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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 82 of 85)
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office of county auditor, in which he was
also continued for two terms by re-elec-
tion. Following his retirement from that
position, he was appointed postmaster of
Mount Pleasant, in 1897, ^"^ held that po-
sition until 1906, giving a public-spirited
and progressive administration, which
has won him high encomiums from the
general public. His entire official service
•has been characterized by an unfaltering
fidelity to duty, and during twenty con-
secutive years spent in office he has ever
won the respect and trust of his fellow
townsmen, who have conferred upon him
these official honors.

On the 19th of February, 1879, Mr.
Palm was married to Miss Florence E.
Andrews, who was born in Mills county,
Iowa, February 11, 1859, a daughter of
Judge M. L. and Maria (Deming) An-
drews, both of whom were natives of
Trumbull county, Ohio, who are men-
tioned on another page of this work. Mr.
and Mrs. Palm have reared three children,

and have also reared Mr. Palm's half-
brother, George H. Palm. The eldest,
Edward, is now a resident of Kalispell,
Montana. Mary, a graduate of the high
school, is at home. Margaret is attend-
ing school. Mrs. Palm is a lady of su-
perior intellectual and literary culture, and
is the author of various writings that have
won her prominence in local literary cir-
cles. From her pen has come the Web-
Weavers. She has a fine descriptive fac-
ulty, in which there is also a vein of hu-
mor. She writes with great facility, and
is master of the art of description. She
also wrote the Minor Note, A Gray Day,
A Mount Pleasant Procession, and other
sketches which indicate an appreciation
for truth, beauty and humor in life. She
has always been a great reader and is fa-
miliar with the best authors of ancient and
modern times. She is a charming hostess
and her home is the center of a cultured
society circle. She gives generously of
her best for the delight of her guests. Mr.
Palm has long been associated with the
interests of the community, and his ef-
forts for public progress have been far-
reaching and effective. He was for years
at the head of the county fair association,
but at length had to give up that work
because of the great strain of his personal
and public duties. Mr. Palm, possessing
a retentive memory, has long been re-
garded in Henry county as an authority
on historical events. He, too. is a strong
and forceful writer, and he is especially
well known in connection with his com-
memorative writings. One of his more
recent public utterances was given in the
event of a memorial address delivered at
Pleasant Hill chapel in Henry county on


the 30th of May, 1904. Perhaps no bet- we stretched our boys' legs far out to keep
ter idea of his understanding of the great in step with the men, and to our bedazzled
events of history at the time of the Civil youthful imagination there was no pallia-
war and his patriotic spirit can be given tion or excuse for being bom in the '50s
than by quoting from that address. "I and still less for barring young gentlemen
am. sure you veterans — and it is to you I of ten summers from enlistment in the
am to chiefly address my remarks today — army. .

I am sure you would rather listen to one "I hestitate to address you men of the

of your own comrades in arms than to the '60s I feel a special disqualification

voice of a layman' upon those themes ap- the fatal disqualification of not being one

propriate to consider, and proper, in some of you. For to no one are the scenes and

measure, to review upon this melancholy, circumstances of war so real, so tangible,

yet inspiring, memorial occasion. Yet the as to those who themselves witnessed

army of the noncombatants were not all them, and by none can they be so well and

so from choice. Many are they who bit- so truthfully portrayed as by the men who

terly deplored the cruel partiality of the themselves felt the shock of battle, and

government census, which classed them themselves, each for himself, saw the lean

with "women and children," unfit for duty and hungry demon of war staring him fair

on the firing line. In my youthful en- in the face. There is indeed comrade-

thusiasm I did get to be marksman, or ship, deep, abiding comradeship, between

small flag bearer to the home guards. A you boys of the '60s. A comradeship

neighbor boy and I were chosen to carry which we 'laymen' admit our inability

small flags, and in the evolutions of the fully to enter into and adequately to por-

rude militia on the prairies of Marion tray. Yours is a comradeship born of a

township we were called upon to take our common danger and a common duty ; a

place on either side of the ensign and hold common obligation of patriotism and a

ourselves in readiness to run upon com- common love of the flag. There remains

mand as fast as our legs would cany us to you, the mere remnant now of the

forward to the head of the column, and grand army of Grant and Sherman, there

there stand to enable it to make a square remains to you a comradeship born of the

turn to the right or left. No doubt this is heat of battle and cemented by the grim

