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copatriols, will be a source of just pride and grati-
fication to his descendants to the remotest genera-
tion, and will be cherished by them as a priceless

On retiring from the army he entered again upon
the practice of the law in partnership with G. D.
Woodin, Esq., and soon took a leading rank at the

In the autumn of 1865 he was elected to represent
his county in the state senate, and served in the
session of 1866, being a member of the committees
on the judiciary, constitutional amendments and
corporations, and making a most excellent record as
a legislator. In the autumn of the latter year he
was elected judge of the sixth judicial district of the
state, and served in that capacity till the end of
1874, being reelected in the autumn of 1869 without
opposition. In this situation he won and maintained
the reputation of being one of the foremost jurists
in the state, receiving on his retirement the most
flattering testimonials as to his ability and impar-
tiality from the bar of every county in the district.
While yet on the bench, and after having declined
to become a candidate before the convention, he
was nominated to represent the sixth district of
Iowa in the forty-fourth congress. He accepted the
nomination with the understanding that he would
serve out his term as judge, and was elected by a
majority of two thousand seven hundred votes. He
served on the committees on patents and " Freed-
man's Bank." As measures which received his special
attention as a member of the committee on patents,
were the limitations of terms of patents granted,
first in foreign countries and afterward in this ; and
what interest, if any, an officer of the army detailed
to make experiments in improvements of arms or
ammunition might have in new and useful discov-
eries thus made ; on both of which subjects he sub-
mitted reports to the house, which 'were adopted.

He also had charge of a senate bill for the pun-
ishment of the counterfeiting of trade marks, on'




which he submitted many important amendments
for the consideration of his committee, which were
adopted by the committee, and afterward by the
house and senate. He also favored the bill for the
counting of the electoral vote, on which he de-
livered a speech of great ability and wisdom, in
which the patriot rose above the partisan. He was
reelected to congress in 1876, by a majority of four
thousand votes.

In politics he has always afifiliated with the repub-
lican party since its organization.

While quite young he became a member of the
Christian church, but since arriving at manhood has
not been a member of any church. He frequently
attends the services of different denominations, and
liberally assists in the maintenance of all Evangelical

Mr. Sampson is a man of singular coolness and self-
possession, and although naturally of quick temper,
is seldom known to be excited, or to manifest feel-
ings of anger or bitterness. In mnnners he is quiet,
unassuming, courteous and dignified, and universally
beloved by all classes of society, while his home is,
the synonym of all that is generous and affection-
ate. He is also characterized by great industry,
being always employed, if not for himself, for others ;
although of small stature, and apparently delicate
framework, he possesses great energy and endurance.

In appearance he is quite youthful, fair and ruddy
complexion, blue eyes, and light hair unmixed, as
yet, by a single thread of gray. He is governed by
the most rigid principles of honesty and integrity —
a stranger to deceit, cunning, and other vices so
frequently chargeable to members of the bar. His
mind is of an eminently legal cast, and as a prac-
titioner his forte is in being thoroughly prepared,
and never taken by surprise.

As a judge, he was most careful and conscien-
tious, taking as many cases as circumstances would
permit, under advisement, and studying them thor-
oughly ere he rendered decisions, which were as
impartial as the code of the state, and he left the
bench unanimously regarded as among the ablest of
the district judges in Iowa.

In the year 1855 he married Miss Eunice Ellen,
daughter of William McCahn, formerly of Indi-
ana, afterward of Keokuk county, Iowa, a lady of
great amiability of character and modesty of dis-
position, devoted to home and the interests of her
family. They have had a family of seven children,
all living, two sons and five daughters. The sons
are Lee and Edmund ; the daughters are Flora,
Leona, Clara, Ellen and Lavina. Flora is the wife
of C. M. Brown, Esq., an attorney residing in Sigour-
ney ; the others are still at home, but preparing for
lives of usefulness and honor.



