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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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on him, as eldest son, mainly devolved the support
of the family, which denied him much opportunity
for early education. A college education was be-
gun, but abandoned for lack of means to complete
it. But native talent and earnest study in later
life have made the lack of college training imper-
ceptible, and placed him the compeer of men with
the culture of schools.

While young, he had the desire to devote him-
self to the profession of medicine, and to this end
all his energies were bent. While at home he pur-
sued his studies under the direction of Dr, John

Hemphill, and filled the hours between teaching
with studious application to his work of medicine.
Removing to the west in 1855, he located in Linn
county, Iowa, and engaged in farming and stock
raising. This he continued successfully till the crisis
of 1857-8, which wrecked him along with thou-
sands of others in the west. Leaving the farm, he
assisted in the organization of Western College, in
Linn county, afterward becoming one of its first
instructors. His new occupation afforded him the
opportunity of resuming his studies with renewed
vigor, under the direction at first of Dr. Crouse, and
afterward under that of Dr. Parmenter, then a pro-
fessor in the college. He resigned his place in the
school, attended medical lectures, and was fairly
at work in a rapidly increasing business when he
was commissioned, by Governor Kirkwood, cap-
tain in the 2 2d Iowa Infantry (Colonel Stone's regi-
ment). While serving with his regiment as cap-
tain he was detailed for duty on General Fitz-
Henry Warren's staff, and served for a time in 1864
as provost-marshal general of Texas. Returning to
his regiment, he was soon afterward appointed its
surgeon, with rank of major, by Governor Stone,
and on the removal of his regiment to the eastern
department, was chosen one of the operating sur-
geons of the second division, nineteenth army corps.
After the battle of Winchester he had charge of
one of the largest hospitals in Winchester, Virginia.
After rejoining his regiment he remained with it till
it was mustered out. He was presented in the name
of his regiment with a complete set of surgical instru-
ments, on the several cases of which was engraved :



Presented to Surgeon John C. Shrader, by the officers
and men of the 22d regiment, Iowa Infantry ; in apprecia-
tion of his skill as a physician and surgeon, and as a tribute
of love and esteem from his comrades in arms.

On leaving the service he entered upon the prac-
tice of his profession at Iowa City, where he has
by successful practice made himself one of the
leading physicians of the city, and has built up a
large and remunerative business. Upon the estab-
lishment of the medical department of the Univer-
sity of Iowa he was appointed, by the board of re-
gents, professor of obstetrics and diseases of women
and children. He still holds his position in the
department, which is becoming so justly popular in
Iowa and the northwest. He is a physician to the
board of health of Iowa City, member of the Iowa
City Medical Society, the Iowa and Illinois Cen-
tral District Medical Society, the Eastern Iowa Dis-
trict Medical Society, the Poweshiek County Med-
ical Society and the Iowa State Medical Society.

He was made a Mason in December, 1864, at
Hiram Lodge No. 21, at Winchester, Virginia, one
of the oldest lodges in the United States. He was

recommended by General Washburn and General
Granger, then commanding the second division,
nineteenth army corps. Since, he has held offices
in Royal Arch Chapter and as Knight Templar,
and is now eminent commander of Palestine Com-
mandery No. 2, at Iowa City. He also belongs to
the order of Knights of Pythias and the Ancient
Order of United Workingmen.

The doctor is a member of no church, and is
liberal in his religious opinions.

He has been a republican since the organization
of that party, but his profession engrosses his time
and leaves none for political matters.

He has been twice married: on the ist of Jan-
uary, 1852, to Miss Lydia P. Evans, of Washington
county, Ohio, who died in 187 1. His second wife
was Miss Maggie A. Carter, of Iowa City.

Such is the brief outline of the life of one who,
struggling through trials, has worked his way from
obscurity to a place of high esteem ; who has per-
formed a work the influence of which shall live in
the hearts of those who have known him.



