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of Maine, and was born at Limington, York
county, on the i6th of May, 1833. His father
Ebenezer Walker, was a farmer, and Benjamin spent
his first sixteen years at home. He fitted for col-
lege at the Limington Academy, entered Waterville
College in 1854, and left at the close of the sopho-
more year. Failing health was the occasion of his
abandoning his studies, and he came west in 1857
to improve it, settling at Bristol, Worth county, Iowa.
The county was organized the following year, and
Bristol was the seat of justice until 1863, when
Northwood became the county seat.

Mr. Walker was in the surveying and land business
at Bristol until 1862, when he returned to Maine,
and taught select school in Sanford, Lebanon and
Newfield. Two years later he returned to Bristol,
resuming the business of surveying and land deal-
ing, and teaching a district school during the

In 1870 Mr. Walker moved to Northwood, still

continuing the real-estate business, since 1871 with
his brother, Andrew C. Walker.

In the fall of 1857 Benjamin Walker was elected
county clerk, and served from 1858 until he returned
to the east. In 1870 he took the office of county
auditor, and held it six years.

Mr. Walker is a church-goer, but has no connec-
tion with a religious organization.

He has always been a republican.

On the loth of August, 1859, he married Miss
Abbie Merrill, of Sanford, Maine. They have no

One of the organizers of Worth county, one of its
officers for many years, and a leading man in the
county, Mr. Walker has had much influence, and
that influence has uniformly been in a right direc-
tion. His private character and his public record are
alike untarnished. He is one of the most worthy
men in the country. The same is true of his brother
and partner in business, Both are honorable dealers,
and thrift follows their industry and prudence.



. Morgan, farmer and merchant, and Cynthia
Westfall, is a native of Indiana, and was born at
Thorntown, Boone county, on the i6th of January,
1840. His great-grandfather was in one or two
battles of the revolution, and his grandfather and
father were in the second war with England. The
Morgans were from Wales, the Westfalls from Ger-

Albert spent his earlier years on his father's farm,

and then in his father'^ store, finishing his literary
education in the high school at Moline, Illinois. In
i860 he commenced reading medicine with Dr. A.
S. Maxwell, of Davenport, Iowa; he attended two
courses of medical lectures at Keokuk, and opened
an office at De Witt, Clinton county, Iowa, in the
summer of 1863. Here he practiced one year, fol-
lowing it with a year's practice at Springfield, Keo-
kuk county. In April, 1865, he went into the army
as assistant surgeon of 'the j2th Illinois Cavalry,



soon afterward becoming surgeon of the 37th Illinois
Infantry, with which he served until May, 1866,
when the regiment was mustered out. Although the
war was nearly over when Dr. Morgan went into
the service, he had considerable field practice, and
it was a good school to him. While a student at
Keokuk, where there was a general hospital during
the civil war, he had excellent opportunities for
hospital duties, and did not neglect them. He has
since reaped the benefits of such opportunities.

In the summer of 1866 we find Dr. Morgan once
more at De Witt, where he continues to practice
with increasing skill and a growing reputation. In
1870 he spent a short time at the medical college at
Keokuk, brushing up his knowledge and receiving a
diploma. He is United States examining surgeon,

and has an excellent standing both as a medical
practitioner and surgeon.

Dr. Morgan is a Freemason, an Odd-Fellow, and
a member of the Ancient Order of United Work-
men, but giyes to such organizations no time that
would interfere with his profession. He is a mem-
ber of the county and state medical societies, has
read several papers before the former body, and
avails himself of every opportunity to improve in
medical knowledge. In politics, he is a republican.

On the 6th of June, 1866, Miss Eliza Reed, of
Mingo, Champaign county, Ohio, became his wife,
and they have had three children, only two of whom
are now living. Mrs. Morgan was educated at the
high school at Marion, Ohio, and is a woman of
more than ordinary intelligence.



