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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 60 of 85)
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out in a humble way but recognizing the

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have been possibilities that lay before all who have

determnation and energy he has made
continuous advancement, gaining a place
among the foremost agriculturists of
Henry county and securing the prosperity


born four children, who are yet living.
Charles, who married Miss Laura Tate
and has three children, resides upon his
farm east of the city. James Cornelius,
who married Jessie Hughes and has four
children, is living on the old homestead.
Frank D., who owns and operates a farm
east of Mount Pleasant, married Florence
Palmer, and had three children. Maggie
is the wife of John Hughes, a farmer re-
siding near Mount Pleasant, and they have
two children.

Mr. and Mrs. Campbell are members of
the Methodist Episcopal church, in which
he has served as steward and for some
time he was superintendent of the Sunday
school. He has always taken an active
interest in the work of the church and the
extension of its infiuence and his co-opera-
tion has been a valued factor in its up-
building. While living on the farm he
w^as regarded as one of the prominent rep-
resentatives of the democratic party in his
township, and served as township treas-
urer but has never been actve in his search
for public ofiice as a reward for party
fealty. He belongs to Mount Pleasant
Lodge, No. 8, Free and Accepted Masons,
and also took the chapter degrees. In
1900 he purchased a beautiful home on
West Monroe street, where he has since

that is the merited reward of labor,
may indeed be tenned a self-made

and deserves all
phrase implies.






The Teutonic race has ever been an im-
portant one in the civilization and devel-
opment of the new world. The sons of
tlie fatherland have come to America,
where they have adapted themselves to
conditions and new surround-
but have brought the same spirit
of energy and determination which they
manifested in the old country and by
reason of these qualities they have be-
come successful and valued residents of
various parts of the United States. To
this class of citizens Fred Feldman be-
longs. He resides upon a farm in Scott
township and has been a resident of
America since the age of twenty years.





He was born in Hanover, Germany, a son
of August Feklman, also a native of that
land. His education was acquired in the
schools of Germany and in 1875 he bade
adieu to friends and native country and
sailed for New York, from which point
he made his way westward to St. Louis,
Missouri. He had learned the trade of a
soapmaker in Germany and he secured
employment in a soap factory in vSt.
Louis. He afterward rented a farm in
Franklin township, Des Moines county,
upon which he lived for seven years,
when he bought seventy-eight acres of
land, the greater part of which was cov-
ered with timber. He cleared all but
twenty acres of this and uses most of it
for pasture. He built a house of five rooms
and barn with stall space for six horses.
He continued the further improvement
of that property until the spring of 1896,
when he remo^'ed to Scott township,
Henry county, and bought about one hun-
dred and sixty acres of land from Wil-
liam J. ]\Iullen in the northeast corner
of section i. Taking up his abode upon
this place, he has remodeled the house
until it is a good residence of eight rooms
and in 1903 he remodeled the barn. He
has recently erected a large corn crib and
has placed many rods of tiling upon his
land, so that it is well drained and there-
fore very productive.

On the 20th of March, 1866. Mr. Fekl-
man was united in marriage to Miss
Fredericka Vollmer, who was born in
Prussia. Germany, and is a daughter of
Henry and Louise (Hoffmeier) Vollmer,
who. in the year 1866, crossed the At-
lantic to America, becoming residents of
St. Louis, where thev lived with their

children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Feldmar.
have been born nine children : Annie, now
the wife of Harry Kennedy, of Chicago,
Henry, who is living in Burlington,
Iowa; William, a resident of Ringgold
county, Iowa; Carrie, the wife of F.
Johansmeier, of Henry county; Fred,
who is living in Louisa county; Louisa,
Edward, and August, all at home; and
Charles, wdio is attending school. In
January, 1903, Mr. Feldman was sent
to the hospital at Mount Pleasant for a
time, but though there have been some
difficulties and obstacles in his path he has
perservered in his W'Ork and steadily ad-
vanced toward the goal of success. He
deserves much credit for what he has ac-
complished, as he had no assistance when
he started out in life on his own account.
He realized, however, that earnest labor
is the basis of all prosperity and because
of his indefatigable diligence he has
gained a place among the substantial ag-
riculturists of Henry county.


