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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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sentiments are orthodox.

He was married on the loth of November, r857,
to Miss Selah Denison, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin,
and by her has two sons.

Dr. Allen thinks and moves rapidly, being of a
nervous-bilious temperament ; is of average height,
and weighs one hundred and sixty-five pounds. He
settled in Mason City in 1867, and has built up an
extensive practice ; and in all matters of public
interest touching the welfare of his city or state he
has shown a most admirable spirit of energy and



DELOS ARNOLD, born in Chenango county.
New York, on the 21st of July, 1830, is of
Scotch-English descent. His family was first rep-
resented in this country just prior to the revolution-
ary war, and settled in Providence, Rhode Island.
His great-grandfather followed a sea-faring life after
his arrival in America, and was lost while in com-
mand of a vessel on a voyage from Bordeaux,
France. Many of the descendants still reside in
Providence ; others are found living in various
parts of the United States, serving their genera-
tion in several industrial pursuits that make up
American civilization. His father, a native of New
York, was a tanner and trader by occupation, and
died at Marshall, in 1856, while visiting his son.

When Delos was eleven years old, his parents re-
moved to Chautauqua county. New York, and there
he passed his youth and early manhood. At the
age of fourteen he left home and spent a year and
a half visiting various cities and places of interest
throughout the country, and upon his return de-
voted his attention to study. He spent about two
years in Fredonia Academy, teaching during the
winter months, and in 1851 entered the Albany
Law School, from which he graduated and was
admitted to the bar in 1853. Removing at once
to Iowa, he settled at Marshalltown and began the
practice of his profession; having been appointed
prosecuting attorney the day after his arrival, an
office to which he was twice elected, and in which



he served four years. In the winter of 1853-4 he
taught the first school in the county, occupying
the court-house at Mariette for that purpose. In
1857 he was elected to the legislature, and served
during the last session held in Iowa City. After the
organization of the internal revenue department he
was made the first assessor of the sixth district,
embracing one-third of the area of the state, and
held that position until his removal by President
Johnson in 1865. In the fall of i86g he was
elected to the thirteenth general assembly, and
served through the session of 1870. In 1861 he
abandoned the profession of law, and at the close
of his official term engaged in the real-estate and
money-loan business, and in 1870 took charge of
a furniture store, which he has since conducted.

In the summer of 1872 Mr. Arnold took an ex-
tended tour, in company with several other gentle-
men, through Colorado and the Rocky Mountains,

returning in the fall much improved in health and
spirits. He spent the summer of 1873 visiting the
World's Exposition at Vienna, and the noted places
of Europe; and in the fall of 1875 was elected to
the state senate for the term of four years. He is
also at the present time (1877) engaged in the coal
business, in Boone county, and is a half owner of
the Iowa Railroad Coal and Manufacturing Com-

In his political views, Mr. Arnold is identified
with the republican party. He cast his first ballot
for General Scott, and in 1856 supported Fremont.

He was married on the 28th of November, 1855,
to Miss Hannah Mercer, daughter of John Mercer,
of Ohio, and by her has three children.

Beginning without means, he has, by honesty, in-
dustry and fair dealing, gained a liberal compe-
tence, and lives now in the enjoyment of a pleasant
home, surrounded by a wide circle of true friends.



NOT many genuine examples of sturdy western
self-made men come into public notice. Born
and brought up in indigence and obscurity, they
^ have fought the battle of life so earnestly and well
''■i' that they seldom think of congratulating them-
i selves upon their ultimate success; and in general
they are unwilling to believe that they deserve any
consideration for the notable examples of honest,
healthy and successful life which they have given

James Cashing, the subject of this sketch, was
born in West Scituate, Plymouth county, Massachu-
setts, on the 4th of August, 1830. When eight years
old his father's family removed to Peoria, Illinois,
where his mother died the following year, and the
breaking up of the family being the result, he hired
to work on a farm at three dollars -a month. His
education was gained at the common schools, where
he made good use of his time, and later, in his
nineteenth year, using his accumulated savings, he
attended for two years the academy at Mount Pala-
tine, Illinois.

