pub American Biographical Publishing Company.

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

. (page 75 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 75 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

rustiness on the same subject. He was accordingly
adjudged quahfied for admission to the bar, and was
so certified.

He was subsequently admitted to the bar of the
supreme court of Iowa, and in March, 1869, was
admitted to the bar of the supreme court of the
United States.

In 1855 he became a partner with his brother J.
Scott Richman, which continued until December,
1863, when the latter accepted a seat on the bench
of the district court of the seventh judicial district
of Iowa, whereupon our subject formed a copart-
nership with Mr. J. Carskaden, which continues to
the present, being now the oldest law firm in the
city of Muscatine.

Though naturally averse to active litigation, it
has been his lot to be engaged in some of the most
important and hotly contested suits arising in his
district, among which may be mentioned the special
railroad tax cases growing out of the special tax
voted in aid of the Muscatine Western railroad in
1 87 1, the collection of which was strongly resisted
by many taxpayers — one of the suits still pending;
the State v. Moore, for the murder of Dr. C. Hershe
in 1864; the State v. Prosser, for the murder of
Silas Ferry; Cole v. Cole, a leading divorce suit;
Arzt V. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
Company, an action for personal injuries; Musser v.
Hershey, and Brewster v. Hershey, concerning ripa-
rian rights, in the district and circuit courts of the
state ; Finlay v. Brewster, and cases of bonds of the
city of Muscatine issued to the Mississippi and Mis-
souri Railroad Company, in the United States cir-
cuit and supreme courts.

In politics, our subject was raised a whig, and on
the expiration of that party united with the repub-
lican, to which he still adheres, though he has never
held nor sought an office,



During the late war he was among the staunches!
supporters of the government, and gave time, money
and labor toward the raising of recruits for the army,
and for the benefit of sick and disabled soldiers and
their families.

He was married at Brooklyn, New York, on the ist
of September, 1855, to Miss Mary Berdine, daughter
of Jacob C. and Matilda Berdine, both of whom were
natives of New Jersey, and still living in Davenport,
Iowa, to which city they transferred their residence
a few years ago, having before that time lived in Mus-
catine for many years. They are of revolutionary an-
cestry, and of the " true-blue " Presbyterian order.

Mr. Richman made the acquaintance of his wife
during the period of his second clerkship in Tren-
ton, New Jersey, while she was but a very young
school girl. She had heard of his propensity for
verse writing, and banteringly asked him to write a
stanza for her, with which request he was more than
pleased to comply, and we are sorry we cannot now
give the lines to the reader; suffice it to say that
they fully met the expectations of the lady. An
intimacy resulted, they were soon engaged, and the
young poet had the rare fortune to find a jewel of a
wife, not less a woman than a lady, able and willing
to help her husband ; of sound judgment, fine exec-
utive abilities and exquisite tastes ; devoted to her
family and domestic affairs, yet enjoying society with
a keen relish. Their life has been happy and their
home pleasant ; their inclinations run in similar
channels, and they seek happiness in the home cir-
cle rather than elsewhere. They gladly and grate-
fully acknowledge the goodness of God in all the
ways of life. They have had two children born to
them; the eldest, Scott Clinton, born in 1856, lived
but two weeks ; the other, Irving Berdine, born on
the 17th of October, 1861, now in his sixteenth year,
is quite a student, especially of history and biogra-
phy, and like his father, is something of a writer on
various subjects, and gives promise of further at-
tainments in that line. He is now passing through
the curriculum of the high school of Muscatine, and
seems to develop a taste and aptitude for the pro-
fession of his father.

D. C. Richman was brought up under Methodist
influence, but in early youth mingled with skeptical
companions and read Paine's "Age of Reason " and
Volney's "Ruins," which for a time unsettled but
did not satisfy him ; he was next brought under the
influence of Universalism, to which he adhered for
a number of years, but in 1868, under the influence

of his excellent wife, who is a deaconess in the Con-
gregational church, he united with that denomina-
tion of christians, and still continues in its commun-
ion. He is especially distinguished as a Sabbath-
school worker, and was for five years president of
the Sabbath-school association of the county, and
is still indispensable to the efficiency of the associa-
tion. He was also president of the Young Men's
Christian Association, which position he recently
resigned. He is not a strong doctrinarian, having
more faith in being and doing than in creeds and
dogmas. In one word, he believes in

" That old, old creed of creeds,
The loveliness of perfect deeds."

