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The United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume online

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It was generally supposed at this time that Crom-
well, sixteen miles from Afton, was to be made the
division station of the Burlington and Missouri Riv-
er railway, and Dr. Beebe also built a house and es-
tablished a drug store at this point ; but Cromwell
was not made a division station, and the doctor con-
fined his enterprises entirely to Afton, where he now
built a fine building twenty by eighty feet, and twto
stories high, which he fitted up as the leading drug
store of the town, which position, it holds to the
present day.

Dr. Beebe was among the first to enlist as a private
on the call for three months' troops by the governor
at the outbreak of the southern rebellion, but he was
soon detached from the ranks and placed upon the
medical staff.

Dr. Beebe has always taken a lively interest in
agricultural matters and in the general improvement
of stock. For seventeen years he has held office
from secretary to president in such societies.. The
doctor has also given considerable attention to rail-
way matters.

At a meeting of the stockholders of the Des
Moines, Afton and Missouri railroad, held in Febru-
ary, 1877, Dr. Beebe was unanimously chosen presi-
dent of the road, a very proper choice, as the doc-



tor has spent much of his time for the past year in
raising stock for the road, and in looking after the
general survey.

In May, 1875, the doctor determined upon the in-
stitution of a national bank at Afton, and by con-
stant and vigorous efforts succeeded in getting the
capital stock subscribed.

In January, 1876, he was elected its president,
and was reelected the succeeding year. He has
been often elected to the city council, and has ever
been very active in the cause of popular education.

In the summer of 1877 a company was organized
, to build the Saint Louis and Northwestern railway,
to connect with the Chillicothe and Brunswick rail-
way, to run to Storm Lake, in Iowa. From Saint
Louis to Storm Lake is a distance of six hundred
miles, two hundred and eighty-five miles are still to
be built to complete all the connections. In this

road the doctor has five thousand dollars' worth of
stock. Unsolicited by him the directors of this
road have also elected him president.

Dr. Beebe was originally a whig in politics, then a
republican. Voted for General Grant, but subse-
quently voted for Horace Greeley, and is now a
pronounced conservative, holding the individual
merits of a nominee to be above the dogmatic creed
of any party:

He has always been a confirmed Methodist in his
religious views, and is an active member of that or-

It is to such men as Dr. Beebe that the great north-
west is indebted for the giant strides it has made in
developing its great natural resources. To a very
active mind he adds great probity of character and
a persistent will, and great energy in successful work-
ing out everything he undertakes.



THE subject of this sketch, a native of Greene
county, New York, was born on the 25th of
December, 1829, the son of John Gue and Catherine
nee Gurney. His paternal grandfather was named
David Gue, while his maternal grandparents were
Benjamin and Martha (Bedell) Gurney, of Greene
county. New York. During the time of the French
revolution his grandfather became a refugee from
France, and, immigrating to America, settled in West-
chester county, near the city of New York. His
parents were both Quakers in their religious belief
and persons of wide influence in their community.
Lovers of liberty, they became pronounced aboli-
tionists, and in the days of the underground railroad
their house was used as one of the stations. The
first paper our subject ever saw in his home was
William Lloyd Garrison's " Liberator," the first anti-
slavery paper that was published. When Benjamin
was four years old his parents moved to Ontario
county, New York, a place noted as the yearly meet-
ing place of the Quakers of western New York, Can-
ada and Michigan. Here our subject received his
first education in the district school, and his father
dying when he was ten years old left him the eldest
of six children. By the aid of her children and the
practice of rigid economy tlie mother kept her family
together and gave them an education,

In the fall of 185 r, being then twenty-two years of
age, our subject returned to his native place and en-
gaged in school teaching. Prompted by a desire to
see the then growing west, he, early in the spring of
1852, in company with his younger brother, Joseph
H. Gue, went to Iowa, arriving at Davenport, in
Scott county, after a tiresome journey of three weeks.
Going to the northern part of Scott county, to a place
now known as Big Rock, they entered one hundred
and sixty acres of prairie land and forty of timber ;
they also purchased a team and farming utensils, and
began to cultivate their land, living in a log house,
and for a year and a half keeping "bachelor's hall."
At the end of that time their mother, having pre-
viously sold her farm in the east, removed to the
west with her family and kept house for them.

