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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 79 of 85)
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with agricultural interests. He was born,



however, in Martinsville, Ohio, on the ist
of November. 1842. His parents, John
and Joyce (Richey) Francy, were natives
of the northern part of Ireland, and were
married in that country in 1838. They
came to America soon afterward and
making their way to Ohio rented a fann
there until 1840, when they proceeded bv
boat down the Ohio and up the Mississippi
rivers to Fort Madison, Iowa, whence they
came o\-erland with teams to Jackson
township, Heniy county. The father then
purchased one hundred acres of land all
covered with timber save that a small
clearing of about twenty acres had been
made and on this stood a log cabin. He
at once began to improve the place by
clearing the land and when this was done
he plowed and planted the fields and in
due course of time gatliered good har-
vests. He also added to the place as his
financial resources permitted until he
owned one hundred and forty acres and
throughout his remaining days his atten-
tion was given to general agricultural pur-
suits. He found good business opportu-
nities in tlie new world and through the
improvement of these became the possessor
of a comfortable competence. His death
occurred upon the old homestead in Sep-
tember, 1893, ^vhile his wife passed away
in IMay, 1895. In their family were five
sons and a daughter, of whom William
J. is the second in order of birth. Four
of the number are now living, the others
being Robert, of Davis county, Iowa ;
David, who is living in Mount Pleasant;
and Eliza, who makes her home in Salem.

\A"illiam J. Francy spent his toyhood
days upon tlue old home farm in this

county and attended the district schools.
He continued with his parents until twen-
ty-one years of age, when he went to Illi-
nois, where he worked by the month as a
farm hand until the spring of 1864. He
then enlisted for service in the quarter-
master's department in the Union Army,
being orderly for the colonel to funiish
supplies for tlie regiment. He joined the
army in March, 1864. ser\-ed until July.
1865, went with Sherman on his cele-
brated march to the sea and was dis-
charged at St. Louis. Missouri. For three
montlis thereafter he dro\-e an express
wagon in that city and then returned home,
remaining for about two months. On the
expiration of that period he again went to
Illinois, where he worked by the month at
farm labor for a year, after which he again
came to Henry county and rented a farm


his marriage.

On the 1 2th of March. 1868. Mr.
Francy was married to Miss Louisa Lyle,
who was bom in Baltimore township. Jan-
uary 20. 185 1, a daughter of William and
Ellen ( Reed) Lyle, natives of England
and Ohio resi3ecti\-ely. She was a daugh-
ter of John and Eliza ( Scoggens) Reed,
natives of Ohio. Mr. Lyle died October
4, 1898, while his wife passed away Sep-
tember I, 1904, their remains being in-
terred in Bethany cemetery.

Following his marriage Mr. Francy
rented a farm from his fadier-in-law on
section 19, Baltimore township, and eight
vears later he purchased that property
from Mr. Lyle, comprising three hun-
dred and twenty acres of valuable land on
sections 19 and 21. It was quite well
improved, there being on the place a large
residence. As his financial resources have



grown he has added to his original hold-
ings from time to time until he now has
four hundred and three acres of land, the
different tracts adjoining. He also owns
eighty-seven acres on section 34. Baltimore
township, which is used as a stock farm.
He carries on general agricultural pur-
suits, producing the crops best adapted to
soil and climate and he also raises and
feeds cattle, Poland China hogs and draft
horses. He has one of the finest farms
of two hundred and eighty acres on the
Skunk ri^'er bottom, which is unsui'passed
in the county.

His buildings are kept in excellent con-
dition anfl eveiything about the place is in
a good state of repair, while the latest
improved machinery facilitates the work
of the fields and shows the owner to be a
man of practical effort and progressive

Unto Air. and ]\Irs. Francy have been
born fi\-e children : Ida Ellen, who was
born September 18, 1870. and died De-
cember 22, 1871 ; Stella E., who was born
Janiiar}^ 22, 1874, is the wife of A. J.
Lamb, of Lee county, Iowa ; Lula Alyrtle,
who was bora August 17. 1877, and died
January 30. 1882; Frank E., born August
26, 1882; and Nettie E., born September
16. 1885. The family is well known in
this part of the county, and Mr. Francy
has been an influential factor in many mat-
ters of public progress. He belongs to the
Alethodist Protestant church and has
served as one of its trustees since 1885. In
politics he is a stalwart democrat and was
township trustee for twenty-two years,
while since 1891 he has l3een treasurer of
the school board. He co-operates in many
movements that have direct and important

effect upon the welfare and progress of the
county in which the greater part of his
life has been passed and where he has so
directed his efforts as to win signal suc-
cess as the result of his indomitable in-
dustry, unquestioned integrity and mar-
vellous enterprise.


