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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 80 of 85)
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home life and takes great pleasure in the
society of his family and friends. He is
always courteous, kindly and affable and
those who know him personally have for
him warm regard. Possessing untiring
energy, he is also quick of perception and
forms his plans readily, after which he
carries them forward to completion
through close and earnest application.


Frank Henry Colby, who is engaged in
the livery business in New London, is a
son of Nathan and Elizabeth (Blakeway)
Colby and was born in Des Moines coun-
ty, near Middletown, Iowa, on the 14th
of August, 1875. The public schools af-
forded him his educational privileges. He
attended school to some extent in his na-
tive county and afterward in Montgom-
ery county, Iowa. He was reared to
the occupation of farming and continued
the work of the fields until 1903, when



he took up his abode in Mount Pleasant,
where he bought and shipped horses for
one year. On the expiration of that pe-
riod he engaged in the hvery business
there, which he conducted in connection
with his shipping interests until the
month of June, 1905, when his barns
were destroyed by fire, causing him se-
rious loss. With undaunted courage and
renewed purpose, however, he planned
to re-enter business life and on the 24th
of August, of the same year, came to
New London, where he established a liv-
ery barn with seven head of roadsters
and good modern vehicles. He is now
prepared to handle a large livery busi-
ness and has secured a good patronage
here, for his reputation as a reliable and
enterprising business man was known ere
he came to New London and has been
an element in winning him the success
which has met him since he opened his
present livery barn.

On the 17th of August, 1897, Mr.
Colby was married to Miss Nellie Wilson,
a daughter of Jonathan and Eva (Wille-
ford) Wilson. They have become the par-
ents of two children : Marjory, born June
22, 1901 ; and Merel, born July 17, 1903.
Mr. Colby votes with the Republican
party, but has neither time nor inclina-
tion to seek office, preferring to concen-
trate his energies upon his business af-
fairs. He has gained a wide and favor-
able acquaintance in New London and
a review of his life history as a farmer
and business man of Mount Pleasant as
well as of New London shows that there
are many commendable elements in his
life record, and this history would be in-
complete without mention of his name.


Philip Hofmann, successfully carrying
on farming in Marion township, was born
in Germany in 1869, a son of Ludwig and
Catherine (Kaufman) Hofmann, who
were also natives of Germany and never
left that country. The father was a far-
mer by occupation and died in Germany
in 1902, while the mother still resides
there. In their family were six children,
all of whom are yet living, namely:
Philip, Mary, and William, who are resi-
dents of Germany; Henry, living in Mis-
souri, and John and Lewis, who yet re-
main in the fatherland.

Philip Hofmann pursued his education
in the schools of his native country and
in 1855, when a youth of sixteen years,
crossed the Atlantic to America. He had
been reared to the occupation of farming,
but from the reports that he had heard
concerning the new world he was led to
believe that he might have better busi-
ness advantages in the United States.
Accordingly he sailed for New York,
where' he arrived after a voyage of twelve
days and then made his w^ay into the in-
terior of the country, settling in Des
Moines county, wdiere he worked as a
farm hand by the month for five years.
He had no capital, so that immediate em-
ployment was a necessity, and as the years
passed by his capable work and unremit-
ting diligence secured him good positions.
In 1890 he came to Henry county, where
he continued to act as a farm hand for
five or six years, when, desiring that his
labors might more directly benefit him-
self, he rented a tract of land in Canaan
township for six years and successfully



operated it. Tliis brought him the capi-
tal that enabled him in 1903 to purchase
his present improved farm of one hun-
dred and twenty acres on section 13,
Marion township. He carries on general
agricultural pursuits and stock-raising,
feeding from fifty to seventy-five hogs
annually and a car load of cattle. His
business interests are well managed and
in all that he does he is practical and
methodical, recognizing that "order is
nature's first law." By his close appli-
cation and intense and well directed ac-
tivity he has gained a place among the
substantial agriculturists of his township.
On the loth of February. 1896, Mr.
Hofmann was married to Miss Mary
Swearingen, who was born near Mount
Union, Henry county, on the 12th of Oc-
tober, 1873, and is a daughter of Martin
and Harriet (Alden) Swearingen. The
father was a native of Virginia, born
November 15, 1839, and the mother's
birth occurred in Mississippi, April 26,
1836. He was one of a family of twelve
children, of whom four were soldiers of
the Civil war, namely: Martin, Bennett,
George and Monroe, George being a
member of the Eighty-fourth Illinois In-
fantry. He was a farmer by occupation
and came to Henry county, Iowa, in 1868.
remaining here until called to his final
rest. He died April 3, 1896, having for
a number of years survived his wife, who
died September 2, 1879. He had served
his country in the Civil war, enlisting in
defense of the Union in 1862 as a mem-
ber of the Eighty-fourth Illinois Infan-
try, with which he served until the close
of hostilities, when he was honorably dis-
charged. He was wounded twice at the

