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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 27 of 85)
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had been laid out and many of the now He raises horses, also cows for dairy pur-
thriving towns and villages of the county poses and Poland China hogs. His busi-
had not yet sprung into existence. There ness has been carefully directed and his
were difficulties to be met and obstacles valuable property represents a life of in-
to be overcome in founding a home on dustry and enterprise,
the frontier and because of the father's In 1902 Mr. Tull was called upon to
early deatli Mr. TuU soon became familiar mourn tlie loss of his wife, who died on
with the arduous task of developing a the 30th of June, of that year, and was
new farm. He remained with his mother laid to rest in Bethany cemeteiy. On the
until the time of his marriage on the 15th 24th of October, 1903, he wedded Mrs.
of March, 1857, on which date he made Rachel Hall Porter, who was bom in Jen-
Miss Mary Lucinda Kirkpatrick his wife, nings count5^ Indiana, February 15, 1843,
She was born in Lee county, Iowa, July a daughter of Edward and Julia (Under-
15, 1837, ^'^'^^^- ^^'^s ^ daughter of William wood) Hall, the former a native of Ohio
and Mai"y Kirkpatrick, natives of Illi- and the latter of Indiana. Her paternal
nois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Tull w'ere bom grandparents were Charles and Rachel
four children : Ida, who became the wife Hall, natives of Ohio, and her maternal
of Eh Kerr and died in 1899; Mary, the grandparents were Gideon and Silena
wife of Robert Rank, of Lee county, Iowa; (Underwood) L^nderwood, the former
Charles G., living in Gosper county, Ne- born in Kentucky and the latter in Vir-
braska; and Frank at home. ginia. Though of the same name they were
Fohowing his marriage Mr. Tull re- not related. Mrs. Tull was married in Jen-
sided in Louisa county, Iowa, for two nings county, Indiana, to Elijah Grin-
years, on the expiration of which period stead, the wedding day being October 4,
he purchased ninety acres of land on sec- 1863. Their children were: Qiarles D.,
tion 20, Baltimore township. This was of Des Moines county, Iowa; Gideon, liv-
but partially improved. He has rel^uilt ing in Henry county ; J. Edw^ard, of Balti-
the house, has fenced the place and built more township; George W., also of Des
a barn, thirty-four by forty feet, which Moines county; and J. William, who
gives ample shelter for his horses and hay. makes his home near Cameron, Missouri.
He has also set out a small orchard of The father of these children died January
apples and peaches and has added ten 5, 1875, and on the 19th of September,
acres of timber to the place. The first 1879, Mrs. Grinstead became the wife of
ninety acres w^hich he bought is all plowed Reuben Porter, who w-as born in Vir-
land, lays along the Skunk river bottom ginia. They were married in Heniy county
and is as good soil as can be found in all and had two children : Julia, the wife of
this county. He has a windmill upon his Ed Feterman, of New London township;



and Amos V., who is living in Lee county,
Iowa. Mr. Porter died Januan- 11, 1899,
and in 1903 his widow gave her hand in
marriage to Mr. Tull.

For tweh'e years Mr. Tull has served
as a trustee of the Methodist Protestant
church, of which he has long been a de-
voted member. He exercises his right of
franchise in support of the men and meas-
ures of the democracy, and has acted as
road supervisor and school director. He
has intimate knowledge of the events
which have marked the progress and de-
velopment of the county, hayng for two-
thirds of a centuiy made his home in tliis
part of the state. Matters which to others
were kno\Mi merely through history- are to
him matters of experience. He can re-
member when the settlements were widely
scattered and w^hen one could ride for long
distances across the prairie without com-
ing to a fence or a house to impede his
progress. Long since the land has been
claimed and the greater part of it has
been converted into productive fields. Mr.
Tull has home his full share in the work
of progress along these lines and his well
improved farm property indicates a life
of enterprise and diligence.


Thomas Nicholson, a pioneer settler of
Henry county, was born April 5, 1820,
in Hertford, North Carolina, his parents
l)eing John and Sarah (Lacey) Nicholson,
who were also natives of the same state.

as were the paternal grandparents, Nathan
and Penina (Parker) Nicholson. The
mother of Thomas Nicholson died when
he was only about four years of age, leav-
ing two sons, the brother being William
Nicholson, who was born January 17,
1822, and lived in Mount Pleasant until
1 90 1, when he removed to Omaha, where
he now resides. The father went with his
family to Indiana, settling thirty miles
east of Indianapolis in 1832. He was a
second time married, and there ^^■ere seven
half-brothers and sisters, namely : Joshua
Nicholson, who was born May 11, 1826,
and died at the age of thirty years; James
Nicholson and Mrs. Elizabeth Fisher,
twins, born October 16, 1830; Elias, who
died about 1842; Mrs. Eliza Ann Kerr,
bora October 28, 1834; and Jonathan
Nicholson and Mrs. Martha Young, also
twins, born February 14, 1838.

