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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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November 12, 1656. and for fifty years,
from 1658, w^as minister at Billerica. Mid-
dlesex county, Massachusetts. He had
four children. Of this number Oliver
Whiting, the next in the line of direct de-
scent, was born in Billerica, October 8.
1665, and there resided, acting as a mag-
istrate and also as representative to the

colonial legislature. He married Anna
Danforth, daughter of Captain John Dan-
forth, on the 22d of January, 1690, and
had four children. Samuel Whiting, son
of Oliver and Anna Whiting, was born in
Billerica. Massachusetts. September 6,
1702. He had four children, two of
whom served in the Revolutionarv war.
His second son, Timothy Whiting, repre-
sentative of the family in the sixth gener-
ation, was born at Billerica. Eebruary 24,
1732. and married Sarah Osgood, a
daughter of Captain Christopher Osgood.
They later lived at Lancaster, New
Hampshire. He marched with his two
sons in the battles of Concord and Lex-
ington. The first-born, Timothy Whit-
ing (of the seventh generation), was a
native of Lancaster. New Hampshire, born
June 17, 1758, and was a captain in the
Revolutionary war. He married Abigail
Kidder, August 21, 1781. and after her
death was married again. His first son.
John Whiting, was born at Lancaster,
New Hampshire, October 10, 1782, and
was married June 28. 1800, to Nancy
Carter. He w^as a surveyor and contract-
or, and with his W'ife and two children
removed to Maine Ln 1804. being the first
of the direct ancestors of our subject to
leave Massachusetts. He established his
home on the Penobscot river, near Ban-
gor, where he remained until the winter
of 1814-15. when with his family he re-
moved to Bath. New York.

Timothy Whiting, the fifth member of
that family, was born in Penobscot county,
Maine, February 7, 1809. and was a son
of Colonel John WHiiting, wdio in 181 5
removed to Steuben county. New York,
where he followed the occupation of farm-



ing. Timothy \\'hiting- was a youth of
six years at that time, and when fifteen
years of age he entered Prattsburg Acad-
emy, where he completed a course of
study. He then entered business Hfe as a
clerk, and from his earnings saved the
capital which enabled him, when twenty
years of age, to engage in business on his
own account at Painted Post, in partner-
ship with another young man. This ven-
ture proved unsuccessful, however, but
Mr. Whiting, with his characteristic
honor, that was ever above reproach, la-
ter paid off all the joint obligations of the
firm. In 1835 he removed to Bath, New
York, where he carried on merchandising
until 1857. He then came to Mount
Pleasant with his family. He purchased
an interest in a banking house, which was
then conducted under the firm style of
Brazelton & Whiting. A year later the
firm became Clark & Whiting, and so con-
tinued until 1858, when it became the
Mount Pleasant branch of the State Bank
of Iowa, at which time Timothy Whiting
was president and John H. WHiiting cash-
ier. Timothy AA'hiting continued in the
presidency up to the time of his death,
which occurred on the 6th of February,
1887. The institution was a prosperous
one, being conducted along safe, conserva-
tive lines that awakened public confidence
and gained public support. Mr. Whiting
was also a large land owner, making ex-
tensive investments in real estate in Heniy
county, but was more widely known as .a
prominent financier. He was also inter-
ested in the university at Mount Pleasant,
and left to it an endowment fund, ^^^ith-
out aspiration for public ofiice, he served,
however, as a trustee of the hospital for

the insane of Mount Pleasant, and for
eleven years discharged his duty with the
utmost fidelity and capability. A liberal
supporter of the Methodist Episcopal
church, he became a member of that de-
nomination in 1 83 1, and in its work took
a most active and helpful part, serving as
superintendent of the Sunday school, as
president of the County Sunday-school As-
sociation, and for twenty years as presi-
dent of the Henry County Bible Society.
He gave five thousand dollars to the Iowa
Weslevan Universitv, on condition that an
equal sum should be subscribed by others.
He was always unostentatious in his giv-
ing, but was most generous, and his spirit
of benevolence stood as one of the strong
traits in his upright life. He was married
at Painted Post, New York, to Miss Sarah
A. McCall, a daughter of Ansel and Sarah
A. (Shannon) McCall, a native of that
town. She was a member of the Presby-
terian church, and she died at the family
home at the corner of Adams and Heniy
streets in Mount Pleasant, September 8,


