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of two hundred and forty acres, in the vicinity of
Rochelle, Illinois, at twelve dollars per acre, payable
in installments.

He continued on this farm till 1861, and then
returned to Rochelle. Having disposed of all his
interest in this estate in 1862, the following three
years were occupied in shipping stock to the Chi-
cago market. In this enterprise he was successful.
In 1865 he embarked in the fuel trade, with like
results. Up to this time his business career had
been single-handed and alone.

In 1866 the firm of Curtis, Brother and Co. was
first started. It originated from a very small begin-
ning : Charles Curtis, the younger of the brothers,
having in exchange for a grocery secured a small
and insignificant sash factory in Clinton, Iowa,
thereby laid the foundation for a business estab-
lishment unsurpassed in its line in this section of
country. In 1867 the elder brother, George Curtis,
united with him in this limited enterprise, and a few
years later, in 1869, the subject of this sketch like-
wise became a member of the establishment. These
three gentlemen constitute the present firm.

A brief biographical sketch of the Curtis brothers
personally may not be inappropriate in this connec-
tion : George Curtis, the elder, was born in Oxford,
Chenango county, New York, on the ist of April[



1844; his brother, Charles, on the 3d of April, 1846.
Their mother, a sister of the subject of this sketch,
is a native of Rhode Island. In common with other
boys they enjoyed the benefits of a common-school
education, and subsequently pursued a more thor-
ough course of study in institutions of higher grade.
Having left home at an early age, their success and
business achievements have been most remarkable.
The extent and variety of their transactions, and
the admirable manner in which they have been man-
aged, furnish sufficient proof of their comprehen-
sive intellect and thorough business capacity.

Although very young men, both have attained to
high degree in the Masonic institution. Both are
also married to estimable and highly accomplished
ladies. Gentlemanly and courteous in their social
relations, and active and energetic in their business
callings, they justly enjoy the good-will and respect
of the entire community in which they reside.

The business of the firm has continued to increase
since its first organization. During the past eight
years its financial affairs have been so prudently
managed that its entire loss will not exceed two dol-
lars per thousand.

The firm continued its business successfully
through the panic of 1872, and is annually enlarg-
ing and extending its usefulness. As an illustration
of its prosperity, its business in 1869 amounted to
sixty-five thousand dollars only: in 1875 its busi-
ness was two hundred and fifty-eight thousand eight
hundred and eighty dollars. At this time the entire
number of employes is one hundred and sixty. The
respective members of the firm are public-spirited,
and take an active interest in the growth and pros-
perity of their town and its vicinity, contributing
liberally for all and every public enterprise.

In politics, the members of the firm are decidedly
republican, but not partisan.

Mr. Carpenter was married in 1861 to Miss Olevia
Detwiler, of Rochelle, Illinois. The family circle
comprises himself and wife, together with five chil-
dren. They have lost one child.

His personal address is pleasing and agreeable,
denoting a kind heart and a benevolent disposition.
He is eminently a self-made man, and has carved
out for himself an honorable distinction among his
fellow-citizens. He also enjoys th^ esteem of the
entire community.



SAMUEL M. POLLOCK, the subject of this
sketch, was born in the State of Ohio, in the
year 1829. He received a good academic educa-
tion, and having pursued the study of law for several
years, was admitted to practice in that state. About
the year 1855 he removed to Dubuque, Iowa, and
entered upon the practice of his profession ; being
a young man possessed of a fine legal mind, ren-
dered acute by constant study and practice, he soon
acquired considerable distinction in his profession,
and in the spring of 1859 was elected judge of the
city court, which had concurrent jurisdiction in
civil cases with the district court. He discharged
his duties as judge of this court with ability, fidel-
ity and impartiality, until by legislative enactment
and operation of law the court was shorn of most
of its powers, when Judge Pollock resigned the po-

About this time, the war of the rebellion coming
on soon after. Judge Pollock abandoned his profes-
sion temporarily, and in the year 1862 enlisted in the

6th Iowa Cavalry, and was appointed by Governor
Kirkwood lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, and
on the 31st of January, 1863, he was mustered into
the service of the United States. The regiment was
sent upon the northwestern frontier to fight the
Indians, and Colonel Pollock participated' in several
severe conflicts with the savages, and distinguished
himself as a good officer and gallant soldier. Colonel
Wilson having resigned his commission to go to San
Francisco, California, to enter upon the practice of
his profession, Lieutenant-Colonel Pollock was ap-
pointed colonel of the regiment, and continued in
command until 1865, when the regiment was mus-
tered out of the service. Colonel Pollock was con-
ceded to be one of the best volunteer officers sent
out by the State of Iowa ; he was a good disciplin-
arian, active and energetic in the discharge of his
duties, gallant on the field of action, and universally
respected both by officers and men.

