pub American Biographical Publishing Company.

The United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume online

. (page 68 of 125)
Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 68 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

children, six yet living.

Since a resident of Iowa, and all his life as far as
we can ascertain, Mr. Lockridge has been very in-
dustrious, doing everything he undertakes carefully,
expeditiously and thoroughly. In all his business
transactions he leaves a clean balance sheet.



THE biographical history of the self-made men
of Iowa affords very few such brilliant examples
of success resulting purely from industry, economy,
prudence and sagacity, as the life of William Brad-
ley. Left an orphan when just merging upon his
teens, thrown upon the world, and left entirely to
himself for support, he pushed on, working at first
upon farms for food, clothes and schooling ; then
carrying a mail at six dollars a month ; a little later
peddling on foot from door to door, rising step by
step as his means accumulated, until he is now
president of five banks, with a controlling interest
in all of them, and owns at least five thousand acres
of land in the State of Iowa.

Mr. Bradley was the son of James Bradley, car-
penter, and Phebe Fulton, and was born in Beaver
county, Pennsylvania, on the i8th of December,
1825. His mother died when he was twelve and
his father when he was thirteen .years of age, leav-
ing him no legacy but a strong constitution, inherited
from his father, and the wholesome counsel of an
affectionate, christian mother. Left parentless, he
sought a home among farmers for four or five years,

laboring for his support, with the privilege of at-
tending a district school during the winters. For
four months, in 1843, he carried a mail from Wash-
ington, Pennsylvania, to Georgetown on the Ohio
river, receiving six dollars a month and his board.
With twenty-four dollars in his pocket he went to
Pittsburgh ; bought two tin boxes ; started off on
foot ; peddled four years in Pennsylvania and Ohio ;
cleared sixteen hundred dollars, and never spent
a cent of it for tobacco, liquor, or any kind of per-
nicious or vicious indulgence.

In 1850 Mr. Bradley went to California by the
overland route ; mined sixteen or eighteen months ;
returned by way of the isthmus, with two thousand
dollars in his pocket ; commenced peddling again,
mainly jewelry and oilcloths ; went through from
Keokuk, Iowa, to Des Moines, on a prospecting as
well as peddling trip; returned to Pennsylvania;
bought a peddler's wagon at Pittsburgh ; shipped it
to Keokuk, and run it two years.

In April, 1856, Mr. Bradley located at Centerville,
bought a lot, built a house, and started in the mer-
cantile trade, with a capital of four thousand dollars,



continuing in the business for ten years, and being
very successful. Meantime he farmed more or less,
and dealt at times quite heavily in live stock. He
continued to add to his lands from time to time
until he had three thousand acres in Appanoose
county, half of it in farms under improvement, and
two thousand acres of wild lands in Woodbury county.

In 1863 Mr. Bradley organized the First National
Bank of Centerville, of which he owns nearly four-
fifths of the stock. He has been its president from
the start. It is one of the soundest institutions in
southern Iowa. In 1872 he organized the First
National Bank of Trenton, Missouri; in 1873 the
Mercer County Bank, Princeton, Missouri ; and in
1874 the First National Bank of AUerton, Wayne
county, Iowa ; he owning a half interest in these last
three banks. In the spring of 1877 he organized
Bradley's bank at Bloomfield, Davis county, he own-
ing all the stock. He is president of all of them,
managing them with consummate skill.

Mr. Bradley has had something to do with rail-
roads ; has been a director of two or three of them,
but banking is his main business, and he may with
propriety be called its king in southern Iowa.

In politics, he is an independent democrat with
whig antecedents. He shuns political offices.

He is a jnember of the Presbyterian church ; an
elder in the same, and an enthusiastic worker in the
Sunday-school cause. He is superintendent of the
Presbyterian school in Centerville, the largest in this

part of the state, and is doing a noble work among
the young, who all know him. The poor, also, know
him, to their great joy. Having the means as well
as the disposition to relieve distress, Mr. Bradley has
thoroughly tested the scripture adage regarding the
pleasure of giving. A kinder heart than his does
not beat in Centerville. Its pulsations are the
sweetest music of humanity.

On the 26th of September, 1855, Mr. Bradley was
married to Hiss Amanda T. Campbell, of Madison
county, Iowa, and they have four children living, and
have lost two.

