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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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was a farmer by occupation and in 1845
came to the middle west, settling in Cedar
township, Lee county, where he inherited
a part of the home farm. Here he resided
until 1888, when he removed to Salem
and for some years was engaged in the
grocery business. He was one of the
patriotic sons of Iowa and attempted to
enlist several times but was rejected each
time on account of his youth and size. He
later was accepted and served his country
as a soldier of the L^nion army in the
Civil war, joining Company E, Forty-
fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry for one
hundred days. In politics he was an
earnest republican but unlike his father,
he eschewed public office, preferring to
give his attention to his business interests
and other duties. He belonged to the Odd
Fellows lodge at Salem, also to the Grand
Army of the Republic and he held mem-
bership in the Congregational church, and
his wife belongs to the Christian church.
She bore the maiden name of Elvira C.
Harlan and is a native of Ohio and a
member of the well known Harlan family.
Mr. Bell passed away on the 5th of Janu-
ary, 1893, but Mrs. Bell still survives and
is now residing in Salem at the age of
sixty years. In the family of this worthy
couple were two daughters and a son,
Frank S. being the eldest of the family.
The others are: Cora E., the wife of John
Byers. a resident of Birmingham, Iowa,
by whom she has five children. Earl,

Ethel, Rhea, Thelma and Frank Stewart,
all born in Birmingham ; and Grace E.,
who is at home with her mother. She is
a graduate of the Iowa \\'esleyan Uni-
versity and is a successful piano teacher
in Salem.

Frank S. Bell pursued his early educa-
tion in the public schools and afterward
attended Whittier College in Salem and
Howe's Academy in Mount Pleasant.
Having thus acquired a good literary
education to serve as a foundation upon
which to rear the superstructure of pro-
fessional knowledge, he entered the law
department of Drake L'niversity at Des
Moines from which he was graduated
with the class of 1894 with the degree of
LL. B., and was admitted to the bar by
examination, standing second in a class of
fifty-three members, it being the largest
class before the supreme court until that
time. He returned at once to Salem and
for six months engaged in teaching school
near the city. He then opened his law
office and is still practicing here, being
the only practicing attorney in Salem. He
is also a member of the firm of Bell &
Percival, of Winterset, Iowa. In a pro-
fession where advancement depends upon
intellectual and individual merit he has
gradually worked his way upward and is
regarded as one of the rising lawyers of.
Henry county and has represented the
leading financial interests of Salem in a
legal way. His understanding of the law
is broad and comprehensive and accurate
and in the trial of his cases he shows keen
discernment, logical reasoning and force-
ful presentation of his cause.

Mr. Bell is a member of the Odd Fel-
lows societv and of the Knights of



Pythias fraternity. He is a republican
but has neither sought nor desired office.
He belongs to the Congregational church
and lives on Jackson street in Salem with
his mother, who is a most estimable lady,
having a large circle of warm 'friends
here. Mr. Bell is popular both socially
and professionally and his business quali-
fications have gained him a creditable
name and are bringing him the sub-
stantial rewards of earnest and close


Abraham Musser, deceased, was an
active, enterprising business man, who at
his death left to his family a good prop-
erty and moreover gave to them as a
cherished inheritance a name which was
untarnished. His birth occurred in Wayne
county, July 23, 1842, and he was of
Swiss lineage, his parents, Christian and
Mary (Conred) Musser being natives of
Switzerland. They crossed the Atlantic
ocean on the same ship in the early part
of the nineteenth century, Mr. Musser
being at that time a lad of seven years and
his future wife a little maiden of five sum-
mers. They were reared in the same
neighborhood in Wayne county, Ohio,
and both his father and mother and her
father and mother died in the same house
in that county, all breathing their last
upon the same bed. Mr. and Mrs. Chris-
tian Musser were married in Ohio and
resided in the house in which their respec-
tive parents had lived.

