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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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this time operating four mines in which he has a
two-thirds interest. He is also attorney for the Illi-
nois Central Railroad Company for seventeen coun-
ties of the Iowa division.

When the Indian massacre occurred at Spirit
Lake, ninety miles northwest of Fort Bodge, early
in the year 1857, Mr. Buncombe commanded one
of the two companies organized at Fort Bodge, suf-
fering everything but death in that perilous march
through three feet of snow. Captain Johnson, of
company C, from Webster City, and Private W. Burk-




holder, of company B, were frozen to death, all
others barely escaping. On their return marchj
when in Pocahontas county, they had to halt for
forty-eight hours by the side of a body of water,
without food or tents, while the water froze stiff
enough to bear up loaded wagons. The troops
were out eighteen days, returning on the 5 th of
April, all of them thoroughly exhausted, and some
of them suffering for a long time after. Governor
Grimes compliinented these volunteers in the strong-
est terms for their bravery and their heroic endur-
ance of the hardships of the campaign.

As early as i860 Mr. Duncombe was a member
of the general assembly ; has since been a member
of both houses, attending in all six sessions, regular
and special. Physically and intellectually, he stood
among the tallest members. He was a powerful
debater, a wise counselor, and a very earnest worker
for the good of the commonwealth. While in the
upper house in i860 he drew the bill, and secured
its passage, by which the land grant was transferred
to the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railway
Company, which act enabled that road first to cross
the State of Iowa, thereby causing the main line of
the Union Pacific railroad to make its eastern point
at Council Bluffs. At the last session which he at-
tended in the lower house he drew the bill for the
Iowa railroad tax law, and carried it through in op-
position to a number of the leading men in the gen-
eral assembly.

Mr. Duncombe has been twice a candidate for
congress, once for lieutenant-governor, and once for
judge of the supreme court; but the democratic

party, to which he has always belonged, has been in
the minority for more than twenty years both in the
state and his congressional district: hence, although
he has usually run far ahead of the party ticket, he
was unable to secure a majority, though he has the
ability to fill any position in the state. In 1872 he
was chairman of the democratic national conven-
tion, and as such cast the vote of the delegation for
Horace Greeley for President. .

Mr. Duncombe is one of the regents of the State
University, and takes much interest in educational
matters. He has taken the highest orders of the
Masonic fraternity.

Though an attendant on church servicers, Mr.
Duncombe is not a member of any religious society.

He has been twice married : first, on the 29th of
December, 1852, to Miss Carrie Perkins, of Erie,
Pennsylvania, she dying without issue two years
later; and the second time, on the nth of May,
1859, to Miss Mary A. Williams, daughter of Major
Williams, of Fort Dodge. She has had six children,
and five are living. The family home is one of the
most stately and elegant mansions in Iowa, situated
on a high bluff overlooking a wide stretch of the
Des Moines valley.

At the outset of his settlement at Fort Dodge, Mr.
Duncombe made its interests his own, and has al-
ways been one of the foremost men in every move-
ment calculated to encourage its growth and increase
its prosperity. His efforts in this direction have
been untiring and successful. He is a man of irre-
proachable character, and is held in high esteem by
a very wide circle of acquaintance.



botanist and naturalist, was born in Worcester-
shire, England, on the 28th of August, 1823, and is
the second son of Joseph and Eliza (Elliott) Parry,
who with their family emigrated to America in 1832,
landing in New York on the ninth birthday of our
subject. They settled soon after in Sandy Hill,
Washington county, New York, where the boyhood
of young Parry was spent, attending school, at dif-
ferent periods, in several neighboring towns, includ-
ing, besides his regular place of residence, Benning-
ton, Vermont, and Union Village, New York. He

entered Union College, Schenectady (then under
tlie presidency of the celebrated Eliphalet Nott,
D.D.), in 1840, and graduated in 1842. After leav-
ing college he commenced the study of medicine,
including, for the purpose of recreation, the practi-
cal pursuit of botany; attended medical lectures at
Albany and New York city, graduating at the Col-
lege of Physicians and Surgeons in the latter place
in the spring of 1846 ; moved west in the fall of the
same year and settled in Davenport, Iowa, where
he commenced the practice of his profession. But,
although thoroughly educated, skillful and succesb-