THEODORE W. BURDICK, congressman elect
to the forty-fifth congress from the third dis-
trict, is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born at
Evansburgh, Crawford county, on the 7th of October,
1836, his parents being Nelson and Amanda Mason
Burdick. His father was treasurer and recorder of
Winneshiek county from 1854 to 1858, and has long
been one of the leading citizens of Decorah. His
grandfather was Sheffield Burdick, of AVyoming
county, New York, and his great-grandfather was
Adam Burdick, third son of Nathan Burdick, of
Rhode Island, whose two sons bore a conspicuous
part in the struggle for our national independence.

At the age of seventeen Theodore was prepared
to enter Oberlin College, Ohio, but at that time his
father and the whole family immigrated to Iowa,
reaching Decorah in the spring of 1853. During

the summer of that year a school-house was com-
pleted, and during the following winter the subject
of this sketch became the first teacher.

In the spring of 1854, when his father assumed the
responsibilities of the county office or offices already
mentioned, the son took charge of the books, keep-
ing them until, in 1857, he became of age ; when his
father's term of office expired, the son, in compliance
with the vote of the people, succeeded him, holding
it until he resigned to enter the military service.

In October, 1862, Mr. Burdick was commissioned
captain of company D, 6th Iowa Cavalry, its field
of operations being on the western frontier. He
participated in three battles with the Indians : White
Stone Hills, Dakota Territory ; Tah-kah-o-kuta, near
the line of Dakota and Montana Territories, and
Bad Lands, on the Little Missouri river. He served



three years, when the regiment was mustered out.
In the official reports of the engagements mentioned
Captam Burdick is honorably named for gallant
services on the field, and was recommended for pro-

In February, 1865, Mr. Burdick purchased an
mterest in the First National Bank of Decorah; was
elected its cashier, and at the time of writing still
holds that position. Since his return from the army
he has also been an extensive dealer in real estate,
being quite successful in the business.

On the 6th of September, 1876, to his surprise,
durmg an absence of several weeks east, visiting
the Centennial, he received, at the hands of the re-
publican party, its unanimous and unsolicited nomi-
nation for congress to represent the third district,
and was elected by more than thirteen hundred

majority in a district which, two years before, had
elected the democratic nominee, and in 1875 had
given a larger majority for the democratic candi-
date for governor than the democratic congressman
had received. , Mr. Burdick's majority was a well-
merited tribute to his character as a man, his fi-
delity and services to his party, and the confidence,
which the people generally have in his talents and
his trustworthiness.

Mr. Burdick is a member of the Congregational
church, and a faithful worker in the sunday-school.

In December, 1858, he married Miss Nancy Graves,
youngest daughter of the Hon. Gaylord Graves, of
Whitewater, Wisconsin. She has had six children,
five of whom are living.

Mr. Burdick is a conscientious, reliable man, and
does everything well which he undertakes.



OSCAR CUTLER HALE, a native of Wells
River, Vermont, was born on the 26th of
July, 181 6, and is the son of Charles Hale and Mary
Ann n^e Reed. His paternal ancestry is of an old
Puritan English family, which still occupies the an-
cestral estate at King's Walden, in Hertfordshire.
His branch settled in America in 1635. His mother
traced her lineage from a Scotch Presbyterian family
who immigrated to this country from the north of
Ireland before the revolution, and settled at Lon-
donderry, New Hampshire. Among his ancestors
■were many who were prominent in military and civil
offices, and were active in the formation of the ori-
ginal government, in the states of Massachusetts
and New Hampshire, and in the revolutionary war.
In this his great-grandfather was a colonel, and his
grandfather a soldier.

Oscar C. received his early education in the com-
mon schools of his native place, and at the age of
fourteen years entered the Kimball Union Academy
at Meriden, New Hampshire. Possessed of fine
native endowments and a studious disposition, he
made rapid progress, and developed a special fond-
ness for mathematical and scientific subjects, also
history and geography. At the age of sixteen, con-
trary to the wishes of his teachers and friends, he
left school, and, although his father was in inde-
pendent circumstances, resolved to begin life on

