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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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has been identified ever since.

He was married on the 25th of May, 1865, to
Miss Eliza Hartman, daughter of George Hartman,
of Pennsylvania. They have three children, George,
Frank and Fannie, all bright and promising, and
being educated for useful and honorable stations in

Mr. Walker is a man of sterling integrity, indus-
trious, persevering and, withal, modest. He is not
what in this age of spice and wit would be called a
brilliant man, but he is prudent, cautious and strong
in judgment; slow in arriving at positive conclu-
sions, but when once reached he holds them with
great tenacity. As a professional man, he is rather
inclined to counsel peace, moderation and compro-
mise than litigation and courts of law; in short, he
is said to be too much of a peacemaker for a suc-
cessful lawyer, a fact which will tell more in his
favor hereafter than the most brilliant triumphs of
the forum. His standing before the community is
that of a first-class moral, benevolent and charitable
gentleman. He holds the respect and confidence
of all who know him, and the love and veneration
of the poor and unfortunate. He is greatly attached
to his family, and enjoys all the comforts and moral
associations of a happy home. He has never been
known to betray a friend or a trust, and if he has
any enemies they have never made themselves
known to him.



ALFRED FRANCIS BROWN, a native of Ohio,
^ was born near Zanesville, Muskingum county,
on the 8th of December, 1828, and is the son of
Parley and Rachel (Evans) Brown. His grand-
father, James Brown, participated in the revolution-
ary war. His father was a farmer. Alfred disliked
agricultural pursuits, and at fourteen years of age
went on foot to Columbus, a distance of sixty miles,
to learn the printer's trade. At the end of about
six months his parents persuaded him to return and

attend a select school at Chandlersville. There
and at the Mclntyre Academy, in Zanesville, he
spent about two years. From the latter place he
went to Granville College (now Denison University),
and spent eighteen months in the preparatory de-
partment, and afterward engaged in teaching and
in studying law. He read in the offices of Hon.
Richard Stillwell and Judge Searle, of Zanesville,
and was admitted to the bar in the spring of 1848.
Mr. Brown practiced in Newcomerstown, Tus-



carawas county, until 1850, when he immigrated to
Iowa. He spent about four years in Scott and Ce-
dar counties, teaching school, practicing law and
conducting a newspaper. He edited the "News-
letter," at Rochester, Cedar county, when that town
was contesting with Tipton for the honors of the
county seat, and failed in its ambitious aims; the
press was removed to Cedar Falls, and, at the solic-
itation of the publisher, Mr. Brown followed it in
June, 1854. During the first six months after his
arrival, he devoted a part of his time to editing the
"Cedar Falls Banner." This was the first paper
west of Dubuque on this line of railroad. Discon-
tinuing journalism, Mr. Brown thenceforward gave
his whole time, except when holding office, to the
legal profession.

He was elected prosecuting attorney of Black
Hawk county in 1855, and served one year. In
1859 he was elected to the state senate, and served
four years. . During the first session he was chair-

man of the committee on public lands, and in the
second held the same position on the committee on
federal relations, taking the place of Hon. J. F.
Wilson, who was elected to Congress. He was also
an active member of the eighth and ninth general
assemblies, and in the famous debate in 1862, on the
resumption of the railroad land grants, he took a
prominent part ; and a speech of liis on this question
was published in full, and had a wide circulation.

In i860 Mr. Brown was a delegate to the repub-
lican national convention which nominated Abra-
ham Lincoln. Though still a republican, he does
not allow politics to interfere with the regular duties
of his profession, which has become prosperous, ex-
tending beyond Black Hawk into adjoining counties.

Though not a member of any church organiza-
tion, he attends the Baptist service.

In September, 1867, he was. married to Miss
Jennie McCall, daughter of Dr. McCall, of Canton,



OF the early settlers in Winneshiek county no
one has been the recipient of more honors,
or is more worthy of them, than Jeremiah T. At-
kins. He was born at Phillipson, Worcester county,
Massachusetts, on the 4th of April, 181 1. His
father, Thomas Atkins, was a farmer, stone cutter,
and contractor, and came of a Cape Cod seafaring
race. Some of them were masters of vessels. Anna
Kendall Atkins was his mother's name. He was
reared on a farm until he was nineteen years of
age, after which period, for a few years, he was
engaged in running line boats and packets, as com-
mander, on the Northern and Erie canals.

