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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 75 of 85)
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the land. Upon memory's wall hang man}'
pictures of the pioneer life with its hard-
ships and its pleasures, its privations and
its privileges, and he has many pleasant
recollections of the early times, although
enjoying to the full extent the advantages
which have come in later vears.


J. B. Jordan, proprietor of a livery
stable in Salem, was born in Van Buren
county, Iowa, April 15. 1866. His fa-
ther. John L. Jordan, was a native of
Pennsylvania, born in 1836. and at an
early period in the development of Iowa
he came to Henry county, settling in
Hillsboro. where he conducted a store
for a number of years, carrying on the
business up to the time of his death, which
occurred March 5. 1875. when his son.
J. B. Jordan, was about eleven years of



aee. He had served as a soldier in the
Twenty-fifth Iowa Infantry, belonging to
Company C. He had enlisted in 1861,
and was with his command throughout
the period of hostilities. He married ]\Iiss
:\Iary E. Newbold, who was born in
Pennsylvania. ^lay 22. 1834. and is a
sister of ex-Governor Xewbold. whose
history appears on another page of this
volume. Both Mr. and ]\Irs. Jordan were
members of the Baptist church of Hills-
boro. in which he was chorister. He pos-
sessed an excellent voice and was a valued
factor in musical circles in the commu-
nity in which he lived. His political alle-
giance was given to the Republican party.
His widow still survives him and now
resides with a daughter in W^arsaw, Illi-
nois. In the family were seven children :
Ellet, who married Alice Converse, by
whom he has two children, and lives in
Hillsboro, Iowa; Belle, who became the
wife of Clark Laughey. and died in 1883,
leaving one child: J. B.. of this review;
Martie, who married Lester Bailey, of
Mount Pleasant, and has three children;
Joseph, of Hutchinson. Kansas, who mar-
ried Libbie Teter, and has two children;
Carrie, who married A\'. H. Montgomery,
of Warsaw, Illinois, and has three chil-
dren ; Roger, who married Maggie Avis,
and resides in Stronghurst. Illinois. They
have two children.

J. B. Jordan was educated in Hillsboro..
Iowa, where he attended the public schools
and afterward was emplo}ed as a farm
hand by the month in Henry and Van Bu-
ren counties for a few years, while after
his marriage he turned his attention to rail-
roading, which he followed for two years.
He then resumed general agricultural

pursuits in Henry county, being connected
therewith until September, 1905, when
he purchased his livery stable, which is
the only one in the village of Salem. It
is located on West Main street on the
north side of the square, and his residence
is just across the street. He keeps various
kinds of buggies and other vehicles and a
number of good horses and receives a lib-
eral patronage, his business having al-
ready reached quite extensive and profit-
able proportions.

On the 19th of June, 1889, :\Ir. Jor-
dan was united in marriage to Miss Belle
Cochran, who was born in Van Buren
county, low^a. in 1865, a daughter of Al-
bert and Catherine (Thomas) Cochran.
The father. Albert Cochran, was
born in Hamilton county, Indiana, in
1835. In 1842 he removed with his
parents to Van Buren county. Iowa,
where he resided on a farm until
the war. when he enlisted in Com-
pany H. Nineteenth Iowa Infatnry. at
Keosuaqua. Iowa, in August, 1862. and
served until wounded in the battle of Prai-
rie Grove, Arkansas, wdien he was dis-
charged and sent home. From the effects
of his wound he has lost his eyesight. He
was married to Katherine Thomas De-
cember, 1858, at Mount Sterling.

He is a republican in politics and has
held various township and school offices.
Both he and his wife are members of the
Methodist church in Hillsboro, in which
he has long served as a trustee. In their
family were five children, of whom four
are living: Albert, deceased; Belle, the
wife of our subject; Charles, who mar-
ried Jessie White, in Sperry, Iowa, where
he is a Methodist minister, and he has



one child ; Inez, the wife of WiHiam Eyer,
of Osceola, Iowa, by whom she has one
child; Jesse, who married Jessie Wheat-
ley, now deceased, while his home is now
at Spokane, \\'ashington. He has two
sons. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Jor-
dan has been blessed with fonr children,
the three eldest having been born in Van
Buren, and the younger in Henry county.
These are: Albert, born May 28, 1891 ;
Zella, May i, 1894; Cyrus, August 5,
1896; and Inez, September 24, 1899.

