pub American Biographical Publishing Company.

The United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume online

. (page 27 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

He has four children : Samuel J., mentioned
above ; William H., who is book-keeper for the
firm, and Martha and Maggie.



DR. SETH H. CRAIG, a native of Millersburg,
Holmes county, Ohio, was born on the 14th
of February, 1825, the son of James Craig and Mar-
garet nee Slater. His parents had formerly resided
in Washington county, Pennsylvania. They were
of Scotch origin, and of sturdy, long-lived families,
the father dying at the age of eighty-two years, and
the mother at the age of sixty-five. The doctor re-
ceived a good education in the public schools of his
native place, and in 1843, with his parents, removed
to Iowa and settled at Farmington, in Van Buren
county, at that time one of the most prosperous
towns in the state. Residing with his parents until
1847, he at that time went to Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas, and on the 4th of July was sworn into the
volunteer service for the Mexican war. His battal-
ion was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Powell,
of Missouri. He served one year in the army, and,
returning to Fort Leavenworth, was mustered out in
November, 1848.

Returning thence to Farmington, he turned his
attention to the study of medicine. He attended
medical lectures at Rock Island, Illinois, and Daven-
port, Iowa, graduating at the last-named place in the
spring of 1850. During the next two years he was
engaged in the practice of his profession at Farm-
ington, Iowa, and at St. Francisville, Missouri, and
was achieving considerable success, when, in the
spring of 1852, the " gold fever" of California lured

him from his profession. Going thither by the over-
land route, he engaged in mining at Smith's Flat,
about ten miles from Downersville. Remaining
there one year, he then returned home via Nica-
raugua, and soon after resumed his profession at
Keokuk, Iowa, associating himself with Dr. Sanford,
of that place.

In 185 s he removed to Council Bluffs, and two
years later was elected city treasurer. In 1859 he
was appointed sheriff of Pottawattamie county, to fill
a vacancy, and in i860 was elected to that office,
which, however, he resigned in 1861, and entered
the United States service as captain in the 4th
regiment Iowa Infantry. Resigning his commission
in 1863, he returned to Farmington, Iowa, and from
that time until 1868 was constantly traveling from
New York to Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado,
speculating in gold and silver mines and other claims
in those territories, which were then just beginning
to be developed.

In 1868 he was elected from Van Buren county to
the twelfth general assembly of Iowa, and was an
influential member of that body. During the follow-
ing year he again settled at Council Bluffs, and there
became connected with the St. Louis, Chillicothe
and Council Bluffs railroad, acting as general agent
in Iowa. He retained this office until 1872, when
he was elected, by the general assembly of the state,
warden of the state penitentiary, located at Fort



Madison, and, removing thither, was reelected to
the same office in 1874, and again in 1876, and is
now completing his third term. His work in this
position has been accompanied by great success,
and during his wardenship many improvements have
been made, and many reforms introduced into the

He is an influential member of the Masonic and
Odd-Fellows fraternities, and also belongs to the
Knights of Pythias.

In religious sentiment, he inclines strongly toward
Universalism, but has never been identified with any
religious organization.

Politically, Dr. Craig was formerly a whig, but
upon the dissolution of that party, in 1854, he
became a democrat and continued such until 1861,
when he identified himself with the republican party.

to whose principles he has since remained a firm
adherent. He has been actively engaged in politics
for more than twenty years, and has become exten-
sively known throughout the state.

Dr. Craig was married on the 28th of March, 1850,
to Miss Susan M. Dunning, of Farmington. Mrs.
Craig was a lady of fine attainments, and her death,
which occurred in November, 1872, was deeply
mourned by many warm friends. In 1873 Dr.
Craig was married to Mrs. Sarah A. Winther, of
Fort Madison, a most estimable lady, a native of
Northumberland county, Pennsylvania. He has six
sons and two daughters.

His personal and social qualities are of a high
order. As a father, he is kind and indulgent; as a
husband, he is affectionate and devoted; as a friend,
he is true and constant.