THE founder of Laporte City, Black Hawk coun-
ty, Iowa, Jesse Wasson, was the son of Jehiel
and Lydia Wasson, and was born in Richmond, Indi-
ana, on the 21st of October, 1821. Both parents were
Friends, and early instilled into the mind of Jesse
and the nine sisters whom he had the noblest prin-
ciples of virtue and rectitude. Jehiel Wasson was
a blacksmith, with very limited means, and as his
son had to enter the shop at an early age to aid
his father in supporting the family, he enjoyed but
scanty educational privileges, so far as attending
school furnished them, but he made the best use of
all spare time, and at the age of eighteen prevailed
on his father to take him into partnership, with the
understanding that the son should work ten hours a
day and have the rest of his time for study. With-
out any one to teach him he did the best he could,
giving every leisure moment to books, scientific and
historical. At the age of twenty he took up law
books, but at the end of Qne year, in compliance
with the wishes of his mother, who always had great
influence over him, he exchanged them for medical
works. He pursued his studies until his twenty-
fifth year, and graduated at the Indiana Medical
College, in February, 1847. He practiced in New
Buffalo, Michigan, and La Porte, Indiana, until 1853,
when he removed to Iowa and resumed practice in
Vinton, Benton county. The next year Dr. Wasson
purchased the land on which Laporte City now

stands, and which he laid out in June, 1855. He
put up a store and filled it with a general variety
of merchandise. He continued the mercantile busi-
ness four or five years, in connection with medical
practice, and then sold the store, continuing his pro-

Dr. Wasson is the publisher of the Laporte City
" Progress," which he started in November, 1870, and
which is devoted to the interests of the town and

In 1862 Dr. Wasson was appointed assistant sur-
geon of the 32d regiment of Iowa Infantry, serving
in that capacity about nine months, when he became
surgeon of the 9th regiment of Cavalry. After serv-
ing for eighteen months, owing to sickness, he was
sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, and in Febru-
ary, 1865, owing to physical disability, he was hon-
orably discharged from the service.

Dr. Wasson was the first postmaster at Laporte
City, and served four years, from June, 1855. He
was the first supervisor of the township under the
old system, and has since held the same office at
different times. He represented Black Hawk county
in the lower house of the general assembly in 1870-
71. For the last two years he has been mayor of
Laporte City.

Dr. Wasson is a member of the Masonic lodge in
his place. He was a whig, then a republican, and
since 1872 has voted the liberal and reform ticket.



He belongs to no church', but has a strong predilec-
tion for the religion of his parents.

On the 31st of May, 1855, he was married to
Miss Junia Haun, of Benton county. They have
had six children, five living.

Dr. Wasson is a "solid man." He weighs about
three hundred and twenty pounds, yet his height

is only five feet and eleven inches. He has ren-
dered good service to the country in the army,
good service to the state in the legislature, good
service to the county in various capacities, and
good service to Laporte City in giving it a local
habitation and a name, a newspaper, and a good
reputation for intelligence.



TRISTRAM THOMAS DOW, president of the
First National Bank, Davenport, was born on
the 2d of November, 1825, in Canterbury, New
Hampshire, and is the son of Tristram C. and Sus-
annah (Lyford) Dow, natives of the same state.
On the paternal side our subject is descended from
English stock, who settled in Canterbury about the
beginning of the last century, and on the maternal
side from Scotch ancestors, who came to reside in
Massachusetts about the same period. His father
was a farmer in good circumstances, a gentleman
who stood high in the estimation of the community,
and in which he exercised considerable influence.
He was a captain in the war of 181 2, and served
throughout that campaign under command of Gen-
eral John A. Dix, of New York. His parents set a
good example to their children, and are remembered
by them with feelings of deepest reverence and
admiration. They died in the fall of 1875, ^^
father aged eighty-four and the mother seventy-eight

Tristram T. Dow was educated at the common
schools of Boscawen and Franklin, New Hampshire,
where he received a liberal education. His youth
and early manhood were passed on his father's farm,
where he obtained a practical knowledge of hus-
bandry, as well as a taste for agricultural pursuits.

From the age of eighteen to twenty years he was
clerk in a country store, where every variety of goods
needed for the economy of house, person or farm
was sold, so that ere he had attained his majority
his mind had undergone a most thorough discipline,
fitting him for almost any sphere of industry which
in after life he might desire to adopt.

