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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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gave utterance to the invincible principles that ani-
mated him. Threats, opposition, violence, none of
these could move him when once he had taken
counsel with his conscience and reason, and learned
from their dictates the line of duty. He was a moral
hero, and no matter how hard to travel, no consider-
ation could tempt him from the path of rectitude.

He was one of the leaders of the free-soil party
in Iowa, and made costly sacrifices of health, money
and friends in advancing its principles. Yet he
rigidly followed out his line of duty, and afterward
received his reward in the triumph of the republi-
can party, in the organization of which, in Iowa, he
took an active part.

Mr. Howe was an eloquent advocate of woman's
suffrage, of temperance and of the abolition of the
death penalty, and also fought with all his might the
"Land Monopoly." In short, he was an uncom-
promising opponent of every wrong, and equally a
defender of every right.

Before attaining his majority, in 1829, Mr. Howe
was married to Miss Charlotte Perrin, and by her
had nine children : Oscar P., Elizabeth W., Warring-
ton P., Edward P., Hayward H., Mary Frances,
Samuel L., Seward C. and Cora Belle, — all but two
of whom still survive to comfort and cheer the de-
clining years of their widowed mother.

Mr. Howe was for many years a consistent member
of the Congregational church ; his was a living and a
liberal religion, entering into the heart and flowing
out through every avenue of the soul; and when on
the isth of February, 1877, he laid down the ar-
mor in which he had so nobly fought the battles
of this life, it could be truly said of him that a
victor has passed to his reward. He had led men
onward in the path of progress, himself going before
and smoothing the way. Such was the force of his
life that its impress is stamped upon all his works,
while his example and influence will continue to



affect the lives of the many who cherish with fondest
remembrance the memory of his deeds.

The school in which Mr. Howe labored he left to
the charge of his son, Seward C. Howe, who was
trained by his father with special reference to this

work, and who is peculiarly fitted for this vocation,
having inherited mSny of his father's best gifts.
■ Under his able management Howe's High School
and Female Seminary will undoubtedly maintain its
present high reputation and prosperity.



THE pioneer settler in Lansing was John Haney,
a man of christian worth, who died on the
15th of April, 1875, leaving the impress of his
character on the town. He was a native of Penn-
sylvania, and was born in Fayette county, on the 15th
of September, 1798. His father was a Methodist
clergyman, and early instilled into his mind the
loftiest principles of virtue. The whole family moved
to Richland county, Ohio, when the son was seven-
teen years old, and there among the thick forests
the young man cleared and opened a farm. He
also learned to survey, and during this period laid
out a town called Haneyville, now Savannah, Ash-
land county. In the summer of 1832 he removed
to Rushville, Schuyler county, Illinois, where he
opened another farm.

In July, 1839, Mr. Haney left Illinois, went to
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, made a claim in Sep-
tember of the same year, on the Kickapoo river, and
subsequently opened a farm there, in what was
known as Haney Valley, Crawford county. On
account of the isolation of his family from schools,
after a few years he moved to Galena, Illinois.

On the 9th of July, 1848, Mr. Haney made a
landing at Lansing, directly on the western shore of
the Mississippi. He and his eldest son, James, put
up a log-house, the first permanent building of the
kind in the place. In that humble house John
Haney lived for twenty-five years. For a long time
it was the home of all who came, and Mr. Haney
never made a charge for a night's lodgings in his
life. What he had was free to everybody, white
man or red. The latter always called him " father,''
and never left his house hungry.

His son James had just aided in removing the
Winnebagoes, and Mr. Haney's was the first white
family making a permanent settlement here. He
surveyed the land and made a claim of about six
hundred acres, which he subsequently purchased at
the government price, and which now includes the

site of Lansing city. Aided by his son, already
mentioned, he laid out the town in the spring of
1 85 1. A few years later Mr. Haney built a saw-
mill, and shortly afterward a grist-mill, on Clear
creek, one mile from town. There he operated for
several years. He was a man diligent in business,
and brought up his family to habits of industry. He
died in his seventy-seventh year, and the great con-
course of people at his funeral testified to the re-
spect in which the father of the town was held.

Mr. Haney joined the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church nearly forty years before his demise, and
lived a blameless and truly exemplary life.

