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stores, and erecting a three-storied building to ac-
commodate his business. He continued this busi-
ness with good success for two years and then sold
his interest. This was at that time a fine business
point, since the overland emigrants to California,
and the Mormons going to Utah, made it the prin-
cipal place for purchasing their outfit.

In the year 1857 Mr. Babbitt purchased the
" Council Bluffs Bugle," the oldest paper in western
Iowa, having been established in 1850. This he
continued to edit until 1870, firmly and zealously



advocating the principles of democracy, antimo-
nopoly, hard money, opposition to every kind of
special privilege by the government, and the doctrine
of individual liability of members of corporations
for all debts of corporations.

For many years Mr. Babbitt has devoted much
attention to raising blooded horses, cattle, hogs, etc.,
having, as early as 1853, purchased of five Mormons
the beautiful farm upon which he now resides (1877).
In local improvements he has been a leading man.
He was the first vice-president of the Council Bluffs
and Saint Joseph railroad, now known as the Kansas
City, Saint Joseph and Council Bluffs railroad, and
it is but just to state that to his foresight and per-
sistent effort is largely due the locating of the state
capital at its present site. As early as 1842 he ex-
plored central and western Iowa, with a view of
determining, in his own mind, where the capital of
the state would be, and finally selected Fort Des
Moines. He at that time attempted to settle there,
but was ordered off by the United States troops,
it being then Indian territory. Afterward, while a
.member of the state legislature, he introduced the.
first bill for removing the seat of government from
where it then was (Iowa City) to Des Moines. The
bill met with strong and bitter opposition, those not
favoring it declaring that all the country west of
Des Moines was fit only for Indians and beaver,
and that the United States government would never

survey it. In a caricature that was published at
that time Mr. Babbitt was represented as holding
to a long string attached to a railroad car, which he
was pulling westward, while four other stalwart
members were represented as pulling a car from
Keokuk to Dubuque.

As among the local offices which he has held, it
may be stated that he has been twice mayor of his
city, and served some nine different terms as alder-
man. In 1859 he was candidate for lieutenant-
governor, opposed to Mr. Rush, of Davenport, and
ran ahead of his ticket about twelve hundred votes.
General Dodge was then candidate on the same
ticket for governor. In 1867 he was elected to the
state legislature on the democratic ticket, defeating
his opponent by one hundred and thirty-nine votes
in Pottawattamie county, where at the previous elec-
tion there was a republican majority of two hundred
and fifty. Although he was never an abolitionist, he
was always opposed to the extension of slavery, and
now that the negroes are free, believes in qualifying
them for citizenship. At the presidential election
of 1876 he supported Mr. Tilden, believing that
the great political issues were dead, and that the
condition of our governmental affairs demanded a
change of administration.

Mr. Babbitt is a married man and has one son
living, who is now (1877) employed in the general
land office at Washington.



AMONG the successful young men of Iowa may
xV fairly be placed the name of William H.
Gabbert. It will be generally found that similar
cases lead to like results in whatever branch of
human activity a man's genius and enterprise may
be employed. The essentials of success are cour-
age, patience and perseverance. Success brings
honor in every honest occupation, and when it is
achieved by a young man it adds new pleasure.

The subject of this sketch was born at Blue
Grass, Scott county, Iowa, on the 12th of October,
1849, and is the son of Henry and Eliza J. Gabbert
nde McGarvey. His father was one of the pioneer
settlers of Scott county, having gone there in 1835,
when there were few inhabitants and but little ex-
pectation that Davenport would be what it now is.

He was originally from Tennessee, and was identi-
fied with the old school of democrats, to whose
principles he is still an adherent. He is eminently
connected with the earlier history of the country,
and participated in its early struggles. His ances-
tors were among the early settlers of the United
States, and participated in the revolutionary war,
also in the war of 181 2.

