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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 46 of 85)
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Amanda (Mason) Gheen, who are repre-
sented on another page of this work. Fred



B. Gheen acquired his education in the
schools at Hickory Grove and ]\lount
Pleasant, and after putting aside his text-
books he remained upon his father's farm
until seventeen years of age. Through the
periods of vacation he had assisted in the
labors of the fields and he devoted his en-
ergies to farm work until he joined his
father in the planing mill business on
Nortli ^Nlain street, in Alount Pleasant. He
is today active in the management of the
business of the Gheen Fuel Company, con-
ducting an extensive trade and dealing in
all kinds of fuel. He is watchful of busi-
ness opportunities, utilizing the advan-
tages that come to him, conducts his ef-
forts along lines of straightforward deal-
ing and by well directed labor and ca-
pable management is meeting with a high
degree of success.

On the 28th of November, 1900, Mr.
Gheen was married to Miss Grace Byrum,
a daughter of George and Georgia
(Wood) Byrum. Her parents were born
in Center township, Henry county, and
during the latter part of his life the father
followed farming in Nebraska, where his
death occurred in 1889. He gave his po-
litical sui)port to the democracy, was a Ma-
son in his fraternal relations and . held
membership in the Methodist church.
They had four children, all of whom are
living: Lloyd, who resides in Mount
Pleasant; Grace, the wife of our subject;
Emma, who is living with her mother in
Mount Pleasant; and Frances, also with
her mother.

Mr. Gheen is a member of Alount Pleas-
ant Lodge, No. 8, Ancient Free and Ac-
cepted Masons, and is in hearty sympathy
with its tenets and teachings. His wife

is a member of the Methodist church. In
politics he is a democrat, but though he
always votes for the men and measures
of the party, he has never sought nor
desired office for himself. Mr. and Mrs.
Gheen reside at No. 608 Jackson street,
and they are highly esteemed in the city
where they reside. He is an enterprising,
energetic young business man with an
excellent record in both social and com-
mercial life and has already achieved a
success which looks 'well for the future.


One of the most famous and popular
of Des Moines county's newspaper men
AA'as Frank Hatton, who later in life was
postmaster general under President Ar-
thur. He came of a Virginia family, his
grandfather, Bolen Hatton, who served in
the war of 181 2, being a native of that
state. His father, Richard Hatton, was
born in Fairfax county, Virginia, in 1805,
and later moved to southeastern Ohio.

Frank Hatton was bora in Cambridge,
Ohio, April 28, 1846. Later the family
removed to Cadiz, Ohio, where Richard
Hatton published the Cadiz Republican.
From his earliest days Frank was inti-
mately connected with newspaper work,
for which he had a marked aptitude, and
a great liking. Under his father's su-
pervision he learned the printer's art, and
laid the practical foundation for his subse-
quent successful newspaper career. It


^ff- iyT.GJCerrumirl

f:^fi NRW YORK





was his facetious disclaimer that he was
not a journahst, but a newspaper man, and
the secret of his success rested in part upon
that eminently practical distinction. When
onlv eleven vears of a^e he became fore-
man of his father's office, a position from
which, after a time he turned to take up
the duties of local editor. It is more than
presumable that he made the local columns
spicy and up to date. He had a wonderful
"nose for news," and was never happier
than when achieving a "scoop."

In 1 86 1, when about fifteen years of
age, he run away from home and enlisted
as a drummer boy in the Fifteenth Ohio
Volunteer Infanti-y. Captain Bostwick
telegraphed Frank's father to know
whether he should send him home or swear
him in. The reply, prompted by pure
patriotism, was, "Swear him in." He
was promoted to a lieutenantcy before he
was twenty years of age and served until
the close of the war. On returning home
he induced his father to purchase the
Mount Pleasant (Iowa) Journal, and
joined him in the publication of the paper
until his father's death, in 1869, when,
with his brother-in-law, the Rev. G. W.
McAdam, he purchased the office. He was
appointed postmaster at Mount Pleasant
in 1873, and served a little more than one
year, when he resigned, and in connection
with C. Y. Wheeler, purchased the Bur-
ington (Iowa) Haivk-Eyc. Later he
bought out Wheeler's interest and began
improving the paper greatly. He secured
the services of "Bob Burdette" as city edi-
tor, and subsequently made him managing
editor. Mr. Burdette continued in that
position until 1877, when he began to lec-
ture, still sending his humorous conrtibu-
tions. however.