John H. AA'hiting. whose name intro-
duces this review, pursued his early edu-
cation in the schools of Bath, afterward
studied in Genesee College at Lima, New
York, and subsequently entered the Wes-
leyan University at Aliddletown, Connecti-
cut, from which he was graduated in 1855
with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He
afterward taught school in Paul ^^'^ing
Academy, at Sandwich, ]\Iassachusetts,
for one year, and then came to Iowa with
his father, with whom he was associated
in the banking business, entering the
banking house of W. P. Brazelton & Com-
pany as clerk. He was soon made book-



keeper. His father purchased an interest
in the bank, which was then conducted un-
der the firm style of Brazelton & Whit-
ing. One year later the firm became
Clark & Whiting-, and so' continued un-
til 1858, when it became the Mount Pleas-
ant branch of the State Bank of Iowa.
John H. \Miiting acted as assistant cash-
ier until 1862, when he became cashier,
and so continued until after the bank was
chartered as the National State Bank, in
February. 1865. In 1868 he was made
vice-president, and in 1887, upon the
death of his father, was chosen to the
presidency, and so continued until his own
demise. He was recognized as one of the
leading financiers of the west, and for
many years was in active control of the
bank, which he made a strong and sound
financial institution, inaugurating a safe
policy that won the commendation of the
general public, the heirs of Timothy Whit-
ing holding the controlling interest. It
has always been knowai as the AMiiting
Bank, and his alert, enterprising business
methods won a gratifying measure of suc-
cess. The bank building w^as one of the
early substantial structures on the public
square of Mount Pleasant.

On the 22d of September, 1858, in
Bath, New York, Mr. Whiting was
united in marriage to Miss Julia May.
By her marriage she became the mother
of a daughter and two sons : May, now
the w'ife of G. W, S. Allen; James T.,
who is cashier of the National State Bank;
and Harr}^, a medical missionary in Ko-
rea. Mr. Whiting bought the beautiful
home that his w^idow still occupies, and
there they spent their entire married life,
which proved most congenial and happy.

His political support was given the to Re-
publican party, but he was never an as-
pirant for office. One of the early mem-
bers of the Presbyterian church, he served
as ruling elder for many years, or until
the time of his death, and w^as also a su-
perintendent of the Sunday-school for a
long period. He was a trustee of Parsons
College, at Fairfield, Iowa, in which he
w^as deeply interested, and he gave gener-
ous support to many public measures that
had for their object the material progress,
the social welfare or the intellectual and
moral development of the community and
state. Because of ill-health, he spent his
last years in retirement from active busi-
ness cares, and he passed away Septem-
ber 18, 1895, being in the sixty-first year
of his age. His name is honored because
of his noble qualities, and there were many
strong elements in his life record that are
worthy of emulation. While he won suc-
cess, his business integrity and the respect
of his friends was more to him than
wealth, fame or position. He had due re-
gard for the obligations of man toward
his fellow^ men, and his path was never
strewn wath the w^eck of the fortunes of
others. Added to his irreproachable busi-
ness integrity was a kindly spirit and gen-
erous disposition, which w^on him w^arm
friendships, and his best traits of charac-
ter were reserved for his ow^n home and


John Hayhurst Wallbank, deceased, was
one of the early and prominent business
men of ^Nlount Pleasant and in his recog-



nition of possibilities and improvement of
advantages he not only contributed to in-
dividual success but also promoted public
progress along lines of substantial and
permanent improvement. He \vas born
in Clitheroe, Lancastershire, England. No-
vember 7, 1838, his parents being James
and Sophia (Hayhurst) W'allbank. The
father was a printer by trade and was a
representative of one of the old families
of Lancastershire. In that locality John
H. Wallbank was reared and educated and
after completing his school life was ap-
pointed to a good official position under the
government, in which capacit}' he served
in his early manhood. He married Miss
IVlartha Whitwham, of Greengates, three
miles from Bradford, Yorkshire, the wed-
ding being celebrated in the Bradford Par-
ish church on the 21st of April, i860. Her
parents were Joseph and Elizabeth (Hop-
wood) Whitwham, whose home was in the
same localitv as the W^allbanks but was in
Yorkshire. After their marriage Air. and
j\Irs. Wallbank made their home near
Bradford for a time and in 1863 he went to
New Zealand, where he conducted a gen-
eral store, being successfully engaged in
business there for three years. Returning
to England, he carried on merchandising
in that country for two years, and after
selling out crossed the Atlantic to America
in 1868, accompanied by his family.

