Hobart 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

. (page 37 of 85)
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 37 of 85)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

gospel, in Fleming county, to Harriet
Eliza Saunders, the fourth daughter of
Henry Saunders, a native of New York
state. She was in no way related to her
husband. She was born in Gallipolis.
Ohio, May 22, 1824. and died in Mount
Pleasant. August 5. 1886. after a pro-
tracted illness. They moved from Ken-
tucky to Mount Pleasant in the spring of
• •1858." Mr:' Saunders died at Mount
-Pleasant on December 3. 1899. A more
extended description of the life of Wil-
liam G. Saunders will hereafter be given.

Elizabeth, who married Charles Saun-
ders, of Fleming county. Kentucky. She
died in Mount Pleasant April 5. 1901,
leaving one son. Francis Marion, who
lives in Ohio.

Mary married C. W. Saunders, by
whom she had two sons. Worthy and Wil-
liam P. After the death of her husband
she married Cummings Brown. They had
several children, and after the death of
Mr. Brown she married William T(^lle.
Both she and Mr. Tolle are now dead.

Aaron, the youngest son, married Mary
Wrenchv in Kentuckv. and moved to



Blythedale, Missouri. They were the
parents of six children, Margaret, AHce,
John, James, Squire, and Ehzabeth. They
are both laid to rest in Blythedale

GuNNELL Saunders, a brother of Wil-
liam Saunders and a son of Gunnell Saun-
ders, was born in Virginia, July 27, 1783,
and moved with his father to Kentucky.
He there married Mary Mauzy, a sister
of the wife of A\"illiam Saunders. They
lived on a farm about ten miles south of
Flemingsburgh, in Fleming county. Ken-
tucky, until about 1829, when they moved
to a sparsely settled part of Illinois not
far from Springfield, where his son Pres-
ley located the year previous. He moved
to Mount Pleasant in the year 1845, and
owned, and lived in a small brick cot-
tage where the Young Men's Christian
Association now stands. He died Octo-
ber 26, 1848. His wife died October 18,
185 1. Their children were:

Jonathan R., who was born in Fleming
county, Kentucky, on February 17, 1802,
and who married Sarah McKinnie, De-
cember 18, 1823. They afterward moved
to Springfield, Illinois, where he died on
April 8, 1886. Their children were As-
bury H., and Milton. Milton died at
Springfield, Illinois, October 18, 1902,
leaving a wife and several children. As-
bury H. is still residing at Springfield. He
has one daughter, Mrs. Ralph ^^'. Hayes,
of Washington. D. C.

Nancy, who was born -in Fleming-
county, Kentucky. March 16. 1806, and
who married Amos Locke. They moved
to Monroe county, Indiana, where she
died. Their children were: Mary Ann,
Frances, Sarah, Nancy, Alvin, James, and

Louisa. Sarah married Lloyd A. Smith,
her husband having died years ago. She
had three children. She is now living
in Mount Pleasant. Nancy married
Thomas W'illiams. She and her brother
Alvin died a few years ago. Louisa mar-
ried Granville W^hisnand, and they are
now living in Colorado.

Frances was born in Fleming county.
Kentucky, February 21, 1807. She mar-
ried Robert MacKey and afterward mar-
ried Arthur Miller, a minister of the gos-
pel. They had no children. She died
at Mount Pleasant, February 24, 1878.

Presley, the founder of Mount Pleas-
ant, was born in Fleming county, Ken-
tucky, July II, 1809. and died in Mount
Pleasant July 19, 1889. A more extended
sketch of the life of Presley Saunders will
be hereafter given.

George was born in Fleming county,
Kentucky, August 6, 181 1, and afterward
moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he
resided until his death. May 12, 1898.

Alvin, who was born in Fleming coun-
ty, Kentucky, July 12, 181 5, moved with
his parents to Springfield, Illinois, in
1829, and in 1836 he came to Mount
Pleasant. He was appointed postmaster
of Mount Pleasant by President Van Bu-
ren, and served as such postmaster while
Mount Pleasant was in the Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Iowa Territories. He was
a member of the Iowa state senate from
1854 to 1861. and was a member of the
Republican national convention, which
nominated Abraham Lincoln as president.
On March 26, 1861. he was appointed by
President Lincoln as Governor of the Ter-
ritory of Nebraska, which office he held
until Nebraska was admitted into the



