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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 26 of 85)
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were centered many proud hopes and
around him were many far-reaching plans.
He possessed a most sunny disposition,
full of life and joy, and he had a faculty
of binding his friends closer to him as
the years passed by. He possessed a native
American wit and was able to produce
laughter in an entire company, at the same
time keeping a sober face himself. He
had been conducting the Randolph Times
for a year with great success when he was
obliged to leave Nebraska and go to Colo-
rado for his health. He was well fitted
for a journalistic career in every respect,
but his ambition was too great for his
strength. His ideas upon religious ques-
tions were broad and liberal, and while he
did not subscribe to any creeds or dogmas,
he recognized in nature ample evidence of
a Creator. In his business life he was
ambitious to excel, was quick to grasp an
idea, was fruitful in imagination and had
a mind st()red with, \vell selected and useful
knowledge, and his language gave every
evidence of being well chosen. He did not
readily take up new friends. 1)ut his ac-
quaintance bore the test of time and all
who knew him learned to respect him and
many gave to him their lasting friendship
and regard. In social circles he was often
the light and life of a company because
of a mind well stored with information as
well as wit and with a fund of apt quo-
tation, which he readily used. During
his last days many of his college friends
and schoolmates called upon him and did
what they could for him in his sickness,
and when the end came they bore his re-
mains home and he was laid tenderly to
rest by the side of his father. He died in
the home of his attending physician with



his devoted mother at his bedside, and as
the end came he joined with her in singing
the hymn. "On Christ, the Sohd Rock, I
stand." Ernest M. Coddington, the sec-
ond child of the family, was born May 30,

1 87 1, and died in 1872. Laura, the sur-
viving daughter, was born September i,

1872, in Fairfield, Iowa, and in ^Nlount
Pleasant high school prepared for col-
lege work, and in 1887 entered the Iowa
\Vesleyan University, from which she was
graduated in 1893 ^"^ won the Master of
Arts degree in 1896. She belonged to the
Ruthean Literary Society and the P. E. O.
Sisterhood. She was a teacher in the
graded schools of Mount Pleasant from
1895 until 1899, spent the following year
as a teacher in Ottumwa. Iowa, and
taught in Lake Side, Washington, in
1900-01. ^vhile her mother visited there.
She holds a teacher's state certificate. On
the 3d of August, 1 90 1, in Mount Pleas-
ant, she gave her hand in marriage to
French L. Eafon and they reside at ^ladi-
son, W^isconsin, Mr. Eason being a com-
mercial traveler. They have two chil-
dren : French Leon, born August i, 1902,
and Marjorie, born April 30, 1905.
Manly G. Coddington, the youngest child
of the family, ^^■as born in Mount Pleas-
ant, January 29. 1876, and died in August
of that year. Two of the children were
buried in Mount Pleasant by the side of
the father, and the little son, Ernest, was
laid to rest in Fairfield cemetery.

Mr. Coddington was a republican in his
political views and he took all of the de-
grees in Odd Fellowship, continuing his
active connection with the order until
within a few years prior to his death. He
passed away July 30, 1877, at Mount

Pleasant, when forty years of age. His
life did not cover a very long period, but
it was one of usefulness, and the world
is better for his having lived,. He was
devoted to his family and to his church
and he accomplished great good in the

At the time of her marriage to Rev. Eli
H. Coddington, Mrs. Coddington was a
widow, having been married on the 17th
of April, 1862, to N. H. Tannehill, who
was born in Champaign county, Ohio, in
1837, and was a farmer Ijy occupation. In
September following his marriage he en-
listed for service in the Civil war, joining
Companv I. Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, at
Troy, this state. He became ill when on
boat near Vicksburg, going to re-enforce
General Grant, and died in the hospital
at Lake Providence. Louisiana, of typhoid
fever, February 10, 1863, when twenty-
five years of age. He was buried there,
being laid to rest in a soldier's grave, hav-
ing eiven his life in defense of the Union.
Fraternally he was an Odd Fellow, politi-
cally a republican, and religiously was
connected with the Methodist Episcopal
church. Thus, at the age of twenty years,
Mrs. Coddington was left a widow. Both
of her husbands fought under the stars
and stripes. The spring following the
deadi of her husband, Mrs. Tannehill was
commissioned as a hospital nurse at Ben-
ton Barracks, St. Louis, and on the ist
of June, 1865, she received a commission
as a delegate of the L^nited States Chris-
tian Commission. Following the loss of
her husband, she was anxious to have her
time and attention employed, and taught
school until a place had been made for
her in the hospital. Benton Barracks was



