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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 30 of 85)
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in her parents' home, being reared and
educated in Keosauqua, Iowa, and on the
9th of January, 1853, she gave her hand
in marriage to John C. Hastings, who
was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in
18 1 2. His parents, John and Elizabeth
Hastings, were natives of the Emerald
Isle and on coming to America settled

in Ohio, where their remaining days were
passed. In their family were five chil-
dren, all of whom are now deceased. John
C. Hastings was first married in 1842 to
Jane Plew and they had one child, Wil-
liam, who was born in 1844 and married
Adeline Kerr. After losing his first wife
William Hastings wedded Cora Dunson
and they had a little girl. Gladys B. They
resided on the old Hastings farm in Van-
Buren county, Iowa. Mrs. Jane (Plew)
Hastings died in 1845, and. as before
stated, in 1853 ]\Ir. Hastings wedded
Miss Purdom. He had been educated for
the practice of law and for the ministry
while living in Ireland, but impaired
health caused him to give his attention to
farming as the outdoor life proved much
more beneficial than the indoor existence
of a professional career. Socially he was
a master Mason, and politically was a
democrat. He died in 1876, at the age of
seventy- four years and his widow, Mrs.
Hastings, afterward gave her hand in
marriage to Cyrus Harlan, who had lost
his first wife in 1880. She was called
upon to mourn the loss of her second hus-
band on the 3d of February. 1899. and
in October. 1900. Mrs. Harlan came to
live in Hillsboro. Here she bought a
large piece of ground and erected the fin-
est residence in the town. It is built in
attractive and modern style of architec-
ture, is tastefully furnished and stands in
the midst of a beautiful and well kept
lawn. Both of her husbands were enter-
prising and progressive business men,
highly respected in the community. They
stood for good citizenship, for honesty
in business dealings, for fidelity in friend-
ship and devotion to the ties of home, and



each made her existence a happy one.
Mrs. Harlan has been a member of the
Methodist church from the age of nine
years and has hved an earnest, devoted
Christian hfe. She is a member of the
Eastern Star, has filled every office in the
local lodge and is now treasurer. She
has done much good in the world and has
shed around her much of life's happiness.
The poor and needy have found in her a
friend and those in affliction have received
her heartfelt sympathy. She has long
been recognized as one of the leading and
most highly esteemed ladies of Hillsboro
and Henrv countv. She was a member
of the World's Fair Fraternal Building
Association at St. Louis, Missouri, in
1904, which entitled her to the rights,
benefits and privileges of such member-
ship. She is now the only surviving
member of an honored and prominent
pioneer family and no history of this
county would be complete without men-
tion of her life. Her many good traits
of heart and mind have endeared her to
those with whom she has come in con-
tact and her example is indeed well
worthy of emulation. Mr. Harlan was
respected by all who knew him, and a re-
view of the county would not be complete
without mention of him.


Charles D. Wood resides upon a farm
of one hundred and one acres in Center
township, and his well improved property

is the visible evidence of his life of thrift
and industry. His birth occurred in
Ouincy, Illinois, on the 12th of December,
1837, his parents being Daniel and Edith
(Athens) Wood. The father was born
in the state of New York and the moth-
er's birth occurred in North Carolina. Mr.
Wood devoted his attention to farming,
and on coming westward to Illinois in
1835, settled upon a farm where he re-
sided for three years, after which he took
up his abode in Henry county, then an al-
most unbroken and uninhabited district,
save for the red men, who still pitched
their wigwams in the forest. He, how-
ever, aided in the work of reclamation,
and carried on general farming and stock-
raising here until his death, wliich oc-
curred September 10, 1881. His wife
passed away June 8. 1866, and was buried
in the old cemetery at Mount Pleasant.
Earnest Christian people, they were de-
voted members of the Methodist Episco-
pal church for forty or fifty years, and
the teachings of the Bible were a perme-
ating influence in their lives. Mr. A\'ood
voted with the Republican party, but never
aspired to office, preferring to give his
attention to his private business affairs.
In their family were six children, of whom
Charles D. is the youngest. The others
are as follows : Laura A. became the
wife of John M. Hanson, and l)oth are
deceased. Theodocia B. married \\'. W.
Kendall, and has now departed this life,
while her husband died while in the Civil
war. John F. married Susan Shuck, and
both are deceased. Daniel C. married
Miss Lavenburg. and they, too, have de-
parted this life.