In his twenty-second year he commenced life for
himself by going into the ice and wood business
at La Salle, Illinois ; this he continued successfully
until the spring of 1859, when he removed to Du-

buque, Iowa. Buying out the interest of his father
in the firm of Carter, Piper and Cushing, ice dealers,
he engaged in the same business. He finally bought
out the entire interest by assuming the debts of the
firm, which at that time would not pay fifty per
centum. He had at that time two competitors, but
by energy and fair dealing he soon gained the en-
tire trade of the city, and during nine years had
exclusive control of the business, and; after he had
obtained that control, never took- advantage of it,
but made fair dealing his motto and successfully
worked by it. After getting the business in his
own hands he assisted one of his employes to an
interest, doing so by taking his notes, which were
promptly met, and the profits of the business have
made him a man of property in the city. In 1863
he loaned money to a friend who was engaged in
the manufacture of vinegar, in Dubuque, and in
order to secure the amount found it necessary to
take hold of the business with him, and in so doing
expended much capital in bringing the arrange-
ments for manufacturing to a successful condition.
Owing to this circumstance he became associated
with the manufacture of vinegar, and has continued
it to this time, making it a study, and expending
large sums to bring the methods of manufacturing




to a higher state of perfection than had hitherto
been attained. In this Mr. Gushing has been en-
tirely successful. His trade is large, and extending
all over the western country, and. constantly increas-
ing. In the summer of 1873, having outgrown his
old accommodations, he erected his present large
factory, which he has fitted up with various im-
provements with reference to permanent business
in the manufacture of vinegar for the northwest,
his factory and business being the largest in the

Mr. Gushing has never been a politician or an
aspirant for office ; his political preferences being
the republican party. In the municipal election
in 1875 he was nominated by the republicans for
mayor, as it was thought he would make a suc-
cessful contest against any competitor that might
be nominated by the opposition. His opponent
was one of the most popular and earliest citizens,
yet Mr. Gushing was elected by a handsome ma-
jority. He filled the office with honor to himself
and to the satisfaction of his constituents. He
has always pursued a liberal policy toward the en-
couragement of home manufactures and the build-

ing up of the general interests of the city, and no
man has given more generously according to his
means than he. He is popular with the people
and has the sympathy of the working classes, and
is the friend and patron of labor, as opposed to
all forms of moneyed monopoly.

He is a member of the Masonic and Odd-Fellows
fraternities, stands high in the first and has passed
all of the chairs in the latter.

He was married, in 1854, to Miss Emma H.
Masterman, by whom he had two children ; she
died in Dubuque in October, 1861. He married
his second wife, Miss Mary A. Schermerhorn, of La
Salle, Illinois, in October, 1863. By his second
marriage he has four children.

Mr. Gushing is a self-made man ; commencing
in life with no means, he has by his own energy
and ability made for himself a position among the
leading men of Dubuque. Though not wealthy,
he has made for himself ah ample competency.
Personally, he has rare qualities, and by his up-
right course of life, his manly deportment and in-
dependence of character, has made for himself an
honorable reputation.



ONE of the self-made and truly successful men
of Iowa is Joseph Hobson, president of the
Fayette Gounty National Bank, West Union. He
is the son of John Wainwright Hobson, an English-
man, who immigrated to this country about sixty
years ago, and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
where the son was born on the 17th of October,
1823. His mother, whose maiden name was Abi-
gail Bishop Scott, is still living. He was educated
by private tutors in his native city. His father dy-
ing in 1834, he was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker,
but becoming dissatisfied his indentures were can-
celed. He subsequently learned the carpenter's
trade, and at the age of eighteen commenced life
for himself. From the autumn of 1848 to the spring
of 1853 he resided in Gonnellsville, Pennsylvania, as
a partner in the foundry business, following his trade,
and while there read law.