quite as far as a ten-year-old boy could be certainty that of some would be demanded

expected to advance in military science or the forfeit of their lives to save their coun-

experience; but the disappointment was try. Yours is a comradeship born in an

hard to endure, for to be a real soldier, heroic hour; bom when there were called

with knapsack and gun, was the fond hope into play every resource of manhood, ev-

of my waking and the fitful dream of my ery obligation of honor; every sense of

sleeping hours. I had a uniform of gray, patriotism, every prompting of duty; ev-

with a yellow stripe running down the leg ery sentiment which the love of home and

of my pants. I think we were called the country contribute to manly courage and

'Ebenezer Grays,' and when under drill prompt t*^ noble sacrifice." Then follows



a review of the important events which led
uj) to the opening of the war. "Men will
fight, but civilized man fights only to es-
cape conditions worse than war, and to
scxure that good which only the god of
baitles can give. I want here publicly to
thank you boys in blue, you gentlemen of
the '60s, for doing my fighting for me.
In the name of my generation, on behalf
of the millions of men of today who in
i860 w^ere boys not tall enough by a
hand's breadth to get behind a gun and
go forth to battle, in the name of the
women and children and the great army
of helpless noncombatants for whom you
fought, for the love of whom you gave the
last supreme test and measure of devotion
— in their name and in the name of the
common rights and just destines of men
"Of whom were the great armies of
and nations, I want to thank you old
soldiers for your sacrifice and your

Grant and Sherman composed? From
,whence did the boys in blue come? The
men who fought at Shiloh and at the Wil-
derness were not veterans. They did not
come out of the standing army. They
were not making war a profession. Be-
fore Lincoln's first call and the fall of
Sumpter they had scarcely dreamed of
war's alarm. The great armies that put
down the rebellion and saved the nation
were drawn from the whole body of the
people. The college professor, the men
of the learned professions, the scholars
and thinkers did not put down the rebel-
lion, but they contributed a great and val-
uable, service to that end. The farm boys
from the prairies and the mechanics and
day laborers of the great cities did not put

down the rebellion and save the nation,
but they, too, contributed their full share
to that end. The grand army of Grant
and Sherman was drawn from every walk
of life. There you would see the pale-
faced college student, the sons of wealth
and station, the boys brought up in lux-
ury and ease, marching side by side with
the sunburned plowboy of the prairies and
the smoke-begrimed factory men of the
cities. There you found the hollow-eyed
professor, fresh from the intricacies of
Calculus and the mysteries of metaphys-
ics, plodding along side by side with the
boys recruited from the slums and alleys
of our great cities. No one class held a
patent on patriotism in that great and
bloody drama. Thank God, patriotism
is not a thing of station, of wealth, of
opportunity, or education, but is the rich
heritage as well of the poor, of the un-
fortunate, and even of the wicked and de-
generate. Boys of small promise, even
those of wild and reckless life and habits
at home, often made the most sturdy, he-
roic and fearless soldiers at the front.

'T cannot let pass this memorial to our
heroic dead without directing your atten-
tion for a brief moment to the chief figure
in this melancholy yet glorious drama —
the tall, gaunt, manly figure with deep,
sad eyes and melanchol)^ face, who occu-
pied the chair of state at the white house
and who at length gave to freedom its
crowning sacrifice, the sacrifice of his great
heart and life — Abraham Lincoln. What
a rare product of the mighty forces of
those troublous times was he. What a
sane and understandable quantity, what
an approachable and kindly man he was ;
what a sympathetic and tender heart he



had, and with it all what a deep and in-
tuitive understanding- of the forces in that
mig-hty play. How patient, how forbear-
ing, how forgiving he was to our erring
brethren of the south, and how pathetic-
ally, how earnestly he appealed to them
as friends, as brothers, as countrymen, and
how sorrowfully at last he invoked the
cruel arbitrament of the god of battles to
save the nation and sustain the flasr."


Back in the fertile fields of Greene
county, Pennsylvania, on the 23d of No-
vember, in the year 1850, the subject of
this memoir first saw the light of day.
His parents, John and Rachel (Ross)
Mason, both now deceased, were also na-
tives of the same county. John Mason's
father, James Mason, was a . native of
County Tyrone, Ireland, and his parents
were Presbyterians in religious faith and
descendants of emigrants from the high-
lands of Scotland. These Highlanders
on the paternal side were descendants of
Sir William Mason, who went from Lon-
don, England, to the Highlands of Scot-
land almost two hundred years ago.