That was the year of Mr. Wallbank's
arrival in Henry county, Iowa. He set-
tled at Trenton, where he opened a gen-
eral store, while for seven years he was
a merchant of Wayland. W^ishing a
broader field for business activity he came
to Mount Pleasant in June, 1880, and
opened a shoe store, conducting that busi-

ness until 1885, when he disposed of his
stock of shoes and became an exclusive
dealer in clothing and men's furnishing
goods, having the leading business in that
line. Mr. \\'allbank was successfully en-
gaged in business for a long period with a
trade that in volume and importance made
him a leading representative of commercial
pursuits in Mount Pleasant. His business
methods neither sought nor required dis-
guise. He was alert, enterprising and
progressive and realizing that "there is
no excellence without labor" he displayed
indefatigable energy and diligence in the
conduct of his interests until his efforts
brought him a very gratifying competence.
\\'hen at Wayland he was one of the mov-
ing spirits in an effort to secure the build-
ing of a railroad there, and while giving
careful attention to his own interests he
also found time to devote to public welfare
and his labors were far-reaching and bene-
ficial in their effect.

I'nto Mr. and Mrs. \\'allbank were
born six children : Sophia E. : Eliza, the
widow of Charles F. Palmer, of Denver,
Colorado, who died April 16, 1903, and
she has three children living, Arthur
Bowen, Margaret \\\. and Elizabeth L.,
while her daughter Martha Louise has
passed away ; Nellie B. ; Anna, the wife of
H. S. McGavic, of St. Louis, Missouri,
who has a daughter, Martha; and James
W., and John Arthur, who continue the
clothing business.

Air. Wallbank was an exemplary mem-
ber of the jNIasonic fraternity and of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows for
over thirty years. In politics he was a
democrat and served as postmaster of
Mount Pleasant under President Cleve-



land, giving a public spirited and business
like administration. He attended and sup-
ported the Presbyterian church, of which
his wife and daughters are members. In
England he had attended the services of
the Episcopal church. He purchased a
beautiful home on North Alain street in
1894 and there resided up to the time of
his death, which occurred September 8,
1904. His widow still resides there, rich
in the love of her children and the regard
of many friends.

Mr. Wallbank, whose intense and well
directed energy brought to. him creditable
prosperity, became known as a representa-
tive business man of Mount Pleasant, but
moreover he was a man of strong domestic
tastes devoted to the welfare and happi-
ness of his wife and children and the best
traits of his character were reserved for
his own fireside.


Mathew Skipton, at one time actively
connected with agriculturail interests in
Henry county, is now living retired at his
pleasant home farm in ^Marion township,
this rest being vouchsafed to him by rea-
son of his honorable and well directed
labor in former years. He was born in
Washington county, Ohio, on the 7th of
February, 1828, his parents being John
and Martha (Paris) Skipton, who were
natives of Pennsylvania, the former born
in 1794, and the latter in 1796. He was a
native of Mifflin couny, and devoted his

energies to farm work. On the nth of
March, 1820, he married Miss Paris, who
died December 19, 1850, at the age of
fifty-four years, while his death occurred
on the 27th of December, 1889, in the
ninety-fifth years of his age. He had be-
come a resident of Ohio in 1808, in which
year he located in Marietta, and at the
time of the second war with England he
responded to the country's call for aid,
becoming a member of Captain John
Thomley's command of the Ohio mili-
tia. In the early days he rented a keel
boat on the Ohio river and was recog-
nized as the best boatman of his time and
community. He displayed great energy
and capability in all of his business affairs,
and it was said that he could cradle more
grain in a day than any other one man
in the county. All his life was given to
farm work, w^ith the exception of the
time spent on the river, and he owned
and conducted a good farm property in
Washington county, Ohio, where he took
up his abode in 1820. He cast his first
presidential vote for Monroe, and sup-
ported each democratic presidential can-
didate up to and including the year
1884, when he cast his ballot for
Grover Cleveland, thus having voted
at seventeen different presidential elec-
tions. He filled various township and
local offices, being township clerk for
many years, and justice of the peace
from 1845 until 1857. In the latter
year he was chosen township treasurer
and filled the office until 1875. Each po-
sition to which he was called found in
him a worthy incumbent, for he dis-
charged his duties with credit to himself
and satisfaction to his constituents. In



his family were six sons and three daugh-
ters : Sebastian and Francis, both de-
ceased ; John, who is hving in Repubhc
county, Kansas; Jane, the wife of George
Hih, of Marietta, Ohio ; Samuel, living in
Washington county, Ohio ; Matthew, of
this review; William, who died in 1903;
Mary Ann and Martha, who are residing
in Marietta, Ohio.

