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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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out of the wilderness, established schools, churches
and homes, with all the indices of civilized and chris-
tian life. Aaron Thayer, the maternal grandfather
of our subject, moved to this settlement some years
later from Medway, Massachusetts.

Governor Carpenter attended a common school
three or four months in a year until 1846, then taught
winters and worked on a farm summers for three or
four years, and with the money thus raised paid his

expenses for several months at the academy which
had been established in his native town. After leav-
ing this institution, in 1852, he started westward;
halted at Johnstown, Licking county, Ohio; taught
there a year and a half, and with his funds thus re-
plenished he came to Iowa, loitering some on the
way, and reaching Des Moines in June, 1854. The
city then had twelve hundred inhabitants. A few
days later he started on foot up the Des Moines val-
ley, then just beginning to be regarded as one of the
El Doradoes of the Hawkeye State. He found his
way to Fort Dodge, eighty miles northwest of Des
Moines, from which place the soldiers had moved
the previous spring to Fort Ridgely, in Minnesota.
Here he settled and soon found employment with a
government surveyor, and for two years was em-
ployed much of the time by persons having contracts
for surveying government lands. He was thus natu-
rally led into the land business, and from the autumn
of 1855. when the land office was established at Fort
Dodge, much of his time was devoted to surveying,
selecting lands for buyers, tax-paying for foreign
owners, and in short a general land agency. During
this period he devoted such time as he could spare
to reading law, with the view of eventually entering
the profession.

Soon after the civil war commenced he entered
the army, and before going into the field was com-
missioned as captain in the staff department, and



served over three years, attaining the rank of lieu-
tenant-colonel and being mustered out as brevet

Governor Carpenter was elected surveyor of Web-
ster county in the spring of 1856, and the next year
was elected a representative to the general assembly,
and served in the first session of that body held at
Des Moines. He was elected register of the state
land office in 1866, reelected in 1868, and held the
office four years, declining to be a candidate for re-

He was elected governor of the state in 1871, and
reelected two years later, making an able and popu-
lar executive. In his first inaugural address, deliv-
ered on the nth of January, 1872, he made a strong
plea for the State University, and especially its nor-
mal department, for the Agricultural College, and for
whatever would advance the material progress and
prosperity of the people, urging in particular the in-
troduction of more manufactories. On this point he

To bring the manufactured articles required by our people
and the products of their industry nearer together, in my
judgment, is of paramount importance. That the producer
would be materially benefited if the wagon, reaper, plow and
cultivator with which he plies his industrial enterprises, and
the cloth he wears, were manufactured at his market town,
whither he could carry his surplus products and exchange
them for these necessities, saving cost of transportation long
distances both ways, is a proposition so self-evident that it
needs no support by argument. But while the general gov-
ernment may, as an incident of its power to collect revenue
and the necessities of its treasury, be able to discriminate so
as to encourage such industries as are compatible with our
habits, climate and resources, and wisely exercise such dis-
crimination, ii state having no such authority, it may be
asked. How can legislation aid us in this particular.' It is
answered, If we can do nothing more, it is possible, through
our board of immigration, to call attention to our manufac-
turing resources. The fact that Iowa is supplied with coal
mines developing veins from six to eleven feet in thickness,
which invite new industries to their vicinity, with lead
mines, in which new lodes are daily discovered, with black
walnut and other woods for manufacturing purposes, with
inexhaustible gypsum beds, with limestone quarries of every
variety, with clays for the production of all kinds of brick
and pottery, and with other resources inviting skill and cap-
ital so numerous as to forbid, now and here, the mention,
might all be set forth in a pamphlet, which, distributed by
the board of immigration, could not fail to attract attention
and produce results.