one of the largest hospitals in the west and
included the amphitheater and other build-
ings on the fair grounds of the St. Louis
Agricultural Society. Often there were
two thousand patients there, and the insti-
tution was under the charge of Dr. Russell,
of Natick, Massachusetts, who was in every
way fitted for this responsible position.
During the first day of her hospital service
]\Irs. Coddington had a smallpox, case in
her ward, but the man was soon removed
to the isolation hospital. She escaped the
smallpox, but was taken down with
measles. As soon as she recovered, how-
ever, she again resumed her work as a
nurse. In March, 1865, she was trans-
ferred to the Nashville Hospital, where
Dr. Russell had gone as surgeon in charge.
Before she left Benton Barracks the sol-
diers in the ward where she had been for
nearly a year presented her with an elegant
silk dress pattern as a token of their good
will and appreciation of her kindness to
them. On the ist of June, 1865, she was
called to St. Louis to enter the work of
the Christian Commission and remained
there until December 3, 1865, when she
returned to her home in Troy, Iowa, reach-
ing there in time for the celebration of
her twenty-third birthday after an absence
of two years. Here she gave her hand in
marriage to Rev. Coddington, who had
seven successful years in the ministi'y
after that time, followed by four years of
intense suffering. He left two children,
but the son has since died, leaving Mrs.
Coddington with one daughter. Mrs. Cod-
dington possesses a remarkable memory,
and the sketch of her life during her two
years of hospital service she wrote with-
out referring to any notes, and this article

is found in a book entitled, "Our Army
Xurses,'' compiled by Mary A. Gardner
Holland in 1895. It is a very interesting
record and shows not only the work of
Mrs. Coddington, but also displays schol-
arly ability in its compilation. Mrs. Cod-
dington is a most estimable lady, popular
with a large circle of friends. Her life
has been greatly devoted to good work.
Since the death of ]Mr. Coddington she
has made her home in Mount Pleasant
and has been very active in church work,
acting as district secretaiy of the mission-
arv society. For twenty-two years she
had charge of the primary class in the
Sunday school and had hoped to remain
as its teacher for a quarter of a century,
but impaired hearing necessitated her giv-
ing up the work. One of her pupils when
she took charge of the class was Max
Babb, son of Judge Babb, of ]Mount Pleas-
ant, who at the time of her resignation as
primar}^ teacher was serving as superin-
tendent of the Sunday school. From time
to time she received many beautiful pres-
ents from the school in token of appre-
ciation of her work. She was junior vice-
president of the department of Iowa of
the Women's Relief Corps for one year,
filling that position at the time of her
son's death. She took tlie federal census
in the two wards in Mount Pleasant in
1890, and she has been an active member
of the Women's Relief Corps, in which
she has served as president, vice-president
and chaplain. She has also been recording
secretary and treasurer in the Home and
Foreign Missionary societies, but has been
obliged to retire from more active connec-
tion with these various organizations be-
cause of her hearing. Her life has been



indeed filled with good deeds, acts of mercy
and works of kindness, and many there are
who bless her memory because of the as-
sistance that she has rendered and the influ-
ence she has exerted toward nobler living
and higher ideals.


j\Irs. Louisa Weiblev, who for twenty
years has resided in Mount Pleasant, hav-
ing taken up her abode here in September,
1885, was born in Jefferson county, Iowa,
March 22, 1842, and is a representative
of one of the pioneer families of the state.
Her parents were Jacob and Dorothy
(Fitchner) Krumm. The father was born
in Germany and when eighteen years of
age, having come to America, he settled
in Columbus, Ohio, while subsequently he
became one of the first residents in the
vicinity of Merrimac. There he entered
land from the government and developed
a good farm. He w^as married in Ohio
to Miss Dorothy Fitchner, but both are
now deceased.