After the close of the war Colonel Pollock returned
home to Dubuque, and again embarked in the prac^



tice of his profession, taking into partnership with
him James H. Shields, and the firm of Pollock and
Shields have by years of industry, and close attention
to business, aided by recognized legal attainments,
built up a large and lucrative law business, and are
to-day regarded among the ablest and most success-
ful law firms in the city of Dubuque and northern

In 1872 Colonel Pollock was united in marriage to
Miss Hughlet, of Galena, Illinois, a lady possessed

of mental, physical and worldly attractions. They
have two children, and reside in a beautiful man-
sion at the head of Julien avenue, from which point
they command a magnificent view of the city of
Dubuque, the mighty Mississippi rolling its waters
to the Gulf, and three giant states offering up their
wealth of scenery for their enjoyment. Here in this
beautiful spot, surrounded by all the comforts and
luxuries of life, they reside, esteemed by their neigh-
bors and respected by all their fellow-citizens.



SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH, lawyer, was born
at Waterville, Maine, on the sth of Septem-
ber, 1836, and is the son of the Rev. Samuel Fran-
cis Smith, D.D., a distinguished Baptist clergyman,
of Boston, Massachusetts, and Mary (White) Smith.
On both sides he is descended from Puritanic an-
cestors, who settled in Massachusetts early in the
seventeenth century, from whom have sprung some
of the noblest names that adorn the annals of their
country. His father, who still lives in the enjoy-
ment of health and honor, is the author of the
national hymn of the republic, " My country 'tis of
thee," an ode which has found a merited response
in every christian patriot heart, not only in this
" sweet land of liberty,'' but throughout the globe,
which has been rendered into the dialect of almost
every civilized country in the world, and which is
sung as fervently in the Alpine valleys and on the
slopes of the Himalayas as in the fair land that
gave birth to its venerated author. To be the writer
of that hymn is glory enough for one man and one
lifetime. A brother of our subject, the Rev. D.
A. W. Smith, D.D., is president of the Baptist Theo-
logical Seminary at Rangoon, India, a gentleman of
rare literary attainments, and of the highest mental
endowments, whose name is known and honored
in all the churches. Nor is his ancestry on the
female side less distinguished, his maternal grand-
father, the Rev. Hezekiah Smith, D.D., having been
an indefatigable chaplain in the revolutionary army
during the memorable struggle for liberty, while
many others of the same line have occupied con-
spicuous places in sundry departments during the
intervening century.

Samuel Francis Smith was fitted for Harvard

College and carried through the freshman year by
his father, but failing health, superinduced by ex-
cessive application, obliged him to discontinue study
for several years. From the earliest period of his
recollection he desired to be a lawyer, this was the
grand aim of his ambition ; his tastes ran in the
direction of books and studies in that line, and
all his intermediate efforts were but so many steps
toward the attainment of his cherished aim. When
he could no longer study he resolved to earn his
own living, and eaSt his father of the burden of his
support, and for two years he served as clerk in
various capacities. At the age of nineteen he made
up his mind to go west for the benefit of his health,
and as likely to afford him better facilities for the
pursuit of his favorite studies. He halted for a
few months in Chicago, and afterward settled in
Davenport, Iowa, which has since been his home.
He found employment in the law office of the Hon.
James Grant, where he assiduously devoted his
leisure moments to study, the library of his employer
having been kindly placed at his disposal ; in this
way he completed the college course commenced
under the direction of his father. In 1857 he com-
menced in earnestness the practical study of the
law, and in the following year was admitted to the
bar, thus attaining the end he so earnestly desired
and so eagerly sought. Two years later he went
into partnership with his preceptor, Judge Grant,
which still continues. The firm engaged largely in
the collection of repudiated corporation bonds, and
has been eminently successful, this branch of the
business being the specialty of Mr. Smith. During
the first year of his connection with the firm his por-
tion of the earnings amounted to two hundred and



forty dollars, but under the steady and persistent
growth of business his emoluments increased also,
and during the last year of his active partnership
his share of the proceeds amounted to over fifty
thousand dollars.

