pub American Biographical Publishing Company.

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

. (page 118 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

hospital, which were of the most onerous and exact-
ing nature, he prepared and furnished to the United
States Army Medical Museum as large a number of
rare and valuable specimens as any other contributor.
Among the many items bearing his name in the great
catalogue of the museum are the smallest and the
largest hearts, respectively, in the museum, the small-
est weighing only five and a half ounces, and the
largest seventeen and a quarter ounces. The body
from which the smallest was taken weighed one
hundred and sixty pounds, and that from which the
largest was taken, one hundred and fifty-five pounds.
Both men had been perfectly healthy and died of
injuries received in the army. He is also credited
with having contributed to the museum the only speci-
men of hernia of the stomach through the diaphragm
into the left thoracic cavity. He has performed
successfully nearly every operation hitherto known
to surgery. The testimonials as to his efficiency,
skill and professional qualifications contained in



" general orders " and in private letters from those
in the highest ranks are both numerous and flatter-
ing, and may well be a source of just pride and grati-
fication to himself.

On retiring from the army he located at Sand-
wich, Illinois, where he remained in practice for
nine months, and on the 30th of February, 1867, he
moved to the city of Muscatine, which has since
been his home, and where he has built up a large
and lucrative practice. Soon after locating in Mus-
catine he was appointed surgeon to the encampment
of the Grand Army of the Republic located there,
which position he retained as long as the organiza-
tion lasted.

He has been a member of the Congregational
church since 1858. He is secretary and treasurer of
the County Medical Society, of the Eastern Iowa
District Medical Society, and a member of the State
Medical Society, also of the United States Medical
Association.

He was married on the 20th of June, 1866, to Miss
Emma Johnson, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They
have three boys, Harry Johnson, Lee Wallace and
Ray Elbert.

To the most thorough qualifications as a physician
Dr. Dean adds promptness and energy in profes-
sional duty, ever ready, regardless of distance or of
weather, to render immediate attention to calls.

As a citizen, he enjoys the confidence of the com-
munity as an honest, upright man, fearless of censure
and strong in the right. .As a friend, true.



HON. LE ROY G. PALMER,



MOUNT PLEASANT.



LE ROY GRIFFIN PALMER, a son of Louis
J D. and Ann H. (Tutt) Palmer, is a native of
Christian county, Kentucky, and dates his birth on
the 3d of November, 182 1. The Palmers are Eng-
lish, four brothers coming over, three of them set-
tling in the eastern states, and one of them near
Jamestown, Virginia. From this one sprung the
branch of the family of which Le Roy and his
brother, General John M. Palmer, late governor of
Illinois, are members. Louis D. Palmer was born
in Spottsylvania county, Virginia, in 1781, near the
close of the revolutionary war, in which his father,
Isaac Palmer, participated for a short time. Le Roy
had six brothers, one sister, two half-brothers and



one half-sister, all yet living but three own brothers,
Frank, Charles and George. The family moved from
Kentucky to Madison county, Illinois, ten miles from
Alton, in 1831, and there the subject of this sketch
worked on a farm until after he became of age, with
quite limited means for education.

He read law with his brother, John M., at Carlin-
ville ; received his certificate at Hillsboro, Mont-
gomery county, early in 1846, and had just com-
menced practice at Carlinville when the Mexican
war broke out. In May of that year he enlisted as
a private in company B, Captain Elkin, 4th Illinois
Infantry Volunteers ; was in the service one year ;
returned to Carlinville, and in the autumn of 1847



750



THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONART.



Started for Iowa, intending to locate in Monroe City,
Jasper county, where it was then supposed the cap-
ital of the state would be. Reaching Mount Pleas-
ant in November, then a village of perhaps four
hundred inhabitants, and being pleased with the
place, he halted for the winter. The location of the
capital was changed to Iowa City, and Mr. Palmer
concluded to remain at Mount Pleasant. Here he
has been in the exclusive practice of law for thirty
years, serving his constituents at times in different
capacities.

In 1861 he was elected state senator to fill a va-
cancy occasioned by the resignation of Alvin Saun-
ders, now a United States senator from Nebraska.
He was placed on the judiciary committee. He de-
clined a renomination. In 1862 he was elected
judge of Henry county, serving one term. Other
offices which he has held are of minor importance,
but their duties have been well performed. In 1874
he was the democratic candidate for congress, and
carried Henry, usually a strongly republican county.