Early becoming identified with the public inter-
ests of his adopted state, Mr. Gue became known as
an influential man of the people, and in the fall of
1857 was elected on the republican ticket to the
state legislature, it being the first session held after
the state capital was moved from Iowa City to Des
Moines. During that session he became one of the
authors of the bill providing for the establishment of
a state agricultural college.

In the legislature he was known as a leading and
working member, and so commended himself to his

TtiE utfiTED ST ATMS Biographical dictionart.


constituents that he was reelected in 1859. In the
fall of 1 86 1 he was elected to the state senate for a
term of four years. During his term he introduced
the bill prohibiting the circulation of foreign bank
bills, also the bill regulating jury fees, a regulation
which resulted in a saving to the state of about sixty
thousand dollars annually. He was also one of the
authors of the bill providing for the leasing of the
land granted to the Agricultural College, by which
the college realizes more than thirty thousand dol-
lars annually.

Removing to Fort Dodge before the close of his
term of office, he purchased the Fort Dodge " Re-
publican," and became its editor.

In the fall of 1865 he was elected lieutenant-gov-
ernor of Iowa, and ex-officio became president of the
senate of 1866. During that session he was elected
one of the trustees of the Agricultural College, and
served in that capacity four years during the con-
struction of the building and the organization of the
school, being president of the board and chairman
of the executive committee and committee on organ-

Changing the name of his paper to the " Iowa
Northwest," he continued its publication for a pe-
riod of eight years.

In the summer of 1872 he removed to Des Moines

and purchased an interest in the " Iowa Homestead,"
and became chief editor of the same. Continuing to
serve in this capacity until the following December,
he was at that time appointed United States pension
agent, a position in which he still serves (1878), giv-
ing universal satisfaction.

In his religious belief Mr. Gue entertains liberal
humanitarian views, and is identified with the Uni-
versalist church.

He was married in November, 1855, to Miss Eliz-
abeth R. Parker, daughter of Francis Parker, Esq.,
who was afterward killed by Mexicans in Arizona.
Of the five children who have been born to them,
four are now living. Horace Greeley Gue, born on
the 17th of May, 1857, was educated at the Iowa
Agricultural College, and is now proprietor of a drug
store at Decatur, Illinois; Alice I^. Gue was born on
the nth of July, .i860; Gurney Chapline Gue was
born on the 30th of October, 1862 ; the next, Birdie,
died in infancy ; the youngest, Moinie, was born on
the loth of April, 1872.

Such is a brief outline of the life history of one
who, by his own power, has risen from comparative
obscurity to a position of honor and influence. He
is, indeed, the "architect of his own fortune," and
his life furnishes a most worthy example of what
may be attained by constant, persistent, honest effort.



J of the first judicial circuit, was born in Labanon,
Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, on the 7th of April,
1823. His parents were Joseph Drayer, watchma-
ker, and Henrietta Breitenbach, both of whom were
of German pedigree, the families being among the
early emigrants from the old world to Pennsylvania.
The grandfather of John B. spelled his name Dreher,
Joseph changing the orthography but retaining the
German pronunciation.

The family removed to Hamilton, Ohio, when the
subject of this notice was ten years old, and there
he learned the trade of his father, working at it until
in his nineteenth year, with no literary education ex-
cept what he obtained in a common and high school.
At the age just mentioned he commenced reading
law with Hon. John Woods, since a member of con-
gress from Ohio, and was admitted to practice in

April, 1844, when just twenty-one years old. He
practiced at Hamilton about eight years, then at
Eaton, Preble county, until March, 1858, when he
removed to Mount Pleasant.

In 1862 Dr. Drayer entered the service as captain
company H, 30th Iowa Infantry, and after seven
months was obliged to resign through ill health.

He was elected county judge in 1863, and served
from January, 1864, to January, 1869, when he went
on the bench. He has been reelected twice, the
last time without opposition, and his third term will
not expire until the 31st of December, 1879. As a
jurist, he is scrupulously conscientious and pains-
taking, studying each case with the utmost diligence ;
and his decisions are rarely reversed. As a probate
judge, it is doubtful if he has a superior in the state.
In all the relations of life he has shown himself to
be a man of the strictest integrity.