JOHN SAMUEL DAVID, Burlington, Iowa, was
J born at Washington, Mason county, Kentucky,
on the loth of October, 1813. His parents were
Michael and Celia David, who were early settlers
of Kentucky, where they located about 1794. His
father was a friend of Simon Kenton, the great
Indian fighter, who made his home with them when-
ever he visited that part of the country. He was
of German and his mother English-Welsh descent.
The school-days of the subject of our sketch were
passed in the little log school-house, the pioneers of
western education. He commenced his life in a
small town, and was reared to habits of industry and
economy. After leaving school he went into the-em-
ploy of Governor John Chambers as superintendent
of a rope-walk, and from his excellent knowledge of
hemp made most of the purchases of stock. In 1834
he started west, and after traveling extensively over
the country settled in Burlington, Iowa, in the spring
of 1835. His first year in part was spent in building
houses for self and others. He erected many build-
ings and carried on a number of branches of busi-
ness, such as pork packing, brick making, livery and
lumber, etc., in all of which he was the pioneer.

In 1835 he went into the wholesale grocery and
commission business under the firm name of John
S. David, and continued, with the exception of three
years, till 1862. He was very successful. During

the gold excitement in the spring of 1849 he started
overland for California, and engaged for a short time
in mining; and removed to Sacramento and opened
a trading post for the mines; at the same time he
was engaged in a series of speculations, in which he
met with great success. He returned to Burlington
in 185 1, and in 1853 recommenced the wholesale
grocery business.

During the Mexican war Iowa was called upon
for two companies for that service. He was com-
missioned captain of one of them by Governor Clark,
but they accepted but one and he remained. He
was commissioned, by the secretary of war, colonel
7th Iowa Cavalry, but shortly after resigned. He
was very prominent during the war in assisting in
the measures of the government.

In politics, he was originally a whig, and has acted
more or less with the republican party since its or-
ganization ; but in this era of corruption of men high
in office, he votes for the best man in his judgment,
irrespective of party.

He has been 'a member of the Baptist church
since 185 1, of which he is an active supporter.

He is a stockholder in all the roads running from
the city, and active in every enterprise for the de-
velopment of the city and country.

He is a member of the Masonic order, having
joined in 1837.



He has traveled extensively over the country and
through the provinces. He has done much for the
improvement and development of the agricultural
interests of the state.

He was first married, December 18, 1844, to Miss
Mary A. Meason, of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, who

died, from cholera in 1850. His second marriage
was to Mary E. Cameron, February 21, 1854.

Colonel David is a self-made man. Commencing
in life in straitened circumstances, he has by his
own energy and perseverance gained a competence
and the esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens.



WILLIAM H. DECKER, of Davenport, Iowa,
a prominent maltster and grain dealer, is one
of those men to whom belong the honor of building
their own fortune. Without the aid of too liberal
education in his youth, his success may be attrib-
uted solely to his own ability and persevering effort.
He started from home young, with no means, yet a
hopeful heart. To-day he is an esteemed citizen,
with a fortune acquired by himself as a monument
of his success.

Mr. Decker was born at Harrisburg, Pennsyl-
vania, on the i6th of August, 1827, and is the son
of Frederick and Elizabeth Decker Jiee Boyer. His
father was a native of Maryland and his mother of
Pennsylvania. To the early training of his parents
he owes many habits of economy and industry. His
education was limited, and confined to the ordinary
branches in the common schools, which he left at
fourteen years of age, going to work in a cotton
factory, where he remained two years, afterward
learning the plasterer's trade, at which he worked
for a number of years. He left home on a borrowed
capital of fourteen dollars in 1847, and went to Cin-
cinnati, Ohio, where he worked at his trade until

1849, when, the gold excitement breaking out, he
went to California. He worked in the mines for
about a year, and then went into speculating rind
contracting. In this he was very successful, and
laid the foundation for an ample fortune. He re-
mained there eight years, and in 1857 removed to
Dayton, Ohio, going into the grain and malt busi-
ness. This he prosecuted very successfully for two
years ; then removing west to Iowa, and locating at
Davenport, recommenced the same business. Mr.
Decker now carries on the largest trade in his line
in the state, if not in the viiest. He has been very
fortunate in all his business relations, and his suc-
cess may be attributed to his perseverance and en-
ergy. He is interested in several local enterprises,
and is president of the Davenport Street Car Rail-
way Company. He is not a member of any church,
but is liberal in his religious views.