One of the valued and prominent pio-
neer residents of Henry county was Allen
Hiatt, who was born June 6, 1795, in
North Carolina, and died in this county
November 2. 1885, at the age of ninety
years, four months and twenty-six days.
For some years he resided in A\^ayne
county, Indiana, and in 1852 came to
Iowa, where he engaged in the nursery
business, being for some time a partner of
his son-in-law, Isaac T. Gibson, still a
prominent resident of Salem. He met
with a fair measure of success in his busi-
ness life but the acquirement of capital
was not alone the end and aim of his ex-
istence. Many have reason to bless his
memory for what he did to ameliorate
the hard conditions of life and he was
moreover a prominent and influential man
in public affairs. A gentleman of broad
culture and natural refinement he was a
self-made man, whose advancement re-
sulted entirely from his own efforts. His
was a well rounded character of splendid
physical and moral development, and he
looked at life from a common-sense view
that enabled him to accomplish much



good by reason of his practical efforts and
keen discernment. In Indiana he served
as justice of the peace and following his
removal to ^^'a}'ne county he was elected
state senator, serving as a member :of the
upper house of the legislature with credit
tc himself and to his constituents. His
early political allegiance was given to
the Whig party and upon its dissolution
he joined the ranks of the new Republican
party which he continued to support until
his death. Mr. Hiatt was united in mar-
riage to Miss Rhoda Hunt, a native of
North Carolina, born about 1799. There
were six children of this marriage, of
whom the youngest, Susanna, is deceased.
The second daughter, Gulielma. was
born November 19, 182 1. and died Jan-
uary 29, 1883, at the age of sixty-one
years, two months and ten days. She
became the wife of Albert White, who
died soon after their marriage and Mrs.
White was an invalid ever afterward and
was cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Gibson.
John M., third member of the Hiatt fam-
ily, wedded Mary Teesdale, and after her
death wedded her sister, Emma M. He
was a trader among the Indians and was
thoroughly familiar with pioneer life and
the experience of the Avest. He was prov-
ost marshal of the southern district of
Iowa during the period of the Civil war
and prior to the period of hostilities he
was elected a member of the state legis-
lature. He afterward served as mayor
of Keokuk and was well known in po-
litical circles throughout the state. Anna
'M.. now Mrs. Gibson, was the next mem-
ber of the family. Minerva E., deceased,
is the youngest. After the death of his
first wife Mr. Hiatt went to California

in 1848, and soon afterward married
Emma Teesdale, a sister of his first wife.
They hacl^nine children, of whom eight
died in infancy, one died at the age of
eighteen years.

Allen Hiatt is spoken of as "one
of the best men that ever lived,"
doing much good for the commu-
nity by his kindly actions, his gen-
erous spirit and his noble purposes.
As an early settler he aided largely in
reclaiming this district for the purposes
of civilization and in laying broad and
deep the foundation for the present pros-
perity and progress of the county. The
circle of his friends was almost co-ex-
tensive with the circle of his acquaintance
and he was honored with the possession
of those traits of character which in every
land and clime command respect and


Rev. Thomas Dyall, a well known min-
ister of the gospel, residing in Mount
Pleasant, was born May 4, 1837, in Ox-
ton, Oldtown, Middlesex, England, his
parents being Charles and Charlotte
(Poole) Dyall. The father was born in
London, December 4, 1807, and was an
artist by profession. \\\\tn his son
Thomas was a young lad he removed to
Warwickshire, afterward to Leeds and
subsequently took up his abode in Ilkley,
Yorkshire, where his death occurred Feb-
ruary 16, 1869. He was a devoted mem-
ber of the Baptist church', served as Sun-
day-school teacher and superintendent and
was also a stalwart advocate of the tem-



