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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 31 of 85)
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istrators — his brother. \V. B. Seeley. and
his friend, Sherman Taylor, who had
been aj^pointed at his request — have car-
ried out his wishes. He had remarked
that "Sharon was the dearest spot on
earth to him," and since his death his
administrators have carried out his de-
sire to have Sharon cemetery beautified
and improved. They enlarged the
grounds to twice the original size and
have fenced the entire plot by first mak-
ing a foundation three feet in the
ground and building thereon a fine gran-
ite coping surmounted by a galvanized
iron fence. At the entrance there is a
beautiful and massive gateway and
through the efforts and labors of the ad-
ministrators Sharon has been made one
of the most beautiful rural cemeteries in
the country. After much study and in-
vestigation the administrators have also
built a fine memorial building for the
Young Men's Christian Association at
Mount Pleasant, in connection with which
is a fully equipped manual training school.

Thus the locality in which Mr. Seeley
lived and labored is yet benefiting by his
efforts, his forethought and his generos-
ity. He was a member of the Sharon
Presbyterian church and a man highly re-
spected by all who knew him. In busi-
ness transactions he was the soul of honor
and integrity, and he had a broad hu-
manitarian spirit which reached out to
his fellow men, desiring the greatest good
and best development for all. The splen-
did Young Men's Christian Association
building is a fitting monument to an hon-
orable career.


James Franklin Sargent, deceased, who
in the years of an active business life, won
the full tirust, confidence and respect of his
fellow citizens and- became known as one
of the representative residents of Mount
Pleasant, was born in Plymouth, New
Hampshire, June 11, 1829. He was de-
scended from New England ancestry of
some prominence. His father served as a
member of the New Hampshire legisla-
ture and James F. Sargent was of the
eighth generation in the line of descent
from William Sargent, who settled in
Amesbury, New Hampshire, at a very
early period in the colonization of Amer-
ica. Flis father was a farmer and teacher
and gave to his son good educational privi-
leges for those days. When a youth of
twelve years James F. Sargent went to
an academy to live and study and he spent



his summer months in Waltham, ]\Iassa-
chusetts, in learning the jewelers trade.
In the autumn he would again enter school
and he thus continued to divide his time
between the acquirement of an education
and the knowledge of the jeweler's busi-
ness until he had finished his school life.
He then went to New York in search of
a location, and while there he was advised
by a friend to seek emplo^nnent with the
firm of Taylor & Main in Utica, New
York. He did so and was given a good
position with that house, continuing there
for five or six years. After a year, desir-
ing to go home on a visit, his firm allowed
him his vacation time, and on reaching
the postoffice he found a letter from the
firm enclosing a fifty-dollar check with
the recjuest that he accept it as a token
of their appreciation of his valuable serv-
ice. After six years spent with Taylor &
Main he resigned, to the deep regret of
his employers.

Seeming trivial things often prove of
utmost importance in the life of the indi-
vidual, and so it happened in the case of
Mr. Sargent, who one day heard the Rev.
Dr. Stewart, a Presbyterian clergyman,
then of Mount Clemens, telling the firm
of Taylor & Main that the Iowa town in
w^hich he lived did not have a jeweler and
that the citizens of Mount Pleasant w^ere
therefore obliged to go to Burlington for
everything that they needed. Thinking
that it might prove an advantageous field
for him, Mr. Sargent made arrangements
to come to the west, and after reaching
Mount Pleasant sought Dr. Stewart, who
gave him such assistance as he could in
making a start here. He located in Henry
county in 1855, when IMount Pleasant was

yet a new town, and opened a jewelry store,
his first location being in the west side
of the square. He occupied one-half of
the store of Mr. Brasleton, who used the
other half for banking purposes. Subse-
c[uently Mr. Sargent removed to what is
known as the Tiffany corner, and there he
conducted a fine store and enjoyed a large
trade until 1875, when he removed to a
store which he purchased on the north sid'e
of the square and which is still owned by
Mrs. Sargent. There he conducted busi-
ness until his retirement al30ut tweh'e years
before his death. He was long recognized
as one of the leading and representative
merchants of the city. He always carried
a large and well selected stock of goods
thoroughly up-to-date, and his earnest de-
sire to please his patrons and his honorable
business methods secured him a trade that
made his labor very profitable.