William's early life was that of a farm boy. His
education was gained in the common schools; he
early developed a taste for study and the acquire-
ment of knowledge. After leaving school he com-
menced the study of law, in the meantime teach-
ing school two or more winters. His ambition led
him early to choose law for his profession, and to
this end commenced his studies at twenty years of



age with W. A. Foster, a prominent criminal law-
yer, of Davenport, Iowa, being admitted to the bar
in November, 1870. He formed a partnership with
W. A. Foster under the style of Foster and Gab-
bert, remaining a partner until the ist of April, 1874,
when they dissolved, he continuing the practice.
He met with much success, and was building up
a fine business when he was elected clerk of the
district and circuit courts, in October, 1874, which
office he has held since, greatly to his own credit
and the satisfaction of his constituents. He is a
member of the A.O.U.W. He is not connected
with any church, but a believer in the fundamental

rules of Christianity. He was brought up a demo-
crat, and was elected to his present position by a
majority of five hundred over his own ticket.

Mr. Gabbert was married on the 6th of February,
1873, to Miss Addie Gabbert, eldest daughter of
Captain W. H. Gabbert, of Davenport, a prominent
citizen and an old settler. She died on the 13th
of October, 1874, regretted by an unusually large
circle of friends and acquaintances.

Mr. Gabbert is known as a man of sterling in-
tegrity, decided character and untiring energy, and
has every promise of a prosperous and honorable



THE subject of this brief biography stands prom-
inent among the influential business men of
his part of the State of Iowa. Beginning life in com-
parative obscurity, and without capital other than
his own native talents and a resolute purpose to suc-
ceed, he has been, in a true sense of the word, " the
architect of his own fortune," and risen gradually to
a. high social and business standing among his fel-
low-citizens. A native American, he was born in
Washington county, Pennsylvania, on the 12th of
October, 1820. He passed his early life on his
father's farm, enjoying such educational advantages
as were afforded by the common schools. About
the time that he attained his majority he engaged in
mercantile pursuits in the village of Washington,
Pennsylvania, and in the year 1844 removed to the
west and settled at Fairfield, Iowa. During the
next three years he was engaged in farming in that
locality, and at the expiration of that time removed
to Ottumwa, where he employed the next six years
in mercantile pursuits. As showing the newness of
the country at the time when Mr. Baldwin settled at
Fairfield, it may be stated that Iowa was then a ter-
ritory, with a population of thirty-six thousand, and
that there was no post-office in Jefferson county.
The mail was then carried on horseback and was
received once in two weeks, and was so small that
" Tom Graham," who acted as postmaster, could
carry it all in his hat.

In 1853 Mr. Baldwin closed out his business in-
terests in Ottumwa and removed to Council Bluffs,
which then had a population of about five thousand,

composed principally of Mormons. Resuming his
mercantile pursuits, he continued the same -with
good success during the next three years.

In 1856 he established a land agency, and also
to some extent engaged in banking, and since that
time has continued th« same, together with various
other business operations. While engaged in his
land agency, from 1856 to 1869 he was associated
with General G. M. Dodge, under the firm name of
Baldwin and Dodge. During this last named year
he organized the Pacific National Bank, and became
a director, vice-president and general manager of the
same. Heartily sympathizing with all local public
improvements, he has lent his cooperation to many
worthy enterprises. In March, 1877, ^'^ principal
owner, he organized the street railway running to
the depot of the Northern Pacific railroad and to
the Burlington and St. Joseph depots. He also
owns a large flouring-mill, which is doing a prosper-
ous business.

As a business man, Mr. Baldwin has established
a wide and honorable reputation. He is known for
his promptness and decision, and has the happy fac-
ulty of seizing opportunities and turning them to
good account.

In politics, he was formerly a whig, but upon the
organization of the republican party he became
identified with it and took a somewhat active part
in its workings.

Although his business life has been one of unu-
sual activity, he has been able to gratify the wishes
of his friends and accept at their hands various



positions of honor and responsibility. In 1854 he was
elected a member of the state legislature on the
republican ticket, and during his term of office ren-
dered efficient service. When Council Bluffs first
became incorporated he was elected a member of
the city council, and in March, 1877, was elected to
the office of mayor. In 1876 he was sent as a dele-

gate to the republican convention held in Cincin-
nati, Ohio.

