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in the spring, he traveled to Pittsburgh in a " Yankee
wagon," with wooden springs, thence by steamboat
to Wheeling, Virginia, and thence by stage to Saint
Clairsville, Ohio, where he bought a horse, saddle and
bridle, on which he rode to Cincinnati and Dayton,
thence westward through Indiana by way of the
National Road, just blazed out as far as the eastern
border of Illinois, visiting many of the farmers on
his route, and gathering information of the country
and the prospects of the west as he progressed.
After a period of three months spent in this way
he returned to Pennsylvania in company with a
drover, who was driving a herd of cattle to the
eastern market.

In 1833" he commenced farming on the home-
stead, of which he became possessed soon after his
father's death, which he carried on for eighteen
years with very satisfactory results, raising and own-
ing, during that period, some of the finest blooded
horses in the state.

In 1 85 1 he disposed of his farm to his brother
John, and in pursuance of his long cherished scheme



moved west, and settled in Muscatine, Iowa, where,
in May, 1853, he rented a saw-mill, on what was
then known as the Muscatine Slough, now as South
Muscatine, bought raft-timber on the river, and in
this unpretentious way laid the foundation of what
has since grown into one of the largest and most
prosperous concerns on the Mississippi river.

In 1855 he bought out the property he had pre-
viously rented, and in the year following commenced
the erection of the Monmouth establishment, since
known as the Hershey Saw-mill, then one of the
largest, if not the largest, on the Mississippi river.
At that time the enterprise was regarded by many
as wild, reckless and visionary, and certain to entail
ruin and disaster upon its projector (the whole state
of Iowa, it was thought, could not consume lumber
enough to keep it profitably employed) ; a few years,
however, amply vindicated his wisdom, and demon-
strated the soundness of his judgment. The original
cost of the structure, which was put in operation in
the spring of 1857, was seventy thousand dollars, and
its capacity was fifty thousand feet of lumber in
twenty-four hours. This was the first gang saw-mill
put in operation on the " Father of Waters," and it
was then the largest in the country. Since then it
has been several times enlarged and improved, pro-
vided with the best machinery, and at this juncture
it is the best and most economical mill on the river,
capable of producing one hundred thousand feet of
lumber in eleven hours, giving steady employment
to about two hundred hands, its annual sales amount-
ing to almost half a million dollars, while its pro-
prietor has become one of the wealthy men of the
valley of the Mississippi.

In 1872 the institution was furnished with what is
known as the Sumner dry-house apparatus, one of
the most important and valuable auxiliaries of the
establishment, by means of which green lumber is
put through a process of drying, which fits it for
house-building purposes in seven days, as thorough-
ly as the old system of weather-drying was wont to
do in six months.

In 1876, the lumber business still increasing, and
Mr. Hershey having become the owner of a large
farm which required much of his time, in order to
gain some relief from the responsibility incident to
so large a concern, turned his lumber business into
a stock company, taking some five of his principal
employes and four outside gentlemen into partner-
ship, but retaining three-fourths of the interest in
his own hands; since that date the business has

been conducted under the style of the Hershey
Lumber Company. The company cut down their
own logs in the Wisconsin pineries, and tow the
rafts down stream by their own tow-boat, the Ben.
Hershey; own their own rolling stock or freight cars,
on which they distribute the products of their mill
to their customers as far west as the base of the
Rocky Mountains.

Mr. Hershey is also a member of the Mississippi
Logging Company, of the Beef-slough Boom Com-
pany, of Wisconsin, and various other corporations:
He was a member of the constructing committee for
the building of the Muscatine Western railroad, of
which he was also one of the largest stockholders.
He served as mayor of Muscatine two terms, during
the years 1862 and 1863, but this was the extent of his
office holding, his own business furnishing as much
work as he could conveniently attend to.

In politics, he was first a member of the whig
party, and in early life voted what was known as
the "Anti-mason" ticket, expressive of the strong
prejudice then existing against the Masonic frater-
nity, arising from the supposed murder on their part
of the man (Morgan) who had revealed the secrets
of the order. Since 1856 he has been an uncom-
promising supporter of the republican party.