his own account. He first engaged as clerk in the
mercantile business, and continued during six years,
becoming thoroughly acquainted with every depart-
ment of trade. At the expiration of this time, ow-
ing to impaired health, he relinquished his position,
formed a partnership, and under the firm name of
Holt and Hale, engaged in the manufacture of iron
and steel goods. Owing to financial difficulties of
his partner, the firm was dissolved at the end of one
year, and in 1840 he started on an extensive tour,
traveling through twenty-four different states, and
visiting all the principal cities in the Union. During
his absence, without his solicitation or even knowl-
edge, he was elected cashier of the Bank of New-
bury ; and although but twenty-four years of age,
he accepted the position and held it for a period
of seventeen years, carrjing the principal manage-
ment of the institution, and by the success which
attended him, made for himself a most worthy repu-
tation among the business men of his native state as
a skillful manager and financier. In 1857 he vis-
ited the west, intending to establish himself in the
banking business. But,- owing to the financial cri-
sis of that year, the directors of his old bank called
him back, and he remained with them till February
1858, carrying the institution safely through its peril.
At this time he settled at Keokuk, Iowa, and organ-
ized the private banking house of Rix, Hale and



Co., but at the end of four j'ears the firm relin-
quished banking, and he became cashier of the
Keokuk branch of the State Bank of Iowa, taking
an interest in the stock, and serving for some time
as state director of this branch in the state board.
When, in 1865, this bank was converted into the
State National Bank of Keokuk, he was elected to
the office of cashier, which he still holds, being one
of the most thorough and successful bankers in the
State of Iowa. Mr. Hale was formerly a whig, and
before coming west was active and influential in
political matters. He served in the Vermont legis-
lature two terms, and held various other positions
of public trust. Since his removal to the west, how-
ever, he has taken no active part in politics, having
declined nomination to various offices, preferring
the quiet and emoluments of his business to political
honors. He is now identified with the republican
party, and holds decided democratic views in the
truest sense of the word. At the solicitation of
friends of all parties he served as alderman for two
years, being president pro tem. of the city council
for one year, and acting mayor for a time, in the
absence of that officer, and for several years city
treasurer. In 1844 he was appointed aid-de-camp to
Governor Mattocks, of Vermont, with the rank of
colonel, and served on his staff during his official
term. He is at present a director of the Des
Moines Valley railroad, also a director of the Valley
National Bank of St. Louis and of the State Na-
tional Bank of Keokuk, and besides sole manager

of the business of Rix, Hale and Co., employing
considerable capital in lands, stocks, loans and other

As a sagacious and successful banker and busi-
ness man, it is but due to say that he has few supe-
riors in the west, and that few men possess more
fully the entire confidence and respect of their ac-
quaintances. His entire career has been marked
by integrity, fair dealing and conscientiousness in
the performance of all trusts, combined with method
and system in his business arrangements and invin-
cible persistence and perseverance in accomplishing
his purposes. He has devoted much time to self-
culture, and from his travels, careful observation
and close reading, is well versed in history, politics,
philosophy and general literature, and posted on all
matters of current interest. Without possessing an
avaricious disposition, and although he has in a
quiet and unostentatious manner shown a commend-
able liberality in all public, religious, benevolent
and charitable enterprises, he has accumulated an
ample competence, which he quietly enjoys in his
comfortable and substantial home situated in a most
desirable part of his city. He has never sought
office, and in the discharge of all public trusts that
have been imposed upon him has given entire satis-
faction, and is most highly esteemed by those who
know him best.

Colonel Hale was married on the 26th of June,
1844, to Miss Susan D. Rix, of Royalton, Vermont,
who still survives.



THE subject of this sketch, an Englishman by
birth, though a resident of this country since
infancy, was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, on the 4th
of May, 1801. His parents, John and Elizabeth
(Whitely) Blackett, crossed the ocean and settled in
Albany, New York, about 1805 ; there John Blackett
was naturalized in 1808. He lived only a few years.
When about seventeen or eighteen William removed
with his stepfather and the family to New Bruns-
wick, New Jersey, engaging in the hardware busi-
ness. Mr. Blackett, at twenty-one years of age, be-
came a partner of his stepfather; a little later he
engaged in business for himself, and in 1826 re-
moved to New York city, there continuing in the

hardware trade, part of the time with his stepfather
and brother, but a longer time alone. He always
gave his business his immediate supervision, manag-
ing it with prudence, which resulted in success.