With the exception of 1856, when Judge Palmer
voted for John C. Fremont for President, and i860



and 1864, when he voted for Mr. Lincoln, he has
acted with the democratic party, returning to it be-
cause slavery was abolished and the question taken
out of politics. He wants to have the past forgotten
and the nation consolidated.

On the 7th of August, 1850, Judge Palmer and
Miss Orphia L. Bowen, of Mount Pleasant, were
joined in marriage, and of seven children, the fruit
of this union, five are living. The eldest son, Le Roy
A. Palmer, is in practice with his father in the firm
of Palmer, Jeffries and Palmer, a young man whose
capacities indicate strength and fondness in the di-
rection of art, and a disposition to follow socially,
and in religion and politics, the extreme rational
school.

During the long period in which the judge has
been practicing in Iowa, he has had a large number
of students, some of whom have become quite prom-
inent. Among them are General T. M. Bowen, who
was one of the supreme judges of Arkansas, then
governor of Idaho, and now judge of one of the
courts in Colorado, and the Hon. Geo. H. Green,
who died while in the Missouri senate.



WILLIAM D. LUCAS,

AMES.



WILLIAM DENNIS LUCAS, banker, and one
of the leading business men of Ames, is a
native of Wyoming county, New York, dating his
birth at Gainesville on the 5th of June, 1838, being,
therefore, now in his fortieth year. His parents were
Almon D. Lucas, farmer, and Cornelia Broughton.
His maternal grandfather, William Broughton, was a
colonel in the New York state militia, and his great-
grandfather on the same side went into the revolu-
tionary army when a mere lad, and became of age
only a short time before the close of that seven years'
struggle for independence. The business of William
D. until of age, and past, was farming, clerking and
practicing dentistry, learning the profession at Rush-
ford, Allegheny county, and there following it two
years. In addition to the district school he acquired
his education by attending the academies at Rush-
ford and Weathersfield Springs.

When the civil war burst upon the nation, in the
spring of 1861, he was prompt to respond to the
President's call for seventy-five thousand men. He
enlisted as a private in April, in company F, Captain



Clinton, 2ist regiment New York Infantry, Colonel
Rogers, commander. He was soon taken sick, and
was discharged from the hospital at Washington,
District of Columbia, in the month of July following.
Two months later, having recovered, he assisted Cap-
tain M'^. W. Wheeler in recruiting a company for the
5th New York Cavalry known as the "Ira Harris
Guards "; was made second lieutenant of company
F in the summer of 1862, and was promoted to first
lieutenant, and in January, 1863, to captain, of the
company.

On the 6th of July, 1863, Captain Lucas was cap-
tured between Hagerstown and Williamsport, Mary-
land; spent ten months in Libby prison and three at
Danville, Virginia, and Macon, Georgia. He escaped
on the 4th of August, 1864, en route from Macon to
Charleston, South Carolina ; he was recaptured with
dogs, taken to Augusta, Georgia, and confined ten
days in jail; thence returned to Macon and was sub-
sequently taken to Charleston and Columbia, South
Carolina, and Charlotte, Goldsborough and Raleigh,
North Carolina, and came into our lines by exchange



THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONART.



751



at Wilmington, Northi Carolina, on the ist of March,
1865, having spent, in all, about twenty months in
southern prisons.

While a prisoner at Richmond, Captain Lucas
was selected, with Lieutenant-Colonel Sanderson, of
North Carolina, and Major Henry, of Ohio, to dis-
tribute the supplies furnished by the United States
government to our prisoners on Belle Island.

On coming into our lines Captain Lucas returned
to his regiment, then at Stanton, Virginia, and was
mustered out with the regiment in July, 1865. Of
the one hundred and nine men who went out with
him in the first enlistment, company F, 5th New
York Cavalry, only seven returned with him.

Captain Lucas was in business one year at East
Gainesville, and in September, 1866, made his first
push westward, spending a few months in mercan-



tile trade at Bristol, Kendall county, Illinois, then
crossing the Mississippi river and settling at Ames,
in April, 1867. Here he engaged in the general mer-
cantile business one year, then opened an exchange
bank, which he still manages, and which has been a
marked success. He is the only banker in Ames.

