but continued to reside
with his father. On the 15th of January,
1882, he was united in marriage to Miss
Mary Samantha Dolman, a native of
Guernsey county, Ohio, and a daughter of
William and Elnora (Roberts) Dolman,
the former also a native of Guernsey
county, while the mother's birth occurred
in Illinois. Mrs. Swearingen was reared
in Ohio but first met her husband while
visiting her uncle in Scott township,
Henry county. They were married, how-
ever, in her native state. Four children
graced this union : Glen, born in June,
1883 ; Carrie, who was born in December,
1885, and is a successful school teacher;

George, born March 2, 1894; and Elnora
Margaret, who was born in June, 1896.

Mr. Swearingen votes with the Democ-
racy and upon that ticket has been elected
to the office of road supervisor. He has
also served as school director and in com-
munity affairs is deeply interested, desir-
ing the substantinal good and progress of
his community. His entire life has been
devoted to general agricultulral pursuits
and he is now operating one hundred and
thirty acres of land in Scott township and
owns ten acres of timber in Louisa coun-
ty. He has always lived in this town-
ship where he is favorably known.


The life record of Alfred M. Van Al-
len is a contradiction of the old adage
that "a prophet is never without honor
save in his own country," for in the city
of his birth where his entire life has been
passed Mr. Van Allen has attained to a
position of prominence in connection with
the profession which stands as a conserva-
tor of right, liberty and justice. He has
indeed made a creditable record at the bar
and has been accorded a distinctively rep-
resentative clientage which is an indication
of the confidence reposed in his profes-
sional ability by the general public.

Born in Mount Pleasant on the 3d of
October, 1869, Mr. Van Allen is a son
of George C. and Jane M. (Wright) Van
Allen, who coming to this city in the pe-
riod of the Civil war, maintained their res-



idence here until called to their final rest,
the father passing away in 1902, after
long' years of active connection with the
practice of law and the abstract business.
His ancestors were among the Hollanders
who settled in Albany, New York, prior
to the war for independence, and three
of them, Increase Child, Robert Acker-
man and Cornelius Van Allen, participated
in that conflict as members of the Albany
County jMilitia. The maternal ancestors
of our subject came to this country from
England during an early period in the col-
onization of the new world and his great-
great-grandfathers, Caleb Wright and
William A\'oodworth, fought under Gen-
eral Washington in the struggle for inde-
pendence, the latter holding a captain's

The public school system of Mount
Pleasant afforded Mr. Van Allen the early
educational privileges he enjoyed and
later he continued his studies in the Iowa
Wesleyan University until he had com-
pleted the work of the junior year. He
then put aside his text-books for a more
specifically literary course in order to
prepare for the bar as a student in his
father's law office serving therein as law
clerk to a greater or less extent from his
fourteenth year. At a later date, 1893. he
matriculated in the law department of the
Iowa State University, and was under the
tutelage of Chancellor McClain. annota-
tor of the Iowa code, and author of Mc-
Clain's Criminal Law and other legal pro-
ductions. He likewise studied under
Judge Withrow, of Mount Pleasant, and
in June, 1894, was admitted to the bar
at Iowa City.

Immediately afterward Mr. Van Al-

len opened an office in Mount Pleasant,
where he has continued in the regular
practice of his chosen profession, making
steady advancement until he occupies a
position among the foremost representa-
tives of the legal fraternity in his native
city. Since his father's death, in 1902,
he has continued the abstract work which
has been a specialty in the Van Allen law
office since its establishment in the '60s.
From his previous experience and the
careful schooling which he received both
in the home office here and in the law
school in Iowa City Mr. Van Allen was
enabled to continue the work uninterrupt-
edly and in a satisfactory manner.

