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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 73 of 85)
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settled upon a farm in Des Moines county,
Iowa, where the father resided until his
death in 1901, having for several years
survived his wife, who passed away in
1893. He was the owner c^f one hundred
and twenty acres of land that he tran.s-
formed into a productive and profitable



Konracl H. Swartz acquired his educa-
tion in the pubhc schools of his native
country and was a youth of sixteen years
when he came to America with his father
and mother. Soon afterward he started
out in hfe upon his own account and was
employed as a farm hand for three years,
after which he went to Burlington, where
he learned the stone mason's trade and
was thus identified with building opera-
tions in that city for about five years.
He was afterward employed in various
ways until 1870. when he resolved to de-
vote his time and energies to agricultural
pursuits and bought one hundred and
twenty- four acres of land on sections 15,
16 and 22, Scott township, Henry county.
He has his residence on section 15 — a
story-and-a-half house. He has rebuilt
the barn, has tiled the place where it was
necessary to drain the land and has car-
ried on general farming, annually har-
vesting good crops, which shows that he
understands the best methods of tilling
the soil. He raises horses, cattle and
Poland China hogs. His judgment is
sound in regard to agricultural interests
and his efforts have resulted in winning
him a gratifying measure of prosperity.

On the 1 2th of March, 1885, Mr.
Schwartz was united in marriage to Miss
Carrie Hanson, who was born in Den-
mark, Lee county, Iowa, November 29,
1867, ^^^^ parents being Christian and
Anna Hanson, who were natives of the
country of Denmark. Having come to
the new world they established their home
in Union township. Des Moines county.
There their daughter Carrie was educated
in the common schools and she remained
at home until she gave her hand in mar-

riage to Mr. Schwartz in Burlington.
Soon afterward they came to their present
place of residence and here the home has
been blessed with six children, but they
lost their youngest, Clifford, who was
born June 2, 1897, ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ Septem-
ber. 1898. Those who still survive are:
Nellie, a teacher in the district school of
Scott township, born January 24, 1886;
Clarence, January 23, 1888; Charles, May
23, 1890; Grace, September 12, 1893 ; and
Harry, February 12, 1895. Mr. and
Mrs. Schwartz are accorded the hospi-
tality of many of the best homes in this
part of the county and are worthy people,
whose lives display many sterling traits
of character. They are members of the
Presbvterian church of Winfield.


Austin Henry Snell is the owner of a
valuable farm in Scott township and its
excellent appearance indicates his care-
ful supervision and practical progressive
methods. He was born in AVoodhull, Il-
linois, June 24, 1 87 1, and is of Swiss
lineage. His paternal grandfather, Henry
Snell, was born in Switzerland, and mar-
ried a Miss Clark. Having emigrated to
the United States he established his home
in Indiana and there occurred the birth
of his son, William H. Snell, who after
arriving at years of maturity was mar-
ried to Miss Clarissa Atwood, who was
born in Henry countv, Illinois, and was
a daughter of Timothy and Alma (Root)



Atwood, who were natives of the Empire
state. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs.
Wilham H. Snell was celebrated in Mar-
shall county. Illinois, in 1862, and they
took np their abode at Woodhull, where
the father conducted a wagon factory for
six years, doing a good business and
furnishing employment to three or four
workmen. At length he traded his plant
for a farm near Rio, Illinois, and a year
later he traded that property for a tract
of land of eighty acres in Wayne town-
ship, Henry county, Iowa, to which he
removed in the spring of 1875. His at-
tention was then given to the care and
cultivation of the fields for fourteen years,
or until 1889. when he sold the farm.
Two years later he sold the farm to
Charles Ingmanson, who resides upon
that property. Mr. Snell then removed
to Stuttgart, Arkansas, where he pur-
chased five hundred and sixty acres of
land and conducted a stock farm for six
years. After disposing of that property
he made his home in Stuttgart for a year
and then removed to Holt county, Ne-
braska, where he purchased two hundred
and fortv acres of school land. To his
property he has added until he now owns
three hundred and twenty acres near
Broken Bow, Nebraska. This is a well
improved ranch upon which he carries on
general farming and also raises stock.
His life has been one of intense and well
directed activity, and his prosperity has
resulted entirely from his own efforts. He
lost his wife in the winter of 1877, her
death occurring in Wayne township. In
the family were three children, of whom
Austin Henry is the youngest. There
was another son and one daughter, but
both are now deceased.