Union as a state, March 27, 1867. He
then engaged in the banking business in
Omaha, and in 1877 was elected as a
member of the United States Senate from
that state, which office he held until 1883.
He was identified with many important
projects and enterprises in Omaha, such
as the construction of the Omaha &
Southwestern Railroad, the gas works,
the smelting works and the Trans-Missis-
sippi and International Exposition. In
1856 he was married to Marthena Bar-
low in \A"ashington, D. C. He died at
Omaha, Nebraska, November i, 1899,
and was buried in Forest Lawn cemetery,
at Omaha. His wife survives him. They
had two children, — Charles L., who re-
sides in Omaha and is engaged in the real-
estate business and is president of the
Omaha Real Estate and Trust Company,
and Mary, who married Russell B. Harri-
son. She is also in Omaha.

William A. was born in Fleming coun-
ty, Kentucky, August 4. 18 18. He
moved, with his parents, to Springfield,
Illinois, in 1829, and in the spring of
1845 he moved from Springfield to Mount
Pleasant, where he engaged in the mer-
cantile and banking business for a time
with his brothers, Presley and Alvin.
About i860 he went into the mercantile
business by himself, in which business he
continued until the date of his death, Feb-
ruary 14, 1865. He was a member of the
Christian church in Mount Pleasant and
was greatlv interested in church work. On
October 23, 1850, he married Louisa
Dickey, daughter of Samuel Dickey, at
Mount Pleasant. She was born October
27, 1826, in Indiana, and in October,
1838, moved with her parents to Mount

Pleasant. She died in Omaha October
6, 1904, and was buried in Mount Pleas-
ant. They had several children, but all
died in their infancy, except one son,
William A., who now resides in Omaha,
where he is engaged in the law lousiness.

Mount Pleasant became the home of
quite a number of the Saunders family,
and it has been the last resting place of
its older members. Presley Saunders ob-
tained a lot in the city cemetery, dedicated
the "family circle," erected a monument,
and in this circle many members of the
different branches of the family have been

We wish to refer again to \Mlliam G.
Saunders, who came, with his wife, to
Mount Pleasant in the spring of 1858. At
the time of his marriage he had no prop-
erty, but, from time to time, he accumu-
lated a little, when he opened a store in a
small place in Fleming county, Kentucky,
known at Plumer's Mill, but owing to its
unhealthy location they left that neigh-
borhood and went to Elizaville in that
county, where they remained for one year,
and then went to Union Mills, one and
one-half miles west of Elizaville. There
Mr. Saunders built a store building and
a small dwelling.

Good news being brought from the set-
tlers who had gone west, they determined
to sell out and move to Iowa, so, in the
fall of 1857, they sold their Union Mills
property and in the spring of 1858 they
moved to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where
he remained until the date of his death.
December 3. 1899. except for two years
spent in La Grange county, Missouri,
where he was engaged in the dry goods
business. After coming to Mount Pleas-



ant he went into the mercantile business
and as late as about 1875 he was engaged
in the dry goods business at Mount

Mr. Saunders became interested in the
First National Bank shortly after its or-
ganization in 1866, and w^as director and
officer in that institution until he died. He
was the third president of the First Na-
tional Bank, succeeding Charles Snider
to that office.

Mr. Saunders was a man who had
strong personalities, was kind and con-
siderate, and had a faculty for making
friends. He was a man who believed more
in action than in words, and what he did
will live after him. He helped many a
person over a financial chasm and the nu-
merous charitable things which he did
will never be known. His will, which
was probated in Mount Pleasant, shows
the character of the man. By that instru-
ment he left a valuable estate, and remem-
bered in a substantial way about one hun-
dred and sixty of his- relatives and friends
living from the Atlantic to the Pacific and
from the Dominion of Canada to the Gulf
of Mexico. He not only remembered his
relatives and friends, but he gave to the
city of Mount Pleasant a donation of two
thousand dollars, the interest on which
amount was to help maintain the city
cemetery. He also gave the Christian
church two thousand dollars the Chris-
tian Science society a like amount.

For about fifteen years before the death
of Mrs. Saunders, Sarah Fouche, daugh-
ter of Isaac and Eleanor Fouche, sister of
Mr. Saunders, came through their very
urgent solicitation to make her home
with them and live as their own daughter.

They were both very much attached to her.
She was so sacrificing and kind that Mrs.
Saunders urged her to stay and keep the
home for her uncle. She promised her
before her death, on August 6, 1886, to
remain, and did everything she could to
make the lonely home cheerful. Mr. Saun-
ders mourned the death of his wife very
much and had a memorial of her life
published and sent a copy of the book to
all her friends. While he was not iden-
tified with any church, yet he gave liber-
ally, and practiced the golden rule.