He was married on the i2th of December, 1859,
to Miss Sarah A. Monday, of Dayton, Ohio.

Mr. Decker is known as a man of sterling integ-
rity, decided character and untiring energy, and he
has gained the confidence and esteem of his fellow-



AS an example of western enterprise, he whose
L name heads this sketch is worthy of a most
honorable mention. His life career, though marked
by many vicissitudes, shows a gradual growth, and
he stands to-day as a fair e.Kample of what may be
accomplished by upright, persistent and persevering
effort. A native of Connersville, Fayette county,
Indiana, he was born on the ist of September, 1828,
and is the son of Simon Casady, a farmer by occu-

pation. He is of Scotch-Irish descent, and until he
attained his eighteenth year assisted his father in
his farm-work. He attended the common schools,
and afterward pursued a course of academic studies,
and finding the narrow routine of farm-life wholly
unsuited to his tastes, early resolved to devote his
life to some other occupation. Finding in the law
a wide field for the employment and cultivation of
his best powers, he decided to fit himself for that



profession, and accordingly began his studies while
yet in his native town, and in 1852, after removing
to the west, was admitted to the bar at Des Moines,
Iowa. Removing to Council Bluffs in April of the
following year (1853), he there formed a partnership
with Mr. H. D. Johnson, and established himself in
the practice of his profession. He also established
a land agency, and engaged in the purchase and
sale of real estate.

As a lawyer, he soon became widely and favorably
known, and in 1858 his fellow-citizens, recognizing
his financial and judicial ability, elected him to the
office of county judge. It is but due to say that
this honor was wholly unsought by Mr. Casady.
Each political party had put forth its candidate for
the position, but the people being dissatisfied with
the norninees repudiated the nominations, and with-
out dissent or regard to political prejudices elected
Mr. Casady. Under the law as it existed at that
time, the county judge had full management of all
the financial affairs of the county, and also of the
probate court, so that the office was attended by a
vast amount of responsibility and hard work. Not-
withstanding this fact. Judge Casady continued the

office for two years, and at the same time conducted
his own private business, which, until the year 1868,
consisted largely of real-estate operations. During
this last named year he was elected to represent the
counties of Pottawattamie, Mills, Fremont and Cass
in the state senate for a term of four years.

Judge Casady has always shown a worthy public-
spiritedness, and has heartily sympathized with all
local improvements and enterprises. He has been
especially active in railroad operations, and on the
13th of July, 1861, he was elected a director of the
Council Bluffs and St. Joseph railroad, and after-
ward was elected president of the road.

In political sentiment he is a democrat, and has
taken an active part in the workings of that party.
He has frequently been a delegate to the state con-
ventions. In 1872 he was the candidate of his party
for state auditor, and although he ran far ahead of
his ticket, the state was so overwhelmingly republi-.
can that he was defeated.

In his religious communion. Judge Casady is
identified with the Presbyterian church, and is a
worthy member. He has three children, two sons
and one daughter.



THE subject of this sketch, an early navigator
of the northern lakes, and one of the first
settlers in the State of Iowa, is a son of Jephthah
Buell, a ship carpenter of the town of Florence, Her-
kimer county. New York. He was born iii 1803, and
attended the common school of the neighborhood.
His immediate ancestors resided iri Connecticut, but
his father was a native of New York. His mother
(Rachel nee Strong), a worthy and estimable lady,
was a native of Connecticut. His paternal grand-
father was a native of France, and accompanied the
Marquis de Lafayette in his famous expedition to
this country in behalf of the war for independence.
On the arrival of that nobleman he joined the fed-
eral army, and remained in the service during the
entire period of the revolution. In 181 1 his father
opened a farm and settled near Sackett's Harbor,
New.York. The war of 1812 occurred during the
residence of the family in this locality, and when nine
years old Elijah witnessed the battle of Sackett's Har-
bor, and still retains a vivid recollection of the same.

