new stone chapel ; this care being in addition to his
usual work. While he has received tempting offers
from other fields, he has given his time faithfully
and exclusively to the service of the college and the
church; Cornell having made grand progress under
In 1876 President King was a delegate to the last
general conference of the Methodist Episcopal
church, the highest legislative body of that denomi-
nation. He has been a. member of the church since
ten years of age.
In politics, he is a republican, but does not think
it consistent with his relations to the college to ac-
In August, 1865, he was married to Miss Maggie
McKell, eldest daughter of William McKell, Esq.,
of Chillicothe, Ohio, and they have one child. Mrs.
King is a woman of high culture, graceful manners
and generous heart. Mrs. King is an own cousin of
the wife of President Hayes, and possesses many of
that exalted woman's admirable qualities.
President King is a vigorous and graceful writer,
and a forcible and attractive speaker ; and one who
knows him well assures the writer of this sketch that
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" his urbanity, his liberal culture, his executive abil-
ity and his energy, coupled with great prudence and
deep insight into character, have conspired to make
his administration ofCornell College one of the most
successful in the west."
To the sketch of President King we add a brief
history of Cornell College, which is one of the oldest
and best institutions of learning in the state. Its
founding and early growth are largely due to Rev.
George B. Bowman, through whose influence the
Iowa Conference Seminary was located at Mount
Vernon, in 1851. It was opened in November, 1853 ;
Rev. S. M. Fellows, A.M., principal.
In 1857 a college organization was consummated, and the
name of Cornell College was given it in honor of W. W.
Cornell, Esq., its generous benefactor, of New York city.
Its first president was Rev. R. W. Keeler, D.D., who was
succeeded in i860 by Rev. S. M. Fellows, A.M. Since his
death, in 1S63, it has been under the presidency of Dr. King.
The ladies' hall was completed in 1853, and was used for
general schoo Jpurposes until the main building was erected,
in 1S57. Five years later the gentlemen's hall was built, all
being plain brick buildings, well suited for college uses.
Under the pressing demand for more room, a stately
stone building, for chapel, library and museum purposes, has
recently been erected, as already intimated. It is one of
the most solid, useful and attractive educational buildings
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in the west. This fine array of buildings is well fitted up
with appliances for instruction. The new and tasteful
chapel will seat twelve hundred persons. Six literary so-
cieties have neat halls for their weekly use. The library is
large; the museum has a valuable collection, and the new-
laboratory is well stocked with material for its uses.
The location of the college, on the Chicago and North-
western railway, is unsurpassed in beauty in the state, the
sight being high and healthy, and taking in a grand sweep
of country. It was a neat compliment to the school itself,
made by Bishop Haven, when he said that "the college is
worthy of its seat." An annual attendance of aboui five
hundred students, male and female, indicates its popularity.
Twenty classes have been graduated, with an aggregate of
one hundred and seventy-three alumni, of whom fifty-nine
are women and one hundred and fourteen men. The alumni
have already given fourteen thousand dollars toward the
endowment of their chair. The late Bishop Hamline and
the Hon. Dennis N. Cooley have each endowed a chair,
and other friends are progressing in the same direction.
The assets at this date (March, 1878,) are, endowment, sev-
enty thousand dollars; buildings and ground, ninety thou-
sand dollars; library, museum and apparatus, ten thousand
dollars; total, one hundred and seventy thousand dollars.
The college has a scientific and an engineering, as well
as classical, course. The last four years the general govern-
ment has furnished the college a West Point army officer,
to serve as professor of military science; and has also fur-
nished arms and equipments. Students are organized for
drill, instruction and exercise, and they have better health,
and a greatly improved physical bearing. Much attention
is also paid to the physical training of the ladies. The in-
stitution has a remaitably pure record ; its affairs are man-
aged with striking success; there is perfect harmony be-
tween the faculty and trustees, and what is truly remarkable,
" no rumor even of unfaithfulness or folly in the manage-
ment of its funds stains the pages of its history."
The high moral and literary tone of this institution, and
its successful management, are alike flattering to its presi-
dent and all his associates. •
HON. EPENETUS H. SEARS,
EPENETUS HOW SEARS, one of the early
district judges in southwestern Iowa, and a
prominent man in this part of the state for a quarter
of a century, was born in the town of Ballston, Sara-
toga county, New York, on the 3d of May, 1816, his
parents being Alexander and Mary (How) Sears.
