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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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head died, leaving no children.

In i860 he led to the altar Miss Annie Seymour,
a native of Kentucky, who removed to Des Moines
in 1857, a ward of Judge McHenry.

Of the seven children who have been born to
them, Annie Bell, born on the gth of September,
1861, is deceased; David was born on the 3d of
October, 1862; George Seymour was born on the
nth of June, 1863; Lizzie Kirkwood was born on
the 27th of November, 1865; Middy was born on
the 30th of January, 1868 ; Charles Wesley was born
on the nth of December, 1869, and Robert Stone
on the 27th of July, 1872.

The parents both being orphans have adopted
Mrs. Surges for their mother, who lives with them,
enjoying all the rights and privileges that a mother
could ask.

Such is a brief outline of Mr. Redhead's career.
As showing his personal characteristics we append
extracts from a phrenological chart, given by Prof.
O. S. Fowler in March, 1867 :

You, sir, have just one of the very best of heads, and it
is supported bj an excellent body, so that your natural
talents are a good way above the average. You are, un-
mistakably, a man of mind, and also moral worth ; and the
two united entitle you to universal respect. You may
thank your mother, who you resemble most. Have both a
strong mind and elevated"moral tone, as well as good body,
and owe it much more to her than your father. You have
one weak spot; your vitality is not equal to the drafts made
upon it; are a little deficient in nutrition; have good fair
lungs; better muscle; a better nervous system and brain;
consume vitality faster than you manufacture it. You are
inclined to undertake too much, your eagerness and earnest-
ness exceeding your strength ; a great natural worker, a
real genuine plodder; all the time poring over the one thing
in hand; prosecuting every undertaking with the utmost'
assiduity, and that fixedness of purpose which challenges
opposition and will insure success, break down all obstacles;
nothing can stand before your indomitable will; always
have been, and always will be, successful, because you plan
wisely, execute with great energy and determination, and
then hold on to the very last. Have this predominant
talent ot head for planning and contriving, for thinking
reasoning; adapting ways and means to ends. '

. Have a first-class judgment in everything; are sys-
tematic; conduct your business so as to accomplish the
most with the least; were always good in mathematics; are
rather poor in fine colors, dress goods, etc.; are more noted
for sound common sense than any other one trait ; are quite
agreeable and prepossessing, gentlemanly and courteous-



never rude; hence, popular; are just as honest and fair a
man as there is; any one could not be any more strictly,
rigidly honest and upright, hence, are universally trusted;
very careful of your reputation. . . . Have that versatility
of talent vi'hich can attend to this, that and the other in
rapid succession, but never give up; are quite fond of home;
thoroughly fatriotic. Fairly friendly, but a little too busy
to express your social feelings much; very fond of children,
and willing to sacrifice anj'thing for their sake; ought to be
married if you are not. Show a good deal of policy; make
everything you touch pay ; there seems to be almost a magic
in your business operations, they succeed so splendidly ; the
real reason is they are so admirably managed. Are among
the toughest men ; may calculate on living to be old ; are
not quite clinging enough; are cool, deliberate, but remark-
ably active ; never have been and cannot be discouraged ;
but hope on, hope ever; hope against hope. Have little
faith, and worship much more in nature than in churches.
If a christian, will live a good christian life, but believe
very little ; stronglj' inclined to liberal views of religion.

As good-hearted a man as there is in town; have given
quite freely, though wisely ; are public-spirited ; seem to be
risky, but in fact risk next to nothing; are plain and sub-
stantial rather than ornamental; more serious than off-
hand; a really great arguer, reasoner and logician. Have
fair speaking talents, but it depends more on the excellence
of the subject-matter than on language, but if you had been
trained would have excelled as a lawyer, more especially in
managing a case. In business everything goes like clock-
work. Read a man right through at a glance. Trust your
first impressions of men, they never mislead you, and
should always follow your own conviction as to business,
duty, everything, they will be found next to infallible.
You have every single prerequisite for a most successful
life, especially after forty; calculate on succeeding better
and better till seventy. You have just caution enough to
save you from failure, along with that tremendous energy
which seems to risk where you do not. You know just
how and where to take men. Your future will be one of
steady improvement on the past.