Charles D. W^ood acc|uired his educa-



tion in the log schoolhouses of Henry
county, studying his lessons while seated
upon a slab bench. In one end of the
room was a large fireplace, and the fur-
nishings were Aery crude. After leaving
school he went to Kansas, when that state
was a territory, and where he engaged in
the border ruffian war, also using his vote
to make that state a home for free men.
There he carried on farming to some ex-
tent, also conducted a grocery and de-
voted his attention to other business pur-
suits. He remained until the time of the
Civil war. when he returned eastward,
and at Pittsfield, Illinois, he enlisted in
the Second Illinois Cavalry, serving for
one year, during which time he was on
guard dut}- at Paducah and other points
in Kentucky. He was then honorably
discharged on account of illness. Follow-
ing his return from the war, he settled in
Henry county. Iowa, where he engaged
in farming until 1872, when he went to
California, where he engaged in agricul-
tural pursuits for two years. He then re-
turned to Henry county, and took up his
abode upon his present farm in Center
township, south of Mount Pleasant. Here
he has since carried on general agricul-
tural pursuits and stock-raising, and he
now owns one hundred and one acres of
land, which is rich and arable, producing
excellent crops annually and also furnish-
ing splendid pasturage for the stock. He
is also one of the largest egg and chicken
producers in the county. He has remod-
eled the house and equipped the place with
modern buildings and the latest improved
machinery, and his farm indicates his
careful supervision in its well kept ap-

On the 1 2th of February. 1863. Mr.
Wood was married to Miss Adda Willi-
ford, who was born in Henry county,
May 8, 1844. Her parents were natives
of Kentucky, and the father followed
farming throughout his entire life. In
1836 he came to Henry county, casting in
his lot with its pioneer settlers and assist-
ing materially in the work of early de-
velopment and improvement. He lived
to see a marked change in the county, and
his death here occurred April 4. 1885.
His wife bore the maiden name of Rose
Hedrix. and died in August. 1899. ^^^•
Williford was a republican, stanch in sup-
port of the party, and he served as road
supervisor and as school director. Both
he and his wife were laid to rest in a pri-
vate burial ground known as the \\'illi-
ford cemetery. They had twelve chil-
dren, of whom six are living: Samuel,
who married Miss Sarah Bailey, and re-
sides at Georgetown, Colorado ; Susan,
the wife of A. Rogers, who is living in
Nebraska ; Stephen, who married Miss
Hudson, and resides in Portland, Oregon ;
Robert, who married Almeda Nicholas,
and is living in Salem. Iowa : Lucretia,
who married Andrew Huggins. and lives
in Henry county. Iowa ; and ]Mrs. Wood.

Unto our subject and his wife have
been born five children, all natives of
Henry county. Florence is the wife of
James Leech, of Center township, and has
five children; Cordelia, Grace, Vernon.
Pearl, and Pauline. Edith is the wife of
Clayton Dann. of Pennsylvania, and they
have eight children : Cliarles Edgcfr,
Ernest Creighton. Frank Jackson, Mary,
Raymond. Romney, Gilbert, and Linn.
Ada lives with her parents. May V. is the



wife of Augustus Ackerman, of Mount
Pleasant, and has three children, Alpha,
Frederick and Lois. Roscoe is at home.
Mr. Wood votes with the Republican
party, and for fifteen years has served as
school director, the cause of education
finding in him a warm and helpful friend.
He and his wife are members of the
Church of God, and he belongs to the
Grand Army of the Republic, thus main-
taining- pleasant relations with his old
army comrades, who, with him, wore the
blue uniform upon southern battlefields
He came to Mount Pleasant when there
were few houses here and no railroads,
when neighbors were far apart, and when
Indians were numerous in this portion of
the state. There were also wolves and
other wild animals, while deer and other
wild game furnished many a meal to the
settlers. He has watched the introduction
of all modern improvements, including
the railroad, the telegraph and the tele-
phone, and all kinds of electrical machin-
ery, and has kept pace with the general
progress along agricultural lines. He and
his wife are intelligent, accommodating,
and worthy people, enjoying the esteem
of neighbors and friends, and well do they
deserve mention among the representative
citizens of the countv.