In personal appearance, Mr. Richman is rather
below the medium stature, with brown hair and blue
eyes. His manner in company is rather shy and re-
served, except when engaged in conversation, when
it is free and frank, and his face wears a pleasant
expression. He is an excellent conversationalist,
but must be drawn out to appear to advantage, as
he is never obtrusive. His familiarity with books,
aided by his observation of men and things, affords
him ample resources in company, while he is not
deficient in the spice of wit and humor. His mind,
contemplative and imaginative, naturally runs to
imagery and versification ; hence most of his liter-
ary efforts have been in poetry. His hitherto fugi-
tive pieces were recently collected and given to his
friends and the public in book form, under the title
of "The Talisman, and other Poems." Most of his
productions are of a high order of merit, and entitle
the author to rank among the unambitious writers
of the day. He does not claim to be a poetic ge-
nius. Some of his longer pieces were written for
public occasions, as the "Grand Military Review,"
Washington, May, 1865, which was read at the cele-
bration of the 4th of July of that year, at Musca-
tine, Iowa, and which was read before the alumni
of Iowa State University in 1867, and " Strife for
Fame," which was read before the alumni of Gris-
wold College, Davenport, 1868. His style is chaste,
ornate and sometimes pathetic, often sublime, and
frequently pervaded by a deep religious and moral

As a lawyer, he takes rank with the foremost at
the bar where he has practiced. He puts himself
in full sympathy with his client, and throws into his
argument an earnestness and energy which seldom
fail of effect. He has a high appreciation of pro-
fessional honor, and would scorn to do an act dis-



honorable or unfair ; nor will he on any considera-
tion shield a known criminal from justice. But
though an eminently successful lawyer, it must be
confessed that his natural tastes seem more adapted
to the peaceful and quieter walks of literary life than
to excited forensic debate. Such tastes and habits
have also doubtless kept him out of politics, where
he might have made rapid advancement and won
greater renown.

As a husband and father, he is esteemed a model
by those most intimate with him. His beautiful
home, called Brookside, in the suburbs of Musca-
tine, not specially costly or pretentious, but cozy and
comfortable, presided over by his excellent christian
wife, is a little " paradise below."

As a kind and sympathetic friend, he is most ap-
preciated by those who have had occasion to need
his aid and advice.



HON. JOSEPH P. AMENT, ex-mayor of Mus-
catine, was born at Nashville, Tennessee, on
the 20th of October, 1824, and is the son of George
Ament and Judith D. n^e Pettis. His father was a
native of Kentucky, the son of Gabriel Ament, a
native of Hamburg, Germany, where he was edu-
cated for the priesthood of the Roman Catholic
church, but, fearing conscription in the German
army, emigrated to this country, where his theo-
logical opinions underwent a change, and he united
with the Methodist church, of which he was a con-
spicuous member, in Kentucky. His mother was
of English origin, daughter of Stephen Pettis, of

Our subject attended district school till the age of
fifteen, when he removed to Palmyra, Missouri, de-
clining the offers of kind friends to assist with means
toward the completion of his education.

He entered a printing office as an apprentice on
a small salary, and spent most of his evenings in
study, endeavoring in this way to meet the deficiency
in his education. He read with avidity such his-
toric and scientific books as he could obtain, and
having a retentive memory, he rapidly absorbed
what he read, and in time became one of the best
informed men of the period. At the age of eigh-
teen he became proprietor of the paper on which
he had been employed; namely, the " Missouri
Courier," which for five years he conducted success-
fully, when he sold out his interest, and removed to
Hannibal, in the same county. Here he purchased
the " Hannibal Gazette," and changing its title to
that of the " Hannibal Courier," continued its pub-
lication until the winter of 1852, when he disposed
of it. During his editorial career he naturally be-
came interested in political affairs, and though quite