fill as a physician, yet his tastes and enthusiasm ran
altogether in the line of botany, for the study of
which he had contracted an uncontrollable passion
in early life, and since 1847 his labors have been
mainly devoted to that science. Accordingly in
that year he accompanied, in the capacity of botan-
ist, a public land-surveying party, under the direc-
tion of Lieutenant J. Morehead, in the interior of
Iowa, including the present location of the state
capital, Des Moines ; and in the following year he
was connected with D. D. Owens' geological survey
of the northwest, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in
the same capacity, and prepared a classified list of
plants of the region embraced in the survey, includ-
ing previous observations in Iowa, published in Dr.
Owens' final report. In the spring of 1849 he left
for California, by way of the isthmus of Panama,
and was connected with the Mexican boundary sur-
vey, under command of Major W. H. Emory, as
botanist and geologist, the expedition being absent
four years. His report on the same is included in
the volumes of the " Mexican Boundary Survey,"
published in 1857-9. After this he continued to
reside in Davenport, giving his attention mainly to
business matters connected with the improvement of
his property in that town, until 1867, making sum-
mer botanical excursions as far as the Rocky Mount-
ains in the years i86r, 1862 and 1864. In the spring
of the year 1867 he accompanied a Pacific railroad
surveying party across the continent on the line of
the thirty-fifth parallel, returning to Davenport a
year later. In t,he spring of 1869 he accepted the
appointment of botanist to the United States agri-
cultural department in Washington, District of Co-
lumbia, remaining in this position till 187 1. During
this period he made a short trip to Europe in the
spring of 1870, revisiting, after an absence of thirty-
eight years, the scenes of his early life, spending
most of the time at the world-renowned Kew Gar-
dens, then, as now, under the direction of the dis-
tinguished botanist and explorer. Dr. J. D. Hooker.
In the early part of 187 1 he accompanied the Santo
Domingo commission to that island in the interest
of the "Agricultural Department," and made a
report on the botanical resources of that district,
which constitutes one of the public documents of
that period.

In 1873 he accompanied the northwestern Wyo-
ming expedition, under command of Captain W. S.
Jones, United States engineer corps, to the head of
the Yellowstone and the National Park. In 1874 he

made a private botanical tour into southern Utah
and in the years 1875 and 1876 he made an ex
tended botanical collecting tour in Utah, Nevad;
and California, returning to Davenport in the fall
the last-named year. His reports on these severa
expeditions have been published in various scien
tific journals, the last being contained in volum(
one of " Proceedings of the Davenport Academy o
Science," of which important institution he was on(
of the original founders, and president thereof fron
1868 to 1875.

In politics, the doctor affiliates with the repub.
lican party,. though inclining more to its liberal thar
its strict party alliance.

In religious profession, he is an Episcopalian, and
in his philosophic views, an evolutionist.

Dr. Parry, like most eminent scholars and scien-
tists, is extremely modest and retiring. So unob-
trusive and entirely undemonstrative has been his
whole career that it is only the comparatively few
in the small circle of the devotees of science thai
are able to form any estimate of his worth in the
life he has chosen and to which he has devoted his
brilliant talents. He is essentially a student; his
time and ability are in continuous exercise in the
interests of science, and he has enjoyed the con-
fidence and esteem of some of the foremost men ir
the scientific world. The late lamented Agassis
was one of his constant correspondents, among
whom are also such well-known names as Professoi
Asa Gray, the late Dr. J. Torrey, Professor Eaton
of Yale College, Professors Henry and Baird, of the
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District oi
Columbia, Dr. Engelmann, of St. Louis, etc., in this
country, and Hooker, Bentham and De CandoUe
in the old world.

It is as a botanist that Dr. Parry will be chief!)
rem'embered. During his several expeditions to the
Rocky Mountains and Pacific-slope territories hii
researches have resulted in large and very valuable
contributions to the classified flora of the Unitec
States. By his numerous reports and articles to th(
various scientific periodicals he has rendered servic(
of the utmost importance to the interests of sciena
throughout the world.

Dr. Parry is also a gentleman of the very highes
literary attainments alid of refined tastes, and hi
occasional' deviations from the beaten track of hi
pursuits, in the way of public addresses to his fel
low-citizens, have been productive of the most bene
ficial results ; especially note,worthy among thesi



was his lecture on the history of the Mississippi
valley, delivered by request in 1872, and published
by the Young Men's Christian Association of Dav-

Despite his proverbial reticence and retiring hab-
its, Dr. Parry is a gentleman of fine social qualities,
and when he " unbends " himself is one of the most
genial of companions.