In December, 1835, Mr. Atkins visited Chicago,
spending, however, only two or three weeks there.
He went to Michigan City, Indiana; was for a short
time agent for stage companies, and for about two
years dealt in government lands. Subsequently he
was engaged in locating farms in La Porte county,
being, altogether, a resident of that county about
sixteen years, during the latter part of which he
studied and practiced law.

In October, 185 1, Mr. Atkins came to Iowa, lo-
cating in the eastern part of Winneshiek county,
near Frankville, and twelve miles from Decorah.

One of these towns was at that time not much
known except in name, and Frankville had not
even risen to that dignity. There was no frame
house at the present county seat, and not more
than two or three hundred voters in the county.
Indians were as numerous as white men.

For several years after his settlement in Iowa
Mr. Atkins was engaged in improving lands and
practicing law. He spent considerable time at De-
corah, and at other county seats, in attendance at
the courts. He abandoned the practice of law
about twenty years ago, devoting his time largely
to buying and selling land, in which business he has
been quite successful. In 1873 he moved to. Deco-
rah, and is living a life of comparative ease, enjoying
the results of a busy and truly honorable career.

The first postoffice in- Winneshiek county was at
Jamestown, on Washington prairie; James B. Cutler
was postmaster and Mr. Atkins deputy — the first
deputy postmaster in the county. In these early
days the duties of the office were not laborious,
there being only one mail a week, but in the ab-
sence of the postmaster a deputy was requisite.

A year or two after settling in Iowa Mr. Atkins
was appointed prosecuting attorney for the county,



and served one term. At an early day he was
elected county judge, but by some informality in
the returns some of the votes were thrown out, and
the then incumbent of the office held over.

In 1856 Mr. Atkins was elected State senator,
representing eleven counties in the northeastern
part of the State. He was among the leading mem-
bers of that body, and conspicuous for his industry
and his knowledge of parliamentary practice. The
year after he was elected the new constitution came
before the people for their adoption, and Mr. Atkins
canvassed his senatorial district in its support, ren-
dering good service in that direction.

In 1867 he was returned to the lower house of
the general assembly, and proved an earnest and
successful worker in the interests of his constituents.
He aided essentially in getting the railroad through
Winneshiek county and to Decorah, and his services
in this respect are to-day highly appreciated. Mr.
Atkins has been identified with most of the im-
portant improvements in his locality.

Mr. Atkins is of whig antecedents, and on the
dissolution of that party promptly joined the re-
publican, to which he is indebted for his political
honors. On the outbreak of the rebellion he was
interested in the salvation of the Union, and though
too old himself to enlist, he did a great deal to
encourage others. In 1861 he was the first in the
county to receive an enrolling commission, which
Governor Kirkwood sent him early in that summer.

Mr. Atkins was married to Miss Harriett Matti-
son, of Washington county, New York, in October,
1838; to Miss Amanda Heaton, of La Porte county,
Indiana, about 1843, and to Miss Carrie Dawson, of
Allamakee county, in July, 1872, all since deceased.
He has no issue except by his second wife, who had
eight children, of whom five are living. The only
son. Jay, is married, and lives on the old home-
stead in the eastern part of the county; the eldest
daughter, Hattie, is the wife of Wendell B. Stevens,
of Charles City, Iowa, and the other three daughters,
Amelia, Almira and Lulu, are living at home.



-« been esteemed as the best read and ablest
lawyer in Fayette county, Iowa. He has thought
less of accumulating a fortune than of building up
a reputation in his profession ; hence he has made
the profession of law his life-study.

Mr. Ainsworth was born at New Woodstock, Mad-
ison county, New York, on the 31st of June, 1831.
His parents were Parmenas and Kezia (Webber)
Ainsworth, and belonged to a farming community.
His great-grandfather on the maternal side lost his
life in the struggle for independence. Mr. Ains-
worth's mother was a woman of strong mind, kind
and affectionate in the treatment of her children,
and extremely anxious that they should be success-
ful in life ; and to her careful training, wholesome
advice and early teaching, the subject of our sketch
is largely indebted for his success in after-life.