SOLMON L. LAWRENCE, son of Elisha Law-
rence and Patience nie Clarke, was born at
Weybridge, Addison county, Vermont, on the ist of
March, 1811.

This branch of the Lawrence family in America
trace their lineage to John Lawrence (son of Henry
and Mary Lawrence), born at Wisset, England;
baptized on the 8th of October, 1609 ; came to New
England about 1630; married and settled in Water-
town, Massachusetts, — said John Lawrence being
sixteenth in descent from Sir Robert Lawrence, of
Ashton Hall, England, who attended his sovereign,
Richard Cceur de Lion, to the war of the crusades
in the Holy Land, where he so distinguished himself
in the siege of Acre that he was knighted, and ob-
tained for his arms, ^^ argent, a cross raguled, gules,"
A.D. 1 191, which is still worn by the descendants of
the fatnily in Gloucestershire and Buckinghamshire,

Our subject is sixth in descent from John, of Wis-
set, — the intermediate links in the ancestral chain
being Elisha Lawrence, born at Cheshire, Connecti-
cut, 1764 (moved to Weybridge, Vermont, being the
thirtieth family who settled in that township), son
of David Lawrence, born at Canaan, Connecticut,
who was the son of Jeremiah Lawrence, who was
the son of Daniel Lawrence, born on the 7th of
March, 1681, who was the son of Enoch Lawrence,
born on the 5 th of March, 1648 (at Groton, Massa-
chusetts), who was the eighth child of the original
John Lawrence.

The family is now quite numerous in New Eng-
land, and has branched off into many of the middle
and 'western states. The men of this lineage have
been remarkable for large framework, great strength,
courage and endurance and extraordinary longevity,
a large proportion of them reaching to over four-
score and ten years, and but few dying before the
age of seventy. They were also men of peculiar
probity of character, high standing and great influ-
ence in their communities, many of them attaining
also to great wealth. They were likewise men of
piety, the family furnishing a large number of dea-
cons and distinguished ministers to the church.
There have also been a large number of scholars
and ndted authors in the family, as well -as physi-
cians, lawyers, soldiers and statesmen. They were
also men of great benevolence and generosity. In
short they have always been among the best citizens
of the country, both before and since the revolution.

The following is the epitaph on the tomb of Col-
onel WiUiam Lawrence, of Groton, Massachusetts,
fourth in descent from the original John, who died
A.D. 1764 :

He was a gentleman who in military life rose from the
rank of lieutenant to the command of a regiment. In the
year 1739 he was made justice of the peace; afterward quo-
rum unus, a special justice of the court of common pleas
for the county of Middlesex, and a standing justice ot that
county. He for many years represented the town of Gro-
ton, with the districts of Pepperell and Shirley, in the gen-
eral assembly of this province. In all his public betrust-
ments he acquitted himself with fidelity and honor. In
private life his behavior was becoming his christian pro-
fession. He was remarkably industrious in the improve-



ment of time, just in his dealings, a good neighbor, a faith-
ful friend, patient of injuries and ready to forgive them,
grateful to benefactors, very ready in affording assistance to
the widovf and fatherless, and merciful to all proper objects
of pity. He was a strict otjserver of the Lord's day, a con-
stant and serious attender on the public exercises of relig-
ion, and a devout worshiper of God in his family.

" Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord."

Captain Isaac Lawrence, also a great-grandson
of the original John, who died on the 2d of Decem-
ber, 1793, in the eighty-seventh year of his age, is
thus described by a contemporary :

His stature was about six feet, large frame, not fleshy,
erect, pleasant countenance, sociable, intelligent, excellent
character and active, correct business habits.. He is said
to have erected the first meeting-house in Canaan, Connec-
ticut. He accumulated a valuable property, had several
large farms, which he kept under cultivation, was the
owner at one time of twenty slaves, to whom he gave their
freedom before his death. He made provision also for the
aged and infirm, and the comfort of those that were needy.

