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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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the ablest members of the bar in the state; zealous,
honest and indefatigable. As a politician, he is de-
scribed as a live man, a positive character, of great
brain power and nerve force — the man for an emer-
gency. He is a gentleman of acknowledged ability
and integrity, of generous and lofty impulses, decided
in his opinions, strong in his likes and dislikes. He
is a good citizen, enjoying the confidence of all who
know him.

The fruit of his marriage with Miss Doran was one
child, Katie E., now the wife of Henry R. Tyner,
Esq., of Davenport.



ty-one years a resident of Floyd county, Iowa,
is a native of New York, and was born at Hudson
on the 24th of August, 1835. He is the son of Jo-
siah W. Fairfield, a lawyer, railroad man and banker,
and Laura Britton. The Fairfields were from France,
the Brittons from England. Asa Britton, the father
of Laura, was a resident of Cheshire county. New

Hampshire, and was a sergeant belonging to General
Washington's body-guard during the revolution. Will-
iam B. received his early education at Hudson and
College Hill, Poughkeepsie ; entered the freshman
class of Williams College in 185 1, the class which
included General J. A, Garfield, of Ohio, and Gov-
ernor G. C. Walker, of Virginia; went to Hamilton
College the next year, and there graduated in 1855.



He read law at Clinton with Hon. Theodore W.
Dwight ; was admitted to the bar at that place in
1856, and that year settled in Charles City, then a
village hardly two years old, and containing less than
thirty families. He was pleased with its location,
saw its promise, and was willing to let his business
grow with the place. Charles Cityjs now a railroad
town, with three thousand inhabitants, and for many
years Mr. Fairfield has been one of the leading at-
torneys of the city. He was one of the founders of
the first bank started in Charles City, a private in-
stitution, still in operation. In the autumn of 1864
he was elected judge of the twelfth judicial district,
taking his seat on the bench on the ist of January,
1865; was reelected in 1868, and resigned in 1870.
He has high legal attainments, and made a candid,
impartial jurist.

Of late years Judge Fairfield has given some at-
tention to railroad building and farming. He and
Judge E. H. Williams built, in Clinton county, the
first narrow-gauge railroad in the State of Iowa. He
enjoys a beautiful residence three-fourths of a mile
southeast of the city, and a well improved farm one

and a half miles east of town, the farm being well
stocked with blooded animals. He has Shorthorn
and Jersey cattle, Berkshire hogs and Clydesdale
horses, and takes great pleasure in encouraging the
stock-raisers in the upper Cedar valley to improve
their breeds.

In politics, the judge has always been a republi-
can. He is a member of the blue lodge in the Ma-
sonic fraternity, and was master of the Charles City
Lodge several years. In religious belief, he inclines
to Unitarianism.

On the 25th of December, 1857, Miss Estelle M.
Balch, daughter of Rev. W. S. Balch, then of New
York city, became the wife of Judge Fairfield. They
have had three children, all daughters, two of whom
are now alive. The elder one is a student in Vassar

Judge Fairfield is five feet and eight and a half
inches tall, and weighs two hundred and fifty pounds.
He is of a sanguine-bilious temperament ; has blue
eyes, a light complexion, a full face, a pleasant ex-
pression of the countenance, and the manners of a



Estill county, Kentucky, and a son of Thomas
and Margaret Kinkaid Pitman, was born on the 15 th
of March, 1835. The Pitmans came from England,
and early settled in Virginia. The Kinkaids are of
Irish descent. The father of Margaret Kinkaid was
captain of rangers in the second war with the mother
country. When Edward was three years old the fam-
ily moved to Canton, Illinois, where our subject was
reared on a farm, his opportunities for education,
after he was old enough to work, being limited to
the winter term of a district school. In 1852 the
family removed to Iowa and settled on a farm seven
miles south of Leon, in Decatur county, where Ed-
ward labored until after the civil war broke out.

In the spring of 1862 he enlisted as a private in
company G, 3d Missouri Cavalry, in which he served
until the next December, when the regiment was
broken up by hard service and divided, his company
being assigned to the 7 th Missouri Cavalry. From
that time until the close of the war he was connected
with the quartermaster's department, his main busi-

ness being the procuring of forage. While return-
ing to his home he was seized with a species of ery-
sipelas known as phlegmonedes ; was laid up, and
at times delirious, for five or six weeks, and unable
to do any business for nearly a year.