Thomas Nicholson was only tweh'e
years of age when he accompanied his fa-
ther on the removal to Indiana. There he
resided until 1843, '\^'hen he came to Iowa,
driving cattle across the state of Illinois,
crossing the Mississippi on the ice at Bur-
lington on the 14th of March, of that
vear. He then drove across the country
to Salem, arriving on the i6th of March.
For two years he engaged in breaking
prairie near Salem. In 1844 he went to
Mahaska county and broke the first ]n-ai-
rie in the county. On the 5th of October.
1844, he married Miss Margaret Maxwell,
a daughter of Jacob and Margaret (Heav-
enridge) IMaxwell, the former a native of
North Carolina and the latter of Mis-
sissippi. Unto this marriage were born
six children : Margaret H.. who died in
infancy; John A., living in Mount Pleas-



ant; Nathan, who is represented elsewhere
in this work; Josie, of Van Bnren county,
Iowa; Wilham H., of Kansas; and
Thomas A., of Stockport, Iowa.

At the time of his marriage Thomas
Nicholson settled upon his father-in-law's
fanii. He cleared one hundred and t\\en-
ty acres of land, placing it under cultiva-
tion. In 1845 I'lis father-in-law died and
he inherited as his portion of the estate
the one hundred and twenty acres which
he had cleared and improved. Heafterward
added to his farm fifty-two acres of land,
this being the tract up(jn which Nathan
Nicholson now resides. This was. re-
ceived from his mother-in-law, who w'as
an invalid, and was given to him as a
recompense for the care which he had be-
stowed upon her after the death of her
husband. Throughout his entire life Mr.
Nicholson continued to carry on farming,
working earnestly and untiringly in the
development of his land, which became
rich and productive. His wife passed
away July 10, 1890. He is a member of
the Orthodox Friends church and has
lived an upright, honorable life, at peace
W'ith all men and respected by all with
Whom business or social relations have
brought him in contact.


Among the residents of Henry county,
who have come from other countries to
make a home in the land where freedom
is every man's birthright, is Sebastian

Gerig. He resides upon a farm of thirty-
seven and one-half acres near \Vayland
and has improved and cultivated it and
added many modern appliances for the
comfort and convenience of both himself
and his family. Upon purchasing this
property in 1903, he erected a handsome
nine-room house and equipped it with
closets, halls, a large cellar, a furnace and
many modern conveniences.

Sebastian Gerig and his wife are both
of French extraction. Mr. Gerig was
born in Alsace, France, on the 27th of
May, 1838, being one of a family of eight
children, four sons and four daughters.
His father 'was Jacob Gerig and his
mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman. At the
age of eight years he was left an orphan
and being the second in age in the family
went to live with his older brother. When
he reached the age of sixteen years, he left
his brother's care and secured employ-
ment for one year, then, having decided to
tiy his fortunes in America, he came to
this country and eventually found his way
to Mount Pleasant, arriving there in June,
1856. Soon he went to Davis county,
Iowa, and for four years set himself to
the task of breaking the prairie and work-
ing the land with a team of oxen. At the
end of six years he went to Wayne county,
Ohio, where he engaged in the same pur-
suits, then to Henry county, still following
the life of a farmer.

On September 11, 1864, he wedded
Miss Magdalena Goldsmith, who was born
in Lee county. Iowa, on January 22,
1847. Her father. Joseph Goldsmith, like
Mr. Gerig, was also a native of Alsace,
France, having been Ijorn there June 18.
1796. Her mother, Elizabeth Miller,



was of German birth, the place of her na-
tivity being Hesse Darmstadt. She was
born Februaiy 17, 1807. Mr. Goldsmith
came to this country \\\\tn but eio-hteen
years of age and Mrs. Goldsmith emi-
grated with her parents when twelve years
old. They were married in Canada and
Mr. Goldsmith later became the organizer
of the Mennonite church in the Canadian
village where he lived for the following
seven years. They then moved to Butler
county, Ohio, and carried on farming un-
til 1846, when they again changed their
home, this time going to Lee county, low'a,
wdiere ]Mr. Goldsmith purchased a farm
and continued to live upon it for nine
years. While living in Lee county he de-
voted himself assiduously to the cause of
religion and founded Mennonite churches
in Lee, Henry, and Johnson counties. Alf-
ter selling his farm in Lee county in 1855,
he purchased one hundred and forty acres
in Trenton township, Henry county, kept
this farm until 1870, whtn he retired from
active life and he and his wife went to
live with their daughter, Mrs. Gerig. Mr.
Goldsmith died in April, 1878, and Mrs.
Goldsmith on August 18, 1900.

