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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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life, but is universally respected wherever known;
and although his contact with the world from the
time he left the university to the close of the war was
circumscribed by the din and bustle of the battle-
field, he is a complete cosmopolite, and is as agree-
able and sociable a person as he who has spent all
his days amid the quiet surroundings of a life of
peace, ease and luxury.

In June, 1871, Major Karr married Miss Anna F.
Wonner, eldest daughter of Frederick Wonner, of
Osceola. They have had bom to them two sons,
Frederick William and Hamilton L., junior.

Major Karr is a Universalis! in his ^ligious belief
and education, and a radical republican in politics.
He is not an active partisan politician, except in the
time of a national campaign.



AMONG the older practitioners on the Iowa side
£\. of the Missouri slope is Dr. George Henry
McGavren, nearly thirty years a resident of Potta-
wattamie and Harrison counties. He was a son of
George McGavren, a farmer, who came from Scot-
land in 1800, and settled in York county, Pennsyl-
vania. He fought against England in our second
contest with her. George Henry was born in In-
diana, Indiana county, Pennsylvania, on the i8th of
March, 1818. His mother, Nancy J. Ewart, was of

Irish descent. The son grew to manhood on a farm
in his native town; at eighteen moved to Columbi-
ana county, Ohio, near Salem, farming and attend-
ing common and select schools until of age. Sub-
sequently he taught five winters, and spent the
remainder of the time each year in miscellaneous
studies at Oberlin College.

He read medicine at Petersburg, Columbiana
county, with Dr. John Wise ; attended lectures in
the medical department of Western Reserve College,



Cleveland, and graduated in the spring of 1847.
After practicing between two and three years in
Allen county, Ohio, Dr. McGavren moved to west-
ern Iowa, locating in Pottawattamie county, three
miles south of his present residence, removing to
this place eleven or twelve years ago. His early
practice here, when this part of the slope was very
thinly settled, extended over three or four counties.
A single ride of a hundred miles, including the re-
turn trip, was no uncommon thing, and occasionally
he was called sixty and seventy miles from home, at
a time, too, when roads of any kind were scarce and
there were no bridges.

Latterly Dr. McGavren's rides have been limited
to certain portions of Harrison and Pottawattamie
counties, except in cases of consultation. His repu-
tation for skill is excellent, and his kindly nature
and sympathetic disposition make him a welcome
visitor in the sick room.

He was a member of the lower house of the gen-
eral assembly in 1870, being elected on the repub-
lican ticket the autumn before, and was on the com-
mittees on schools, county organizations and two or
three other committees. The doctor was a demo-
crat until the civil war broke out. He was coroner

of Harrison county three or four years, but has us-
ually kept out of office, his professional business
being sufficient for any one man.

Dr. McGavren is a member of the Iowa State
Medical Society, and of the National Eclectic Med-
ical Association.

He is a Master Mason' and an Odd-Fellow, but
has very little time to give to such organizations.

His religious sympathies are with the Methodists,
with whom he has been connected ia church rela-
tionship since about 1865.

Dr. McGavren has a second wife : his first was
Miss Lucinda Fausnaught, of Ohio ; married in
1850, and dying in 1862, leaving five children, all
yet living. His present wife was Miss Rosella Ter-
williger, of Clarion county, Pennsylvania ; married
in 1863. She has two children, a boy and girl. He
has four daughters by his first wife, all married.
Maria is the wife of A. T. Boies, of Magnolia, Iowa ;
Lenora is the wife of James Roland, of Palmer, Har-
rison county; Viola is the wife of Reuben Palmer,
real-estate dealer, of Missouri Valley, and Jennie is
the wife of Francis Manchester, jeweler, also of Mis-
souri Valley. The only son by the first wife, Charles
W., is a student in Rush Medical College, Chicago.