Abraham Musser was the second in
order of birth in a family of two sons and
three daughters and was reared to farm
life remaining residents of Ohio until
twenty-four years of age, when he came
to Iowa, visiting in Washington county.
He then returned to Ohio but he was well
pleased with the west and after three
years he again came to this state, where
for a time he worked at farm labor. On
the 9th of November, 1870, he w^as mar-
ried to Miss Josephine Wittmer, a native
of Alsace, France, in which country she
pursued her education in the common
schools and with her parents she came to
America. After a visit of two weeks in
Ohio they took up their abode in Wash-
ington county. Iowa, and a year later Mr.
Wittmer purchased a farm of eighty
acres upon which he and his wife spent
their remaining days, his attention being
devoted to the improvement of his farm.
Mrs. Wittmer was killed by being thrown
from a wagon on the 6th of July, 1880,
and Mr. Wittmer dropped dead while on
a visit in Jefferson county, on the 17th of
December, 1884.

After his marriage Mr. Musser pur-
chased forty acres of land in Jefferson
township, Henry county, where he lived
until the fall of 1884, and then removed
to Washington county, settling a mile and
a half west of Crawfordsville, where he
remained for eight years. On the 12th
of March, 1892, he bought one hundred
and two acres of prairie land and later
purchased twelve acres of timber land,
lying across the boundary in \\'ashington
county. The prairie farm is on section 5,
Wayne to^^•nship, and here Mr. Musser
erected a fine residence, containing ten



rooms. He also built a barn for the
shelter of hay, horses and cattle, also
good implement sheds and corn cribs
and he used the latest improved machin-
ery in carrying on his farm work. In
fact he made his property one of the fin-
est farms in the county and laid many
rods of tiling upon his place, so that the
fields were well drained and thereby
became very productive. He carried on
general farming and dealt in blooded
horses. His business interests were ca-
pably conducted, bringing him the success
which is the goal of all endeavor. As the
years passed eight children were added
to the Musser family, namely : Alary,
who died at the age of three years;
Emma, who died at the age of two years ;
Lydia, the wife of Michael Miller, of
Olds; Amos, who died at the age of
eleven years; Samuel J., at home; Clara,
the wife of Frank Miller, of \\'ayne town-
ship; Margaret, at home; and John
Henry, who operated the farm until his
death on April 19, 1906. The father died
of pneumonia March 10, 1905, and his
remains were interred in the Mennonite
cemetery near Xoble, Washington county.
He was a member of the jMennonite
church and was an earnest Christian man,
whose life was actuated by honorable
principles and who in all of his relations
was straightforward and reliable. He
voted with the Democracy but did not care
for office as he preferred to give his
attention to business interests that would
enable him to provide a comfortable liv-
ing and pleasant home for his family. He
succeeded in what he undertook and as
the years went by developed a splendid
property which returned to him a good

income. Those who knew him respected
him for his genuine worth, admired him
for what he accomplished and entertained
for him warm friendship because of his
fidelity to honorable principles.


A. R. Wickersham was born in lib-
erty. Union county, Indiana, in March.
1826, a son of Elihu and Miriam Wicker-
sham. The father was a farmer by occu-
pation and removed from Pennsylvania to
Indiana. His ancestors were all con-
nected with the Society of Friends, or
Quakers, and he adhered to the same
religious faith. His political support was
given to the Free Soil party in early life
but later he joined the ranks of the new
Republican party. He served as justice of
the peace for a time and his public duties
were discharged with promptness and
capability. He died during the early
childhood of his son. A. R. Wickersham,
and the mother afterward married again,
passing away in 1893.

A. R. \A'ickersham acquired his educa-
tion in the school conducted by the Soci-
ety of Friends at Indianapolis. Indiana,
and was afterward in a printing office in
Union, that state, where he learned the
trade. Coming to Iowa he located in
Henry county, where he learned the art
of making daguerreotypes, having worked
for a brief period at the business before
taking up his abode in Mount Pleasant in
1 8^2. The courthouse at that time stood



in the middle of the pubHc square and
there Mr. ^^'ickersham conducted his
"picture gahery." Less than a year after
his arrival in Mount Pleasant, however.
he purchased the Mount Pleasant Oh ser-
ver from Mr. Galloway and Col. Samuel
McFarland became his partner in the con-
duct of this enterprise. Two or three
years later, however. Mr. \Mckersham
sold his interest in the paper and estab-
lished the JJ'asliington Press at Washing-
ton, Iowa, conducting it for fifteen years.
He then removed his family back to
Mount Pleasant and was steward of the
Mount Pleasant insane hospital for nearly
five years, on the expiration of which
period he took up his abode at Paola,
Kansas, where he was engaged in mer-
chandising for a year. Subsequently he
was connected with newspaper pul)lica-
tion in Paola and Emporia, Kansas, and
on selling out he entered the employ of
Smedley Darliiigton, of Westchester.
Pennsylvania, who was a money loaner
and broker. During the Grant campaign
he came to Iowa and had charge of the
lozva City Republican for two years, after
which he made his way to Chicago,
where he de^'oted two years to the real-
estate business. He then returned to
Mount Pleasant in ill health on the 12th
of January, 1898. and his death occurred
on the 14th of December following when
he was sevent}'-two years of age.