In the winter of 1865-6 he commenced teaching
a district school near Pleasanton ; afterward taught
in Pleasanton, continuing that occupation until the
next autumn, when he was elected clerk of the county
courts, and by reelection served four years, making
an efficient and popular county officer.

On leaving this position he purchased the Leon
"Pioneer," editing and publishing it for two years.
Since going out of journalism he has been a general
trafficker and speculator.

He is a shrewd, straightforward, upright dealer,
full of energy, and doing with his might whatever
engages his hands and fully secures his attention.

In poHtics, Mr. Pitman has steadily affiliated with
the democratic party, being known in the period
from 1862 to 1865 as a war democrat of the most
earnest and the bravest kind. In 1872 he was ap-



pointed a delegate to the national convention which
nominated Horace Greeley, but was unable to attend.

He is a Freemason ; has been twice master of the
Leon Lodge, and was its secretary for three consec-
utive years.

Mr. Pitman is a member of the Christian church,
and very active in religious and philanthropic enter-
prises. The cause of temperance receives his hearty,
untiring and aggressive support. He is a true friend
of his race.

Mr. Pitman has a second wife, his first being Miss
Louisa Osborn, of Decatur county ; married on the

6th of September, 1854. She died on the 31st of
January, 1874, leaving four children. Marietta, the
eldest child, is the wife of H. A. Lindsey, of Leon ;
Adelia is the wife of Dell Hilliker, of Leon; the
others, Ollie and Edward Kinkaid, are at home, at-
tending the graded school. The present wife of Mr.
Pitman was Mrs. Sarah I. Carter, daughter of James
Parsons, of Decatur county; married on the 31st of
January, 1875. She has two boys by her first hus-
band : John M., twenty years old, who is operating
with his step-father, and Joseph A., sixteen, pursuing
his studies in Leon.



ONE of the most energetic men in the Cedar
valley, and the father of one of its most beau-
tiful young cities, is Milo Gilbert, a Yankee in pedi-
gree and a Vermonter by birth. He is a son of
Hinsdale Gilbert, a farmer, and Polly Tyrrill, and first
saw the light of this world at Manchester, Benning-
ton county, on the 5th of September, 1823. His
paternal grandfather commanded a company at the
battle of Bennington, one hundred years ago. Hins-
dale Gilbert moved his family to Wyoming county.
New York, when Milo was about eight years old,
settling on a farm near the village of Castile. There
this son, with the rest of the children, seven in all,
was early taught to work.

At seventeen Milo entered a hardware store at
Castile, acting as clerk, and attending a select school
three winters. In 1844 he came as far west as Rock-
ford, Illinois. There he was in a hardware store a
short time in company with his brother Seymour,
and also taught mathematics in an evening school
two winters; farmed three or four years; then solic-
ited stock for the Galena and Chicago Union (now
Northwestern) Railroad Company in connection with
W. B. Ogden ; came to Iowa early in 1854, and after
halting a few months in Bremer county, and entering
some lands, pushed up the Cedar to Charles City in
the autumn of that year. Here he found half-a-dozen
log dwelling houses, a log store and a log tavern. He
saw the water-power of the Cedar river at this point;
looked over the surrounding country ; concluded
that here must be a town and he would help make
it; he bought of Joseph Kelley half of the town site,
the whole consisting of four hundred and forty acres,

and for many years acted as agent of the Charles
City Land Company, the village at that time, how-
ever, having the name of Saint Charles, given to it
by Mr, Kelley.

Mr. Gilbert built, in 1855, 'he first frame house,
and in 1857 the first stone structure, ever put up in
this place. In 1855 he opened a hardware store,
and, with the exception of two seasons, ran it stead-
ily about fifteen years, having, during all this time,
various outside enterprises on hand, and, strange to
say, letting none of them suffer for want of attention.
Years ago he built and ran two saw-mills, at different
times, and manufactured large quantities of lumber;
also built a large sash and blind factory, and recently
he had the superintendency of the works for the Char-
les City Water Power Company, putting in a new dam,
a new race and a new flouring mill with six run of
stone, one of the best mills of the kind in this valley.
He had the entire supervision of everything con-
nected with this last great enterprise, second in im-
portance to none in the city. This water-power Mr.
Gilbert bought of Mrs. Kelley for the company in
the spring of 1876.