Mr. Jordan is an enterprising and en-
ergetic man and though he has resided in
Salem for only about a year he has made
many friends here and the upright man-
ner in which he has conducted his business
has led the community to regard him with
great respect and favor. Mrs. Jordan
is a pleasant lady who has also made many
friends in Salem. Both holding member-
ship in the Methodist church, are now
teachers in the Sunday school in Salem,
and formerly Mr. Jordan was Sunday
school superintendent in Hillsboro.


Denison H. Hills, for nearly thirty
years a resident of Henry county, where
as a contractor and biulder he has con-
tributed in substantial measure to the
progress and improvement of Mount
Pleasant, was born in Glastonbury, Hart-
ford county, Connecticut, on the i8th of
February, 1835, a son of Walter and Al-
thea (Goslee) Hills. The ancestry of the

' family is traced back to the early colonial
period, the progenitor in America being
William Hills, who came to the new world
in 1632 from Kent, England. He located
in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and ten years
afterward went to Hartford, Connecticut,
where he was a freeman. His descendant,
Israel Hills, the great-grandfather of
Denison H. Hills, was a soldier of the
Revolutionary war. His son, Jared Hills,
was born and reared in Hartford, Con-
necticut, where he followed the occupation
of farming. He married a Miss Gibson
and their son, Walter Hills, was reared
in Connecticut, where, becoming familiar
with farming pursuits in early life, he af-
terward carried on the work of the agri-
culturist. His wife was a daughter of
Asa Golsee, a deacon of the Congrega-
tional church and a blacksmith, who
worked at his trade for the Colonial army
in the Revolutionary war. Walter Hills
continued farming in Connecticut until
about 1872, when he came to Henry coun-
ty Iowa, and gave his attention to the de-
velopment of a farm west of Mount Pleas-
ant. Subsequently he removed to the city,
where he lived retired until his death in
1886. His wife had died in Connecticut
in 1865.

Denison H. Hills pursued his education
in the schools of Hartford, Connecticut,
and in East Windsor Hill Academy, a
preparatory school, thus receiving better
educational privileges than were usually
afforded at that day to the majority of
youths. For two terms he engaged in
teaching school, after which he took up
the wagon maker's trade, but after mas-
tering the business he turned his atten-
tion to carpentering and throughout his



entire life has been associated with the
latter industry.

On the 27th of October, 1864, was cele-
brated the marriage of Denison H. Hills
and Miss Julia Augusta Gillette, of Hart-
ford county, Connecticut, who was born
at Warsaw, Wyoming county. New York,
April 21, 1846. her parents being Alonzo
B. and Martha (Hovey) Gillette. Her
great-grandfather in the paternal line was
shot while serving as a soldier of the
Revolutionary war within sight of his
v^-ife. The grandfather, Alonzo Gillette,
was a resident of Vermont and Alonzo
Gillette, Jr., the father of Mrs. Hills, re-
moved from the Green Mountain state to
^^'arsaw, New York, in his early man-
hood and there married Miss Hovey, who
with her parents, Hiram and Wealthy
Hove}', had gone to New York from Vir-
mont. Their ancestry can be traced back
to a very early period in the history of
the new world, for they are descendants
of Benjamin Green and of the old Pot-
ter family, of New England.

In 1865, the year following their mar-
riage, Mr. and Mrs. Hills removed to
Sandusky, Ohio, where they remained un-
til 1876, Mr. Hills working at his trade
of carpentering and afterward carrying
on business as a contractor. About thirty
years ago he came to Mount Pleasant and
embarked in business as a contractor and
builder, having control of the construc-
tion of a livery stable as his first con-
tract and afterward of the power house
for the city. He has built the fine home
of A. G. Hills, and many other substantial
structures here, and as the years have
passed his labor has brought to him the
gratifying financial reward which ever

crowns honorable and indefatigable ef- •
fort when guided by sound judgment.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hills have been
born a son and daughter. Clarence A.,
born in Sandusky, Ohio, June 11, 1874,
married Miss Lee, a second cousin of Gen-
eral Robert E. Lee and they have two chil-
dren, Harold L. and Claris Antrim. Clar-
ence A. Hills is now a successful real
estate man of Ottumwa, Iowa. The
daughter, IMay Althea, a graduate of
the Wesleyan University, of the class of
1899, is a member of the Pi Beta Phi and
is now a teacher in the city schools of
Mount Pleasant. Mr. and Mrs. Hills hold
membership in the Congregational church,
in which she takes a most active and help-
ful interest. In politics Mr. Hills was
formerly a republican but in more recent
years has given stalwart support to the
Prohibition party, which embodies his
views on the temperance question. He
stands for all that is high and honorable
in manhood, just in business dealings and
loyal in citizenship and his sterling quali-
ties have gained for him the respect of
both social and business acquaintances.
In his active life he has advanced beyond
mediocrity in his chosen vocation and at-
tained a measure of success that is at once
gratifying and commendable.