Mrs. Weibley acquired a good educa-
tion in the common and German schools
in the home locality and remained with her
parents until she gave her hand in marriage
to the Rev. John Schnakanberg, a minis-
ter of the German Methodist Episcopal
church. He \vas located for tw^o years at
Wapello, Iowa, and his last pastorate was
in Burlington. He had also served at
one time at Long Creek. Their marriage
occurred October 11, i860. To this union

were born two daughters, Mary and
Emma. The former is now the wife of
Charles Besser, of Mount Pleasant, and
they have three children : Merle, Alilton
and Ethel. Emma became the wife of
Rev. William Heppe, D. D., of Portland,
Oregon, and they also have three children :
Waldo, Ralph and Ruth.

Following the death of her first hus-
band, Mrs. Schnakanberg returned to her
parents' home and there remained until
her marriage to Christopher Weibley on
the 25th of June, 1867. Her second hus-
band was a miller engaged in business at
that time in Merrimac, Jefferson county,
Iowa. For a year they made their home
there, after which he spent one year in the
mill at Lancaster, this state, but later re-
turned to milling operations in Jefferson
county. He also spent eight years upon a
farm in that county, and on selling the
property removed to Keokuk county,
where he owned and operated a farm of
one hundred and sixty acres, upon which
he made his home until his death on the
1 2th of October, 1878. Unto Mr. and
IMrs. \Veibley were born seven children,
but the two eldest, daughters, died within
a week of membranous croup, and George
died of the same disease when five years
of age, just before the father's death. The
surviving sons are: Jacob, a musician of
New York city, who has become a promi-
nent vocalist and is still studying his art;
William, who is an architect and carpen-
ter and resides at home with his mother,
and Edward, who is engaged in the poul-
try business.

In 1885 Mrs. Weibley removed to
Mount Pleasant in order to afford her
children better educational privileges. She



kept boarders in order to provide for the
family needs while her children were in
school, and she certainly desen^es great
credit for \\hat she accomplished, having
fully done a mother's part to her fatherless
sons. She built a nice home on West
Pearl street opposite the main college
building and has here since resided. She
belongs to the German Methodist Episco-
pal church, while her sons hold member-
ship in the English Methodist Episcopal
church. In church work and in the mis-
sionary society she has taken an active and
helpful part. The family are highly re-
spected here, and Mrs. Weibley enjoys the
warm esteem and admiration of all who
have true regard for the worth and value
of character.


Upon the farm \\here he now lives in
Tippecanoe townshp, HemanA. White was
born on the 7th of April, 1851, a son of
Wallace and Jane E. (Higgins) White,
the fonner a native of Delaware and the
latter of Vermont. The father came to
Heni-y county, Iowa, about 1838, settling
in Mount Pleasant when it contained but
three houses. He was a carpenter and
worked at his trade in the embryo city.
He also entered one hundred and sixty
acres of land on section 2, Tippecanoe
township, which was covered with timber
and on this he cleared seventy-seven acres,
which he made his home place. In 1850
he supplemented his little log cabin by a
frame house, in which was a fireplace. He

also built, in i860, a barn which is still
in use. He resided u'pon this farm until
the fall of 1864, when his life's labors
were ended in death, but he is still sur-
\-ived by his wife, who was born in 1824,
and therefore has reached the veiy ad-
vanced age of eighty-two years. In their
family were ten children, six sons and
four daughters.

Heman A. White, the sixth in order of
birth, spent his boyhood days under the
parental roof, remaining with his mother
until 1870 and in the meantime he ac-
quired a fair English education in the dis-
trict schools. On leaving home he went
to Kansas, whence he afterward made his
way to Missouri with an uncle, remaining
there for six months. He next removed
to Pottawattamie county, Iowa, where he
worked at farming for a year and a half,
after which he returned to the homestead
residing thereon until his marriage. It
was on the i8th of May, 1873, that he
wedded Miss Elizabeth A. Fordyce, who
was born in Jefferson county, Iowa, and
is a daughter of Robert Fordyce, a native
of Ohio. Her education was acquired in
the common schools and bv this marriasre
there have been born four children : James
P., now living in California; Hugh R.,
at home : Efifie Jane, a nurse now in Tip-
ton, Iowa ; and Ora Adele, who is a
student in Howe's Academy, which is one
of the oldest and best known schools of
Southeastern Iowa.

