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ranking among the most able and eminent members
of the bar in the southern part of the state.

In the years 1861, 1862 and 1863, Mr. Burton
represented, as an alderman, the first ward of Ot-
tumwa in the city council. In 1864 and 1865 he
was city solicitor. Both the honorable positions,
among others more prominent, have been filled also
by Mr. Stiles.

In 1865 Mr. Burton was nominated to the de-
mocracy of Wapello county as a candidate for rep-
resentative in the state legislature, and notwithstand-
ing a decided republican majority in the county,
failed of election by only four votes.



In 1868, and again in 1872, he received the regu-
lar democratic nomination for judge of the circuit
court. The democratic party being in the minority
in the counties composing the circuit, however, Mr.
Burton was, of course, doomed to defeat.

In 1861 Mr. Burton purchased a newspaper at
Ottumwa, entitled the " Democrat Statesman," and
changing that name to the "Ottumwa Democratic
Mercury," continued its publication, in connection
with Samuel B. Evans, until the latter went to the
war. Thereafter he remained sole publisher of the
paper for nearly four years. In the editorial con-
duct of the " Democratic Mercury " Mr. Burton was
assisted by Judge Hendershott, who historically tes-
tifies to the fact that Mr. Burton " wielded a forci-
ble and spicy pen."

Mr. Burton was, during its entire existence, secre-
tary and a director of the Saint Louis and Cedar
Rapids Railroad Company, having its offices at
Ottumwa, and which was organized in 1865.

It is as a lawyer, however, that Mr. Burton ap-
pears in his strongest light, and the high position
which he has attained at the bar is alone attribut-
able to his thorough accomplishments and mental
qualities as a lawyer.

It is perhaps not too much for a professional
brother, who has had the advantage of a close and
intimate observation and acquaintance, not only in
respect to Mr. Burton, but of the leading lawyers
of the state, to say that he possesses a legal mind
of the choicest order, which, enriched by thorough
study, and ripened by the long experience of a large
and varied practice, entitled him to stand in the
very front of the highest professional rank.

The writer of this portion of the foregoing sketch
has had the good fortune to frequently witness, either
before the state or federal courts, the efforts of near-
ly, if not quite, all the lawyers who figure promi-
nently at our bar, and he has no hesitation in saying
that while as an advocate he has perhaps many su-
periors in the state, yet for readiness, legal accuracy,
resources and strength of argument, he has yet to
see Mr. Burton's superior in a forensic effort before
the court. Nor is it to be inferred from this that his
powers as an advocate are of an ordinary character,
for the same fertility of resources, strength and clear-
ness that distinguish him in a purely legal argument
characterize his efforts in summing up the case to
the jury, and invest them with a persuasiveness not
frequently excelled.



AS a prominent, influential and thorough-going
business man, the subject of this brief biog-
raphy is worthy of an honorable mention.

He is a native of Parsonfield, York county. State
of Maine, and was born on the 5th of December,
1828. When about ten years of age he removed
to the west with his father, and settled in Missouri,
but afterward returned to the east. He attended
school at Lancaster, in Cook county, New Hamp-
shire, and also studied at Derby Academy, in Derby,
Vermont. He was early trained to studious, indus-
trious and upright habits, and the fruits of the dis-
cipline then received have shown themselves in all
his subsequent life.

In 1842 his father established himself in New
York city, and ten years later (1852) became the
publisher of the " New York Daily Sun." He also
became a part owner of that sheet, and retained his
connection with its publication till his death, which
occurred in the year 1865. He was a man of very de-

cided character and fixed principles, and was highly
esteemed by the many who knew him.

In political sentiment, he was a decided democrat.

In 1852 our subject, being then twenty-four years
of age, left his eastern home and removed to the
west, settling at Burlington, Iowa, which place he
has since made his home. Soon after settling there
he became a book-keeper in the dry-goods house of
Messrs. Copp, Parsons and Co., and continued his
connection with that house until 1866.

He was afterward engaged in the First National
Bank of Burlington, and about December, 1870, be-
came connected with the Merchants' National Bank,
acting in the capacity of assistant cashier.

