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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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has very decided views as to his duty in politics, but
is not an office seeker. In all respects he is high-
minded and a man of many fine qualities. He is a
communicant in the Congregational church.

On the isth of July, 1863, Miss Mary Brown, of
Keosauqua, became the wife of Judge Sloan, and
they have six children, five girls and one boy.



ENOCH DAY WOODBRIDGE, the first settler
in Nashua, and a son of Timothy Woodbridge,
a farmer of Vermont, was born in that state at Mid-
dlebury on the 3d of March, 1806. His mother was
Lydia Chipman, daughter of Judge Chipman, of the
same place. Enoch farmed in his native town until
eleven years old, when the family moved to Ohio
and settled on land twenty miles west of Cleveland.

In 1835 Enoch removed to Southport, now Keno-
sha, Wisconsin, and bought and sold land there for
several years ; spent some time on a farm in Rock
county, Wisconsin, and in 1854 pushed westward in-
to Iowa, dealing in merchandise a year or two at Mc-
Gregor, and in July, 1855, settling where Nashua now
stands. At that time Bradford, then the seat of justice
of Chickasaw county, had quite a cluster of dwelling

72 2


houses, stores and hotels, but not a cellar had been
dug or a sod turned on the site of Nashua, at first
called Woodbridge. In company with Mr. Andrew
Sample he purchased the water-power; soon after-
ward built a saw-mill and grist-mill, and sold out
the next year to E. P. Greeley. He then became a
speculator in land, following the business for many
years, most of the time with fair success. In business
transactions he was an honest dealer. Mr. Wood-
bridge was one of the supervisors of the county for
a long time, and mayor of the city one year, when,
his health declining, he refused to serve any longer.

He was a hater of oppression, and a true friend of
his race ; a strong abolitionist in political sentiment,
acting heartily with the republican party during the
last fifteen years of his life, he dying on the 8th of
April, 1874. The cause of his demise was some dis-
ease of the brain.

He had been a member of a Baptist church nearly
forty years, and lived a steadfast christian life. He
was remarkably conscientious, and cherished his re-
ligion and his politics with equal sincerity and un-

selfishness. A kinder-hearted man never lived in
Nashua. If anybody was ever "generous to a fault,"'
it was Mr. Woodbridge. In him the poor had a true
and liberal friend.

His widow was Miss Abijail Nichols, of Kenosha,
Wisconsin. They were joined in wedlock on the 20th
of October, 1836, and have no children. Pecuniarily,
Mrs. Woodbridge is left in very comfortable circum-
stances. She holds her church connection with the
Baptist society at Charles City, eighteen miles away,
there being no Baptist church in Nashua. Her late
husband was connected with the same body. Mrs.
Woodbridge is the oldest living settler in Nashua,
a woman of rare christian virtues, who is held in
the warmest esteem by her neighbors. Many years
ago a brother of Deacon Woodbridge died, leaving
four children, and he kindly took charge of the whole
of them, rearing and educating them ; three of them
teaching, more or less, in their younger years. One
of them died in 1861, aged eighteen years, a chris-
tian young man. The other three had a good start
in life, and are doing well.



EDWARD H. STILES was born at Granby,
Hartford county, Connecticut, on the 8th of
October, 1836. He received an academic educa-
tion, and in 1856 began the study of law. In De-
cember of the latter year he came to Wapello coun-
ty, Iowa, where, during the ensuing winter, he taught

In the spring of 1857 he resumed the study of
law in the office of Colonel S. W. Summers, then a
leading attorney of Ottumwa, with whom he formed
a copartnership on his admission to the bar in De-
cember following.

In 1858 Mr. Stiles was elected a member of the
city council of Ottumwa. In 1859 he was elected
city solicitor. During the memorable Presidential
campaign of i860 he heartily espoused the cause of
the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, and advocated his
claims to the Presidency in many forcible speeches.
At the Presidential election, in the same year, Mr.
Stiles voted for the last time with the democratic
party, he allying himself, on the breaking out of the
great rebellion, with the republican party, and has
ever since been an avowed and earnest republican.

In January, 1861, at the first session of the first
board of supervisors of the county, Mr. Stiles was
elected attorney of the board ; a year later he was
reelected. In January, 1864, he took his seat in the
lower house of the state legislature as a republican
representative from Wapello county, serving during
the session on the important standing committees
on judiciary and finance, and on a notable special
committee on a prohibitory liquor law.