In 1813 his father died. Two years later the
widowed mother, with a family of eight children —
three girls and five boys — removed to where the
city of Cleveland, Ohio, now stands, she having
a sister residing in that region. Prior to this time
Elijah had obtained the rudiments of an English
education, and also received a few months of in-
struction in the Cleveland Academy. He endeav-
ored to qualify himself in the study of practical
navigation, specially for the northern lakes, and in
this branch soon became eminent. As a pilot or
sailing master he had few, if any, equals, and cer-
tainly no superiors. Entering upon this employ-
ment at the early age of thirteen, he continued in it
during the following ten years. He navigated these
lakes long before the frontier forts were established.
He supplied, subsequently, the military posts of
Mackinaw and Green Bay with provisions, the firm,
of Mervin, Giddins and Co., of Cleveland, Ohio,
being the contractors. In 1823 he left the lakes,
and during the following twelve years devoted his




time and energy to steamboating on the lower Mis-
sissippi river, an enterprise in which he was emi-
nently successful, and became widely known for his
ability as an experienced pilot and master. Pru-
dent and careful, and faithful in the discharge of
his responsible duties, his reputation as a sailing
master on the lakes and as a pilot on the Mississippi
has never been sullied with any serious disaster.

In July, 1835, leaving his family in St. Louis, he
landed from a steamboat in the vicinity of the pres-
ent village of Lyons. It was two years after the
close of the Black Hawk war. Here he opened a
farm, and the first year put under cultivation some
thirty acres. During the following three years he
continued the improvement of his preemption, until
the first land sales at Dubuque in 1840, at which
time he entered six hundred acres. At this period
the nearest settlements were Galena on the north
and Port Byron on the south. Previous to 1840,
the land on which he had settled not having been
surveyed, he traveled from Port Byron to New
Boston to obtain the requisite information regarding
numbers of land in the old military survey between
those points. All his provisions and implements
of husbandry had to be obtained at St. Louis. Pro-
visions were very scarce, and prices for the same
very high. In subsequent years he shipped wheat
to St. Louis for six and a quarter cents per bushel,
while his fare there and back was eight dollars.
In 1842 and 1843 the Chicago market afforded
greater attractions, and he hauled wheat thither,
a distance of one hundred and thirty-six miles,
for forty to forty-eight cents per bushel. At the ex-
piration of the first three years his family, consist-
ing of wife and children, joined him in his humble
log dwelling.

At the time of his settlement here the Indians
were quite numerous, but never troublesome, and in
all his intercourse with them he invariably found
them kind and faithful. Being possessed of indom-
itable industry and perseverance, he started on his
own account various enterprises pertaining to a new
county, and made the wilderness "blossom like the
rose." In 1849 and 1850 the point where he had
settled was the principal crossing of the Mississippi
by emigrants and gold seekers bound for California.
At this point a thousand yoke of oxen have been
transported across the river daily, affording much
profit as a home market for all his farm surplus.
At an early day Mr. Buell united with other neigh-
boring settlers in organizing a common school for

the mutual benefit of their respective children.
Land originally sold at one dollar and twenty-five
cents per acre, but in 1852 and 1853 decreased in
valuation to sixty and seventy-five cents per acre.
In 1856, however, the price of land again rapidly
increased beyond the original government price,
large tracts having been bought up by speculators,
together with railroad grants. The three lines of
railway that now cross the state have tended to
equalize the valuation of land in Iowa. The sea-
board is no longer the market for the western farm-
er, but a market is now provided at his own door.
Notwithstanding the monopoly of railroads, they
nevertheless furnish to every farmer a home market.

During his residence here Mr. Buell has dealt
largely in real estate. He is at this time (1876) the
owner of several farms in this section of country.
His residence, beautifully located on an eminence
overlooking the " Father of Waters,'' is a magnificent
and stately edifice, built in a neat and chaste style
of architecture. Fine old shade trees adorn the
grounds of the family mansion, imparting an air of
comfort and quietude to those who enjoy its hospi-

Mr. Buell is a reader and thinker. Indeed, hav-
ing passed so many years of his life with nature
only as his companion, he long since learned to do
his own thinking, and to trust and have faith in
himself Having never played tricks with his own
mind, his self-reliance has never betrayed him.
True to himself and nature, he has been true also
to his fellows. Having confidence in his own opin-
ions and judgment, he invariably respects the opin-
ions of others.