Judge Drayer has been a member of the Meth-
odist Episcopal church since 1846, and at one period
of his life, since locating in Iowa, he preached for two
years, resigning a pastorate in the Brookville circuit
to go into the army. His christian record, as well
as the ermine which he has worn so long, is un-

The judge was originally a whig, and on the de-
mise of that party promptly, and with hearty sym-
pathy, cast in his fortunes with the noble party of
freedom. Before becoming judge he was quite an
active politician. He has lost none of his attach-
ment to the principles of the republican party, but
in his official position his innate sense of propriety
deters him from active partisanship.

He has taken the second degree in Odd-Fellow-

Judge Drayer has a third wife. His first. Miss
Mary M. Withrow, of Butler county, Ohio ; married

on the sth of January, 1847, died on the 22d of July,
1852, leaving two children, both of them since dy-
ing. His second wife, Miss Mary J. McCabe, of
Eaton, Ohio; married on the 21st of February, 1854,
had one child, and died on the 13th of October,
187 1. His present wife was Miss Amanda Baird, of
Butler county, Ohio; married on the 24th of Decem-
ber, 1872. She has one child.- Of the two children
by his first wife, a son, Samuel J., died at six years
of age; the other. Marietta, was the wife of Dr.
George W. Curfman, of Fairfield, Iowa, dying on the
9 th of March, 1873. The child by his second wife,
Anna, is the wife of William R. Sullivan, secretary of
a scale company. Mount Pleasant.

Judge Drayer had a hard struggle in early life, but
overcame all obstacles and pushed manfully forward
until he reached his present position. Should his
life be prolonged, he has more history, equally hon-
orable, to make.



THE Mott family, of which Frederick Mott is a
descendant, was French, and the name was
originally De La Mott. The progenitor of the fam-
ily in this country was among the early settlers on
Long Island. The subject of this sketch is a native
of Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, and was born
in Montrose on the 14th of January, 1828. His fatlier,
Merritt Mott, was a woolen manufacturer and farmer,
and a deacon of the Baptist church more than fifty
years, dying at Montrose, Pennsylvania, in 1876,
when over eighty years of age. The maiden name
of Frederick's mother was Caroline Tupper, a noble
christian woman, who died in 1864. During part of
his youth the son labored with his father in a woolen
factory in his native state. At seventeen he entered
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; was
graduated in 185 r, and for three years was at the
head of the Derby (Vermont) Academy, reading law
at the same time. In 1854 he came as far west as
Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where he had charge of the
union school two years, and then pushed westward,
locating in Winterset.

Mr. Mott had been admitted to the bar in Ver-
mont, and on settling at the seat of justice of Mad-
ison county, immediately commenced practice, pur-
suing it unremittingly until after the south had risen I

in arms to destroy the Union. In September, 1862,
he entered the army ; was made adjutant of the 39th
Iowa Infantry in the spring of 1863; was commis-
sioned by President Lincoln as assistant adjutant-
general in 1864, and assigned to duty with the third
brigade, fourth division, fifteenth army corps, serv-
ing in that position until the close of the war.

Returningto Winterset in August, 1865, he resumed
the practice of law ;■ applied himself with diligence
to legal studies, and rose so rapidly at the bar that in
the autumn of 1868 he was elected judge of the fifth
judicial district, serving the full term of four years.
The qualifications of Judge Mott for the bench may
be inferred from the tenor of the resolutions passed
by the Guthrie county bar, on his retiring, one of
them reading as follows :

Resolved, That we recognize and appreciate the marked
ability, impartiahty and courtesy with which he has at all
times presided over the circuit court of Guthrie county, and
congratulate him on the extraordinary success which has
attended his judicial labors. The fact that of four hundred
and sixty-two cases determined in his court in Guthrie coun-
ty during his term of office, not a single one has been ap-
pealed, indicates an approbation of his decisions on the part
of the litigants in this court, as exceptional and rare as it
must be gratifying to the judge.

The bar of the several counties in the district
passed resolutions of a similar tone, all commending



the judge for his noble traits of character, and espe-
cially for his qualifications as a jurist.