young, was frequently called upon to fill prominent
and responsible positions in the county and state
organizations of the democratic party, of which he
was a member. In 1853 he was appointed by Pres-
ident Pierce to the position of receiver of public
moneys in the United States land office at Palmyra,
and was reappointed to the same position in 1857
by President Buchanan, and continued to hold the
office until September, 1858, when he accepted a
seat in the Missouri legislature, to which he had just
been elected from Marion county. In i860 he pur-
chased an interest in the " Hannibal Daily Demo-
crat," which he edited with remarkable skill, during
the exciting presidential campaign of that year, ad-
vocating the election of Stephen A. Douglas. In
i860 he was again elected to the Missouri legisla-
ture, and during both terms occupied a prominent
position, serving with marked ability and distinction
on several important committees. At his second
term he was strongly backed for the speakership
of the house, and lacked but a few votes of being
elected to that responsible position. In January,
1861, he was elected by the legislature to the of-
fice of pubHc printer for the state. His accept-
ance of this position necessitated the resignation of
his seat in the legislature, which he tendered early
in February, not, however, before he had placed him-
self fairly on the record, both by speech and votes,
as opposed to the doctrine of secession. In April,
1861, he entered upon his duties as public printer.
He also became interested in the publication of the
" Jefferson Examiner," then the leading paper at the
capital, which he continued the oversight of until
May, 1864, when he disposed of his interest to his
successor in the office of public printer. In the
same year he removed to Muscatine, Iowa, where he



purchased a half interest in the extensive wagon
and carriage and manufacturing establishment of
his brother, William D. Ament, which was greatly
enlarged, and continued under the firm name of
Ament and Bro. with success until 1877, when the
partnership was dissolved, the business being con-
tinued by his brother. In 1872 he was eiected by
the citizens of Muscatine to the position of chief
magistrate of the city, reelected in 1873, and again
in 1876, retiring to private life at the close of the
centennial year. During the period of his legisla-
tive career in Missouri, the then all absorbing topic
of the rebellion, as well as many executive local
issues, had combined to send to the assembly men
of the ablest and most experienced politicians of the
state ; among these Mr. Ament soon took a promi-
nent if not a leading position. His industry in the
committee rooms, and the clearness, force and vigor
with which his views were expressed, gave to him a
power and influence in the body not exceeded by
that of any other member. As chief magistrate of
Muscatine, his administration of the city affairs was
flatteringly successful. For many years previously
the interests of the city had been languishing undeT
a load of municipal indebtedness, originally con-
tracted to aid in the construction of railroads ter-
minating in or passing through Muscatine. For a
number of years no interest had been paid on this
indebtedness ; the state courts had held that mu-
nicipal corporations had no power to subscribe for
stock in railroad enterprises, or ta issue bonds in
payment of such subscriptions. The United States
courts have, on the other hand, decided that the
bonds were negotiable securities in the hands of
bona-fide purchasers, and that their payment would
be enforced. Accordingly suit was brought to re-
cover on these bonds and coupons in the federal
courts, and judgments were obtained which were
simply appalling in amount, and orders were issued
by the courts commanding the officers of the city to
levy taxes to pay up these judgments. The effect of
this condition of things was to paralyze industry,
depreciate the value of property, and spread alarm
and dismay among all classes. To rescue the city
from the ruin that confronted it was the first object
that claimed his attention as chief magistrate, and
to effect which he devoted all his time, talents and
energies. After a great deal of labor he succeeded
in effecting a settlement with the bond creditors of
the city, all of whom were non-residents, much the
largest portion of them being European capitalists.

