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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 71 of 85)
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journe}' in regular passenger cars and in
the latter city ]\Ir. Klen at once sought
employment, accepting any honest work
that he could secure. He was employed
at times in the hay fields and became ill,
being unable to do any further work until
after the ist of January, 1866. He had
been married on the i6th of December,
1865, to Miss Panilla Benson, with whom
he had been acquainted for a number of
years in Sweden and who came to the
United States and on to Galesburg at the
same time her husband made the trip.

The young couple began their domestic
life in Galesburg, where Mr. Klen worked
as a wood chopper for two months and
then went to Missouri, where he spent
two months in the employ of the Burling-
ton & Missouri Railroad Company. Im-
paired eyesight, however, obliged him to
discontinue that work and he returned to
Galesburg, where he accepted a clerkship
in a hardware store, remaining there for
two years and eight months. He after-
ward worked in a grocery store for three
years and about Christmas time of 1869
he came to Henry county, where he pur-
chased fifty-three acres of prairie land on
section 23, Wayne township.

Mr. Klen then returned to Galesburg,
where he was again employed as a sales-
man in a grocery store until 1872. when
he removed to a small house sixteen by
twenty- four feet and one and a half

stories in height which he built upon his
farm in this county. He afterward built
an addition to the house and made his
home there for five years. In 1893, how-
ever, he entirely rebuilt and remodeled
the house, which is now a comfortable
residence of eight rooms and in addition
there is a summer kitchen. He has also
built a barn for the horses and in 1903
built another barn, forty-six by fifty feet.
There is also a granary, twenty-four by
twenty-four feet, a tool house and wagon
shed, an elevated corn crib, twenty-four
by thirty-two feet, a good chicken house
and a hog house, thirty by thirty-two feet.
He put in a pitless truck scale of finest
quality. Since 1899 he has had a large
windmill upon his place and he uses the
latest improved machinery in his farm
work. In fact, he has a splendidly im-
proved property and has for many years
been successfully engaged in general
farming, being now in partnership with
Bert Benson, whom he has reared from
the age of six years. They are now
engaged in raising horses and raising and
feeding cattle and Poland China hogs.

J\Ir. Klen has been a stockholder in the
Winfield State Bank since its organiza-
tion, and has been one of the directors of
the bank since in was started in 1893.

Mr. and ]\Irs. Klen have never had any
children, but reared an adopted daughter,
Nellie Peterson, who lived with them be-
tween the ages of three and twenty-seven
years, when she gave her hand in mar-
riage to the Rev. Randolph, a minister of
the Swedish Lutheran church, who was
reared in Mount Pleasant.

Mr. Klen is a member of the Swedish
Lutheran church and for one vear served


60 1

as trustee, at the end of which time he
resigned. He has been a delegate, how-
ever, to different conferences of the
church. In pohtics he is an earnest and
unfaltering republican, who served as
school director five years and has also
been secretary and treasurer of the school
board. He is interested in all matters per-
taining to the material, political, social,
intellectual and moral progress of his
community and has co-operated in many
movements for the public good, while in
his business affairs he manifests that keen
discernment and unfaltering diligence'
wdiich are necessary concomitants to a
prosperous career.


Elmer E. Scott, whose attention is
given to general agricultural pursuits, is
the owner of a well improved farm of
one hundred and seventy-eight acres,
which he has owned since the spring of
1895. He was born in Rome. Iowa, Sep-
tember 2. 1861, and is descended from
two of the old families of Pennsylvania.
His paternal grandparents were James
and Margaret (Shannon) Scott, both na-
tives of the Keystone state. Their son,
William Scott, was born in Ohio and
wedded Miss Maria Pfoutz, who was
a nati\'e of Pennsylvania, as was her fa-
ther, David Pfoutz, who came to what
is now Trenton township in the fall of
1838, while the state was a territory, and
before the land had been placed on the