Mr. Van Allen is a member of the
Sigma Nu, a college fraternity, and of the
McClain chapter of the Phi Delta Phi, a
legal fraternity. He has been called to va-
rious positions of trust and is now sole
agent for the Iowa State Savings Bank
of Burlington for Henry county. A re-
publican in his political affiliation he has
figured quite prominently in the political
circles in eastern Iowa and for a number
of years was a member of the republican
county central committee. He was for
three years its secretary and acted as its
chairman in 1897-8. He made a vigorous
canvass of the county for a number of
years in behalf of the party, and in 1904
he was elected county attorney of Henry
county and is now serving his first term
with eminent satisfaction to the commu-
nity. He is a man whose devotion to his
party comes from principle and not from
anv desire for personal gain, and yet any
positions that might be conferred upon
him in the line of his profession would
receive his most earnest attention, while



his ability would well qualify him for high
honors in this regard. In the spring of
1904 he was elected to represent the third
w^ard in the city council, receiving an un-
usually large majority, and after taking
his seat therein was assigned important
duties on various committees, being made
chairman of the committee on ways,
means and light, and a member on the im-
portant committee on streets and alleys.
The former has had charge of the consoli-
dation of the water and light plant, and the
street committee has instituted many im-
provements in its special department of
service. Fraternally Mr. Van Allen is
connected with Henry lodge, Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, at Mount Pleas-
ant and his church memljership is with the
Presbyterian denomination. Personally he
has qualities which make for individual
popularity and has won warm friendship
because of an honorably private life, pro-
fessional capability and devotion to the
general good.


William Ramey Cole, since 1840 a resi-
dent of Mount Pleasant, has passed the
Psalmist's span of three score years and
ten, reaching the seventy-fifth milestone
on life's journey, and a review of his life
shows active connection with business in-
terests, reform measures and progressive
movements that ha\'e been of great scope
and far-reaching benefit. He is still ac-
tively associated with many important in-
terests both of a commercial and humanita-

rian character and gives out of the rich
stores of his experience for the benefit of
mankind. Mr. Cole was born in Dear-
born county, Indiana. August 12, 1828,
a son of Solomon and Sarah (Ramey)
Cole. The father was born in Lancaster
county, Pennsylvania, and was of English
descent. The grandfather, William Ra-
mey, was also a resident of Pennsylvania,
and in the year 1840 came with his family
to Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He had visited
the state about 1838, and had purchased
land two and a half miles north of the
city. On the second trip he was accom-
panied by his son, Solomon Cole, who pur-
chased land in Jefferson township. Event-
ually he became the owner of a large, pro-
ductive and profitable farm, making it his
home up to the time of his death. His po-
litical allegiance was given to the Whig
party until its dissolution, and entertaining
strong abolition principles he then joined
the Republican party, which was formed
to pre^'ent the further extension of slav-
ery. Both he and his wife held member-
ship in the Baptist church and their Chris-
tian faith permeated their daily life. The
mother, surviving her husband, passed
away in Pierce City, Missouri.

\\''illiam R. Cole was a youth of twelve
years when brought by his parents to
Iowa, and his early education, acquired in
Indiana, was supplemented by study in the
common schools of Henry county, while
later he attended Howe's Academy and
then matriculated in Lombard University,
at Galesburg, Illinois, wdiere he was grad-
uated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts,
Avhile subsequently the Master of Arts
degree was conferred upon him. He w^as
afterward graduated from the Harx-ard











Divinity School in 1864, and was ordained
at Harvard in the Unitarian church. He
came west as a missionary of that church,
his field being southeastern Iowa. He was
always an active worker and after filling
his duties as the representative of the
church which sent him to the west he en-
tered actively upon reform work.

Rev. Cole was married to Miss Cor-
delia Throop, daughter of George Throop,
and a native of New York. She was a
lady of broad, liberal education, and was
a most able assistant of Mr. Cole in his
efforts for the benefit of mankind. In
1870 they entered together the field of
work in behalf of temperance, social pu-
rity and the equality of men and women be-
fore the law, both writing and speaking
upon the subjects. Mrs. Cole was par-
ticularly happy in her mode of address
and pulpits and platforms all over the
state were open to her, while audiences
listened to her with deep and earnest at-
tention and her words of truth and wis-
dom sank deep into many hearts. She
handled her subjects delicately yet force-
fully and her logical reasoning and strong
arguments never failed to impress her au-
ditors. Mr. Cole, equally earnest in his
advocacy of these movements, labored ef-
fectively, nor has he ceased to feel the
greatest interest in the questions which
have direct bearing upon the welfare of
humanity. Another event in his life rec-
ord equally worthy of attention is his con-
nection with important business interests.
He, with his brothers, James W., R. S.
and J. J. Cole, has probably organized more
successful business ventures than any other
man in this part of the state. From the
time he attained his majority he kept his