perance cause. He was at the head of the
temperance mission in Leeds and his hfe
was fihed with many good deeds for the
welfare and nphfting of his feHow men.
His wife w-as born in London, England,
January i, 1806, and they were married
November 4, 1827. She died in 1880 and
both Mr. and Mrs. Dyall \\ere laid to rest
in Ilkley churchyard. In their family were
nine children : Charlotte, born August 9,
1828, died in 1901 : Charles, born Septem-
ber II, 1830, is living in London; Emma,
born October 26. 1832, died February 5,
1838; Walter, born January 6, 1835, died
September 8, 1838; Thomas was the fifth
of the family; Victoria, born July 4, 1839,
is the widow of David Donaldson, lives in
Leeds, England, and has five children,
two of whom are engaged in the drapery
and dry goods business, w'hile one is an
architect, another in the grain exchange
business and still another is a machinist ;
Albert, born October 21, 184 1, is living
in Birkenhead, England; Alice, bom April
15, 1844, died in 1902; George, born
May 25, 1846, is a solicitor, of Leeds,

Rev. Thomas Dyall pursued his educa-
tion in Pontypool, South Whales, as a stu-
dent in a Baptist college, from which he
was graduated after pursuing full courses
in classics, mathematics and theology. He
engaged in preaching all of the time he
was a student in that college. His first
charge was at the parish of Todmorden,
Millwood, Yorkshire, England, being
there two years, during which time he ex-
ercised a strong and beneficial influence for
the church. He was the writer of a num-
ber of hymns and when the right hand of
fellowship ^^•as extended in the church

the audience would sing those hymns. He
afterward went to Leadbury, Gloucester-
shire, where he had a charge for a year
and a half and then accepted a call to the
church at Monkskirby and Pilton, Eng-
land, where he remained for a brief period,
when he was induced to come to America.
He arrived in the new world in the fall of
1866, settling first in Canada, where for
seven years he had charge of the Peter-
boro and Smithtown churches. He bap-
tized a large number there, leading many
to see the light and become follow^ers of
Christ but he had a great desire to make
his home in the United States and accord-
ingly crossed the border, settling at Port
Austin, Michigan, where he accepted and
held the pastorate of the Baptist church
for a few years. He also did good there
and not unfrequently would break the ice
in order to baptize people He had many
hearers, too, always speaking to large au-
diences. He afterward went to Attica,
Ohio, where he had charge of a Baptist
church and was also pastor at Penfield
and Litchfield, Ohio. He afterward went
to South Dakota, workng under the au-
spices of the Home Missionaiy Society,
building and organizing churches, doing
real pioneer work with great success.
From there he came to Mount Pleasant in
1888, having charge of the First Baptist
church for two vears, when he entered the
evangelistic field and in that work visited
all parts of the northw^est, establishing
many new churches.

Rev. Dyall has labored earnestly and
persistently since he was converted and
baptized at the age of nineteen years, join-
ing the church under the pastorate of Rev.
R. P. McMaster, of blessed memory. Im-



mediately following his admission into the
church he began holding open air and cot-
tage meetings, winning souls for Christ,
many joining the church under his preach-
ing. His pastor recognizing his great
ability and zeal advised him to attend col-
lege, which he did, and thus prepared for
the ministiy. He had the privilege of hear-
the great divine, Spurgeon, a number of
times, who inspired him to further zeal
and consecration in the work. There were
nine men baptized at the time he became a
member of the church and several of the
number devoted their lives to the ministry.
Following his entrance into the evangelistic
field Rev. Dyall labored in that direction
for about ten years, when he became chap-
lain of the State Insane Asylum at Mount
Pleasant under the superintendence of Dr.
Hoyt and here he is still laboring. Rev.
Mr. Dyall is a broad-minded man, well
fitted for his work. He has been a con-
stant and earnest student of the great
questions involving the welfare of man-
kind as well as upon theological subjects.
He has borne many hardships and trials
for the sake of the cause. His work in
South Dakota was hard and laborious, in-
volving long drives through a pioneer dis-
trict, in which wolves were frequently
seen. He continued in his missionary
work there, however, with unfaltering
diligence and many were led to a better
life through his instrumentality. He also
was called upon to preach many funeral
sermons and perform many marriage cere-
monies. The poor always received aid
at his hand and he left behind him there
a memory that is enshrined in the hearts
of a large number of those with whom
he came in contact.