ANTOINE Le CLAIRE, one of the founders,
and during his life-time the leading citizen,
of Davenport, was born on the 15 th of December,
1797, at Saint Joseph, Michigan. His father, Antoine
Le Claire, was a French Canadian, whose ancestors
settled in Canada during the time of its colonial re-
lationship to the French crown. His mother was a
full-blooded Indian, and the granddaughter of a
Pottawatomie chief. At this time the territory of
the northwest, out of which half-a-dozen mighty
states have been formed, was peopled almost exclu-
sively by the red-man, with here and there a '' pale-
face," who was fearless enough to brave the perils of
a frontier life among the dusky denizens of the

The father of Antoine Le Claire was one of these
hardy pioneers of civilization. In 1808 he estab-
lished a trading post at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, ex-
changing manufactured articles for various kinds of
furs. In the following year he enlarged his opera-
tions, taking into partnership with him John Kinzie,
of Chicago (then Fort Dearborn), Illinois, and for
several years did a profitable business in that line.

In 1812, though surrounded with the Indian tribes
with whom he was trading, and who, through the
influence of British emissaries, were generally hos-
tile to the United States. Mr. Le Claire espoused
the American cause, and engaged actively in the ser-
vice. He was in the contest at Peoria, where, with
others, he was taken prisoner and confined at Alton,
Illinois, but was released during the same year.

At this period, at the solicitation of Governor
Clarke, of Missouri, Antoine Le Claire, our subject,
entered the government service, and was placed at
school, that he might acquire a proper knowledge of
the English language, the French being his vernacu-
lar. In 1818 he acted as interpreter under Captain
George Davenport, at Fort Armstrong (Rock Island),
with whom he was afterward intimately associated
in the founding and developing of the city of Dav-
enport. In the same year he removed to Portage
Des Sioux, Saint Charles county, Missouri, where he
married the granddaughter of the Sac chief, Acoqua
(the Kettle), and was so*n after sent to Arkansas to
watch the movements of the Indians in that locaHty,
where he remained several years ; was returned to



Fort Armstrong in 1827, and was official interpreter
in 1832, when the treaty was made by which the
United States purchased of the Sac and Fox tribes
of Indians the territory west of the Mississippi river.

In consequence of the breaking out of cholera
among the soldiers at Fort Armstrong, the conven-
tion, which concluded the treaty, which would
otherwise have been held in the fort, was transferred
to the Iowa shore. There the great chief of the
Sacs, Keokuk, made a reserve of a section of land
which he donated to Mr. Le Claire's wife, request-
ing, as an only condition, that he (Mr. Le Claire)
should build his house on the section, and on the
spot then occupied by the marquee of General
Scott, during the convention that framed the treaty.
The condition was afterward filled to the letter, and
the Le Claire mansion, which was occupied by his
widow until her death, on the i8th of October, 1876,
in her seventy-sixth year, was one of the most ele-
gant and ornate of the city, and crowned the brow of
one of the most picturesque sites on the " Father of
Waters." The Sacs and Foxes also gave him another
section at the head of the rapids, where the town
of Le Claire (named after him) now stands. The
Pottawatomies, in the treaty of Prairie du Chien, re-
served two sections on the Illinois side, which they
also presented to Mr. Le Claire. The flourishing
town of Moline is situated on this reserve. These
treaties were ratified by congress during the follow-
ing winter, and in the spring of 1833, Mr. Le Claire
erected a small building or "shanty" in the then
Fox village, " Morgan," which had occupied this
ground for years previously. Of the tribe of which
this was the metropolis, Maquopom was the head
warrior, and Poweshiek was head chief. In the
autumn of 1834 the Sacs and Foxes removed from
this point to Cedar river.

The Indians being thus all removed, and the in-
tercourse of the government with them at Rock
Island being thus ended, Mr. Le Claire was no
longer required as an interpreter at this point, but,
as will be seen farther dewn, his services in this
capacity were subsequently required on several oc-

