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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 48 of 85)
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grandfather, John Nutt, and her father,
William Nutt. were both natives of Eng-
land, and the latter married Annie Cooley,
who was born in Pennsylvania. They
became residents of Iowa, and in the pub-
lic schools of Lee county their daughter,
Mrs. Hankins. pursued her early educa-
tion, while later she attended Howe's
academy in Mount Pleasant. Mr. and
Mrs. Hankins began their domestic life
upon a rented farm in Canaan township,
where they li\-ed for a year, when he pur-
chased eighty acres of land on section 7,
and here they have since resided. The
place was improved with a small house
and barn, and the first improvement which
Mr. Hankins added was a granary, twen-
ty-four by thirty-two feet. He afterward
erected a residence containing seven
rooms. It is built in modern style of
architecture, conveniently arranged, and
is one of the attractive homes of the neigh-
borhood. He has since added numerous
other buildings, and has in contemplation
the building of a larger barn. He also
has a good windmill upon the place, and
the farm is thoroughly tiled, so that the
land is now very productive, responding
readily to the care and cultivation which
he bestows upon the fields. Since mak-
ing his first purchase he has added an-
other tract of forty acres, also on section
7. Canaan township, which he improved.
He carries on general farming, annually
harvesting good crops, and he raises cows
and hogs for his own use.

Mr. and Mrs. Hankins now have two
interesting daughters : Lela May, born
June 7, 1896 ; and Ula Violet, born on the
8th of January, 1902. In community af-



fairs Mr. Hankins is interested and gives
his support to various measures which he
deems of pubhc benefit. He votes with
the Repubhcan party, and he holds mem-
bership in the Methodist Episcopal church,
in the work of which he takes an active
and helpful part, serving now as class
leader and also as a teacher in the Sun-
day-school. He contributes according to
his means to the support of the church,
and does all in his power to extend its
influence, and his life is in harmony with
his professions.


Albert Hankins owns and operates a
good farm of one hundred acres in sec-
tion 5, Canaan township. He was born
in Pike county, Ohio, on the 17th of Oc-
tober, 1839, ^^^ is a representative of
one of the old families of the east. His
paternal grandparents were Gilbert and
Mary (Land) Hankins, both of whom
were natives of New Jersey, and it was
in that state that Gilbert Hankins, Jr.,
father of our subject, was born. Having
arrived at years of maturity, he wedded
Miss Mary Violet, a native of Pike
county, Ohio, and a daughter of Samuel
and Eunice (Phillips) Violet, both of
whom were natives of Virginia. The
wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Han-
kins, Jr., was celebrated in Pike county,
Ohio, where they remained until 1847,
when they removed westward to Iowa,
settling in Johnson county upon a farm.

There the father carried on general agri-
cultural pursuits for a number of years.
In i860 he was called upon to mourn the
loss of his wife, who died in the month
of February of that year, while he sur-
vived until 1882 and was then called to
his final rest.

Albert Hankins, having mastered the
elementary branches of learning in the
common schools, pursued an academic
course in Johnson county, Iowa. Under
the direction of his father he was trained
to farm work and he remained at home
until he attained his majority, when he
was married and started out in life on
his own account. It was on the 31st of
October, i860, that he wedded Miss Mary
Van Dyke, who was born in Des Moines
county, Iowa, and is a daughter of Ben-
jamin Van Dyke, a native of Maryland,
and Frances (Walker) Van Dyke, who
was born in Ohio. As the years have
gone by five children ha\'e been added
to the Hankins household : Eva, who is
now the wife of William Blakeway, a
resident farmer of Danville, Iowa; Ben-
jamin G., a minister of the Methodist
Episcopal church, now located in Salem,
Iowa; John A. and William, both of
whom are living in Canaan township, and
Lizzie, the wife of William McCosh, also
of Canaan township.