In all the phases of a strong moral character, he

is beyond reproach, and deservedly enjoys the high-
est esteem of all who know him.

In 1854 he was married in Davenport, Iowa, to
Miss Sarah M. Dalzell, who died in 1858, leaving
one child (Eliza), who survived her mother seven
years. In 1859 he married his present wife, Mrs.
Emily R. Preston, of Westford, Connecticut. Being
without other family, he is enabled to devote the
later years of his life to his congenial pursuits.



T AMES MADISON TUTTLE, a native of Sum-
J merfield, Monroe county (now Noble county),
Ohio, was born on the 24th of September, 1823, the
son of James Tuttle and Esther nSe Crow. He
traces his paternal ancestry back to the earliest
settlement of Maine, his great-grandfather being
Burrell Tuttle and his grandparents being James
Tuttle and Martha n^e Moore. His maternal ances-
tors were natives of Pennsylvania, his grandfather
being Martin Crow.

Prior to his tenth year our subject attended
school in Fayette county, Indiana, and afterward,
until he attained his twentieth year, when he began
life for himself, his time was employed in assisting
his father.

Removing to the west in the spring of 1846, he
settled at Farmington, in Van Buren county, Iowa,
and there engaged in the mercantile trade and farm-
ing. As a business man, he soon won the confidence
of his fellow-citizens and disclosed those qualities
which eminently fitted him for official positions.
Accordingly, in 1855, he was elected sheriff of the

Two years later he was elected county treasurer,
and in 1859 was reelected to the same office.

At the opening of the civil war his sympathies
became deeply engaged in the Union cause, and
raising a company of volunteers, he was elected
captain of the same. Such, however, was the ra-
pidity with which the call for troops was filled, that
this company was not called into the service until
the 27th of May, 1861, when it was assigned to
the 2d regiment Iowa Infantry Volunteers. While
quartered at Keokuk, Iowa, Captain Tuttle was
elected lieutenant-colonel, and on the 6th of Sep-
tember, 1861, succeeded Colonel Curtis to the rank

of colonel, that officer having been promoted to the
rank of brigadier-general. At the battles of Fort
Donelson and Shiloh, Colonel Tuttle displayed
marked courage and self-possession, and made a
record that placed him in the front ranks of Iowa's
brave soldiers.

During the fall and winter of 1862 he held com-
mand of the forces at Cairo, but in the spring of
1863 was assigned the command of a division of
General Sherman's corps. While serving in this
capacity he was an active participant in the cam-
paign against Vicksburg and in the capture of Jack-
son, Mississippi.

In the fall of 1863 he was the democratic can-
didate for governor of Iowa, but that party being
greatly in the minority, defeat was inevitable. Re-
turning to the army, he rendered efficient service
until the fall of 1864, when he was mustered out.

Settling at Des Moines in the ensuing autumn, he
was engaged in farming during the next two years,
and since that time has been largely interested in
pork packing. He first began the business in part-
nership with his brother, Martin Tuttle, under the
firm name of Tuttle Brothers. In 1870 he pur-
chased his brother's interest, and three years later
formed a partnership with Lewis Igo. The firm of
Tuttle and Igo continued until the spring of 1875,
when Mr. Tuttle purchased his partner's interest in
the business, and since that time has conducted it
in his own name.

In 1866 he was a candidate for congress, his op-
ponent being General G. M. Dodge, and ran ahead
of the party ticket by two thousand votes. In 187 1
he was elected a member of the state legislature and
served one term. He is now (1877) actively iden-
tified with the republican party.



As a business man, General Tuttle is prompt and
energetic ; upright and honorable in all his dealings,
he has secured the esteem of all .with whom he has
had to do, and attained to a well merited success.

He has been twice married : first, on the 22d of
September, 1847, to Miss Elizabeth J. Conner, of
Fayette county, Indiana, who died on the 21st of
September, 185 1; and on the 17th of August, 1853,
he was married to Laura M. Meek, daughter of Dr.
S. G. Meek, of Farmington, Iowa.