His niece was not permitted to remain
long with him, as the staff of his declin-
ing years. On July 4, 1898, she was
called home, and he was left alone.

Barbara R. Fouche, her sister, came to
take her place in the home, and was, at
the time of his death, with him. Owing
to the confidence he reposed in her, he
made Miss Fouche the trustee of a con-
siderable fund that he left for charitable
purposes. Many persons mourn his death
as having lost a friend who could not be


Whereas, It has pleased our Heavenly
Father to remove from our midst our
worthy president, William G. Saunders,
be it

Resolved, That in his death the First
National Bank of Mount Pleasant, Iowa,
has lost an efficient officer, an earnest
worker, and a stanch friend, and that his
memory will always be revered by his
brother officers and the stockholders of
the bank, with which he was so long



Resolved, That these resolutions be
spread on the records of the bank, a copy
of the same be sent to the members of his
household, who have our sincerest sym-
pathy, and that a copy be given the city
papers for publication.

I. P. Van Cise,
T. J. Van Hon,
W. E. Keeler,



William G. Saunders, one of the oldest,
most respected and influential citizens of
this city and county, died at his home on
South Jackson street about 11 o'clock
Sunday evening, December 3. 1899. His
death resulted from heart disease, and was
entirely unlooked for at this time, al-
though both he and his relatives had been
warned by the family physician that he
would quite likely pass away in that man-
ner. Mr. Saunders had been suffering
from a complication of troubles for a
long time, and his death was a matter of
but a few months at best. However,
lately he had been feeling unusually well,
and was up town the previous Friday at-
tending to business matters. The same
day he was out at his farm making ar-
rangements for the erection of a home.
Sunday he seemed unusually bright and
ate three hearty meals. In the evening
he spent some time looking over the plans
for the new farm house, and went to bed
at the usual hour. About eleven o'clock,
however, his nieces heard Mr. Saunders

groaning but reached his side too late
to relieve him. Dr. Smith stated that it
was a plain case of heart disease.

Mr. Saunders would have been eighty-
four years old this coming Christmas. He
was born in Kentucky, and came to Iowa
in the early '50s. He has always been ac-
tively engaged in business enterprises,
and is thought to have been one of the
w^ealthiest men in the county. He was at
the time of his death president of the First
National Bank, and a stockholder in the
Savings Bank. Aside from this he pos-
sessed large holdings of real estate in the
city and county. He also had large in-
vestments in Omaha and other parts of
the west. His estate is estimated to be
worth between $300,000 and $500,000.
He riiade a will disposing of his property
this fall.

Mr. Saunders died a widower and
childless. His wife died about fifteen
years ago and he never had children. He
leaves a brother and tw^o sisters : Mr.
Aaron Saunders, of Blytheville, Missouri,
Mrs. William Tolle, of Los Angeles, Cali-
fornia, and Mrs. Elizabeth Saunders, of
this city.

]\Ir. Saunders was cared for at his
home by three nieces. Misses Rena, Mag-
gie and Tillie Fouche, who kept house
for him and whom he regarded as his

Mr. Saunders and his family were affil-
iated with the Christian church.


The funeral of ^^^illiam G. Saunders
was held from his late residence on South
White street. Thursdav afternoon, at half



past two o'clock. There was a large con-
course of relatives and friends present at
the last rites over the remains of this
most esteemed citizen, whose influence on
the town has been marked for years. The
services were conducted by Rev. H. T.
Clark, of Leon, Iowa, formerly pastor of
the Christian church of this city, and as-
sisted by Rev. O. W. Rogers, of the Con-
gregational church. Rev. Cantrell, of
Chicago, formerly pastor of the Chris-
tian church here, and also by Father Bas-
sler, of the St. Alphonsus Catholic church.
The several addresses were very feeling
and appropriate. Special music was fur-
nished by a male quartette consisting of
Messrs. R. A. Budde, Fred Van Hon, I.
P. Van Cise and W. E. Keeler. The
active pall bearers were Messrs. James T.
Whiting, H. E. Snider, C. F. Snider, W.
A. \A'orthington, James T. Gillis, Charles
Hughes, H. J. Twinting, \V. E. Keeler,
and Fred Van Hon. The honorary pall
bearers were Messrs. G. H. Spahr, E. L.
Penn, C. V. Arnold, I. P. Van Cise and
J. G. Budde. The interment was in the
city cemetery in the "Saunders Circle."
As a mark of respect the First National
Bank was closed the entire day and the
National State & Savings Bank during
the afternoon of the day of the funeral.
There were a very large number of rel-
atives of the deceased here from abroad
to attend the funeral. Aside from his
relatives he had an extensive acquaintance
over the city and county that was grieved
to learn of his death, even though it had
been his lot to round out his four score
of years and end a life of unusual energy
and success. Mount Pleasant as a com-
munity loses one of its best citizens.