Mr. Sargent was united in marriage to
Miss Mary Maling, of Mount Pleasant,
who died leaving no children. In 1864
he built a fine brick residence on North
Main street, where he lived until his death.
After losing his first wufe, he was married
on the 28th of October, 1880, to Miss
Emma Christina Kelson, of Mount Pleas-
ant, and they had one daughter. Birdie
Eleanora, who pursued her early educa-
tion in the public schools, is a graduate of
the Conservator}'^ of Music, and is now
the wife of James I. Payne, of Chicago.

When Mr. Sargent came to Mount
Pleasant he had been accustomed to at-
tend the Presbyterian church and he sang
in its choir. He gave liberally toward the
building of the new church which was
erected here soon after his arrival, and
with others he arranged for a good organ



and music for the dedication, but some of
the deacons, disproving of organs in
churches, made them take it out. Mr.
Sargent never again entered that church.
Nevertheless, throughout his entire Hfe
he manifested broad humanitarian princi-
ples and a helpful, kindly spirit, and many
there are who have benefited by his gen-
erous assistance. He passed away March
27, 1899, at the age of seventy-one years,
respected by all who knew him. Mount
Pleasant mourned the loss of one of its
representative men, who throughout an
active business career had contributed to
the general prosperity as well as to his in-
dividual success. He was interested in
all that pertained to the welfare of the city
and was the champion of many of its pro-
gressive measures. His life was honor-
able, his actions manly and sincere and he
was ever fearless in defense of a course
which he believed to be right. Following
the death of her husband, Mrs. Sargent
sold the large home and built a pleasant
residence on West Monroe street, where
she is now living.


Dr. J. O. Ball has attained more than
local prominence as a representative of the
dental fraternity and in other fields of la-
bor his activity has been of a most benefi-
cial nature in the development and prog-
ress of Henry county. With keen insight
into' business situations and affairs he has
carefully utilized his opportunities and has

made steady progress along the lines that
ultimately reach the objective point. A
native of Jasper county, Illinois, Dr. Ball
was born on the 28th of January, i860,
his parents being Amos and Eliza Jane
(Early) Ball, the former of English and
the latter of Irish lineage. The mother of
George Washington was a great-great-
aunt of Dr. Ball. His great-grandfather,
whose name was either John or Caleb,
served under Washington in the war of
the Revolution and is supposed to have
held the rank of lieutenant. The grand-
father of Amos Ball was also one of the
heroes of the war for independence and
afterward served in the war of 18 12. Fol-
lowing the close of hostilities in the sec-
ond war with England he became a minis-
ter of the Methodist Episcopal church and
was well known in connection with the re-
lig-ious and educational work of that de-
nomination. Amos Ball, father of our
subject, died in 1890, his remains being
interred in Pennsylvania, while his widow
now resides in Bellingham, Washington.
Dr. J. O. Ball, whose name introduces
this review, spent the days of his childhood
in his parents home and supplemented his
preliminary education by an academic
normal course in Edinburgh, Pennsyl-
vania. He afterward entered the State
LTniversity of Iowa, from which he was
graduated n the class of 1883. He pur-
sued a partial course of study in the West-
ern Reserve Dental School in Cleveland.
Ohio. He began practice in the state of
Pennsylvania in 1879. and after a year
removed to Pike county. Illinois, remain-
ing at Barry for one year. He then went
to Hannibal, Missouri, where he spent a
vear and three months and since 1882 he


has been engaged in practice in Mount the court here for twelve years and is
Pleasant. Keeping abreast with the prog- widely known throughout Henry county,
ress made by the dental fraternity he has He died in 1881, his remains being in-
become one of the leading representatives terred in Forest Home cemetery and his
of his profession in the county and his widow now resides with Dr. and Mrs.
reputation for superior skill and ability Ball. Unto this marriage have been born
has also become known throughout the three children. Helen, born July 7, 1884,
state. He has a remarkably extensive is a graduate of the high school of the
practice — a fact which indicates that his class of 1901, and afterward spent a year
work has sfiven uniform satisfaction. He and a half as a student in the Iowa Wes-


is a member of the International and Na- leyan University. She has given special

tional dental associations and has been a attention to the study of music and is now

contributor to some of the professional assisting her father in the office. Florence,

journals. . born April 9, 1892, is a public-school stu-

As Dr. Ball has prospered in his under- dent. Xewton Allen, born September 29,

takings he has made judicious investments 1897, completes the family.