At the age of eighteen, after receiving what edu-
cation a common school could afford, supplemented
with the aid of his mother at the fireside, he went
to the Oneida Conference Seminary at Cazenovia,
attending there about four years, teaching during the
winters and working on the farm during vacations.

Leaving the seminary in 1853, he commenced
studying law with Messrs. Miner and Sloan, of De-
Ruyter, Madison county. A. Scott Sloan is now the
attorney-general of Wisconsin. Mr. Ainsworth was
admitted to the bar at the general term of the su-
preme court for that county in September, r854.
The next year he bent his course westward, halting
during the summer at Belvidere, Illinois, and prac-
ticing with J. R. Beckwith, Esq., now United States
district attorney in Louisiana. In the autumn follow-
ing he pushed farther westward, crossed the Missis-
sippi, and selected West Union for his future home.
He was young and full of ambition — ambition to
excel in the legal profession ; clung to law-books be-
cause he loved them, and few men in the tenth judi-
cial district are more familiar with their contents.

In 1859 Mr. Ainsworth was elected to represent
Fayette and Bremer counties in the upper house of
the general assembly, and in 1871 to represent his
own county in the lower house. During the session
of i860 the laws of the state were codified, and
again in 1872 and 1873. In both houses Mr. Ains-
worth was on the judiciary committee, and his legal
attainments were eminently serviceable.



In 1862 he enlisted in the 6th Iowa Cavalry; was
elected captain of company C, and served' three
years. At one period during this time he was in
command of Fort Randall, Dakota Territory, about
six months.

In 1874 he was elected by a combination of
democrats and anti-monopolists to represent the
third district in congress, the only anti-republican
elected to that body from Iowa since 1854.

Politically, he may be called the luckiest man in
the state; for, although a life-long democrat, he has
been elected to the general assembly twice in a re-
publican district. His manners are quite pleasing ;
is cordial, frank and honest ; a prompt helper of
the needy ; has a great many warm personal friends,
and always secures more than the party vote.

Mr. Ainsworth is a Knight Templar in the Ma-
sonic order.

On the 8th of December, 1859, he married Miss
Margaret E. McCool, of Freeport, Illinois. She has
had six children, five of whom are living. He was
very fortunate in the selection of his wife. She is
an intelligent and refined lady, very domestic in her
nature, and much attached to her family — a model
christian wife and mother.

Mr. Ainsworth has been admitted to practice in
the supreme court of the United States. He has
great weight in every department of his profession,
and especial power before a jury. He is a good
illustration of what an industrious man can accom-
plish by giving his time mainly to one study and by
bending his energies in a single direction.



JOSIAH T. YOUNG, a native of Union town-
ship, Johnson county, Indiana, was born on the
25th of February, 1831, the son of John Young and
Rachael nee Titus.

His paternal great-grandparents, Jacob and Pe-
nelope (Watts) Young, were of Scotch, Irish and
English ancestry, and natives of Jones Falls, twenty
miles from Baltimore, Maryland, whence they re-
moved immediately after the revolutionary war to
Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, where John Young,
the father of the subject of this sketch, was born, on
the 20th of November, 1806. They were farmers,
as were also his grandparents, Jesse and Margaret
(Wiley) Young, and also his parents. His maternar
grandparents, Peter, Titus and Rachael nie Moore,
were farmers, and natives of Maryland. Both his
grandparents moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio
about 1816, and in 1826 settled in Johnson county,
Indiana. His ancestors were all Presbyterians, and
at an early date went to Maryland to enjoy religious
liberty. Lord Baltimore having given access to all
denominations. There is now in the family a keep-
sake, an old-fashioned skillet, at least one hundred
and fifty years old, which passed through the Indian
wars'of 1756-7.