The last will and testament of the late
AA'illiam G. Saunders was filed with the
clerk of the court last Friday. In some re-
spects it is as interesting a document as
has been filed there for a long time. It
was known that Mr. Saunders was a very
wealthy man, and naturally there was
much interest among, not only the rela-
tives and intimate friends of the deceased,
but also in the community, especially as
it was known that it was his intentions
to divide his estate up into small be-
quests. The will was made August i,
1899, and is written in his own hand-
writing, and in his own style. The will
is witnessed by Messrs. "\A^ E. Keeler,
Fred Van Hon, and H. J. Twinting. W.
A. Saunders, of Omaha, and Barbara R.
Fouche, of this city, are named as the ex-
cutors of the will. There is no estimating
the amount of Mr. Saunder's fortune but
it was large.

After a touching tribute to his de-
ceased wife, and also to his neice, Sallie
Fouche, also deceased, he made his first
bequest in the shape of $2,000 to the city
of Mount Pleasant, the interest from
which should be perpetually used to keep
the old city cemetery in order.

He gave to the Christian church of this
city $2,000 in cash, and also gave to the
Christian Science Society of this city
$2,000 to be used for the erection of a
church edifice.


The preliminary work of settling the
estate of the late \V. G. Saunders has al-
ready been begun by the executors. No-



tices are being sent out to the beneficiaries
and many a home will be made glad. Mr.
Saunders is sleeping the last sleep in the
family circle, by the side of his wife and
near relatives, but his deeds of love and
kindness will go on for years to come. It
is seldom that a man of wealth makes
such a wise and satisfactory distribution
of his property. It seems as if every be-
quest made was only after a careful con-
sideration of the needs and merits of the
beneficiary. His aim seemed to be to
distribute his great estate where it would
do the greatest possible good. And after
providing for upwards of two hundred
relatives and friends with rare discrimina-
tion he left a very large sum to be held
in trust for the needy. The amount of
good that Miss Fouche can do with that
fund is beyond words to express. In
scores of homes the checks for $1,000 and
$500 will come as a Godsend, relieving
want and scattering the clouds of anxiety.
W. G. Saunders could not have left a
greater monument to his own worth than
his own last "will and testament." and
long after the granite shaft that has been
reared in the "Saunders Circle" shall have
crumbled to dust the splendid work of re-
lieving want and suffering will still go
bravely on.


As preface to his will Mr. Saunders
says :

"The writer of this document, \\'. G.
Saunders, will make this statement or
preface in connection with his last will
and testament that he and his wife, H.
Eliza Saunders, who died August 5. 1886,
having labored faithfully together all

through their married life, and was so
fortunate as to accumulate some property,
and feeling that it is not only his privi-
lege, but his duty to bestow on those of
her relatives and choice as well as those
of his own relatives, knowing it would be
her desire.

tribute to a faithful niece.

Continuing ^Mr. Saunders pays the fol-
lowing tribute to the memory of Miss
Sallie Fouche. who died last year:

"And now his niece, Sallie E. Fouche,
who had lived with him so long and was
always so faithful and kind and did every
thing in her power to relieve and com-
fort Mrs. Saunders, during her life of
affliction, and was always kind to me in
looking after every comfort, she having
passed away and having made the request
that her sister. B. R. Fouche, should take
her place in my home, and inherit her be-
quests in property that was intended for
her to be given to B. R. Fouche. and as I
believe partly in trust for others. And
now I believe it to be my duty to grant
her request as I had promised. As I al-
ways felt like remunerating her for her
unselfish life and as this is the only way
I have left to bestow on her is to grant
the request, with these preliminary re-
marks. I will proceed to write my last
will in as plain a manner as I can. so as
to prevent any litigation or dissatis-

PAYS an old doctor's BILL.