In the year 1854 he moved west with his parents,

and settled in Bureau county, Illinois, where his

father purchased a large farm, in the management

of which he aided till 1854, when he opened a large


country store in Anawan, Henry county, Illinois,
which was conducted with marked success for a
period of thirteen years, and discontinued in 1867.

In August, 1862, he, feeling that he could no
longer disregard the call of his country, then in the
throes of a gigantic and causeless rebellion, enlisted
as a private in the 112th Illinois Infantry, and on
the organization of the regiment was elected to the
command of company A, and commissioned as cap-
tain by Governor Yates. In the month of February
following he was promoted to the rank of major, and
from that period till the ist of April, 1865, he was
generally in command of the regiment, the original
commander, Thomas J. Henderson, having been
promoted to brigadier-general, and the lieutenant-
colonel being on detached duty. At the last named
date he was transferred to the regular army by the
president, and placed on duty as inspector-general
of the twenty-third army corps. General J. D. Cox,
with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, in which ca-
pacity he served till the 20th of June, 1865, when
he resigned his commission and returned to Illinois.
Soon after he received, unsolicited and without any
previous intimation, from the war department, a
commission as first-lieutenant in the 44th United
States' Regular Infantry, but declined it, on the ex-
alted ground that he would never make a profession
of arms, to which only principle could call him.

Colonel Dow's military record is not less brilliant
and honorable than any of the distinguished soldiers
furnished by the State of Illinois. He did his whole
duty, and his services will be remembered by a
grateful country, and cherished as a precious souve-
nir by his children and children's children. He led
his regiment through all the campaigns of General
Burnside and General Sherman. Fought on the
bloody fields of Knoxville, Campbell's Station, and
Philadelphia, in East Tennessee, and at Resaca,



Nashville, Kenasaw Mountain, Atlanta, Fort Fisher,
and particip?,ted at the capture of Fort Anderson
and Wilmington, having been all through the march
from Atlanta, Georgia, to the sea; was present at
the surrender of the rebel general, Joe Johnson, at
Goldsboro, North Carolina, and paroled one of his
army corps. He also participated in the famous
Gilmore scout, and was captured by the rebel John
Morgan at Winchester, Kentucky, where he remained
a prisoner for three months, having as one of his
companions in duress the celebrated Colonel Robert
G. Ingersoll. At the battles of Franklin, Tennessee,
and Atlanta, Georgia, his gallantry, courage and
soldierly qualities were especially conspicuous, and
received the highest commendation in the official
reports of the commanding general.

On leaving the army he settled in Chicago, where
for a year he was extensively engaged in the lumber
trade. Thence he moved to Davenport, Iowa, in
the spring of 1867, and built a large flouring mill
and elevator, taking into partnership with him S. H.
Hancock, Esq., president of the Davenport Board of
Trade, and S. F. Gilman, Esq., his son-in-law, and
since then has become one of the most extensive
mill and elevator owners in the west, being also the
proprietors of large grain elevators at Anawan, Illi-
nois, and at Wilton, Annita and Atlantic, Iowa. In
addition to his other interests. Colonel Dow is one
of the largest farmers in the west, owning some fif-
teen thousand acres of the finest prairie lands in the
States of Illinois and Iowa, one of his farms in
Henry county, Illinois, consisting of four thousand
acres, all securely fenced and in a high state of cul-
tivation. He has been a director of the First Na-
tional Bank of Davenport since 1872, and its presi-

dent since the spring of 1876. This is one of the
soundest monetary institutions in the country, and
was the first in the nation to open its doors under
the national banking law.

His politics have always been republican, and he is
to-day -as keenly alive to the importance of a sound,
loyal administration of the affairs of the govern-
ment as when traitors and treason held the country
by the throat. He served his fellow-citizens for six
years in the city council of Davenport with ability
and fidelity, presiding over the street committee.

His religious proclivities lean toward the Baptist
church, of which he is a regular attendant and gen-
erous supporter, though not in communion.

He was married on the ist of June, 1859, to Miss
Mary Stevens, daughter of Thomas Jefferson Ste-
vens, of Canterbury, New Hampshire. They have
had four children, only one of whom survives : Susan
Amanda, wife of S. F. Gilmore, of Davenport.