At the time of his marriage Mr. Han-
kins took up his abode in L'nion town-
ship, Des Moines county, and in 1865 he
purchased a farm in that township, on
which was a small house but few other
improvements. He purchased a second
farm in 1876. This was unimproved and
all of the work of cultivation and de-
velopment there was done by him. He



continued a resident of Des Moines
county from February, 1861, until March,
1883, when he sold his property there and
removed to Canaan township, Henry
county, where he purchased a farm of
one hundred acres on section 5. This
was well improved and he has since given
his attention to its further development.
He has thoroughly tiled the place and he
has good buildings upon the farm, while
the fields give promise of rich harvests.
In all of his work he is practical and
methodical and he has kept in touch with
the progress which has been as character-
istic of agricultural life as any other de-
partment of business activity. He is a
trustworthy business man, never taking
advantage of the necessities of others in
any business transaction and among those
by whom he is well known his word is as
Sfood as his bond. He votes with the
Republican party and his fellow towns-
men called him to the office of trustee
while he was residing in Union township,
Des Moines county. He is, however,
without political aspiration, preferring to
concentrate his energies upon his busi-
ness affairs, in which he is meeting with
signal success. He belongs to the Metho-
dist Episcopal church and for many years
has served as one of its trustees, while
in the various departments of church
work he is actively and helpfully


Edward C. Herron is operating one
of the finest farms of Henry county — a
splendidly improved place, which indicates

the careful supervision of a practical and
painstaking owner, who at the same time
keeps in touch with the progress that is
as manifest in agricultural circles as in
any other department of business activity.
He is a native son of the middle west, and
the enterprise which has been the domi-
nant factor in the rapid and substantial
upbuilding of this part of the country
finds exemplification in his business ca-
reer. He was born in Fulton county, Illi-
nois, December 21, 1869, and is a son of
John K. and Rebecca (Murphy) Herron.
The father was born in Zanesville, Ohio,
and was married in Cincinnati, where he
worked at the machinist's trade until
1858. He then removed with his family,
consisting of wife and two children, to
Illinois, settling in Fulton county, where
five more children were added to the
household. In the middle west he invested
his capital in forty acres of unimproved
land, which he at once began to till, placing
it under a high state of cultivation, and
afterward adding to it a tract of sixty
acres. From the time of his removal to
Illinois he gave his atention to agricul-
tural interests, thus providing for his fam-
ily up to the time of his death, which oc-
curred in 1890. He had for several years
survived his wife, who passed away in

Mr. Herron, whose name introduces
this record, began his education in the
public schools of his native county, and
completed his course in the high
school in Farmington, Illinois. He left
home when sixteen years of age. and went
to Lamar, Colorado, where he was em-
ployed in various ways for two years.
He afterward returned to Peoria, Illinois,



where he clerked in a dry goods store for
one year, and then again spent a year upon
the home farm in Fulton county. He
next went to Omaha, Nebraska, and was
employed in a wholesale cofifee depot in
1 89 1. 1892 and a portion of 1893. In
September of the latter year he visited the
World's Columbian Exposition in Chi-
cago, after which he returned to Omaha,
Nebraska, where he continued until Feb-
ruary, 1894. He then again went to Peo-
ria, and in that city remained for more
than a year.

It was in Peoria, on the 28th of No-
vember, 1894, that Mr. Herron was joined
in wedlock to Miss Stella Murdock, who
was born in Peoria county, and is a daugh-
ter of Robert B. and Jane (Robinson)
Murdock, the former a native of Virginia
and the latter of Ireland. Following his
marriage, Mr. Herron remained with his
wife's parents for a year, and then, on the
27th of September, 1895, arrived in Hen-
r}^ county, Iowa. Their home here has
been blessed with two children : LeRoy,
born July 26, 1896, and Lester, on the
13th of February, 1904.

Mr. Herron is now located on one
hundred and sixty acres constituting the
northwest quarter of section 28. Canaan
township. The land had already been
placed under cultivation, but he has re-
modeled all of the buildings, and now has
one of the finest farms in the county. The
fields are well tilled, and there is everv
evidence of careful supervision and pro-
gressive methods. He utilizes rotation of
crops and other methods for bringing his
farm up to a high state of cultivation,
and he annually gathers good harvests,
while at the same time he is successfullv

engaged in stock-raising, shipping annu-
ally a car load of Hereford cattle, and also
raising each year about seventy head of
Poland China hogs. The farm, in its ap-
pearance, indicates both comfort and a
competence, and his labors have consti-
tuted the foundation upon which he has
builded the superstructure of his success.
His sterling characteristics of manhood
are indicated by his membership in the
Presbyterian church and the Modern
Woodman camp. He belongs to the re-
publican party, because of his views upon
the political issues and questions of the
day, and he is interested in all that per-
tains to the material, intellectual and
moral progress of his community.