John Franklin Metzger. who carries on
general farming and stock-raising on a
farm of eighty acres in Scott township,
was born in Louisa county, Iowa, August
12, 1 86 1, and acquired his education in
the public schools there, while spending
his boyhood days under the parental roof.
He is a son of Isbon and Lydia (Hellar)
Metzger, the former a native of Pitts-
burg, Pennsylvania, \vhile the latter was



also born in the Keystone state. They
were married in Pennsylvania and be-
came the parents of one child ere their
removal to the west and in Louisa coun-
ty seven children were added to the fam-
ily, John Franklin being the second in
order of birth. On arriving in Iowa Is-
bon Metzger took up his abode on a farm
in Louisa county and became the owner
of considerable land in that and Henry
counties, making judicious investments
of his capital in real estate as his financial
resources were increased through his
careful management in business affairs
and his well directed labor.

Through the years of his boyhood and
youth John Franklin Metzger remained
with his parents and continued a member
of their household until twenty-seven
years of age. He lived for fifteen years
on a farm in Henry county and since
1889 has resided on his present farm on
section 2, Scott township. He came into
possession of forty acres of land here
and has since added to the property until
he now owns a valuable farm of eighty
acres, the fields being richly cultivated.
In 1904 he built a six- room house and
in 1905 a hay and horse barn. He has
also laid many rods of tiling upon his
place and he successfully carries on gen-
eral agricultural pursuits and raises cat-
tle and hogs. Everything about his place
is kept in a good condition of repair and
the fields annually produce rich crops.

In September, 1889. Mr. Metzger was
married to Miss Elizabeth Wassom, who
was born in Louisa county and pursued
a common school education. Her par-
ents were John and Jane Wassom, also
natives of Louisa county. The home of

Mr. and Mrs. Metzger has been blessed
with three interesting children: May,
Howard and Bessie. The parents are well
known in the locality where they reside
and enjoy the friendship of many with
whom they have come in contact. Mr.
Metzger has always lived in this part of
Iowa, and has ever been connected with
its agricultural pursuits, which line of
business now finds in him a worthy repre-


George E. Skipton has since 1888 re-
sided upon his present farm, comprising
eighty acres of land on section 2, Scott
township, constituting a good property.
It is well equipped with modern improve-
ments, and in connection with general
farming and stock-raising he also raises
chickens and turkeys.

Mr. Skipton is a native of Ohio, his
l^irth having occurred in Washington
county, October 2, 1837. His father,
John Skipton, was also born in that
county, as were the mother, who bore the
maiden name of Sally Willis. She was
a daughter of James Willis, who was
born in Ireland, and the paternal grand-
father, George Skipton, was likewise a
native of the Emerald Isle. Upon the
home farm in Ohio George E. Skipton
was reared, no e^'ent of special impor-
tance occurring to vary the routine of
farm life for him in his youth. He at-
tended the common schools and worked
on his father's land until twenty-one



years of age, when he bought forty acres
of the old home farm, hving thereon nn-
fifty-two years of age, when, beheving
that he would enjoy still better business
privileges west of the Mississippi he came
to Henry county, Iowa, in the spring of
1888, and purchased eighty acres of land
on section 2, Scott township. Here he
has since built a dwelling of six rooms
and also a good barn, thirty-six by thirty-
one feet, offering ample shelter for stock
and grain. He has likewise placed about
three hundred rods of tiling upon his
farm, has divided it into fields of conve-
nient size by wire fences and has carried
forward the work of general farming un-
til he now has a splendidly improved
property that annually yields to him good
harvests. Here he raises shorthorn cat-
tle, having from four to six head per year
and about twenty-three head of Poland
China and Jersey Red hogs. He like-
wise raises about two hundred chickens
and fifty turkeys each year, for which
he finds a good market. In all of his farm
work he is energetic, carefully supervis-
ing each department of the business and
his labors have been the foundation of the
success that he now enjoys.

On the 20th of December, 1857, Mr.
Skipton was united in marriage to Miss
Diantha W'ithington, who was born in
Washington county, Ohio, and was edu-
cated in the common schools there. Her
father, Francis Withington, was like-
wise a native of Washington countv and
married a Miss Bridges, who was a na-
tive of the same locality. I'nto Mr. and
Mrs. Skipton have been born four chil-
dren : Willis Dana, a resident of Win-
field, Iowa: Lucv, the wife of Brinton M.