Rev. Dyall was married in August,
1864. to Miss Martha Fenton. a daugh-
ter of William Fenton, who died when
she was a little child. She was born in
Coventr}^, Warwickshire, England. This
marriage was blessed with four children :
Thomas William, born in England, is a
photographer of Mount Pleasant. He mar-
ried Miss Mattie Thomas and has one
child, Thomas William, Jr., who was
born in 1898 and is now attending school.
C. Herbert, born in Canada, is a photog-
rapher, living with his parents and is rep-
resented elsewhere in this volume. Mar-
tha Lillian, born in Canada, was educated
in the Howe Academy at Alount Pleasant
and has also studied vocal and instru-
mental music, under Professor Sheetz and
Dr. Rommel. She possesses a fine voice and
has been a teacher of music, but is now as-
sisting her brother Herbert in his photo-
graphic studio in Mount Pleasant. One
child, Emma, has passed away.

Rev. Dyall resides at No. 602 Xorth
Adams street and the family ha\e a pleas-
ant home justly celebrated for its warm-
hearted hospitality. In politics he is a
republican but without aspiration for of-
fice. His children have all become mem-
bers of the church. ha\-ing been baptized
by their father. In June. 1905, Rev. Dy-
all attended the Baptist World's Congress
in London, one of the greatest meetings
since the gathering of the apostles in the
upper chamber. He not only greatly en-
joyed the meeting of the church but also
his visit to his native land and the trip
proved one of great pleasure and benefit.
He preached in London in connection with
the congress and also at Leeds and at Tod-
morden, where he had been pastor in



the days of his early manhood and at the
last named place held meetings, holding
services in the morning and evening for
general audiences and in the afternoon for
men, to whom he deli\-ered a strong ad-
dress on temperance. He has been a total
abstainer form early manliood and his life
has been in close accord with the teach-
ings of the Master, so that by example as
well as precept he has led many to a belief
in the Christian faith and the efficacy of
the teachings of the lowly Nazarene. In
addition to his work in theministry and the
evangelistic field he has written and pub-
lished a volume made up of lectures on the
"Prodigal Son," and published a book on
"Christian Living,'' in 1900. He is also
the author of a volume of poetry entitled
"Poems of tlie Heart," giving spare mo-
ments to this work. Alany of these are
especially noteworthy, including one on the
"Grandeur of Life,'" and the little volume
met with a ready sale, the edition of one
thousand copies being soon exhausted. He
still writes to considerable extent, one of
his latest poems entitled "The Sea," being
written upon his way to London in 1905.
He has also written many dedicaton' and
memorial poems. Each community that
he has visited has been benefited by his ef-
forts in behalf of righteousness, justice
and truth. His influence has been fa-r-
reaching and beneficial and he has not been
denied the full harvest nor the aftermath.


William Frederick Obermeier, carry-
ing on general farming and stock-raising

in New London tow^nship, on section 12,
was born in Lippe, Germany, August 9,
1867, his parents being William Fred-
erick and Louisa (Fricke) Obermeier. He
attended the public schools of his native
country for four years and when a youth
of ten years came to America in 1877,
by way of New York, in company with
his parents, who with their five children
crossed the Atlantic and from the eastern
metropolis journeyed westward to Bur-
lington, Iowa. The family then came on
to New London township, Henry county,
and the father purchased thirty-five acres
just north of the village on section 35.
There were at that time a house and barn
on the propert}', which have since been
torn down. The house was built partly
of logs and partly frame. The purchase
w^as made from James White. I'pon
that farm the family resided until the
death of the husband and father on the
24th of October. 1881, when he was
fifty-six years of age.

\\'illiam Frederick Obermeier accom-
panied his parents to the new world and
was reared upon the home farm in New-
London township, sharing in the hard-
ships and trials incident to frontier life
and aided in the arduous task of develop-
ing new land. He married Miss Sophia
Totemeier, who was born in Pleasant
Grove township, Des Moines county,
Iowa, in 1873, a daughter of Anton Tote-
meier. This wedding was celebrated
January 17, 1893, and the marriage has
been blessed with two children : Ella
Belle, born August i, 1894; and Sadie
Louisa, born October 28. 1896. The fam-
ilv home is situated in New London
township upon a good farm of eight}'-



nine and a half acres, of which Mr. Ober-
meier is the owner and in connection with
the tihing of the soil he is engaged in
raising stock, having good cattle, horses
and hogs upon his place, making a spe-
cialty of Chester White hogs. \\"hen he
made the purchase of this property there
were only an old house and a stable upon
the farm but he has now a fine set of
farm buildings, including a modern and
attractive residence, which he erected in
the fall of 1901. Altogether the farm is
well improved and indicates the practical
methods of the owner and in its appear-
ance is neat and prosperous.