As a man of business. Colonel Dow combines the
highest principles of morality with the most consum-
mate wisdom and foresight. His transactions, which
are large and numerous, are all characterized by a
far-reaching intelligence, which seems to forecast
the future with an instinct that is almost infallible.
Quickness to adapt himself to unexpected events,
prompt and decisive in action when he has made up
his mind, are among the qualities that have contrib-
uted to his great success, added to which is that push
and energy which characterize so many prosperous
western men. He possesses a genial and affable
temperament, is one of the most devoted and un-
changeable of friends, and is a man of whom it may
be emphatically said, " His word is as good as his



THE State of Iowa owes much of her prosperity
to the spirit of enterprise and characteristic
energy of her business men. While we recall with
gratitude and admiration the achievements of our
fathers of the past generation, in laying the foun-
dations of civilization on our prairies and mines
against the protest of the native inhabitants, who
contested every foot of their hunting-ground, we
should not undervalue the work of to-day. By
keen perceptibility and shrewd financiering, our

workers and thinkers have carried forward the en-
terprises put in progress by them beyond the limit
of their expectation. Among this class of men
Hon. Henry Lane Stout may properly be num-
bered. He was born in Huntington county. New
Jersey, on the 23d of October, 1814. His father,
William Stout, and his mother, Ellen nee Lane, were
both natives of New Jersey. His grandfather was
a participant in the early history of our government,
and fought in the revolutionary war, and at its close




was a member of the New Jersey legislature for
several years.

Our subject's early boyhood was spent on a farm,
where he was reared to habits of economy and in-
dustry, which have been of great value to him in all
his subsequent life. His educational advantages
were confined to those afforded by the common
schools of the country, and about one year at an
academy. In his sixteenth year he determined to
begin life for himself, and accordingly served an
apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade until twenty
years of ag6. He worked one year in Philadelphia
at his trade, and in the spring of 1836 removed to
the west, and settled at Dubuque. His object was
to grow up with the country, and his whole capital
was his trade, his good health, and a hopeful heart.
Upon his arrival he took contracts for building, and
also engaged in mining, in both of which occupa-
tions he was moderately successful. In 1852 he
bought an interest in the firm of Knapp, Tainter
and Co., dealers in lumber, etc., at Dubuque, which
afterward changed to Knapp, Stout and Co., a firm
which to-day, without exception, the largest lumber
firm in the west, if not in the country. They have
everything at first hands, owning their pine lands,
steam mills, steamboats, etc. Much of their pros-
perity is due to Mr. Stout's enterprise, whose patient
endeavors have been successfully rewarded.

It is a remarkable fact, that for more than twenty
years there has not been any change in this firm
by death or otherwise, and their business has been
carried on with the greatest harmony during the
entire time.

Mr. Stout was twice elected mayor of Dubuque,
and has filled many local offices of honor and trust.
He is vice-president of the Commercial Bank, and
also vice-president of the Bridge Company, and has
been director and stockholder in most of the rail-
roads coming to Dubuque, and takes great interest
in the development of the enterprises of the city
and vicinity.

He is a member of no church, but attends the
Congregational, to which his wife belongs.

In politics, he is a republican, but his business
has engrossed his time, and left none for political

He was married on the 23d of October, 1844, to
Miss Evaline Deming, of Syracuse, New York. Mr.
Stout is emphatically a self-made man : commencing
life in straitened circumstances, he has, by his own
unaided ability, gained for himself an honorable

There are lives that are more sensational in their
career, but none confer greater benefit on society,
or is more honored, than the successful self-made



JAMES B. REEVE, the first settler in FrankHn
county, Iowa, was born in Lyme, New London
county, Connecticut, in 1817. His parents, Rumsey
Reeve and Mary Ann (Baldwin) Reeve, were most ex-
emplary people, and instilled into the minds of their
children the loftiest sentiments of human freedom
and brotherly love. James was the eldest of a fam-
ily of ten children. In 182 1 he removed with his
parents to New Lyme, Ohio, where he helped his
father clear a large farm.