battle of Shiloh and again at Chatta-
nooga. He was under Sherman on the
celebrated march to the sea and partici-
pated in many important engagements
which led to the final victory of the Union
armies. In days of peace he was equally
loyal to the country and her welfare and
was a public-spirited citizen. His politi-
cal allegiance was given to the democracy
and he served as township clerk of Ca-
naan township. He belonged to the Ma-
sonic fraternity, in which he filled all of
the chairs — a fact which indicated his
position in regard to his brethren of the
craft. He was also a member of the
Christian church and his life was perme-
ated by honorable principles and was an
exemplification of manly conduct. In his
family were six children, of whom two
are now deceased. The living are : Mary,
Maude and Mabel, twins, and Lewis.
Mabel married Charles Tonkinson and
resides in Canaan township. Lewis is a
resident of Mount L^nion, Iowa. John
and Charles Alden, brothers of Mrs.
Swearingen, were also soldiers of the
Civil war, serving in Illinois regiments.
Mr. and Mrs. Hofmann have become
the parents of three children : Milton,
born November 10, 1896; Phyllis, Feb-
ruary 5, 1900, and Orville, October 29,
1 90 1. All were born in Henry county
and the two eldest are now in school.
Mr. Hofmann is a self-made man in the
best sense of the term, for all that he
possesses has been gained by hard labor
and by straightforward dealing. Both
he and his wife are highly esteemed for
their genuine worth, and the circle of
their friends is almost co-extensive with
the circle of their acquaintance.


HENR\ WARREN. section 3. Baltimore township. Al)out

one-half of this is under cultivation and
Henry AA^arren, a resident of Baltimore he annually raises good crops. He also
township, was born in Cambridgeshire, raises about twenty head of hogs each
England, on the 19th of October, 1826, year and has ten head of cows. He is
a son of Robert and Elizabeth (Martin) doing a dairy business, converting the
Warren. His education was acquired in milk into butter, which finds a ready sale
the public schools of his native country on the market because of the excellence
and he was reared to farm life, having of the product. He also raises about two
always followed that pursuit since attain- hundred chickens each year and his poul-
ing his majority. He remained a resi- try business is no unimportant issue in
dent of England until twenty-six years his farm life. Mr. W^arren has resided
of age, when, hoping that he might enjoy continuously upon this farm since he
better business opportunities and secure made the first purchase and has become an
more rapid advancement in the new honored citizen and respected agricultur-
world, he crossed the Atlantic to the ist of the community.
United States and settled in Monroe On the 17th of November. 1855. oc-
county, New York, where he lived for curred the marriage of Henry W'arren
about five years. At the end of that time and Miss Mary Ann Carter, a daughter
he received his naturalization papers and of Henry and Elizabeth (Sutton) Carter,
was a full-fledged American citizen. He Eleven children have been born unto
then came to Iowa, settling first in Bur- them : Elizabeth, now the wife of William
lington, where he resided for a vear, Boucher, a resident of Nebraska ; Eliza,
after which he took up his abode in who is living in New London ; Ellen, the
Franklin tow^nship, where he carried on wife of Eugene Chichester, also a resi-
general farming fortwo years. On the ex dent of New London ; Jane, who died at
piration of that period he took a trip to the age of one year and ten months ; Mar-
Sheridan, but soon afterward returned tha, at home; Rebecca, who died March
to Henry county and invested his savings 10, 1906, the wife of Richard Freeberg,
in twenty acres of land on section 2, Bal- who li^^es in Nebraska; John, who makes
timore township, which he purchased his home in Baltimore township, where
from William Despain. Upon the place he follows farming; Robert, at home;
was a log cabin, but soon he purchased Grace, the wife of Dave \A^oods. a resi-
another dwelling, which he removed to dent farmer of Jackson township; Dolly,
his farm and which he has since remod- also at home, and Jennie, the wife of
eled, making it a comfortable residence. L'a E. Leedham, a resident of Baltimore
As his financial rsources have increased, township. The wife ad mother was born
he has added to his farm from time to in Cambridgeshire in the town of Sut-
time and thus extended its boundaries ton, England, October 13, 1836, and she
until it now comprises one hundred and gave her hand in marriage to Mr. War-
twenty acres, of which forty acres is situ- ren in Monroe county. New York. She
ated on section 2 and the remainder on had crossed the Atlantic with her mother