Frank P. Porter is well known in
Henry county, having been born in Mount
Pleasant in 1851. He is the third son of



Col. Asbury B. Porter, and a grandson
of Gen. Samuel Brazelton, two of the
early pioneers of Iowa, who came to
Henry county in 1835, and pre-empted
land, and in 1836 brought their families
to the new west. Frank P. Porter was edu-
cated at Howe's Academy and the public
schools of Mount Pleasant. Later he com-
pleted a business course and accepted a
good position with the Chicago, Burling-
ton & Quincy Railroad, at Burlington,
which position he held for several years,
resigning it to go into partnership w^ith
W. Beckwith and John Winters in con-
tract railroad building. He was the
manager of their large stone c[uarries,
which furnished all the stone to the Chi-
cago, Burlington & Quincy for years —
both for ballast and building. He has al-
ways been identified with the interests of
Mount Pleasant and Henry county.

Most of his life has been spent in Mount
Pleasant. His father's death, in 1885,
left him the head of his mother's home,
and while he has remained without a fam-
ily of his own, his loyalty and fidelity to
his mother, brothers, and sisters is well
known. He makes his home with his
brother-in-law, Capt. W. Beckwith, with
whom he is associated in the publication
of the Mount Pleasant Republican, the
stanchest republican paper published in
Henry county, Mr. Porter being the busi-
ness manager. He is an ardent repub-
lican, willing to work earnestly and mu-
tually for the success of his party, and
many men who have carried their election
by a large vote owe it to Mr. Porter's
fearless defense of them.

Mr. Porter is justly proud of his line-
age, which he can trace unbroken from

the Revolutionary grandfathers. The
courage and patriotism of the Porters in
defense of their country's flag has never
"been disputed. Mr. Porter is known as
fearless and courageous in defense of
what he thinks is right.


Especial honor belongs to those who
in time of war served the nation's need
and in days of peace have contributed by
strength of arm and toil of brain to the
building up of her prosperity and her
proud position among the empires and
peoples of the earth. Along these lines
runs the life history of the subject of this

Samuel Wallace Garvin, a scion of old
and pioneer stock of Iowa, and now lead-
ing a retired life at his home in Mount
Pleasant, was born in Fleming county,
Kentucky, September 28, 1836. He was
the son of James and Margaret (Saun-
ders) Garvin. The father, James Gar-
vin, was born June 18, 1808, the son of
Samuel Garvin, who came of an old Vir-
ginia family whose published genealogy
goes back for four or five generations.
Both this family and the Saunders family
were of Scotch extraction, and settled in
Virginia, in Fairfax county, about 1744.
and lived there until the close of the Rev-
olutionary w-ar, in which members of both
families were participants. At the close of
the Revolution these families, in 1780,
joined the western movement of settlers,



and moved to Fleming- county, Kentucky,
where Samuel Garvin, the grandfather of
our subject, was l)orn. Both the Garvin
and Saunders families were well known in
Kentucky, being large neighborhood fam-
ilies, all owners of large plantations and
slaveholders. They were represented
among the founders of the original Whig
party in 1856. and have occupied impor-
tant i)laces in the history of that and the
Republican party since.

The mother of the subject of this re-
view. Margaret (Saunders) Garvin, was
born April 25. 1812. and lived to the ripe
old age of eighty-two years, dying on the
6th of December. 1894. She was the
daughter of \Mlliam and Margaret Saun-
ders, Sr. Her mother was born in Feb-
ruary, 1 78 1, and died June 15, 1869,
while W^illiam Saunders, Sr., was born
in 1780, and died February 21, 1870.

For the Saunders history, see another
page of this book.