At the annual meeting of the Iowa Baptist state
convention, held in Des Moines in 1870, Judge Mott
was elected its president, and the same compliment
was paid him at the next three annual meetings of
that body. In 1873 the regents of the State Uni-
versity elected him to the professorship of pleadings
and practice in the law department of that institution,
a position which he filled for two years, and then,
under the pressure of enthusiasm created by the Bap-
tist denomination in favor of their higher schools of
education, in connection with the centennial year of
the nation, he accepted the presidency of the Uni-
versity of Des Moines. That position he held until
the close of the centennial year, when, owing to the
condition of his health, he resigned, and, returning to
his old home, resumed law practice and banking. In
1867-68 he was cashier of the National Bank of Win-
terset, and that position he again holds.

During the connection of Judge Mott with the
University of Des Moines, the college building was
finished ; rooms for the societies and library were
provided ; the library was started, and about twenty
thousand dollars were added to the endowment.

Judge Mott early embraced the tenets of the whig
party ; cast his first vote for General Scott for the
Presidency in 1852, and since the dissolution of that
party has acted with the republicans. He is a can-
did, sincere and conscientious man, cherishing his
political and religious sentiments with equal honesty
of purpose.

The judge has a second wife. His first was Miss
Emma E. Dean, of Grayton, Vermont ; married in
1856. She died in August, 1868. His present wife
was Miss Mary J. Best, a native of Morrow county,
Ohio; married in July, 1861 ; they have three chil-

An old neighbor of Judge Mott, and an associate
of his at the bar, thus speaks of him as a man, and
a lawyer and jurist :

He is pleasant in his manner, kind-hearted and charita-
ble, ever ready with a kind word when a kind word will do
good. He is an earnest christian worker, public-spirited,
and an invaluable citizen. As captain and assistant adjutant-
general in the army, he was prompt, courteous, efficient and

As a judge, he was pleasant in his treatment of the bar
and litigants, ever jealous to see that fair play and justice
were accorded to all. He was a close student, keeping up
with the adjudications with higher courts, and so correct
that few of his rulings were ever reversed by the supreme
court of the state. He could have received a renomination
for judge had he expressed a desire for it, but he declined.



cuit judge of the thirteenth judicial district,
is a son of Rev. James M. Stockton, a Cumberland
Presbyterian minister, and Susan E. Kirkpatrick ;
and was born in Adams county, Illinois, on the i6th
of August, 1834. This branch of the Stocktons
sprung from the old New Jersey family. Samuel
Stockton, the grandfather of Thomas, was a soldier
in 181 2-1815, ^"d lived in Tennessee. Samuel Kirk-
patrick, his maternal grandsire, came from Georgia
to Illinois, bringing his slaves with him and freeing
them. He aided as a member of the constitutional
convention of Illinois, to form the first constitution
of that state. Rev. James M. Stockton left Tennes-
see because of his hatred of the system of human

Thomas spent the first nineteen years of his life in
his native state, having only a common-school educa-
tion. His father was a country minister, and always
owned a farm, on which the son was reared. In

1853 the family removed to Taylor county, Iowa,
where Thomas aided in opening a farm, working
very hard and giving the little leisure time which
he could command to the study of certain English
branches. When about twenty years old he taught
a winter school, and continued to teach at intervals
for five or six years. He commenced reading law
at Clarinda, Page county, while teaching in 1859,
and was admitted to the bar at Frankfort, then the
seat of justice of Montgomery county, on the i6th of
May, 1861, and practiced in Clarinda for five years,
occupying diflerent positions during this period. He
edited the Page county " Herald " for about fifteen
months, commencing in September, 1862, while the
proprietor. Major C. B. Shoemaker, was in the army ;
was deputy provost-marshal between one and two
years after leaving the editorial chair, and was judge
of Page county from January, 1864, to January, 1866.
Mr. Stockton regards his brief experience as a jour-
nalist as one of the most important epochs in his



life, it furnishing him a good opportunity for mental

In May, 1866, Mr. Stockton moved to Sidney, and
here practiced steadily until January, 1873, when he
went on the bench, as already indicated, serving four
years. During the greater part of this time, for con-
venience, he resided in Council Bluffs, returning to
Fremont county on leaving the bench. He made a
conscientious and impartial judge. The judge spent
the summer and autumn of 1877 in the Black Hills,

practicing law and speculating in the mines. He is
a close student, and has a good standing at the bar
in his district.