In 1879 Mr. Hatton was appointed
postmaster at Burlington by President
Hayes, notwithstanding he had sharply
criticised the president's southern policy
and his civil service reform sympathies.
Mr. Hatton was an out-and-out party
man, and believed the victorious party
should control the appointments, and then
be held responsible to the country. His
experience as postmaster at Mount Pleas-
ant enabled him to at once drop into the
work of the Burlington postoffice, and
give the public good service. When Gar-
field came into the presidency he intended
to appoint Mr. Hatton first assistant post-
master general. President Arthur carried
out the arrangement. Air. Hatton was in-
dorsed for the place by Grant, Conkling,
Logan and a large number of leading re-
publicans -from A'arious states, including
the entire Towa delegation in congress,
state officials, etc. He threw great vigor
into the postoffice department, and made
important .reforms. He favored increased
mail facilities rather than reduced postage.
He pursuaded Postmaster General Gres-
ham to institute the fast mail sen'ice west
of Chicago, and he inaugiu-ated the spe-
cial delivery \^•hich has become a valuable
feature of the postal service.

In October, 1884, Judge Gresham re-
tired from the office of postmaster general
and Mr. Hatton was promoted to position.
He continued to be postmaster general un-
til the close of President Arthurs admin-
istration, and was proud of the fact that
he was the youngest cabinet officer in the
histon- of the LTnited States government.

j\lr. Hatton had much to do with the
National Republican while in \Washington,
but at the close of President Arthur's ad-



ministration removed to Chicago, and be-
came part owner, and editor-in-chief of
the Chicago Mail, which he made a viva-
cious evening issue. Later he became edi-
tor-in-chief of the New York Press.

In January, 1869, he formed a part-
nership with Hon. Beriah Wilkins, an ex-
democratic member of congress from
Ohio, and bought the Washington Post,
wliicli was founded by Stilson Hutchins
in ] 877. Mr. Wilkins took charge of the
business department and Mr. Hatton of
the editorial management, making it an
independent journal, and one of great in-
fluence and a financial success.

^h. Hatton w^as stricken with paralysis,
while at work at his desk, and died April
30, 1894. The Baltimore American, com-
menting at the time upon his career, said :

"Mr. Hatton was an alert and able
newspaper man. He could work veiy
fast when necessary. Twice while he was
editor of the Post he got out, unaided, ex-
tra editions of his paper. Once was when
the defalcation of Silcott, clerk to the ser-
geant-of-arms of the house of repre-
sentatives, was discovered. Silcott had
run away with a lot of money belonging
to members of congress, and of course, the
tow^n was in an uproar as soon as the ru-
mor began to travel around. Mr. Hatton
was one of the first to hear of it, and he
j'umped into a cab and gave the driver a
dollar extra to run his horse all the way
to the office of the Post. On arriving there
he found there wasn't a printer, editor or
reporter in sight. He telephoned for the
pressman, sent the business office clerk out
after newsboys, and then threw off his
coat. He did not stop to write out the copy
but set up in type just what he had heard

about the sensation of the morning. As
soon as he had finished this part of his
task, he made up the forms, stereotyped the
page with the aid of the janitor, who had
a little experience as helper to the boss of
the metal pot, and A\ithin an hour of the
moment at which he had heard of Silcott's
flight had the newsboys on the streets sell-
ing papers. This was a remarkable feat
for one man to perform, but it only shows
wdiat an all around printer can do."

On many occasions these characteristic
qualities of alertness, quick decision and
prompt action ^^•ere displayed in his man-
agement of the Burlington Hazvk-Eye.
The paper soon acquired a foremost place
among Iowa journals, and achieved a na-
tional reputation. When General Grant
returned from his trip around the world
he was induced by Mr. Hatton to spend
three days in Burlington, and was greeted
with a copy of the Hazvk-Eyc printed on
silk as a memento of the occasion.

Mr. Hatton's characteristics included
unswerving loyalty to personal and politi-
cal friends, adherence to principles regard-
less of expediency or popular clamor,
plain-spoken frankness, an untiring am-
bition, and limitless faith in the success
of whatCA'er he undertook. His personal
qualities gave him extended popularity
and contributed to his successful career.