market by the government. AA'hen it was
opened for settlement he obtained nearly a
section located in Trenton township about
three miles northwest from Rome, when
neighbors were few. Here he made the
improvements and lived until the time of
his death. There Miss Pfoutz lived until
her marriage to Mr. Scott. The year
1843. witnessed the arrival of William
Scott in Tippecanoe township, Henry
county, Iowa. Having previously learned
the trade of a millwright, he continued to
follow that pursuit in this county, building
several mills on Skunk liver. He also
bought land in Trenton township, where
he resided for a few years and then pur-
chased land upon which the town of Rome
now stands and laid out the village. There
he conducted a mercantile enterprise, also
operated a sawmill and was proprietor of
a hotel and livery barn, which was the
stage station before the railroad was
built. He capably conducted these various
kinds of business up to the time of his
death, which occurred in December, 1868.
He was distinctively a man of affairs,
alert and enterprising and he did much for
the upbuilding and improvement of the
town as well as for his individual suc-
cess. His wife now makes her home with
her son Elmer. She came to this county
with her parents and they settled about
three miles northwest of Rome in Tren-
ton township. In their family were four
daughters and a son and the family re-
sided in Trenton township for about ten
years. The son continued to make his
home there upon the (^Id family property
until about 1901. when he sold out and
is now living a retired life in Fairfield,



Elmer E. Scott is indebted to the pub-
lic school system of this county for the
educational privileges he enjoyed in his
youth. He lived with his mother until
the spring of 1895, making his home with
her in Rome. He conducted the ferry
across Skunk river and also farmed after
attaining his majority, residing with his
mother until the spring of 1895, ^vhen he
purchased one hundred and seventy-eight
acres of land on the Skunk river bot-
toms. Upon the place was an old barn
and house which were very dilapidated.
He had these torn down and erected here
a residence of eight rooms with cellar un-
derneath. He also built a hay barn, fifty
by fifty-six feet, and a cow barn, thirty
by forty feet. He likewise built three corn
cribs and tiled the land, thus bringing it
into cultivable condition. His fields now
produce excellent crops and in his pas-
tures are found good grades of stock.

Prior to moving to the farm Mr. Scott
was married in October, 1894, to Miss
Ellen Newburg, who was born in Sweden
and is a daughter of John and Sophia
(Johnson) Newburg, both of whom were
natives of Sweden and in 1886 came to
Henry county, Iowa. They now reside
near Lockridge, Jefferson county, this
state. Mr. and Mrs. Scott have become
the parents of four children : Raymond,
born May 3, 1895 ; Walter, October 6,
1897; George, June 6, 1899; ^"d Edward,
July 14, 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Scott re-
side on section 4, where he owns one
hundred and twenty-two acres of land
and he also has fifty acres on section 9,
and five acres in another tract. In politics
he is a republican. ])ut without aspiration
for ofiice. Fraternallv he is connected with

Henry Lodge, Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, of Mount Pleasant. He is a
man entirely free from ostentation or dis-
play, but of genuine personal worth and
of thorough reliability, whose word,
among those who know him, is as good
as any bond.


Charles Alvord Smith, who since 1852
has resided upon the farm in Wayne
township which is still his place of resi-
dence, having entered the land from the
government when it was a raw and un-
broken tract, has now attained the vener-
able age of seventy-eight years and re-
ceives the respect that should ever be ac-
corded one who has advanced far on life's
journey and whose life has at all times
been honorable and straightforward. His
birth occurred in Lake county, Ohio, on
February 29, 1828. His paternal grand-
father, Sylvester Smith, was born in New
England and the father, Sylvester Smith,
Jr., was a native of Massachusetts, as was
his wife, who bore the maiden name of
Lucretia Woodworth. She was a daugh-
ter of James Woodworth, also a native
of New England. The marriage of the
parents of our subject was celebrated in
the old Bay state but soon afterward they
left Massachusetts for Lake county, Ohio,
where the father owned and operated a
farm, residing there until 1839. He then
journeyed by wagon to Wellsville, where
he took passage on an Ohio river boat



and went down the Ohio and up the Mis-
sissippi river and on to Oquawl<:a, Ilh-
nois. From that point he proceeded to
Monmouth, Ihinois, where he rented a
farm, residing thereon until 1842, which
year witnessed his arrival in Wayne
township, Henry county, Iowa. Here
he bought wild prairie land in the north-
ern part of the township about a mile
from the Washington county line. He
located about a mile from timber at a
day when the settlers supposed that the
prairie would largely be worthless, the
claims being first made in the timber re-
gions. He secured eighty acres of land
and at once began converting it into a
productive farm, thereon making his
home up to the time of his death, which
occurred in 1864, when he v/as seventy-
six years of age. His wife lived to be
more than eighty years of age and was
called to her final rest about 1870.