In 1836 he was appointed postmaster of Daven-
port, to which point mails. come once a week from
the east via Chicago, and once in two weeks from
Dubuque via Davenport, to Fort Des Moines (now
Montrose). Postage on half-ounce letters at that
time was twenty-five cents. The postmaster used
to carry the mail across the river in his pocket, and

his emolument for the first three months was seventy-
five cents. Mr. Le Claire was also appointed justice
of the peace, to settle all matters of difference be-
tween 'the whites and Indians. His jurisdiction ex-
tended over all the territory purchased of the Sacs
and Foxes west of the Mississippi river, from Du-
buque on the north to Burlington on the south.
The population of Burlington was at this time about
two hundred, of Dubuque two hundred and fifty,
and of Davenport less than one hundred. Mr.
Le Claire was an accomplished linguist, speaking
some twelve or fourteen diiferent dialects, as well as
French and English, and was present as interpreter
at the treaty with the Great and Little Osages, at
St. Louis, Missouri, in 1825 ; with the Chippewas, at
Prairie du Chien, in 1829; with the Winnebagoes, at
the same place, in August of the same year; at the
same place, in 1826, with the Sacs and Foxes; same
place with the Winnebagoes, in 1832 ; at Fort Arm-
strong, held on the Iowa side in the latter year ; at
Davenport, with Sacs and Foxes, in 1836 ; at Wash-
ing, District of Columbia, with various tribes, in
1837 ; and with the same tribes at Sac and Fox
agency, in Iowa territory, in 1842.

Mr. Le Claire was one of the original proprietors
of Davenport, and was throughout the remainder of
his life one of its most active and enterprising busi-
ness men. He possessed great wealth for a man of
his day, and improved the city in every way in his
power by a liberal expenditure of his large income.
He erected churches, hotels, and other public build-
ings, at his own expense. Saint Margaret's, whose
spire reaches from the lofty bluff till it almost seems
to touch the quiet stars or to mingle with the cloudy
glories of a summer's day, was built and furnished by
the munificence of Mr. Le Claire. Everywhere over
the fair city of Davenport are scattered improve-
ments, each of which elegantly and appropriately
memorialize his generosity.

His progress from the small white house on the
depot grounds to the palatial mansion on the bluffs,
his physical increase from a small frame to one of
the most majestic and portly embodiments of the
genus homo, present a fine type both of his increase
in wealth and the growth of the city which he was
mainly instrumental in founding. It is to be re-
gretted that a history of his life, embracing its lesser
details, could not have been obtained, as his whole
career was replete with stirring incidents and ro-
mantic adventures. His name, however, will not
be very soon forgotten, for it is recorded in the na-



tional archives, inscribed in lofty spire and sacred
altar, and in wall and street in the city of which he
is the parent. But more enduring than all these
memorials of parchment, wood-work and masonry,
it is written upon the hearts of all who knew him,
that he was a philanthropist and a christian.

In 1859 the firm of Cook and Sargeant, bankers,
of Davenport, and for whom he had become se-
curity, failed, involving the estate of our subject in
liabilities amounting to over one hundred thousand
dollars, which, mainly owing to the panic which
then prevailed, rendering a sale of his property im-
practicable, seriously embarrassed him financially,
and probably hastened his death, which occurred

on the 25th of September, 1861. The affairs of the
estate are now nearly settled up, the claims all met,
and a residuary estate valued at two hundred and
fifty thousand dollars remains to be divided among
his heirs, embracing some thirty nephews and nieces
of both sides of the house. He left no children of
his own.

His nephew, Louis Le Claire, Esq., has had chief
charge of the winding up of the affairs of the estate,
and the result reflects the highest credit upon his
executive ability. A brother of our subject, David
A. Le Claire, is still living, and has been for many
years one of the most expert pilots on the Missis-
sippi river.



IRVING WATSON CARD is a native of Ohio,
being born in Deerfield, Portage county, on the
19th of May, 1834. His parents were Silas Card
and Mary Gibbs Card. His father was a physician,
a very excellent man, who died at Mason City, Iowa,
in March, 1874, his widow is the postmistress at
Mason City.

Until about nineteen years of age Irving spent
most of his time at school, concluding his literary
studies in an academy at Lima, Ohio.

The family moved to Vinton, Iowa, in the autumn
of 1854, and the next spring the son engaged in sur-
veying, removing, however, soon after to Mason City,
Cerro Gordo county, where he continued this busi-
ness. Two years later he went to Charles City, Floyd
county, and studied law with G. G. and R. G. Rein-
iger, being admitted to the bar in 1859. He formed
a partnership with the Reinigers and practiced in
Charles City until 1861. In February of the next
year Mr. Card returned to Mason City, and there
remained part of the time : in connection with the
practice of law he carried on the real-estate business.
The firm of Card and Stanberry, and later that of
Card and Miller, were extensive both in the practice
of law and in land operations. They were known
far and wide alike for the extent of their business
and their honorable method of transacting it. Ow-
ing to ill health, Mr. Card retired from business in
1873, and has not resumed it.