Dennis Hummell, who on the I4tli of
June, 1904, took up his abode upon his
present farm of ninety-four acres, on sec-



tion 17, Center township, was born on
Big creek, near Mount Pleasant, on the
24th of November, 1840, his parents be-
ing Jacob and Mary (Barton) Hummeh.
Both parents were of German descent. The
father was born June 3, 18 14, and the
mother's birth occurred June 18, 1814.
Mr. Hummell devoted his attention to
agricuhural pursuits, and in 1839 came
to the middle west, spending one winter
in Illinois. In 1840 he arrived in Henry
county, w^iere he built sawmills for sev-
eral years, being connected in this enter-
prise with his brother-in-law, Joseph Bar-
ton, In 1842 he purchased eighty acres of
land one mile west of Mr. Hummell's
present home, exchanging for the prop-
erty a little black horse. The land was all
covered with timber, but he cleared and
cultivated it and made a good home for
his family. At the time of the Mex^ican
war he enlisted in the American army, but
was not called forth to active duty. In
politics he was a democrat without aspira-
tion for office and he belonged to the Sons
of Temperance. He died June 23, 185 1.
at the age of thirty-seven years. Unto
Mr. and Mrs. Hummell were born seven
sons, five of whom are now living. Dennis
being the eldest. John married Miss So-
phia Pepple, a resident of Republic county,
Kansas, and in 1862 enlisted for service in
the Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry. Wil-
liam, who married Jennie Hutton, and af-
ter death again married, is now principal
of the South Boundary school, in Burling-
ton, Iowa, which position he has occupied
for thirty-five years. He became a sol-
dier of the Eleventh Iowa Infantry in
186 1, and made a splendid record as a
brave and gallant defender of the Union

throughout the Civil war. Thomas inar-
ried Elizabeth Wright. He was a sol-
dier of the Fourteenth Regiment of Iowa
Volunteers, which he joined in 1861, serv-
ing until the close of the war, but he is
now deceased. George enlisted in the
spring of 1864 and was wounded at De-
catur, Georgia, July 22, 1864. His arm
was amputated three times, and he died
at Chattanooga, in September of the same
year. Joseph enlisted in the Forty-fifth
Iowa Regiment for one hundred days'
service and now lives in Nebraska. Henry
married Miss Nellie Garrettson and lives
in Salem, low^a. He was the only one of
the sons in this family who did not
serve in the Union army during the great
Civil war, and he was too young to go to
the front. It is certainly a splendid rec-
ord for valor and for loyal citizenship and
the members of the family have every rea-
son to be proud of the record made b}'
these brothers. The mother died January
17, 1896, at the age of eighty-two years
and was laid to rest in Bethel cemeterv in


this county. She had long survived her
husband, w-hose remains w^ere interred in
the old Mount Pleasant cemetery.

Dennis Hummell was educated in the
district schools of Henry count}^ and af-
terward worked by the month as a farm
hand in this part of the state. Then, re-
sponding to the country's call for aid, he
enlisted first in the first call for seventy-
five thousand men, at Princeton, Illinois,
was then sent to Springfield, Illinois; but
as no more short-time men were accepted,
he returned to his home, and on the call
for three hundred thousand three-year
men, he enlisted in October, 1861, in Com-
pany I, Fourteenth Iowa Volunteer In-



fanti'v, beiii^ in McClellan's and Wal-
lace's division, and participated in the bat-
tles of Ft. Donelson and Shiloh. At the
latter he was taken prisoner and was in-
carcerated for fifty-two (lays. He after-
ward took part in the engagements at
Pleasant Hill, Yellow Bayou, Marksville
Plains, Fort DuRosseau, Bank's Red
River expedition, and in the battles of
Corinth, Tupelo, Oldtown Creek and
numerous less known, but hard-fought
battles, being in seventeen engagements.
He was honorably discharged as corporal,
at Davenport, Iowa, in November, 1864,
having for three years faithfully fought
in defense of the stars and stripes.