He descends from the New England Searses, who
early settled in northeastern New York. Both of
his grandfathers were in the revolutionary war, and
his paternal grandsire was wounded in one of the
battles. His maternal grandsire died in Saratoga
county when past ninety years of age.
Alexander Sears was in the northern array in
1812-14, when it was operating at Plattsburgh and
in that vicinity. He died when our subject was
only twelve years old. His wife lived until in her
Epenetus received an academic education at Gal-
loway, in his native county, and at Amsterdam,
Montgomery county, teaching occasionally to meet
pecuniary obligations, he being dependent entirely
on his own resources. About this period his health
failed, and he spent nearly a year in New Orleans
in order to improve it. The next year he was a
clerk for the builders of the Croton water-works.
Going to Chautauqua county, in the western part
of the state, in 1844, he located at Sinclairville, and
for two or three years alternated between reading
law and teaching school, being admitted to practice
in the court of common pleas at Mayville, the county
seat, in 1845. A little later he was reexamined and
admitted to practice in the supreme court and court
Mr. Sears commenced practice at Sinclairville,
and with the exception of a few months spent at
Franklinville, in Cattaraugus county, he remained
there until 1853, when he removed to Sidney, Iowa.
At that time the village did not contain more than
two hundred inhabitants. Here he continued in the
practice of his profession until January, 1855, when,
by commission of Governor Grimes, he went on the
bench of the old fifth judicial district to fill a va-
cancy caused by the resignation of Judge A. A.
Bradford, who has since been a congressman from
Colorado. Governor Grimes was a whig and Mr.
Sears was then a democrat, the governor giving as
his reason for making the appointment a desire to
secure the fittest man in the district. At that time
the district embraced twelve counties in the south-
western part of the state. It was long before any
railroads made their appearance, and when the pub-
lic roads were very poor, and it was often a tedious,
and sometimes, when streams were swollen, a peril-
ous task to get to and from a county seat. At the
May election held in 1855, Judge Sears was elected
to the same office by the people ; was reelected at
the end of four years, and served in all nearly nine
years, making a popular and eminently trustworthy
While he was on the bench Governor Kirkwood
appointed him one of his aides, with title of lieuten-
ant-colonel, and he had charge of the southwestern
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military division of the state, holding that position
until the governor went out of office.
Early in 1865 he received the appointment from
President Lincoln of direct tax commissioner for
the State of North Carolina, and performed the du-
ties of that office from May of that year until De-
cember, 1866. This was one of the latest appoint-
ments made before Mr. Lincoln was assassinated.
While in North Carolina Judge Sears had an attack
of hemorrhage of the lungs, and has not been very
healthy since that time. He does a little law prac-
tice, such as his strength will permit, but, having a
competency, so far as regards work, he is " taking
the world easy."
Judge Sears was a democrat until 1857, though he
was strongly opposed to the repeal of the Missouri
compromise, and voted for Mr. Buchanan in 1856
under protest. For the last twenty years he has
acted heartily with the republican party. In 1868
he was a delegate to the national convention which
nominated General Grant.
He is a mem.ber of the Presbyterian church, a
ruling elder of the same, and for the last seven years
has been the superintendent of the Sunday school.
He represented the presbytery in the general assem-
bly at Philadelphia in 1870, and at Detroit in 1872,
and is a wise counselor in an ecclesiastical body.
His wife was Miss Julia A. Allen, of Sinclairville,
New York, chosen on the 5th of October, 1848.
They have one child, an adopted daughter, Adelaide,
the wife of Jeremiah Mosser, artist, of Sidney.
In the " History of Fremont County," written by
L. Lingenfelter, Esq., an attorney of Sidney, he thus
speaks of Judge Sears when on the bench :
When upon the bench he presided with dignity, and
commanded the respect of every member of the bar, every
officer of the court, every witness and juror who attended
its sessions, as well as every spectator. He was ever in his
place to execute justice upon the guilty, or to protect the
rights and the liberties of the poor man when innocently
charged with an offense. I recollect of a very exciting time
in his court in this county in 1859. In 1857 the new con-
stitution of Iowa provided that a negro might testify the
same as another person in all courts of judicature, federal
or state. Under its provisions, and the statute made there-
under, it happened at the September term of the district
court for 1859 there were three free blacks, to wit: Green
Garner, Henry Garner and Thomas Reed, subpoenaed, and
were in attendance to testify in a certain case against some
parties who were wealthy, respectable and influential.