Iowa is pre-eminently an agricultural
state. The soil of its broad prairies is
very rich and fertile and thus splendid
opportunity is furnished to the farmer.
It was through the improvement of the
fields and of farm labor that Mr. Vorhis
w^on the competence that now enables him
in the evening of life to enjoy a well
earned rest, free from further business
cares. His birth occurred in Guernsey
county, Ohio, June 6, 1834, his parents
being Isaac and Malinda (Knotts) Vor-
his, the latter a native of Virginia and
the former probably of Ohio. The
father's birth occurred in 1806 and he
devoted his life to farm work. In 1838
he removed westward, having to remain



at St. Louis, Missouri, during the win-
ter, as the river was frozen over. In the
spring of 1839 he came to Henry countv,
arriving here only a few years after the
first settlement had been made bv white
men within its borders. He took up his
abode upon a farm that Daniel J. \/"orhis
now owns, and with characteristic energy
began its cultivation and development,
for the land that came into his possession
was all wild and unimproved. He took
an active and helpful part in the early
and substantial development of the
county. From his own farm he cleared
aw'ay the timber and brush, transforming
the land into productive fields, building
two houses, also good fences and other-
wise carried on the work of improvement.
In politics he was a democrat, but with-
out political aspiration, and he and his
wife were earnest members of the Metho-
dist church. In their family were four-
teen children, ten of whom reached adult
age, but only four are now living, namely :
Daniel J., Lemuel, who resides in ^^'ash-
ington county, Nebraska; James P., who
is living in Lucas county, Iowa, and V^ir-
ginia, the wife of Luke Lane, whose home
is in Audubon county, Iowa.

Daniel J. Vorhis was only four years
of age when his parents left the old home
in Ohio and came to the west. His edu-
cation w^as acquired in an old log school-
house in Jefferson county just across the
line from Henry county. He early be-
came familiar with the arduous task of
developing a new farm, but gave his
father the benefit of his assistance during
the period of his boyhood and youth. The
father afterward gave him some land and
he engaged in its cultivation, adding to

it from time to time until he now owns
the old home place in addition to other
tracts, his aggregate possessions including
three hundred and seventy-nine acres of
very valuable land, most of which is im-
proved, seventy-nine acres being in Jef-
ferson county one and a quarter miles
from the old homestead. As the years
went by Mr. Vorhis carried on general
farming and stock-raising until 1898,
prospering in his business undertakings
by reason of his excellent system, his
straightforward methods, his practical
knowledge and his progressive ide:is of
farming. In the year mentioned, how-
ever, he put aside further business cares,
purchasing a home at No. 308 North
Marion street in Mount Pleasant. Indo-
lence and idleness are utterly foreign to
his nature and he now keeps up the work
of the garden and lawn.

On the 3d of December, 1857, Mr.
Vorhis was united in marriage to Miss
Melinda Austin, a daughter of Joseph
and Melinda Austin, of Jeft"erson county,
Iowa, and a native of this state, born in
August, 1840. By this marriage there
were eight children, of whom three are
now living. George married Miss Dora
Kirkpatrick, by whom he has six chil-
dren, and their home is near Glasgow.
Jefferson county, Iowa. Edward mar-
ried Delia Simmons, a resident of Jeft'er-
son county, and they have eleven chil-
dren. Jesse married Ida Belle Taylor,
by whom he has four children, and their
home is near Glasgow. Mrs. Vorhis died
in May, 1870, and in October, 1876, Mr.
Vorhis married Mrs. Kirkpatrick, whi> in
her maidenhood bore the name of Rachel
E. Taylor. She was born in Jefferson


county. Iowa, in 1841, a daughter of ferson county. Mrs. Vorhis had three

Wilham and Mary (Hannah) Taylor, in brothers, who were in the Civil war:

whose family were nine children, all of George, who enlisted at Chicago, Illinois,

whom reached adult age. while seven are in the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth

yet living. The record of that family is Illinois Infantry; James H., who became

as follows: Caroline married Jacob a meniber of Company M, Fourth Iowa

Mauk. of Custer county, Nebraska, and Cavalry, and by re-enlistment served

they have had tw^elve children, of whom throughout the entire period of hostili-

eleven are now li^■ing. George W., of ties, and Rolla, who was in Company G,

Waukon. Iowa, married Miss Susan Thirtieth Iowa Infantry. He partici-

Jones and had eight children, of w^hom pated in the first assault in Vicksburg,

three are living. Wilfred H. Taylor is in the battle of Arkansas Post, the siege

deceased. Margaret is the wife of John of Atalanta and the siege of Vicksburg.