In the spring of 1853 he removed to Cleveland,
Ohio, and thence to Sanilac county, Michigan. In
April, 185s, he removed to Fayette county, Iowa;

purchased some government land a little south of
Westfield, now Fayette ; worked nearly two years on
it ; made up his mind that he was not a success as
an agriculturist; rented his farm; moved to the vil-
lage just mentioned, and opened a law office. In
those days interior towns in Iowa were small; law
business was not extensive. Mr. Hobson could
turn his hand to more than one pursuit, and during
the sixteen or eighteen months which he spent in
Fayette he not only attended to all legal business,
but taught school one term, and assisted for a short
time in editing a newspaper.

In 1858 Mr. Hobson was elected clerk of the dis-
trict court, and removed to West Union, the county
seat. He proved to be a competent officer, and ow-
ing to the promptness, courtesy and efficiency with
which he discharged the duties of that office, he was
continued by the people of the county for ten con-
secutive years.

In 1869 Mr. Hobson was elected to the thirteenth
general assembly, serving one term, and watching



well the interests of the state. He was then ap-
pointed United States assessor of the third district
of Iowa, and held the office three years, when it was

For several years Mr. Hobson was an active mem-
ber of the West Union school board. He was the
prime mover in originating the Fayette County Na-
tional Bank, and has been at its head since it went
into operation.

He has been a prominent member of the fraternity
of Odd-Fellows, and still retains his connection with
the order. He is also a Mason.

Mr. Hobson was originally a whig; cast his first
vote, in 1844, for Henry Clay, riding fifty miles on
the top of a stage-coach in order to do it. Latterly
he has been a republican, a leader of the party in
Fayette county.

On the isth of April, 1847, Mr. Hobson was
united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Baker, of
Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, a woman very act-

ive in benevolent enterprises, a veritable Dorcas in
society. Her husband attributes his success in life
largely to her influence. She has had eight chil-
dren, and six of them, four sons and two daughters,
are still living. The eldest son,. Alfred Norman, is
a partner of Hon. L. L. Ainsworth, in the practice
of law; the second, Joseph Britton, a graduate of
the academy at Annapolis, is a lieutenant in- the
navy, and the two other sons are conducting a job-
printing office in West Union.

As counsel, Mr. Hobson is prudent and safe, and
has the unlimited confidence of the people. He is
honorable in his dealings as well as candid in his
advice, and those who know him best declare that
his integrity has never been questioned.

Mr. Hobson is an active business man, full of
good, quick at repartee, and enjoys to laugh at a
joke, even though it be at his own expense. He is
kind to the poor — kind to everybody, and an inval-
uable neighbor and citizen.



JOHN HENRY ALLEN, son of John Allen,
J civil engineer, and Catherine Van Allen, was
born in Coos county, New Hampshire, on the 13th
of June, 1818. The family moved to Albany, New
York, in the early childhood of John Henry, and
there he procured his literary education, finishing
it at a French school and becoming quite proficient
in that language. When about eighteen years of
age he went to St. Pierre, an island off the Gulf of
St. Lawrence, and acted as an interpreter one sea-
son, there receiving the first money he ever earned.
The next year he went to Senegambia, Africa, as a
supercargo on the ship John Decatur, being absent
nearly two years. Returning to this country, he
read medicine with Dr. James F. Sargent, first in
Lowell, Massachusetts, and then in Hopkinton, New
Hampshire ; attended lectures at Castleton and
Woodstock, Vermont, and Hanover, New Hamp-
shire, four terms in all, and spending a year with
Professor Mussey, in giving especial attention to
surgery. At Hanover he received his diploma, be-
ing examined by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, who
took the chair vacated by Dr. Mussey in the medical
department of Dartmouth College.

Dr. Allen practiced in Boscawen and Concord,

New Hampshire, in all ten or twelve years, and in
1856 settled in Maquoketa. On his way to Iowa he
was a passenger on the ill-fated steamer Niagara,
which was burnt in September on Lake Michigan,
off Sheboygan, and he came very near perishing.
More than two hundred persons were drowned. A
few were saved by sail vessels, and he and the cap-
tain and mate were among the four who were taken
off the wheel-house by the steamer Traveler.

Dr. Allen practiced here until 1862, in the sum-
mer of which year he was appointed surgeon of the
1 8th Iowa Infantry, serving two years and then
being discharged for disability. His early educa-
tion eminently fitted him for field and hospital
service, and the necessity for his resignation was
deeply regretted by privates, officers, and especially
the medical director, who bore strong testimony to
his kindness and professional skill.