in property and now has valuable real es- Dr. Ball is very prominent in Masonic

tate interests in Henry county and Des circles, having taken the degrees of the

Moines and also in Kansas. He likewise lodge, chapter and commandery, and in

has petroleum lands in the latter state on the lodge has held all of the offices save

which three producing wells have already that of worshipful master. He likewise

been developed. He is the chief promoter belongs to the Independent Order of Odd

and organizer of the Mount Pleasant and Fellows. ' Influential and active in com-

Washington Interurban Railway Com- munity affairs his labors have been of

pany, of which he is secretary, while Jo- direct and permanent good in the devel-

seph Green is president. This company opment of the city and in the manage-

expects to begin its survey and enter ini- ment of its municipal interests. He was

tial arrangements for the building of its first elected alderman to represent the

line in the fall of 1906 and when carried third ward in 1895. His principal work

forward to completion the line will prove was in connection with the water and

of the greatest benefit to Mount Pleasant lighting departments, being chairman of

and the district through which it runs, the two committees, having these things

also giving Mount Pleasant competitive in charge. From the beginning he

freight facilities. He was one of the or- stood for reform, progress and improve-

ganizers of the Bell Oil & Gas Company, ment and was much interested in electric

of which he is still a director. This com- lighting. He personally drew the plans

pany s conducting .a successful business in and specifications for the electric light

Kansas. plant as it stands today. The agitation

In 1883 in this city Dr. Ball was united of this subject caused a contest such as

in marriage to Miss Catherine Allen, a the community had never witnessed, but

daughter of J. N. Allen, who was clerk of the matter was brought before the people



in a general election and the plans were
adopted by an overwhelming majority, as
the resnlt of which there was established
a municipal lighting plant second to none
in the state. During the time of con-
struction Dr. Ball had the full supei-vision
of the work. When this had been com-
pleted and its success proven he undertook
the task of the establishment of a better
water system for Mount Pleasant and
again met with strong opposition, but
after eighteen months of persistent
effort gave to the city a water plant of
which the city has every reason to be
proud. Not only is the quality of the
w^ater unsurpassed by the quantity is also
sufficient for the public needs of Mount
Pleasant should it grow far beyond the
anticipation of its most enthusiastic ad-
herents. The quality of the water has
been pronounced by both the state chemist
and the bacteriologist absolutely whole-
some, having no substance of any kind
detrimental to health. The consolidation
of the light and w^ater plants under one
roof and management, the water being
pumped by electricity carried from the
electric light station, was another task
which Dr. Ball undertook. To accom-
plish this required much hard work on
his part and many days and nights spent
at the plants. Having accomplished this,
he has declined any further political
honors. He established two newspapers
to conduct his fight for municipal owner-
ship — The Citizen' Daily Bulletin and the
Mount Pleasant Record — editing and
conducting both. The improvement in
the streets of the city is also largely attrib-
utable to his efforts. In his political affili-
ation he is independent but stands for in-

tegrit}- in politics and for opposition to all
misrule in municipal affairs. He has never
been a politician in the sense of office seek-
ing. In fact, the position of councilman
was forced upon him. After once selected,
however, he entered heart and soul into
the work and since the accomplishment
of the purpose for which he stood he has
declined any further political honors. He
stands as a high type of American man-
hood, placing the general welfare before
partisan measures and the advancement of
his city's interest before personal aggran-
dizement. He is a man of broad outlook,
readily recognizing opportunities and
bringing to bear the practical in the ac-
complishment of the ideal, at the same
time marshaling his forces with the pre-
cision of a military commander. His fit-
ness for leadership is widely recognized
and he has left the impress of his individu-
ality for good upon public thought and
action. In 1892 Dr. Ball built a large and
beautiful residence at No. 500 West Mon-
roe street, his fine lawn embracing a quar-
ter of a block. It is today one of the most
attractive homes in the city and in fact
was one of the first modern residences.
Here Dr. Ball resides, surrounded by
modern comforts.