In 1873 his health gave way under a nervous at-
tack, and relaxation and change being necessary for
his restoration, he made a visit to Europe in that
year with his family, and remained two and a half
years absent, visiting the principal cities in that
part of the globe. Since his return he has engaged
in banking operations in connection with the Daven-
port National Bank, of which he is an officer and
large stockholder.

Mr. Smith is still in the prime of life, a most
amiable and accomplished gentleman, courteous.

benevolent and modest. As a financier, he has few
superiors, while all his transactions are governed by
probity and wisdom.

He has been a member of the Baptist church
since his fifteenth year, and is one of the most suc-
cessful workers and generous contributors in its

In politics, he has always been republican.

On the 17th of August, 1863, he married Miss
Mary, daughter of the Rev. Julius A. Reed, of Daven-
port, Iowa, a graduate of Yale College, who came
west in 1831, and who for nearly twenty-five years
has been connected with the Congregational Home
Mission Cause in Iowa. They have a child, a daugh-
ter named Anna Reed Smith, born on the isth of
September, 1870.



OUR recollections of William George Thompson,
of Linn county, Iowa, extend back nearly
twenty years, when he had opened a law office at
Marion, the county seat. It required but a short
acquaintance to discover his briluancy, and the other
elements likely to lead to success in his profession
to eminence in the judicial district. His career
has not disappointed the expectation of his friends.

William G. Thompson is a native of Pennsylva-
nia, and was born in Butler county, on the 17th of
January, 1830. His parents, William H. and Jane
McClandess Thompson, were of Highland-Scotch
descent. His father was a farmer, and young
William spent the first eighteen years of his life at
home aiding in tilling the soil during the summers
and attending a district school two miles away dur-
ing the winters. He had a strong desire for knowl-
edge, and made the best progress possible under
the circumstances. When about nineteen he went
to Witherspoon College, in Butler county, and spent
two years there, pursuing such studies as he thought
would be of most service to him, he having the
legal profession in view. In 1851 he entered the
law office of William Timblin, of Butler, and was
admitted to the bar on the 15 th of October, 1853,
being examined by Hon. Daniel Agnew, now of the
supreme bench of Pennsylvania.

With an independent spirit, and full of ambition,
Mr. Thompson struck out for himself with more

enthusiasm in his heart than money in his pocket.
On the 27th of November, the month following his
examination, he started for Iowa, and pitched his
tent in Marion, one of the most lovely rural towns
in the state. He opened an office without delay,
and had a good practice almost from the start, and
for twenty years has been one of the leading law-
yers at the Linn county bar.

In 1855/ and 1856 he edited the Linn county
" Register," displaying good abilities as a writer.

In August, 1862, he went into the army as major
of the 20th regiment of Iowa Infantry ; was in the
service two years, and had command of the regi-
ment no inconsiderable part of the time. In the
battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, on the 7th of
December, 1862, Major Thompson was severely
wounded, but soon recovered, and in six weeks was
again in the service. He was at the siege of Vicks-
burgh ; in all the Missouri and Arkansas campaign ;
then in Texas, where he had command at Aransas
Pass for eight months. Few officers in Iowa regi-
ments had more dash, bravery and coolness than
Major Thompson. He was held in the warmest
esteem by the heroic 20th.

Major Thompson has been the recipient of re-
peated honors at the hands of the people, and has
been proffered more offices than he would accept.
In 1854 he was elected prosecuting attorney, serving
two years. He was member of the state senate in



i8ss and 1856, and though the youngest member
ever in that body, he was very active, advocating
important measures with a good deal of logical
force, and receiving the warmest congratulations of
fellow-members of the senate and of his constituents.
For eight years, up to January, 1875, Major Thomp-
son was district attorney for the eighth judicial dis-
trict, and so popular that he was urged by both
political parties to stand for another renomination,
but peremptorily declined. *

Major Thompson is a Knight Templar in the Ma-
sonic order, also an Odd-Fellow.