Possibly the best testimony in support
of his scrupulous honesty and his intent
to defraud no man can l)e found in a
note to his will which reads as follows :



"This is to certify that Benjamin Dud-
ley, of Lexington, Kentucky, saved my
Hfe by a surgical operation in the year
1837, and giving me medical attention for
two months. I had nothing wherewith
to pay the Doctor for his services, but
promised him as soon as I was able to pay
him I would do so. His usual charges in
such cases would be $500. I did not feel
able to pay that for about thirty years.
Since then I have neglected to pay this
debt which I justly owe with six per cent
interest until paid. Dr. Dudley having
died it will be due his heirs."

Just what Mr. Saunders estate will
amount to will not be known until the
final report of the executors it made. It
is believed, however, that after all the
legacies are paid and the expenses of the
settlement of the estate deducted there will
still be left a large sum to held in trust
for the benefit of the poor. It is thought
that it may amount to $100,000. The
interest as well as principal is to be de-
voted to the need of the poor until it is
all used up.

It was also a graceful thing to leave
the city in trust the $2,000 for the care
of the city cemetery. In this plot of
ground are buried not only a large num-
ber of the Saunders family, but also a
great many of the early settlers of the
town, and it will be a satisfaction to the
relatives of these to know that the ceme-
tery will now be cared for, as it should
be. The city of Mount Pleasant has never
done the right thing by the old cemetery,
and none felt it keener than '\lr. Saun-
ders. Half of the proceeds of the trust
fund go to the general care of the ceme-
tery and the other half goes to the

maintenance and permanent care of the
"Saunders Circle."

Another handsome remembrance was
the gift of $2,000 to the Christian church.
This church has been struggling under a
heavy debt for a number of years, until
the members lost courage. The munifi-
cence of ^Ir. Saunders pays off the debt
and gives to the members new hope and

His gift to the Christion Scientists of
the city is said to be in memory of Miss
Sallie Fouche, who was an earnest worker
among them.


Presley Saunders was born in Fleming
county, Kentucky, July 11, 1809, and emi-
grated to Springfield, Illinois, in the year
1828, and there engaged in farming until
the breaking out of the Black Hawk war
in 1832. He enlisted in Captain Moffet's
company, and was an active participant in
the events following, which lead to the
capture of Black Hawk. The treaty of
1833, and the settlement of this territory
by the whites. He was in the same regi-
ment with Abraham Lincoln, and they
were close, intimate and personal friends.
In 1834 he, with his four companions,
started west, and finally located on the
site of Mount Pleasant, w^here he set his
stakes and pre-empted the land from the
government. In February, 1835, he
brought his family from Illinois. In 1836
he opened a store in the new village of
Mount Pleasant, and there began the busi-
ness life which he followed, with strict



. integrity and always with success, for
fiftv-two consecutive years, makins^ him
the oldest merchant in the state.

In the early days Presley Saunders,
with his brothers, Alvin and William A.,
organized a private bank, which they op-
erated safely and successfully. In the
year 1862 this bank went under the name
of Saunders, Kibbin & Company, and con-
tinued thus up to the time of its organiza-
tion as the First National Bank of Mount
Pleasant. Presley Saunders was presi-
dent of the First National Bank from the
time it was organized up to the date of
his death, July 19, 1889.

In 1830 he was married to ^liss Edith
Cooper, of Sangamon county, Illinois, but
she died at Mount Pleasant in 1836. They
had one child, j\Iary, who married John
A\\ ]\IcCoy. In 1837 Air. Saunders was
married to Huldah Bowen. She was born
in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 181 7, and was the
daughter of Isaac and Rhoda Bowen, na-
tives of Maryland and Kentucky. Their
union was blessed with four children.
Smith, wdio lived in Mount Pleasant for
quite a number of years, and afterward
moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he
died on April 15, 1901, leaving two sons,
Alvin B., who married Alice Saunders
and who died in 1904, leaving a wife and
three children who now live in Kansas
City, Missouri ; Eliza, the wife of John
Bowman, now residing "in York, Ne-
braska, and who have three children : and
Etna, who married Fred Hope, and who
now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with her
daughter, Mrs. Chester Rouse.

The life of Presley Saunders was full
of encouragement to young men who had
an earnest desire to succeed. He started

only with a capital of a good constitution ;
was temperate and had frugal habits ; was
industrious, and was full of perseverance.
From these humble beginnings he raised
himself to a prominent position in the
community and acquired an ample fortune.

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 37 of 85)