]\Iiller, of Macon county, Missouri, and Two of the brothers were honorably dis-

they have eight children, the family circle charged at Davenport,

vet remaining unbroken bv the hand of Mrs. Vorhis has been married twice,

death. Joseph H.. who is living in Red Her first husband was William Kirkpat-

Oak, Iowa, married Aliss Tamer Rat- rick, who was also a member of Company

lift', and they have one son. Rachel Eliz- G, Thirtieth Iowa Infantry, and partici-

abeth is now Mrs. Vorhis. Rolla E. pated in the first assault on Vicksburg.

married ]^Iiss Rose Monson. bv whom That night he w-as taken ill and Mrs.

he has three children and their home is in Vorhis' brother carried him on board a

Creston, Iowa. Amanda is the wife of boat and he died very soon afterward.

John ]\IcPheron, of Butler county. Kan- ]\Ir. Kirkpatrick was a man of genuine

sas, and they have five children. Wil- worth, highly respected by those w^ho

Ham married Miss ejnnie Rose and died knew him, and he gave his life a willing

leaving four children. The widow now sacrifice for the Union at the time of

resides in Custer county. Nebraska. At the country's peril.

one time the Taylor family was repre- By the second marriage Mr. and Mrs.

sented by five generations and a picture Vorhis had two children, of wdiom one

was taken of a group which included Mr. is now living, Charles T., who married

Taylor's daughter, Mrs. Caroline Hicken- Miss Marie Tuttle, and resides in Madi-

bottom, who, by her first husband, had son, Wisconsin. Mr. Vorhis' daughter

a daughter, Mrs. Prudence Phoutz, whose Josephine became the wife of Henry

daughter, Mrs. Kate Jones, was the Rupp and died in 1892, leaving five chil-

mother of a daughter. Prudence Jones, dren. By her former marriage Mrs. Vor-

and all of these are represented in the his had one daughter, Ida, who is now

■picture. Mr. Taylor died in Decemljer, the wife of William J. Meredith, a resi-

1892, in Jefferson county, Iowa, having dent of Menlo Park, California, by whom

long survived his wife, who passed away she has three children. They have a pre-

in 1864. Both were laid to rest in Jef- paratory school.



jMr. Vorhis' political preference per-
haps is for the principles of democracy,
but he largely votes independently, re-
garding rather the capability of the can-
didate than his party ties. rBoth he and
his wife hold membership inrrthe Metho-
dist church. He is a large, tall man of
fine proportions, who has led an active,
useful and honorable life. He came to
Iowa when onl)^ four and a half years
of age and has seen man}- changes in the
country. In the early days the Indians
were numerous, but gradually they have
gont to reservations farther westward
and the homes of the white race have
been established here, while the country
has been reclaimed and converted into
a splendid farming district, while the
cities contain all of the business enter-
prises and industries that lead to general
prosperity. By his earnest labor, capable
management and indefatigable diligence,
Mr. Vorhis has accumulated ^a handsome
competence during the sixty-se\'en years
of his residence here, and both he and
his wife are people of genuine worth,
who have many friends in this part of
the state.



Charles Anton Hookom, who is en-
gaged in farming and stock-raising in
Marion township, is a native of Sweden,
born on the 24th of January, 1861. In that
country his parents, Andrew G. and Chris-
tine (Anderson) Hookom, first opened

their eyes to the light of day. His father
was a mechanic, and in the fall of 1867
came to America, crossing the Atlantic to
New York, whence he made his way di-
rect to Burlington, Des Moines county,
Iowa. He was a carpenter of considerable
experience, and remained in Burlington
for three years, working on the Union
depot and on Berg's wagon shop. He aft-
erward removed to Kossuth, Iowa, where
he again engaged in carpentering, and
later he followed the same pursuit in Or-
ion and Aledo, Illinois. In 1878 he rented
a farm near Kossuth for his family, which
was operated by his sons, wdiile he con-
tinued carpentering in Des Moines
county. His last days were spent in
Henry county, to which he removed in
1882, passing away here on the 4th of
January, 1883. His interest in the politi-
cal situation in America and in the ques-
tions and issues of the day led him to give
his support to the republican party, and
he held membership in the Lutheran
church, to which his widow also belongs.
She is now living with one of her sons in
Wayne township, Henry county, and is
sixty-eight years of age. In the family
were eleven children, of whom two have
passed away. The living are: John, a
resident of this county ; Charles A. ; Mary,
the wife of W. E. Cone; August, who is
living in Kansas; Andrew, who resides in
this county; Erick, a resident farmer of
Marion township; Oscar, who is living in
Wayne township; Amee W., of Canaan
township ; and Annie, who makes her
home with her mother. .