After returning from the war, Mr.
Hummell settled on a small farm near
Mount Pleasant, which he purchased
and still owns, and not long after-
ward was married to Miss Elizabeth Fau-
cett, who was born in Orange county, In-
diana, November 22, 1840, a daughter of
Isaac and ]\Iary (Southern) Faucett, the
former a native of North Carolina and
the latter of Indiana. Mr. Faucett came
west in 1848, settling in Mahaska county,
Iowa, where he was engaged on govern-
ment surveying for a number of years and
also did other public service as justice of
the peace. In the spring of 1863 he came
to Henry county, taking up his abode on
the farm where IMr Hummell now resides.
A republican in politics, he was recog-
nized as one of the leaders of the party
and served as county recorder, township
assessor for several terms, road supervi-
sor, school trustee, school director and
school president. He was also school
teacher in early life and the cause of \n\h-
lic education ever found in him a stalwart

champion. Though torn with but one
hand, he became a thrifty and prosperous
farmer, and he ever proved a capable and
loyal officer in the various positions to
w'hich he Avas called by the vote of his fel-
low tow^nsmen. He died May 12, 1905,
while his wife passed away June 2t^, 1895,
at the age of seventy-eight years, their
remains being interred in Forest Home
cemetery. Both were members of the
Methodist Episcopal church and were
people of the highest respectability. They
had eight children, but Mrs. Hummell is
the only one no\v living.

Mr. Hummell came to reside upon his
present farm of ninety-five acres on sec-
tion 17, Center township, on the 14th of
June, 1904, and the same year erected his
beautiful residence. He also has another
farm in Center and Tippecanoe townships,
comprising fifty-two acres on section 31,
forty-two acres on section 30 and forty-
five acres on section 32. He also owns a
cottage in Mount Pleasant which he rents.
His entire life has been devoted to general
agricultural pursuits, and the capable di-
rection of his labors has resulted in bring-
ing to him a gratifying measure of pros-

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hummell have been
born six children. -George married Miss
Jennie Kelley and lives in Center town-
ship. He has one child Marietta, now
nine years of age. Martha F. is the wife
of Theodore Trueblood, of Salem town-
ship, and they have five children, Exie,
Cora, Myrtle, Rex, and Dennis. James
lives with his father on the home farm.
Charles married Miss Effie Smith, and
with their two sons, George and James,
they reside on a farm in Center township.



Minnie is the wife of Macey Hockett, of
Center township, and has six daughters,
Bessie, Celestia, Ora, Mary Jane, Reba,
and Alice. Isaac married Miss Ella
Trueblood, lives in Center township, and
has two children, Carl and Guy.

Mr. Hummell provided his children
with good educational privileges and they
were thus cjualified for life's practical du-
ties. The son James was a soldier of the
Fiftieth Iowa Regiment in the Spanish-
American war, being for se\-en months
M-ith the army. Mr. Hummell has always
been an earnest republican, and has served
as township assessor and road supervisor
and for several years has been a school di-
rector. He belongs to the Grand Army
of the Republic, and he and his wife are
members of the Church of God. He has
always lived in Henry county and is prob-
ably the oldest native resident who has
continuously resided here. His memory
goes back to the time when the Indians
were yet found in this district, and where
there were many wild animals. He has
seen Mount Pleasant developed from a
village of a few houses into a prosperous
city and the county converted into a rich
agricultural district, and all through the
passing years he has maintained an excel-
lent reputation that numbers him with the
representative and honored pioneers.


Winfield S. Withrow, since 1896 judge
of the twentieth judiciary district includ-
ing the counties of Des Moines, Henry

and Louisa, was born in Salem, Iowa,
September 28, 1855. His parents were
Adoniram Judson and Libertatia A. (Arn-
old) Withrow. The father, a native of
Greenbrier county. West Virginia, born
in 1825, accompanied his parents on their
removal to Indiana, where he remained
until 1853. when he came to Henry county,
Iowa. He established a business enter-
prise at Salem and was actively connected
with interests there until after the inaugu-
ration of hostilities between the north and
the south, when he became first lieutenant
of Company C, Twenty-fifth Iowa Vol-
unteer Infantry. The regiment was
formed of companies raised in Henry, Des
Aloines, Louisa and Washington coun-
ties, and Mr. Withrow went to the front
to do battle in defense of the Union but
resigned in 1864 with an incurable disease
which caused his death in 1867. His
study of the political issues and condi-
tions of the country led him to espouse
the cause of the new republican party
prior to the Civil war, and in i860 he was
elected upon this ticket to the state legis-
lature. He had been prominent and in-
fluential in public affairs in Salem during
the period of his residence there and his
efforts were so effective and beneficial that
his death was the occasion of deep and
widespread regret. He had married Miss
Libertatia Arnold, a daughter of James
H. Arnold, of Salem, who had come to tliis
state from Ohio. She died in 1896, leav-
ing a son and two daughters. A worthy
Christian woman, she held membership in
the Congregational church, while A. J.
Withrow had been reared in the Baptist