ONE of the oldest and most successful merchants
in Oskaloosa is Daniel Warren Loring, who
has been a trader here twenty-seven years, and,
financially speaking, has never wavered an iota. He
settled here when Oskaloosa had less than seven
hundred inhabitants ; has seen it grow to a city of
seven thousand ; has been identified with its im-
provements, and has aided his full share in making
the city what it is, an important railroad center and
great trading point. He was a son of Hon. Oliver
R. Loring, a farmer, who resided at Belpre, Ohio, at
the' time of the son's birth, on the ist of December,
182 1. The progenitor of the Loring family was from
Wales, and settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, about
two hundred and thirty years ago. The grandfather
of Daniel W. was a participant in the successful
struggle for freedom from the British yoke. The
maiden name of the mother of our subject was Fanny
Warren, a descendant of another old Massachusetts
family, numbering many persons of eminence.

Daniel W. followed his father's calling in his
younger years, receiving, meanwhile, a strictly busi-
ness education, taking a scientific course at a Mari-
etta institution. Soon after arriving at age he com-
menced, in his native town, a mercantile life, which
he has never abandoned. In 1851 he settled in
Oskaloosa, beginning on a small scale, in a small
frame building, having as a partner his brother, Jesse
D. Loring, until his death in 187 1. He seems to have
started in business with the conviction that " honesty
is the best policy " ; that to make friends and retain
them ihey must be fairly dealt with. He has always
pursued an upright, straightforward course, dealing
patiently and leniently with customers where the ex-
ercise of such virtues was called for; acting also with
proper caution and prudence in granting credit, and
has thus protected himself, secured the confidence of
the people, and built up as good a business, probably,
as any man in Mahaska county. On nearly the same
spot on the public square he has traded for more than



a quarter of a century ; has gone on expanding his
business, and is now found on the northwest corner
of the square, in a brick store eighty feet deep, and
holding something like thirty thousand dollars' worth
of stock. So carefully has he managed, so closely
supervised his business, that he has never had a re-
verse in fortune ; which is almost marvelous, consid-
ering the panics to which merchants have been sub-
jected in the last twenty-one years.

Mr. Loring has been in the city council and on
the school board, and has given all the time which
he could spare to advance local interests, but has
never sought office. He seems to be thoroughly
contented to be a first-class business man, a kind
and benevolent citizen. The poor have always found
a warm friend in Mr. Loring.

In politics, he was an old-line whig; is now a re-
publican. He is a blue lodge Mason, and is liberal
in christian sentiment.

His wife was Miss Mary K. Soule, of Marietta,
Ohio, their union taking place in March, 1853. They
have had four children, two of whom are now living.
Mary L., the older of the two living children, is a
student in the State University, and Frank W. is a
student in Penn College, located in Oskaloosa.

Mr. Loring has a beautiful homestead in the city
of Oskaloosa, and is surrounded with every comfort
which a life of marked industry and judicious hus-
bandry could secure. He is a director of the Ma-
haska County Savings Bank, and the indices of his
success in business are eminently conspicuous in
the city of his adoption.



professor of theory and practice of medicine
and clinical medicine in Iowa State University, was
born at Georgetown, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania,
on the sth of June, 1831, and is the son of James M.
Robertson and Maria n^e Armstrong, the former of
Scotch and the latter of English ancestry. His juve-
nile education was obtained in the common schools
of the country, and his more advanced studies were
pursued in the preparatory department and freshman
class of Knox College, Illinois. Being an ardent
student, he applied himself to his studies with such
diligence as seriously to affect his health, so that in
the third term of his freshman year he was obliged
to discontinue his studies and spend a year at home
in recuperation, after which he returned to college ;
but six months' incessant mental application brought
him down again, and he was compelled to return to
his home a second time. This terminated his col-
legiate course.

In 1852, having recovered his health, he entered
the office of his father as a medical student. In the
autumn of 1854 he attended his first course of lec-
tures in Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.
The ensuing summer was spent in his father's office
in assisting him in his practice. In September, 1855,
he returned to Jefferson College, and graduated from
that institution on the Sth of March, 1856. In the
same year he located at Columbus City, Iowa, his

old home, where he entered upon his career as a
physician. His studies had led him to cultivate a
fondness for surgery, and while attending to the
duties of a general business with fidelity, he was
especially careful to treat all the surgical cases that
came legitimately within the scope of his practice.
His senior professional friends, seeing his inclination
in this direction, sent him many interesting and im-
portant cases. He remained at Columbus city for
a period of twelve years, enjoying a large general
and surgical practice. He spent the winter of 1868-9
in the hospitals of New York city, under the special
direction of Professor Frank H. Hamilton, M.D. In
the spring of 1869 he sold his property at Columbus
city and moved to Muscatine, Iowa. At the opening
of the medical department of the Iowa State Uni-
versity he was offered the chair of theory and prac-
tice of medicine, and clinical medicine, which he
accepted, and was commissioned accordingly on the
22d of December, 1869.