Other questions were discussed with marked abil-
ity in this inaugural address, and in his second, de-
livered two years later, he thus speaks of the duty of
the wise legislator :

He will not only heed the voice of the farm-producer,
whose chief concern is to increase returns upon his surplus
products, but, with a statesmanship looking beyond to-day
and to the greater questions of to-morrow, taking knowledge
of the past in other and older states, he will, while building
wisely for labor that owns farms, build with equal wisdom
for labor that owns only hands — the men who do not look

for greater profits, but for bread ; who care less to keep the
tax-collector than the wolf from their doors. Unless we
build wisely for these as well as others, in less than two dec-
ades from now there will be formidable conventions of this
great and incl^easlng class demanding, by resolution and
political action, such legislation as will fix their hours of
daily work and the price per day for husking corn. I say
these things with the more directness and with the greater
boldness because, for myself, I own no dollar of property
but what is in a farm, and my heart never throbs but in
sympathy with the toiling millions of my countrymen.

And here is the gist of my argument: What we need and
must have for the producer, for the laborer, for the middle-
man and for the state is a greater diversification of industry.
We need this not only to employ surplus labor and to fur-
nish a market for home products, but we need it also to
build up here local marts of trade and manufactures, instead
of pouring all our accumulations into the lap of great cen-
tral cities, a folly which has proved the ruin of more than
one nation now gone to decay. An eminent English agri-
culturist wrote but a short time since : " It is precisely be-
cause British farmers have their customers, the British
manufacturers, almost at their doors, and that other corn-
producing countries have not such manufacturers, that Brit-
ish agriculture is rich and thriving." It is said by historians
that the act for which the first Napoleon will be best known
one hundred years from now is the fact that he encouraged
the introduction and naturalization of beet-sugar culture as
a new industry of the French people.

In June, 1873, Governor Carpenter delivered a
long and masterly address before the Patrons of
Husbandry of Iowa. It was full of happy sugges-
tions like the following :

In order to increase in knowledge as we ought we must
m^ke the most of time, and to this end we must improve
our machinery, improve our stock and cheapen our processes
of transportation. One important feature in this transporta-
tion problem I have passed over, and that is a wise con-
densation of marketable commodities. To-day our canned
fruits, tomatoes and sweet corn, bottled pickles, dried beef,
amd many of our sugar-cured hams are brought from an
eastern market. We go from our rich soils to states where
it is necessary to use from one hundred to one hundred and
fifty dollars' worth of fertilizers to an acre of ground to buy
the luxuries which grow here on natural soil. The grange
must teach a wisdom which will doom such nonsense. The
grange must teach, also, that the prodigality of the rich does
not conduce to the benefit of the poor. It is often said if the
rich squander money, somebody gets it; it is distributed and
does somebody good. This is not true. Suppose a rich man
should hire labor to raise corn and then gratify his caprice
by burning the corn ; somebody would probably go hungry
for this profligacy, notwithstanding money may have been
distributed to pay the labor required to raise the corn. This
principle holds good in respect to all capital squandered in
gratification of vanity or passion.

At the expiration of his second term as governor
Mr. Carpenter was appointed, without his knowledge
of the design to do so, second comptroller of the Unit-
ed States, treasury, and resigned after holding that
office about fifteen months. He was influenced to
take this step at that time because another bureau
officer was to be dismissed, as the head of the depart-
ment held that Iowa had more heads of bureaus than
she was entitled to, and his resigning an office of a
higher grade saved a man who deserved to remain
in government employ. He had, however, we believe.



determined not to remain much longer in the public
service under any circumstances.

Governor Carpenter has done a little toward im-
proving a farm, and has been connected with other
enterprises, but it is doubtful if he regards himself
as a brilliant success in accumulating money, and
having devoted his whole time to the duties of such
offices as he has held from time to time, he has had
but little opportunity to either originate or manage
private material enterprises.

He has been a republican since the party was
organized; is orthodox in his religious views, but
regards himself as liberal in such views. He is a
member of the Library Associations of Fort Dodge
and Des Moines.