Austin H. Snell was only about four
years of age when his parents removed
to Henry county and in the district
schools of Wayne township he acquired
his early education, which was afterward
supplemented by a course of study in
Howe's Academy, at Mount Pleasant,
Iowa. He also learned the best methods
of caring for the stock and cultivating the
fields by assisting his father in the labors
of the old homestead, whereon he re-
mained until twenty-two years of age,
when, thnikinsT that he would find other
business more congenial, he became an
apprentice in the photographic gallery in
Mount Pleasant, where he remained for
one winter. He then returned home and
continued upon the farm for two years,
while later he worked by the month as
a farm hand for a year. On the expira-
tion of that period he began operating a
tract of land of fifty acres which he sold
three months later at more than double
the price that he had paid for the prop-
erty. Coming to Henry county he then
worked for three years by the month,
after which he rented a tract of land in
Marion township, living thereon alone
for one year. He was then married on
the 14th of December, 1896, to Miss
Katie Bechler, who was born in Wayne
township, Henry county, but was edu-
cated in the district schools of Arkansas,
her parents having removed from this
state to Stuttgart, Arkansas, in 1885.
There her father engaged in general
farming, stock-raising and dairying for
twenty-one years, being one of the en-
terprising and prosperous agriculturists
of his community. He died in the year
1895, while his wife survived until the
nth of June. 1899. when she was laid to



rest l)v his side in tlie Stuttgart cemetery.
Mr. and Mrs. Snell were married at
Stuttgart. Arkansas, and began their do-
mestic life on a farm five miles west and
a half mile south of Mount Union, that
state. In 1900, however, they took up
their abode on a farm near Olds, Iowa,
and after a year removed to Lone Tree,
Iowa, where Mr. Snell purchased eighty
acres of land. One year later he sold that
property and removed to Scott town-
ship, where he purchased eighty acres.
He has since added forty acres on section
2, and now has a farm of one hundred
and twenty acres, the land being product-
ive and valuable, responding readily to
his cultivation of the fields. Since tak-
ing up his abode on this property he has
made many improvements, building corn
cribs, a hen house, an addition to the
barn and adding other equipments. In
connection with the tilling of the soil
he raises horses and cattle to some ex-
tent, also keeps about forty head of hogs
each year and raises about two hundred
chickens. In fact his is a model prop-
erty of the general farmer and he de-
serves much credit for what he has ac-
complished, for he was handicapped by
an attack of spinal fever in the fall of
1874, which left his limb crippled. He
possesses strong purpose ,and indefati-
gable energy, however, and these quali-
ties contain the secret of his success.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Snell have been
bom two sons: Floyd Homer, whose
birth occurred January 24, 1901 ; and El-
bert Dwight, who was born Januarv 20,
1904. Mr. Snell is a republican, always
casting his ballot for the men who stand
for the principles of that party and fra-

ternally he is connected with the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows.


Charles A. Stevens, postmaster at Sa-
lem, was born in ^Vest Point, Lee county,
Iowa, March 20, 1851, and has had a
somewhat unusual record that has called
him not only into business life and pub-
lic activity in his home community but
also to active labor among the Indians of
the far west. His parents were Thomas
H. and Maria C. (Nelson) Stevens. The
father was born in Hampshire county,
Virginia, March 9, 1829, and the moth-
er's birth occurred in that county July 9,
1832. In early life Thomas H. Stevens
followed the occupation of farming but
later turned his attention to coopering.
In 1849 he came to Iowa and in his later
years followed carpentering. He settled
first at Fort Madison and afterward re-
moved to ^\'est Point but is now living
retired in Fort Madison, where his wife
died December 22, 1889. In politics he
has long been a stalwart democrat but
without aspiration for office and his only
son who has not followed in his political
footsteps is Charles A. Stevens, who is
a stalwart republican. The father is a
member of the Baptist church, to which
his wife also belonged. In their family
were seven children : Charles A. ; H. P.,
now deceased: Alice J.; Edward E., who
is married and lives in Fort Madison : Ida
B.. the wife of Edward Smith, of Fort
Madison; Ella B., now Mrs. Hartzig, of



Chillicothe. Ohio; and John F.. who is
employed by the elevated street car com-
pany in Chicago.