In 1865 Mr. Stiles was elected over his former law
partner, Colonel Summers, who was his democratic
opponent on this occasion, to the state senate. Here,
likewise, he was prominent as a member of the judi-
ciary and finance committees, and of a joint com-
mittee of the legislature appointed to investigate the
facts respecting a certain large deficit in the swamp-
land fund of the state. As chairman, on the part of
the state senate, of the latter committee, Mr. Stiles
formally conducted the examination of all the wit-
nesses, took all the testimony and wrote the report,
the investigation consuming the greater part of the
session. At the same session, in 1866, the office of
reporter of the decisions of the supreme court, the



incumbents of which were previously appointed by
the judges of the court, was made elective. This
unwise innovation was stenuously opposed by Mr,
Stiles, who was, rather remarkably, considering this
fact, nominated by the republican state convention,
held during the succeeding summer, as a candidate
for the office, and elected at the ensuing fall election. .
Thereupon he resigned his position of state senator,
three years of the term of which were unexpired.

In October, 1870, Mr. Stiles was reelected to the
office of reporter. Four years later, upon the ex-
piration of his second term, he positively declined
to be further a candidate, and accordingly retired.

As reporter of the decisions of the supreme court,
Mr. Stiles prepared the head-notes and published
sixteen volumes (numbers 22 to 37 inclusive) of the
Iowa reports, which rank high among the law re-
ports of the country. During 1873-4 he likewise

prepared and published a new Iowa digest in two

This work was projected by T. F. Withrow, Esq.,
last predecessor of Mr. Stiles in the office of reporter,
who was early compelled to relinquish its prepara-
tion in consequence of an important professional
engagement in another state. Indubitable evidence
of great care and excessive labor expended upon
the work appear on every page.

Mr. Stiles is associated in professional practice
with E, L. Burton, Esq., a gentleman of high personal
character and eminent legal attainments. Messrs.
Stiles and Burton number among their very respect-
able clients the corporations of all the four railroads
centering at Ottumwa.

On the 19th of September, 1861, in the city of Phil-
adelphia, Mr. Stiles was united in marriage with Miss
Emma Vernon, of Chester county, Pennsylvania.

E. H. WILSON, M. D.,


EH. WILSON was born on the 13th of Febru-
. ary, 1834, in the State of Massachusetts, in a
town then called North Wrentham, now known as
Norfolk. His father was born in the same place in
the year 1788. He owned a large tract of land
which he was engaged in selling, making this his
chief business, together with the purchase and sale
of live stock. His mother, whose maiden name was
Abigal Richardson, was born in Portland, Maine.
She seems to have been a remarkable person, both
physically and mentally. She is now seventy-eight
years of age, and during the last year undertook
what would be a long and tiresome journey for a
younger person, going to Massachusetts with one of
her sons and returning home to Osceola alone, arriv-
ing there in excellent health and spirits.

Like the majority of boys of that time, young
Wilson attended a district school until fourteen years
of age; then entered Day's famous academy at Wren-
tham, continuing to study there until he was twenty.
During this period he taught school, and after leav-
ing the academy was similarly employed. At the
same time he commenced the study of medicine in
the office of Dr. Ambrose Eames, of Wrentham. For
about two years he continued to study with Dr.
Eames, and at the end of this time was united in
marriage with Miss Eliza J. Townsend, of Walpole,

Massachusetts. After marriage he employed his
time and energy in teaching school and studying
medicine, practicing at times after the spring of 1866.
He afterward attended the Hahnemann College, in
Chicago, where he graduated in February, 1871. He
then came to Osceola and commenced the practice
of medicine, which he still continues, having built
up a large and profitable business throughout the
city and the adjoining towns.

Dr. Wilson possesses to a large extent the elements
of success as a physician. Added to a well stored
mind in his profession he has an exceedingly pleas-
ant and winsome manner, and yet is firm in his con-
victions and rapid and skillful in his treatment of

Dr. Wilson is, in religious belief, a Baptist, being
very prominent in Sunday-school work, in which he
takes a great and untiring interest. He is president
of the county Sunday-school organization, and per-
sonally superintends the school whenever his profes-
sional duties will permit.

In politics, he is an ardent republican.