and all clamorous for their money, and not disposed
to give any indulgence whatever to a city which
had, under the decision of state courts, so persist-
ently refused to pay any part of a debt which, aside
from its unconstitutionality, had been brought about
by systematic fraud and gross deception. He per-
suaded nearly all of the bondholders to take new
bonds running for twenty-five years, at six per cent
interest, instead of the old ones drawing ten per
cent interest. Confidence at once became restored,
business revived, property appreciated in value, new
industries sprang up in various parts of the city, and
stately blocks of well-built masonry soon took the
place of humbler structures and adorned the princi-
pal streets of the city. A spirit of enterprise be-
gan to develop. Fire companies were organized ;
an excellent system of water-works was put into
operation, and other enterprises all betokening a re-
newed sense of confidence in the prosperity of the
city were inaugurated. It is said of Augustus, the
first Roman emperor, that he found Rome brick
and left it .marble ; of Mayor Ament it may be most
truthfully said, that he found Muscatine stricken
and powerless, her commercial interests prostrate,
and her business men disheartened, and that he re-
tired from office leaving the city full of hope, vigor
and confidence, with all the evidences of prosperity
and progress in and about it. The treasury orders,
for the first time in twenty years, were brought up
from forty to fifty per cent discount to par. He also
took an active interest in all public enterprises de-
signed to benefit the community, having served as
a member of the school board, as director in numer-
ous business organizations, and as president of the
Citizens' Association. His name has also been sev-
eral times brought forward by his party as a candi-
date for congress.

He is a distinguished member of the Masonic
fraternity, having filled prominent positions in all
its organizations, from the lodge to the commandery.
In all the relations which he has sustained to his
fellow-citizens, his course has been quiet and unob-
trusive, and the success in life which he has won,
and the public confidence which he has enjoyed,
are due to his steady and determined purpose to
discharge the duties of every position and avocation
he was called upon to fill, with fidelity, integrity, and
to the full measure of his abilities.

He was brought up under the Methodist influence,
but. for some years past has been a member and
officer of the Protestant Episcopal church.



He is temperate in his habits, warm in his friend-
ships, and ever ready to contribute to the relief of

Mr. Ament was married in 1849 to Miss Sarah
J. Ruff, a native of Virginia, who died in r866, leav-

ing three children, who survive : Judith D., Mary and
Maggie B. In September, 1868, he married Miss
Kate A. Robbins, a native of Iowa, who died in
1875, leaving four children, who survive: Charles
R., George H., Irene D. and Cecil H.



extensive and successful real-estate dealer in
Iowa county, was born in Somerset county, Penn-
sylvania, on the 25th of April, 1836. His father,
Henry L. Holbrook, was a surveyor and school-
teacher, and owned two or three farms in Somerset
county, on one of which Bruce, as he was generally
called, was reared. His mother was Nancy Con-
nelly, of whose family but little is known. The Hol-
brooks were from England, and among the early
settlers in^ Oneida county, New York.

Bruce remained in his native county until of age,
farming and attending in a scanty measure to his in-
tellectual wants, finally supplementing the common
school with two or three terms at an academy.

In the month of April, 1857, Mr. Holbrook came
to Iowa ; located at Marengo ; at first surveyed land
and taught school ; commenced operating in the real-
estate business in four or five years ; read law and
was admitted to the bar, but has not practiced, ex-
cept in foreclosing mortgages and in other business
immediately connected with real estate. He has
operated mainly in lands in Iowa county, being the
leader in this branch of business. He has paid con-
siderable attention to the loaning of money on real
estate for eastern capitalists, and has been very suc-

cessful in his negotiations and transactions generally,
being a careful and reliable business dispatcher.

Mr. Holbrook was elected sheriff of the county in
1859, and held the office two terms. He was at the
head of the Marengo school board several years at
a time when the graded school was being established
and the large school-house was being built, and was
very energetic and serviceable in that connection ; he
was also president of the county board of supervisors
four or five years, and is now a member of the gen-
eral asseiribly, representing Iowa county.

He has always acted with the democratic party,
and was a delegate to the national convention which
met at Baltimore in 1872 and nominated Horace
Greeley for the Presidency.

His wife, Miss Lizzie S. Adams, was a native of
Oneida county. New York ; married at Marengo, on
the 23d of November, 1861. They have had eight
children ; four are now living.

Mr. Holbrook is a man rather below the medium
size ; is five feet seven and a half inches tall, and
weighs about one hundred and thirty-two pounds.
He has a fair complexion and gray eyes, with a pleas-
ant, intelligent expression of the countenance and a
cordial address. In business matters and in all the
relations of life he is as true as steel.