James Mason was brought by his par-
ents to America when only five years
old, settlino- in Greene countv, Pennsvl-
vania, where the most of the family re-
sided throughout the remainder of their
lives, including the parents and James.
Dr. Mason's mother, Rachel Ross, was
born in Greene countv, Pennsvh'ania,

and was of Scotch and German descent,
her father, Jacob Ross, being of Scotch
parentage, while her mother was of Ger-
man lineage. John and Rachel Mason
had ten children born unto them, of whom
eight are living, namely: Mary Fisher,
of Logan, Ohio ; Mrs. Abigail E. Austin,
of Nelsonville, Ohio; William J., of
Edenville, Michigan; Hiram, of Nelson-
ville, Ohio; Mrs. Phoebe Jane Conaway,
of Logan, Ohio; James K., of Kansas,
Illinois; George T., whose ;iame heads
this sketch, and Dr. Timothy R. Mason,
of Sugar Grove, Ohio. Jacob R. died at
the age of twent3^-eight years, leaving a
widow and one son.

Dr. Mason removed with his parents to
Harrison county, Virginia, in the fall of
1852 and to Coles county, Illinois, in
1854, locating three miles west of Pin-
hook, now Oakland. The family suffered
intensely from ague and the youngest
child, a baby boy eighteen months old,
died there and was laid to rest in Deer
Creek cemetery. The family, becoming
discouraged owing to so much illness, re-
traced their steps in the fall of 1856 as
far as Hocking county, Ohio, and there
settled in Starr township, adjoining the
Athens county line, five miles from Nel-
sonville, now the center of the Hocking
Valley mining district, one of the most
extensive bituminous coal fields in Amer-
ica. Here "little Tommy," as he was
familiarly called, grew to manhood,
working on his father's farm in the sum-
mer seasons and attending school three
months in the winter in a log house, sit-
ting on a slab bench. His writing desk
consisted of a board laid on pins driven
into the wall. Later he attended an acad-


einy and high schools, and a short time daughter of the late Harvey and Susan

before the eighteenth anniversary of his (Harman) Gray, of Sidell, Illinois. Her

birth he was in the schoolroom as teacher brother, Samuel Gray, of Sidell Illinois,

at a point in Starr township known as wrote the first article advocating the

Sidehill Academy. He taught in Ohio, township central school system, which ar-

Kansas and Illinois for ten years. He re- tide appeared in the Prairie Farmer in

ceived the first teacher's certificate ever 1870. Dr. and Mrs. Mason have had

issued in Sumner county, Kansas, and six children born to them, as follows :

taught the first public school ever taught Guy, Edna, Victor, Ada, " Harry and

in that county. Also the first school exhi- Florence. Most of the family are iden-

bition given in the county was given by tified with the church and Sunday school

the Doctor and his school in the town of in Trenton. In politics the Doctor is an

Oxford on the banks of the Arkansas uncompromising republican, being the

river. People traveled twenty miles to only advocate of that party in his father's

attend that entertainment . The Doctor family. His brother. Dr. T. R. Mason,

also paid considerable attention to vocal of Sugar Grove, Ohio, is a prominent

music when a young man. He taught democrat in his place and served on the

voice culture and elocution for some time United States pension board under Cleve-

and gave a number of public entertain- land, while Dr. Mason of this review is

ments. He spent a number of years in a member of the pension board at Mount

writing biographical and township his- Pleasant, having acted in that capacity

tories for Chapman Brothers and the for several years.
Lewis Publishing Company, of Chicago;
but this work kept him from home so

much that he finally took up the study of

medicine, to which he devoted his leisure
hours for more than a year, while he still

continued in the history business. He ROBERT LAWRENCE,
took his first course in medicine at the