In 1866 he purchased the beautiful farm alluded
to above, consisting of eight hundred acres, situated
partly on the bluff and partly on the bottom skirt-
ing Muscatine Island, some two miles from town, on
which, in 1870, he built a stately mansion, said to
be the finest farm-house in the state, designed on
the Swiss model, by I. P. Walton, of Muscatine, to-
gether with barns, stabling, and all the appurtenances
of a model agricultural establishment. Here he has
collected the finest stud of blooded horses in the
state, together with Shetland ponies and draught
horses to the number of one hundred and fifty,
besides splendid short-horns, Alderneys, sheep and
hogs of the best varieties ; while his barn-yards are
overrun with domestic fowls of every feather. His
trotting stud comprises representatives of the Henry
Clay, Royal George, and Marabrino breeds. His
young horse. Envoy, is one of the handsomest and
most symmetrical specimens of the equine race in
the country, while his mare, Fleta, is among the
fleetest in the west. The catalogue of this cele-
brated stud contains many other names well known
on the turf; while among his Shetlands are found
such names as Huckebery, a pibald stallion, forty-
four inches high, and weighing three hundred and



fifty pounds, imported from Gibralter. Anna Dick-
inson and Fanny Fern, mares of the same breed, of
still smaller dimensions, besides many others. At
this beautiful retreat, and in the care and training
of those animals,, most of the mornings and even-
ings of Mr. Hershey are passed, while the remainder
of the day is devoted to his other business.

His efforts to improve the various breeds of farm
stock has had a most salutary effect upon the farmers
generally, to whom he has been ever ready and anx-
ious to extend every courtesy they may ask or re-

He has always had in his employment a large
force of hands, to whom he has invariably given
the largest wages and the kindest and most con-
siderate treatment. If all employers were like him,
strikes and discontent would be unknown. Sys-
tematic in his business, each man knows his place,
and is promptly at his post of duty, and, as a con-
sequence, everything moves on smoothly and har-
moniously, without one jarring exception. He has
ever been ready to extend a helping hand to those
in his service who have shown themselves worthy
and deserving, and many of them are now the own-
ers of handsome and pleasant homes, which they
chiefly owe to his generosity.

From what has been said it will readily be inferred
that Mr. Hershey is a man of broad and capacious
mind and of remarkable sagacity and foresight. All
his undertakings of any considerable magnitude have
had strict reference to the enlargement of business
and broader and more extended fields for the em-
ployment of capital, and he has so arranged his
business as to adapt it to all the changes and de-
mands of after years. He is also a man of large
public spirit, ready at all times to give of his means
to every enterprise of real public utility, while his
private benefactions are given freely, and have been
the means of relieving and cheering many a needy
and suffering household ; but these deeds are done
so quietly and unostentatiously that they become
known only by means of the recipients themselves.
He is, moreover, a man of great frankness and hon-
esty of speech, never attempting to conceal his views
or opinions, and what he has to say is generally
said without any regard to person or place.

On the 6th of February, 1836, he married Miss
Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Wittmer, of Lancaster
county, Pennsylvania, also of Swiss origin, a lady of
rare mental and moral gifts and attainments, who
has since been his companion and helpmeet. They

have had four children : Sarah J., Mary Amanda,
Elizabeth and Elmira. Elizabeth died in early
maidenhood in Muscatine, Iowa, on the 7th of Octo-
ber, 1856, and Amanda died in Munich, Bavaria,
whither she had gone to complete her studies, on
the 24th of December, 1876. Her remains were
brought home for interment, and were buried in
Muscatine, on the 13th of February, 1877, amid the
tears and regrets of a large circle of friends and

From the very earliest dawn of reason the children
gave evidence of the possession of the rarest talents
and gifts, which were fostered and encouraged by
their affluent and indulgent father. Their early
education was conducted under the parental roof
by the best private tutors and governesses then to
be found ; and having passed through the full cur-
riculum of studies in all the branches of art and
literature afforded by the schools of America, they
were sent to Europe to be perfected.