He had two wives. In iSig he married Miss
Elizabeth Allender, of Washington county, Pennsyl-
vania. She had seven children, three only of
whom are living, James, John and William.

James Haney, of whom we have already spoken,
was the first postmaster at Lansing, and resigned
after having held the office several years. He was
born on the 28th of December, 1820, and his was
the first marriage in Lansing, it occurring on the 4th
of February, 1852, his wife being Rachel W. Horton,
of Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. She came
to Lansing on the 15th of July, 1851. She had
two children, a son and a daughter, the former dy-
ing on the isth of April, i860. In 1857 James
Haney laid out an addition to Lansing, known as
Haney's Addition. He lives three miles west of
the town, and is a frugal, hard-working, well-to-do
farmer. In April, 1850, when Allamakee county was
organized, he was appointed the first clerk, and was
afterward elected by the people to the same office,
but refused to qualify. At one time he was a trader
among the Indians, operating for Ewing and Co.,
of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Part of the time he
was at Fort Atkinson, and part at Bradford. He
and his brother John built the first house erected
•on the present site of Bradford. They could both
speak the Winnebago language fluently.



When the Indians were removed northward, John
Haney, who came to Lansing iti 1852, went with
them, and continued the trade until he settled in-
Lansing. He now lives two miles west of the city,
and, like James, is a thrifty farmer. He is married.
He and his brother William own a flouring-mill
near Lansing. In 1872 John Haney was the re-
publican candidate for state senator, but the county
is democratic and he was defeated by a very close

William Haney came to Lansing in June, 1852,
and married Miss Jacobine Welty, a native of France.
She died on the 29th of October, i860.

The second wife of John Haney, senior, was
Miss Fanny Hemenway, of Rushville, Illinois. She
had seven children, and died on the 13th of Jan-
uary, 1872. Only three of her children are living.
Richard, one of her sons, is a lawyer, residing in
Lansing, and is a young man of more than ordinary



FRANCIS H. GRIGGS, president of the Citi-
zens' National Bank of Davenport, was born
on the 14th of November, 1834, in Brookline, one
of the suburbs of the city of Boston, Massachu-
setts. His parents were Thomas and Harriet (Ful-
ler) Griggs, both natives of the Bay State.

His early education was obtained in the public
schools of Brookline. In 1850 he entered Harvard
University, taking the full collegiate course and
graduating in 1854. In the early part of 1855 he
removed to Davenport, Iowa, where he has since
resided. Until 1873 Mr. Griggs has been engaged
in mercantile pursuits, from 1855 to 1859 in the
shoe and leather business, and from i860 to 1873
in the printing and publishing business. Since 1873,
with a brief interval of travel, his duties as presi-
dent of the Citizens' National Bank have fully oc-
cupied his time.

On the 8th of October, 1861, he was married to
Miss Candace Watson, daughter of Joseph Watson,
of Indianapolis, then deceased. They have two chil-
dren : Elizabeth H., born on the 22d of April,
1866, and Thomas W., born on' the 14th of Febru-
ary, 1875.

By his business qualifications and strict integrity
Mr. Griggs has won the confidence of the com-
munity in which he has spent his life. He is not a
public man, yet he is public-spirited and gives freely
of lime and money to promote the common good.

Personally, he is sociable and friendly, a good
talker when aroused to interest, but usually unde-
monstrative and retiring.

Politically, a member of the democratic party, he
seldom makes a public appearance as such.

In religious sentiment he favors Protestantism,
but is a member of no church.



DEACON GARDNER, as he is called through
Chickasaw county, is a native of Massachu-
setts, and was born in Plainfield, Hampshire county,
on the 23d of February, 1807, his parents being
Benjamin and Molly Tirrill Gardner. His father,
the youngest of seven brothers, carried a musket
during the strife for independence. The head of
the Gardner family came over in the Mayflower,
and Governor Gardner, of Massachusetts, was one
of his descendants. William Gardner, an uncle of
Gideon, was aid-de-camp to General Washington.