hand upon the helm of some successful
commercial or ' industrial venture and is
now a member of the firm of Harris & Cole
Brothers, lumber merchants, whose sales
amount to six hundred thousands dollars
annually. They deal in lumber and also
manufacture house finishing goods, often
buying tracts of land of five thousand
acres in order to cut the timber tiierefrom.
Their present business is located at Cedar
Falls and was established by Mr. Cole of
this review in 1874. The firm also owns
another factory at Metropolis, Illinois, and
one at Columbiana, Tennessee, furnishing
employment to a large force of workmen
in the mills and also of salesmen upon
the road. Mr. Cole is one of the manag-
ing directors of the company. He was also
one of the promoters of the lightning rod
business as early as 1847, and has con-
tinued with a company now conducting
one of' tlie most extensive lightning rod
plants in the United States, at St. Louis.
In his Various business ventures he has
been associated with his brothers under
the fimi style of Cole Brothers, a name
tliat has become well known in trade cir-
cles throughout the length and breadth of
the land. The lightning rod business was
begun on a small scale, but the output of
the house is now very extensive and the
manufactured product is shipped to va-
rious parts of the Union. William R.
Cole was also an organizer of the business
of Cooper & Cole Brothers, wholesale
dealers in plumbing supplies, windpumps
and pumps, at Lincoln, Nebraska. This
business had its origin twenty years ago
and has developed into a large and paying
enterprise. Mr. Cole has been one of its
principal managers and the Cole Brothers



are now owners of three-quarters of the
stock. In the various business enterprises
mentioned these brothers are all interested.
They have lived through three great finan-
cial panics in this country and have lost
large amounts, but each time have man-
aged to weather the storm and eventually
recuperate their lost possessions. In ad-
dition to his industrial and commercial
pursuits Mr. Cole has agricultural inter-
ests, being the owner of a farm lying
within the corporate limits of INIount
Pleasant and adorned by a beautiful home.
At the same time he continues his writing
on subjects of great interest, spending at
intervals a few days at each headquarters
to finance the business, after which he re-
turns to his office in Mount Pleasant. He
is now editor and founder of the Dial of
Progress, published at Des Moines, the
organ of the anti-saloon league, and has
labored for a balance of political power in
the state. He has now almost succeeded
in bringing this paper to the point for
which he has long been striving, having
worked upon it for seven years and spend-
ing large sums in placing it in its present
influential position.

In 1899 Mr. Cole was called upon to
mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the
28th of April, of that year. Her breadth
of character, deep sympathy, and strong
intellectuality made her a power for good
in the state and she did much toward mold-
ing public thought, influence and opinion.
Commanding uniform respect and confi-
dence at the same time she won the deep
love of those who came within the circle
of her friendship. She left five children,
Ralph J. and Lulu Lucretia having pre-
ceded her to the home beyond. Ernest C,

Hugh A. and Arthur ¥. constitute the
firm of Cole Brothers' Sons, of Chicago,
w4io control a patent for and manufacture
the hot blast stove. They are successful
business men and have developed a large
industry there. Clara is the wife of Dr.
Robert Carothers, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Olive is the wife of "Elbert Smith, a large
stockholder and manager of the fimi of
Baker, Vaughter & Company, of Chicago.
While- Mr. Cole has labored for the in-
terests of the state at large, he has also
taken a deep interest in matters of local
progress and for twenty years has been
a trustee of the Iowa Wesleyan Univer-
sity, assisting in raising large sums of
money for this institution. The import-
ance of his life work cannot be fully esti-
mated until the business interests and re-
form movements which he has instituted
find their full fruition in the affairs of this
world. That he has been actuated by a
spirit of humanitarianism and that his ef-
forts ha^'e been most effecti\'e, far-reach-
ing and beneficial are matters acknowdedged
by all. In his business life, too, he has
held to high ideals, recognizing that eveiy
business should be a source of service to
the public as well as of profit to the pro-
moter and he has ^vrought along lines of
integrity and fair dealing that might well
serve as an example in this age where the

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 24 of 85)