Mr. Wickersham was married on the
30th of November. 1869. to Miss Ellen
M. Shaw, a native of Fredericktown.
Ohio, and a daughter of James and Lydia
Ann (Clark) Shaw. Her father was
born in Beaver county. Pennsylvania.
]\Iarch 16, 1808, and her mother was a
native of Connecticut. Mr. Shaw was a

merchant and from Pennsyh-ania removed
to Ohio, where he was married. He con-
tinued in business at Mount Gilead, Ohio,
for several years and was also promi-
nent and influential in public affairs, his
position in the community being indi-
cated by the fact that he was four times
called to represent his district in the state
legislature. He took an active part in
framing the laws of Ohio and was one of
the active \vorking members of the house,
being connected with many constructive
measures, the value of which has been
proven as the years have gone by. He
served as a member and president of the
school board and the cause of education
found in him a warm friend. He took
a deep and active interest in political ques-
tions, giving a stalwart support to the
Republican party and his home was a sta-
tion on the famous "underground rail-
road" prior to the Civil war. He fed
many refugees and assisted them on their
way to freedom in Canada, for he favored
the abolition movement and did every-
thing in his power to wipe out slavery.
He was especially interested in the Soci-
ety of Friends, or Quakers, and he con-
ducted a department store which drew its
patronage largely from that worthy reli-
gious sect. He was of Scotch-Irish line-
age, while his wife was of English and
Scotch descent and both were devoted
members of the Presbyterian church in
early life. Mrs. Shaw afterward became
a Universalist and was a prominent mem-
l)er of that society in Alount Pleasant.
]\Ir. Shaw never joined that church but
gave to that and other religious societies.
Continuing his residence in Ohio until
1852, Mr. Shaw then came to Iowa,
settling in Mount Pleasant, where he



built the first three-story business block of
the city^ this being the one in which the
Holland drug store is now located. He
also erected a pretty residence on Broad-
way but the land was a corn field when
Mr. Shaw purchased it for residence prop-
erty. For a number of years he was
engaged in the hardware business there,
entering into partnership with his brother-
in-law, John Craig, in the establishment
and conduct of the first store of this kind
in Alount Pleasant. It was located on
East Monroe street until the store on the
corner of Jefferson and Monroe was built.
They received a good patronage from the
village and surrounding district. Mr.
Shaw was a charter member of the Odd
Fellows Society of Mount Pleasant and
was buried by that organization. He also
affiliated with the Masonic lodge in Ohio.
Unto him and his wife were born six chil-
dren : Ansel, who died in childhood ;
Ellen M., now Mrs. Wickersham; Callie
S., who married Albert March, a Quaker,
but both are now deceased ; Francis Mur-
ray, who married Miss Mary Cramer and
resides in Orange, New Jersey, but
spends the summer months in A\'3'oming;
Stella S., the wife of James D. Cook, of
Chicago; and Dora E., who married
George D. Cook and died July 17, 1882.
Her husband resides in Orange, New Jer-
sey, and since her death has married Vir-
ginia Sturgis. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw when
called to their final rest were buried in
Forest Home cemetery in ^Mount Pleas-
ant. Mr. Shaw was tall, fine propor-
tioned and of splendid personal appear-
ance, w^ell fitted for leadership in public
life. He was in close touch with the
prominent representatives of the Republi-