His father had married twice. By his first mar-
riage he had five boys born to him ; of those, two
are still living. By his second marriage he had nine
children born to him, five boys and four girls; two of
the latter are dead. Judge C. C. Wilson, late chief



justice of Utah, was the eldest of these boys by the
second marriage. Of the other boys, one is a lawyer
and two are physicians.

For seven years the doctor has practiced in his

present home, and in that time has gained hosts of
friends and a reputation for honesty, uprightness
and skill in his profession, marking him as one of
the leading physicians of the place.



A NDREW JACKSON WILLEY, a native of Som-
L\. erfield, Somerset county, Pennsylvania, and a
son of William S. and Elizabeth Tidy Willey, was
born on the isth of May, 1830. The Willeys were of
French descent, and originally spelled the name
Wille; the Tidys were from England. The grand-
father of Andrew J. was a Baptist preacher and a
manufacturer of brass musical instruments, and his
father was' a shoe and leather dealer.

At fifteen Andrew was sent to Winchester, Vir-
ginia, where he received an academic education and
read medicine, graduating from a medical college in
that place in 1853.

After practicing two years at Albany, Illinois, in
1856, Dr. Willey removed to Iowa and practiced at
Peoria, Mahaska county, and Nevada, Story county,
until the civil war broke out.

In 1 86 1 he went into the army as assistant-surgeon
loth Iowa Infantry; in 1863 was promoted to sur-
geon of the 7th Iowa Cavalry, and when mustered
out, eighteen months after the rebellion had closed,
he was breveted lieutenant-colonel " for gallant and
meritorious services." During tjie service the 7th
Cavalry was operating against the Indians on the
plains and in the Rocky Mountains.

Soon after returning from the western frontier
Dr. Willey attended a course of lectures at Keokuk,
and graduated there in 1869 ; practiced at Osceola
until 1873, and then removed to Mount Ayr, where

he has built up a very lucrative business. His gen-
eral practice is quite extensive, and he is employed
in the surgical cases in Ringgold county, and not
unfrequently in adjoining counties. His reputation,
both as a physician and surgeon, is excellent, and he
attends to his business with the greatest promptness.

In politics, Dr. Willey has always affiHated with
the democracy, being known, while in the army, as
a " war democrat."

He is a Knight Templar in the Masonic fraternity.

He is liberal in his religious belief, with a partial-
ity for the Methodist church.

The doctor has a second wife. His first was Miss
Mary Coe, of Virginia ; married on the gth of No-
vember, 1849. She had three children, and died in
November, 1855. Only one of her children, James
J., a physician, is now living. The present wife of
Dr. Willey was Mrs. Sarah Jane Finarty, daughter
of Dr. James L. Warren, of Mahaska county, Iowa;
married on the ist of July, 1857. She has had three
children by her present husband, only two of them,
Marie Juniatta and Orpha Loyola, now living.

Dr. Willey has gray eyes, a ruddy complexion, a
sanguine temperament ; is five feet and ten inches
tall, and weighs two hundred pounds. He is polished
in manners as well as conversation, very social and
companionable. He is a member of the Society of
Physicians and Surgeons of Southwestern Iowa, and
stands high, professionally, in his section of the state.



birtli, was born at Dayton on the 21st of July,
182 1, his parents being John Harris, a cabinet-maker,
and Rebecca Booher. His father was a native of
Massachusetts, his mother of Pennsylvania. Both
died in the same month when he was in his ninth

year, leaving him thus early to take care of himself.
He lived in different families in Dayton until fifteen
years of age ; then went to Williamsport, Murray
county, Tennessee, and sold goods until 1851, when
he commenced the study of law and read for three
years, and was admitted to the bar at Exira, Audu-



bon county, Iowa, in 1854. He practiced first in
Panola, Guthrie county, where he commenced in
1862 the publication of the Guthrie county " Led-
ger," a democratic paper, conducting it in connection
with his law practice until June, 1868, when he dis-
posed of the paper and removed to Missouri Valley.
Here he started the " Harrisonian" ; in 187 1 sold out,
went to Independence, Kansas, and published the
Kansas " Democrat "; disposed of it the next year and
returned to Iowa; located at Exira, the town which
he had founded sixteen years before, and started the
"Audubon County Defender"; disposed of his in-
terest in this journal in 1873, and established the
"Cap-Sheaf" at Atlantic, Cass county; published it
until 1874, when he returned to Missouri Valley, took
charge of the " Times," the democratic organ of Har-
rison county, and is still conducting it successfully.
Since 1870 journalism has been his main business.
He is an able writer, and very influential in his party.
He is a self-taught man, very intelligent, very com-
municative, and a good converser.