ALBERT HEAD, attorney-at-law, banker, real-
estate dealer and extensive farmer, is one of
the most stirring and enterprising men in Greene
county. He was one of the originators of the
County Agricultural Society, furnished the lands for
its grounds, and has been one of its officers since
its organization. He has a hand in every enterprise
tending to develop the resources of Greene county.

or in any way advance the wealth and welfare? of
his adopted home.

He is a native of Highland county, Ohio, a son of
William M. Head, a farmer, still living, a resident of
Jefferson, and was born on the 25th of November,
1838. His mother was Margaret Ferneau, a de-
scendant of a Hessian who fought on ^he British
side in the w^r of the revolution, settled in Vir-



ginia at its close, and later in life was a resident of
Ross county, Ohio. The paternal great-grandfather
of Albert fought on the American side in 1775-82,
and his grandfather in 1812-15.

The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm
in his native county until seventeen years of age,
receiving, in the meantime, such education as three
months' attendance annually at a common school
could furnish, and such as he could pick up at odd
moments outside the school-room. In 1855 the fam-
ily moved to Montezuma, Poweshiek county, Iowa,
where the son spent four years in reading law with
Hon. M. E. Cutts, teaching school at the same time
during the winters. He was admitted to the bar in
April, 1859, and practiced at Montezuma until the
American flag was stricken down at Fort Sumter.

In July, 1861, Mr. Head enlisted in the army as
captain of company F, loth Iowa Infantry; was
wounded in the head at Corinth and Vicksbnrg,
and in the leg at Champion. Hills, Mississippi, and
was discharged at the end of three years, having
made a brilliant military record. At one period,
while in the army, Captain Head was acting assist-
ant adjutant-general under General Raum, and he
had the capacity to fill any military position which
he was called upon to occupy. One of the wounds
in the head came very near proving fatal. He was
insensible for seven days.

Returning to Iowa he settled in Jefferson, Greene
county, on the 23d of October, 1865, resuming the
practice of law, and still continuing it, together with
real estate, banking and other branches of business
already mentioned. He is owner of one half of the
Greene Co.unty Bank, organized in 1866. He has
a five-hundred-acre farm adjoining the city, under
the best of cultivation; has other cultivated lands
ill Greene county, and wild lands in the same, and
in Carroll, Boone and other counties. He raised a
thousand acres of corn in 1877, and is an extensive
raiser of cattle, horses and hogs. Mr. Head owns a
hotel, several business houses, residences and other
buildings in the city, between twenty-five and thirty
of all kinds in the county. In 1867 he made an
addition to the city of Jefferson of one hundred
and sixty acres, known as " Head's Addition."

In 1866 he was appointed collector of internal
revenue for the old sixth congressional district, re-
signing after holding the office two years. He is
now mayor of the city.

Mr. Head has always voted the republican ticket,
and is an influential man in the party.

He is a third-degree Mason ; is a member of the
Methodist church and one of its trustees.

His wife was Miss Minerva Jenkins, of Hardin
county, Ohio. They have three children and have
lost one.



THE log house, the first house of any kind com-
pleted in Tipton, was built by John Culbert-
son, thirty-seven years a resident of this place. He
is a native of Pennsylvania, and was born in the
town of Boalsburg, Center county, on the 13th of
August, 1814. His father, Jeremiah Cidbertson, was
a farmer and inn-keeper ; his mother before her mar-
riage was Susan Jack ; both families were early set-
tlers in the Keystone State. John was reared on a
farm until his fifteenth year, when his father died
and he .entered the store, of an uncle, George Jack,
at Boalsburg. Subsequently he became the clerk of
another uncle, Ezra Culbertson, at Allenville, Mifflin
county, remaining there for several years. He then
moved to Hollidaysburg, then in Huntington, now
in Blair, county, and engaged in mercantile business
for himself. At the end of about two years, in June,

1838, a flood in the Juniata swept away his store
and nearly all his worldly effects. He made up his
mind to try his luck elsewhere, and believing that
the west afforded the best field for a young man, he
prospected a while, and on the 7th of May, 1840,
literally pitched his tent where Tipton now stands.
He could not do otherwise, as there was no house to
shelter him on the town plat. The land had not

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 75 of 125)