When the case came on for trial the court-house was
crowded with men full of excitement, who were intent
upon an interruption should these witnesses be put upon
the stand. Threats were audibly made against the law-
yers, the parties interested, the witnesses, the officers of the
court, and even against the court itself, should they attempt
to testify. But Judge Sears quailed not; he was firm, fear-
less and unmoved. He called upon the sheriff to bid the
spectators be seated and be quiet, stating they should have
a good opportunity to hear all the evidence; "that what was
now- transpiring was something new, to be sure, but it was
now the law, and he hoped no man who loved the enforce-
ment of the law would see it violated. This had a good
effect. The witnesses were sworn, testified, subjected to a
cross examination, and then retired without molestation,
and no one else injured or insulted.
REV. JESSE W. DENISON,
TESSE WOOD DENISON, the founder of the
J town of that name, the seat of justice of Craw-
ford county, Iowa, was born in the township of Berne,
Albany county, New York, on the 9th of April, 1818.
His parents were Thomas and Polly Crary Denison.
The Denisons are of English descent; the Crarys
are an old Connecticut family, of whose history far-
ther back we have no knowledge.
The subject of this sketch passed his early life on
his father's farm ; at eighteen he commenced his
academic studies at Schoharie Court House; entered
the junior class of Union College, Schenectady, in
1842, and graduated in 1844. He studied theology
in New York city and Covington, Kentucky ; grad-
uated in 1846, and was pastor, successively, of the
Baptist churches in Upper Alton, Rock Island and
Brimfield, all in Illinois.
In 1856 Mr. Denison located in Crawford county,
becoming at the same time agent of the Providence
Western Land Company, which he organized, and
which embraced about thirty stockholders. He en-
tered about twenty-one thousand acres of wild land
in Crawford county, three thousand in Harrison, and
one thousand each in Shelby and Pottawattamie
For twenty years real estate was his main business,
yet he found time for a great deal of other work —
looking after public schools, establishing Sunday
schools and churches, in which he always evinced
the greatest interest. He organized the Baptist
church of Denison during the first year of his resi-
dence in the county, and was its pastor until 1863.
After leaving the pastorate Mr. Denison engaged
in the grain and lumber trade, and bought and
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shipped poultry; at the same time he was also busily
occupied in his land operations. Always ready to
encourage manufactures, and thus aid in building up
the town, he became interested in the manufacture
of concrete brick, and only two or three years ago
started a soap factory, which he is still managing
and carrying on with success.
In the autumn of 1859 Mr. Denison was elected
to the lower house of the general assembly, and
served in the regular session of i860 and the extra
session of 1861. He has held various local offices,
discharging his duties with the utmost faithfulness.
In public spirit and enterprise he is a leader.
Mr. Denison has had two wives, the first being
Miss Mary W. Briggs, daughter of Professor A.
Briggs, formerly of Waterville College, Maine. She
died on the 27th of December, 1855, leaving two
daughters, both now married. Mary L. is the wife
of Thomas Hooker, of Dallas county, Iowa, and
Julia P. is the wife of Rev. A. M. Duboc, of Livonia
Station, Livingston county. New York. Mr. Deni-
son's present wife was Miss Eliza B. Lewis, of Provi-
dence, Rhode Island, a cousin of his first wife; mar-
ried on the 3d of August, 1859, She has had three
children, two of them, Willie S., aged sixteen, and
Maria Louisa, aged eleven, still living.
As one of the town builders of Iowa, Mr. Deni-
son has done a noble work, and his name will be
remembered gratefully and long 'after he has closed
his labors and gone to his rest.
HENRY OSBORNE, M.D.,
ONE of the oldest medical practitioners in west-
ern Iowa, and one of the most eminent sur-
geons, is Henry Osborne, who has been a resident
of the state since 1852. He is a native of Morgan
county, Ohio, and was born near McConnellsville, on
the 29th of January, 1830, his parents being Thomas
A. and Lorena Beckwith Osborne. His maternal
grandfather belonged to the engineer department in
the revolutionary war.