For five years succeeding his marriage,
Mr. Gerig and his wife lived in Trenton
township with Mrs. Gerig's parents. Mr.
Gerig then purchased a farm of eighty
acres in Jefferson township. Here they
resided for two years, then purchased an-
other farm of one hundred and sixty acres
two and one-half miles southeast of Way-
land, living upon it until 1898, when they
again moved, this time to a little tract of
seven acres. In 1903 Mr. Gerig sold his
land and purchased the farm where he now^

J\L-. and Mrs. Gerig have a family of ten
living children : Joseph, of Johnson county,
Arkansas; Jacob, of Washington county,
Iowa; Elizabeth, AL's. C. M. Roth, of
Henry count}' : Lydia, Mrs. Jacob Eigsti,
of Morton, Illinois; Annie, Mrs. William
Wyse," of Jefferson township; Mollie, Mrs.
D. W. Orendorff, of Wayne township ;
Levina, Mrs. Amos Wyse, of Jefferson
township; Eva, Mrs. Daniel Leichty, of
Washington county, Iowa ; Emma and
Minnie, at home. Two children died in
childhood ; Samuel, l3orn November 7,
1876, died March 30, 1878; and Helena,
born February 5, 1875, and died January
19, 1880.

In religious faith j\Ir. Gerig is an
Amish Mennonite, having been ordained
as a minister in 1870. Mr. Gerig is a
close follower of the doctrines of his
church, which have changed very little
since its inception, in the seventeenth cen-
tury. The theology is ascetic rather than
dogmatic, and the doctrine of non-resist-
ance, baptism by sprinkling, and the cele-
bration of the Lord's supper, are adhered
to. Marriages with non-believers are for-
bidden and obedience to the law in all
things, except those contrary to God's
laws, such as taking of oaths, taking- up
arms in time of war. and capital punish-
ment is strictly enforced. The custom of
washing of the feet of the saints is still
practiced by the ^Mennonites. A church
was organized in Henry county, in 1850.
by Mr. Goldsmith, father-in-law of our
subject. Since Mr. Gerig's ordination he
has taken into the cliurch over two hun-
dretl members, in the summer of 1905.
alone, twenty-ti\e meml^ers were added ti^
the fold.



Sebastian Gerig is a self-educated man,
a man who has made much of his life,
who has devoted his talents and energies
to the duties before him. He has been
successful as a farmer and man of busi-
ness and has conrtibuted his efiforts to the
cause of religion, striving always to aid
and benefit his fellow men and to bring
them to see the light as he sees it. He
has been influential in bringing many
whom he has met into the right path,
while his own life has been one worthy of
a true and upright man.


William C. Orndorff, proprietor of the
New London Stock Farm in Baltimore
township, is an enterprising business man,
thoroughly conversant with the work to
which he gives his attention. He is now
quite extensively engaged in breeding and
raising Hereford cattle, Shropshire sheep,
Duroc Jersey hogs and good horses, and
his business has reached extensive and
profitable proportions.

A son of Franklin and Frances (Mc-
Elhinney) Orndorff, he was born in Den-
mark. Lee county, Iowa, on the 24th of
February, 1863, and pursued his educa-
tion in various schools. He was reared
to the occupation of farming, which he
has always followed, with the exception
of about three and a half years spent in
the livery business in Mediapolis with the
firm of Hukill & Johnson. He sold his
interest to a INIr. \\'alker and then came