Sarah J., the eldest, developed an extraordinary tal-
ent for music. She studied under the best maestros
in London, Berlin and Milan for five years, and is
now perhaps the most perfect mistress of harmony
in the United States. She is also an accomplished
linguist, speaking the German, Italian and French
languages only less fluently than the English. Nor
is she less cultured in the fine arts, to which she
also gave much attention ; her extensive study and
travel having made her quite a critic in sculpture
and painting. She is, withal, a queenly woman ;
majestic in appearance, graceful and elegant in all
her motions, and peerless in every noble and ami-
able quality. She was married on the 2d of Sep-
tember, 1857, to Hon. William F. Brannan,of Musca-
tine, Iowa; one daughter, Miss Bessie, a young lady
destined to equal if not excel her mother in the line
of art and elocution, is the fruit of this union. In
1876 Mr. Hershey built the large and magnificent
conservatory of music in Chicago, known as the
Hershey Music Hall — the finest institution of the
kind in the country, and destined to add much to
the fame of that city — over which Mrs. Brannan is
now presiding with a success commensurate with her
great talents. She has recently appeared in operas
in New York, London, and several cities of the con-
tinent of Europe, where she has been regarded as a
"star" of the first magnitude, and is destined to a
career of fame and success second to no artist of
the century.

The younger sister, Miss Elmira, is following close-



ly in the same line and is learned in all the sciences, no
less than in the more ornamental accomplishments.
She has been for a number of years a student of the
old masters of Berlin and Munich, where she is still a
sojourner; at present making a specialty of painting
and music. She is a lady of towering talents, has
drank largely of the purest founts of literature, and
has stored her mind with the best thoughts of the
best authors of the world in all ages and in all lan-
guages. She is, moreover, of a cheerful and breezy
disposition, dispensing gladness and sunshine where-
ever she goes.

It remains only to add a brief memorial of the
recently deceased Mary Amanda, who was among
the most gifted, noble and beautiful of her sex.
Prominent among her characteristics was her great
strength of purpose to attain a high standard or aim
in her pursuit of art, science, or whatever branch of
knowledge she might be in pursuit of; with anything
short of perfection she was never satisfied, and to a
broad, deep culture of mind she added the more
substantial ornaments of a meek and virtuous spirit,
joined to strong independent opinions and actions,
when occasion required, were the more tender and
lovable ways : sympathy for those who needed con-
solation, confidence in her friends, without a trace of
suspicion, and an indescribable charm of character
which surrounded her always with a loving circle
of friends, in whose hearts must remain a void for-
ever. Her friends have often thought that could her

talents have been distributed among others, many
might have been richly dowered with those which
she possessed alone. Her acquirements in music,
art, science, language, rhetoric, coupled with refine-
ment of thought and manner, seemed to make her a
meet illustration of the character in the gospel to
whom was intrusted "ten talents,'' all of which she
had improved ; and although carried to an early
grave, she had brought much fruit to perfection.
That one so gifted, so precious, so endeared to all
who knew her, should be called from a busy and use-
ful life here, the dew of youth still freshly resting on
her brow, while the indolent, vicious and ignorant
remain behind, is one of those inscrutable mysteries
of Divine Providence which are past finding out.
Doubtless the Supreme Governor of the Universe
had a mission for her in another and more exalted
sphere, whence she will be restored to her friends
hereafter inexpressibly improved in every noble and
endearing accomplishment. While she was abroad
she was the recipient of many sincere expressions of
encouragement and praise for her great and varied
attainments, and of commendation for her adherence
to what she esteemed christian principle, as at vari-
ance with Old World customs, and by her beauty of
person and mind, and her consistency of conduct,
drew to herself many noble hearts, who not less sin-
cerely lament her untimely death than do those who
were more closely connected by ties of blood and
early association.



SIMON G. STEIN, one of the most sagacious
and successful business men of Muscatine, was
born in East Hanover, Lebanon county, Pennsyl-
vania, on the 17th of March, 1817.

His father. Captain Abraham Stein, was born in
the same county on the nth of January, 1788, and
was a soldier in the war of 1812, after which he
returned to his farm, where he remained during the
balance of his life. He was a man of considerable
influence and popularity in his community, serving
constantly in the various civil positions in the gift of
his fellow-citizens for a period of over forty years.
He died in 1858, in the seventy-first year of his
age. He was married to Miss Anna Barbara Ger-
berich, of the same place, on the 2d of April, 181 1,

who survived him about eighteen months. They
had four sons and one daughter, of whom our sub-
ject was the youngest, and of whom only two are
now living: S. G. and his brother, A. G., residing
in Philadelphia.