Throughout his entire business career Mr. Par-
sons has shown a spirit of enterprise and business
tact that have won for him universal respect, and
made him known as a prompt, thorough and reli-
able business man.

His dealings have always been marked by the



Strictest integrity ; and not only has he won a high
place in the esteem of his fellow-citizens, but he
has also met with that financial success which is the
natural result of honorable and continuous effort.

In political sentiment, Mr. Parsons is a democrat.
He has not, however, taken any active part in po-
litical matters, and has never sought after political
honors, finding in his legitimate business employ-
ment for the exercise of his highest powers. Al-
though he has not desired political distinction, he
has been honored with various trusts, and in 1876
his fellow-citizens, without regard to political views,
elected him mayor of his city, without opposition.
In this capacity he has served with eminent success.

and won for himself universal confidence and re-

As a man, Mr. Parsons is known for his gener-
osity and frankness, and for his estimable social and
personal qualities. He has been intimately con-
nected with many of the public enterprises of his
city, and in all shown a worthy public-spiritedness.

He has been especially active in the Working-
men's Building Association, an organization which
has done much for the improvement of the city.

In his religious communion, he is identified with
the Episcopal church, and is a zealous member and
one of the wardens of Christ's Episcopal Church of



ONE of the most emphatically self-educated men
in central Iowa is Stephen N. Lindley, late
circuit judge in the sixth district. With no school
privileges, except those of the lowest grade, and those
very limited, but with a strong love for books, he
fitted himself, in early life, by private study, for a
teacher ; and later in life paid much attention to
certain scientific branches, mastering the principles
of geology and archeology, and established a repu-
tation as one of the best versed in history in his
county. In boyhood he read all the books he could
borrow in the neighborhood. Poor as his early lit-
erary opportunities were, he applied himself with
great industry for many years, and is now a good
scholar. His love for study, early cherished, never
has left him.

Mr. Lindley is a son of Josephus Lindley, a tailor
by trade, and for nearly twenty years postmaster at
Merrittstown, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where
our subject was born on the 7th of May, 1817. The
maiden name of his mother was Jane Chandler,
daughter of Mary and George Chandler, a soldier of
the revolution. Some of the latter family are now
living near Brandywine, Chester county. The Lind-
leys were early settlers in New Jersey. Josephus
Lindley volunteered in 1813, about the time that
Hall surrendered, and for some reason was not
called into the service.

Judge Lindley spent his youth in Fayette county,
attending school some, until sixteen years of age;
at eighteen he immigrated to Athens county, Ohio,

where he taught school in the winters, and read law
with A. G. Brown, of Athens, receiving from him a
certificate. In 1851 he came to Iowa, spent three
years in Lee county, teaching and fitting himself
for the law; in 1854 he removed to Jasper county,
still teaching during the winters. He was admitted
to the bar at Newton in 1855, and to practice in
the supreme court soon after, and has been in the
practice ever since. His legal qualifications are of
the best material, there being nothing superficial in
his nature or attainments.

Judge Lindley was a drainage commissioner at an
early day after settling in Jasper county, and when
the ofiice was one of some pecuniary consequence ;
and in 1870 was appointed circuit judge, to fill a
vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Wins-
low ; the next year he was elected by the people to
the same office. He filled this position in a very
creditable manner, retiring therefrom on the 31st of
December, 1873.

Judge Lindley was originally an anti-slavery whig,
and promptly joined the republican party when it
was organized. He has been quite active as a poli-
tician. In the autumn of 1864 he was one of the
commissioners appointed ^o take the vote of the
Iowa soldiers, and left Atlanta, Georgia, on the last
train before the railroad track was destroyed by

He is a Blue Lodge Mason, and has passed the
lower chairs in Odd-Fellowship. He is a member
of the Universalist Society, and morally a man of



excellent standing in the community. He has al-
ways regarded the legal profession as one of the
most honorable practiced among men, and insists
that the standard of qualification for admission to
practice should be revised.

The wife of Judge Lindley was Miss Sarah Mc-

Cracken, of Washington county, Pennsylvania, their
union taking place on the 23d of November, 1843,
in Gallia county, Ohio. They have five children
living, and have lost two. Ellen is the wife of
George Lindley, and resides in Dakota Territory.
The others are single.