Captain Lucas served here as justice of the peace ;
has been active and serviceable in the local school
board ; was the first mayor of the city, holding the
office tvvo or three terms, and has been treasurer of
the Agricultural College since 1873. As a business
man, he is very efficient and eminently trustworthy.
He is a Knight Templar among the Masonic brother-
hood, and a republican among politicians.

Captain Lucas has a wife and three children. The
former was Miss Flora C. Barber, of Warsaw, New
York; married in November, 1866.



LEWIS A. RILEY,

WAPELLO.



^'^HE marked success which attends the career
of a young man should be an incentive to
others to employ unceasingly the qualities of mind
which are vouchsafed to the average of mankind.
The point is to know what peculiar faculty of mind
for business one is possessed of, and to seize upon
the operation of this faculty to its utmost tension,
and then if one's actions are governed by a high
sense of honor the way to practical usefulness and
often to personal gain is an assured fact to almost
every man in the United States.

The readers of this volume will do well to ponder
over the biography of the subject of this sketch, and
to note the persistent efforts he has always made to
succeed in life. After gaining all the instruction his
limited means would permit, he becomes a school-
teacher as a means of self-support, but he has higher
aspirations and believes he can master the intricacies
of the law, and during his other advanced studies he
includes that of law, which he prosecutes until he is
admitted to the bar, and then labors at his profes-
sion with continued assiduity until he acquires, in
his thirty-third year, an enviable reputation and a
wide practice.

Mr. Lewis A. Riley was born in Holmes county,
Ohio, on the ist of March, 1845. His father, James
Riley, was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on
the 26th of March, 1805. He came to Ohio in 1839,



was married on the 24th of January, 1827, and had
born to him ten children, four sons and six daugh-
ters, of which one son and two daughters have de-
raised.

Lewis A. Riley commenced his schooling when
he was but seven years of age. He remained at the
district school until he was twelve years of age, at
which time he entered the high school at Columbus
City, Iowa, his father having removed to Iowa in
1853, settling in Louisa county, where he died on
the 2d of April, 1855. His mother also died in the
same county in 1868. Lewis remained at this high
school for four years, when he returned to his father's
farm and remained there for two years, working and
superintending its business, at the end of which time
he went to the public school at Mount Pleasant,
Iowa, for a short time, and from here he proceeded
to Poughkeepsie, New York, where he attended a
commercial college. From here he came to Gales-
burg, Illinois, and entered Knox College, and then
returned to Iowa and commenced teaching school,
which he continued to do until January, 1870, giv-
ing also much of his time to the private study of law.

About this time he was elected superintendent of
the public schools of Louisa county, which position
he held for two years. He concluded the study of
law in the office of D. N. Sprague, of Wapello, and
was admitted to the bar in April, 187T. He formed



752



THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARr.



a copartnership with his tutor under the firm name
Sprague and Riley, which connection is still main-
tained. The firm of Sprague and Riley is one of
the best known in Louisa county, and enjoys a large
practice in all the courts of the state and in the fed-
eral courts. Both gentlemen are able lawyers. Mr.
Riley, being much the younger, is capable of great
mental and physical endurance, and in the absence



of his partner, who, as district attorney of the state,
resides at Keokuk, discharges all the business of
the Wapello office.

On the 24th of April, 1872, Mr. Riley was married
to Miss Carrie Newill, of Fredonia, Louisa county.
They have one son, Robert Le Roy, aged five years.

Mr. Riley is a staunch republican in politics, and
an equally staunch Universalist in religion.



COLONEL GEORGE W. KINCAID,



MUSCATINE.



GEORGE WASHINGTON KINCAID was
born at West Union, Adams county, Ohio,
on the 24th of April, 1812, and was the son of
Thomas Kincaid and Margaret nie Hanna, natives
of Pennsylvania and Martinsburg, Virginia, and de-
scended of revolutionary stock. Both of the grand-
fathers of our subject fought throughout the war of
independence. His paternal grandfather was at the
battle of Lexington, while both grandfathers fought
side by side at the battle of Bunker Hill, and were
again together at the surrender of Cornwallis at
Yorktown, Virginia, where they held the rank of
captain and major. The father ■ of our subject,
Thomas Kincaid, was an aide-de-camp to General
Ludwick in the war of 181 2-15, and took part in
the battle of the Thames about the date of the birth
of his son.