Among the successful farmers of Ca-
naan township are many who were born
and bred upon the farm, who have fol-

lowed agricultural pursuits all their lives
and have become representative men in
the community in which they live. There
are many who have gained the deserved
prominence they now enjoy through their
own energy and steadfastness of purpose.

A young and successful farmer of such
a type is Frank C. Davey, who was born
in Canaan township, July 5, 1871, on the
place where he now resides. He spent
his boyhood and youth on the home place,
assisting his father in the farm work,
when he was too young to take responsi-
bilities. He attended school in the dis-
trict schools and received a good general

He is a son of Lewis and Maria (Shop-
bell) Davey and is, through his father,
of Eng-lish descent, the elder Davey hav-
ing been born in Devonshire, England.
His mother's parents, Jacob and Eliza-
beth (Huskin) Shopbell, were natives of

Lewis Davey went to New London and
married there in 185 1 and lived upon a
farm which he leased until 1861. He
then purchased eighty acres on section 27,
Canaan township, a piece of land which
was then in an uncultivated state. He
made many needed improvements and at
the time of his death in 1902 left the land
in a good state of cultivation. He lived
to see most flattering results of his early
labors. His wife, the great helper in his
early clays of wresting his land from the
wilderness, is still living and is passing
her declining years with her daughter,
Mrs. W. M. Anderson, of Aurora, Illi-

■ Frank C. Davey has always lived upon
the old homestead where he has devoted



his time and energy to his chosen calling.
In 1 90 1 he bought eighty acres of the
farm originally belonging to his father,
and in 1904 he purchased eighty acres
more of the home place. He is a prac-
tical farmer and confines himself to no
one line, but follows general farming,
raising hogs, cattle and horses.

October 2y, 1902, Mr. Davey married
]\Iiss Ida M. Ross, who was a native of
Wapello, Louisa county, Iowa. She was
a daughter of Hector Ross (of Canadian
birth) and Mary Ross. She gained her
education in the public schools of Medi-
apolis, where she was a student until she
completed the course of studies.

Air. Davey is a practical farmer and is
a man who is constantly seeking the im-
provement of his productive and well
tilled lands. He is politically a democrat,
but does not care to take an active part
in politics, preferring rather to aid in
good government by being a conscien-
ii"ious, faithful citizen, devoted to the wel-
fare of both home and country.


Eli Seeley, who was one of the early
promoters of development and progress
in Lee county and became recognized as
one of the most successful and promi-
nent men of eastern Iowa, was born in
Fairfield county, Connecticut, May 7,
1 812. When he was about fifteen years
of age his father died, leaving him to
battle for himself. He continued a resi-

dent of his native state, however, until
about twenty years of age, and worked
at the carpenter's trade, when his health
was somewhat impaired, then he trav-
eled to some extent, both on sea and land.
Subsequently he was employed in a clock
factory at Ansonia, Connecticut, and in
1 84 1 arrived in Iowa. Taking up his
abode in Harrison township, Lee county,
he entered a tract of land from the gov-
ernment and then returned to his old
home as he had come — on horseback.
The return trip, however, was made for
the express purpose of completing arrange-
ments whereby he might identify his in-
terests with those of the middle west and
from Pennsylvania to Iowa he drove a
flock of one thousand sheep with one
horse and a dog. Reaching his destina-
tion, he began improving his place and
having free range because of the unset-
tled condition of the country at that time
he handled large numbers of sheep, hav-
ing as many as five thousand. As he
prospered in his undertakings he also
added to his landed possessions until he
had about five thousand acres at the time
of his death. He was also well known as
a capitalist and money lender, first loan-
ing money here for friends in the east
and later on his own account. He was
known as one of the most successful men
of Lee county, the extent and importance
of his business being such as to make him
a leader in real-estate and agricultural
operations. He also extended his ef-
forts into other fields of activity and as-
sisted in the organization of the Farm-
ers' and Traders' Bank at Bonaparte.
Iowa, becoming a member of its board
of directors, in which capacity he served



until failing- health obliged him to resign
as he could no longer attend to the meet-
ings of the board.