Henry was on a farm in his native county until
seventeen years of age ; commenced to teach a win-
ter school at eighteen, and a year or two later began
the study of medicine. In 1852 he came to Wapello
county, Iowa, took up wild lands, improved them for
two or three years, and in 1855 resumed his medical
studies, reading with Dr. E. C. Atkinson, of Dover,
Lee county. He attended lectures at Keokuk ; grad-
uated in February, 1857 ; practiced with his precep-
tor at Dover and at Pilot Grove, in the same county,
five years, and in the autumn of 1862 went into the
service as contract surgeon, first at Keokuk and then
at Saint Louis; served in that capacity until January,
1863, when he was commissioned surgeon of the 3d
Missouri Infantry Volunteers ; was with that regi-
ment until the close of the siege of Vicksburg, and
during that siege had charge of Colonel Woods'
brigade hospital. At its close, by especial order of
the department of Adjutant-General L. Thomas, Dr.
Osborne was ordered to report to Colonel I. F. Shep-
ard, acting brigadier-general in charge of the organ-
izing of colored regiments at Milliken's Bend, and
other points in western Louisiana, the doctor to act
as ranking surgeon of that command. He was in
and around Vicksburg, in the capacity here men-
tioned, nearly two years.
In the spring of 1865 he went to New Orleans
with the command of General John P. Hawkins,
and in a very short time joined General Fred. Steele,
who commanded a column which operated against
Mobile, marching from Pensacola Bay across the
country to Fort Blakeley, on the east of Mobile Bay.
There Dr. Osborne was chief of one of the oper-
ating corps during that siege. At its close he joined
General Hawkins' troops, and went up to Cahaba,
Selma and Montgomery, remaining there about two
months ; then returned to New Orleans and, at the
end of one month, joined the command of General
A. J. Smith, at Alexandria, Louisiana, the doctor be-
ing at this time in company with General A.Watson
Webber, as his chief medical officer. He remained
in the vicinity of Alexandria until June, 1866, when
he was ordered to Baton Rouge to be mustered out
witli other officers. Few surgeons left the army with
a better record, the doctor being very vigilant as
well as skillful in the discharge of his duties.
After spending a few months in visiting friends in
Ohio and eastern Iowa, Dr. Osborne located at Coun-
cil Bluffs, where he is still practicing. His long ex-
perience and his high reputation as a surgeon call
him over a wide range of territory, and make his
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practice all that one man could desire. He is an
eminent success in his profession.
Dr. Osborne is a republican, but will accept no
office. He is a Master Mason.
His wife was Miss Rhoda M. Arnold, of Dover,
Iowa. They were married on the 19th of Septem-
ber, r86o, and have had three children, losing their
first-born. Mrs. Osborne has good patriotic and
fighting blood in her veins. Her great-grandfather
on both sides fought in the first war with the mother
country; both grandfathers in the second, and four
brothers in the late civil war, one of those brothers
losing his life after battling more than three years to
save the Union.
HON. STEPHEN L. DOWS,
^'^HE Dows family, from which Stephen Leland
Dows descended, originally spelled the name
Dowse. They were among the early settlers in Mas-
sachusetts, coming from England only a few years
after the Plymouth colony arrived. They located near
Boston. The great-grandfather of Stephen L. resid-
ed in Charleston at the outbreak of the revolution,
and at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill his prop-
erty was destroyed. He was one of the brave men
who aided in gaining our independence. Thomas
Dows, the eccentric and celebrated bibliopolist, of
Cambridgeport, was a great-uncle of Stephen. He
was a self-made man, largely self-educated, and col-
lected one of the largest private libraries in the United
States, giving it, at his demise, to the Massachu-
setts Historical Society. According to the condi-
tions of the gift, this library is kept in a fire-proof
building, and no book is allowed to go out of the
building. He left property set aside especially for
the endowment of the Dows course of lectures, which
is given annually at Cambridge, the best talent in the
country being employed for that course. In the town
of Sherborn he caused a town hall to be erected
at his expense, on which he placed an astronomical
The paternal grandmother of Stephen L. was a
Leland, a family equally as distinguished as the Dows
family. The pedigree of the family is traced back
distinctly to John Leland, born in London, England,
in 1512, an accomplished scholar flourishing during
the reign of Henry VIII. Among his descendants
in the old world were Rev. Drs. John and Thomas
Leland, eminent authors of the eighteenth century.