At the outbreak of the rebellion in 1861 he raised
the first company of volunteers that was recruited
in the state, and tendered them to the governor, but
for some reason which has never been made public
they were not accepted. On the 13th of June, 1861,
he was mustered into the, army as major of the sth
Iowa Volunteers, being present at and participating
in every march, siege, skirmish and battle of that gal-
lant regiment, till the 23d of July, 1862. In a night



attack in front of New Madrid, on the 4th of March,
1862, and in an afternoon skirmish on the 6th of
March, he was made the special target of the ene-
my's sharpshooters, and had five minie-balls through
his coat, his horse shot down, and the hair shaved
off both sides of his head at once by bullets. Near
Rienzi, Mississippi, on the loth of March, in the
same year, in company with his servant and six cav-
alrymen, he was cut off from camp while out on a
tour of inspection as a picket officer, and hewed his
way with his sabre through two lines of rebel infantry,
reaching his camp in safety, with the loss of two men.
He had also the honor of commanding the left skir-
mish line of the army of the Mississippi in front of
Corinth, at the time that stronghold was evacuated
by Beauregard.

On the 22d of May, 1862, the gallant commander
of the regiment. Colonel W. H. Worthington, was
killed, and at a meeting of the officers of the regi-
ment, called to nominate his successor, an informal
ballot gave Major Robertson every vote for the va-
cancy, and he was accordingly nominated by acclama-
tion. Duly appreciating this expression of confidence
from his fellow-officers, he resolved to accept the po-
sition to which he had been so flatteringly nominated,
and desiring to arrange his affairs at home, he applied
for a thirty days' leave of absence, which, however,
he was refused in consequence of orders issued from
department headquarters, detaining all officers able
for duty in the field. Having some important busi-
ness imperatively demanding his presence at home,
by the advice of General Halleck, and with the dis-
tinct understanding that he would rejoin his com-
mand on receipt of his commission as colonel, his
resignation as major was tendered and accepted on
the 23d of July, 1862. Notwithstanding the fact
that the officers of the regiment, when asked by the
governor why they did not recommend promotion in
their regiment according to seniority of rank, reiter-
ated their demand for his appointment by a unani-
mous vote, giving good and sufficient reasons there-
for, and without making any charge against the gallant
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment except his lack of
familiarity with our language and the system of tactics
and regulation of our service, for some reason still
unexplained, his commission as colonel was withheld,
and he did not again enter the military service, though
he was repeatedly importuned to do so.

In relation to one of the incidents above alluded
to, the following is the indorsement of General G.
Granger on Major Robertson's report :

Camp in front of New Madrid, March 6, 1862.
As commander of the column mentioned within, which
moved upon New Madrid yesterday, it affords me much
satisfaction to more than corroborate every statement of the
modest but gallant Major Robertson. His officers and men,
under a terrific fire of round shot and shell for some two
hours, behaved like veterans, and quite surprised me by
their coolness and indifference to the danger by which they
were surrounded. Major Robertson was especially con-
spicuous, never dismounting from his horse, although the
enemy's sharpshooters tried their best to pick him off.

G. Granger,
Colonel 2d Michigan Cavalry, Commanding.
Head Quarters zd Div. Army of Mississippi,

Nor is the following testimonial from the officers
and men of Company A of his regiment less com-
plimentary or less deserving of record :


In Camp, Clear Creek, Miss., July 24, 1862.
Major W. S. Robertson. — Sir: The officers and mem-
bers of Company A, 5th Iowa Infantry, having heard with
deep regret of your resignation of the position of major of
this regiment, deem it but their duty to express their sorrow
at the loss of one who, for over twelve months of arduous
service in the field, has ever been the cheering light of the
regiment. When the bullets of the foe were whistling
around us, your presence inspired us; when on the weary
march, your encouragement enlivened us; when wearied
of the monotony of the camp, your smiles have cheered us.
In all the vicissitudes and changes of our soldiers' life we
have found you exercising the same watchful care over us
which has lightened our sorrows and troubles and endeared
you to us as the father of the regiment. With sorrow we
bid you " good-bye," with our earnest wishes for your health,
happiness and prosperity.