Charles A. Hookom was educated in
the district schools in the various locali-
ties in which the family lived during his



boyhood and youth. He was early
trained to farm labor, and remained upon
his father's farm until his death, after
which he was ^•ariously employed until he
began agricultural pursuits on his own ac-
count by renting land in Scott tow^nship,
Henry county. When his efforts and
economy had brought him sufficient capi-
tal, he made purchase of one hundred and
sixty acres of land on section 26, Marion
township, coming into possession of this
property in 1895. The little house upon
the place contained but two rooms, but
he has since made a comfortable home,
has tiled the farm and has otherwise im-
proved the property by good buildings
and modern equipments, until it is now a
valuable farm. He has always carried on
the work of cultivating the cereals best
adapted to soil and climate, and in addi-
tion to this he raises some stock, having
from ten to fifteen head of horses on his
place, and feeds a large number of cattle
each }-ear for the market.

On the 27th of April, 1892, Mr.
Hookom was married to Miss Ella L. An-
derson, who was born in Des Moines
county, Iowa. August 24, 1872, her par-
ents 1:eing Peter and Helen (Pierson)
Anderson, both of whom were natives of
Sweden, born in January and October,
1844, whence they came to America about
1866, the mother being reared by her
aunt. The father was a farmer, and is
now engaged in general agricultural pur-
suits in Canaan township, Henry county.
He is a democrat, and has held several
township offices. In his family were
eleven children, all of whom are yet liv-
ing: John, a resident of Des Moines
county: Enoch, of this countv: Mrs.

Hookom: Marjorie, the wife of Frank
•Lutes, of Henry county; Daniel, also liv-
ing in this county : Hattie, the wife of
Jesse Matthews, of Van Buren county;
Clara, the wife of A. ^^^ Hookom, of
Henry county ; Otto, a mail carrier of
Mount Union; Annie and Minnie, both
at home : and Walter, who completes the
family. The parents hold membership in
the Methodist Episcopal church. John
Pierson, the grandfather of Mrs.
Hookom, was born in Sweden in 18 15,
and there jMrs. Peter Anderson was born,
and there the first wife died and Mr. Pier-
son again married, his second wife dying
of cholera at Liverpool when coming to
America, and later two children died dur-
ing the voyage. He came on a sailing
vessel, being one hundred and twenty-six
days on the ocean. He came at once to
Burlington, where he developed a fruit
farm, and came to be a well-to-do man.
He died January i, 1905, at Greenville,
Illinois, aged eighty-nine years.

]\Ir. and Mrs. Hookom have a family
of five children, of whom four are now-
living : Glenn A., who was born in Henry
county, April 17, 1894: Lillian Fern, born
March 2, 1896: Dewey D., born March
24, 1898; Helen IMargaret, who was bom
October 15. 1900, and died March 26.
1902. the interment being in the Trinity
cemetery; and Myra, born March 21,

Mr. Hookom exercises his right of
franchise in support of the men and meas-
ures of the republican party. He belongs
to Henry Lodge, Xo. 10, Independent Or-
der of Odd Fellows, and also to the en-
campment, and with his wife is a member
of the Methodist Episcopal church. Like



her husband, she is held in high esteem,
and their home is a hospitable one, a cor-
dial welcome being extended to their
man}^ friends. Mr. Hookom has advanced
in business life through his own industry,
determination, and laudable ambition, and
as the architect of his own fortunes has
builded wisely and well.


D. O.

Elmer Ellsworth W^stfall, the pioneer
in his profession in this part of Iowa, and
now one of its most successful and able
exponents, was born in Gibson county, Li-
diana, February 12, 1863, a son of Milton
and Elizabeth (Knowles) Westfall, who
were likewise natives of Gibson county,
where they were reared and married. The
father engaged in farming in early life,
but afterward conducted a shoe business
at Grayville, Illinois. He is now living
retired in Findlay, Ohio. Both he and his
w^ife hold membership in the United
Brethren church. The ancestors of the
Westfall family came from Westphalia,
Germany, but several generations have
been residents of the United States. The
great-grandfather of Dr. \\"estfall re-
moved from Tigart's Valley, Virginia,

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 48 of 85)