He was married in March, 1864, to Miss Susan C.
Burkholder, of Fort Dodge. They have no children
of their own, but a niece of Mrs. Carpenter, Miss
Fannie Burkholder, has lived with them from child-

Governor Carpenter has led a pure, true and up-
right life. Of the many men who served as he did
in the commissary department, some managed to
save tens of thousands of dollars out of a salary of
two thousand or three thousand dollars per annum.
Men who " made something out of the army " are
known to every reader of mature years. Governor
Carpenter came out about as poor as he entered the
army. While in it he was associated with men like
Generals Dodge, Logan, Noyes and Thomas, and
enjoyed their fullest confidence, and he retains the
warm friendship of all of them who are yet living.

He has always been a diligent and careful reader
and student. It is doubtful if he ever sat down to

seriously consider the subject of money making, but,
on the contrary, has always been ready to divide his
last dollar with the destitute.

In concluding this sketch it may not be improper
to state that when Governor Carpenter first reached
Fort Dodge he had but a single half-dollar in his
pocket. He frankly told the landlord of his straight-
ened circumstances, offering to do any kind of labor
until something should " turn up." On the evening
of his arrival he heard a government contractor state
that his chief surveyor had left him and that he was
going out to find another. Young Carpenter's cir-
cumstances were so desperate that he at once offered
his services to the gentleman. To the inquiry whether
he was a surveyor, he answered that he understood
the theory of surveying but had had no experience
in the field. His services were promptly accepted,
with a promise of steady employment if he were
found competent. The next morning he met the
party and took command. When the first week's
work was done he went to Fort Dodge to replenish
his wardrobe. As he left, some of the men remarked
that that was the last that would be seen of him. He
was then of a slight build, jaded and torn by hard
work, and, when he left the camp, so utterly tired out
it is not surprising that the men who were inured to
out-door life thought him completely used up. But
they did not know their man. With the few dollars
which he had earned he supplied himself with com-
fortable clothing, went back to his work on Monday
morning and continued it until the contract was
completed. The next winter he taught the first
school opened in Fort Dodge, and from that date
liis general success was assured.



Ireland, and was born at Ross Carberry, coun-
ty of Cork, on the 21st of January, 182 1, and emi-
grated to this country with the family in 1831. His
parents were Cornelius and Margaret CroUy Ma-

Dennis commenced going to school before he was
five years old, and soon after reaching this country,
at the age of nine years, he attended a grammar
school in Philadelphia, remaining in it about six
years. Whatever additional studying he did, was

done at home until he entered the law office of Hon.
Charles J. Ingersoll. He read law three years, and
then came to Dubuque, Iowa, in June, 1843, con-
tinuing his law studies with Davis and Crawford.
Not designing to remain in the legal profession, he
did not then ask to be admitted to the bar.

Mr. Mahony spent the spring and summer of 1844
in Butler township, Jackson county, returning to Du-
buque late in the autumn to teach a winter school.
In 184s he established an academy in Jackson coun-
ty, in what is now called Garry Owen. While in



that county he was part of the time postmaster, and
much of the time justice of the peace. In 1847,
having concluded to make Iowa his permanent home,
he applied to the supreme court at Iowa City and
was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice
in the United States district court.

In 1848 he represented the district of Jackson and
Jones counties in the general assembly; was chair-
man of the house committee on schools, and of the
joint committee on schools of both houses, and
drafted the bill which became the public school law
of Iowa during that session.

In the autumn of 1849 he became the editor of
the "Miners' Express." Three years later, in con-
nection with Messrs. H. Holt, A. A. White and W.
A. Adams, he established the Dubuque " Herald,"
weekly and tri-weekly. It became a daily on the

4th of July of the same year (1852), the first daily
paper in Iowa. In 1854 Mr. Mahony was appointed
state printer to fill a vacancy. During the following
year, owing to ill health, he sold his interest in the

He was elected to the general assembly from Du-
buque county in 1858. The next year he was elected
treasurer of Dubuque county to fill a vacancy. In
i860 he resumed his journalistic labors, purchasing
the " Herald " and conducting it, with associates, for
four years. In 1863 he was elected sheriff of Du-
buque county, and reelected in 1865. In 1866 he
aided in establishing the Saint Louis " Times," and
was its chief editor about one year ; he then returned
to Dubuque, and is now editing the " Daily Tele-

In politics, Mr. Mahony is a democrat.