In 1856 Mr. Blackett immigrated to Clermont,
Iowa, intending to retire from business ; but at the
end of two years he built a store, and took his son
James P. Blackett, into partnership. After the close
of the rebellion another son, Henry S. Blackett,
came out to Clermont, where he became associated
with them in business. Mr. Blackett and his sons
opened a store at Lawler, in Chickasaw county, six
or seven years ago, and his son Henry continues
the business there.



Mr. Blackett has been a member of the Methodist
church since boyhood, and an ofifice-bearer of some
kind in the same the greater part of the time. He
was a large contributor when the beautiful church
in which he worships was erected, and his heart is
in every cause which will benefit his fellow-men.

Since 1856 he has voted the republican ticket;
prior to that date, was a whig.

On the 8th of March, 1823, he married Miss
Sarah E. Stevenson, of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
She is still living, and is a true mother and help-
meet. She has had four children, and three of them
are living, the two enterprising sons mentioned and
Elizabeth Whitely, the wife Dr. Lewis, of Clermont.

Mr. Blackett has always been a great reader and
a close observer ; his faculties are unimpaired and
he has a rich fund of general knowledge always at
his command. He has a vivid recollection of see-
ing at Albany the first steamboat which went up the
Hudson river on her first trip in 1807 ; and his remi-
niscences of his early years are instructive as well
as entertaining. Mr. Blackett has always been an
industrious, frugal man, carefully husbanding his
resources, yet liberal in his contributions where ne-
cessity made known her wants. For many years his
hospitality was known far and wide. He has never
been " forgetful to entertain strangers," or of any
other duty as a citizen.



proprietor of the Davenport " Democrat,"
was born at Orange, Orange county, Vermont, on
the 19th of March, 1832, and is the son of Christo-
pher and Achsah (Foster) Richardson, thrifty farm-
ers of the Green Mountain State, who by the most
assiduous industry educed a scanty subsistence from
the sterile and flinty hillside which they called their
farm, ignorant as yet of the infinite resources and
exhaustless fertility of the boundless prairies of the
west. The Richardson family is of English lineage,
and trace descent in an unbroken chain to William
Richardson, who came over in 1635, ^"^d settled in
Newburyport, Massachusetts, the intermediate links
being Christopher — father of our subject — son of
Samuel, son of Christopher, son of Daniel, son of
Joseph, son of the original William. On the moth-
er's side he is descended from the Leland stock,
also English, crossed by the Powers' blood, pro-
ducing some men of note of both names. Most of
the male progeny were men of the sea, soldiers,
merchants or professional men, an honest, hardy,
self-reliant race, conspicuous for honesty, virtue and
morality. With such antecedents, it is not surpris-
ing that our subject failed to develop a fondness for
agricultural pursuits, or that he should, on the other
hand, prefer the companionship of books, and de-
vote his time and energies to the attainment of
knowledge, with a view to a profession.

His early experiences were like those of most
farmer boys brought up on the rock-strewn hillsides

of New England. Until the age of eighteen he had
enjoyed the advantages of- a three-months common
schooling annually. He read all the books and
papers he could find, studying to the outer verge of
his opportunities, and shirking all the farm-work
that it was decently possible for him to avoid. At
this date, however, he resolved to launch out for
himself. He taught school, and' earned money to
pay the. expenses of an academic education, which
he resolved to obtain in spite of all obstacles. He
entered Franklin Academy at Malone, New York,
passing through the regular curriculum of studies ;
had also given considerable attention to the study
of law, with a view to that profession, and was pre-
pared to enter Middlebury College, Vermont. But
about this time the " western fever " broke out in
that region, and carried many very promising young
men with it, our subject among others, who, happen-
ing to be possessed of fifty dollars and a suit of
clothes, bought a railroad ticket, and landed in St.
Louis in March, 1854. From thence he moved to
Sparta, in Randolph county, Illinois, where he
taught school for three months, passing much of his
leisure time in the printing office of C. P. Johnson,
now ex-governor of Missouri, setting type and work-
ing a hand-press. In this way he obtained a fair
idea of the routine of a country printing office, and
acquired a taste for that line of life. Leaving
southern Illinois, he steamed up the river to Rock
Island, and thence crossed the country to Peoria,
"where," to borrow his own expression, "he found