Mathew Skipton acquired his educa-
tion in the district schools of his native
state, and was reared to farm labor, spend-
ing- his 3'outh upon his father's old home-
stead. When about twenty-one years of
age he engaged in working in his father's
quarry and also made trips on a flatboat
at times on the Ohio river. Desirous of
becoming the owner of land, he made his
way to Appanoose count}^, Iowa, where,
in 1852, he entered one hundred and
forty-two acres from the government
The following year he crossed the plains
to the Pacific coast, and spent a year in
Portland, Oregon, after which he went
over the mountains to California, where
he remained for three years, working in
gold mines. By the way of the isthmus
and New York he returned to Marietta,
Ohio, and later engaged in the cultivation
and improvement of his farm in Appa-
noose county, Iowa, where he remained
for nine years, selling that property in
1865. In 1864 he was commissioned by
Governor Stone as captain in the Iowa
militia, but was not called out for active
duty. On selling his Appanoose county
farm, he purchased one hundred acres of
partially improved land, where he now
lives, building the house thereon, and has
added all of the other improvements.
With the passing years, owing to the

care and labor he has bestowed upon
the place, this farm has greatly appreci-
ated in value until it is today worth one
hundred and twenty-five dollars per acre.
Mr. Skipton tilled the soil, cultivated the
crops best adapted to soil and climate,
and was also extensively engaged in
stock-raising, until about five years ago,
when advancing age caused him to retire
from active farm w^ork, and he is now
enjoying a well earned ease.

On the 26th of August, 1856. occurred
the marriage of Mathew Skipton and Miss
Elizabeth Winters, who was born in Lin-
colnshire, England, September i, 1831, a
daughter of John and Caroline (Cook)
Winters, both of whom were natives 01
England, the father having been born
on Christmas day, 1800, and the mother
on the 7th of January of the same year.
They came to America in 1834, crossing
the Atlantic on an old-time sailing ves-
sel, which was nine weeks in making the
voyage. They sufi^ered many privations
and hardships during the trip, for the
vessel lost its course and encountered
some severe weather. After living in the
east for a number of years, Mr. Winters
came to Iowa from Pennsylvania, in 1850,
and purchased a farm in Henry county,
having two hundred acres which adjoined
the Skipton farm. There he carried on gen-
eral agricultural pursuits up to the time of
his death, in 1885, his wife surviving until
1889. They were members of the Metho-
dist Episcopal church, and were people of
the highest respectability, enjoying in
large measure the confidence and good
will of those who knew them. In their
family were nine children : Sarah, who
is the widow of Frank Skipton, and re-



sides in Canaan township ; Ann, the wife
of Jolm Skipton, of Kansas ; Ehzabeth,
now the wife of Mathew Skipton;
Charles, who is Hving in Canaan town-
ship ; Sophia, the wife of James Thomas,
of ^Vinfield; John, w^ho died' at the age of
sixty years. The other children died in

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Skipton
was blessed with nine children, of whom
seven are yet living : Sebastian, born in
Appanoose comity, low^a, in 1858, is liv-
ing with his parents and has charge of the
farm ; Alary, born in Appanoose county
in i860, is the wife of Lewis Allender,
of South Dakota, and they have four
children — Olive, Alta Grace. Ray and El-
lis. Frank, born in 1861, and now living
in Xew London township, married Ella
Litzenburg, and has six children — Wal-
ter. Mabel, Mary E., Ethel, Alma and one
deceased. Joseph, born in 1864, is living
in South Dakota. Sarah, born in Henry
county in 1866, was the wife of Robert
Gatt, and died at Yarmouth, Des Moines
county, Iowa, February 14, 1906. Olive,
born in 1868, is the wife of Wallace Mat-
thews, of Danville, Iowa. 'David, born in
1870, married Ida Hammerquist and re-
sides in South Dakota.