SAMUEL G. A. READ, son of Daniel and Hul-
dah (Jacobs) Read, was born in Moretown, Ver-
mont, on the 13th of January, 1817. Daniel Read,
who was a farmer in early life, educated himself for
the medical profession, and commenced practice, but
found himself brought in contact with so many dis-
agreeable diseases, that his taste revolted and he
returned to farming.

The family record of the Reads is uncommonly
interesting. Hon. Jacob Whittemore Read, member
of the New England Historical and Genealogical
Society, now deceased, published in 1861 a history
of the Reads and Reeds in England and America.
He says : " The Reads are numerous, from the fact
that they are descended from a clan or nation, and
not from an individual. Though they have taken
their origin from Aschanaz, the great-grandson of
Noah, they have had an opportunity of becoming a
numerous people. About five hundred years before
the christian era the Persians invaded Greece, in
consequence of which a company of merchants from
Miletus and other cities of Ionia, to escape the evils
of invasion, departed with their ships, goods and
retainers. They established themselves at Gades,
and there fitted out an expedition against Ireland,
which they conquered and divided into two king-
doms. The capital of one they called Ballyreda,
which in English means Reedstown. The inhab-
itants of ancient Erin called them Dalredas, or Dal-
redhas; the Caledonians called them Dalraids. They
were also called Scuits, or wanderers, — a phrase
which gave name to Scotland when they overran that
country. Surnames were not in use till about the
year 1170, but clans had appropriate names, which
some retained. The Dalraids crossed over from
Ireland to Caledonia, and Agricola, king of the
Romans, built a wall against them ; but Prince Reda
and his knights scaled the wall and put the Romans
to flight, A.D. 180. Then Adrian, about 210, built

another wall, to keep them out of his domain. The
Dalraids kept possession of the territory between
the two walls, and finally, in 843, conquered all Cal-
edonia." See also Mitchell's Classical Geography,
page 133: "About the middle of the fifth century
the Caledonians first received the names of Picts
and Scots ; the latter, called also Dalriads, emigrated
from the north of Ireland, and finally gave their
name to the country.'' The Reads and Reeds of
England descend from the above Raids, Reeds, or
Readhas, and the principal families have been traced
to them. They were connected with the royal
family of England long before William the Con-
queror. There was Withred, king of Kent in the
seventh century ; Ethelred, or Read the Good, king
of England in 866 ; Alfred, or Read the Shrewd, in
871 ; Eldred, or Read the Elder, in 946 ; Ethelred
the Second in 978."

William, son of Brianu's de Rede, was bishop of
Chichester in 1140. From him the descent is as
follows : Robert ; Galfrinus ; Thomas of Redydale ;
Thomas ; Thomas of Heddington, married Chris-
tiana, sister of the lord chancellor ; John, mayor of
Norwich in 1388 ; Edward ; William, born 1450, pro-
fessor of divinity ; Sir William ; William ; Sir Mathew ;
William ; John, who came to America in the " great
fleet " in 1630; Samuel; Samuel; Samuel; Daniel;
Daniel ; Samuel, the subject of this sketch.

The John Read who came to America in 1630
settled at Rehoboth, where Providence, Rhode Isl-
and, is now built, and was one of the original pur-
chasers from the Indians of large tracts of land.
He died at eighty-five, and was buried in old See-
konk cemetery, near Providence, where the rough
granite slab is still standing at his grave, though
there is a plan on foot among his descendants to
replace it by a more suitable monument. Hon.
Daniel Read, president of Missouri State University,
and many other distinguished men, are among his



posterity. As a family, the Reeds are identified with
American history. The great-grandfather of Dr.
Read, with his nine sons, were all soldiers and offi-
cers in the war of the revolution. Whoever would
know more of these valiant sons of Aschanaz may
iind it set forth in the " History of the Read Family "
referred to.

Samuel attended the Oberlin College in its in-
fancy, while it was yet to some extent an uncertain
experiment, paying his way there by manual labor.
He took his professional course in Cleveland Medi-
cal College.