Benjamin Gardner was a farmer, and Gideon was
raised in the calling, remaining in Massachusetts
until 1831, working awhile in Pittsfield at the ma-
son's trade. In the year just mentioned he came
as far. west as Ohio, halting in the town of Chester,
Geauga county, working at his trade and teaching
music. Three years later he went to Medina county,
laid brick in the summer and taught music schools
in the winter, carrying on a farm, buying wool
and dealing in stock also part of the time. He
spent three years as merchant in Chatham, Medina



county, and in 1854 immigrated to Grinnell, Iowa.
There he aided in laying out the town, founding the
colfege and organizing the Congregational Church,
at which time he was chosen deacon. He remained
there two years, tilling land part of the time, and
managing a store for another man, and in the au-
tumn of 1856 made a permanent location at New
Hampton. He was the original proprietor of most
of the present site of this little city, surveyed and
platted it, there being less than half a dozen fami-
lies here then. It is a beautiful spot for a prairie
town, and is blooming like a rose as we write this
sketch in the summer of 1877.

In July 1861 Mr. Gardner went into the army as
captain of company B, 7th Iowa Infantry, and was dis-
charged in September, 1862, on account of age and
disability, serving as major when he left the regiment.

While in Medina county, Ohio, he was assessor of
the county two years, and during his early residence
at New Hampton was justice of the peace for some
time ; was chairman of the county board of super-
visors for a number of years, and has been mayor of
the city one term.

Mr. Gardner was originally a whig, then a free-

soiler, and latterly has been a republican. He has
been a member of the church forty-five years ;
helped to organize the New Hampton Congrega-
tional Church, and was its first deacon. His chris-
tian character has never been questioned ; his life is
a model of the purest religious type, and has been
a power in keeping up the moral tone of the place.

In 1827 Miss Naomi Parker, of Plainfield, Mas-
sachusetts, became his wife, and she is living still, a
moderately healthy old lad}', with treasures enough
on earth to make her comfortable, and' treasures
enough in heaven to make' her happy. They have
had three children, none of whom are now living
but one son, Weston D., who is married, his wife
being Harriet Lyon, of Medina county, Ohio. They
have four children. The son resides in New Hamp-
ton ; kept the Gardner House several years, and is
like his father, a much respected citizen.

Deacon Gardner has entered on his seventy-first
year, yet never stood more erect. He is six feet
and two inches tall, well-built, and a fine specimen of
manhood. He has married grandchildren who ven-
erate his name, as also do the citizens generally, for
his unblemished and useful life.



JOHN HILSINGER is a son of Barnabus and
J Polly Coonrod Hilsinger, and the fifth child in a
family of thirteen children, twelve of them now liv-
ing and having families. Both parents are of Hol-
land descent. Barnabus Hilsinger was a farmer,
and John, who was born at Marathon, Cortland
county. New York, on the 4th of March, 1835,
worked at the same business until about sixteen, at-
tending school each winter. At the age mentioned
he commenced learning the carpenter and joiner's
trade, and worked at building houses, agricultural
implements and saw-mills, at Marathon, until about
at his majority, teaching school during the winters.
He had a strong love for study, and from boyhood
devoted his leisure to books. In 1856, after dip-
ping into law books some in private, he commenced
reading with Judge Lewis Kingsley, of Cortland
village, finished the next year with Judge Hiram
Crandall, of the same place, and was admitted to
the bar at Ithaca at the general term of the su-
preme court in the autumn of 1857. He remained

in Cortland until the next March, when he started
for Floyd county, Iowa, and was admitted to the
bar at Charles city in the May following. In July
he settled in Sabula, Jackson county, here teach-
ing the graded school two years, and practicing law
during the vacations. Since i860 he has been in
the practice of his profession, and steadily growing
in reputation as an attorney, he being a close stu-
dent and an able counselor. No man at the Jack-
son-city bar has a better standing.

In 1873 Mr. Hilsinger started a bank in com-
pany with Ira B. Overholt, at first as a corporation
called the National Savings Bank, which was dis-
solved in 1875, and he has since conducted it as a
private institution, the firm name being Hilsinger
and Overholt.

Mr. Hilsinger was elected one of the supervisors
of the county in i860, and held that office nine or
ten years ; was postmaster at Sabula during part of
Mr. Lincoln's first presidential term ; and has held the
same office during the last four years ; was elected



the second mayor of Sabula, and by reelections held
that ofifice three years, and was state senator from
1864 to 1868. In that body he was on the com-
mittee on agriculture and commerce, and one or
two other committees, and was assiduous in the
discharge of his duties.