Signed, William Dean, Captain.

John W. Ca.sad, First Lieutenant.

Lafayette Shaw, Second Lieutenant.

And sixty members of the rank and file.

In politics, the doctor has always been recognized
as of the radical republican type.

He was one of the original stockholders and a
member of the first board of directors of the Mus-
catine Water Works Company.

In 1873, while acting as city and county physician
of Muscatine county, his attention was specially at-
tracted by the sad condition of the feeble-minded
children then in the county poor-house, and for the
first time realized the fact that the state had made
no provision for the care, education or maintenance
of this unfortunate class. In visiting other parts of
the state he found the same condition of affairs ex-
isting. When contrasting this state of things with
the munificent arrangements which the state had
made for the education of other classes of unfor-
nates less helpless and forlorn than these, it occurred
to him that it was time the subject was forced upon
the attention of the people and their legislators, and
that it was the bounden duty of the slate to make
some provision for them. Deeply impressed with
this idea, he brought the subject to the notice of the
State Medical Society, in his annual address as its



president, in January, 1874, and asked the coopera-
tion of that body to that end. The society " re-
solved," but took no further action at that time.
The subject was again brought forward at the next
meeting, and Dr. Robertson appointed a special com-
mittee of one to present the subject to the legislature.
He accordingly drafted a bill as a guide in the forma-
tion of a law, and prepared a " Plea for the Feeble-
Minded Children of the State of Iowa," which he had
printed at his own expense, and a copy placed upon
the desk of each member of the legislature. The
subject was subsequently presented to the respective
houses by Hon. C. C. Horton, of Muscatine, and
Hon. J. Y. Stone, of Glenwood. To the action of
our subject, seconded by the gentlemen named, is
due the fact that Iowa has now a magnificent insti-
tution in successful operation, located at Glenwood,
Mills county, for the education and maintenance of
this lowest class of unfortunates, Dr. Robertson be-

ing very properly the president of the board of trus-
tees of the institution. He is also a member of the
Muscatine County Medical Society, late president
Iowa State Medical Society, late president of the
Eastern Iowa District Medical Society, member of
the American Medical Association, also a member
of the judicial council of that body. He has also
been for many years a distinguished member of the
Masonic fraternity.

He is a member of the Presbyterian church.

On the loth of June, 1856, he married Miss Annie
E. Charlton, a native of Cattaraugus county, New
York, but of English parentage, a lady of high cul-
ture and refinement.

Dr. Robertson has had five children born to him,
three sons and two daughters, only two of whom
survive, named Charles and Nellie.

As a physician, Dr. Robertson is prompt to respond
to the calls of duty, and is a skillful surgeon.



J native of Oneida county, New York, and was
born in Lee township on the 28th of May, 1828, his
parents being Allen and Clarissa Cornish. His an-
cestors were from England, and settled in Massa-
chusetts at an early day. His father was a soldier
in the second war with the mother country. Joel
received his literary education at the Whitestown
Academy and at the State Normal School, Albany,
New York ; commenced teaching winter schools at
seventeen. After three or four years he abandoned
that vocation, and entered the law office of Mattison
and Doolittle, in Utica, New York, and finally clos-
ing his legal education in the office of Foster and
Bennett, of Rome, where he commenced practice.

In 1854 Mr. Cornish came to Iowa city, Iowa,
where he was proprietor of the Tremont hotel about
two years, and where he made additions to his law
library and prepared for practice.

In the autumn of 1859 he removed to Sidney,
Fremont county, continuing the practice of his pro-
fession until 1874.