From a genealogical record of the family, running
back some five generations, we learn that the great-
great-grandfather of our subject, Sebastian Stein,
was born in Germany in the year 1696; the great-
grandfather, Abraham Stein, was born in Krum-
bach, ''Aus der Rheinromischen" Germany, on the
ist of October, 1724; was married to Anna Maria
Rohrer in the year 1750, and soon afterward emi-
grated to America and settled in Berks county,
Pennsylvania, where they raised a family of five



sons and eight daughters, among whom was John
Philip Stein, born on the 2d of December, 1760,
who was married to Susanna Wilt in 1787 ; removed
to East Hanover, Lebanon county, Pennsylvania,
where they raised a family of eight sons and five
daughters, of whom Abraham, the father of our sub-
ject, was the eldest of the sons.

After receiving a common-school education Simon
G. Stein launched out for himself at the age of sev-
enteen; served an apprenticeship to the milling bus-
iness, which he subsequently followed in Berks and
Chester counties, Pennsylvania, for about two years.
But having heard of the greater possibilities of the
west and the inducements which the country beyond
the Alleghanies offered, he removed to Ohio in the
year 1836, and continued his trade in the cities of
Springfield and Hamilton, of that state, for several
years. Meantime " The West," as then located, had
removed to the valley of the Mississippi, whither the
tide of empire was then setting, and our subject, to
keep abreast of the movement, resolved to follow.
Accordingly having made a short visit to the pater-
nal homestead and seen the '' old folks '' again, in
1839 ^^ removed to Illinois, and followed his trade
in Putnam, Peoria and Rock Island counties, of that
state, until 1846, when he engaged with D. Over-
myer, under the firm name of Stein and Overmyer,
in the manufacture of lumber and flour, in Moline,
Illinois, which they carried on successfully for three
years. In 1849 he crossed the river to Muscatine,
Iowa, which has since been his home, and has con-
tinued in the lumber business there ever since. In
1875 he became connected with the Hershey Lum-
ber Manufacturing Company, one of the largest and
most successful lumber companies in the west, and
of which he has been vice-president since his con-
nection. In 1854 he engaged with Philip Stein, a
cousin, in the furniture business, under the style of
S. G. and P. Stein, and has since conducted one of
the largest wholesale and retail establishments of
this kind in the valley of the Mississippi.

In 1852 he engaged, in company with the late
Colonel S. G. Hill, in the manufacture of sash, doors
and blinds, which was carried on successfully until
1 86 1, when the firm was dissolved, Mr. Hill going
into the army. The business has since been con-
ducted alone by Mr. Stein. In 1855 he engaged
with G. P. Vesey in the manufacture of bedsteads
and chamber furniture. This business continued in
operation until 1859, when it was discontinued. He
is also largely interested in farms and in farming

lands in Muscatine, Louisa, Cedar, Jackson, Benton,
Hamilton and Calhoun counties, Iowa, and in Rock
Island county, Illinois ; in all, fifteen hundred acres
of improved lands. He is also the owner of three
of the finest buildings in the business part of Mus-
catine. He is also engaged in business with Messrs.
Barnhardt Brothers, Spindler and Co., in the Great
Western Type Foundry, of Chicago, one of the
most extensive type manufacturing establishments
in the west.

Mr. Stein is president of the Muscatine Steam
Ferry Company. Has been president of the Mer-
chants' Exchange National Bank, of Muscatine City,
for ten years past. Was president of the Muscatine
Western Railroad Company at the organization of
the company and during the construction of the
road. He is also president of the Muscatine, Tip-
ton and Anamosa Railroad Company. During the
years 187 1 and 1872 he held the office of chief
magistrate of the city of Muscatine, being twice
elected without opposition, and receiving the unani-
mous nomination of both the republican and demo-
cratic parties, an honor unprecedented in the history
of the city. In 1872 he was appointed one of the
capitol commissioners, for the purpose of selecting
plans and overlooking the construction of the' new
State-house at Des Moines, and served two years in
this capacity with zeal and great wisdom.