During the darkest period of our history in the
last twenty years, in 1861 and 1862, he kept right on
building, at that time putting up the stone block
known as the Union House Block, giving it the
name of " Union" to indicate his political sentiment.
He is a radical republican, outspoken, frank and
fearless. At this very time, the summer of 1877, he
is nearly doubling the size of the Union Hotel, en-
larging other premises and adding new buildings.
This has been his practice nearly every year since



he settled here, constantly adding something to the
accommodations, mercantile or family, of the place.
He has built several business houses and at least
twenty dwelling houses.

Mr. Gilbert was town clerk a long time at an early
day ; was a supervisor some years ; was the first
mayor of Charles City, being elected without oppo-
sition and serving two terms, and has been in office
almost constantly since he became a citizen of Floyd
county. His official, like his other work, has been
thoroughly and faithfully performed.

Mr. Gilbert is a baptist in religious belief, and
supplied more than half the funds when the Charles
City church was built, in 1856, the first building of
the kind in the place. He has since contributed
liberally toward other houses of worship there, and
shows his public spirit and liberality in many ways.

On the 25th of September, 1847, Miss Margaret
Palmer, of Lockport, Illinois, became his wife, and
she has been the mother of eight children, only four
of them now living. Edwin, the eldest child, is mar-
ried, has been a railroad man and is now deputy
treasurer of the county; Emily is the wife of Eugene
B. Dyke, editor and proprietor of the Charles City
" Intelligencer," and the two youngest, Azro B. F.
and Carrie E., are living at home. Mrs. Gilbert is a
well educated woman. At an early day she was the
light of more than her own house, and has " bated
not a jot " of her kindly and cheerful nature. The
sick and the needy early found a friend in her.

Mr. Gilbert is one of the few men who at an early
period began to work for the interests of northern
Iowa as well as his adopted home. As soon as 1855

he began to operate for the so-called Mississippi and
Missouri River railroad, to run westward from Mc-
Gregor, on the Mississippi, through Charles City,
He was one of the originators of this enterprise,
aided in securing the right of way, solicited stock,
holding two or three offices at one time, and but for
the financial cyclone of 1857 the road would have
been built long before it was. When finally, in 1869,
the road now known as the Iowa branch of the Mil-
waukee and Saint Paul road came through, he was
one of the men who did the hard work in getting it
to Charles City. The same is true of the other rail-
road, the Cedar Valley branch of the Illinois Central
road, the first to reach Charles City. There is no
public enterprise, perfected in or near his home,
which does not bear the impress of his willing and
toil-hardened hand. A more industrious man it
would be difficult to find.

Mr. Gilbert possesses a very independent, self-
reliant spirit, as a single fact in his early life will
show. When about leaving New York state, in 1844,
to come west, his father offered to let him have
some money, but he had four and a half dollars in
currency, and a shot gun, and started off. Reaching
Buffalo, he bought a fifteen-cent market basket, put
seventy-five cents' worth of provisions in it, took a
deck passage on a steamer to Chicago, and there
arrived with less than half a dollar. He immediately
started on foot for Downer's Grove, about twenty
miles distant, where he had a brother; halted at the
Eau Plaines river over night ; paid for lodging and
reached his brother's in the forenoon with an empty



years a medical practitioner in Iowa, is a na-
tive of the Granite State, being born in Effingham,
Strafford county, on the 13th of April, 1821. His
parents were Charles Moody and Martha Female
Parsons, both of English descent. The Parsons
family were early settlers in Maine. The maternal
grandfather of Robert was in the continental army,
and his paternal grandfather was a sailor, and com-
manded a privateer in the second struggle with the
mother country.

Charles M. Parsons immigrated from New Hamp-

shire to Maine about 1828, and was a cabinet-maker
at Waterville; went from there to Richmond, in the
same state; followed the sea four years, and then
removed to Bangor, the son, during this period, at-
tending district schools.