himself dead broke," a thousand miles from home,
or from any place where he could honestly get
money without working for it. But hunger is inex-
orable, and soon mastered his prejudice against
labor. So he went to work again in a printing
office, setting type for his board, which he believes
he honestly earned. But as his aversion to work for
either board or wages was by no means eradicated,
he soon changed his base of operations. Early in
October, 1855, he set his face toward Davenport,
Iowa, resolved to settle in that promising young city
and grow up with it. Here he bought an old news-
paper office, on credit, and on the 15th of the same
month started the daily and weekly " Democrat,"
which he has continued to edit and publish ever
since, taking into partnership with him, in 1863, his
brother, J. J. Richardson, thus making the firm of
Richardson Brothers. For twenty-one years his
life has ran in an even, quiet channel, in the happy
valley which lies between extremes of every kind.
From a penniless boy in 1855 he has advanced to a
position of wealth and social influence second to
few men in the state of his adoption, while ills paper
has come to be the recognized exponent, within the
sphere of its influence, of the political party whose
name it bears. He has studiously avoided all public
and official life, as tending to divert him from his
one sole purpose, an office of his own, independent
of political changes or partisan whims, avoiding all
save those which every good citizen should consent
to fill in turn.

He is a useful and influential member of the city
school board and the city council, of the Iowa State
University regency, a curator of the State Historical
Society, a bank, street railway and cemetery direct-

or, a trustee of the Presbyterian church, and a Past
Master Mason.

Although an attendant upon the services of the
Presbyterian church, he is not in communion with
any religious organization. He has believed, how-
ever, from his youth up in the fatherhood of God
and the brotherhood of man, and he is so rooted
and grounded in this faith that it is unlikely he will
ever vary it.

In politics, he is a democrat; not of the ultra
stripe, never having a taste for extremes in anything.
During the late rebellion he was what was denom-
inated a war democrat, and his paper was loyal to
the Union and the government, opposing the ex-
treme views of his party, both in its columns and
upon the stump.

Mr. Richardson is not only a self-made man, but
he is one of nature's noblemen, genial generous and
kind-hearted, finding his greatest happiness in the
paths of a contented, quiet, peaceful, social life,
always ready to lend a helping hand to the strug-
gling and unfortunate. As a writer, he is scholarly,
forcible and matter of fact, and though at times sar-
castic and pungent, he is always fair and honorable,
never descending to personalities, or indulging in
claptrap or sensationalism. Strictly moral and tem-
perate in all his habits, just and true in all his deal-
ings, public-spirited and benevolent, a credit to his
race and an honor to his city.

On the isth of April, 1858, he married Miss Jen-
nette Darling, daughter of a thrifty New England
farmer, who has made a model wife and mother.
She presides with grace and wisdom over one of the
happiest homes in the west. They have four promis-
ing children, Jennette, Morris, Anna and Jenness.



AMONG the business men of De Witt, few who
have ever settled here brought with them
more of the elements of success than Thomas F.
Butterfield, who has been a trader here thirty-three
years. He has indomitable energy and perseverance ;
carefully oversees every branch of his business ; is
shrewd and keen, yet conscientious ; deals fairly
with his customers, hence makes friends rapidly, se-
cures and retains their custom easily, and his suc-
cess is a fine example of the reward which industry

and honest dealing often secure. Mr. Butterfield
is the son of Jonathan Butterfield, a New Hamp-
shire farmer, and Jane Forsyth, his birth dating at
Goffstown, Hillsboro county, on the 19th of August,
1821. His grandparents on both sides of the family
aided in gaining our independence, and his father
was a captain in the war of 1812. Thomas com-
menced his business education as a clerk in Hop-
kinton when about fourteen ; subsequently spent

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 31 of 125)