His grandfather. Young, was a man of very su-
perior intellect, and for forty-three years an elder in
the Presbyterian church. He lived to the advanced
age of seventy-five years. His mother was born be-

fore the revolution, and lived to be over one hundred
years old. Josiah was early influenced by the study
of his grandfather's character, he inspiring him with
ambition and an incentive to work for noble ends.
He first attended school in- the winter of 1843-4,
for twenty-five days,' in Warren county, Illinois,
going two and a half miles to a log cabin, and study-
ing reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling. During
three months of the following winter he attended
school at Swan Creek. In 1846 his father moved to
what was then called Kishkekosh county, territory
of Iowa, the same being named in honor of Kishke-
kosh, chief of one of the tribes of the Sacs and Fox
Indians. The name, however, was changed that
same year, and the county has since been known
as Monroe county. I

Here the family lived in a log cabin, bravely en-
during the hardships of frontier life, and opened a
farm. Josiah attended school three months, in a
log cabin adjoining his home, under the instruction
of Mr. W. H. Potts, who afterward became his
brother-in-law. This completed his education in
the school-room ; but, being fond of study, he bor-
rowed whatever books his neighbors could supply
him, and by extensive reading became well versed
in many branches of study.

He remained upon his father's farm until nearly
twenty-one years old. On the 14th of November,
1851, he was married to Christina B. Potts, daughter



of Jacob Potts and Elizabeth n^e Wiley. Mrs. Young
was born in Jackson county, West Virginia, on the
1 6th of October, 1831.

After marrying, Mr. Young entered a claim, and
worked it two years, teaching the township school
during each winter. Going then to Albia, he spent
about a year clerking in a store; and in 1856 pur-
chased an interest in a carding machine, to which
he added improvements, until he had a fine establish-
ment. In the early part of 1857 he admitted his
brother to the business as a partner, and was meet-
ing with good success, when, in 1861, the establish-
ment burned, without insurance, leaving him about
three thousand dollars in debt. In i860, in com-
pany with T. B. Gray, Esq., he purchased the office
of the "Albia Weekly Republican," and started a
paper which he called the " Monroe County Sen-
tinel," and advocated the election of Stephen A.
Douglas to the presidency. Near the close of that
year he purchased his partner's interest; and in
February, 1861, by reason of illness, suspended pub-

In August, 1862, he enlisted in company K, 36th
regiment Iowa Infantry, and in November went to
Benton barracks, St. Louis, where he was sick three
weeks, his disease developing into diphtheria, and
his life being despaired of He, however, recovered,
and when able to walk, went with his regiment to
Columbus, Kentucky, and Memphis, and camped
on the bluff overlooking the river, and just above
where General Jackson built intrenchments in 1814.
After about three weeks he was sent to do duty
as clerk at the headquarters of General Asboth ;
but afterward, his ambition to be a clerk being
satisfied, he was excused at his own request, and
went with his regiment to Helena. On New Year's
Day, 1863, the regiment went into quarters near
Fort Curtis, and Mr. Young performed picket and
guard duty from the ist of January till the 24th of
February, when they were sent on an expedition
through Moon Lake and the Tallahatchie in front
of Fort Pemberton, on which they made several un-
successful attacks. Returning up the river about
two days' journey they met General Quinby with a
reinforcement of ten thousand men, and going back
made another unsuccessful attack upon the fort. On
the 8th of April, 1863, the fleet of transports and
gun-boats, with infantry on board, returned to He-
lena. During this expedition Jonathan P. and David
W. Potts, brothers-in-law of Mr. Young, sickened by
reason of exposure and hardship and died, the lat-

ter on the nth of April and the former on the 15th
of May, 1863, and were buried on the top of a high
hill overlooking Helena. Mr. Young also was taken
ill, and after the death of his brothers-in-law ob-
tained a furlough of thirty days, and remained until
the sth of July, and thus was not able to participate
in the battle of Helena, which was fought on the
4th of July. On the nth of August, under General
Steel, of the seventh army corps, his regiment
marched across the country to capture Little Rock,
which place they entered in triumph on the loth of
September. During this time the captain of his
company and several other members had died of
sickness. Remaining in camp till the 23d of March,
1864, they then set out on the ill-fated Red River
expedition, marching about a month, and being en-
gaged almost daily in fighting. It was during this
time that were fought the battles of Spoonville,
Elkin's Ford, Prairie de Anne and Camden. At the
last named place they rested a few days, and on
the 2ist of April, 1864, Mr. Young's brigade was
sent to a mill about six miles distant to shell and
grind corn for the soldiers. That day occurred the
battle of Poison Springs. At evening a messenger ,
from headquarters ordered them in, and marching
all night they reached Camden on the following
morning. About two days later, the brigade was
ordered to escort a train of three hundred wagons
going to Pine Bluff for provisions. After going
about eighty miles in the direction of Pine Bluff,
they were surrounded and attacked by an over-
whelming force of rebels at Mark's Mills, Bradley
county, Arkansas, and the whole brigade either
killed or taken prisoner. The fight lasted from nine
o'clock in the morning until half-past two in the
afternoon, and Mr. Young was slightly wounded in
the right arm abo-^e the elbow. Leaving Camden
to the right they marched all that night and the
next day until sundown, when they reached the
Washita river, and obtained a little corn to eat, the
first that they had eaten since their breakfast before
the battle. Thence they crossed the river and
marched in a circuitous route, at the rate of fifteen
to twenty miles per day, to .Camden. There they
were placed in an old cotton house, and under
pretense of searching for concealed weapons, the
rebels robbed them of all the possessions they had
on their persons. After about three days of harsh
treatment, they were taken in the direction of
Shreveport, Louisiana, under a promise that they
would there be exchanged; but instead of stop-