to meet her father, who had come to the
United States the year before. He was a
farmer by occupation and on removing
from the Empire state to the west made
his home in Iowa, his last days being
passed in Sheridan.

In community affairs Mr. Warren has
taken a deep and helpful interest and for
one year served as road supervisor. He
has preferred, however, to leave office-
holding to others, but has never been re-
miss in the duties of citizenship. He be-
longs to the Methodist Episcopal church
and his honorable principles and manly
conduct are strong and salient features in
his career. He has put all of the im-
provements upon his property, has
cleared all of the land of timber and brush
and has carried forward the work of im-
provement and progress along modern,
progressive lines of farming. The fam-
ily is. now one of the oldest in the town-
ship, Mrs. Bishop, however, having re-
sided longer in the locality. Mr. Warren
is now almost eighty years of age and
is a venerable and honorable citizen, who
receives the respect which should ever be
accorded those of advanced vears.


There are few men who have such a
splendid record to their credit as has Wil-
liam S. Burton, who, though now eighty-
five years of age, is filling the office of
justice of the peace and also acting as sec-
retary of the Odd Fellows lodge at Mount

Pleasant. In spirit and interests he seems
yet in his prime, and though the snows of
many winters have whitened his hair, he
has the vigor and energy of many a man
of much younger years. He resides at
No. 413 North Adams street in Mount
Pleasant, and is numbered among the na-
tive sons of North Carolina, his birth
having occurred in Guilford county, Feb-
ruary 7, 1820. His parents were Emsley
and Sarah (Clarke) Burton, who removed
from Guilford to Davidson county, North
Carolina, during the boyhood days of Wil-
liam S. Burton, who there learned the
carriag'e-maker's trade. From 1842 until
1854 he was engaged in business in Ran-
dolph county, Missouri, and in the latter
year came to Iowa, settling at Richmond,
Keokuk county, where he was in the car-
riage-making business. In 1865 he re-
moved to Mount Pleasant and opened a
carriage shop, which he conducted until
1882, when he was appointed clerk of the
war department in Washington, D. C.
He filled this office for several years, be-
ing appointed by Robert T. Lincoln. He
has held various local positions, both in
Missouri and Iowa, and in 1879 and 1880
was honored with the mayoralty of Mount
Pleasant, giving to the city a public-spir-
ited, businesslike and progressive admin-
istration, characterized by substantial ad-
vancement and reform, and later was
again mayor for four years. He is now
justice of the peace, and his decisions are
strictly fair and impartial, neither fear
nor favor influencing him in his decisions
in the slightest degree. He has always
been- a stanch republican since casting his
presidential ballot for the early candidates
of the party, and he keeps well informed



on the questions and issues of the day.
r-raternally. Mr. Burton is also locally
prominent. He holds membership in the
Mystic Lodge. No. 55, Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, and also with the en-
campment here, and has been both grand
master and grand patriarch of the order
in Iowa and representative of the grand
lodge in Sovereign Grand Lodge of the
United States in 1866 and 1867. He is
now the valued secretary of the lodge in
Mount Pleasant, although he has at-
tained the age of eighty-five years.

In March, 1839, Mr. Burton was united
in marriage to Miss Malinda Moffitt, a
daughter of Robert and Lydia Mofiitt,
and a native of Davidson county, North
Carolina. They became the parents of
ten children: Lydia C, now the widow
of James S. Pringle, of Richland, Iowa;
Miss Sarah A. resides at home; William
M., who married Miss Vaughn, and is
living in Jefferson county, Arkansas;
Robert A., who married Fannie S. Way,
and for some years has been an attorney
at Chicago; Constantine B., who lives in
southern Missouri; James K., who resides
in Mount Pleasant; Harriet M., at home;
and three who are deceased.