Since the rebellion closed. Dr. Allen has been
almost constantly in some civil office. He was
assistant assessor three years ; postmaster about the
same period of time; mayor three or four years,
and is now a member of the council. He is prompt
and efficient in all duties.

Dr. Allen has been a republican since there was



such a party, and prior to that period was strongly
anti-slavery. He is a man of strong convictions,
well informed and very positive. He is well culti-
vated in manners as well as in mind ; courteous,
social and genial.

Dr. Allen has been twice married. His first wife
was Miss Judith Sargent, of Concord, New Hamp-
shire, a sister of his early and esteemed preceptor;
she died in 1852, leaving three children. Kate, the
eldest, is the wife of Moff Trumbo, of Maquoketa ;
James H. lives in Chicago, and Sarah J., the young-
est, is the wife of Mr. Ordway, of Boston, Massa-
chusetts. His present wife was the widow of G. D.
Lyon, of Maquoketa, their union taking place on the
24th of September, 1857, just one year after the burn-
ing of the Niagara. Dr. Allen is her third husband.
Her maiden name was Nancy R. Hall, and she was
the daughter of Asahel Hall, an early settler in Ma-
quoketa. She graduated at Miss Fields' seminary,
Erie, Pennsylvania. She was first married to P. A.
R. Brace, of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, a member
of the convention which framed the constitution for

that state. He left her a widow at twenty-one. She
married Mr. Lyon in 1853, and he died of a fever
in about two years. She had one daughter by her
first husband, now the wife of William Stephens,
the mayor of Maquoketa; one son by her second,
George B. Lyon, who has recently completed a very
thorough education, and she has one child, Ethan
Allen, by her present husband; he is a law student
at Michigan University.

Mrs. Allen is a woman of fine culture, a vigorous
writer, and quite active and prominent in the reform
movements of the day. She was the first secretary of
the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Iowa,
and was a delegate to tke national temperance con-
vention which met at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1875. She
is an officer of the State Woman's Suffrage Associa-
tion ; is a member of the executive committee of the
national society of the same character, and a mem-
ber of the Society for the Advancement of Women.
She is a strong believer in human progress and
rights, without reference to sex, and an influential
and untiring worker for that end.



GEORGE HENRY FRENCH, for more than
twenty years prominently and actively con-
nected with the business interests and public affairs
of Davenport, was born at Andover, Massachusetts,
on the 23d of February, 1825, and claims lineage
from one of three brothers by that name who emi-
grated from England about the year 1640 and
settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, one of whom
received the honor of knighthood from Charles I.
His parents, George and Mary Richardson French,
natives of the same place, both died ere he had
attained his twelfth year, and he was at that
tender age, without any patrimony, thrown upon
his own resources, with the care and support of
two infant sisters added to the responsibility, but
he proved equal to the emergency. Up to the
age of twelve he had attended the district schools.
After that he. was. able, through his own efforts,
to take about three years' tuition at Philips Acad-
emy in Andover, and at the high school of Lowell,
Massachusetts, both institutions of eminence, in
which he acquired a liberal academic and mathe-
matical education, earning his subsistence by act-

ing as clerk during vacations and holidays for a
" notion " store.

At the age of seventeen he entered the large hide
and leather store of Philip R. Southwick, of Boston,
where he remained for five years, representing his
firm one season in St. Louis, Missouri, and becom-
ing one of the most expert and accomplished busi-
ness men of the day. At the age of twenty-two he
embarked in business on his own account in Boston,
dealing in hides and leather with very considerable
success for a period of nine years. Meantime his
health had begun to show symptoms of decline, and
he was advised, for the benefit of his health and that
of his family, to go west, and in 1856 he left Boston
and immigrated to Davenport, Iowa, being moved
to select this point chiefly from the circumstance
that it was already the residence of his brother-in-
law, the late Bishop Lee, of Iowa. Soon after set-
tling in Davenport he engaged in the saw-mill and
lumbering interest, first in the firm of Cannon and
French and subsequently that of French and Da-
vies. The last-named firm transacted a very large
business throughout the late war, furnishing the