The farm on which Mr. Skipton re-
sides lies on sections 12 and 13, Marion
township, and returns to him a good in-
come. He and his wife are devoted mem-
bers of the Methodist Episcopal church.
He is unfaltering in his allegiance to the
democratic party, to which he has long
given inflexible support. For nine years
he served as school director, and for a
similar period was president of the board.
He has also been road supervisor, and his

public duties have been discharged with
the same capability that he has brought to
his private interests. He has lived to
witness many changes in this county and
in Iowa since he came to the state, for at
the time of his arrival here there were no
railroads, telegraphs nor telephones. Few
farms had been fenced, and only here and
there w^ere seen the homes of the pioneers.
Mr. and Mrs. Skipton are highly intelli-
gent and worthy people, fully meriting
the rest wdiicli they are now enjoying.


The Lee family has long figured promi-
nently in Henry county and the name is
inseparably connected wdth its history, for
its members have been active in promot-
ing the material, intellectual, social and
moral progress of this part of the state.
Fred and Hezekiah Lee, brothers, natives
of Ohio or Illinois, came to Henry
county in the spring of 1835 and took up
separate claims of government land in
New^ London township that are now
ow'ued by James Totemeier. John Martin
Lee now owns the Fred Lee property.
Both of the brothers who came originally
to the county w^ere buried in the Farrel
cemetery, where also w^ere interred the
remains of two other brothers, John and
Jeremiah Lee, who came to this county
in 1836. Elias, another brother, died in
Illinois. John and Jeremiah Lee also
took up government land, living for some
years upon their property before it came



on the market. John took up over four
hundred acres, of which Samuel Lee con-
ducts over eig'lity acres. The improve-
ments of that property were all placed
there by the Lee family and the parents
lived and died upon this farm.

John Lee married Charity Smith, in
Bond county, Illinois, and unto them
were born twelve children.

Samuel Lee was born in Bond county,
Illinois, November 4, 1827, and was edu-
cated in one of the old-time subscription
schools. He was reared to the occupation
of farming and has followed that pur-
suit throughout his entire business career.
He added to his original eighty-acre tract
of land in New London township an-
other tract of eighty acres in Canaan
township, and at the present time is the
owner of one hundred and fifty-six acres
of land on section 12, New London town-
ship, and eighteen acres in Pleasant Grave
township, Des Moines county. His busi-
ness interests have been carefully con-
ducted and he has ever followed farming
along progressive lines. His life, too, has
been upright and honorable and at all
times he has exemplified in his daily con-
tact with his fellow men his religious faith
as a member of the Methodist Episcopal
church. He held the office of church
trustee both while residing upon the farm
and after his removal to New London and
in fact is the incumbent of that office at
the present time. Politically he has been
a stalwart republican since the organiza-
tion of the party but has never desired
office, preferring to do his public service
as a private citizen.

Samuel Lee was married to Miss Lou-
isa Burge, a daughter of Jacob and Ra-

chel Burge and unto them were born two
children : Ira, who died at the age of
two years; and Green, who is now a resi-
dent of New London. The wife and
mother, Mrs. Louisa Lee, died upon the
home farm and like her son Ira was laid
to rest in the old family burying ground.
For his second wife Mr. Lee chose Mary
Jane Leace, a daughter of Thomas and
Jane (Walker) Leace. By this marriage
there are four children : John, who is
li\ing in ^Morning Sun, Iowa, where he
is engaged in the livery business ; Flor-
ence, the wife of Edgar Peterson, who is
mentioned elsewhere in this work ; Cora
Alice, at home; and Jennie, the wife of
Frank Seaton, a resident of California.


Thomas Brunce Lee is a representative
of one of the most prominent and hon-
ored pioneer families of Henry county.
The student of history cannot carry his
investigations far into the annals of this
county without learning of the close, in-
timate and helpful connection of the Lee
family with its public affairs. Thomas
Brunce Lee was born in Bond county,
Illinois, June 29, 1835, and is a son of
John and Charity (Smith) Lee. In 1S36
the father removed to Henry county with
his family, locating at the head of Flint
creek in New London township, where
he purchased a claim from his brother-in-
law, Eaton Smith, consisting of a little
more than one hundred and sixtv acres



of land. There were no improvements
upon this property, but with characteris-
tic energy he began its cultivation and de-
velopment and in course of time built a
double log house and log barn. He then
broke the wild land, placing it under the
plow and planting seed which brought
forth good harvests. As the years passed

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 3 of 85)