Henry Leland, the progenitor of all who bear the
name except by adoption, in this country, is supposed
to have emigrated to the United States about 1652,
and settled in what afterward became the town of
Sherborn, Massachusetts. His children, who lived
to grow up, were Experience, Hope Still, Ebenezer,
and Eleazer, from whom has sprung a numerous fam-
ily, many members of which are quite distinguished,
as American biographical history shows. All left
issue but Eleazer. Among the prominent men in this
family was " Elder " John Leland, many years a res-
ident of Cheshire, Massachusetts. He lived a short
time in Virginia, and in 1789, in a Baptist general
conference, he boldly denounced slavery as a " vio-
lent deprivation of the rights of nature." The prom-
inent professional men and eminent scholars of this
name are numbered by the hundred. There are elev-
en generations of the Leland family in this country.
Stephen Leland Dows was born in New York city,
on the 9th of October, 1832, his parents being Adam
Dows, a merchant in early life, and Maria Lundy, a
daughter of Captain Lundy, of New York city. His
grandfather, James Dows, was a soldier in the war of
1812-15, and was killed while on picket duty.
At fourteen years of age the subject of this sketch
went into a machine shop at Troy, New York, in which
city his parents then lived. At the end of two years
he left the city of Troy, and started westward with a
cash capital of seven dollars and fifty cents, and a pass
to Buffalo on a line boat. He landed in Milwaukee
with seventy-five cents in his pocket ; after a little de-
lay proceeded to Green Bay, where he spent one year
in lumbering; then went to Lake Superior, and was
one of the first winterers in the then new town of
Marquette ; worked there in the first machine shop
built, and run the first engine ever started there ; at
the end of two years, returned to Green Bay, acting
as engineer until the spring of 1853, when he went to
Muskegon, Michigan, and superintended a lumbering
In 1855 the health of Mr. Dows failed, and he came
to Cedar Rapids and became engineer and superin-
tendent of the Variety Manufacturing Works. In
THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONART.
company with other men connected with these works,
in i860 he conveyed a quartz mill to Gold Hill, in
the Rocky movmtains, and'with two young men re-
turned overland the next winter, driving a pair of
mules from Denver to Omaha in seventeen days, and
having on one occasion a narrow escape from Indians,
being saved from robbery, and perhaps murder, by
the coolness and self-possession of Mr. Dows.
After superintending the Variety Works another
season, in August, 1862, he went into the army as first
lieutenant company I, 20th regiment Iowa Volunteer
Infantry; in a short time was promoted to acting
brigade quartermaster of the first brigade, second
division, army of the frontier; from exposure and
overwork became disabled, and was obliged to leave
the service in one year.
Since 1863 Mr. Dows has been engaged in public
works and manufactories. He has been an extensive
and successful railroad contractor; started, and.is run-
ning, in connection with Mr. J. H. Shaver, an exten-
sive cracker factory in Cedar Rapids, and built with
Dr. J. E. Ely, the Dows and Ely block, better known
as the post-office block, at the corner of Washington
and Eagle streets, this being one of the finest build-
ings in the city. Mr. Dows has other property in the
city and outside of it ; is a great encourager of man-
ufacturing and other industries tending to advance
the interests of Cedar Rapids, and has done a good
work toward building up a city second in enterprise
to no other in the interior of Iowa.
In 187 s Mr. Dows was elected state senator to rep-
resent Linn county, and in the sessions of the gen-
eral assembly held in 1876 and 1878 he was chairman
of the committee on public buildings, and on four
or five other committees — railroads, manufactories.
appropriations, and penitentiary. In 1878 he was
chairman of the committee appointed to visit the
penitentiary at Fort Madison. His practical turn of
mind, his solid good sense, his sound judgment and
great industry make him a valuable legislator. On
matters pertaining to the mechanic arts he is regarded
as the Nestor of the upper house. His senatorial
term will expire in December, 1879. He has always
been a republican.
Mr. Dows is a member of the Second Presbyterian
Church in Cedar Rapids, and an elder of the same.