During the years 1863 and 1864 Mr. Card was
deputy provost-marshal for the sixth congressional

district, taking charge of the enlisted troops and
looking after deserters. In the latter business he
was very expert, making a record well known and
remembered in northern Iowa.

Mr. Card was elected district attorney for the
twelfth judicial district in 1868, and served until
just before the close of the four years. On sending
in his resignation to Governor Carpenter, he received
the following reply, dated at Des Moines, on the 31st
of August, 1872 :

Hon. J. W. Card,— Z>ear Sir: Your resignation of the
office of district attorney for the twelfth judicial district
came to hand yesterday. In compliance with your request,
I accept your resignation, and in doing so you will permit
me to express my regret that you are impelled to take this
step. Your faithful service to the state has been a credit
to the judiciary and an honor to yourself. In view of your
valuable experience, which, in addition to acknowledged
legal ability, fits you better than any other man for the
difficult and important duties of public prosecutor, I can-
not but regret the responsibility it will devolve on me of
naming a successor. With the best wishes for your future
success and happiness, I am

Your friend, C. C. Carpenter.

This letter properly characterizes his official career.
In 1870 Mr. Card was a candidate for district judge,
and led the convention for three hundred and sixty-
six ballots, and was defeated on the next ballot by
one and three-fifths of a vote, Hon. G. W. Ruddick,
of Waverly, being the successful candidate. Such
a number of ballotings for one candidate is almost
unprecedented in the history of American politics.

Mr. Card has always been an active republican.
In 1872 he was one of the delegates at large from
Iowa to the republican national convention.



He is a Mason, and has occupied the chair both
in the lodge and chapter.

On the i2th of August, i86o, he was married to
with Miss Jennie C. Jackson, of Charles City. They
have had one child, which died in infancy.

Mr. Card was one of the leaders in bringing the

Iowa branch of the Milwaukee and St. Paul rail-
road to Mason City ; is a very influential and public-
spirited man, and has done as much, probably, to
build up the home of his adoption as any resident
of the place. His moral character is excellent, and
he has the highest respect of his fellow-citizens.



AMONG the earlier pioneer settlers of Scott
iV county and the state, and one who has seen
the rapid rise of this section for more than a quarter
of a century, and one who in days gone by was to
the front and bore the heat and burden of the day,
and saw his adopted state takes its place from a terri-
tory in the bright galaxy of states of our Union, is
enrolled the name of Henry Gabbert.

He was born in Overton county, Tennessee, on
the 19th of March, 1821. His parents were David
and Catherine Gabbert nde Giles. His father, a
native of Virginia and his mother of North Carolina.
His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, serving
on the frontiers of Ohio in General Harrison's bri-
gade and in Colonel Barber's regiment, in which his
brother was an officer. His ancestors were in the
revolutionary war, and took part in forming our free
institutions. He had few opportunities for educa-
tion, as the schools of that day were few ; his studies
were confined to the common-school and ordinary
branches. Mr. Gabbert has lived successively on

the frontiers of Indiana and Illinois, and at five
years of age removed with his father's family to the
west, and settled in Iowa in the spring of 1835.
Here his father had located a claim, onto which
he went, and for the first two years had charge of
the ferry-boat at Buffalo, owned and run by Captain
Clark of the same place. He has followed farming
for years, adopting this calling from tfie first.

In politics, he is a democrat, one of the original
old stock, to whose principles and precepts he is
an adherent. He has neyer been a candidate for
office, and is not active in political matters. His son,
William H. Gabbett, is a promising young member
of the bar at Davenport, and is at present clerk of
the district and circuit courts of Scott county.

Mr. Gabbert was married on the 28th of Decem-
ber, 1848, to Miss Eliza J. McGarvey, of Holmes
county, Ohio.