The Saunders name is one that has
had much to do with the early history
of Henry county, especially with Mount
Pleasant. The city itself was laid out by
Presley Saunders in 1833, the year of his
coming to this county. He was a promi-
nent figure in local history until the time
of his death, wdiich occurred July 19.
1889, when he was eighty-nine years of
age. His wife, Huldah, survived him
three years, dying July 28, 1902. at the
age of eighty-three. She was a sister of
United States Senator Thomas Bo wen. of
Colorado. Presley Saunders was a son of
Gunnell Saunders, who was born in Julv.
1783. and died October 26. 1848, and the
brother of ^^'illiam Saunders, grandfather
of our subject. William A. Saunders,

brother of Presley, died February 14,
1865, and has one son now living, Wil-
liam A., a lawyer in Omaha, Nebraska.
Smith Saunders, oldest son of Presley,
was born February 8, 1838, and has the
distinction of being the first male white
child born in Henry county. He died April
15, 1901, and lies buried, as do the others
of the family who are not living, in the
Mount Pleasant "old" or city cemetery.
Both Smith Saunders and his brother,
Alvin B., wdio was born January 11, 1840.
and died July 12, 1903, were well known
as successful business men of the county.

Iowa is not the only one of the western
states that has found men of this name
winning positions of honor and trust that
make them prominent in the annals of his-
tory. Nebraska also has much for which
she is indebted to this family. Alviri
Saunders was appointed the first governor
of Nebraska, during- her territorial days,
receiving his appointment from President
Lincoln, of whom he was a personal
friend. After Nebraska became a state,
he was United States senator from there,
and his son Charles Saunders now holds
the same honorable position. His daugh-
ter became the wife of Russell B. Harri-
son, son of President Benjamin Harrison.

The parents of our subject were united
in marriage in Kentucky, and Samuel
'Wallace Garvin received his early educa-
tion in the public schools of that state. In
1848 the family came to Iowa, and the
father bought a farm two miles east of
Mount Pleasant, on which they lived for
ten years. At the end of that time they
moved into the city of Mount Pleasant,
where he occupied himself wnth the buy-
ing and shipping of stock. Thev continued


to make Mount Pleasant their home for Garvin served for three years in the Army
the remainder of their Uves, the father of the West, in the Fifteenth Army Corps,
ciying February 11, 1884, and the mother They first went to Helena, x-\rkansas, re-
surviving him by ten years, dying De- maining there one month, when they went
cember 6, 1894. on the campaign against Vicksburg. un-
After coming to Iowa Mr. Garvin con- der General McClernand. They first at-
tinued his education by attending school tacked at Hame's Bluffs, between Christ-
under Professor S. L. Howe, one of the mas and January ist, and were repulsed,
first teachers here, and a man who had then made several unsuccessful charges,
come from Ohio, in which state he had They next went up the Mississippi and
acted as tutor in the Sherman family, hav- White rivers by steamer to Arkansas Post,
ing under his instruction in their young and on January 11, 1863, captured that
days both General and Senator Sherman, place, with about five thousand prisoners.
In the spring of 1859 Mr. Garvin returned ^\l^ile they were embarking at Arkansas
to Kentucky on a visit, and was taken ill Post to go down the river again to
with typhoid fever, with which he suffered Young's Point, opposite Vicksburg, they
all summer, but was able to return to suffered severely from snow storms many
Mount Pleasant in the fall. On April dying from the eft"ects of the exposure.
2, 1861, he started with Smith Saunders and being buried on the levee. Mr. Gar-
across the plains, traveling with an ox- vin suffered with the others, but being a
team and wagon and arrived in Califor- man of strong will, resolved to weather
nia Gulch on June 17th, remaining there the hardships, and so lives. At Young's
until fall, of the same year, engaged in Point he spent the winter assisting in dig-
ranching. Later they began building a ging the famous canal that was to give
toll road from Ralston to the Gregory transport down the river, and which has
mines. They had invested $10,000 in this since become the main channel of the
project, when the beginning of the Civil river. In early April he went by boat to
war put an end to it. Mr. Garvin returned Greenville, Mississippi, and went on the
home late in the fall of 1861, and went Deer Creek expedition to destroy provi-
into the store of William A. Saunders, sions destined for Vicksburg. They de-
where he clerked until the summer of stroyed thousands and thousands of bush-
1862, when his patriotic spirit demanded els of corn then went back up to Milliken's
that he enlist with the boys in blue, who Bend, and started on the expedition
w^ere answering the President's call for against Vicksburg. He crossed the river
troops. at Grand Gulf, helped take Jackson. Can-
He enlisted at Mount Pleasant and was ton, and Champion Hill, and helped in-
sworn into the service September 27, vest Vicksburg on May 18th. On the 22d
1862, in Company B, of the Twenty-fifth there was a general charge and Mr. Gar-
Iowa Infantry, under Capt. J. Ellison vin came very close to death, having a
Smith and Col. George A. Stone. Mr. bullet hole through his blouse, and his



haversack entirely shot to pieces, but es-
caping without, a wound. On May 19th
he escaped by only a few inches of being
a victim of a ball from the famous can-
non, "Whistling Dick." He took part in
the whole siege, which was ended by the
surrender of the city on July 4th. After
this he camped at Black River, then took
boats to Memphis, a train to luka, then
marched to Chattanooga and took part in
that battle.