Mr. Baldwin was married in August, 1843, to Miss
Jane Hunter, of Washington, Pennsylvania, and by
her has three daughters.

In his religious communion, he is identified with
the Presbyterian church.



HANS REIMER CLAUSSEN was born in the
province of Schleswig Holstein, Germany,
on the 23d of February, 1804. He received a col-
lege education at Meldorf, and studied law at the
University of Kiel. In 1830 he was admitted to the
bar, and commenced the practice of his profession
first at Heide and afterward, in 1834, removed to
Kiel, the principal place in the province and the
seat of the supreme court and state university. In
1840 he was elected a member of the legislature for
Holstein, and was repeatedly reelected until 1851,
when he was exiled and emigrated to the United
States. The establishment of a republic in France,
in 1848, created throughout Germany great political
excitement. The revolution was victorious; in Ber-
lin and Vienna the people were clamorous for a
united Germany, a German parliament, liberty of
the press, and such a bill of rights as is secured to
the American people. The kings had to yield and
give consent to a German parliament, which con-
vened at Frankfort-on-the-Main in May, 1848, and
in which Mr. Claussen, elected from Holstein, was
a member. The assembly was a kind of constitu-
tional convention ; it framed a constitution for Ger-
many, which did not take effect, the kings refus-
ing to accept it. The present constitution con-
tains, however, very essential parts of that consti-
tution so framed. Schleswig Holstein belonged to
the king of Denmark till 1864, though the inhab-
itants were nearly all Germans and were always
dissatisfied with the Danish government, which was
tyrannical, oppressive and very burdensome by un-
just and heavy taxation. They cherished a hope
to be released from the Danish government by the
death of the ruling king, Friedrich VII, since his
successor. Christian IX, had no right to the govern-
ment in Schleswig Holstein and for Denmark, in a
similar manner as in Hanover and England. The

Danish king had, however, made several efforts to
change the laws of succession so as to make it uni-
form for all parts of the Danish monarchy, and thus
to keep Schleswig Holstein united with Denmark.
This policy of the Danish king had created a fever-
ish excitement, and was the means of very bitter
controversies between the Danish king, his German
subjects and their representatives. In 1848, when
nearly the whole of Germany was in arms against
their rulers, the Germans in Schleswig Holstein also
took up arms against the Danish king to conquer
and gain their independence. The legislature, how-
ever, sent previously a delegation of five of their
members to Copenhagen to present their grievances
to the king of Denmark. Mr. Claussen was one of
these five members. On their arrival they were in
great danger of their lives, the excited Danes in-
tending to mob them. The hotel where they lodged
was surrounded by thousands, who in their excite-
ment called them traitors and disloyal to their king.
When they drove to the palace of the king the
streets were densely crowded with excited men, who
attempted to overthrow the coaches and mob them.
The better educated Danes, and particularly the stu-
dents, made strenuous and successful efforts to save
their lives. The king received them courteously,
but refused to grant their petitions. When they re-
turned they found the people in arms, and a provin-
cial government established, which sent Claussen to
Berlin to obtain aid from the Prussian government.
In this mission he was successful. A Prussian army
entered Schleswig Holstein, drove out the Danish
army and occupied that province. The Schleswig
Holstein army maintained the government of the
Germans against Denmark up to 185 r, when Prussia
and Austria resolved, by an army entering Schleswig
Holstein, to compel the people thereof to subjection
and obedience to their Danish king. After the res-



toration of the Danish power, a general annesty was
granted to the king's disloyal subjects, excepting
about twenty persons, and Claussen among them,
who were exiled from their native country.

He emigrated in 185 1 to the United States, es-
tablished his residence at Davenport, studied the
English language and law, and was admitted to the
bar in Iowa about two years after his arrival to the
United States. In 1855 he built a steam grist mill
in Lyons, Clinton county, Iowa, where he resided
about three years. He was not successful, and lost
almost all of his means. In 1858 he sold his mill
and returned to Davenport, and again commenced
practicing his profession. Here he met with much
success, as more than one-third of the population
of Scott county are Germans, who prefer a German
lawyer to do their business for them, and his known
ability as an attorney made him very successful. In
1858 he was elected, and in i860 reelected, a justice
of the peace; and, as his legal business was grow-
ing, in 1862 he took in his son, Ernest Claussen, as
partner in the law business. In 1869 he was elected
a senator for four years from Scott county. In May,
187 1, he retired from the practice of law, leaving it
to his son.