The doctor experienced in early life an earnest
desire for learning, but enjoyed very limited oppor-
tunities for its gratification. Hard work on' a new
and heavily timbered farm was followed still by hard
work, that field might be added to field, and farm to
farm, of the paternal estate. Requests for permis-
sion to attend school were refused, on the ground
that not much education was needful for farming,
which was "the best occupation in life.'' Thus, in
lieu of the schoolroom, the book was taken to the
cornfield, and the pages conned in time gained over
others at the end of the row. He early showed a
taste for the healing art, by compounding imaginary
medicines and administering to imaginary patients.
On leaving school he began teaching, for love of the
work,'and to enjoy facilities for increasing knowledge.
At thirteen the family removed to Saint Lawrence
county. New York. After two years they removed
to Medina county, Ohio, where he remained through
his early manhood, and entered his profession. In
1853 he removed to Whitby county, Indiana, thence
in 1865 to Algona, Iowa.

He never sought public office, but was several
times elected county superintendent of public in-
struction, both in Ohio and Indiana. As an enthu-
siastic educator he was identified with the effort to
establish an institution of higher learning in north-
western Iowa, and was the first and for several years
president of the board of trustees of Algona College.

He was always a temperance worker, often lectur-
ing on the subject : was an early Son of Temperance,
also a Good Templar, and was the organizer of
several lodges, and member of the Grand Lodge of
Indiana. Also an Odd-Fellow, and member of en-
campment ; a Freemason, and an officer of chapter,
and member of Grand Lodge of Iowa.

He was trained up a Presbyterian, and joined the
Methodist Episcopal church in early manhood ; is a
republican, and was formerly a whig.

The doctor was first married to Miss Beulah Smith,
who died in i860. On the 4th of March, 1863, he
was married to Miss Lizzie Bunnell.

He is of medium stature, well formed, weight
about one hundred and forty-five, light complexion,
blue eyes and brown hair. His social qualities are
above the ordinary ; active temperament, great per-
severance, ambitious, and desirous to excel. He
has been a leading practitioner in northwestern Iowa
during his whole residence here, being frequently
called beyond the limits of his own county. Gifted
with a constitution capable of great endurance, his
strength has been taxed to the utmost, first in the
malarious districts of Indiana, and more lately upon
the bleak and comparatively uninhabited prairies of
Iowa, where several miles frequently intervene be-
tween the homes of patients. Yet he is still hale
and hearty when not suffering from overwork.

The wife of Dr. Read is one of the leading women
of Iowa in more than one important movement, and
a sketch of her life in this connection cannot be out
of place. She was the daughter of Edmund H.
Bunnell and Ann Ashley, and was born in Syracuse,
New York, on the 24th of December, 1834. Her
paternal grandfather and some of his brothers were
revolutionary soldiers. Her mother had an excel-
lent education; was an able financier, a woman of
strong mental faculties, yet exceedingly unobtrusive
and retiring in her manners. The education of Liz-
zie was embraced in three years' attendance at a
public school. She was the fifth child in a family of
nine children, who, we are told, made a sort of inde-
pendent community by themselves, caring but little
for other society so long as they were together. They
used to have family lessons, debates and friendly
rivalries in work and study. When Lizzie was four-
teen her parents removed from New York to Indi-
ana, where within six weeks after their arrival her
mother died. This was followed in about a year by
the death of a brother three years Lizzie's senior.
Business ventures also now proved unfortunate, and
the happy and affectionate circle was soon widely
scattered. Before she was sixteen she commenced
teaching school, using part of her scanty wages to
help the more helpless younger ones, as did also her
elder sister and brother.

At length a bad cough, weak lungs and pain in
the side forced a change of employment. Having
an opportunity at Fort Wayne to learn the printing
business, she decided to try it. She found it con-
genial, though laborious ; served an apprenticeship



of two years ; was then offered the foremanship of a
weekly newspaper and job office in Peru, Indiana,
which place she filled about four years. At the end
of this time, being then twenty-six, she commenced
in Peru the publication of a semi-monthly journal,
called the " Mayflower," devoted to literature, tem-
perance and equal rights. This paper had a sub-
scription list reaching into all the states and terri-

. On the 4th of March, 1863, she was married to
Dr. S. G. A. Read. In 1865 she removed with him
to Algona, Iowa. Here she commenced the publi-
cation of a weekly county paper, named the " Upper
Des Moines," intended to represent the interests of
the upper Des Moines River valley, which at that
time, 1865, had no other such representative. After
a year of this work, combined with the many hard-
ships and disadvantages of a new country, failing
health compelled the relinquishment of the enter-
prise to other hands. She commenced to write for
the press when about twenty, and has continued as
a contributor to several different journals. A series
of articles in the " Northwestern Christian Advo-
cate " in 1872, on the " status of women in the Meth-
odist church," led to their more just recognition in
subsequent Episcopal addresses.