For two years after his marriage Mr.
\\^hite remained upon the old homestead
and then spent a year at farm labor in the
employ of others. He next purchased six-
ty-one acres of land just west of the old
home place and built thereon a new house,


2.2 X

a stable, corn crib, a well, and made other
improvements. His attention was assidu-
ously given to the cultivation and develop-
ment of the farm until 1898, when he
traded that place for the interest of his
brc'ther \Vallace in the old homestead and
removed to the fanii, purchasing the in-
terest of the other heirs. He now has one
hundred and twenty-eight acres of land
in one body. The residence was built by
his mother in 1887. The farm is sup-
plied with modern equipments. Air.
\A'hite raises here the various cereals
adapted to the climatic conditions of the
country, and he also raises horses, cattle
and hogs. In his political views he is an
earnest republican, and is now serving
as president and director of the school
board. His religious faith is indicated
by his membership in the Methodist Epis-
copal church. He has lived in the county
for more than half a centur)' and is a
representative of one of its oldest pioneer
families, the name of White having been
associated with its agricultural develop-
ment from the period when much of the
land was still government property, and
the work of improvement had scarcely
been inaugurated by the white pioneer


Thomas G. Rook, who has been operat-
ing the farm upon which he now resides
in Jackson township since 1854, was bom
in Shelby county, Illinois, on the 27th of
August, 183 1. His father, t)r. Jonathan

Stanford Rook, was a native of North
Carolina and a son of Stephen Rook. Hav-
ing reached years of maturity, Jonathan
S. Rook was married to Miss Amy Hol-
der, also a native of North > Carolina and
a daughter of William Holder. Her ma-
ternal grandfather, Solomon Greathouse,
was born in Pennsylvania, and was one of
the first pioneers to cross the mountains
and penetrate into the wild western region
lying beyond the Alleghanies. He went
down the Ohio river and up the Tennessee
river with a keel boat and made his way
into the forest region of that undeveloped
and unsettled state, and he crossed the
Blue Ridge mountains at a place now
called Blue Ridge, frecjuently following an
old Indian trail or else making his own
■road. He was a Moravian preacher and
passed much of his life in northern
Georgia, proclaiming the gospel in fron-
tier districts.' Dr. Rook, the father of
Thomas G.. prepared for the practice of
medicine as a student in a Philadelphia
medical college, and devoted his life to
the practice of the profession. He was
married in Georgia and after residing
there for a time removed to Illinois, driv-
ing across the country in a wagon in 1825.
His destination was Shelby county, where
he resided until 1837, when he drove to
Salem, Iowa, and was the first college-bred
physician of this vicinity. He practiced
in the village and surrounding district up
to the time of his death, which occurred
in 1844, and was a prominent pioneer
physician with accurate knowledge, broad
humanitarian principles and deep interest
in his profession. Plis wife long survived
him, passing away in 1889. The family
of Dr. Jonathan S. Rook cc^nsisted of three



children, two daughters and one son.
Thomas G. Rook, the youngest, hved
with his mother until 1850. He was only
about six years of age when the family
came to Iowa and amid pioneer conditions
he was reared. He attended school in a
log meeting house used as a place of wor-
ship by the Friends or Quakers and thus
he acquired his education. He was a
youth of only thirteen years at the time of
his father's death, and he contiued to live
with his mother until nineteen years of
age, when in 1850 he joined a party from
Salem and vicinity and went to California,
attracted by the discovery of gold. The
party drove across the plains to Oregon,
whence they proceeded southward to the
Golden state, being nine months upon the
way. Their first location was at Shasta,
Butte City, as it was then called, about
twenty miles from Mount Shasta. After
remaining there for a year, Mr. Rook
w'ent to Sierra county, where he was en-
gaged in prospecting and mining. In
connection with another member of the
company with whom he had traveled west-
ward he owned the Monte Cristo, which
has proved to be a vei"y rich mine. After
a year passed there, during which time he
had succeeded in accumulating three thou-
sand dollars, he started from California
for his old home in Iowa, making the jour-
ney by way of the isthmus and the Nica-
ragua route, and on to New York, whence
he continued across the country to Salem,
Iowa. He arrived here on the 20th of Oc-
tober, 1853, and invested his earnings in
one hundred and sixty acres of land in
JackscKi township, where he now resides.
He also owned one hundred and eighty
acres of timber land, which he purchased