Whatever money Mr. Bradley obtained in early
life was the proceeds of faithful, closely-applied la-
bor, and he early learned the value of a dollar. As'
far as we can ascertain, though he was exposed to
strong temptations in youth, he never deviated a
step from the path of integrity; kept clear from the
vicious habits into which many young men fall;
early learned to be prudent and saving, as well as
honest, and has since learned that wealth thus ob-
tained is the kind that affords comfort and satisfac-
tion. Having obtained his accummulations by fair
means, and using them for the benefit of others, as
well as himself, Mr. Bradley is a happy man. The
indices of his public spirit are seen in more than one
splendid block which fronts the public square of his
adopted home, and his generosity is like the gulf
stream from the tropics, sending its warming influ-
ence into many a heart chilled by penury.



THADDEUS McRAE, was born in Marlboro
district, south Carolina, on the loth of October,
1831. His grandparents all came from Scotland
prior to the revolutionary war, and some of his im-
mediate ancestors participated in the struggle for
independence. His father, James McRae, moved
to Mississippi soon after that state was admitted to
the Union, and losing his means through the dis-
honesty of others, had to begin life anew. He im-
proved a farm, brought up his family in habits of
industry, and at the breaking out of the rebellion
possessed a moderate fortune.

He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian church,
and was highly esteemed for .his strict integrity and
large liberality.

The earher years of Thaddeus were spent on his
father's farm, where he was trained to hard work.
From childhood he was fond of books. He at-
tended school in De Kalb during the winter, and
in summer labored in the field, but kept up with
his class in school by studying at home. At the
age of sixteen he began Latin, and mastered the
rudiments of the reader and several books of Csesar,
all while at work on the farm, studying at noon and
night. He theri thought of the law as a profession.
Some of his youthful companions were addicted to
social drinking and card-playing. On one occasion,
being solicited to join them, he reflected on the evil
of such habits, and formed a resolution to abstain
from all such indulgences. This resolution he has



kept, and to it he attributes much of his success in
life. About the same period another incident oc-
curred which probably tended to elevate his mental
and moral tone. A novel fell into his hands, and
he read it; the story stirred his sensibilities intensely,
so that he read and wept alternately. After finisli-
ing the book he felt ashamed of himself for wasting
his time and expending his sympathies on mere
fiction, and concluded that he would henceforth
avoid such unrealities. This resolution he has also
observed, having read only a few standard novels to
this day.

He next entered the high school at Salem, Mis-
sissippi, in 1849, where he remained three years, at
the end of which time he had accomplished a four-
years' course, leaving his class one year behind.
Such close application impaired his health, and he
would not advise anyone else to attempt it. He
entered the college of Hanover, Indiana, in 1853 ;
but, having read more Latin and Greek than was
required by the curriculum, and his health being
feeble, he left before graduating. He then taught
school in Mississippi, completing his course in math-
ematics and the sciences in the meantime. His
early tastes were literary, and his ambition thorough
scholarship. He was always fond of metaphysics,
the natural sciences and the standard poets, and
still finds time to read up in these studies. Besides
the Latin and Greek, he has studied the Hebrew
and French languages. Having resolved to enter
the gospel ministry, he studied theology with Rev.
John Morrow, at Columbus, Mississippi. This was
advised by his presbytery. He was ordained in
November, 1855, by the presbytery of east Missis-
sippi. His first pastoral charge was at Jackson,
Louisiana, where he remained three years. In 186 1
he was called to Port Lavaca, Texas. Here he
took a decided stand for the Union. He had always
been opposed to slavery, and was often denounced
as an abolitionist. His life being in danger, he
escaped to New Orleans in December, 1863, leaving
his family behind. He served in the Union army
one year as chaplain, getting his family through the
lines in the meantime. Then, to the close of 1865,
he supported himself and family with his pen. At one
time he was associated with ex-Governor Flanders
in the treasury department. Returning to Texas in '
January, 1866, he found that his property had been
confiscated by the confederacy, some of which he
.recovered. At this time he received and accepted
a call to the First Presbyterian Church at Austin