Charles A; Stevens is indebted to the
public schools of West Point, Iowa, for
the educational privileges he enjoyed and
after putting aside his text-books he be-
gan learning the blacksmith's trade at
West Point, completing his apprentice-
ship when twenty-one years of age. He
then went to Burlington, where he was
employed for several months in the Ben-
nett & Frantz Carriage House. In Au-
gust; 1 87 1, he came to Salem, Iowa,
where he was employed at his trade by
M. L. Knight for a few years.

In 1872 Mr. Stevens was married to
Miss Sarah Frances Graves, wdio was
born in Jackson, Ohio, July 28, 185 1,
and is a daughter of Aaron and Sarah
Graves. Her father was a farmer by oc-
cupation and on removing to the west
settled in Salem township. He served as
a soldier of the Union army in the Civil
war and he gave his political allegiance
to the Republican party. His death oc-
curred in 1 87 1, and his widow is still
living in Hillsboro, Iowa. In their fam-
ily were eight chilch'en, of whom seven
are now living: Jacob E., a resident of
North Dakota ; Emerette, who is the
widow of J. B. Collins and lives with
her mother in Hillsboro; Angeline, the
wife of P. Conley. residing near Birming-
ham, Iowa; Sarah Frances, now Mrs.
Ste\'ens ; Robert, who resides upon a farm
near Hillsboro; Carl, a blacksmith of
Colorado Springs; and Naomi H., the
wife of Jeremiah Moxley, of Hillsboro.
The sixth member of the family, Lydia,
has passed away.

Soon after his marriage Mr. Stevens
reecived an appointment from John H.
Pickering, Indian agent, to the position
of blacksmith for the Shawnee Indians,
located at Shawneetown, Indian Terri-
tory, and was afterward transferred from
the shop to the commisary department of
Kickapoo Station, issuing rations to the
Kickapoo Indians. At a later date he
occupied both positions, remaining among
the Indians for eighteen months, after
which he returned to Salem and resumed
w^ork at his trade in this place, establish-
ing a blacksmith and implement shop.
He employed two men to carry on the
work of the shop, while he looked after
the sales of farm implements. He still
owns the business and was active in its
management until April 29, 1903, when
he received the appointment of postmas-
ter of Salem, taking charge of the office
in July, 1904. He is now filling this po-
sition in an acceptable and creditable
manner, administering the affairs of the
office with capability and promptness. He
served the city of Salem for eight years
as recorder and in 1886 was mayor, dur-
ing which time he exercised his official
prerogatives in support of various pro-
gressive measures along the lines of im-
]3rovement and reform. He has also been
treasurer of the school board, school di-
rector and president of the board, occupy-
ing the first named position since 1892.
Mr. Stevens is an Odd Fellow, belonging
to Salem Lodge, No. 48, of which he
served as secretary for more than fifteen
consecutive years. He likewise belongs
to Salem Lodge, No. 17, Ancient Free
and Accepted Masons, and both he and
his wife are members of the Congrega-



tional church, in which he has served as
deacon, while for fifteen years he was

Unto this worthy couple haN-e been
born three children : Charles Francis,
who died in infancy; Helen, who died at
the ao-e of five vears ; and Harrv G.. who
was born in March, 1889, and is now a
student in the public schools of Salem,
where he will complete the course in
1907. From an early age Mr. Stevens
has been dependent entirely upon his own
resources for he started out in life emp-
ty-handed with ambition and willing-
ness to work as his capital. He has led
an industrious, busy and useful life not
only in business affairs but has also been
an earnest worker in the church and
Sunday school for the past fifteen years
and was for that entire period teacher of
a class of girls who came under his in-
struction in early childhood and remained
with him until they were young ladies,
many of them being married. In all of
life's relations he has been true to the
trust reposed in him and the obligations
that have devolved upon him. He has
been happy in his home life and is a pleas-
ant, genial and obliging man, highly es-
teemed in the community where he