Mr. and Mrs. Burton are devoted mem-
bers of the Metliodist Episcopal church, in
which he has served as steward, trustee and
Sunday school superintendent. In various
church activities they have taken a helpful
part, and their efforts have resulted bene-
ficially in the upbuilding and development
of the church. Mr. Burton is as honest
as the day is long, upright, careful and
prudent, and is greatly beloved and re-
spected by all. His granddaughter, Mae
Burton, 'is a teacher in the public schools

of Mount Pleasant, and another grand-
daughter, Hattie Burton, is the very effi-
cient deputy auditor here. Mr. Burton's
health has been somewhat impaired for
the past few years, still he is able to at-
tend to his daily duties, and his many
friends hope that he will be spared as a
citizen of Mount Pleasant for many years
to come. He has ever manifested the
sterling traits of character which com-
mand respect and regard in every land
and clime, and his example, in its fidelity
and trustworthiness, is indeed deserving
of emulation.


Wilford Dayton Wallar, whose insight
in business affairs is penetrative and prac-
tical, is now connected with the lumber
trade in New London as a member of the
firm of Linder & W'allar. His life record
began on the 12th of March, 1855, the
place of his nativity being Crawfordsville,
Iowa. During his infancy his parents,
William L. and Jane (Ross) Wallar. re-
moved to New London, so that his educa-
tion was acquired in the public schools
here. No event of special importance
occurred to vary the routine of his life in
his boyhood days, which w^ere devoted to
work of the schoolroom and the pleas-
ures of the playground. After attaining
his majority he began earning his living
as a farm hand and was employed by the
month for about seven years. He then
began learning the carpenter's trade un-



der the direction of Henry Fogle and fol-
lowed that pursuit for about four years.
In 1877 he bought a farm of eighty acres
in Pleasant Grove township, Des Moines
county, and placed all of the improvements
thereon. He continued the cultivation
of that property for about five years and
was recognized as one of the energetic
and prosperous agriculturists of the com-
munity. The farm was a tract of prairie
land, only a part of which had been
broken when it came into his possession,
but he placed the remainder under the
plow and continued the work of the
fields, annually harvesting bounteous
crops. He also engaged in stock-raising.
Later he traded that property for a farm
of one hundred and thirty-seven acres ad-
joining the corporation limits of New
London. It had formerly been in pos-
session of Smith & Weller and after Mr.
Wallar took charge he continued its man-
agement for about six years, when he
traded for one hundred and twenty acres
of land northwest of the village in New
London township, upon wdiich he resided
for ten years. In 1898, however, he re-
turned to New London, where he has
since made his home, and soon afterward
he embarked in the lumber business in
connection with Mr. Linder, handling all
kinds of lumber and building materials.
The firm now have a good business and
their trade is constantly increasing.

On the 14th of August, 1877, occurred
the marriage of Mr. Wallar and Miss
Susan Stewart, a daughter of Joseph
Stewart, who married a Miss Byers.
Three children grace this marriage : Leon-
ard, who is now a contractor and builder
of New London; and Grace and Mary,

at home. The parents are members of
the Presbyterian church and are esteemed
people, whose home is the center of a cul-
tured society circle in New London. Mr.
Wallar votes with the Republican party
and was elected township trustee of New
London township, filling the position for
about four years. His connection with
the school board, although not continu-
ous, covers about thirteen years, ten years
while upon the farm and three years
while residing in the village. His life
has been one of continuous activity, in
which has been accorded due recognition
of labor nad today he is numbered among
the substantial citizens of his community.
His interests are thoroughly identified
with those of Iowa, his native state, and
at all times he is ready to lend his aid and
co-operation to any movement calulated
to benefit this section or promote its won-
derful development.