Hospital College of Medicine, at Louis- Robert Lawrence, who is engaged in
ville, Kentucky, and was graduated from general farming in Tippecanoe township,
the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he also devotes his attention to the
at Keokuk, Iowa, in March, 1892. He raising of Poland China hogs and Nor-
at once removed from Areola, Illinois, his man draft horses, is conducting a success-
former home, to Lowell, Henry county, ful business because he is thoroughly con-
Iowa, where he practiced until the fall of versant with the best methods of tilling
1894, when he removed to Trenton, the soil and caring for his crops and more-
where he has since resided and continues over manifests close application and unre-
in general practice. He was married De- mitting diligence in his work. He is one
cember 24, 1879, to Miss Ida E. Gray, of of the native sons of Henry county, his
Vermilion county, Illinois. She is a birth having occurred here on the 19th



of January, 1859. His father, George
Lawrence, was a native of Scotland and a
son of Robert Lawrence. In the land of
hills and heather George Lawrence was
reared and educated and, having arrived
at years of maturity, was married there to
Helen Frazier. a native of the same coun-
try. Determining to try their fortune in
the new world they sailed for the L^nited
States and took up their abode in Cleve-
land, Ohio, where they remained for two
years, the father working at the trade of
stone cutting, which he had learned in his
native land. He then came to Mount
Pleasant, which was at that time the ter-
minus of the railroad, and, securinef em-
ployment at his trade, he assisted in build-
ing the asylum for the insane in that city
and also in building the railroad bridge.
He likewise worked on the state capitol
building in Des Moines. After a compara-
tively brief residence in Mount Pleasant,
however, he removed to Tippecanoe
township, where he made his home for
many years, at first purchasing a tract of
land of forty acres, to which he afterward
added eighty acres and then another tract
of twenty acres. Here he improved a
good farm, placing the fields under a
high state of cultivation and adding mod-
ern equipments and accessories, so that
the farm became productive and valuable.
He was killed in a runaway accident in
1900 and in 1905 his widow became the
wife of Charles Murray and is still living
in this county.

Robert Lawrence of this review was
the third in order of birth in a family of
two sons and four daughters. He attend-
ed the district schools in his boyhood
davs and when not busv with his text-

books he gave his attention to farm labor,
continuing at home with his parents until
twenty-five years of age. He was then
married on the 17th of September. 1885,
to Miss Arminta INI. Smith, who was bom
in Jefferson county, July i. 1867, and is
a daughter of Marcus K. Smith, a native
of Lidiana, while her mother, who bore
the maiden name of Rachel A. White, was
born in Henry county, Iowa, her parents
being early settlers of this state. Her
cousin laid out the town of Burlington,
and the family of which she is a represen-
tative has long been closely and honorably
connected with the substantial develop-
ment of this part of the state. Her pater-
nal grandparents were Abraham and Nel-
lie (VanDoran) Smith and her maternal
grandparents were Nathaniel and ^Nlary
(Rose) White. Mrs. Lawrence is the
sixth in order of birth in a family of
twelve children, five sons and seven

Following his marriage Mr. Lawrence
rented a farm from his father, upon which
he lived for three years and then with the
mone}^ which he had managed to save
from his earnings he purchased one hun-
dred and forty acres of land in Jefferson
county, Iowa, whereon he continued to
reside for twelve years. He then sold that
property and invested in one hundred and
twenty acres of land in Tippecanoe town-
<ihip, Henry county, which came into his
possession in the spring of 1900. There
was a house and barn and other improve-
inents upon the place. He has since re-
paired the dwelling and has added modern
equipments, making this one of the best
improved and attractive farm properties
in the locality. He carries on general agri-



cultural pursuits and the fields give prom-
ise of golden harvests, for he is practical
in his methods of cultivating the cereals
best adapted to soil and climate. He also
raises Poland China hogs, having about
fifty head per year and he gives some at-
tention to the raising of Norman draft
horses and to raising and feeding cattle,
In his business affairs he is enterprising
and progressive and he owes his prosper-
ity entirely to his well directed labors
and integrity.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence
has been blessed with four children : Gor-
don E., born July 2j. 1886; Marcus Kil-
bern, born April 22, 1890; Laura ]Mildred,
January i, 1894; and Lucy Ellen, Sep-
tember 3, 1902. Li his political views
Mr. Lawrence is a stalwart republican,
keeping well informed on the questions
and issues of the day, but is without as-
piration for office. He has always been
interested in the work of public progress,
but has never sought to figure prominently
in public affairs as an officeholder. He
finds that the duties of his farm demand
his time and attention and in his capably
directed efforts he is winning the success
which is the reward of earnest and per-
sistent labor.