City, Texas ; both he and the church refusing con-
nection with the Southern church. He was the
subject of much political abuse for this bold stand for
reunion, but he remained firm, and succeeded in
winning over to his cause two other ministers and
their churches ; with these the presbytery of Austin
was organized, which was admitted to representation
in the general assembly in 1869, Whilst pastor of
that church he served also as private secretary to
Governor Pease, and wrote considerably for the

Several flattering offers were made him by prom-
inent statesmen of Texas to enter politics, but he
persistently declined. Tired of strife, having put
the church of Texas on a sure union basis, and
desiring better advantages for his family than Texas
afforded, he accepted a call to McVeytown, Penn-
sylvania, in 1869. There he wrote a work entitled
" Lectures on Satan," which was published by Gould
and Lincoln. The book was well received and
highly commended by the leading reviews. The
publishers failed soon afterward, so that he did not
realize much from it. In 1873 he accepted a call
to the First Presbyterian Church at Renovo, Penn-
sylvania, and in 1875 he removed to Cedar Rapids,
and at this writing is pastor of the Second Presby-
terian Church of that city. In the pulpit Mr. McRae
is earnest, plain, concise and forcible. In the dis-
cussion of his subjects he is argumentative and con-
clusive, never leaving a point unsettled, an argument
unfinished, a conclusion not clearly arrived at, nor
a proposition not definitely established. His lan-
guage is peculiarly forcible, his manner attractive,
and while his eloquence may not be regarded as of
the highest order, his forcible manner, his argumen-
tative style, his clear, concise statements, and his
powers of description, place him in the front rank of
the pulpit orators of the west.

In 1855 he was married to Miss Anna T. Brad-
shaw, daughter of Rev. Fields Bradshaw, of Alabama.
By this union they had five children, two boys and
three girls. She died at McVeytown, Pennsylvania,
in 1872. He was married to Miss Susan D. Potter,
daughter of General James Potter, of Pennsylvania,
on the 2ist of May, 1873. Mrs. McRae belongs to
an historic family, one of the oldest, and at one time
the wealthiest, in Pennsylvania. Her great-grand-
father. General James Potter, was a major-general in
the revolution, and for several years an officer on
the staff of Washington. He possessed the entire
confidence of his commander-in-chief, and at the



close of the revolutionary struggle was sent at the
head of a detachment of troops into central Penn-
sylvania to overawe the Indians and protect the
settlers. Potter's Fort in Penn's Valley, Center
county, Pennsylvania, was built and fortified by this
expedition; and at. the termination of the Indian
troubles the commander was so charmed with the
natural beauties and advantages of that region that

he took up his permanent residence near the site
of the "Old Fort," and here her father was born.
Mrs. McRae is also heir to a flag captured from
Colonel Monckton at the battle of Monmouth, by her
grandfather, William Wilson, on the 28th of January,
1778. By this marriage Mr. McRae has one child.
He is a kind husband and indulgent parent, and
a loved and much-respected pastor.



ONE of the oldest and most eminent physicians
of Mitchell county, Iowa, is Dr. Sumner
Burnham Chase, who platted the village, now city,
of Osage, gave the streets their names, and assisted
in giving the town its first start by aiding to secure
the location of the United States land office here.
He is one of those New England men who seem to
be reared expressly for town builders, and who have
been the founders of scores of thriving villages and
cities in every western state.

Dr. Chase is the son of Moses and Mary (Libby)
Chase, and was born in Limington, Maine, on the
4th of October, 1821. He was educated at Par-
sonfield Seminary and Limerick Academy ; read
medicine with Dr. Seth L. Larrabee, of Scarboro,
Maine ; graduated from the medical department of
Bowdoin College in the spring of 1849; practiced
in Portland until September, 1855, and then moved
to Decorah, Iowa, where the United States land
office had recently been located. On the 20th of
the next January he settled permanently in Osage,
coming hither partly in the interest of the land
office, which was soon after moved, and he was sub-
sequently (September i, 1857) appointed its register.
In laying out the town late in the winter of 1855-6,
he drew the stakes on a hand-sled, the town plat con-
sisting of nine hundred and sixty acres. Dr. Chase
bought eighty acres and built a one-story frame house
immediately after locating. Believing with Lord Ba-
con that " true dispatch is a rich thing, for time is
the measure of business as money is of wares," the
doctor put up his house in a hurry, it being a fear-
fully cold winter, as the residents of Iowa twenty-
two years ago will recollect. The frame house into
which he moved one Saturday night was in the
standing trees the Monday morning before. The
roof was double-boarded, there being no shingles