Mr. Seeley was united in marriage
May I. 1845, to Miss Martha Beeler, who
was born May 14, 1821. a daughter of
Isaac and Jane Beeler, who came to Iowa
in 1836. locating on a tract of land ad-
joining the Seeley homestead. Mr. See-
ley boarded with the Beeler family dur-
ing the early years of his residence here
and eventually married the daughter of
the household. They became the parents
of seven children, six of whom reached
vears of maturitv, but four of the num-
ber are now decased, Mettie, Theodore
F., Ada and George L. Those still liv-
ing are: Lucy J., now the wife of S. B.
Davis, of Kansas City, Missouri : and
\A'. B., who is represented on another
page of this work.

Mr. Seeley gave unfaltering support
to the Republican party but was never an
aspirant for office, preferring to concen-
trate his energies upon his Inisiness af-
fairs. He was watchful of opporunity
and accordingly embraced every advan-
tage promising honorable success. He was
one of the men of ability to whom the
great west is indebted for the part which
he took in its reclamation, transforming
it from a wild domain to the uses of civil-
ization. His efforts were crowned with
success. • He attended and supported the
Presbyterian church, of which Mrs. See-
ley is a member. She still survives her
husband who departed this life April 3,
1896, and makes his home in Mount
Pleasant, having for many years been a
resident of this state so that she is num-
bered among its worthy pioneer women.


The name of Seeley is so closely inter-
woven with the business history and de-
velopment of Mount Pleasant and east-
ern Iowa that no record of this part of
the state would be complete without men-
tion of the representatives of the name
who have figured so prominently here. W.
B. Seeley, banker, agriculturist, and
stock-raiser, of Mount Pleasant, is too
well known in this locality and through-
out the state to need introduction to the
readers of this volume. He was born in
Harrison township, Lee county, Iowa, on
March 4, 1862, and is a son of Eli and
Martha (Beeler) Seeley. who are repre-
sented elsewhere in this work. At the
usual age he became a public school stu-
dent, mastering the elementarv branches
of learning in Primrose, Iowa, while later
he attended Elliott's Business College, at
Burlington. He then matriculated in the
law department of the L'niversity of
Iowa, and was there graduated with the
class of 1886, receiving the degree of
LL. B. This was the first class that was
graduated after the installation of the
two years' course.

Returning to Lee county Mr. Seelev
became associated with his father who
had extensive business interests, to the
supervision of which he devoted his time
and energies until the father's death. He
was married March 4, 1890, to Miss Eliz-
abeth J. Ketcham, who was born August
27, 1869. and is a daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. Benjamin Ketcham, one of the pio-
neer and highly respected families of Van
Buren county. Mr. Ketcham, together
with Mr. Seeley's father, helped to organ-



ize the Farmers' and Traders' State Bank
of Bonaparte, Iowa, in the early '80s.
They were both members of the first
board of directors, which position Mr.
Ketcham stih holds, as well as vice-presi-
dent. Mr. and Mrs. Seeley located on
Clover Lawn farm near the old homestead
where Mr. Seeley continued to supervise
and take charge of the more important
business affairs of his father, which were
now becoming burdensome to him. At
the latter's demise the younger son.
George Lincoln Seeley, was appointed ad-
ministrator, acting in that capacity until
his own death, on the 24th of May, 1897,
when W . B. Seeley was appointed admin-
istrator de bonus non, so serving until the
estate w'as settled up and he was honor-
ably discharged in June, 1905.

Li 1900 Mr. Seeley removed to Mount
Pleasant, and at once began the erection
of a most beautiful and palatial residence
at the corner of Broadway and Saunders
streets, which was completed in 1902.
Since taking up his abode in this city his
attention has largely been given to bank-
ing interests, breeding and exhibiting fine
stock, as well as agricultural interests,
which he had been conducting before
. moving here. He has thus figured in fi-
nancial circles for some time, having as-
sisted in the organization of the Citizens'
Mutual Bank at Donelson, Iowa, of which
he is the president. He also aided in or-
ganizing the First National Bank of
Farmington, Iowa, of which he is like-
wise the president. Both of these insti-
tutions are on a splendid basis, having
had a prosperous existence and are re-
garded as among the most reliable finan-
cial concerns in this part of the state. Mr.