A MONG the pioneer settlers in western Iowa was
Jr\. Major Williams, who gave Fort Dodge its
name, laid its foundation, and worked twenty-four
years on its superstructure. To him the present
city owes not only its start, but very much of its
growth and prosperity, and his memory is held in
most grateful remembrance.

William Williams was born at Huntingdon, Penn-
sylvania, on the 6th of December, 1796. His early
education was such as could be had in a common
school, he entering into business when quite young.
His tastes were decidedly military, and he early as-
sociated and became largely identified with the sol-
diery of his native state.

Major Williams was the eldest child of a large
family, and his father dying in middle life, his ener-
gies in early manhood were mainly devoted to the
support and education of the younger children. He
made noble sacrifices for their benefit. He was
always generous, sympathetic and kindly in disposi-
tion, always simple in his habits and refined in his
tastes and manners, and was regarded, later in life,
as a gentleman of the old school.

At different periods of his earlier life, Major Will-
iams was a merchant in his native state, and was
among the first persons to manufacture salt on the
Kiskiminitas river. Later in life he was connected
with the Exchange Bank of Pittsburgh, and was a

cashier of one of its branches when, in March, 1849,
he moved to Iowa. He halted a short time at Mus-
catine, but finding no opening that pleased him, he
was induced by his friends in the regular army, then
on their way westward to establish frontier posts, to
accompany them as sutler. This was early in 1850.
He set out with the United States troops to establish
the post of Fort Clark, now Fort Dodge, which point
was reached in February of that year. His son, James
B. Williams, then but a mere lad, accompanied him.
The Fort was named in honor of General Dodge, of
Wisconsin. After the troops were removed. Major
Williams remained, purchased the site of the town,
and with the aid of his son laid out the village and
gave it the name it still retains. Through his cor-
respondence with newspapers and his great influence
-exerted in other ways, many persons were induced
to settle in Webster county. By his exertions the
United States land office was established here, and
this movement naturally aided in developing the
whole northwestern part of the state.

When the Indian massacre occurred at Spirit Lake,
Dickinson county, early in the year 1857, Major Will-
iams commanded the three companies which went
from Fort Dodge and Webster City, and was subse-
quently appointed by Governor Kirkwood to pro-
tect the frontier of the state.

Having lived to see the rewards of his industry,



Major Williams died of general debility on the 26th
of February, 1874, in his seventy-eighth year.

He was twice married, his first wife being Judith
Lloyd McConnell, to whom he was united on the
19th of August, 1830, and who died in 1843. She
had five children, only two of whom are living. One
of them, whose name has already been mentioned,
and who accompanied his father into these prairie
wilds twenty-seven years ago, is engaged in the ab-
stract title and loan business at Fort Dodge, and is
a successful operator in that line. The other sur-
viving child is the wife of Hon. J. F. Buncombe,
the leading attorney of Webster county. She is a
very accomplished lady. The second wife was
Jeanette J. Quinian, to whom he was united on the
i2th of February, 1844. She has had three chil-
dren, only one of whom, William H. Williams, sur-

vives. The widow Williams resides in Foit Dodge.
Major Williams was a Mason and Odd-Fellow.

Early in life he joined the Presbyterian church,
and held his connection there until his demise.

In politics, he was a life-long democrat.