in the place. The house was sixteen by twenty-
four feet, with a partition in the middle, and the
doctor and his family occupied one end and two
brothers-in-law, Edward F. and James H. Merrill,
with their families, the other. Cold as it was, the
lumber dried rapidly, and before " the ides of
March " the cracks were an inch wide, and called
for a liberal supply of batten. There the families
lived not only contented but happy ; and there be-
ing only thirteen members in the aggregate, all of
these families took boarders ! In the spring of
1856 the doctor was appointed postmaster, and, as
he had an abundance of room, his half of the
building being just twelve by sixteen feet, he kept
the post-office in his house — the mail itself in a
small tin milk-pan.

Dr. Chase was register of the land office until
September, 1859, when it was closed. The office
of postmaster he had resigned on being appointed
register. With the exception of the autumn of
i860 spent in Des Moines, he has been in prac-
tice at Osage since leaving the land office, and
while register did not wholly abandon it. Of late
years it seems to have grown upon him ; he was
never more popular, and never busier.

Dr. Chase aided in organizing the Mitchell Coun-
ty Medical Association in 1861, and was its first
president. He also helped organize the Upper
Cedar Valley Medical Association, which embraces
nine counties, and was its first president also. He
is also a member of the State Medical Society and
the American Medical Association. The Mitchell
County Society holds a semi-annual meeting, which
the wives of the physicians attend.

Dr. Chase has a pretty little farm of fifty or sixty
acres near the city, and raises his own grain and
other produce. He owns and lives in the largest




and perhaps the best brick house in the county,
with brick barn and pleasant surroundings, the re-
ward of skill in his profession and industry that
never remits.

In politics, he is a democrat. In religion, a Con-
gregationalist, and a member of the Osage church.

On the 3d of September, 1846, Miss Almira B.
Cobb, of Limington, Maine, became his wife, and
she has been the mother of five children, four of
them, two daughters and two sons, yet living. Ada
M. is the wife of Dr. John L. Whitley, partner of Dr.
Chase ; Mary A. is unmarried ; Frank W. is a grad-
uate of Rush Medical College, Chicago, and is prac-
ticing at Shenandoah, Iowa, and Charles S., a gradu-
ate of the Iowa State Agricultural College, is a law-
yer. All the children have graduated from the Ce-
dar Valley Seminary.

Dr. Chase is a very warm friend of this seminary,
located at Osage, and has been its secretary from its
organization. It is annually sending out a class of
young men and young women to different colleges
in the east as well as the west, and they show a high
grade of scholarship.

No enterprise in the city or county which is cal-
culated to benefit the people, either in a pecuniary,
literary or moral sense, fails to receive the doctor's
earnest support ; usually he is among the originators
of such projects.

He was a director of the old Cedar Valley rail-
road, surveyed as early as 1858, and which came
through, under the management of another com-
pany, about ten years later.

For years he has been accustomed to report cases
and write essays to be read before medical socie'-
ties. One of these essays, read before the Iowa
State Medical Association in- 1876, has been pub-
lished in the proceedings of that body. It is on
the subject of alcohol and tobacco, taking strong
ground against the use of either, and it would be
well if it could have yet wider circulation.

Dr. Chase has gray eyes, a nervous-sanguine tem-
perament and a compact body, is five feet eight
and a half inches tall, and weighs one hundred and
sixty pounds. He wears gold glasses, dresses very
neatly, usually in black, and would be taken by a
stranger for a college professor or a presiding elder.