Of the five children who have been born to them,
Laura, born on the i6th of July, 1854, is the wife of
Albert L. West, cashier of Capital City Bank, East
Des Moines, and has one child, Florence ; George,
born on the 26th of January, 1856, died at Vicks-
burg on the i6th of October, 1863 ; Mary, born on
the 25th of March, i860, died on the 2d of May,
1862 ; Mella, born on the 13th of July, 1865, is now
attending school ; Joel was born on the 4th of
April, 1872.



AT an early day in the history of our country
1\. three brothers by the name of Underwood
emigrated from England. Of these, one settled in
Massachusetts, and was. the ancestor of many of the
Underwoods of New England and the west ; a sec-
ond settled in Virginia, and from him sprang many
of that name in the south and west. The history
of the third is not known with any degree of cer-
tainty. David Underwood, a major at the battle of
Bunker Hill, engaged in farming after the close of
the war. He had a son, Jonas, who also was a
farmer, and lived to an old age. He, too, had a
son Jonas, who married Mary Vorse, and became
the father of six sons and five daughters, of whom
four sons and one daughter are now living. Of
these, Henry Underwood married Almira Conley,
and has four children, and is a farmer and stock-
dealer near Marengo, Illinois ; Malinda is the wife
of Harry Mclntyre, trackmaster of the upper branch
of the Des Moines Valley railroad; Dr. Myron Un-
derwood, a physician at Eldora, Iowa, is a graduate
of Rush Medical Cpllege, Chicago ; he was a sur-
geon in the 12th Iowa regiment during the civil
war ; he married Sophia Ellis, and has four children
living; David Underwood is a farmer and stock-
dealer at Steamboat Rock, Hardin county, Iowa;
he married Ann Harnard, and has one son. James
Underwood, our subject, a native of Montville,
Geauga county, Ohio, was born on the 25th of Oc-
tober, 1830. His maternal great-grandmother was
a relative of John Adams ; his paternal grandmoth-
er's name was Boydon. His maternal grandfather,
Henry Vorse, a millwright by occupation, was a
man of superior intellect ; being too young to enter
the army he served as page to an officer during the

revolutionary war. He had a family of five sons
and three daughters, of whom four are now (1B77)
living. Henry Vorse, about eighty-three years of
age, is a resident of Kalamazoo, Michigan ; one of
the daughters is living at Binghamton, New York;
the younger brother, William Vorse, a mechanic,
lives' near St. Paul, Minnesota. The mother of our
subject, now eighty years old, is living with him.
His only paternal uncle, Asa B. Underwood, a resi-
dent of Grundy county, Iowa, is now over eighty
years of age, and a man of unusual activity and in-

Mr. Underwood passed his early life amid the
scenes of what was then the far west. He endured
many hardships, and at the age of twelve years was
able to do a man's work chopping. Although he
labored under many disadvantages in acquiring an
education, he studiously improved his opportunities
and gained a fair knowledge of the ordinary Eng-
lish branches.

In the fall of 1845 his father moved, with a herd
of cattle, to Riley, McHenry county, Illinois, where
he purchased and improved a farm. Here our sub-
ject was engaged in such work as is incident to the
pioneers of a new country, and received some edu-
cational advantages. He was accustomed to drive
to Chicago with produce, and it is worthy of note,
as showing the difference between prices then and
now, that his hotel bill, for supper, lodging and
breakfast for himself and hay for his horses, and
two drinks of whisky, was fifty cents. He remained
on the farm until his nineteenth year, when he com-
menced to learn the carpenter and joiner's trade,
but only continued at it a few months. He was
next engaged in carrying goods and passengers