George W. spent most of his boyhood in West
Union, his father having been sheriff of the county
for twelve years, where he enjoyed the benefit of
such public schools as the western country in that
early day afforded, and at the age of fourteen was
apprenticed to learn the tanning business at Pike-
ton, Ohio, where, after serving his time, he was en-
gaged in business for some years.

On the j6th of January, 1838, he married Miss
Lavisa Steenbergen, daughter of Charles Steenber-
gen, and moved to Lafayette, Indiana, in October of
the same year, where he was engaged as a contractor
on the public works for about a year, and in 1839
removed to Iowa and settled in Muscatine county,
which was his home during the balance of his life.
Here he engaged in farming.

Notwithstanding the educational disadvantages
under which he labored, he was a man of great in-
telligence and sound judgment, and soon took a
leading position in the community in which he re-



sided. He was a member of the first constitutional
convention of Iowa, and was also the first commis-
sioner of the state school fund, and was one of the
trustees having charge of the erection of the Iowa
Insane Asylum at Mount Pleasant during 1860-62,
and held many other offices of trust and responsi-
bility during his long and eventful career. He was
not only a pioneer citizen of Muscatine, to whose
interest and prosperity he was always devoted, but
he was emphatically a patriot and loved his whole
country. He felt in every muscle and fiber of his
frame the sentiment of Sir Walter Scott, as expressed
in those beautiful lines :

" Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said

This is my own, my native land !
* * " * * * %

If such there breathe, go, mark him well ;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name.
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
Despite those titles, power and pelf,
The wretch, concentrated all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung."

At the outbreak of the slavery rebellion he es-
poused the Union cause with all his heart, and on
every suitable occasion spoke out with the fervor of a
deep devotion to the cause of his country. An inci-
dent published in the local papers at the time shows
how he seized every opportunity to inspire enthusi-
asm and good humor in his patriotic work. A pub-
lic meeting was held at which a number of speeches
were made expressing the strongest allegiance to the
"old flag." One polished orator, with glowing and
rounded periods, said he " was born under the ' Stars
and Stripes,' and expected to die under them."
Colonel Kincaid followed this speaker, and said :
" I, too, was born under stars and stripes : I was



THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONART.



753



born in a little log-cabin in Ohio ; the stars shone
on me through the chinks between the logs, and
there was a striped quilt over me." This speech
"brought down the house" in uproarious applause,
and tended to add to his popularity and influence.
But he was not satisfied with speaking; he wanted
to do as well as say, and he conceived the idea of
raising a regiment of " graybeards,'' to be composed
of men who, like himself, were past the legal age for
military duty. Accordingly, in 1862, he recruited
what was afterward known as the 37th Iowa or
" graybeard " regiment, the recruits for which were
mainly drawn from the Hawkeye State, but many
of them were citizens of Illinois and other adjacent
states, which he commanded till the close of the
war in 1865. The regiment was mainly engaged on
garrison or guard duty, and in this capacity ren-
dered important service in taking the place of able-
bodied troops, who were thereby placed at the front.
The regiment was first ordered to Saint Louis, and
thence on the line of the Pacific railroad, where it
did guard duty for several months. From thence
it was transferred to Alton, Illinois, and placed on
guard over the rebel prisoners incarcerated at that
place, where it remained for about a year. From
thence the command was transferred to Rock Isl-
and, where, for several months, it did garrison duty.
In the spring of 1864 the colonel, with his "gray-
beards," was transferred to Memphis, Tennessee,
where, in command of the second brigade, district
of West Tennessee, he took part in the battle on the
23d of August, 1864. From Memphis the regiment
was transferred to Indianapolis, and thence to Cin-
cinnati, where the colonel and Jiis brave " gray-
beards " were mustered out on the 22d of May, 1865.
As a soldier. Colonel Kincaid was a stranger to



fear: no braver man ever wore the uniform of his
country. As a commander, he was kind and in-
dulgent to men whom he saw willing to do their
duty, but stern and severe to refractory subordi-
nates. It is remarkable that he was able to do so
much good for the cause of freedom with a regiment
composed of men supposed to be past the time of
life for effective military duty.

In politics, he had been originally a whig, and
was a radical republican from the organization of
that party. He was, through life, a total abstainer,
and an indefatigable advocate of the cause of tem-
perance.