to Henry county, where he purchased a
farm of one hundred and twenty acres
from the Alallam estate. For seven years
he lived upon that property, and then in
1900 bought of Mr. Kennedy one hundred
and sixty-five acres of land, of which one
hundred and twenty-five acres is situated
on section 2 and the remainder on section
3, Baltimore township. This is one of
the best stock farms of the county, and
Mr. Orndorff has gained more than local
reputation as a breeder and raiser of
fine stock. He makes a specialty of the
breeding of Hereford cattle, having twen-
ty-five head upon his place, and he has
made various displays of his stock at
county and state fairs, receiving a num-
ber of first premiums. He is also breed-
ing fine Shropshire sheep, having at the
present time from ninety to one hundred
head, including some of the finest ani-
mals to be found in Iowa, and on his
sheep he has also won various first pre-
miums at different stock shows. His
hogs are of the Duroc Jersey breed, and
he has from eighty to one hundred head
of as fine animals as can be found in
Henry county. He likewise handles a
great many horses each year and the
New London Stock Farm has became
well known because of the fine grade of
cattle, horses, sheep and hogs there bred
and raised. Mr. Orndorff's business
methods also commend him to the con-
fidence and trust of those with whom he
has dealings, for he is found at all times
reliable, never misrepresenting his stock.
In fact, he has no need to do this, for
he handles only high grade animals, and
is therefore able to command high market
prices. He is a member of the Duroc



National Association, of the Shropshire
Association and is a stockholder and di-
rector in the Henry County Fair Asso-

On the 27th of February, 1889, oc-
curred the marriage of Mr. Orndorfif
and Miss Emma N. Collar, a daughter
of John and Mary (Milton) Collar. Five
children ha\'e been born unto them : By-
rel, Cora, Rex, Mark and Franklin C,
all of whom, except the last, are students
in the public schools. Mr. Orndorff is a
member of the Presbyterian church and
his fraternal relations connect him with
New London Lodge, Lidependent Order
of Odd Fellows, which he joined at Medi-
apolis. He has also passed all of the
chairs of the Encampment and is a w^or-
thy representative of this organization.
His business career has been character-
ized by steady and continuous advance-
ment along lines which neither seek nor
require disguise.


Horatio W. Van Dyke, one of the en-
terprising merchants of W'infield. where
he is engaged in dealing in grain, tile
and feed, is a native son of Des Moines
county, Iowa, born January 14, 1855.
His father, Benjamin Van Dyke, was a
native of Delaware and was a son of \\'il-
liam and Frances (Cartwright) Van
Dyke. In the state of Ohio he was mar-
ried to Miss Frances \\'alker. who was
born in ]\Iuskingum county, Ohio, and

was a daughter of Horatio and Susan
(Sadler) Walker, who were also natives
of that state. Following their marriage
they made their journey westward by
wagon from Ohio to Indiana, where they
spent one season and then came on to
Iowa, settling upon a farm in Union
township, Des Moines county, in the fall
of 1839, when this state was still under
territorial rule and when the work of
improvement and progress seemed scarce-
ly begun in the locality in which they
took up their abode. They were worthy
pioneer people, who aided in the work of
reclamation, performing the arduous
service incident to the development of a
new farm in a frontier district of the then
far west.

Horatio W . Van Dyke was reared un-
der the parental roof, living with his par-
ents upon the home farm in Union town-
ship up to the time of his marriage. He
acquired his education in the district
schools and in Denmark Acadeni}-, in Lee
county, and early became familiar with
the work of the field and meadow. On the
loth of March, 1881, he was married to
Miss Etta Taylor, who was born in Den-
mark, Lee county, and also acquired her
education in the academy there. Her par-
ents were Thomas and Mary (Brown)
Taylor, the former a native of New
Hampshire and the latter of ^Massachu-
setts. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Van Dyke has
been born one son, Eugene Taylor Van
Dyke, who is now associated with his fa-
ther in business and in which he will ap-
parently make a success.

Following his marriage Mr. Van Dyke
beean farming on his own account in
Des Moines countv. where he remained



until the spring of 1892. He placed his
land under a high state of cultivation,
added modern improvements and devel-
oped an excellent farm of one hundred
and two acres. In the year mentioned,
however, he sold his property there and
removed to Jefferson county, where he
bought two hundred and twenty-five acres
of land, making his home thereon until
1S96. when he retired from active con-
nection with agricultural pursuits and on
the 20th of July, of that year, removed
to \\^inlield, becoming a factor in mer-
cantile life in that village. He purchased
the business of Young & Lamme, dealers
in grain, tile and feed, which is the only
business of the kind in the town. He
admitted his nephew, B. F. Van Dyke, to
a partnership and the relation between
them was maintained until January i,
1905. when Mr. Van Dyke purchased his
nephew's interest and took his son into
the store as a partner. He handles well
and sewer tile, baled hav, straw, feed and
all kinds of grain and has an elevator
with a capacity of twenty-five thousand
bushels. The business has constantly in-
creased since he assumed charge about
ten years ago and he now has a liberal
patronage, which is bringing him a good
financial return annually.