William Christopher Columbus Lin-
kins, a veteran of the Civil war. now
engaged in general farming in Baltimore
township, was liorn in Morgan county.



Ohio, December 14, 1840, his parents be-
ing George \V. andjuha (Campbell) Lin-
kins. In 1846 the parents removed to
Henry county, Iowa, and here in the
early schools William obtained his educa-
tion. The father was a painter and plas-
terer, who also followed the occupation
of farming and in early life the sub-
ject of this review became a brick-
maker and manufactured the first brick
that was used in the construction of
the state insane asylum at Mount
Pleasant, the work being done upon
the grounds. He continued to fol-
low brick making until 1882, but in the
meantime, in 1872, he invested in
fifty acres of land in Baltimore town-
ship. He took up his abode thereon
and has resided here continuously since,
although at different times he has
engaged in brick manufacturing in va-
rious parts of the county and state. There
were some improvements upon the farm
when it came into his possession. He
has erected a new residence and other
buildings and he carries on general farm-
ing, his fields being under a high state
of cultivation, so that he annually har-
vests good crops. He also raises about
forty head of Poland China hogs each
year. The farm is pleasantly located on
section 3, not far from New London, so
that the advantages of urban life are
easily obtainable.

In the darkest hour of the country's
history Mr. Linkins stood loyally by the
LJnion, his patriotic spirit aroused by the
attempt of the south to thwart the will of
the national government. He enlisted
on the 25th of September, 1861, as a
member of Company G, Eleventh Iowa

Volunteer Infantry, at New London. The
regiment was assigned to the army of
the Cumberland and he was under com-
mand of General Sherman. He contin-
ued in active service until December,
1863, when he was shot through the leg
at the battle of Shiloh and his foot was
also injured. He remained in the regi-
mental hospital for a long time and was
then honorably discharged. Later, how-
ever, when he had recovered his health
he re-enlisted in the same company and
served until after the close of the war,
being honorably discharged at Louisville,
Kentucky, in June, 1865. He was mus-
tered out there and received his discharge
papers in Davenport, Iowa. In the mean-
time he had participated .in the grand re-
view in Washington, where the victorious
army marched through the streets of the
city amid the cheers of a grateful people.
He had taken part in a number of hotly
contested engagements and was always a
most loyal and earnest advocate of the
Union cause. When the war was over
he returned to his home and resumed the
pursuits of civil life again, engaging in
brick making. In more recent years,
however, he has entirely put aside that
business and now concentrates his en-
ergies upon his farming and stock-rais-
ing interests.

On the 3d of November, 1873, at
Mount Pleasant, Mr. Linkins was united
in marriage to Miss Sarah Hutson, who
was born February 16, 1852, and is a
daughter of Thomas J. and Martha Cath-
arine (Nefi^) Hutson. The father came
to Burlington from Ohio in 1835, walk-
ing all the way accompanied by another
young man. He finally settled in Union



township. Des Moines county, where he
Hved until after the war, in which he
served as a loyal defender of the Union.
In 1868 he removed to New London,
Henry county, and for many years was
a respected and \vorthy resident of that
village. His death, however, occurred
in Missouri in 1904, when he was eighty-
four years of age. Unto Mr. and Mrs.
Linkins have been born five children:
Laura B. is the wife of Harrison A\^Jod-
rufif, of Illinois. Louella is the wife of
Wilsou Jackson, a resident of Weaver,
Lee county, Ivinnia is the wife of Henry
Carter, of New London township. Wil-
liam P., residing in New London, mar-
ried Maggie Fetterland. Fred is a stu-
dent in the district schools.

The family have a pleasant and attract-
ive home upon the farm in Baltimore
township, which Mr. Linkins purchased
a third of a century ago. All of the im-
provements there have been made by
himself. He even remodeled his house,
doing all of the carpenter work save to
. the amount of about twenty-one dollars.
He is a natural mechanic and his aliility
in this direction enables him to keep ev-
erything about his place in good repair.
Politically he is an earnest republican, but
without aspiration for office. He l)e-
lones to the Methodist Protestant
church and has taken an active and help-
ful part in its work, serving as class leader
and also as superintendent of the Sunday
school. He likewise affiliates wdth the
Grand Army of the Republic at Mount
Pleasant, has been adjutant (|uarter-
master, assistant ([uartermaster and in
fact has held nearly all of the offices in the
organization. Public opinion is not

divided concerning the character of Mr.
Linkins, who has made a creditable
military record and has been found loyal
in citizenship at all times, reliable in
business and faithful in friendship.
The strong and salient traits of his
character are those which in every land
and clime awaken confidence and respect.
He having at all places and times proved
himself a man.