westward from Elgin. During the winter of his
twentieth year he taught school, " boarding around "
and receiving a compensation of ten dollars per
month. Purchasing his time of his father in the
following spring, he bought a yoke of oxen, and put
in fifty acres of wheat and seven acres of oats. He
then entered school and studied until July, and
afterward harvested his grain, expending but five
dollars for help. During the next winter he taught
the same school for sixteen and two-thirds dollars
per month, and in the spring, buying two yokes of
steers and a yoke of oxen, broke prairie for one dol-
lar and fifty cents per acre. He next taught a
school at twenty dollars per month, having sixty-
four pupils, of whom fifty became teachers. After
the close of his school he cut the timber and
erected a barn, twenty-six by thirty-six feet and
twenty feet high, for his father for fifty dollars, it
being the last payment on eighty acres of land
which he had purchased of him. He spent ten
weeks in school at Mount Morris, Illinois, in the
following fall, studying grammar, rhetoric, algebra
and geometry, and also taking an active part in de-
bating societies. During the following winter he
taught at Mount Morris for twenty-six dollars per
month. In the spring of 1854, in connection with
his brother, he purchased the homestead, making a
farm of three hundred and fifty acres. Soon after-
ward he sold his interest and bought his brother's
farm of one hundred and fifty acres. He con-
tinued farming, teaching winters, until 1861, when,
through embarrassment caused by becoming surety
for a friend, he sold his farm, paid off his indebt-
edness and removed to Steamboat Rock, Hardin
county, Iowa. Here he engaged in general work
and in farming until the nth of August, 1862, when
he enlisted as a private in company F, 32d regiment
Iowa volunteers. Going to Camp Franklin, Dubuque,
he was appointed first duty sergeant in October, and
on the 17th of November started for the south. At
St. Louis the regiment was divided, his company,
with four others, going to Cape Girardeau. In the
following July, with a lieutenant's commission, he
recruited a company of colored troops. In August,
being taken violently ill, he was obliged to remain
behind for a time, his, company going south. He
afterward recruited some twenty-five more men, and
joined the regiment at Helena, Arkansas. It was
very sickly, and they buried three hundred and
eighty-three of their men between the ist of Sep-
tember and the ist of December.

Mr. Underwood was in very poor health, often
having to be brought in from picket duty, but kept
up until the following July, when he was stricken
down with fever and obtained a leave of absence of
nineteen days, and went north to Marengo, Illinois.
Returning to his regiment, he was sent to Island No.
63, and not improving in health, but continually
growing worse, he was sent north on a surgeon's
certificate. Finding that there was little prospect
of his recovery, he, on the i6th of December, sent
in his resignation.

Being in a poor state of health, he worked at va-
rious things during the next few years, and in 1871
removed to Grundy county^nd engaged in farming,
continuing that occupation until the present time.

In politics, Mr. Underwood is a thorough repub-
lican. He was a strong abolitionist, and cast his
first ballot for John P. Hale, being the only man in
his town who voted that ticket. At the next elec-
tion all but thirteen persons in the town voted with
him. In the fall of i860 he was captain of a com-
pany of " wideawakes," and in 1868 captain of a
company of " tanners."

From November i, 1851, until 1 861, he was treas-
urer of the school fund at Riley, McHenry county,
Illinois, and during that time was several times
town clerk. In 1872 he was elected town trustee
at Melrose, Iowa, and during the past three years
has been serving as assessor. In October, 1875, he
was elected to the state legislature for a term of two

Mr. Underwood's sympathies have always been
with the laboring classes, and he has taken an act-
ive part in the grange movement. He has been a'
leader in the local organizations, and is now (1877)
a member of the executive committee of the state
grange. He has for many years been actively con-
nected with agricultural societies, and has given
much attention to raising fine stock. Himself a
man of cultivated mind, he has always advocated
that .the farmer should be a man of the highest type
of intellectual and moral worth.

Since June, 1850, he has been an active member
of the Methodist church, and during much of that
period has been superintendent of the Sabbath-
school. He has also been leader, trustee and stew-
ard, and in the autumn of 1857 was licensed as a
local preacher. In the fall of 1870 he was ordained
a deacon.

Mr. Underwood was married on the 31st of
March, 1854, to Miss Melissa Gardner, eldest



daughter of N. C. Gardner, postmaster at Union,
McHenry county, Illinois. He was formerly a
farmer, and is an only son of his father, who also
was an only son. The family is descended from
the family who owned "Gardner's Island." Mrs.
Underwood's mother was Susasan Ann n^e Sanders.
Of her family two sons and four daughters are now

Mr. Underwood has had six children : Olin
Clark, born November 27, 1855, who is now study-
ing medicine ; Osman Watson, born December 27,
1857, who died May 7, 1861 ; James Myron, born
October 22, 1859, now at home; Milton Ferree,
born July 22, i866, who died July 11, 1868; Henry
Mason, born February 9, 1869, and Luella, born
November 7, 187 1.

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 12 of 125)