In the summer of 1871 he visited his fatherland,
and his native Schleswig Holstein, where the Danes
had ceased to rule; the decree of exile against him
had ceased to be operative since 1866, when it was
under the rule of Prussia, and he was once more

allowed to view the scenes of his boyhood, and visit
once more his old friends. The dreams of his life
were realized, and he witnessed united Germany as he
had struggled for it in his early days. Going to Ber-
lin, he visited the German parliament and heard that
greatest statesman of our age (Bismarck) speak in
regard to the administration of the government in
Alsace and Lorraine.

Always an enemy of slavery in any form, he has
been a staunch republican since the organization of
that party. In various ways he has done great good,
both by legislative and home influence, and there is
not a more popular or more loved and esteemed
man among his constituents than Mr. Claussen.

In religious matters he is liberal, though baptized
and educated in the Protestant Lutheran church.

He was married in May, 1832 ; his wife, Annine,
formerly a daughter of a Danish officer, is still living
to bless his old age.

It is seldom we are called upon to review the
record of a man so prominent in two continents as
Mr. Claussen. The great benefits accrued to the
United States by the immigration of such men are
vi^ell known. While making constant use of his
natural powers, he has never wasted- or weakened
them, hence he is still in possession of much of his
native vigor and strength, At over threescore and
ten his step is still firm, his form erect, his counte-
nance cheerful, and he bids fair to see a mellow, ripe
old age.



OF those whose names are inscribed upon the
roll of Iowa's honored men, none deserves a
more honorable mention than he whose biography
is briefly given in this sketch. Through many
years of active life he was closely identified with
various public interests, and the impress of his
noble character is indelibly stamped upon the work
with which he had to do.

Beginning life in adverse circumstances, he boldly
and persistently pushed his way onward and up-
ward, allowing no obstacle to check his progress,
and by his very force of character and native
power, made for himself a name and fame that shall
long live, cherished with .fondest remembrance by
the many who were honored with his acquaintance.

Caleb Baldwin was a native of Washington coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, and was born on the 3d of April,
1824. His early life differed little from that of ordi-
nary youth. He enjoyed the advantages of a good
primary education, and early disclosed a fondness
for study and literary pursuits. After completing
his preparatory studies he entered Washington Col-
lege, in his native state, and graduated from the
same with honor in the class of 1842. During his
early life he maintained a high character, and rigid-
ly adhered to those principles of honorable dealing
which so signally characterized all of his subse-
quent life. After finishing his course in college he
turned his attention to the study of law, and in the
year 1846, being then twenty-two years of age, re-



moved to Fairfield, Iowa, and established himself
in the practice of his profession. Iowa was then
a territory, and during the early years of his resi-
dence there he was subjected to the many incon-
veniences and privations incident to a new country.
He was a man, however, of dauntless courage and
determined purpose, and a will-power that yielded
to no obstacle, and, toiling steadily on, established a
worthy and growing reputation. His business grad-
ually increased from year to year, and he grew in
favor and popularity with the people, who, recog-
nizing his talents and peculiar fitness for official
positions, elected him to the office of prosecuting
attorney, to which he was afterward twice reelected.
In 1855 he was appointed by Governor Grimes
judge of the district court, to fill a vacancy caused
by the resignation of Hon. W. H. Severs. Closing
up his interests in Fairfield, he, in 1857, settled in
Council Bluffs, where he continued to reside during
the remainder of his life. Two years later, in 1859,
he was- elected a judge of the supreme court of
Iowa, it being at the first election held under the
revised constitution, which provided for the election

of judges by the people. In 1862 he became chief
justice of the State of Iowa, by virtue of seniority
in office. Wearied with the cares and responsi-
bilities of public life, and preferring the quiet prac-
tice of his profession, he, in 1864, declined a re-
election to the bench and resumed the practice of
law. In the following year, however, he was ap-
pointed, by President Lincoln, United States dis-
trict attorney for the district of Iowa. His last
official position was that of judge of the court of
commissioners for the settlement of the Alabama
claims, to which he was appointed in 1874.