from James Richey, the first white settler
in this locality. Mr. Rook's home is lo-
cated on section 18, Jackson township, and
he has continuously given his attention to
the improvement of his property since
1854. One of the first things he did was
to dig a well and immediately afterward
he began breaking prairie. In 1855 he
built a brick house of six rooms, into
which he moved. As the years have gone
by he has worked energetically and inde-
fatigably and, moreover, has made judi-
cious investments w'hich have proven very
profitable. From time to time he has
bought and sold land, and he is now the
owner of more than a thousand acres of
fine blue grass land in Jackson and Salem
townships. He has produced some of the
largest crops of corn ever raised in this
community and stands as a prominent rep-
resentative of agricultural interests, so di-
recting his labors that the result is entirely
satisfactory and places him in the front
rank among the prominent farmers of
Flenry county. He also owns a fine farm
of two hundred and eighty acres in Harri-
son county, Missouri, and a farm of one
hundred and sixty acres in Decatur county,
Iowa, where his son George now resides.
The place upon which Mr. Rook makes his
home is called the Oak Grove stock farm.
Here he raises Percheron draff horses
and also has full-blooded registered stal-
lions at the head of his herd. He keeps
about forty-five head of horses, also has
ninety-five head of Hereford cows and
raises a few sheep. His is the finest blue
grass stock farm in this part of the state,
and he is thoroughly familiar with the best
methods of raising stock, knows the char-
acteristics and the value of the different



breeds and has made the Oak Grove stock
farm famous for the animals raised
theron, and his farm is justly considered
one of the best conducted and finely kept
in this part of the state.

In March, 1855, Mr. Rook was united
in marriage to Mary Spurrier, who was
born in Ohio and was a daughter of Rich-
ard and Amy (Barrett) Spurrier. She
died leaving five children, who were born
of this union : Eva, who is living in Den-
ver with her sister; Aldora, the widow
of Augustus Boeger and a resident of
Denver ; Lincoln ; Frank, a stock-shipper
residing at Blue Ridge, Georgia; and
Jessie, the wife of Hugh Evans, of Butte,
jNIontana. In Xovember, 1869, Mr. Rook
was again married, his second union being
with Barbara Jimeson, A\'ho was born in
Pennsylvania. They have six children,
who are living: George, who is living in
Decatur county, Iowa ; Henry, a resident
of Jackson township; Lou, the wife of M.
Benizer, of Decatur county; and Charles,
Walter and Cophine, all at home. Stan-
ford, the oldest, died at the age of twen-
ty-four years. Mr. Rook is independent
in his political views, and yet is deeply
interested in questions of citizenship and
advocates all progressive movements that
have for their basis the common good.
He is pre-eminently a business man
and one who has wielded a wide influence
in agricultural circles in the county in
which almost his entire life has been
passed. He is intensely practical and his
life of continued business activity has been
crowned with a measure of prosperity
that classes him with the most substantial
and respected agriculturists of the com-


The tide of emigration which was stead-
ily flowing westward about the middle of
of the nineteenth century brought the Tull
family to Henry county, Iowa, and since
1840 representatives of the name have
been active and in fluential factors in agri-
cultural life here. At .the time of the ar-
riA'al of his parents William Washington
Tull \\-as only about four years old. He
was born in New HaA'en, Ohio, Eebruary
26, 1836, a son of James and Amelia
(Tull) Tull, who were second cousins
and were natives of the state of Delaware.
The paternal grandfather was Wheatley
Tull and the maternal grandfather was
Jeft'erson Tull. The parents were mar-
ried in Delaware and removed from the
east to Ohio, where James Tull followed
the occupaton of farming until 1840. He
then went to Hancock count}\ Illinois, ac-
companied by his family and a year later
removed to Henry county, Iowa, settling
in Baltimore township, where he jjur-
chasecl eighty acres of land on ]^Iud creek.
There he assiduously carried on fanning
but was not long permitted to enjoy his
new home, his death occurring in 1843.
His wife hved for many years on the old
homestead, after which she removed to
Harrison county, Iowa, where she died in
1899, at the age of eighty-seven years.
In the family were three sons and a daugh-
ter, but with the exception of William
\\\ Tull, who was the third in (M'der of
liirth. all are now deceased.

In the district scIkwIs he acquired his
education. He was reared amid the wild
scenes and environments of pioneer life,
for Henrv countv was still a frontier set-


tlement when his parents took up their place and good farm implements and he
atode here. The unbroken prairie stretched successfully carried on general agricultural
for miles aAvay and along the streams there pursuits until the year 1906, when, on ac-
was a dense growth of timber. Few roads count of his ill health he leased the land,

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 26 of 85)