He has the ancestral regard for the Presbyterian
faith, and attends that church.

He has always been an earnest advocate of the
principles of the republican party, and is one of the

ablest stump speakers in central Iowa. In 1864 he
was one of the electors at large, and did very effect-
ive work during the canvass.

On the i2th of June, 1856, he married Miss Har-
riet J. Parsons, of Marion, previously of Syracuse,
New York. They have one child.

With no friends and not much money. Major
Thompson opened an office in Marion twenty-three
years ago. He made friends rapidly, and money at
first with moderate speed ; both he has continued
to accumulate. He has long had a host of friends,
and a competency. He is a generous-hearted man,
ready to help the needy, and does not believe in
anybody's living wholly for himself. The major is
known all over the state, is a pet of the legal fra-
ternity, and much respected by all classes.



IORING WHEELER, son of Jonas and Sarah
^ Boynton Wheeler, was born on the i6th of
July, 1799, the place of his nativity being West-
moreland, Cheshire county. New Hampshire. His
grandfather, John Wheeler, fought for American in-
dependence, beginning on the 17th of June, 1775,
and spending his fortune in that grand struggle.
His father, Jonas Wheeler, was a farmer, and Loring
followed that occupation at home until about 1816,
after which date he spent two years at an academy
in Chesterfield, making good use of the precious
opportunity ; then returning to Westmoreland he
became a clerk in a store.

On the 2ist of April, 1821, with three other en-
terprising young men, Mr. Wheeler started for the
west in a two-horse buggy, going by the way of
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There they purchased a
flat-boat, took their team down the Ohio river as
far as Shawneetown, Illinois, at which place they
disposed of the boat, and struck across the country
to Alton, Illinois, where they had friends.

Mr. Wheeler soon went to Green county, Illinois,
whence, after clerking two years, he repaired to
Exeter, Morgan county, and worked for Colonel
Enoch C. Marsh, an extensive trader and flour man-
ufacturer. While thus employed he was often sent
to New Orleans with various kinds of stock and
provisions, he acting at different times in almost
every official capacity on the boat, including the

positions of mate and captain. A writer in the
Clinton county "Advertiser" states that Mr. Wheel-
er's was the first flat-boat that ran out of the Illi-
nois, and that he saw the first steamboat that ever
ascended that river.

Interested in the reports of lead at Galena, Illi-
nois, in 1827 he went there, and mined until 1834,
when he crossed the Mississippi river to Dubuque.
On the 26th of December of that year he was com-
missioned chief justice of the county court for Du-
buque county, which was then in Michigan territory,
and embraced the northern half of what is now the
State of Iowa. After holding one term of the court
he resigned. He sold goods two years in Dubuque
in company with Hiram Loomis, and in the sum-
mer of 1836 came to Round Grove, near where De
Witt now stands, made a claim on the 4th of July,
and there, with his brother-in-law, Alva G. Harrison,
erected a cabin, and then returned to Dubuque.
The next winter he was a member of the legislature
of Wisconsin territory, to which Iowa then belonged,
the session being held at Belmont, on the east side
of the river, near Dubuque, and was also a member
of the next legislature, which met at Burlington, on
the west side of the river. In the spring of 1841
he settled on his farm at Round Grove, and in the
autumn of that year was appointed clerk of the
court for the new county of Clinton, holding that
office during the territorial history of Iowa. In 1846



he was elected to the state senate for the term of
four years, the legislature meeting at Iowa City.

In 1849 Mr. Wheeler, with several of his neigh-
bors, went to California by the overland route, and
returned by the Nicaragua route in 1853. The next
year he was elected clerk of Clinton county, Tiolding
the office steadily until the close of 1862. Since
that date he has been on the county board of super-
visors four years, and was chairman three-fourths
of the time. He is a stockholder in the Clinton
National Bank, and until recently was one of its
directors. He has lost the sight of his right eye by
inflammation, and has suffered a year with dry

gangrene in his right foot, and is rarely seen on the
streets of De Witt, which has been his home since
March, 1877. Mr. Wheeler has acted with the re-
publicans since the dissolution of the whig party.