can party of Iowa and of Ohio and
became a valued factor in the development
and growth of Mount Pleasant. Mr.
Shaw was a very prominent man, enter-
prising and versatile. He was a great
reader and a splendid Bible student.
Aloreover he was closely in touch with
the political questions and problems of
the day and w-as the associate of all the
leaders of the Republican party of Ohio
and of Iowa, being a warm personal
friend of many. He lived in ]\Iount
Pleasant for twenty-two years and wM-
nessed its grow-th from a mere village to
a prosperous city. In 1870 Mr. Shaw was
elected one of the county board of super-
visors and held the office until 1873. D^ii'-
ing that time he thoroughly overhauled
the railroad indebtedness, reducing it to
svstem and order and securing an advan-
tageous settlement with the holders of our
county bonds. He was greatly respected
and beloved and his death, which occurred
in 1874. was the occasion of deep and
widespread regret. He was born March
16, 1808, and removed to Ohio in 1820,
there residing until he came to Iowa. His
wife, who was born January 2, 181 1,
passed away November 16, 1879. They
were both tall, and people of fine per-
sonal appearance. There was but one
sentiment e.xpressed concerning Mr.
Shaw. "He was a noble man." His life
was characterized by industry and laud-
able ambition. At all times he was hon-
est and he was very generous, but his
charity and benevolence were without
ostentation. The funeral service was con-
ducted by Rev. Cole, who said: "There
has never been an hour in all the twenty
vears that I have known lames B. Shaw



that I would not trust my life, my fortune
and temporary all. in his safely guarded
hand." He was just to his enemies and
g-enerous to his friends. His fellow
townsmen displayed their faith in him by
calling him to public office. He served
as United States marshal and was census
commissioner and whether in office or out
of it he was always alive to the best
interests of his community and did every-
thing in his power to promote public
progress. He passed away March 5,
1874. "Xight fell and a hand as from
the darkness touched him and he slept."
He was a pure-minded man of refined
and gentle disposition. His wife was a
remarkable woman w'ho did not know
what the word fear meant and she was
indeed a faithful companion and help-
mate to him on life's journey. She, too,
displayed splendid traits of character, so
that her death was deeply deplored by all
who knew her.

Unto Mr. and ^Irs. Wickersham was
born one child, Albert, whose birth
(jccurred in Henry county and who' died at
the age of six months. In his political
affiliation Mr. Wickersham was always a
stanch republican, doing everything in his
power to promote the growth and insure
the success of his party. He served as
chairman of the central committee of
Washington. low'a, and for eight years
was postmaster at that place by appoint-
ment of President Lincoln. He also
served as a member of the school board
there and was deeply interested in the
cause of education. His fraternal affilia-
tion was with the Odd Fellows, his mem-
bership being in Henry Lodge, Xo. 10,
Independent Order Odd Fellows, and he

was also a prominent Mason, He
belonged to the Society of Friends, or
Quakers, and always remained true to its
teachings. His wife, however, was
reared in the Presbyterian church but is
now a Christian Scientist. Mrs. Wicker-
sham has occupied an attractive cottage at
No. 303 East Washington street for
about a year and a half. She was edu-
cated in Worthington College in Ohio and
in Howe's Academy at Mount Pleasant,
in which she spent about a year, while
later she attended a college in Delaware,
Ohio. She has lived in various places
from the Atlantic ocean to Colorado and
is an exceedingly well informed w^oman,
greatly beloved in her club life and
throughout the community at large. Mr.
^\lckersham was a man greatly respected
and beloved and occupied a prominent
position in journalistic circles in Iowa. He
was of a rather quiet and retiring dispo-
sition but was a fluent writer upon all
subjects of the day and he gave close and
earnest consideration to every question
which engaged his attention. The various
communities in wdiich he resided profited
by his connection therewith. He built a
residence and business block while living
in Washington, where he began the publi-
cation of a paper in 1857. To him pro-
fanity and rough language were as utter
strangers. His life was ever upright and
honorable and was characterized by an
unfaltering devotion to high and manly
principles. Although they lost their only
child in early life Mr. and Mrs. Wicker-
sham, prompted by the kindness of their
hearts, reared five boys in their own home
from the time they were large enough to
work in the printing office until they grew



to manhood. Three are now deceased,
but one, Asher F. Pay, is Hving in South
Dakota and is a member of the legisla-
ture there, while the other, Philip Gruisel,
is a prosperous business man of Indiana.
Mrs. Wickersham has led a life of great
usefulness, her years being filled with
good deeds that have resulted in the devel-
opment of a beautiful character. She and
her sister, Mrs. Callie Marsh, became
charter members of the Mount Pleasant
Library Association, with which they
were connected for thirty years. She
still takes great interest in the library and
her sister was treasurer of the association
and was identified therewith up to her