Mr. Hilsinger is attorney for the Sabula, Ackley
and Dakota railroad, and active in all enterprises
tending to benefit the city, the county or the state.

He cast his first vote for John C. Fremont in
1856, and has always voted the republican ticket.
He was a delegate to the national convention which
nominated General Grant in 1868.

Mr. Hilsinger is an Odd-Fellow and Freemason ;

has taken three degrees in Odd-Fellowship, is a
Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar, and has
taken the thirty-second degree in the Scottish rife.

He is not a member of any church, but he has a
partiality for the Methodist Episcopal creed.

In 1867 Miss Mary E. Scarborough, of Sabula,
became his wife, and they have had four children, of
whom they have lost two.

Mr. Hilsinger has a modest, unassuming appear-
ance, and a stranger would not be likely to esti-
mate him according to his ability and worth. He
has been, and iS; a very useful citizen of Jackson
county, those who know him best having the highest
esteem for him.



~' tavia county. New York, on the 27th of Feb-
ruary, 1808. He was the third child of Colonel
Samuel Hall and Hannah Chapin Hall, who were
pioneers of that county, having settled there in

Judge Hall was eminentl}' a self-made man. His
early life was that of a farm boy, his father having
at an early day cleared a farm out of the heavy
forests. His early culture was obtained at the
common schools and Middlebury (now Wyoming)
Academy. By his own exertions he received a
good English education, having taught school for
three years during the winter to defray the ex-
penses of his summer tuition. After leaving school
he joined a civil engineering corps, and surveyed
into sections Genesee and adjoining counties.

In 1828 he began reading law at Albany, New
York, under the instruction of Abram Van Vecten,
and. continued until 1829, when he entered the law
office of Coles and Andrews, in Cleveland, Ohio,
where he remained until 1830. He removed to
Zanesville, Ohio, and completed his legal studies
under Judge Keith, of that place. In this year he
was admitted to the bar at Columbus, and locat-
ing at Mount Vernon, Knox county, Ohio, at once
commenced the practice of his profession. On the
1 2th of June, 1832, he was married to Miss Achsah
F. Childs, at Bethany, New York. His practice
increased and it was not long until he was engaged
in nearly all the important litigation in that por-

tion of the state. But in 1839, induced in some
degree by the unfortunate results of the financial
troubles of 1836-7, but more especially in conse-
quence of the death of a favorite child, whose loss
rendered him dissatisfied with his surroundings, he
removed to what was then the far west, and tem-
porarily stopped at Burlington, Iowa territory. He
concluded to locate at Mount Pleasant, Henry
county, to which place he removed in January,
1840. During his first year he succeeded in es-
tablishing himself in an extensive practice, attend-
ing courts in eleven counties. He witnessed the
organization and opening of the first courts in .
many counties, and for many years in the early
history of Iowa was retained in important litiga-
tion in all parts of the state and in Illinois. In
1845 he was elected a member of the first consti-
tutional convention, and shortly after the close of
the session he removed to Burlington, where he
spent the remainder of his life. In 1854 he was
appointed associate justice of the supreme court
of the state, to fill a vacancy caused by the resig-
nation of Hon. J. F. Kinney. The opinions written
by him appear in fourth G. Green's "Reports." In

1855 he was elected president of the Burlington
and Missouri River Railroad Company, and it was
largely owing to his indomitable energy and per-
severance that that enterprise was organized upon
a successful basis. In the Presidential campaign of