He was a man of rather striking appearance, being
over six feet high and of remarkabje physical strength
and endurance; was one of the pioneers of Iowa,
and, like most men of that period, he began life low
down, and by his own energy and industry accumu-
lated a competence.

His wife was a niece of Hon. Robert Lucas, ex-
governor of Ohio, subsequently governor of Iowa,
and a brigadier-general in the war of 18 12. Both
of her grandfathers also fought through the revolu-
tionary war. They have a family of five children,
three sons and two daughters, all living: Joanna,
Margaret Levisa, Charles S., William Miller and
Warren Ellsworth. Joanna is the wife of Mr. George
Magoon, of Muscatine.

Colonel Kincaid was for many years a member of
the Methodist church, and attested the sincerity of
his profession and his love for his Divine Redeemer
by his consistent and exemplary walk in life.

As a husband and father, he was affectionate and
indulgent, and was beloved and revered by his fam-
ily. He died at Muscatine on the 19th of October,
1876, in his sixty-fifth year.



JOHN MEHLHOP,



DUBUQUE.



JOHN MEHLHOP, one of the successful whole-
sale merchants in Dubuque, is a native of Ger-
many, and was born near Bremen on the 26th of
January, 181 7. His parents were Albert Henry
Mehlhop, farmer, and Mary S. Behrns. The fam-
ily is a hardy, long-lived race. The grandfather of
John lived to be nearly ninety years of age, and his
grandmother ninety-seven. In his boyhood the
subject of this sketch read much about the United



States, and particularly the young and growing west,
and made up his mind to cross the ocean. He left
his home, alone, on the 26th of September, 1832, and
reached New Orleans on New- Year's Day following.
He proceeded northward as far as Saint Louis, went
into the country a few miles and engaged to work
for a farmer at thirty-six dollars a year and board.
He remained two years, receiving seventy-two dol-
lars the second year. He then went into Saint Louis



754



THE UNITED STATES BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY.



and worked in a coffee house four years, saving
money enough to be able to enter a piece of land in
Saint-Louis county, twenty-eight miles from the city.
This land he improved, by putting up a house and a
store, in which he kept a small assortment of goods,
serving, meantime, as deputy postmaster. By signing
for other parties he was unfortunate, disposed of his
farm, and in 1843 returned to Saint I^ouis. There he
clerked for Leach and Gorin until 1850, when he
removed to Dubuque; farmed two years in Dubuque
county, and in the autumn of 1853 went into the
mercantile business in the city, in the firm of Kline,
Meyer and Co., continuing in the wholesale and re-
tail traffic until early in 1857, when the firm dissolved
and he visited his native country. Returning the
same year, he built a store on Iowa street, north of
Twelfth, and there the new firm of Mehlhop and
Meyer was in trade until i860, when, dissolving, Mr.
Mehlhop continued the business alone at the old
stand until 1865. On the ist of January of that year
he opened a store on the corner of Main and Fourth
streets, where he has been in the wholesale grocery
business exclusively, working his trade up steadily
from a little more than two hundred thousand dol-
lars, a dozen years ago, to an average of more than
four hundred thousand dollars annually during the



last few years. He has always operated on straight-
forward, correct business principles ; has gained
friends and customers from year to year, and retained
them, hence the growth of his trade and his marked
success.

With the exception of one year in the city council
Mr. Mehlhop has managed to keep out of office, he
making his business his study and giving it his un-
divided, closest attention.

Mr. Mehlhop was a democrat until the formation
of the republican party, and has since acted with the
latter.

In religious belief and membership he is a Uni-
versalist.

He has passed all the chairs in Odd-Fellowship,
and has taken the thirty-second degree in the con-
sistory.

He has a second wife. He was first married in
1840, to Miss Benson, of Saint Louis county. She
had three children, and mother and children all died
of the cholera in 1849. The next year he married
Miss Bruening, who was born near Bremen. She
has had eight children, and seven are living.

Mr. Mehlhop is a man of excellent character, a
valuable citizen, and one of the merchants who have
given Dubuque its high commercial standing.



PROF. RICHARD A. HARKNESS, A. M.^

GARDEN GROVE.



RICHARD A. HARKNESS, one of the best
educators of Iowa, is a native of Delaware
county. New York, where he was born on the 25th
of November, 1839. His parents were Robert and