Charles \\^ilkins, who in his business
career, through his intense and well di-
rected activitv. has found that success is
ambition's answer, was bom in Ypsilanti,

Michigan, March 4, 1849, ^''is parents be-
ing William and Isabelle Wilkins. The
father's birth occurred in New York
state, while the mother was born in Liv-
erpool, England. Air. Wilkins served as
a soldier in the war of 1812 as a member
of a New York regiment, and during his
active business career devoted his energies
to the carpenter's trade. His death oc-
curred in Michigan in the year 1855, ^^^
his wife passed away in 1898. They were
the parents of three children, Stephen,
Augustus and Charles. On account of
the early death of the father, the sons be-
came separated and lost track of each
other. Augustus was killed on the North-
ern Pacific Railroad in 1897, at Anaconda,
Alontana, and his remains were buried
there, while his family are still residents
of that city. He left two children, a son
and a daughter. The mother of our sub-
ject was in later life a member of the Lat-
ter Day Saints' church, dying near Co-
lumbus, Kansas.

The educational privileges which were
accorded to Charles ^^'ilkins were ex-
tremely limited. He attended school,
however, as opportunity offered, and mas-
tered the elementary rules of arithmetic
and learned something of reading and
spelling. As the years have passed by,
however, reading and travel have greatly
broadened his knowledge, and he has also
learned many lessons in the school of ex-
perience. \\'hen quite young he began
farming, and followed that pursuit in
Michigan until after the outbreak of the
Civil war. In February, 1863, he enlisted
as a member of the Seventh Regiment of
Michigan CaA'ahy, and served for one
year, after which he re-enlisted and con-



tinned with the infantry until the close of
tlie war. He was only fourteen years of
age when he joined the army, and for a
year he was with Custer. After his first
return he was ill for some time, but as
soon as possible he again became a sol-
dier, although he was never in any active
battles. After his final discharge he re-
turned to Michigan, and in October, 1865,
lie came to Iowa, residing for sixteen
years in Muscatine county. Subsequently
he spent nineteen years on a farm in Au-
dubon county, Iowa, and in August, 1900,
he came to Mount Pleasant, where he
opened a bakery at No. 125 North Jeffer-
son street. Here he is engaged in the
manufacture of cakes, pies, bread, rolls,
etc., and has a large and growing busi-
ness, selling to both the wholesale and re-
tail trade. From the beginning the en-
terprise has proved profitable, and Mr.
^^'ilkins is now proprietor of one of the
substantial productive industries of the

On the 9th of June, 1866, occurred
the marriage of Charles \Mlkins and Miss
Sarah Ann Hastings, who was born Oc-
tober 2, 1848, in Sandusky, Ohio, a
daughter of Joel Hastings, the mother
dying at the birth of her daughter. Both
Mr. and Mrs. Hastings were natives of
Ohio, and passed away in that state. The
father was a farmer by occupation. In
the family were five children, all of whom
have passed away, with the exception of
Mrs. \\'ilkins. By her marriage she has
become the mother of nine children : \\\\-
liam. born in Aluscatine. Iowa, July 29,
1867. married Clara Reamer. They re-
side in Missouri, and have one child,
Myrle. Ida Belle, born December 9, 1869.

married William Partlow, and is living
in Menlo, Iowa. She has nine children,
Beryl, Otis, Vernie, Bonnie, Glenn, Gol-
die, Harold, Virgie and Forest. James
A., born January 12, 1871, of \\'interset,
Iowa, married Rhode Stewart and has
three children, Dollie, Charles and Bessie.
Lottie May, born February 19, 1873, rna-r-
Samuel Erhart, a resident of Mount
Pleasant and has one son, Jesse Earl. Har-
riet M., born October 29, 1876, is the wife
of Henry Hale, of Omaha, Nebraska, and
has one child, Lowene. Frederick C, born
December 21, 1878, living in Los Angeles,
California, married ]\Iiss Grace Keith and
has two children, Paul and Geraldine.
Jesse, born September 17, 1884, Bertha
M., February 5, 1887, and Lola Ann, Jan-
uary 18, 1890, are at home with their par-
ents and the last named is a student in the
high school. In addition to rearing their
own family they adopted, in 1905, a child
from the Orphan's Home, in Des Moines,
named Olivene.

j\lr. W'ilkins is a republican in his po-
litical views and fraternally is connected
with the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows and the Grand Army of the Republic,
while both he and his wife are members of
the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr.

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 82 of 85)