It is said that when Lord Gordon and the Earl of Morris
passed through the colonies to ascertain their resources and
ability to bear taxation, thej' put up at Captain Isaac's
house. His Lordship expressed surprise at the apparently
good condition of his slaves, and asked them if they always
fared so well. Their spokesman was London, who said:
" Yes, massa, we have vittle enough, clo' enough, and woi-k

He held various town offices, was a representative to the
general assembly of Connecticut in 1765.

The frequency with which his name • appears in the
records of the business meetings of his church, and in-
formation from other sources, afford good reason for believ-
ing he was an exemplary christian.

Captain Thomas Lawrence, fifth in descent from
the original John, born at Groton on the 3d of Sep-
tember, 1720, is represented as a man of gigantic
stature, herculean strength, bold and courageous,
experienced in Indian warfare and holding in su-
preme contempt the valor of the savages.

He was commander of a company enlisted for the French
war in 1758, from Pepperell and its vicinity ; and while in
command of a ranging party of about twenty men, in the
same year, at a place called " Half- Way Broke," near Lake
George, they were surrounded by Indians, and Captain
Lawrence fell mortally wounded. His body when found
was in a horribly mangled condition. Bullets taken from
the spot and a platter marked "C. T. L," are still in the
possession of his descendants.

Of Deacon Samuel Lawrence, of Groton, also fifth
in descent from the original John, who died Novem-
ber, 1827, in the seventy-third year of his age, it is
recorded :

He was one of those who rallied at Concord to oppose
the progress of the British troops. At the time the news
of their approach reached Groton he was in the field, when,
mounting his horse, he rode through the adjoining towns,
giving tlie alarm and returning in season to join his com-
pany at the meeting-house. In the battle of Bunker Hill
he received a slight wound, and his hat and coat, pierced
with the balls of the enemy, were preserved for many
years. At the time of his marriage, and while the cere-
mony was in progress, the tolling of the meeting-house
bell called out the minute-men, whereupon he parted from
his bride as soon as the rite was finished, and marched to

Rhode Island, but shortly returned on furlough for a few
days, after which she did not see him again till the birth of
their first-born. He continued in the service till the close
of the war, was promoted to the rank of major, and fought
in many of the hardest battles of the revolution.

He was a religious man, and for many years before his
death a deacon in the church. In connection with others
he originated and established for the good of the commu-
nity the institution now called, with great propriety, the
" Lawrence Academy." In this school his sons received
their early education, and well have they remembered its
origin and the advantages they there enjoyed.

His widow died in 1845, in the ninetieth year of
her age.

Our subject is a worthy scion of a long list of
worthy sires. He was raised on his father's farm
and received a fair common-school education, and
afterward taught a district school in his native state
till the age of twentj'-one years. He was religiously
trained and taught to fear God and keep his com-
mandments, and he has been governed through life
by these principles.

At the age of twenty he commenced to learn the
carpenter trade, to which he served three years at a
bounty of sixty-two dollars per year. On the 8th of
March, 1833, he removed to Franklin county, New
York, and worked at his trade in that and the ad-
joining county of St. Lawrence for one year. He
then removed to Orleans county. New York, where
he remained three years; and in 1836 immigrated
to then territory of Michigan, purchased one hun-
dred and sixty acres of land in Branch county, where
he resided for a number of years; improved the
land, married a wife, and attained to considerable
influence in the community. Represented his coun-
ty in the Michigan legislature in 185 1-2. In 1855
he disposed of his interests in Michigan and re-
moved to Moscow township, Muscatine county,
Iowa, where he purchased an improved farm of two
hundred and seventy acres, on which he resided
nine years with profit; in 1864 sold out and re-
moved to Wilton Junction, same county, where he
has since resided. During his sojourn in Michigan
he held the office of superintendent of schools of his
township for ten years, county supervisor two years,
and representative in the legislature two terms.
Since his removal to Wilton he has held a magis-
trate's commission for eight years, and has been
president of the school board of Wilton for three

At seventeen years of age he united with the
Methodist Episcopal Church in Weybridge, Addi-
son county, Vermont, and has not changed his re-
ligious opinions since. He is now a useful and



exemplary member of the Methodist Episcopal
Church of Wilton.

He voted with the democratic party until the
southern branch of that party fired on its own flag
at Fort Sumter, and tried to destroy its own-nation
by a causeless and bloody rebellion. Since then he
has voted with the republican party.