Soon after the commencement of the civil war he
was appointed deputy commissioner for Fremont
county, which position he held but a few months
when the law creating the office was abrogated, and

he accepted the appointment of commissioner of the
board of enrollment and draft for the fifth congres-
sional district, with headquarters at Des Moines.
He resigned at the end of one year to become gov-
ernor's aid-de-camp and provost-marshal, in which
capacity he served two years. Previous to leaving
this position he had been appointed by the President
brigade quartermaster, with the rank of colonel ; but
he declined to accept this office on the ground that
his services were needed in his own state, and es-
pecially in Fremont county, where raiders from Mis-
souri were constantly committing depredations upon
the property and persons of citizens of Iowa.

In 1874 Colonel Cornish removed from Sidney to
Hamburg, in the same county, and organized, with
J. M. Metcalf, Moses Samuels, T. E. Metcalf, M. R.
Taylor and others, the First National Bank of Ham-
burg, of which he has since been president. He
has been a very enterprising and successful man, the
progress of Hamburg during the last three or four
years owing largely to his efforts. He is full of pub-
lic spirit, and lakes especial delight in pushing for-
ward local enterprises. In all such matters his hands
and money are free.

The colonel is a republican, with whig antecedents;
-a firm adherent to his party, but not an office seeker.



The civil positions which he has held have been con-
fined to local matters. While at Sidney he was presi-
dent of the school board for many years, and did a
noble work for the cause of education.

In religious sentiment, Colonel Cornish is liberal.

He was married in August, 1850, to Miss Virginia
Raymond, of Cuba, New York. They have had four
children : Ada, the wife of J. H. Hertsche, cashier

of the First National Bank of Hamburg; Anna, the
wife of Joseph M'. Metcalf, of Hamburg ; Albert J.,
a student at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York;
and Edward J., a student in Tabor College, Iowa.

The colonel is a cautious, skillful and prudent man,
and one of the best financiers in Fremont county.
He keeps thoroughly posted in regard to values and
the responsibility of citizeris in his locality.



MADISON M. WALDEN, lieutenant-governor
of Iowa in 1870-1871, and member of the
forty second congress, is a native of Adams county,
Ohio, and was born on the 6th of October, 1836.
The Waldens were an early Ohio family, both of his
parents, Joseph Minor and Malinda Prather Walden,
being born there, his mother in the same house in
which he was born. She is yet living, being in her
seventy-eighth year. The family moved to Lee
county, Iowa, in 1852, and there the father died
the same year.

The subject of this brief memoir received his
academic education at Denmark, Lee county ; at-
tended the Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant,
Iowa, one year, and graduated at the University of
the same name at Delaware, Ohio, in 1859, receiving
the degree of A.M. He located in Centerville in
1859, and was principal of the graded school. A few
years later he was county superintendent of schools
one year.

Mr. Walden entered the Union army in May, 1861,

and served throughout the war. At the close of
the war Captain Walden purchased " The Citizen "
newspaper, at Centerville, and built it up, making it a
first-class paper, and selling out in November, 1874.
On the 2istof June, 1877, he started " The Tribune,"
having in three or four months a voluntary subscrip-
tion of fourteen hundred names. Meantime, while
a journalist. Captain Walden has served the state in
various positions of trust and honor. He was a
member of the lower house of the general assembly
in the session of 1866 ; was a member of the senate
in the session of 1868; was the presiding officer of
that body in 1870 ; and was a member of the forty-
second congress from the old fourth district, serving
on the committees on patents and Mississippi levees.

Captain Walden is a trustee of the Wesleyan Uni-
versity at Mount Pleasant, and delivered the annual
lecture before the students of that institution in
June, 1877.

He was married in October, 1861, to Miss Fran-
ces A. Holt, of Centerville.



and Nancy Sperry Lambert, and the leading
surgeon in Monroe county, Iowa, dates his birth in
Lawrence county, Ohio, on the 4th of January, 1836.
His father is yet living, his residence being Davis
county, Iowa, and his age eighty-seven. The Lam-
berts and Sperrys are both Virginia families. The
paternal great-grandfather of William was a soldier
in 1775-82; his father in 1812-15.

Isaac Lambert moved from Ohio to Van Buren

county, Iowa, in 1844, and there the son was en-

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 121 of 125)