Charles Alvord Smith began his edu-
cation in the public schools of Ohio, con-
tinued his studies to some extent in Illi-
nois and afterward became a student in
Iowa. In the intervals of attending
school he worked in the fields and early
became familiar with the best methods of
caring for the crops. He continued at
home until twenty-four years of age,
when he removed to a farm of eighty
Company G, Eleventh Iowa Infantry,
with which he served until the close of the
war, when he was honorably discharged,
on the 2nd of June, 1865. He was cap-
tured on the 27th of July, 1864, and was
confined in Andersonville prison for six
weeks, after which he was transferred to
Florence, South Carolina, where he was
held as a prisoner of war for about four

months. His bravery and loyalty were
above question, for he was ever prompt
and faithful in the duties assigned him
and he participated in many hotly con-
tested engagements. When the war was
over he returned to his home and his at-
tention has since been given to farming.
On the 19th of August. 1852, Mr.
Smith was united in marriage to Miss
Margaret Young, who was born in the
acres on section 10, Wayne township.
This was government land which he pur-
chased at a dollar and a quarter per acre.
Not a furrow had been turned nor an im-
provement made on the place, but the
breaking plow was soon at work and
within a short space of time fields of
wheat and corn showed that the efforts
of the agriculturists were being crowned
with success. He has added to his place
as his financial resources have increased
until he now owns a tract of one hundred
and twenty acres in one body. He has
put all of the improvements upon the
property, building a good house in 1852.
That building was afterward destroyed
by fire and was replaced by his present
residence. Mr. Smith continued the ac-
tive work of the farm until August zy,
1862, when he put aside all business and
personal considerations and responded to
the country's call for aid. enlisting in
southern part of Ohio, a daughter of Pat-
rick Young, a native of Scotland. Mr.
and Mrs. Smith became the parents of
five children : Alice, the wife of Au-
gust Lundquist ; Alva died at the age of
about fourteen years; Irene A., the wife
of William Lambling; Charles L.. who
lives in Sioux City, Iowa; and Arthur G.,
who is a professor in the Iowa State Uni-



versity. The wife and mother died in
January, 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had
traveled hfe's journey together for more
than forty years and many pleasures as
well as sorrows had entered into their
married life and although there were
hardships there was also prosperity to
lighten these. In community interests
Mr. Smith has ever taken a deep and help-
ful part and has co-operated in many
movements that have resulted beneficially
to the township and county. He votes
with the Republican party, keeping well
informed on the questions and issues of
the day and for many years he was town -
ship clerk. He has long been a devoted
member of the Congregational church
and his service as deacon has covered an
extended period. He is today one of th-3
honored pioneer settlers of the county,
ha^'ing witnessed almost its entire growth
and progress and has contributed in sub-
stantial measure to its agricultural de-

The death of ]\Ir. Smith occurred at the
home on the 17th of Xovember. 1905.


Theodore Russell, a well known farmer
and stock-raiser of Henry county, Iowa,
was one of a family of six children, five
sons and one daughter. He was born in
Loudoun county, Virginia, July 16, 1845.
The parents, Caleb and Elizabeth (Math-
ews) Russell were both born and reared
in Maryland, where they were married.

Shortly after their marriage they moved
to Virginia, where Mr. Russell in com-
pany with several others was interested in
a woolen mill. He continued in this enter-
prise until 1850, when he took the Cali-
fornia gold fever and sold his interest in
the mill and made a journey to the Gold-
en state. In the fall of 1853, he returned
and the next spring went to Henry
county, where he purchased one hundred
and sixty acres of land in section 24. This
was a tract of wild prairie, entirely uncul-
tivated. He built a comfortable frame
house and a prairie stable of logs with a
straw roof, cultivated the soil, put up
fences, and soon had a comfortable and
desirable home. Later, he added ten acres
of timber to his possessions, thus making
a valuable acquisition to his farm. He
continued living upon this land and culti-
vating it until his death, while his widow
made her home there until she too passed

Theodore Russell began his education
in the county where he was born and after
completing his studies in the district
schools entered the state university at
Iowa City, taking up the Teacher's
Course ; he thus gained a good substantial
education, which fitted him to hold the
many positions of responsibility and trust
he has since been called upon to fill. He
has twice been elected to the office of
township clerk and is now serving his sec-
ond term, having been re-elected in 1902.
He is an ardent republican and takes an
active interest in political affairs.