In politics, he is a republican. In religion, a
Presbyterian, and a man of excellent character. He
is a Master Mason, and a fifth-degree member of the
Odd-Fellows order.

Miss Lizzie Pierce, of Page county, Iowa, became
the wife of Judge Stockton on the 20th of August,
1863, and they have three promising children.



ONE of the oldest representatives of the press
living in Iowa is John Teesdale, who, like
Dennis A. Mahoney, of Dubuque, Wesley Bailey, of
Decorah, and a few others in this state, spent thirty
or forty years in a printing ofifice. Mr. Teesdale is
a native of York, England, is a son of Robert and
Elizabeth (Overton) Teesdale, and was born- on the
25th of November, 1816. His parents emigrated
to this country when he was two years old and set-
tled in Philadelphia, where his father was a merchant,
who died when the son was about ten years old.
Two or three years later John entered the office of
"The Casket," Philadelphia, doing various kinds of
wprk, but not much at the case. He partly learned
the printer's trade in the same city, in the office of
the "American Sentinel," finishing it at Beavertown,
Pennsylvania, whither his mother, now married again,
removed when he was about sixteen. Two years
afterward he spent a short time at the Steubenville
Academy, and then went to Wheeling, West Virginia,
where he remaiiied for several years, working at his
trade part of the time, and also editing the Wheeling
" Gazette " and a little later the Wheeling " Times."
During this period he spent a short time at Cadiz,
setting type and aiding an editor, and six months at
Mount Vernon, as one of the editors and proprietors
of the "Western Watchman," suddenly leaving the
paper because his associate was too timid on the
slavery question and they could not agree.

Mr. Teesdale was the editor of the " Ohio Whig
Standard," of McConnellsville, seven or eight years,
and went thence to Columbus in 1843; took charge
of the "Ohio State Journal," and conducted it four
or five years. He was private secretary of Governor
Bartley a short time; in 1848 purchased the Akron

" Beacon," and was its conductor for eight years,
selling out and removing to Iowa City, then the cap-
ital of the state, in the summer of 1856.

Mr. Teesdale became the proprietor of the Iowa
City " Republican," which he published until elected
state printer, in the winter of 1856-57, and his re-
moval to Des Moines, which was made the capital
in 1858. He was state printer four years. On
reaching Des Moines he purchased "The Citizen,"
soon changed its name to " Iowa State Register,"
and sold it to Frank W. Palmer, the incoming state
printer, in 1861.

At that time Mr, Teesdale was appointed post-
master by Mr. Lincoln, and he held the ofifice until
turned out by President Johnson.

In November, 1868, Mr. Teesdale removed to
Mount Pleasant, which has since been his home,
though he himself has had brief sojourns in other
places. He spent seven months on a daily paper at
Omaha, Nebraska, in 1870, and had charge of the
" Daily Chronicle," Washington, District of Colum-
bia, during the second campaign (1872) of General
Grant for the Presidency.

Since locating in Mount Pleasant Mr. Teesdale
was a short time on the " Mount Pleasant Journal,"
and a short time in trade with his son-in-law, George
P. Okell. Latterly he has engaged in no business.

Mr. Teesdale was originally a whig, and was a
delegate to the national convention which nominated
General Taylor in 1848. From the birth of the re-
publican party he has acted with it, and his pen has
wielded a powerful influence in promulgating its prin-
ciples. Probably no journalist now living in the state
has done more to advance the cause of his party.

Mr. Teesdale has been a member of the Congre-



gational church for many years, much of the time
an official member. He has been prominent among
the laymen of the state, attending congregational
state conventions as a delegate and participating in
their deliberations.

The wife of Mr. Teesdale was Miss Mary Dulty,
of Wheeling, West Virginia; married in June, 1837.
They have had seven children and have lost four;

one of them is buried at Akron, Ohio, one at Colum-
bus and two at Des Moines. The two buried in this

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 109 of 125)