Myron B. Martin, actively interested in
general farming in Wayne township, was
born in Geauga county, Ohio, October
25, 1845, and is descended from New
England ancestry. His paternal grand-
parents, Isaac Mitchell and Philena
(Guernsey) Martin, were natives of
Woodbury county, Connecticut. Their
son, Bennett Martin, was born in Litch-
field, Woodbury county, and when ten
years of age went with his parents to
Schoharie county. New York, where he
remained for about five years. The fam-
ily then drove to Ohio and he began chop-
ping wood in the midst of the forest.
When he had reached adult age he was
married to Miss Asenath Smith, whose
birth occurred in Warren county. New

York, and her parents were Elijah and
Asenath (Woodworth) Smith, the former
a native of Massachusetts and the mother
of the Empire state. Following their
marriage Mr. and Mrs. Bennett Martin
came by wagon to Henry county, Iowa,
starting on the 6th of April about the
time the ground was breaking up and the
roads were very muddy. This made
travel very difficult and they passed
through the main street of Chicago when
it was like a mortar bed. They reached
Wayne township on the 21st of May and
entered from the government a tract of
land, which he developed, comprising the
southeast quarter of section 9. He
remained there three years and built a
house and stable of logs, and in 1852
some land sharks, taking advantage of
him, he lost the place and afterward
bought eighty acres on the northwest
quarter of section 9, Wayne township,
purchasing the same from the govern-
ment at one dollar and a quarter per acre.
There was not a fence upon the place nor
stick of wood of any description, nor had
a furrow been turned. He built a frame
house and stable, fenced the land and fur-
ther continued the cultivation, develop-
ment, and improvement of the property
up to the time of his death, which
occurred on the loth of May, 1876. His
wife long survived him, dying upon the
old homestead on the 8th of July, 1891.
Myron B. Martin was the youngest of
four children, two sons and two daugh-
ters. Philena, the eldest, lived upon the
old home place until her death, Novem-
ber 15, 1904, at the age of seventy
years. Eliza Ann died at the age of six
vears. Sheridan S. Martin remained at


home until December, 1863, when he sprung up and these are imbued with the

responded to the country's call for troops, commercial and industrial life that leads

enlisting as a member of Company G, to rapid advancement. Mr. Martin has

Eleventh Iowa Infantry. The regiment concentrated his energies upon his busi-

was sent to the south, where he was ness affairs with good results and is

engaged in active duty and on the 22d of classed with the enterprising agricultur-

July, 1864, in the siege of Atlanta he was ists in Henry county,
taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville,
where he died on the 19th of September,

being buried there.

Since brought to his present farm in his
boyhood days Myron B. Martin has

resided continuously upon this place, hav- MANLY MENDENHALL.

ing here a good tract of land of forty

acres which responds readily to the care Manly Mendenhall owns and operates

and labor he bestows upon it, the fields a farm of one hundred and forty acres in

annually yielding good harvests. He was Salem township. He was born in Morgan

married on the 9th of January, 1889, to county, Ohio, March 27, 1862, a son of

Miss Hattie H. Smith, who was born in Isaac and Rachel (Brown) Mendenhall,

Lake county, Ohio, a daughter of Loring both of whom were natives of Pennsyl-

\\'. and Caroline ( Gardner) Smith. Her vania and the mother was a daughter of

father was a native of Warren county, Benjamin and Amy (Mitchner) Brown.

New York. Mr. and Mrs. Martin now In the year 1865 the parents removed

have three children, Loring B., Edith L. from Ohio to Henry county, Iowa, set-

and Harmon E, all at home. The parents tling in Salem township, where the father

are de\'0ted members of the Congrega- purchased one hundred and twenty-five

tional church, in which Mr. Martin has acres of land on section 2. In was

served for fifteen years as clerk and for improved according to the methods of the

three years as trustee. Almost his entire times, but in comparison to the farms of

life has been passed in this locality, for he today was in quite a crude condition. In

was less than a year old when brought the family were four daughters and three

from Ohio to Henry county. In the sixty sons, of whom one daughter and two

years which have since come and gone he sons are now living. Both parents have

has witnessed many changes as the wild, passed away, the father having died on

unimproved country has been reclaimed the ist of July, 1904, and the mother on

and the work of development has been the i6th of April, 1896. They were

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 63 of 85)