As a man. Judge Baldwin possessed those ster-
ling qualities which attract and hold the admiration
and confidence of men. He was esteemed for what
he was, and at the time of his death, which occurred
in the winter of 1876, had attained to a standing
among his fellow-men which fairly illustrates what
one may acquire by the persistent cultivation of his
native powers. Though he himself has passed over
into the unseen, his work remains, and stands as a
lasting and worthy memorial of the purity and
nobleness of his manhood.



JOHN C. ATLEE, a native of Maryland, was
J born on the 22d of March, 1816, the son of
Samuel J. and Martha Atlee. Several years prior,
to his birth his parents had removed from Lancas-
ter county, Pennsylvania. Upon the death of his
mother, which occurred when he was only a few
weeks old, he was left to the care of his grand-
mother, who lived at the old home of his parents
in Pennsylvania. There he remained until he at-
tained his twelfth year ; and after the death of his
grandmother he lived first with his uncle, Henry
Stickler, and afterward with an elder brother, Will-
iam A, Atlee. At the age of sixteen he was ap-
prenticed to his brother, Jacob C. Atlee, to learn
the carpenter's trade. He continued thus employed
during the next two years, and at the expiration of
that time, his brother retiring from business, he went
to Philadelphia to finish his trade. Soon afterward,
in 1835, he went to New York, and there worked
one year at his trade. In 1836 he went by sea to
Mobile, Alabama, and thence by Lake Pontchartrain
to New Orleans. He did not like the south, how-

ever, as he had anticipated, and leaving New Or-
leans he went up the Mississippi to St. Louis, and
finally settled for a short time at Quincy, Illinois.
In 1837 he spent a few months at Fort Madison,
and was so thoroughly pleased with the place that
he determined to make it his future home.

Going to Quincy he was there married to Miss
Emeline S. Brooks, and, immediately returning to
Fort Madison, established himself at his trade, and
continued it with good success for six years. Hav-
ing accumulated from his hard-earned savings a
sufficient capital, he purchased a farm within a few
miles of town, and for several years employed him-
self in agricultural pursuits. Returning to Fort
Madison in 1852, he formed a copartnership with
his brother, Isaac R. Atlee, and during the next two
years carried on a successful lumber trade. Extend-
ing his operations in 1854, he, in company with Na-
thaniel Bennett, built the first steam saw-mill that
was erected at Fort Madison, and was doing a very
prosperous business until 1856-7, when they became
somewhat involved and embarrassed in the financial



crisis that swept over the country during those
years. However, by close attention to business,
and a course of economy and strict integrity, they
avoided the serious consequences which befell many
business men. Mr. Atlee afterward purchased the
interest of his partner, and associated with himself
his son, Samuel, and from that time until the pres-
ent (1877) the business has been conducted under
the firm name of S. and J. C. Atlee. The business
tact, cool judgment and clear foresight of Mr. Atlee
is best attested by the growth of his business. The
mill, in all its appointments, is inferior to none on
the Mississippi river. At the time when the son
became asssociated in the business it was producing
about fifteen thousand feet of lumber per day; at
the present time the mill has a capacity of fifty-

five thousand feet of lumber per day, and of twenty
millions of shingles and four millions of lath per
year, and employs one hundred and fifty men.

In local enterprises Mr. Atlee has been somewhat
active, and heartily cooperates in all matters per-
taining to the growth and prosperity of his city.

Personally and socially, he is a man of excellent
qualities, and throughout his life has maintained an
adherence to those principles of honor and fair
dealing that have secured to him the confidence and
esteem of all with whom he has had to do. He has
accumulated a handsome fortune, and lives in the
enjoyment of a happy home.

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 26 of 125)