Stollar, who is a native of Pennsylvania
and now makes his home in \\'infield.
Iowa; Louis Osborn, who is also living
in Winfield; and Hallie Florence, at
home. \Miile residing in W^ashington
county, Ohio, Mr. Skipton served as a
trustee of Union township, to which po-
sition he was elected on the Democratic
ticket. He has ever given his support to
the men and measures of that party but
has not been an aspirant for office. He
belongs to the Methodist Episcopal
church and high principles have ever
characterized his life, making him a man
honorable in business, social and home


J. E. Pierce, a well know'n representa-
tive of industrial interests in Winfield,
is a typical citizen of the middle west,
alert, enterprising and progressive. He
w^as born in Riley county. Kansas, on the
31st of July, 1870, and is a son of L. B.
Pierce, a native of Vermont. The fa-
ther came to Iowa in early manhood, ar-
riving in Henry county about 1858, and
here he w-as married to Miss Lee Ann
Bandy, a native of Des Moines county in
the year 1863. Responding to the coun-
try's call for aid he joined the Second Iowa
Cavalry at the breaking out of the Civil
war and served until the close of hostili-
ties. ^^'hen the country no longer needed
his services he returned to the north and
from Iowa remo\'ed to Kansas, where he
became connected with the educational



progress of that state, acting as principal
of the high school at Manhattan. He
engaged in teaching there for ten years
and on the expiration of that decade
made his way further westward and took
up a government claim, residing thereon
until 1880. Tn that year he returned to
Kossuth. Iowa, where he purchased a
tile factory, conducting it for four years.
On selling out there he removed to Win-
field, building the first tile and brick fac-
tory of this place with a capacity of
about ten thousand tile per day. Employ-
ment is furnished to ten men for about •
nine months each year and the business
has proved a profitable enterprise from
the beginning. The father associated his
son, J. E. Pierce, in the enterprise with
him and the firm of Pierce & Son has
since conducted a profitable and growing

J. E. Pierce after attending the public
and high schools at Winfield. continued
his education in the Kansas State Agri-
cultural College at ^Manhattan and when
he had put aside his text-books he en-
tered his father's employ and was thus
associated until 1899. when he was ad-
mitted to a partnership in the tile and
brick manufacturing business which his
father had established in Winfield. They
now have a well equipped plant supplied
with the latest improved machinery in
their line and are conducting a large and
profitable business, shipping about one-
half of their product within a radius of
fifty miles, showing that they have a
splendid local consumption for the

On the 1 6th of September, 1897, Mr.
■ Pierce was united in marriage to ]\Iiss

Flora May Roberts, who was born in
Henry county, Illinois, and was a daugh-
ter of Elijah Roberts, a native of Ohio.
in whose family were three daughters, of
whom Mrs. Pierce was the youngest. She
began her education in the public schools
of her native county and passed through
successive grades until she had com-
pleted the high school course in \\m-
lield. This marriage has been blessed
with one son, Harry Roberts, born Oc-
tober 21, 1896. The parents occupy an
enviable position in social circles in V\'\n-
field and their home is celebrated for its
gracious hospitality. They are members
of the Methodist Episcopal church and
Mr. Pierce is identified with the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows. He
gives his political allegiance to the Re-
publican party but has never been an as-
pirant for office, preferring to devote his
time and energies to his business inter-
ests. To the experience and sound judg-
ment of the father were added the ambi-
tion and strong energy of the son when
the present firm of Pierce & Son was
formed, making this one of the strong
business combinations of Winfield and in
the conduct of their enterprise they have
kept in touch with modern business meth-
ods and found that success comes as the
direct reward of clear judgment, expe-
rience and indefatigable energy.