While in Audubon county Mr. Harris served as
county judge three terms. He represented the twenty-

sixth district, composed of Guthrie, Audubon, Shelby
and Harrison counties, one term in the general assem-
bly, and served in the regular session of i860, and also
in the extra session of 1861. He was a candidate for
lieutenant-governor on the democratic ticket with
Judge Mason in 1866, and a Presidential elector on
the same ticket in 1868, receiving the full strength
of the party vote in both cases, but having no chance
for success in this strongly republican state.

Mr. Harris is a Master Mason, an Odd-Fellow, and
very active in the order of Good I'emplars. His
heart is in every good cause, tending to the social
and moral improvement of society, and he is most
esteemed where best known.

His wife was Miss Minerva M. White, of Tennes-
see ; married on the 26th of July, 1841. She has had
ten children, six boys and four girls, all living and all
now residing in Iowa. Three sons, William J.. John
W. and Robert H. are married. Mary Isabella is
the wife of John Crane, of Audubon county, and
Clarinda C. is the wife of John P. Lahman, of Mis-
souri Valley. Daniel W., Edwin T., Ellis M., Vir-
ginia T. and Emma E. are single.



WILLIS F. AVILLIAMS, son of a woolen man-
ufacturer, William E. Williams and Mary
Lumb, was born in the town of Thornville, Perry
county, Ohio, on the 22d of May, 1830. His father
was a native of Maryland, and is now living in Vin-
ton in his seventy-fourth year. His mother was
born in England, and came to this country when
three years old. She is also living, and is in her
seventieth year. While Willis was in his infancy the
family moved to Lancaster, in the same state, and
he was educated in Greenfield Academy, near Lan-
caster. At seventeen he went into a drug store, re-
maining in that business until 1849, when he went
to California with one of the first companies of gold
seekers. He spent seventeen years there. He worked
in the mines the first year, the remainder of the time
was merchandising.

In 1856, while on a prospecting tour in the cen-
tral western states, he purchased a farm of five hun-
dred acres, ten miles northwest of Vinton, built a
three-story stone house and made other improve-

Mr. Williams started for California with simply
funds enough to reach that opening El Dorado ; he
went there expressly to make money, carefully hus-
banded his accumulations, and in 1867, when he per-
manently located in Vinton, he had enough funds to
make a good start in business. He immediately went
into the banking firm of Traer and Co., which, in a
short time, changed its name to Traer and Williams.
He sold out in 1871, and in January, 1872, started
a bank of his own, which he is still managing, aided
by C. S. Bennett, cashier.

Since settling in Vinton Mr. Williams has been a
heavy dealer in real estate, no person in town, prob-
ably, doing more in this line. He has bought and
sold more than fifteen thousand acres of farming
and unimproved lands in the last ten years. Suc-
cess here, as in every other branch of business which
has occupied his attention, has attended his efforts.
Several years ago, in company with J. C. Traer, he
laid out ninety acres as an addition to the town,
containing seven hundred and twenty residence lots,
and they have all been sold. Mr. Williams has been



one of the foremost men in Vinton in adding to its
accommodations, he having erected no less than
twenty buildings. He has built sixteen residences in
Vinton, costing from twenty-five hundred to twenty
thousand dollars ; has remodeled and enlarged half
a dozen dwellings; has built and remodeled four
business houses, and bought and sold more than
forty residences not mentioned above.

Mr. Williams is a member of the Presbyterian
church, and very liberal in religious and benevolent

In politics, he was originally a whig, but in latter
years has been a republican. He has frequently been

solicited to accept office, but he has sedulously re-
fused to do so.

On the 26th of January, i860. Miss Frances Ellen
Fielding, of Lancaster, Ohio, became his wife, and
has borne him four daughters, all yet living.