In his religious faith Mr. Van Dyke
is a Methodist, while his political sup-
port is given to the Republican party. He
served as township clerk, while residing
in Union township, Des Moines county,
filling the office for three terms but other-
wise has sought no political perferment.
He is also a member of the Fraternal Aid
of Lawrence. Kansas, an insurance or-
ganization. Having spent his entire life

in this section of Iowa Mr. Van Dyke
is well known in his native county and
also in Henry county and is justly ac-
counted one of the enterprising business
men, possessing the spirit of progress and
perseverance which have dominated this
part of the state since the early pioneers
reclaimed the district for the uses of civ-
ilization. He has made a creditable busi-
ness record and is meeting with richly
merited success.


William Matthew Hutton has resided
perhaps in Henry county longer than any
other resident here, having for seventy
years made his home in this section of the
state. He has now retired from active
business life, making his home in ?^Iount
Pleasant. He was named for his two
uncles. \\'illiam and ^Matthew Hutton and
was born in Sangamon county, Illinois,
near Auburn about fourteen miles from
Springfield on the 4th of July, 1832, his
parents being Samuel and Man' (Levi)
Hutton. The father was probably a native
of North Carolina and from that state
removed to Tennessee, making his home
for some years about fourteen miles from
Nashville. Throughout his entire life he
followed the occupation of farming. It
was in 1820 that he became a resident of
of Illinois, where he lived for fourteen
years. There he entered land from the
government, becoming one of the j^ioneer
residents of Sangamon county and with




the work of culti\-ation, development and
improvement he was closely associated in
in the early days. In his family were six
sons and three daughters, but only two
are now living, the daughter being Mrs.
Mary Cole, who has lost her husband and
made her home \\\i\\ her children until she
died, in December, 1905. It was in the
spring of 1835 that Samuel Hutton came
to Iowa, locating about a mile from the
public square of Mount Pleasant. After
planting crops he returneid to Illinois and
then brought his family to Iowa.

Among the children was William Mat-
thew^ Hutton, who at that time was but
three years old and he has now for sev-
enty years been a resident of Henry
count}', being ^^■ithout doubt the oldest
living settler here. There were but few
cabins when he arrived, the county seat
being a little collection of clapboard cabins
and shanties. The public square was a
sheep pasture and at long distances
throughout the county might be found pio-
neer homes, but the work of improvement
and cultivation had been scarcely begun.
Mr. Hutton lived in true pioneer style,
sharing in the hardships and privations in-
cident to the settlement of a frontier. He
attended a subscription school in Mount
Pleasant until the public schools were es-
tablished in the rural districts. His first
teacher was Moffett Snyder, who gave in-
struction in reading, wn-iting and arithme-
tic, and a few other preliminary branches.
The last school which Mr. Hutton at-
tended was taught by Professor Howe,
who at the time he established his school
was living atout live miles in the country
and went each morning to the cit}^ to
teach. Mr. Hutton was under his instruc-

tion when about twentv-five vears of age
but altogether his educational privileges
were meager, for he could attend school
onlv at in_ter\-als, the remainder of his
time being given to fann labor. Throug'li-
out his active busin'ess career he has car-
ried on general agricultural pursuits and
it is only recently that he has put aside the
duties of the farm in order to live retired.
He has made his home in the county since
1835 and from his faither he inherited a
farm of one hundred and sixty acres or
more. The father died Se^Ttember 12,
1857, '^^hen about seventy years of age,
his remains being interred in Jefferson
township, where one of his daughters is
also buried. The mother, however, was
buried in Forest Home cemetery, passing
'away,at the age of ninety years. She had
,alm<^8t" no sickiuess, her death occurring
simply from old age. As stated. Nix. Hut-
ton inherited the old homestead and con-
tinued tlie w^ork of improvement and cul-
ti^'atioll there. For many years he carried
on the lators of the field and also engaged
in the raising of stock. He was quite suc-
cessful and at the time his health failed
he w^as capably managing his business in-
terests, so tjiat he realized a net profit of
about one thousand dollars each >'ear from
his farm. He owned, until recently, two
hundred and eighty acres of valuable land
which he rented to his son-in-law. It is
one of the best farms of its size in the
county, the soil being rich and product-
ive, and in addition to the tilling of the
fields there are good pasture lands, which
are well watered with unfailing siirings.

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 27 of 85)