He was of slender build, dark complexion, nerv-
ous temperament, and five feet and six inches in
height. Of body and mind he had an unusual de-
gree of elasticity ; was very social and companion-
able ; fluent and racy in conversation, and always
ready with a repartee. In the early days in Iowa,
his lively chat and jeu d' esprit aided very much in
breaking up the monotony of frontier life. He lived
to see the home of his planting and nurturing grow
into a beautiful city of four thousand inhabitants,
and to participate for years in all its enlarged social



MANY years before the Black Hawk war of
1832 the successful lead miners and Indian
traders looked with anxiety to the time when they
might take possession of the lead mines which had
been opened and worked by Julien Dubuque over
forty years before. Among such men was George
Wallace Jones. He was born at Vincennes, Indiana,
on the i2th of April, 1804, and was a son of Hon.
John Rice Jones, a native of Merionethshire, Wales.
Mr. Jones was educated at the Transylvania Uni-
versity, in Lexington, Kentuck)', and on graduating
chose the legal profession, which he studied with a
relative, Hon. John Scott, at Saint Genevieve, Mis-
souri. He was soon appointed clerk of Judge Peck's
court, in which he discharged his duties with com-
mendation. At this time failing health required a
more active life, and being of a very enterprising
spirit, he determined to seek his fortune in the upper
Mississippi lead region. He accordingly removed to
the new territory of Michigan, and made a home at
Sinsinawa Mound, only six miles from Dubuque.
This was in the early part of 1827.

At the close of the Black Hawk war he was elected
judge of the court of the western district of Michi-
gan, now the State of Wisconsin. It may be said to
his credit in the administration of justice that no
appeal was taken from any of his decisions.

Upon the organization of Wisconsin territory, then

including Iowa, Minnesota, and even the whole re-
gion west to the Pacific, in 1836, he was triumph-
antly elected over two formidable competitors as a
delegate to congress. He then commenced that
brilliant political career of civil service and national
legislation which continued for more than thirty
years, and when a government land office was re-
quired for Wisconsin and Iowa he was appointed
surveyor-general. This measure had been earnestly
advocated by delegate Jones while in congress, and
it was mainly through his personal influence that the
office was located at Dubuque. He accordingly re-
moved to the city and territory of his adoption, and
has remained one of its most distinguished citizens
ever since. In the next two years political partisan-
ship became so strong, under a change of Presidential
administration, that he was removed from office, but
was reappointed under the new political policy of
President Polk in 1845. He then discharged the
duties of surveyor-general until 1848, when he was
selected by the general assembly as one of the two
United States senators. Upon the expiration of his
first term as senator he was reelected for another
term of six years, terminating in 1859.

Under the administration of President Buchanan
General Jones was appointed minister to New Gren-
ada. He made bis official residence in Bogota for
three years, and returned during the first year of the



war of the rebellion. Under some misapprehension
of facts, involving, also, partisan malice, incident to
that lamentable period of our history, he was arrested
and imprisoned several months in Fort La Fayette,
and discharged without specific charges having been
made against him. On reaching Dubuque, he was
given the honor of a public reception.

For the last fifteen years General Jones has lived
a partially retired life. His present family consists
of his wife, whose maiden name was Miss Josephine
Gregoire, whom he married at Saint Genevieve, Mis-
souri, in 1829. She was a member of a highly re-
spected French family, a lady of high attainments

and distinguished for a marked excellence of wo-
manly and christian virtues. Of his children, there
are surviving three sons and two daughters.

In every position which, in his eventful life, he has
been called to fill. General Jones has been success-
ful in the highest degree. Few men have more de-
voted friends. None excel him in unselfish devotion
and unswerving fidelity to the worthy recipients of
his confidence and friendship. In public enterprises
and benevolent societies, and in all the social and
business relations of life, few men of Dubuque or
Iowa will leave a brighter record of public service
or private character than General George W. Jones.



JOHN LEONARD, judge of the fifth judicial dis-
trict, is a native of Knox county, Ohio, and was
born on the 20th of August, 1825, his parents being
Byram and Abigail Lewis Leonard. He was reared
as a farmer, with a common-school education, sup-
plemented with a few terms at Granville College,
now Dennison University. At twenty-three years of
age he was elected surveyor of Morrow county, then
recently formed from parts of Knox, Richland, Ma-
rion and Delaware counties. While holding this
office he had access to a law library, and having
considerable spare time he devoted it entirely to
legal studies, and in the spring of 1852 was admitted
to the bar at Wooster, Wayne county.

After practicing one short year at Mount Gilead

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 124 of 125)