In 1836 the family came as far west as Paines-
ville, Ohio, where the subject of this notice attended
an academy for about two years. In 1841 Robert
moved to Coshocton county, and the next year com-
menced the study of medicine with Dr. E. Mast, of
Rochester, in that county, subsequently attending
lectures in the medical department of Western Re-



serve College in Cleveland ; commenced practice in
1848 at Rochester, Coshocton county; followed the
profession there and in Independence, Richland
county, until 1854, when he removed to Iowa and
located at Brighton, Washington county. There he
was in practice for twenty-two years. Washington
county was sparsely settled at the time Dr. Parsons
located there, and his rides extended over a radius
of fifteen or twenty miles.' During this long period
at Brighton his labors were very trying to his phys-
ical system, and in 1876, with health partially im-
paired, he removed to Allerton and started the drug
business, intending to go out of the country prac-
tice. This he has done, but has a fair practice, all
that he could desire, in the city of Allerton. He
has a pleasant homestead of six acres, selected two
years ago, on the western line of the city, and is

preparing to raise all kinds of small fruits. He is
making it an Eden of beauty.

Dr. Parsons was originally a whig; gave enthusi-
astic support to Mr. Lincoln, both by vote and voice,
during the civil war, but latterly has affiliated with
the democratic party.

He is very liberal in his religious views. He is a
member of the blue lodge in the Masonic fraternity.

In March, 1849, he was united in marriage with
Miss Lucinda Draper, of Rochester, Ohio, and they
have had eight children, only five of them living.
All are single except Alice, the eldest daughter, who
is the wife of O. H. Wood, of Albia, Iowa. Albert
E., the eldest son, is a graduate of the literary and
law department of the Iowa State University, and
an attorney in Allerton. The other three, Ellen T.,
Fred and Ernest are being educated at home.



THE subject of this brief monograph was an
early settler in Marshall county, Iowa, and
witnessed the great yet bloodless county-seat fight
between Marietta and Marshalltown. He comes of
a long-lived race. His paternal grandfather lived
to be ninety-seven years old, and his maternal
grandmother one hundred and four, both dying in
Connecticut, in which state his ancestors on both
sides were early settlers.

Dr. Waters, like four-fifths of the men whose
names appear in this book, sprung from the agri-
cultural class, his father, Charles Waters, living in
Delaware county, Ohio, where the son was born on
the 19th of March, 1819. His mother was Harriett
Bennett, and both sides of his family are of Scotch
pedigree. William B. gave his youth to farm work
and mental discipline, finishing his literary educa-
tion at the Worthington Academy, Franklin county.
He taught school three years in Ross and Highland
counties; read medicine simultaneously most of this
time with Dr. William McCollum. of Petersburg,
Highland county ; attended one course of lectures
in the medical department of the Ohio University,
Cincinnati ; practiced a year with his preceptor at
Petersburg ; attended a second course of lectures,
this time at Starling Medical College, Columbus,
and there graduated in March, 1848.

After practicing six years at Oceola, Crawford

county, he left his native state, settling in Marietta,
Iowa, in the summer of 1854, being the first edu-
cated and regular physician in that place. Seven
years later he followed the county seat to Marshall-
town, where he is still one of the leading practitioners.

In the autumn of 1862 he went into the service
as surgeon of the 32d regiment Iowa Infantry; be-
came enfeebled by disease in about a year and a
half, and early in the spring of 1864 resigned and
returned to his home in Marshalltown. Dr. Waters
regained most of his strength in a short time, re-
sumed practice, and has seemingly been growing in
popularity ever since. His labors in the army were
at times very severe, and proved too much for him,
but as a school in surgery they were of incalculable
benefit to him. His reputation in this direction
stands very high, and it is not an uncommon thing
for him to ride fifty and a hundred miles to attend
difficult surgical cases.

Dr. Waters was coroner of Marshall county six
years, and physician and surgeon to the county in-
firmary a similar period of time.

He is a Royal Arch Mason, and a charter member
of the fraternity in this county. He was in early
life a free-soil whig, and easily glided into the re-
publican ranks. On politics and every other sub-
ject, he is frank, outspoken and fearless.