In 1852 James immigrated to Iowa, settling in
Franklin county, near the present site of Maysville.
He was the pioneer farmer; selected an excellent
tract of land, and in a few years had a well fenced,
well improved farm, for a long time second to none,
probably, in the county. He was a very unselfish
man, and would discommode himself and jeopard-

ize his financial interests for the sake of helping

During the long and unusually severe winter of
1856-57 there was a scarcity of provisions in the
county; he went to Iowa City with teams and pur-
chased a large quantity of flour. This he freely
dealt out to the heads of families, whether they had
the means to pay or not, trusting most of them.
Some never paid, others were very dilatory in doing
it. He lost heavily, and came very near ruining
himself financially.

Mr. Reeve aided in organizing Franklin county;
was elected its first judge, and served several years,
discharging his duties with great satisfaction.

In 1862 he went into the army as captain of
company H, 32d regiment Iowa Infantry, and it is
doubtful if a braver soldier ever left the state.



He died in 1863, at Fort Pillow, of disease con-
tracted at the south, and was buried near the Na-
tional Hospital at Memphis.

When the rebellion broke out, two of his sons
preceded him in enlisting, and when the news of his
death reached his family, a third son, hardly seven-
teen years of age, immediately enlisted, saying that
he would fill his father's place as far as he could.

Mr. Reeve was a radical republican, and usually
in advance of his party in progressive sentiment.

At the age of twenty-four he married Miss Ada-

line Riggs, daughter of Major Gideon Riggs, of
Ashtabula county, Ohio, and they had a large family
of children. One of the daughters is superintend-
ent of public schools in Franklin county.

James B. Reeve was six feet and five inches tall,
weighed two hundred pounds, and was one of the
most athletic men in the state. He had great firm-
ness and decision of character, warm sympathies
for the oppressed and the poor, and was always do-
ing some kindly deed for neighbors, and the unfor-
tunate wherever found.



PROFESSOR A. M. Carpenter was born in
Lincoln county, Kentucky, on the 12th of De-
cember, 1835, and was the youngest son of John
Carpenter, Esq., a noted agriculturist of the blue-
grass region, who died when the subject of this
sketch was only two years of age. He received his
primary training in the preparatory department of
Center College, under Prof James Graham ; then
entered the college proper, where he remained for
three years pursuing the studies of mathematics and
classics. His physical development not being com-
mensurate with his rapid growth, necessitated the
abandonment of his collegiate course. After spend-
ing several months upon a farm, and regaining his
health, he was induced to study medicine. Se-
lecting Dr. William Pawling as his preceptor, with
whom he read three years, and attended the Uni-
versity of Louisville, Kentucky, from which school
he received the degree of M.D. in 1854, he prac-
ticed during the summer following, and realized
sufficient therefrom to defray his expenses in Phil-
adelphia, Pennsylvania, for three months, attending
lectures at the Jefferson Medical College and the
University of Pennsylvania, dividing his time among
the hospitals of that city, where he acquired much
knowledge of a practical character. Returning to
Kentucky, he resolved to make his home in the
west, and after traveling through several states de-
cided to locate at Keokuk, then a small but promis-
ing young city, and settled there in July, 1855. The
competition met with there was strong, both as
to numbers and prominence, but his ambition led
him to the best medical men of the place, with
whom he was in frequent association, and in whose

counsels he sought to conduct his youthful steps
aright, both in the social and professional path, and
with a fixed purpose and inflexible will, coupled
with great industry, secured a foothold in the esti-
mation of the people as an earnest and thorough
professional worker. In 1856 he was placed in
charge of the city hospitals, and appointed prosector
to the chair of surgery in the medical department of
the then Iowa State University, the duties of which
he satisfactorily discharged, meantime pursuing his
profession successfully till the outbreak of the war
of the rebellion, when, owing to his southern pro-
clivities, he was ostracized by many of his patrons.
Nothing daunted he determined to remain at his
post steadfast to the few who adhered to him, and
especially to his relatives in the southern states.
Though repeatedly asked to accept a surgeoncy in
in the Union army, he could only respectfully de-
cline. In the fall of 1865 he had so far advanced
in his profession as to win the compliment of an

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 52 of 125)