greater part of the lumber used in the construction
of the several barracks and other buildings for
camps McClellan, Hendershott, Herron and Rob-
erts, and for the rebel prisons on Rock Island.
In 1872 he sold out his interest in this business to
his partner, having in that year been elected to the
presidency of the Davenport and St. Paul Railroad
Company, which position he retained until the cor-
poration became embarrassed, after which he was
appointed its receiver, a position which, however,
he resigned after a few months. While acting as
president he pressed forward the work of construc-
tion with great energy, completing ninety miles and
partially building forty mote. The enterprise col-
lapsed in the panic of 1874, Mr. French being him-
self one of the heaviest losers. In 1876 the bond-
holders took possession of the road under a fore-
closure, reorganized, and the work is now being
rapidly pushed to completion under the manage-
ment of John E. Henry, Esq., of Davenport.

One year since Mr. French engaged largely in the
manufacture of agricultural implements, in connec-
tion with Messrs.- E. P. Lynch and T. O. Swiney, in
the Eagle Manufacturing Company, which, under
their joint management, bids fair to outstrip many
older establishments.

During his residence in Davenport his fine exec-
utive abilities have been frequently called into ex-
ercise by his fellow-citizens with the happiest results.
In 1858 he was elected treasurer of the city school
board, and reelected annually for twelve consecutive
years. In this capacity he contributed very largely
to the public school system of Davenport. At an
early day he foresaw the wisdom of securing to the
city the beautiful square upon which has since been
erected the magnificent high-school building, one of
the finest in the country, the most conspicuous ob-
ject in Davenport and the source of its highest
pride. In i860 he was also elected treasurer of
Griswold College, Davenport, an institution which
was one of the cherished schemes of the late Bishop
Lee, and which has already accomplished much in
the way of a higher education and in the theological
training of young men for the ministry. His man-
agement of the funds of this institution. was marked
by like judgment and results. In the same year he
was also elected treasurer of the diocesan fund of
the Protestant Episcopal church in the diocese of
Iowa, and to his management of certain real-estate
investments is mainly due the ample resources from
which the tasty and appropriate episcopal residence

was lately erected in Davenport, and the revenue
from which the episcopate of the diocese is here-
after to derive its support. In 1861 and 1862 he
was chief magistrate of the city, filling the position,
as he did all others, with credit to himself and the
utmost satisfaction to his constituents. He was
one of the original organizers of the First National
Bank of Davenport, and its second president, which
was the first bank in the country to open its doors
under the national banking law. He served as aid
to Governor Stone, of Iowa, during his guberna-
torial term.

In the early years of his life he was a member of
the Protestant Episcopal church, but his theological
views having latterly undergone a change, he now
attends the Unitarian church.

In politics, he was first a whig, and on the death
of that party allied himself with the republican, and
at every period of the late war he bore an active
part in efforts to enlist and equip troops, furnish
sanitary supplies to the soldiers, and in caring for
the sick and wounded, and ministering to the wants
of the families of those who were battling for their
country. He took an active part, also, in securing
the congressional legislation by which the United
States arsenal was located on Rock Island.

Mr. French has long enjoyed the esteem and con-
fidence of his fellow-citizens. As a business man,
he has few equals and fewer superiors. His exec-
utive ability is of the very highest order, qualifying
him for the management of the most complicated
enterprises. He is especially noted as an account-
ant ; as a ready reckoner, he is the peer of any man
in the nation.

In social life, he is genial and companionable,
warm in his attachments and firm in his friendships ;
a gentleman of fine presence, liberal culture and re-
finement; a pleasing conversationalist, always "the
life " of the social circle. Although he has not accus-
tomed himself to public speaking, yet he can express
his views clearly, forcibly and elegantly when occa-
sion requires.

On the 1 2th of June, 1850, he married Miss Fran-
ces Wood Morton, daughter of ex-Governor Marcus
Morton, of Taunton, Massachusetts, a lady of high
culture, liberal mental endowments and of rare per-

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 23 of 125)