Miss Eleanor Barrows, of Delaware county, Ohio,



became his wife on the ist of December, 1842, and
has borne him four children, two sons and two
daughters. His eldest son, William A., died in the
army. The other son, Dwight Emmett, has a wife and
is in business in Marshalltown. The two daughters,
Imogen and Celia, are unmarried.

Dr. Waters is a permanent member of the Iowa
State Medical Society, and also a member of the
Am.erican Medical Association, and in 1874 was a
delegate to the meeting of the latter body. His

standing in the medical fraternity of the state is of
the highest order. His social and moral habits are
also excellent.

Dr. Waters is generous hearted almost to a fault ;
is very kind to the poor; never presses a debt; has
raised his family well, and is a success as a physician
and surgeon. He is in comfortable circumstances
pecuniarily, but owing to his liberality his accumu-
lations do not equal those of some other medical
men whose rides are fewer and shorter.



HENRY MUNSON DEAN, the eldest son of
Henry and Almira (Munson) Dean, was born
at Canaan, Litchfield county, Connecticut, on the 8th
of November, 1836, and is descended on both sides
from English ancestors. His great-grandfather Dean
emigrated from England and settled in Canaan soon
after the revolution, where a large colony of his de-
scendants still reside. His maternal ancestors emi-
grated at an earlier period, and some of them fought
under Washington in the revolutionary war.

Henry Munson, our subject, received his primary
education in the public schools of his native village,
and at thirteen he was sent to a private academy in
the vicinity, where he studied the usual branches of
learning, including the Latin language and the higher
mathematics. At the age of eighteen years he taught
a district school during the winter and spent the
summer upon the farm.

He commenced the study of medicine in 1857 un-
der the direction of Dr. L. H. Aiken, at Falls Village.
He subsequently attended two courses of medical lec-
tures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, med-
ical department of Columbia College, New York city,
from which institution he graduated with honors on
the 14th of March, i86i. He soon after commenced
the practice of his profession at Canaan Center, some
two miles from the residence of his father, where he
remained until 1862, when he offered his services to
the government as a volunteer medical officer. On
being examined by a board of medical men, of which
Dr. Valentine Mott was chairman, he was ordered
to Fortress Monroe, and from thence was sent to
General McClellan, at Harrison's Landing, where he
was assigned to the ist regiment Massachusetts Vol-
unteer Infantry, where he remained, except a short

period after the battle of Malvern Hill with the 2d
New York Infantry, until after the second battle of
Bull Run, when, the 3d corps hospital being organ-
ized at Fort Lyons, near Alexandria, Virginia, he
was assigned to duty at that institution. Here he
remained until the spring of 1863, when the hospital
was removed, and he was ordered to report to the
medical director at Washington, District of Colum-
bia, by whom he was placed on duty in the " Lincoln
United States General Hospital," of that city, on the
Sth of February, 1863, where he remained over two
years, having charge of the barrack branch of that
institution during the last six months of this period.
On the 20th of February, 1865, he was, by order of
the war department, appointed assistant' surgeon of
U. S. Veteran Volunteers, and was assigned to duty
with the ist regiment, ist brigade, and ist (Han-
cock's) Army Corps, and was with them in the field
until after the close of the war, and subsequently
had charge of the several military hospitals con-
nected with the defenses of Baltimore, then under
command of General Hancock, until he was mus-
tered out of service, on the loth of January, i866,
having served, in all, some three years and six

As a military surgeon, the record of Dr. Dean is
second to that of no other man in the service. His
fame as a successful operator was spread far and
wide, and wherever a critical and peculiarly delicate
operation in surgery was to be performed. Dr. Dean's
services were brought into requisition, if at all avail-
able. He was transferred from ward to ward in the
Lincoln Hospital as the exigencies of the service
seemed to require, and his skill and success became
so noted that he was ultimately placed over the



wards appropriated to disabled officers. He served
as medical inspector of Lincoln Hospital, as superin-
tendent of the dead-house and pathological depart-
ment of the hospital, as president of the board of
officers for the examination of men recommended
for furlough, veteran reserve corps, for duty or for
discharge from the service, and as a leading member
of the council of the board of administration of the
hospital. He was the most prominent and distin-
guished surgeon of his years and experience in the
institution. In addition to his official duties in the

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 117 of 125)