He is a genial gentleman, observant as he is gen-
erous in his social relations, thoroughly meriting the
esteem in which he is held by his fellow-citizens.



with the interests of Iowa before it became
a state. While it was a territory he was appointed one
of its judges; and there are now living in Dubuque
persons who recollect him, with his boyish look,
sitting on the bench nearly forty years ago. His
history presents points of no inconsiderable interest.
He was born in Steubenville, Ohio, on the 13th of
October, 1813, and was the son of Peter Wilson
and Frances Stokely Wilson. He was educated at
Jefferson College, Canonsburgh, Pennsylvania, and
was graduated in 1832. After studying law two

years he was admitted to the bar, and commenced
practice in his native town. In a short time he
came west, stopping at first at Prairie du Chien,
Wisconsin, where he had a brother. Captain George
Wilson, of the ist United States Infantry, under
command of Colonel, afterward General, Taylor. In
the autumn of 1836 he selected Dubuque for his
home. Here he has resided for forty years, and
has often been the recipient of political honors.
It was in 1838, when but twenty-five years of age,
that he received from President Van Buren, the
appointment of one of the judges of the supreme



court of the territory. In June of the same year
he was nominated as a candidate for congress by
the northern counties, and was preparing to com-
mence the canvass when the news came of his judi-
cial appointment.

Judge Wilson sat on the supreme bench till 1847,
one year after Iowa assumed her sovereignty, when
he left that high position to form a law partnership
with Piatt Smith and his brother, David S. Wilson.
Both of these gentlemen are still living in Dubuque,
and his brother is judge of the ninth judicial dis-
trict. In April, 1852, he was elected to the same
office which his brother holds at the present time,

and by repeated elections he held that office ten
years. Judge Wilson was in the Iowa legislature two
terms, in 1866 and 1868, and at the former session
was offered the complimentary vote of the dem-
ocratic members for United States senator, but de-
clined the honor. He is now holding the office
of city attorney.

Judge Wilson married Miss Anna Hoge, of Steu-
benville, Ohio, before he left his native state. She
died in 1854, and ten years later he married Miss
Mary Stokely, a native of Derbyshire, England. He
has three children living by his first wife and two by
the second.



the State of Iowa, and United States senator-
elect, was born in Hartford county, Maryland, on
the 20th of December, 1813. His parents were of
Scotch-Irish descent and settled in this country pre-
vious to the war of the revolution. When ten years
old he went to Washington, District of Columbia, to
attend a school conducted by his uncle, John Mc-
Leod, where he remained four years. He then en-
tered a drug store as a clerk, continuing until after
his majority, excepting eighteen months spent in
teaching school in York county, Pennsylvania. In
1835 he left Washington, and moving west settled
in Richland county, Ohio, and assisted his father
and brother in clearing up a farm. In 1841 he be-
gan the study of law in the office of Judge Thomas
W. Bartley, in Mansfield, Ohio, and in 1843 was ad-
mitted to the bar by the supreme court of Ohio, at
the spring session held at Cincinnati. Soon after
his admission to practice he engaged in his chosen
profession, in partnership with his former preceptor.
Judge Bartley, which copartnership continued for
eight years. From 1845 to 1849 he served as pros-
ecuting attorney for his county, discharging the du-
ties acceptably. He served as a member of the
constitutional convention which met at Columbus,
Ohio, in 1850, which, after a three months' session,
adjourned until winter and sat a balance of a six
months' term at Cincinnati. This convention framed
the present constitution of that state.

In 1 85 1 his associate in the practice of law was
elected as one of the judges of the supreme court,

and Mr. Kirkwood entered into partnership with
Colonel Barnabas Burns, with whom he remained in
practice until the spring of 1855, when he removed
to Iowa and settled upon a farm near Iowa City.
Here he engaged in milling and farming until the
breaking out of the war in 1861. In 1856 he was
elected to the state senate and served through the
last session in Iowa City and in the first in the new
capital at Des Moines. At this last session they
adopted the system of state banks, the ■ safety of
which has been practically proven. In 1859 he was
elected governor over the democratic candidate,
Hon. A. C. Dodge. This was the last severely con-
tested election of the state, the republican major-
ity being over three thousand. In r86i he was re-
elected governor with a majority of about eighteen
thousand. As governor during the darkest days of
the rebellion, he performed an important duty, re-
flecting much credit upon himself and the state.
His administration coring those trying times was
bold, economical and successful. Each quota of

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 54 of 125)