LIKE most members of the Ross family, the sub-
j ject of this notice is of Scotch descent. His
great-grandfather came from the " auld " country
prior to the American revolution, settled in New
Jersey, and with a brother fought valiantly for
freedom from British rule and taxation. Thomas
Johns Ross sprung from the industrial class, is the
son of an Ohio farmer, Samuel Ross, and was born
in Knox county, on the 14th of September, 1832.
His mother was Charity Montgomery, whose older
relatives were Marylanders. Thomas J. was reared
to agricultural pursuits, and had, in addition to a
common school education, two years' discipline at
the Martinsburg Academy. He remained in his na-
tive county until twenty-three years of age, leaving
there in the autumn of 1855, and coming directly to
Story county, Iowa, where he remained. During
the first year that Mr. Ross was in the county he
sold goods at Iowa Center, in the- southern part of
the county, farmed the second and taught school
the third; the last of these three years being di-
rectly after the financial tornado of 1857, when all

money seemed to be swept out of the country.
■Central Iowa, then very sparsely settled, was about
as destitute of it as a sand-bank is of clover. The
year 1858 was especially hard in this part of the
state, and Mr. Ross was glad " to teach the young
ideas how to shoot " at twenty-eight dollars a month,
the highest wages, with one exception, paid to any
teacher in the county.

In 1859 he was elected recorder and treasurer of
the county ; removed to Nevada, the county-seat,
just before the close of that year ; assumed the du-
ties of his office on the ist of January, i860, and
held it by reelections six years, the longest term of
anyone in that office in the county. He discharged
its duties to the thorough satisfaction of his constit-

Since 1866 Mr. Ross has been in the real-estate
business, and for the last three years has dealt quite
largely in live stock. He has a farm adjoining the
town, on which he has lived since he came to Ne-
vada, and another farm in the county, both under
good improvement. He has made a success in real



estate and in his ventures generally. He is a very
shrewd, reliable business man, with capacities far
above the average.

Mr. Ross is a Master Mason. In politics, he is a
republican. In religion, a liberal. ►

He has been a married man since the 24th of Oc-
tober, 1854, his wife being Miss Julia A. McCreary,
of Martinsburg, Ohio, daughter of William Mc-
Creary, at one time a member of the Ohio legis-
lature, and an associate judge for several years.

Mrs. Ross has been the mother of four children,
only two of them, both girls, now living. Ida is a
graduate of the agricultural college located in the
western part of Story county, and Carrie is attend-
ing the graded school in Nevada.

Mr. Ross is above the medium height, compactly
built, and has a very robust appearance. His hair is
light, his whiskers are sandy, his eyes blue and his
expression that of a matter-of-fact, intelligent citi-
zen, in whom it would be perfectly safe to confide.



BENJAMIN HERSHEY, merchant and farmer,
was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania,
on the loth of April, 1813, and is the son of Joseph
and Hester (Hostetter) Hershey. His father was a
large and prosperous farmer of that county; a strict
and exemplary member of the Mennonite faith, in
which he died in the year 1830, in the sixty-seventh
year of his age. He had a taste for fine stock, es-
pecially horses, and owned some of the best animals
in the state. At the time of his death he was worth
about one hundred thousand dollars — quite a large
fortune at that period. He had a family of three
sons and two daughters : Joseph, Benjamin, John,
Magdalen and Catherine. Joseph became a farmer
m his native county, and accumulated considerable
wealth; he died in 1865. John still resides on the
old homestead, but has long since retired from busi-
ness on a competence. Magdalen is the widow of
the late Jacob Huber, Esq., of York county, Penn-
sylvania. Catherine remains a maiden.

The great-grandfather of our subject was a native
of Switzerland, born near Lake Geneva, and emi-
grated to America about the close of the seven-
teenth century, being driven out of his fatherland
by religious persecution. He sought the western
continent, where he might worship the God of his
fathers according to the dictates of his conscience,
and the creed (Mennonite) which he inherited from
his ancestors. The descendants are not numerous,
and are still mostly residents of the Keystone State.

Benjamin Hershey was raised on the farm, where
he acquired a taste for agricultural pursuits, and
especially for the raising and training of fine horses.
He attended the common schools of the period, or
rather what was then termed subscription schools.

the teacher renting a room or cabin, where he could
procure one, and teaching at so much per pupil.
His attainments, as derived from this primitive in-
stitution of learning, hardly carried him beyond
the three R's, " 'Readin', 'Ritin' and 'Rithmetic," but
he was a man of large natural gifts, which he has
never since ceased to cultivate, so that he is now
among the best informed men of the age.

From an early period he had a strong desire for
travel, and always contemplated settling in the west.
In the year 1832, at the age of nineteen, he made
what was considered at that day quite an extensive
tour in the western states. Starting from Lancaster

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 68 of 125)