Although a very young man at the time
of the Civil war, Mr. Russell felt his
country's need of the services of the
young blood of the nation, and responded



to the call by enlisting in Company D,
Forty-fourth regiment of Iowa Volun-
teer Infantry, and was honorably dis-
charged at Davenport, Iowa, September
15, 1864.

Fraternally he is a member of the Blue
Lodge of the Masonic order, and of the
Legion of Honor. In religious matters
he is a member of the Friends' church,
and an active worker in all that tends to
promote the growth and well-being of the
church. He has been an elder since 1893.

Upon the death of his parents, \h-.
Russell inherited eighty acres of the old
home farm. To this he added forty acres
of improved land and eighty acres of un-
improved land by a subsequent purchase.
He has done much towards improving his
land, and has succeeded in making it into
a very fine farm. He has fenced and tiled
the place, and rebuilt the barn and added
a new roof and many other needed im-
provements to the dwelling house. He is
a true farmer, devoting his best interests
and talents to the calling he has chosen.
He makes a specialty of raising Red
Polled cattle and Chester White hogs and
also breeds some horses.

On the 22nd of December, 1874, Theo-
dore Russell was united in marriage to
Hannah M. Brown, who was also a native
of Virginia. Miss Brown was educated
in the public schools, attended the high
school and later became a pupil in Howe's
Academy at Mount Pleasant, Iowa. When
she was a young girl her parents moved
to West Liberty, Iowa, from Illinois.
The parents, Thomas and Elizabeth
(Taylor) Brown, were both born in V^ir-
ginia. Mr. Brown died at the home of
our subject June i, 1906.

The maternal grandfather, Yardley
Taylor, was also a native of the state of
Virginia, the Taylor family being found-
ed in that state in the early colonial days.

Air. and Mrs. Russell became the par-
ents of nine children : Laurence, a
farmer in Wayne township; Edna M.
died at the age of twenty-three; Xina B.
(Mrs. Walter Schooley) of Winfield,
Iowa; Esther (Mrs. Leonard Hamilton) ;
Bessie O., a teacher in the district schools ;
Earl M., a bookkeeper in a large mercan-
tile establishment of Douglas, Wyoming:
Harriet, a bookkeeper for Lauer & Van
Dyke, of Winfield; Harry, at home, and
Llewellyn, died in infancy.

Mr. Russell has been eminently success-
ful in his business life and has made for
himself an enviable position socially,
politically and financially. He is a man of
ability and worth and has shown remark-
able energy in building up his home and
fortune. He has lived an earnest, upright
and honorable life and has a host of
friends in the community in which he


W^illiam John ^^'ehrle operates four
hundred and sixty acres of land in Henry
county and is thus extensively carrying
on general agricultural pursuits, in which
he is meeting with excellent success. He
is also engaged in the raising of draft
horses. Hereford cattle and Poland China
hogs and is widely known as a leading
and prosperous farmer and stock-raiser of



his section of the state. ^Moreover he is a
native son of the county, his birth having
occurred in Rome, on the 14th of Septem-
ber, 1872. He comes of German ances-
try, being a son of John and Mary
(Fehrnbauch) W'ehrle, the former a
native of the black forest of Germany and
the latter of Baden. Germany. In the
year 1853, the father left his native coun-
try and crossed the Atlantic to the new
world. He did not tarry in the east but
made his way at once to Henry county,
Iowa, and in Rome opened a boot and
shoe store, which he conducted success-
fully until 1890, when he closed out the
business and removed to California,
where in that sunny land he enjoyed a
well earned rest up to the time of his
death, making his home in Los Angeles
until called to his final rest on the 20th of
May, 1905. His wife crossed the Atlantic
soon after he had made the voyage and
took up her abode in Germanville, Jefi^er-
son county. Iowa, where they were mar-
ried. She still survives her husband and
is now living in Los Angeles, California.
William John \\^ehrle spent his boy-
hood days in his native town and attended
the public schools of Rome. At the age
of sixteen years he began working for his
brother Irwin on a farm, being employed
in that manner for three seasons. He
afterward rented land from his father and
engaged in farming on his own account.
The place still belongs to the estate and
comprises four hundred and sixty acres
on sections 5 and 8. Tippecanoe township,
the home being on section 8. The father
had purchased this farm in 1880. It was
a tract of improved land, on which he
built a bank barn, corn cribs and other