Henrv Eye, now deceased, was classed
for many years with the capable and en-
ergetic farmers of Des Moines county



and moreover he was a representative of
that valued element in our American citi-
zenship that. Germany has furnished to
the new world. He was born in Amster-
dam, Germany, on the 23d of July, 1840.
The mother crossed the Atlantic to
America, settling in Wheeling, Virginia,
where she became the 'wife of Conrad
Bomby, who was an agriculturist of Vir-
ginia, where he resided until about 1855.
He then sought a home in Iowa, settling
in New London township, Henry county,
where he lived for five years, after which
he purchased a farm in Washington
township, Des Moines county, in 1863.
For about twenty years he resided upon
that place, carrying on general agricul-
tural pursuits there until the fall of 1883.
His wife, the mother of our subject, died
November 24, 1871, and after retiring
from his farm Mr. Bomby made his home
with his children until his own demise on
the 29th of October, 1902.

Henry Fye remained with his mother
and stepfather until twenty-two years of
age and in the meantime became familiar
with the best methods of tilling the soil
and caring for the crops. He had prac-
tical training in farm work and on leav-
ing the old home place he rented land
for about three years, working during
that time persistently and energetically
in order to acquire capital sufficient to
enable him to engage in farming for him-
self. He then purchased forty acres of
land in Washington township, which he
cultivated for four years, when he sold
that property and bought an eighty-acre
tract in the same township. After a few
years he extended the boundaries of his
place by the additional purchase of forty

acres and again he made purchase of land
by adding eighty acres to his farm. A.11
this was improved and for a long period
he successfully carried on general farm-
ing there. He tilled the soil with good
machinery, raised large crops and found
a ready sale for his products on the mar-
ket. Year after year was devoted dili-
gentl}' to the work of the farm, in which
he continued until the 9th of December,
1902, when having sold his property he
retired to New London. There he pur
chased a good residence, which he occu-
pied up to the time of his death on the
4th of December, 1903.

It was on the 29th of October. 1862,
that Mr. F}-e was united in marriage to
Miss Arminda Snelson, who was born in
Des Moines county on the 13th of May,
1841. Her father, C. H. Snelson, was a
native of Kentucky, born April 10, 1805,
and in early life he removed to Sangamon
county, Illinois, where, on the 27th of
August. 1827, he was united in marriage
to Miss Dorothy Cantrell, whose birth
occurred in Ohio on the 15th of ]\Iarch,
1805. Her parents were William G. and
Deborah (Mitts) Cantrell, both of whom
were natives of Virginia, the former born
September 6. 1784, and the latter on the
1 6th of November, 1785. The grandfa-
ther, Joshua Cantrell, also lived in the
Old Dominion and this indicates the fact
that the family was established in Amer-
ica when the south was still numbered
among the British possessions Mrs.
Snelson accompanied her parents on their
removal at an early day, the family home
being established there in pioneer times
and there she gave her hand in marriage
to C. H. Snelson. They began their do-



mestic life in Sangamon county, where
they resided until 1834, when they came
to Des Moines county. This was a num-
ber of years before the admission of the
state into the Union and in fact it seemed
that civilizing influences had hardly ex-
tended into this region for the red men
were far more numerous than the white
settlers. At Burlington there was but
one small house and many of the now
thriving towns and villages of the eastern
part of the state had not been founded or
even dreamed of by those who ^^'ere to
become its builders and prominent citi-
zens. Mr. Snelson entered land near the
present site of Middletown and every day
Indians passed by the door of the little
pioneer home. There were many wild
animals killed and trapped in the neigh-
borhood and deer and other game were
to be had in abundance. Mr. Snelson
served as a soldier of the Black Hawk
war and aided in subduing the wilder-
ness and in extending the frontier. He
broke prairie land where the city of
Mount Pleasant has since been built and
for many years he resided in Flint River
township, Des Moines county. After a
period the family made their home in
Mount Pleasant and later Mr. Snelson
took contracts to furnish timber for
bridges and other building in connection
with the construction of the Chicago,
Burlington & Ouincy Railroad. Subse-
cjuently he returned to Washington town-
ship, Des Moines county, where he se-
cured three hundred and eighty acres of
land, to the development and cultivation
of which he devoted his energies for a
number of years. Subsequently he re-
moved to Burlington, wdiere he contin-

ued to make his home up to the time of
his death on the 15th of September, 1872.
He had for a, long period survived his
wife, who died upon the home farm- in
Flint River township. Des Moines coun-
ty, on the 24th of August, 1855. In the
family of this worthy couple were seven
children : Minyard, who was born June
13, 1828, and died in 1896; William, who
was born July 13, 1830, and died in
1853; Abel P., born September 14, 1832;
Julia A., born March 14, 1834: Debo-
rah, who was born September 21, 1835,
and died in 1849; Adelphia J., born April
II, 1838; and Armanda, born May 13,
1841. ^