Mr. Garvin began his military career
at the beginning of the war as fifth ser-
geant, but won promotion and become
commissary sergeant of the regular army,
and had full charge of feeding the entire
regiment. He was offered a lieutenancy
in a regiment of colored soldiers, but de-
clined. He convoyed a pack train across
Lookout Mountain during the battle of
Missionary Ridge, and also camped for
a short time at Woodville. He opened
the campaign in the spring of 1864, and
fought all the way from Dallas to At-
lanta in the campaign against Atlanta.
He was on the "march to the sea," and
back through the Carolinas and on to
Washington. His last fight was at Ben-
tonville. North Carolina. He was in the
grand review at A\^ashington, at the close
of the war, and stood opposite the Presi-
dent's stand. At the close of hostilities,
when the army was disbanded, he re-
turned to Mount Pleasant, reaching here
June 17, 1865.

3ilr. Garvin at once began clerking in
the store of his uncle, \\'illiam G. Saun-
ders, and remained behind the counter in
one capacity or another for twenty-five
years. In the fall of 1868, he discontin-
ued clerking to go into business for him-

self. He went into the dry goods busi-
ness with T. H. Garlick as partner, this
partnership lasting eighteen months, at
the end of which time Mr. Garlick sold
out his interest to William G. Saunders.
Seven years later he in turn sold his in-
terest to Mr. Garvin, who thus became
sole owner. In 1892 he traded the business
to a gentleman in Des Moines, who, how-
ever, was unable to fulfill his obligations
because of reverses during the panic of
'93, that followed at once.

In 1895 Mt. Garvin was elected county
treasurer, which office he filled with great
satisfaction to the entire county for the
succeeding four years, after which he re-
entered business, going in with Charles
R. Hughes for one year. Since selling
out his interest in this venture, he has
been interested to some extent in real
estate. The great confidence that his fel-
low citizens have in his business ability
and integrity is evidenced by the fact that
for many years, at various times they have
called upon him to act as city councilman,
a position which he holds at the present

Mr. Garvin has been an earnest worker
in the Christian church for fifty-one years,
was once deacon, and for the past thirty-
five years has been an elder. He has al-
ways been interested in the work of the
Sunday school, and has been the teacher
of the Bible class for twenty-five years.
He was president of the American Bible
Society, of Henry county, for nearly ten
years. He has taken a practical interest
in those charitable enterprises that tend
for bettering of the community, always
giving them generous financial support,
and helping them by his knowledge of the



business world whenever he was called
upon to do so. He acted as treasurer of
the Orphans' Home here for some time,
and has rendered valuable aid in many
ways to the other beneficient institutions
of the community.


Dr. William H. Ryun, whose skill as a
specialist in the cure of cancerous diseases
has gained him a most extended and well
merited reputation, was born in Wayne
county, Iowa, February 5, 1861, his par-
ents being- John M. and Polly (Clarke)
Ryun. His paternal grandfather, Ben-
jamin Ryun, was bom in Fayette county,
Ohio, in 1785, and died in 1870, while his
wife passed away in 1833 — the year cele-
brated because of the great shower of
falling stars, — at the age of thirty-five.

J. M. Ryun was born in Fayette county,
Ohio, in 1821, was reared to the occupa-
tion of farming, and followed that pursuit
throughout his active business career. He
came to the west in 1849, settling for three
years in Davis county, Iowa. He after-
ward lived for forty years in Wayne
county, Iowa, where he followed the oc-
cupation of farming and on the expira-
tion of that period he removed to Repub-
lican City, Nebraska, where he lived re-
tired until his death, which occurred in
1900. He was a member of the Masonic
fraternity, and in his life exemplified the
beneficient spirit of the order. In his po-
litical views he was a stalwart democrat,
and served as school director, road trus-
tee, supervisor and in other local offices.

His Christian faith was evidenced by his
membership for a period of forty years in
the Methodist church, in which he served
as steward, while in the various activities
of the church he took a helpful part.

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 75 of 85)