His wife was Susan R. Harrisdn, a sister of Jesse
M. Harrison, of Dubuque, and Alva G. Harrison,
of De Witt. They were joined in wedlock on the
8th of February, 1837, and have had nine children,
only four of them now living. George Loring is
constabte of De Witt; Thomas Wilson is deputy
clerk of the court of Clinton county; Lloyd B. re-
sides in Mendota, Illinois, and Martha Frances is
the wife of Frank W. Cottrell, of Chicago.



ONE of the early settlers and early honored men
of Eldora, Iowa, is Sheldon Greenleaf Win-
chester, who was born in Chautauqua county. New
York, on the 17 th of July, 1830. His father, Arnold
Winchester, was a farmer; his mother before her
marriage was Maria Ward, of New York State. The
Winchester family are distantly related to General
Winchester, and near relatives of General Jonas and
Ebenezer Winchester, noted book publishers in New
York city thirty years ago. \

Arnold Winchester moved with his family, first to
Pennsylvania, and then to Ohio, while Sheldon was
quite young. He spent eight years with his father
in Washington county, Ohio, and at sixteen years of
age, with eight dollars in his pocket, started alone
for the far west, beyond the Mississippi. He went
down the Ohio on a flatboat ; up the Mississippi as
a deck passenger on a steamboat to Keokuk, Iowa,
and thence walked to Des Moines, now the capital
of the state, reaching there with two dollars in his
pocket. That was in November, 1846. The gar-
rison buildings and soldiers' barracks, vacated by
the military the previous spring, were all the places
of shelter for the few inhabitants of Des Moines.
That section of the state was thrown open that
year for preemption, the year Iowa assumed its

In 1847 young Winchester went to Fairfield, Jeffer-
son county, and spent a few months in a store ; then,
drifting eastward, he landed in the Burlington " Ga-
zette " office, engaging as an apprentice. His lungs
were weak ; the work was hard for him ; he went

to Memphis, Tennessee, and there spent the summer
of 1848, returning to Iowa the autumn following.

In the spring of 1849 we find him in Winterset,
Madison county, building the first house there after
the county seat was located. He sold goods there
one year, went to California across the plains in
1850, and spent five years, part of the time mining,
part superintending a quartz mill and a saw-mill,
and for some time running a drug store. Return-
ing again to Iowa, he selected a home in Eldora,
Hardin county, in 1855, and has never abandoned
it. Most of the time for twenty years he has been
a merchant and real-estate dealer. He has been
successful in both branches, but has never been a
strong, robust man, and latterly has assumed no com-
mercial responsibilities, and only light labors.

Mr. Winchester was in the constitutional conven-
tion of 1857, being the youngest man of that body,
and was chosen when barely eligible to that office.
He represented eleven counties, the northern part
of the state being sparsely settled, particularly west
of the river counties and those adjacent. In that
convention were the wise men of Iowa. Among
them were judges J. C. Hall, E, Johnston and Fran-
cis Springer, and J. F. Wilson, W. Penn Clark, R. L.
B. Clark, George Ells and J. A. Paskin ; and owing
to his comparative youth and modesty Mr. Winches-
ter rarely participated in debate ; but he was a good
listener, and diligent in the committee, and rendered
important service to the state in that body.

In 1 86 1 he was a candidate for the lower house of
the general assembly, and defeated on a local issue.



Ten years later he ran for state senator, to repre-
sent Hardin and Marshall counties ; but there was a
quarrel between the two counties ; both candidates
were republican, and Marshall county having much
the larger number of voters, Mr. Winchester again
failed of an election.

In religious sentiment, he calls himself liberal.

He has always voted the republican ticket, and

has stumped the county and other parts of the state
more than once during an exciting canvass.

On the 4th of October, 1846, he married Miss
Mahala E. Ellsworth, of Eldora, and they have had
seven children ; only four are living.

Mr. Winchester has been identified with the public
enterprises of the town and county, and is one of
the truly valuable citizens of Eldora.

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 51 of 125)