Seeley is likewise extensively interested
in farming lands and owns a fine stock
farm near Mount Pleasant, known as the
Springdale stock farm, on which he is
raising fine Aberdeen Angus cattle. He
has here a number of imported animals
and all are fine registered stock. The
farm has a noted spring upon it, which
gives it its name. It was here that in
the fall of 1 86 1 the Twenty-fifth Iowa
Volunteer Infantry and the Fourth Iowa
Cavalry encamped while organizing and
the spring furnished a plentiful supply
of water for all the men and horses during
the four or five months of the encamp-
ment here. Mr. Seeley now has a fine
herd and has carried off many prizes at
state fairs and international shows. At
the head of his herd stands Blackbird
Ito, which took first prize over everything
in his class in the entire circuit in 1904,
including the World's Fair at St. Louis.
Mr. Seeley is also engaged in the breed-
ing of Poland China hogs with Iowa
Sunshine, 77,325, at the head of the
herd found on the Springdale stock farm.
He continues to operate the Clover Lawn
farm in Harrison township, Lee county,
which comprises one square section of lantl
and is the original home farm of the fam-
ily. There he engages in the l)reeding of
cattle, horses, hogs, and sheep. Aside
from the stock farms, herein referred to.
Mr. Seeley has other land interests ag-
gregating over three thousand acres. His
banking, farming, and stock-raising in-
terests are extensive and have made him
well known throughout the state and be-
yond the borders of Iowa as well. In ad-
dition to giving his attention to these in-
terests, however. Mr. Seelev has devoted



much time to a work that is creditable and
of much \ahie to the city of Mount
Pleasant. Upon the death of his brother,
George Lincoln Seeley, W. B. Seeley and
Sherman Taylor were appointed admin-
istrators of the estate at his request. The
deceased brother had expressed ideas al-
though somewhat indefinitely that his es-
tate be used for the beautifying of the
home cemetery at Sharon, and for the
benfit of young men. His wish in refer-
ence to the cemetery has been full}' car-
ried out and Sharon has become one of
the most beautiful cemeteries in the en-
tire state. In order to carry out his de-
sires in the other direction, the adminis-
trators decided upon the erection of the
beautiful Young Men's Christian Asso-
ciation building at Mount Pleasant, and
the establishment of a manual training de-
partment in connection therewith. It
was first planned that the building was to
cost about forty or fifty thousand dol-
lars, but the plans have since been en-
larged and improved upon until at the
completion this memorial building will
have cost seventy-five thousand dollars.
Much thought and effort have been re-
C|uired in carrying out this desire of the
deceased brother to whom it will stand
as a memorial for many years to come
and at the same time it proves the devo-
tion of Mr. Seeley to his brother, and to
the city.

Mr. and Mrs. Seeley have become the
parents of three children, Florence, June
and Benjamin Eli. In politics he is a
republican. At the republican county con-
vention held June 2, 1906, Mr. Seeley
was unanimotisly endorsed for state sena-
tor, and the delegates to the senatorial

convention, chosen at this meeting, were
instructed to cast the solid vote of the
county for him. Both he and his wife
hold membership in the Presbyterian
church and he is one of the church trus-
tees at Sharon. Of keen discernment in
business affairs, of unfaltering enterprise,
and stalwart purpose he successfully man-
ages his interests until today he is one of
the most prosperous and representative
men of southeastern Iowa. He is like-
wise known as a pleasant, social compan-
ion, and a devoted husband and father,
and in the community where his entire
life has been passed the circle of his warm
friends is verv extensive.


George Lincoln Seeley, wdiose name is
endeared to all residents of Mount Pleas-
ant and a monument to whose life and
memory is seen in the beautiful Young
Men's Christian Association building of
this city, was born in Harrison township,
Lee county, Iowa, May 15, 1865, his par-
ents being Eli and Martha (Beeler) See-
ley, mention of whom is made on another
page of this work. He began his educa-
tion in the graded schools of Primrose,
Iowa, and afterward attended Howe's
Academy in Mount Pleasant. He early
became associated wdth his father in busi-
ness, being the youngest and only child
remaining at home, was a great help and
comfort to his aged parents. After his
father's death he w^as appointed adminis-




trator of the estate, but his health soon
began to fail and in December following-
he, with his brother, T. F. Seeley, and
family, went to Texas, where he re-
mained until his death on the 24th of
May, 1897. He was well-to-do for a
man of his age, and when realizing that
the end of his days was drawing near
he expressed a desire that his means
might be used to beautify Sharon ceme-
tery and also for the benefit and advance-
ment of young men. His plans were not
matured but were expressed to his brother
and sisters, who were with him and
though he did not definitely decide upon
any course for them to pursue, his admin-

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 30 of 85)