She was vice-president of Indiana State Woman
Suffrage Society while residing there, and president
of Iowa State Society ; also one of the original mem-

bers and promoters of the Woman's Congress. She
has lectured occasionally on temperance, education
and woman suffrage.

Mrs. Read has traveled in several of the New
England, middle and western states, Canada and
the territory of Dakota. Twelve years ago she spent
two consecutive nights upon the prairies of western
Iowa, out of sight of house or people, except her
own small party. On the third day the first sign of
distant habitation, we once beard her remark, pro-
duced rather strange, but not unhappy, sensations.

She was educated a Methodist, and remains a
Methodist in church relationship and in sympathy,
but believes in the final happiness of all created
intelligences, which is contrary to the traditions,
but not, she thinks, contrary to the doctrines, of the

Her height is five feet, weight one hundred pounds,
eyes blue, hair brown ; temperament said to be men-
tal vital ; social qualities not well developed. She
is fond of friends, and likes an occasional venture
into society, but generally prefers to look on from a
retired background. Contact with many people, she
thinks, robs her of herself; makes her tired and ex-
hausted ; disturbs and breaks up her electrical atmos-
phere ; takes away from her more than she is able to
get in return at the time, though subsequent diges-
tion restores the equilibrium and generally ^hows
something gained.



J Tilford, farmer, and Ann Workman, is of Prot-
estant Irish descent, his grandsire and grandmother
on both sides coming froth the old country. The
name was originally spelt Telford, and was changed
some fifty years ago.

John S. was born in a block-house in Clark coun-
ty, Indiana, on the 30th of July, 1811, and spent the
first twenty years of his life in that county, aiding
his father in clearing, breaking and cultivating land,
with the poorest opportunities for education in that
locality, in the youthful days of the state. He never
went to school but six weeks in his life, yet learned
to read and write in his early years, and secured, by
self-teaching, a fair business education.

In his sixteenth year he left the farm and com-

menced learning the cabinet-maker's trade, working
at it twenty-six years, with a brief episode in 1833.
He was in the army one year under General Scott,
being one of his "rangers," and, although in no en-
gagement, he saw perilous times from other sources
than the musket or tomahawk. On one occasion,
while he and other soldiers were near the Red
river, Arkansas, they lived sixty-four days on fif-
teen days' rations, and had part of them stolen.
Their mission in that part of the country was the
making of a treaty with the Pawnee and Camanche
Indians, which proved a failure at that time.

In 1834 Mr. Tilford moved to Johnson county,
Indiana, continuing his trade there until 185 1, when
he located where the city of Vinton now stands,
and laid out the southern part of the town. Forty



acres, laid off earlier, in the Cedar river, has been
called Fremont, and he had the name changed.
There was a postoffice, four miles southeast, called
Vinton, and the postmaster, James Becket, moved
it to the newly platted town, and that was the rea-
son why Mr. Tilford gave it the name of Vinton.

Since settling in Vinton he has been a successful
farmer, much of his land, more than three hundred
acres, now being, in the corporation. He early
added horticulture; was in the nursery business
many years, and has two orchards of his own. He
also, at an early day, planted a forest of various kinds
of trees, half a mile south of his present home, and
has in all thirty or forty acres of orchard and forest.

Mr. Tilford has been a man of great industry,
and has not yet folded his hands. Slothfulness is
no part of his nature, nor is stinginess. No man
in Vinton has shown more public spirit or liberality.
He was the original prime mover in securing the
location of the Iowa College for the Blind at Vin-
ton, and a generous contributor of money as well as

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 73 of 125)