In politics, he is a Jacksonian democrat. He is
decidedly independent, both as a thinker and actor,
and has no sympathy with the party hacks who
make politics a trade.

In religious matters he is peculiar. He has no
faith in the popular theology. His views are some-
what indefinite. He is neither a skeptic nor a
sectarian. Liberal and catholic in his religious
sentiments, he claims the largest freedom in these
matters, and awards the same to others. His motto
through life has been never to owe a man anything,
but "pay as you go," which is one great secret of
his success.

Endowed with great bodily strength and vigor, he
has a wonderful capability of endurance. Although
somewhat advanced in life, his mind is active and
vigorous, and his memory as tenacious as in youth.



He is a remarkable specimen of manhood in its full
maturity. His life has been eventful, but filled with
usefulness. Equally eminent in the various depart-
ments of business he assumed, he has achieved suc-
cess in every enterprise undertaken, and ground his
wealth out of poverty. He has accepted office only
a few times, preferring to devote his entire time and
energies to his legitimate calling. His nature is
genial and social, and his manners simple, yet digni-
fied and unostentatious.

In early life he married Caroline Boyd, who died
in 1839. He was again married in 1840, to Louisa
Peace, a highly respected lady of his neighborhood.

His tastes are scientific and literary, and in the
education of his children he has patronized the best
and most thorough institutions in the country. The
high position he holds as a private citizen in Clinton
county has been won entirely by his own talents,
integrity and industry, since he began in the world
without a dollar. .



seventh judicial district of Iowa, was born
at Marshall, Michigan, on the 9th of December,
1841, and is the son of Dr. Andrew L. and Clarissa
Selden (Hart) Hayes. His father was a native of
New Hampshire, of ScQtch-Irish ancestry, a scion
of the New England Hayes family, his mother being
a Sanborn, of Sanbornton, New Hampshire. Dr.
Hayes was educated and bred to the profession of
medicine in his native state, but commenced his
professional life in Michigan, of which state he was
an early settler, taking an earnest and active interest
in its initial concerns. He was a member of the
legislature that first sent General Cass to the United
States senate, was a brigadier-general of the state
militia, and took a lively interest in military affairs :
served in the Texas war, and rendered important
aid in the raising of troops at the commencement of
the late rebellion, but died in 1861, before he had
time to buckle on his sword in defense of his coun-
try. Although a practicing physician throughout
his life, yet he was commonly known in Michigan as
General Hayes. The mother of our subject was
born in Durham, New York, of English descent,
her ancestry running back to the. early Puritan stock
of New England. She still lives in the enjoyment
of health.

His parents being in easy circumstances, the early
life of our subject was pleasant and smooth, free
from the bitter but often beneficial experiences with
which the early lives of many men of distinction
have been fraught. He received his incipient edu-
cation at the common schools of his neighborhood,
commenced the study of law at the age of nineteen
years in the office of Hughes and Woolley, Marshall,

Michigan, the senior member of which was the Hon.
D. Darwin Hughes, now of Grand Rapids ih that
state. He subsequently graduated at the law school
of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was admitted to the'
bar of that state in 1863. A year later he became
a member of the firm of his late preceptors, which
then went under the style of Hughes, Woolley and

In 1866, being offered a desirable partnership by
General N. B. Baker, late adjutant-general of Iowa,
he removed to Clinton, Iowa, where he has ever
since resided, and at once entered into active prac-
tice, the firm being Baker and Hayes. This part-
nership continued for about two years, and until
General Baker removed permanently to Des Moines,
after which he was without a partner till 1872, when
he became associated with the Hon. George B.
Young, then circuit judge, which position the latter
resigned in order to resume his practice. This alli-
ance, under the name of Hayes and Young, con-