ping there they marched through the place, crossed
the Red river, and camped about four miles out
on the Texas road. On the 15 th of May, 1864,
they reached Camp Ford, where they remained
until the 15th of February, 1865, enduring horrors
exceeded only by those of "Libby and Ander-
sonville." They were now paroled and sent to
Shreveport under rebel guards, thence on rebel
steamboats to the mouth of the Red river, where
they were exchanged. Thence they were sent to
New Orleans, and there were furnished with clothes,
blankets and knapsacks, and from there came north
to Cairo. Here they received a thirty days' prison
furlough, having been prisoners ten months, and at
the expiration of that time returned to the remnant
of their regiment at St. Charles, Arkansas.

On the 24th of August, 1865, they were sent down
the White river, and thence went up the Mississippi
to Davenport, Iowa, where they were discharged on
the 7th of September following.

Returning to his home, Mr. Young remained on
the farm with his family until the autumn of 1866,
when he was elected clerk of the district court of
, Monroe county. He entered upon his duties on the
ist of January, 1867 ; was twice reelected, and held
the oflSce in all six years. In the fall of 1872 he
was elected, on the republican ticket, secretary of
state of Iowa, by a majority of fifty-seven thousand ;
reelected in 1874, and again reelected in 1876 by a
majority of sixty thousand and fifty-six.

In political sentiment, Mr. Young had formerly
been a democrat, as was also his father and grand-
father. After the opening of the civil war he
changed his views, and in the fall of 1862, while

with his company at Camp Lincoln, Keokuk, voted
the republican ticket. He then thought that the
emancipation of the slaves would be injudicious,
but after being in the south, saw that it was neces-
sary as a means of putting down the rebellion, and
heartily favored it.

In religious communion, his ancestors, as far back
as he can trace them, have been Presbyterians, and
he himself is identified with that denomination.

In his business affairs, Mr. Young has been emi-
nently successful, and li^^es now in the enjoyment of
a pleasant home, surrounded with all that one needs
to make life happy, and enjoying the confidence and
high esteem of a very large circle of true friends.

Of nine children which have been born to him,
five are now {1877) living: Fletcher Webster, born
on the 9th of January, 1853, became deputy secre-
tary of state on the ist of January, 1876; he was
educated at the Iowa State University, and gradu-
ated from the law department. Rachael EHzabeth,
was born on the 25th of September, 1856; she is
now a cripple, having lost the use of her spinal col-
umn. David Whitcomb, born on the. 2d of Novem-
ber, 1858, was a clerk in his father's office while
secretary of state. Ellsworth, born on the 8th of
July, 1866, and Edward Baker, born on the 19th of
May, 1868; both are now in school.

Such is an outline of the life history of one who
has risen from comparative obscurity to a position
of honor by his own untiring energy. His has been
a varied career, but bravely meeting every opposi-
tion he has moved steadily onward, adhering strictly
to principles of integrity, and enjoys now the reward
that comes of persistent and honorable effort.



WHILE it is true that some men inherit great-
ness, and others have " greatness thrust up-
on them," a larger number are architects of their
own fortunes. The man of this stamp, self-reliant
and courageous, building on principle and not on
pedigree, starts out with the idea that God helps

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 21 of 125)