Elmer F. Leach was born April 21,
1865, upon the farm where he now re-
sides and which was settled by his father
in 1854 — a fact which indicates that he is

a representative of one of the pioneer
families of this part of the state. His fa-
ther, James M. Leach, was born in North
Carolina in 1825, and died in July, 1902,
being about seventy-seven years of age at
the time of his demise. He devoted his
entire life to farming and he married Miss
Nancy Campbell, who was born in Indi-
ana in 1829. In the year 1854 he removed
to Henry county, Iowa, settling upon the
farm which is now occupied by Elmer F.
Leach. He was a prosperous farmer, care-
fully conducting his business interests, so
that his sound judgment and enterprise
brought him a gratifying mesaure of suc-
cess. He was a republican but not a
politician in the sense of office seeking, al-
though his fellow townsmen called him
to some local positions and in the perform-
ance of his duty he was ever faithful and
prompt. Both he and his wife were be-
lievers in the Christian religion, holding
membership in the Methodist church.
^^^ith the work of development and im-
pro\-ement in the county Mr. Leach was
actively associated. He purchased three
hundred and six acres of land on section
18, Marion township, on which was a
small house. He afterward built good
outbuildings and added other modern im-
provements to the place and in 1864 he
erected the present residence, which is a
large brick dwelling comfortable and con-
venient in arrangement, in fact, being one
of the best houses in the township. L'nto
Mr. and Mrs. Leach were born eight
children, but only three are living : Jennie,
now the wife of J. H. Cook, of Lucas
county, Iowa ; Elmer: and Nellie, the wife
of James L. Hall, of Alount Pleasant.
No event of special importance to vary



the routine of farm life for Elmer F.
Leach in his boyhood and youth. He
worked in the fields through the summer
months and during the school sessions
mastered the branches of learning taught
in the district schools, while later he at-
tended Howe's Academy at Mount Pleas-
ant. When his education was completed
he returned to the home farm and his
entire life has been devoted to general
agricultural pursuits. In February, 1893,
he was married to Miss AUie Hall, who
was born in Ohio and was a daughter of
J. J. and Elizabeth (Lyons) Hall. Her
father was born June 14, 1833, and came
to Iowa in June, 1864. He located on a
farm near Mount Pleasant and still owns
a large farm property four miles north
of the Iowa City road, his place compris-
ing four hundred and forty acres of rich
and valuable land that is now operated
by his son, J. L. Hall, who has been his
father's partner for fifteen years. In 187 1
the father removed to Mount Pleasant,
^spending five years in that city in order to
provide his children with better educa-
tional privileges. He then bought a farm
two miles north of the county seat,
whereon he spent nine years, after which
he removed to his present home on Broad-
way in Mount Pleasant, where he has
lived for ten years. He has always been
a stalwart republican and has served as
school director, as road supervisor, and
township trustee, occupying the last
named position for a long period and dis-
charging his duties with credit to himself
and satisfaction to his constituents. He
married Miss Mary Elizabeth Lyons, a
daughter of James and Margaret (Crouch)
Lyons. Mrs. Hall was born near Hope-

dale, Ohio, in June, 1842. Her father was
a farmer of Jefferson and of Harrison
counties, that state, and engaged in stock-
raising in Ohio until 1863, when he came
to Mount Pleasant, where he lived for
twenty years. During that period he filled
several local ofiices. He was also in a
drug store with his son. He then removed
to a farm two miles south of the city
upon which his last days were spent, his
death occurring in 1893. In the Lyons
family were seven children, of whom four
are living: Mary Elizabeth, the wife of
J. J. Hall ; Jane, the wife of Samuel Pyle,
a druggist of Mount Pleasant; and Mrs.
Maggie Claypool, of Mount Pleasant.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hall were born seven
children : Aletha, who married A. Leach,
of Mount Pleasant, and died in 1902.
leaving two children; J. L., who married
Nellie Leach, a resident of Mount Pleas-
ant, and has two children ; Samuel, who
died in infancy ; Dora, the wife of Wilbur
Ross, proprietor of an elevator and grain
business in Superior, Wisconsin, by whom
she has one child ; Laura, who died in her
nineteenth year; F. F., a farmer of this
county, who married Miss Nellie Clark,
and has one child; and Ketura H., who is
living with her parents. Mrs. Hall is a
Presbyterian, while Mr. Hall is a INIetho-
dist, and some of the children are mem-
bers of the Methodist church.

]\Ir. and Mrs. Leach became the par-
ents of three children : May, born May
3, 1895, and died in October, 1895. the in-
terment being made in Forest Home cem-
etery; Lydia, who was born September 5,
1896: and Irvin, March 29, 1900. The
wife and mother departed this life April
2, 1900, and was laid to rest in Forest



Home cemetery. She was an estimable
lady, whose good qualities of heart and
mind endeared her to her man}- friends
and her loss was therefore deeply deplored
throughout the community as well as by
her immediate family.