1856 he was again elected member of the consti-
tutional convention that framed the present funda-



mental law, under which the state government is
organized. He was an active and influential mem-
ber of the convention, and to his exertions and in-
fluence is greatly due the superior educational sys-
tem of Iowa. In the discussions to be found in the
constitutional debates remains a perpetual monu-
ment of his research, broad and liberal views, can-
dor, unselfish and disinterested zeal for the public
good. He was elected a member of the ninth
general assembly of the state in 1859, and consented
to forego his professional duties for that purpose
at the solicitations of his professional brethren, who
wished his influence and judgment in the prepara-
tion of the revision of the laws,. which it had been
appointed for that assembly to frame and enact.
He was a memtier of every ^constitutional con-
vention, and was regarded as one of the founders
of the state, and did more, perhaps, toward fram-
ing the state government than any other single
individual, and was always the uncompromising
champion of the educational interests; his first act
in the young territory being to assist in founding an
academy, which has since developed into the Iowa
Wesleyan University. The State University found
in him a staunch supporter. .To his liberal views

the beneficent provisions of the homestead and
other exemptions are due, vk-hile his practical judg-
ment was largely influential in the adoption of a
form of procedure which, for its justice and sim-
plicity, its freedom from technicalities and evasions,
has probably no superior. He was regarded as one
of the prominent lawyers of the northwest, compre-
hensive in his views, clear and perspicuous in argu-
ment, and of great power as an advocate.

In politics, he was an unswerving democrat, a
prominent, honored and influential member of that
party. During the Buchanan campaign he made
one hundred and seventeen speeches, which re-
ceived the commendation of his friends and the
respectful consideration of his political opponents.

Socially, he was a man of great heart; his charity
and liberality were scarcely limited by his means.
In kindness and tender consideration for all his
fellows he was without many equals, and none could
say of him that he ever intentionally did any man
a wrong. He was an extraordinary man in all the
elements of greatness, his presence was command-
ing, and his supremacy was written in his person
and features; his fair fame will ever remain a proud
legacy to the state he so greatly honored.



THE oldest journalist in Chickasaw county,
Iowa, in age and in occupancy of the editorial
chair, is George M. Reynolds, proprietor of the
New Hampton "Courier." He left home just as he
had entered on his teens; received most of his edu-
cation at the printer's case, and is to-day one of the
best informed men in the county. Mr. Reynolds is
the son of a cloth manufacturer, Joseph Reynolds,
and was born in Rahway, New Jersey, on the 13th
of November, 1814. His grandfather, John Rey-
nolds, was a revolutionary soldier, and a pensioner
until his death.

The maiden name of George's mother was Effie
Marsh, and her grandfather, Christopher Marsh,
was a captain of scouts for General Washington.
He was caught by the tories and marched, in his
drawers and stocking feet, to Trenton, New Jersey,
whence he was subsequently released by General
Washington during the battle at that place.

George attended a district school, and worked at

home until fourteen years old, and from that age to
that of twenty-one, was in a printing office at Mont-
rose, Pennsylvania. He then spent three years in
New York city, mostly in the office of the " Courier
and Enquirer," published by James Watson Webb ;
was two years in the office of the Mobile, Alabama,
"Advertiser," and the same period in the office of
the Montgomery "Journal," edited by Hon. Henry
W. Hilliard, then a state senator from Alabama, and
afterward member of congress. He then went to
Louisiana and published papers six years, and re-
turned to the north in 1848. He established the
"National Reformer," at Honesdale, Pennsylvania,
and the next year removed the establishment to
Carbondale and started the Lackawanna "Journal,"
which he conducted for nine years, and sold in
May, 1858. He came to Dubuque, Iowa, the next
month, and worked on tire Dubuque " Daily Times,"
Jesse Clement, editor. In 1859 he removed into
the interior of Iowa, and became one of the pub-



lishers of the " Cedar Valley News," of Bradford,
Chickasaw county, and in June, 1862, purchased a
half interest in the New Hampton "Courier," and
settled in this place.

In 1 868 Mr. Reynolds became sole proprietor of
the " Courier," and still owns and conducts it. It is
a quarto six-column sheet, very neatly printed, and.
edited with much care and ability. Mr. Reynolds
is one of the best printers in the Cedar Valley
country, and takes great pleasure and, it is not un-
likely, some pride, in publishing a model county
paper. He has built himself a pleasant home at
the county seat, and has probably ended his pere-
grinations as a newspaper publisher. At the head of
the official paper of the county, in comfortable cir-
cumstances, and surrounded by many friends who

appreciate his journalistic services, he seems to be
contented and happy.

Mr. Reynolds is a well-read politician, is a repub-
lican, with whig antecedents, and has a good deal of
influence in the politics of the. county. The same

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 34 of 125)