In all of his business dealings Henrv
Fye was strictly reliable, his integrity and
fair dealing standing as an unquestioned
fact in his career. He displayed also a
spirit of deference for the opinions of
others, while at the same time standing
loyall}- by his own honest convictions. He
held membership in the Lutheran church
and was interested in the moral welfare
and development of his community. Po-
litically he was a democrat and held a
number of township offices in Des Moines
county, the duties of which he discharged
with promptness and fidelity. He passed
away honored and respected by all who
knew him after a long residence in Des
Moines and Henry counties covering
almost a half century. Following his
death Mrs. Fye sold her property in New
London and purchased the D. W. Brown
residence in September, 1905. On the
9th of October, of the same year she took
up her abode there and is now occupy-
ing that home in X"ew London, being
comfortablv situated in life, her husband



having left her a desirable competence.

To Mr. and Mrs. pA'e were born four
children, two sons and two daughters :

JVilliain H. resides in New London.
He married Margaret J- McCune.

John C. resides on the old home place,
in Washington township. Des Moines
county, Iowa. He married Sarah Jones.
They have one son. Morris.

Fannie E., the wife of John W. Dean,
of Washington township. Des Moines
county, Iowa. They have four children
living and one dead. Henry F. (de-
ceased), Mamie V., Orville C, Otis W.,
and Selma G.

Annie D., wife of Lincoln Jones. They
have two children, Agnes ISi. and Dor-
othy F.


William Baker, a representative of
farming interest in Canaan township,
who owns and operates seventy-nine acres
of rich and productive land, is a native
of Des Moines county, where his birth
occurred on the 3d of October, i860. He
is a son of John Baker, who was born in
Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and he mar-
ried Catherine Miller, also a native of
that kingdom. It was between the years
of 1850 and 1855 that John Baker came
to America, landing at New Orleans,
whence he proceeded up the river to Bur-
lington. The lady whom he afterward
married was on the same trip and their
wedding was celebrated in Des Moines
county. They afterw^ard settled upon a
farm about six miles southwest of Bur-

lington, where their remaining days were
passed. They were well known repre-
sentatives of agricultural interests in their
community and though never seeking to
figure prominently in public life Mr.
Baker displayed the sterling traits of
character which in every land and clime
awaken confidence and command respect.
He died in the year 1895 and was for
seven years survived by his w'ife, who
passed away in 1902.

No event of special importance oc-
curred to vary the routine of farm life for
William Baker in his boyhood days. He
was a student in the district schools of his
native county and through the periods of
vacation aided in farm labor, remaining
with his father on the old homestead un-
til twenty-seven years of age. He was
then married on the 9th of January, 1888,
to Miss Laura Lauer, a native of Des
Moines county, who was educated in the
public schools. Her parents were An-
tone and Caroline (Eckey) Lauer, the
former a native of Russia, and the latter
of Germany. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Baker
have been born three sons and two daugh-
ters : Clarence L., born March i, 1889;
Evelina, born June 19, 1891 ; Raymond
G., l)orn March 29, 1896; Delia, on the
19th of November, 1900; and AA'illiam,
in January, 1903.

After • his marriage Mr. Baker lived
upon the farm owned by his father-in-
law, there residing until 1899, when he
removed to a farm of his own, havino- in
the meantime purchased seventy-nine
acres of land on section 7. Canaan town-
ship. The improvements here were very
meager, constituting an old house and a
few outbuildings. Desiring better im-



provements he erected a good barn in the
fall of 1897, the dimensions being thirty-
eight by forty-six feet and thus affording
ample shelter for his hay and horses. He
has also built two double corn cribs, one
thirt}'-t\vo by thirty feet and the other,
thirty-two by twenty-seven feet. It was
in the fall of 1898 that he removed to this
farm and in that year he built a very good
residence, containing eight rooms, hall
and pantry with a cellar underneath. His
farm is indeed well improved and in addi-
tion to the cultivation of his own land

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 60 of 85)