He was admitted a member of the Independent
Order of Odd-Fellows in 1844, and continues in fel-
lowship, being at the present time a member of the
grand lodge of Iowa. He is also a distinguished
member of the Masonic fraternity, to which he was
admitted in 1850.

He is one of the most benevolent of the citizens
of Muscatine, always contributing liberally to pub-
lic and private charities.

He was raised in the communion of the Lutheran
church, and was admitted to membership in that
society by confirmation at the age of sixteen years.

In politics, he was originally a whig, and since the
organization of the republican party he has been
identified with it, and was during the war a staunch
supporter of the government, and in favor of the
emancipation and enfranchisement of the negro.

On the 20th of May, 1841, he married Miss Anna
Catherine Bernthisel, who was a native of Lebanon,
Pennsylvania, of German origin, and a lady of rare
good sense, modest, amiable and kind-hearted. The
union has been blessed with two children, a daugh-
ter and a son. The daughter, Angle S., was born in



1844, and is the wife of A. M. Earnhardt, of Chi-
cago, Illinois, to whom she was married in 1869.
The son, Simon G., who was born in 1861, resides
with his parents.

Mr. Stein is one of those fortunate individuals
who almost invariably succeed in whatever they
undertake, and whose enterprises always seem to
come out right in the end, however mazy they may
have appeared while in process of development.
From small beginnings, by energy, perseverance,
faithful industry, and above all, consummate wis-
dom, he has gradually amassed a fortune, and his
fair and honorable dealing has made his name a
tower of strength in the community where he is
known. For the railroad interests of the state,
especially those communicating with Muscatine, he
has worked with unabated zeal and energy, and
spent both time and money freely, looking for his
remuneration in the growth and progress of the city
of his adoption. To know that any public interest
was intrusted to him was to be assured that it would
receive the most faithful attention and be carried to
the most successful issue. In the various positions

of trust and honor to which he has been called he
has discharged his official duties with scrupulous
care and fidelity, and to-day he stands in the front
ranks of the most valued, judicious and successful
citizens of the state. Two more useful, unassuming
and universally beloved individuals than Mr. Stein
and his estimable wife it would be difficult to point
out, or a pair possessing more of that plain, sterling
common sense and good judgment, a little rare in
these days, and yet of no less value than pure gold
tried in the fire. While abundantly able to make a
display in the world, they have preferred the quiet
and sedate walks of life in a well balanced medium
between extravagant pomp and sordid parsimonious-
ness, remote from the least ostentation, yet in all
points exemplary. Satisfied with the discharge of
their daily duties in the domestic circle, they have
been content to allow others to wear the tinsel and
display the gildings of fashionable life, reserving to
themselves the more substantial comforts resulting
from prudent habits and moderate desires. They
have thus become models of domestic virtue, and
patterns of social life and manners.



THE subject of this sketch was born in Monon-
galia county. West Virginia, on the i6th of
September, 1848. His father's name was Nathaniel
Temple, who was born and raised in Green county,
Pennsylvania, and removed to West Virginia in 1844.
His mother's maiden name was Henrietta Rice.
His father was a farmer. M. L. Temple worked
upon his father's farm until he was twenty years of
age, when he obtained a scholarship and cadetship
in the West Virginia University, which he attended
for five years, and from which he graduated in June,
1873, in the classical and military departments.

He began the study of law prior to graduation,
in the office of Jujdge John H. Dice, at Morgantown,
West Virginia. He left this office on the 30th of
September, 1873, and came to Osceola, Iowa, and
commenced the practice of law, which he still con-

He early in life evinced a great desire for study,
and although he never had more than one hundred
and twenty-six days of schooling previous to enter-
ing the university, he attributes the advancement he

made by virtue of close application to books while
at home under the guidance of a devoted mother,
who was well educated and possessed of a disposi-
tion befitting her for teaching. At sixteen he com-
menced teaching in the public schools when the free^
school system was first inaugurated in West Virginia.

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 69 of 125)