Edw^ard E. Taft, a dealer in stoves -and
tinware in JNIount Pleasant, having a well
equipped establishment, which is accorded
a liberal patronage by reason of the busi-
ness methods of the owner, which neither
seek nor require disguise, is a native son
of this city, born on the 7fh of February,
1858. His parents were Titus V. and
Kate (Edwards) Taft, the former a na-
tive of Massachusetts and the latter of
Ohio. The father's birth occurred June
4. 1806, and he came to Henry county.
Iowa, in the early '40s, locating in JNIount
Pleasant when this city w-as a small vil-
lage. Here he opened a little general
store, but suffered loss by fire during what
is known as the Tiffany conflagration,
and did not resume business in that line.
He afterward, howe\-er. ccinducted a shoe
shop and was the owner of several small
farms, but lived i)ractically retired from
]86o. He was, however, closely associ-
ated with the progress and im])r(n-ement
of Mount Pleasant for many years, and
laid out several additions to the city, Imy-



ing the ground and subdividing it into
town lots. He not only contributed to the
material welfare, but also aided in the in-
tellectual and moral progress of Mount
Pleasant, and was one of the charter mem-
bers of the Congregational church, con-
tributing generously toward the erection
of the house of worship and acting as
deacon of the church for many years. He
died February 22, 1889, and his remains
were buried in the old cemetery. His
wife, who was born December 22, 181 5,
passed away on the 22d of February,
1878, being at that time sixty-two years
of age. There were two children of this
union, but the elder died in infancy. The
father was twice married. Miss Edwards
becoming his second wife.

Edward E. Taft, reared in Mount
Pleasant, acquired his early education in
the public schools, and afterward contin-
ued his studies in Howe's Acacfemy, thus
becoming well equipped for life's practi-
cal and responsible duties. When he left
school he learned the tinner's trade, un-
der the direction of Mr. Crane, of Mount
Pleasant, serving a two years' apprentice-
ship, and he afterward engaged in the
manufacture of trunks, following that
pursuit for several years, but gradually
he merged his establishment into a tin
shop, and about 1881 concentrated his
energies entirely upon such a business. In
1882 he began handling Royal Oak stoves.
He was first located on East Monroe
street, but his store there was destroyed
by fire on the 25th of June, 1905, and
he resumed business at the corner of Main
and Washington streets, having there one
of the best and largest tin stores in Mount
Pleasant, but at present has a large double

store on East Monroe street. He also
handles furnaces and heating and cooking
stoves in connection with tinware, and
has an extensive trade, which is indicative
of the trust reposed in him by the general
public, and also proves his fair and hon-
orable methods in all business transac-
tions. He is also a member of the firm of
Whittaker & Taft, a recently formed
partnership, handling farm implements
and vehicles.

In March, 1878, Mr. Taft was married
to Miss Emma J. McClarran, who was
born in Pennsylvania, February 11, 1854,
and is a daughter of William and Mary
McClarran. William McClarran was
born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania,
April 12, 1820, grew up, and in Pennsyl-
vania married Mary Dougherty, July
4, 1844, and there followed black-
smithing. In the spring of 1855 he came
with his family to Mount Pleasant, and
followed his trade during his life, dying
December 7, 1887. He was a republican,
and served as sheriff of Henry county.
Both he and his wife held membership in
the Methodist church, and Mrs. McClar-
ran survived her husband until about
1900. They were the parents of nine
children. John, who served in the Civil
war, died in 1895, leaving six children.
Margaret is the wife of Harvey Daugh-
erty, of Rock Island, Iowa. Emma J. is
now Mrs. Taft. William, living in Au-
rora, Illinois, married Anna Butterfield,

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 31 of 85)