outbuildings for the shelter of grain and
stock. He also remodeled the old stone
house which stood there and otherwise
improved the place. Mr. Wehrle of this
review is now carrying on general farm-
ing and raises corn and small grain,
annually harvesting good crops. He also
raises draft and driving horses, Hereford
cattle, always having a good herd, and
also a large drove of Poland China hogs.
In 1898, Mr. W'ehrle was married to
Miss Elizabeth Dicus, who w^as educated
in Wayland and in Rome, attending the
public schols in both towns. Her father,
George Dicus. was born in Pennsylvania
and was married to Miss Margaret Price,
a native of Henry county, Iowa, and a
daughter of Daniel and Eliza (Jones)
Price, who were natives of \\'ales and
who came to this county at a very early
day in its development, Daniel Price fol-
lowing the occupation of farming here in
pioneer times. ]\Ir. and Mrs. George
Dicus now reside in Rome, where he is
in the employ of the Chicago. Burlington
& Quincy Railroad Company, while in
1 90 1, Mrs. Dicus was appointed the post-
mistress of Rome and has since acted in
that capacity. Unto Mr. and Mrs.
Wehrle have been born three sons: Ma:<
Edward, May 24. 1899; Walter John,
February 5. 1900; and Irwin Paul, De-
cember 29, 1905. The parents are mem-
bers of the Roman Catholic church and
Mr. Wehrle belongs to Henry Lodge,
Independent Order Odd Fellows, of
Mount Pleasant. His political views are in
accord with the democratic principles and
since 1901 he has served as school direct-
or, while in 1904 he was elected town-
shij) trustee and is therefore the incum-



bent in the office. He realizes fully the
obligations and duties of citizenship and
is always prompt and faithful in the per-
formance of any public service. He is a
young man — a typical representative of
the middle west — and his labors have
given him prominence in agricultural and
stock-raising circles and have brought
him a desirable measure of prosperity.


Asahel H. Davis is occupying a valu-
able farm of one hundred and eighty
acres in Center township, on which he has
resided since 1898. His parents were
Hosea and Sarah Abbie (Stevens) Davis,
the former a native of Royalston, Massa-
chusetts, born in 1816, while the latter
was born in Petersham, Massachusetts, in
1836. The father became a successful phy-
sician, having prepared for his profes-
sion in Dartmouth College in Vermont,
from which he was graduated, while later
he pursued a course of study in Chicago
in the early '50s as a student in Rush
Medical College. He entered upon the
active practice of his profession in Rush-
ville, Indiana, in 1847, and in 1849 re-
moved to Littleton, Illinois, wdiere he
built up a large practice, there continuing
to make his home until 1888. when his
life's labors were ended in death. His
wife survived him for several years, pass-
ing aw^ay in 1896, and both were laid to
rest in Littleton. The father was a stal-
wart republican in his political views.

served as supervisor for several years and
was called to still higher political honors,
being chosen to represent his district in
the general assembly in 1879, thus serving
for a two years' term. He was twice mar-
ried, his first union being with Miss Cyn-
thia Marks, by whom he had two chil-
dren, one of whom is yet living — Cynthia
M., now the wife of Dr. Louis Seeley, of
Rushville, Illinois. For his second wife
Dr. Davis chose Miss Sarah Stevens and
they had seven children : Asahel, of this
review ; a babe, who died when but six
weeks old ; John died at age of three
years; Abbie R., the wife of Dr. Elmer
DeGraff , of Des Moines, Iowa ; Glaphyra
v., now the wife of Henry P. Garrison,
of Littleton, Illinois; Ethel E., who is
living with her brother Asahel ; and Ern-
est E., who is a physician of much ability
practicing at Avon, Illinois, after complet-
ing his course of study in Northwestern
College at Chicago.

Asahel H. Davis was born in Schuyler
county, Illinois, July 15, 1861, and com-
pleted his literary course in the Rushville
high school, from which he was grad-
uated in the class of 1881. He then en-
gaged in teaching school at Littleton for
a year, after which he turned his atten-
tion to farming, wdiich he followed in
that locality until 1898, when he came to
Henry county, Iowa, settling on his pres-
ent farm. It was an improved place and
he at once undertook the further task of
further developing and cultivating the
property. He is a general farmer and

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 71 of 85)