The farm upon which jMr. Leach re-
sides belongs to the estate of his father
and the children are now with their mother
at her home in Mount Pleasant. He has
improved a farm in Trenton township of
three hundred and thirty acres and is ac-
tive and energetic in his work, his labors
being of a character that brings results.
In politics he is rather independent, vot-
ing for men and measures rather than
party. He is now^ serving as township
trustee and has been a member of the
school board but his attention is more
largely given to his business affairs rather
than seeking and holding public office.
He is pre-eminently a stockman, but
though he cultivates the fields to some ex-
tent his attention is chiefly given to his
stock interests and he feeds several car-
loads of cattle each year. He also raises
a great many hogs and keeps a number
of horses for general use on the farm.
Carrying forward to successful comple-
tion whatever he undertakes, he is now
one of the prosperous residents of his na-
tive county, where his entire life has
been passed and where he has so directed
his labors as to win an h(jn(jrable name
as well as a comfortable competence.


Roderick Brown, who is concluctinsf a
meat market in Mount Pleasant as a mem-

ber of the firm of Brown & McMillan and
who also has farming and stock-raising
interests in Henry county, has led a life
of intense and well directed activity, for
without pecuniary advantages at the out-
set of his career he started out empty-
handed and has by strong and earnest
purpose worked his way steadily upward
and is now one of the substantial citi-
zens of his locality. His birth occurred in
Canada, December 7. 1851, his parents be-
ing George and Ann (Cross) Brown. The
father was born in Lincolnshire and the
mother in Sheffield. England, and about
1846 or 1847 they crossed the Atlantic to
Canada, making their way to Ontario, in
the county of Durham. The father was a
tailor by trade, following that pursuit
throughout his entire life and his death
occurred in Toronto in 1887. His wife
and all of her people were members of the
Methodist church and she is still living
in Toronto, making her home with
her youngest daughter. George Brown
was a stanch advocate of the cause,
of temperance and did everything in his
power to promote its growth and insure
a favorable reception of its principles. In
the family were nine children, all of whom
are living: Margaret, a widow residing
in Toronto; Robert, also living in that
city; Roderick; Louisa, the wife of
Charles Watson, of Chicago, Illinois;
Jennie, who is living in Ripley, Canada;
Georgiana, a resident of Newcastle coun-
ty, Canada; Anna, the wife of a Air. Rip-
ley, of Toronto; Thomas, also living in
Toronto; and John, who like his brother
Thomas, is a tailor and also resides in

Roderick Brown was educated in the
common schools of Toronto, paying so



much a month tuition. Soon after he put
aside his text-books he came to Iowa, set-
tling in Keokuk, when sixteen years of
age. There he learned the butcher's
trade and in 1873 he removed to Salem,
Iowa, where he entered the employ of
W. B. Banta, who conducted a general
store. In 1877 with the captial that he
had acquired through his own labor Mr.
Brown engaged in the butchering busi-
ness on his own account in Salem, there
continuing until 1882, wdien he came to
Mount Pleasant, Iowa. He went to work
for Mr. Troughton, a butcher, with whom
he continued for four years, after which
he spent a similar period in the employ of
Mr. Harrison. He was for one year in
the service of the firm of Waller &
Speaker and in 1890 he entered into part-
nership with Mr. McMillan, since which
time the relationship has been maintained
with mutual pleasure and profit. They
have a well stocked meat market at No.
132 North Main street, and the public
accords them a liberal patronage in recog-
nition of honorable business methods,
straightforward dealing, reasonable prices
and earnest desire to please his patrons.
Mr. Brow^n also has other business in-
terests, owning a farm and considerable
valuable live stock and in the supervision
of his market and his farming and stock-
raising interests he displays excellent busi-
ness ability and executive force.

On the 23d of December, 1875, Mr.
Brown was married to Miss Sophia Cra-
mer, of Keokuk, Iowa, who was born in
Germany in 1852 and during her infancy
was brought to America by her parents.
Her father located in Donelson, Iowa,
where in early days he engaged in teach-

ing school. He has now departed this
life, but the mother resides with a son in

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Cramer were born
seven children, of whom three are living:
Benjamin, a resident of Iowa ; Tillie, the
wife of William Vance, of Kansas City,
Missouri ; and Mrs. Sophia Cramer. Unto
Mr. and Mrs. Brown have been born two

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 73 of 85)