Mr. Obermeier is a meml^er of Char-
ity Lodge, Xo. 56, Independent Order of
Odd Fellows, and also belongs to the
Presbyterian church. In 1901 he was
elected road supervisor, which position
he held for one term, having been elected
on the Republican ticket. He takes an
active interest in politics and keeps well
informed on the questions and issues of
the day. He is a man of recognized
business ability and enterprise, display-
ing many of the strong and sterling char-
acteristics of the German ancestry and at
the same time he is thoroughly in sym-
pathy with American institutions and


James Madison Crawford, Jr., the ex-
tent and variety of whose business inter-
ests make him one of the leading and
representative men of Henry county, is

now filling the position of postmaster at
New London, and at the same time is
controlling important business enterprises
which contribute to the general progress
and prosperity as well as to his individ-
ual success. His birth occurred in New
London township, on the 29th of April,
1870, his parents being James Madison
and Julia (Lee) Crawford, who are rep-
resented on another page of this work.
His early education was acquired in the
public schools in his home neighborhood,
and he afterward attended Oskaloosa
(Iowa) College, in which he pursued a
business course and was graduated. Af-
ter permanently putting aside his text-
books he concentrated his energ-ies upon
farm work, with which he had become
familiar during the periods of vacation
while assisting in the operation and im-
provement of his father's land. He yet
continues to engage in general farming
and the raising and feeding of stock. He
also has horses, including both roadsters
and draft horses and his agricultural in-
terests are well developed and carefully
conducted. He has likewise been iden-
tified with the grain trade in this county
and at one time he engaged in general
merchandising in New London, purchas-
ing a half interest in the stock of J. B.
Dunlap. Subsequently Ed M. Lee pur-
chased the other half interest and under
the firm name of Crawford & Lee the}'
continued in business together until 1895,
when Mr. Crawford sold his interest to
Mr. Lee and again concentrated his en-
ergies upon buying and shipping grain.
He followed that business until appointed
by President McKinley to the position of
postmaster of New London. A man of



resourceful business ability, he has also
extended his efforts to other lines of ac-
tivity, which have been important fac-
tors in the acquirement of his present very
desirable competence and commercial
status. He was one of the organizers of
the New London Land Company, which
laid out altogether five additions and was
a strong directing influence in the de-
velopment and growth of New London.
A large majority of the enterprise of this
locality have felt that stimulus of the wise
counsels and active co-operation of Mr.
Crawford. He has been interested in the
Henry County Telephone Company and
his labors at all times have been product-
ive of good results, for he is very prac-
tical in his methods.

As before stated, Mr. Crawford was
appointed to the position of postmaster
of New London by President McKinley
in 1900. At that time this was an office
of the fourth class, but he soon after-
ward raised it to the third class. He was
re-appointed to the position in 1901 and
has continued in the office since, ^^^hen
he took charge there was but one rural
route in operation but now there are five
centering in the New London office. His
administration of the mail business of
New London is highly satisfactory to the
patrons of the office, who find him always
prompt and courteous in the discharge of
the duties devolving upon him.

On the 24th of October, 1894, was cele-
brated the marriage of Mr. Crawford and
Miss Nina L Hampton, a daughter of
William H. and Hattie (Dover) Hamp-
ton. They have one child. Marie, who
was born November i, 1895, and is now
a student in the New London schools.

Mr. Crawford is a member of the Mod-
ern Woodmen Camp, and also belongs to
Unity Lodge, No. 185, Knights of Pyth-
ias, of New London. He was reared in
the faith of the Christian church, of
which he is now a member and is serving
as trustee and deacon at the present time,
having acted in these capacities for four
years. His is a well-rounded nature in
which due attention is given to the social
and moral interests of the community as
well as to its commercial and industrial
development. He thoroughly enjoys

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 79 of 85)