Following the acquirement of his pre-



liminary education in the public schools of
Salem, Judge Withrow continued his stu-
dies in Wliittier College, of that place,
then a leading educational institution of
Iowa, from which he won the Bachelor of
Science degree. Subsequently he learned
the printer's trade, which he followed at
intervals, alternating his time with teach-
ing for a number of years. Attracted to
the legal profession, however, he entered
the law department of the State Univer-
sity and was graduated w4th the degee of
Bachelor of Laws in the class of 1880.
Judge Withrow located for practice at
Salem, and soon afterward purchased the
Salem Weekly News, which he conducted
in connection with the law lousiness that
he could obtain in a small town. His jour-
nalistic \-enture pro\'ed successful and w^as
conducted for two years, w'hen he sold
the paper and l^ecame connected with the
Bank of Salem, with which he was iden-
tified for a number of years. Through-
out this period he continued in the prac-
tice of law and established a reputation
for comprehensive understanding of the
principles of jurisprudence as well as for
ability in the presentation of his cause be-
fore court or jur}-. In 1885 he was elected
a member of the state legislature from
Henry county, which he represented in the
twenty-first general assembly and then de-
clined a second nomination. Seeking a
broader field of professional labor he re-
moved to Mount Pleasant and formed a
partnership with Judge W. J. Jefferson,
who had a short time before retired from
the circuit bench. This relation was main-
tained until the death of Judge Jeffries in
1899, after which Judge Withrow was
alone for a time, a distinctively and liberal

representative clientage being accorded
him. He next admitted W. F. Kopp to
the firm under the style of Withrow &
Kopp, and upon the retirement of Judge
^^^ I. Babb from the district bench, he,
too, entered the firm on the ist of Jan-
uary, 1895, making this one of the strong-
est firms of the county. Judge Withrow
continued in active practice until on the
15th of June, 1896, when he was ap-
pointed district judge, while in the mean-
time Mr. Kopp had retired in order to en-
ter upon the duties of county attorney. In
the fall of 1896 Mr. Withrow was elected
to the office for the full term of four years
and was re-elected without opposition in
1900, and again in 1904, so that he has
now served for nine years, while his pres-
ent incumbency will continue until 1909.

Aside from his profession he has be-
come interested in banking in Henry
county, and is a director of the First Na-
tional Bank and also one of the organizers
and the promotor of the Henry County
Savings Bank.

Judge Withrow was married June 17,
1885, to Miss Anna Webb, of Mankato,
Minnesota, a daughter of the Rev. W. W.
Webb, a former member of the Indiana
Methodist Episcopal conference. They
have three living children, Dorothy, Mi-
riam and Emily. Judge and Mrs. With-
row are members of the Methodist Episco-
pal church, of which he is one of the trus-
tees, while in the work of the church he
takes a most active and helpful interest.
The familv have a beautiful home at the
corner of Washington and Locust streets
and the Withrow household is the center
of a cultured society circle. For the past
twelve years Judge Withrow has been a



trustee of the Iowa Wesleyan University
and for six years was a .member of the
board of education of Mount Pleasant, act-
ing as its president for a part of that time.
He regards municipal interests as abund-
antly worthy of his best efforts and with a
just recognition of the obligations and du-
ties as well as privileges of citizenship he
has put forth effort and influence for the
upbuilding of his city and county. In his
profession he has attained honors that are
given only in recognition of ability. It
has been said that the reputation of the
lawyer is the most ephemeral being based
largely upon oratorical ability and the im-
pressions of the hour, and yet there is
no profession which has more direct bear-
ing upon the welfare of community, state
and nation or conserves in larger meas-
ure public progress and stability. Thrice
chosen by popular suffrage to the district
bench, no stronger testimonial could be
given of Judge Withrow's position as a
lawyer and jurist, indicating as it does
that the consensus of public opinion is
most favorable.


Joseph Caldwell is a retired farmer re-
siding in Mount Pleasant, who after long
years of active connection with agricul-
tural interests, during which he won a
gratifying measure of success, is now en-
joying a well earned rest in a pleasant
home in the city. He was born in Wash-
ington county, Pennslyvania. September

23, 1840, and is a son of John and Mar-
garet (AlcCorkell) Caldwell, who were
also natives of A\"ashington county. They
came to Iowa in 1849, settling in Lee
county, where the fatlier followed his trade
of blacksmithing up to the time of his
death, which occurred in 1875. His wife

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 46 of 85)