On the nth of March, 1840, he married Miss
Harriet S. Morgan, daughter of Moses Morgan, a
native of New Jersey, by whom he has had nine
children, five of whom died in infancy and four sur-
viving — one son and three daughters: Frances
Cornelia, Arline E., Lola Patience and Arthur S.
The eldest daughter has been an invalid during
her life-time ; Arline E. is the wife of James Mc-
Nutt, M.D., of Saline county, Missouri; Lola P. is
the wife of Charles Curtis, a citizen of Wilton, and
Arthur S. has devoted his attention to mercantile

Like most of his ancestors, Mr. Lawrence is a
man of large physique, of great strength of body
and robustness of health. He has led a blame-
less and exemplary life, never having knowingly
committed a wrong or dishonorable action, or per-

mitted the commission of one where he could pre-
vent it. He has been a total abstainer all his life.
He is a man of strong moral convictions, and bold
and decided in expressing them. Takes a great in-
terest in the general as well as the moral and spir-
itual interests of the community. Has always been
foremost in promoting educational interests, and has
battled hard and successfully against the foreign
element of the district for schools of a higher grade.
He is generous and liberal to the church of which
he has been a member for over forty years. Takes
a great interest in Sunday-school work, and has
taught a bible-class and superintended the Sabbath-
school of his denomination for many years, both in
Michigan and Wilton, Iowa. Is a man of great
benevolence and tenderness to the needy and un-
fortunate. Has the confidence and respect of all
who know him. By prudent management he has
accumulated a competence, and with a conscience
void of offense toward God and toward man, and a
comfortable assurance of an interest in the atone-
ment of his Savior, he is prepared to resign his
body to the dust, in sure and certain hope of the
resurrection to eternal life.



THE subject of this memoir, a native of Ohio,
was born in Columbiana county, on the 31st
of July, 1808. His birthplace is a romantic spot
on the Ohio river, overlooking the state line divid-
ing Pennsylvania and West Virginia. His father,
James Sever, owned a small farm, and when Samp-
son was born it was about the western boundary of
the " settlement.'' Sampson Bever, the grandfather
of our subject, a native of Germany, lived for a time
in Ireland, and immigrated to this country in 1777.
He joined the revolutionary army under Washing-
ton, and when the war was over and independence
gained, settled first in Fayette and afterward in
Washington county, Pennsylvania, and died at the
latter place. The maternal grandfather of our sub-
ject, James Imbrie, was a native of Scotland, and
settled in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in 1780,
where he died.

In the spring of 1809, when Sampson was in his
infancy, his father moved to a wild tract of land
which his brother, John Bever, had surveyed for

the government and selected for him. It was the
first entry made on the so-called " New Purchase,"
now in Holmes county, Ohio. They found their
home by following an Indian trail, and using pack
horses for transportation, the only means of travel
at hand in those early days in Ohio. Their new
home was at "Old Town," on Salt Creek, near its
junction with the Killbuck river, which had been
vacated and burned by the Delaware Indians. The
nearest house or cabin was thirteen miles distant,
the headquarters of his brother John's surveying
party. Subsequently, on the same spot, this brother
laid out the now flourishing city of Wooster, Wayne
county. The hardships of a frontier life were too
severe for James Bever, and on the 2 2d of April,
18 II, he died in the little cabin which he had built
two years before ; leaving his widow, with two little
boys, to continue to experience the hardships of a
wilderness life. The next year, when war with Eng-
land was declared, the Indians became troublesome,
and this family, with others which had settled in




that vicinity, spent some time in a block-house, not
daring to leave until Indian depredations were over.