He has had from boyhood, what the writer once
heard him call " a weakness for fine horses." He now,
and usually we believe, drives the best trotter in Ben-
ton county, yet he never patronizes races. He has a
competency, and sense enough to know how to en-
joy a portion of its annual income. He has done a
great deal for Vinton, and the citizens are not insen-
sible of the worth to the city of such a man.



DAVID EDMUNDSON was born on the 9th
of June, i8ri,the son of William Edmundson
and Mary nee Cook, both of whom were natives of
Virginia and of Scotch-Irish descent. His paternal
grandfather, Mathew Edmundson, was a native of
Ireland, while his grandmother, Margaret Patterson,
was a native of Virginia. His father, born on the
19th of October, 1750, was a farmer by occupation,
and died in 1828 in Putnam county, Indiana. His
mother, born on the 5th of October, 1768, died in
Oskaloosa, Iowa, on the loth of November, 1862. Of
their family of five children, Mathew, a carpenter by
trade, now resides in Des Moines county, Iowa; Mar-
garet died in i85z, in her sixtieth year; William
married Miss Priscilla De Pew and raised two sons,
James and William. He died in September, 1862, at
the age of fifty-seven ; Mary was married to George
J. Sharp, a farmer. She died in 1838, leaving three
children, Margaret, William and George.

David's maternal grandparents were John Cook
and Margaret nie Blair. The former, bornĀ«!tri729,
was a native of Pennsylvania, but was raised in Vir-
ginia ; the latter was born in Virginia in the year


When our subject was about seventeen years of
age his father died. He received but meagre school
privileges and continued on the farm with his mother
until 1833.

Removing, then, to Rockville, Indiana, he there, in
company with his two brothers, engaged in mercan-
tile business under the firm name of M. Edmundson
and Co., and continued the same for three years. At

the expiration of that time he removed with his
brother Mathew to Burlington, Iowa. In 1845 he
removed to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and spent one year in
farming, and then settled in Jasper county, Iowa,
where he was engaged in farming until the fall of
1849, when he settled in the immediate vicinity of
Newton. In the spring of the following year he
went to California by the overland route, but not
meeting with the success which he had anticipated
he returned to his home in August, 1853.

Mr. Edmundson has always taken an active part
in public affairs, and in 1846 was elected the first
sheriff of Jasper county. In 1856 he was elected to
represent Jasper and Poweshiek counties in the state
legislature, it being the last session held in Iowa

In August, 1857, he was elected judge of Jasper
county, a position which he held until the 1st of
January, 1862. During that month he was sergeant-
at-arms in the state senate. In the following summer
he entered the army as first lieutenant of company
D, 4otli regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and dur-
ing one year of his service was judge advocate of a
military commission, having his office at Columbus,
Kentucky. Returning to his home in August, 1864,
he has since that time been engaged in various oc-
cupations, and since 1876 been justice of the peace.

In political sentiment, he was formerly a whig of
decided anti-slavery principles, and since the organ-
ization of the republican party has been identified
with that body.

Throughout his life he has maintained a high



standing as a man of" high moral tone, and in his
habits has been strictly temperate and moderate,
having never used either tobacco or intoxicating

Mr. Edmundson was married on the i8th of March,
1841, to Miss Temperance Gordon, daughter of Alex-
ander Gordon, of York, Pennsylvania. They have
had eight children : Arabella, born on the 25th of

June, 1842, was married in 1856 to Mr. S. W. Macy,
and now resides in Jasper county ; Lizzie was born on
the 22d of April, 1845 ; William A. was born on the
4th of October, 1847; David G. was born on the ist
of August, 1850; Ella was born on the 5th of July,
1854; Frida was born on the 31st of October, 1856;
Mary was born on the 5th of Jime, 1859; Charles
was born on the 2d of August, 1862.



THE subject of this biography, a native of Wash-
ington county, Pennsylvania, was born on the
9th of January, 1825, the son of James McAyeal and
Margaret nie Miller. His father, a native of Ireland,
became a merchant after coming to this country.
His grandfather, Alexander McAyeal, was of Scotch
ancestry ; he followed farming in Ireland, and emi-
grated to America in 1810, settling first at Wilming-
ton, Delaware, whence he removed to Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, and there engaged in farming.

His maternal grandparents, Henry and Margaret
Miller, were natives of Ireland, of Scotch descent.
They emigrated to this country about 1810, and set-
tled at Wilmington, Delaware, where his grandfather

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 113 of 125)