Victor H. Shields, cashier of the First
National Bank of New London, is a son
of Joseph L. and Anna O. (Hiles)
Shields, representative early settlers of
Henry county, and the family has long
figured prominently in public affairs. His
Ijirth occurred in New London on the 2nd
of October, 1870, and his education was
acquired in the public schools, from which
he was graduated on the completion of
the high school course with the class of
1886. He afterward attended the Iowa



\\'esleyan University at Mount Pleasant
for three vears, and later he eneasfed in
teaching in the district schools of the
county for about three years and at inter-
vals during his collegiate course had fol-
lowed the same pursuit. He was a ca-
pable educator, manifesting good ability
in imparting clearly and readily to others
the knowledge that he had acquired. On
leaving the schoolroom he was appointed
postmaster of New London during Presi-
dent McKinley's first administration and
acted in that capacity for three years,
when he resigned to accept the cashier-
ship of the First National Bank, with
which he has since been identified. This
bank was organized in 1900 and began
business on the ist of August of that year
with a capital stock of twenty-five thou-
sand dollars. There is now a surplus of
five thousand dollars and undivided prof-
its of fifteen hundred dollars. The offi-
cers are : Robert S. Gillis, of Mount
Pleasant, president ; J. E. Peterson, of
New London, vice-president ; Victor H.
Shields, cashier ; and Virgil Z. Breneman,
assistant cashier. The directors are Rob-
ert S. Gillis, J. E. Peterson, G. M. Van
Ausdall, James T. Whiting, James T.
Gillis, A\\ D. Worthington and V.
H. Shields. Active in the manage-
ment and control of the bank, Mr.
Shields has contributed in no small
degree to its success. He has been con-
nected with the institution since its organ-
ization and has helped to make it one of
the strong financial concerns of the
county. He has become thoroughly con-
versant with the banking business and his
unfailing courtesy to the patrons com-
bined with his promptness and accuracy

in the dispatch of business has made him
a leading representative of financial in-
terests in Henry county.

On the 14th of February, 1894, Mr.
Shields was united in marriage to Miss
Minnie Leisenring, a daughter of John
and Melissa (Haus) Leisenring. L^nto
them have been born three children : John
L., now deceased; Anna E. ; and Miles
Victor. Mr. Shields is a member of the
Masonic Lodge of New London, in which
he has served as master for about five
years and in the work of which he takes
an active and helpful interest. He also
belongs to Unity Lodge, No. 56, Knights
of Pythias, in which he has held nearly
all of the offices. He is likewise a mem-
ber of the Presbyterian church, has been
trustee for about two years and is church
treasurer. His interest in community af-
fairs extends to the material, intellectual
and moral progress of the town and is
manifest in his tangible co-operation for
the general good. He is alert and enter-
prising in business matters and is equally
energetic and forceful in his support of
those plans and measures which he deems
will prove of public benefit.


AA'illiam E. Ferree. postmaster of Hills-
boro, is a citizen uniformly esteemed and
his life history forms an integral chapter
in the annals of Henry county. He is
descended from French Huguenot ances-
try in the paternal line. At an early pe-



riod in the colonization of the new world
Mrs. Mary Ferree, with her sons, crossed
the Atlantic to America to escape reli-
gious persecution in France. She secured
a land grant here. She had two sons,
one of whom settled east of the Alleghany
mountains and the other west, and it is
from the latter that William E. Ferree of
this review is descended. His parents
were Isaac and Harriet (Baldwin) Fer-
ree. both natives of Pennsylvania, the for-
mer born in Allegheny county, January
25, 181 3, while the latter was born in
Fayette county on the 15th of August,
1822. Isaac Ferree was a coal miner in
the state of his nativity and following
his removal to Iowa in 1858 he engaged
in farming. His political support was
gi\-en to the Republican party and he was
a member of the Freewill Baptist church,
to which his widow still belongs. His
death occurred in Hillsboro in 1901, but
Mrs. Ferree is still living at the advanced
age of eighty-three years, making her
home with her son William. In the fam-
ily of this worthy couple were seven chil-
dren, five of whom are now living. John
C, the eldest, married Nancy Stamm and
resides in Virginia. Laura A. became the
wife of William Hopkirk, who was a sol-
dier of the Thirtieth Iowa Infantry and
died in the Civil war. She is now' the
wife of Dr. Joseph I. Doughart, of Pratt
county, Kansas, who was a member of the
Fourth Iowa Infantry. William E. is
the third of the family. Emmett mar-
ried Miss Clara Chapman and resides in
Mahaska county, Iowa. Sarah Belle is
the wife of R. J. Pope, a resident of Kan-
sas City, Missouri. Annetta died in 1858.
Kliza J. became the wife of John Dud-

ley and they and all their family perished
in the Galveston flood. The eldest son of
this family w-as a member of Company

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 80 of 85)