Young Sampson had no opportunities for school
education until he was nine years old, at which time
he was enabled to attend a subscription school about
three months in the year for a few seasons. His
mother, however, a woman of thoughtfulness and
great energy, had previously taken pains to teach
him to read and write. Some years later she mar-
ried a man who had a family of several children ;
and him Sampson helped to clear up a farm, occa-
sionally working as a day laborer to procure clothes
and the means to pay for his schooling in the win-
ters. He was a faithful lad, of kindly and genial
disposition, and very much endeared to the little
circle of his acquaintances. But the new family re-
lations not proving the most pleasant and satisfac-
tory, when about fourteen he spent a few months
with his mother's brother in Beaver county, Penn-
sylvania; and before he was fifteen, walked one
hundred and fifty miles to Brownsville, in the same
state, and became a clerk in a store and worked
five years at four dollars a month. This may have
looked then, as it -certainly looks now, like small
wages, but Mr. Bever, has been often heard to re-
mark that it was the crowning point in his life.
During the five years that he was in that store, he
was often called to assume important responsibilities,
and always proved competent and trustworthy, and
gave unqualified satisfaction to his employer, Henry
Sweitzer, whose memory Mr. Bever cherishes very

At the age of twenty he took charge of the Albany
Glass Works, near Brownsville, at the mouth of the
Little Redstone creek, for Bowman, Sweitzer and
Bowman, receiving a compensation of one hundred
and fifty dollars a year. They were men of large
means, entirely independent, and soon turned over
to Mr. Bever the store, goods, glass works, coal
bank, — everything they had there; he taking a
partner, William Eberhart, an experienced glass
blower, and the firm being S. C. Bever and Co. The
business prospered, and in two years the firm had
paid their indebtedness to the old firm, and had a
remunerative surplus left. Upon Mr. Eberhart's re-
tirement from the business Geo. B. Woltz joined
with Mr. Bever for the term of three years, but died
before its close; the business, however, continued
under the name of Bever and Woltz to the end of
the three years. During this time President Jack-
son was making war on the United States Bank, and

Mr. Bever, though highly prospered, saw the cloud
gathering in the financial heavens and sold out.
The parties to whom he disposed of his interest in
the glass works lost all they had in the course of
two or three years.

In the autumn of 1836 he formed a partnership
with Goodloe H. Bowman, one of his former em-
ployers, but at that time cashier of the Mononga-
hela Bank at Brownsville. They opened a mercantile
house at Coshocton, Ohio, and the firm of Bever and
Bowman continued for ten years. Mr. Bever then
moved to Millersburg, now in Holmes county, Ohio,
and there sold goods for six years. The location
was near the old homestead, and the rustic grave-
yard where his father was laid to rest more than
sixty years ago, whose remains filial love prompted
the son to remove to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a few
years since. Mr. Bever built himself a beautiful
home at Millersburg, but afterward determined to
"go west,'' and accordingly sold the elegant hotjie-
stead, and, after prospecting in the states on the
Mississippi, settled with his family in Cedar Rapids,
where he arrived, after a circuitous route by the
Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and by private con-
veyance, on the 4th of April, 1852. He had pre-
viously bought several large tracts of land near the
town, designing to make farms for himself and his
sons. He began to fence and " break " the prairie,
and in a short time had between two and three
hundred acres ready for cultivation. In a few
months, however, he became dissatisfied with farm-
ing, and during the following winter purchased a
stock of goods and resumed his old business, and
continued it until 1859. During the last five years
of mercantile life Mr. Bever became identified with
the construction of the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska
railroad (now a branch of the Chicago and North-
western), the first railroad that crossed Iowa. In
1859, the year this road reached Cedar Rapids, Mr.
Bever started a private bank with his son, James L.
Bever, under the firm name of S. C. Bever and Son.
This enterprise proving an abundant success, after
the passage of the national banking law by congress,
they organized the City National Bank of Cedar
Rapids, converting their private bank into the same,
with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars.
S. C. Bever, president; J. L. Bever, cashier, and two
younger sons, Geo. W. and John B. Bever, tellers.

Having made many important improvements of a
private character, and contributed largely to the
interests of the flourishing city and home of his



adoption, Mr. Bever is now enjoying the fruits of a
long, active and very useful life.

At a meeting of the American Banker's Associa-
tion, held in Philadelphia, on the 4th of October,
1876, he was chosen one of the vice-presidents of
the association.

Though not an active politician, Mr. Bever has
always been a warm friend of liberty and equal
rights, and contributed liberally of his means for
the suppression of the recent rebellion, and sent two
sons, George and Henry, to aid in saving the Union.

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 16 of 125)