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

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He was educated chiefly at the collegiate school
of Worcester Cathedral, and commenced studying
medicine shortly after leaving that school, but did
not complete his studies in that line until after his
settlement in this country, in the autumn of. 1843.

He attended lectures and demonstrations at the
medical department of Washington University, Bal-
timore, at Castleton, Vermont, and at the medical
department of New York University. He received
diplomas at both of the last two institutions, at the
former in 1845, and at the latter in 1852. The med-
ical professors at the New York University at that
time were Valentine Mott, John W. Draper, Martyn
Paine, G. S. Bedford, Meredith Clymer, Alfred C.
Post, William H. Van Buren and William Darling.
All of these men were highly distinguished, and their
indorsement was so eagerly sought that at that date
the classes averaged five hundred.

Dr. Lewis practiced medicine four or five years in
the city of New York, and was one of the founders
of that widely known and useful institution, the New
York Academy of Medicine. Subsequently he prac-
ticed at Key Port, New Jersey, and was a member of
the New Jersey Medical Society. Some months pre-
vious to and during General McClellan's campaign
before Richmond he was surgeon of the ist regiment
New York State Militia, known in the service as the
82d United States Volunteers, While the army was

at Harrison's Landing, and just after the battle of
Malvern Hill, he left in ill health, and examined re-
cruits in the city of New York, by order of the sur-
geon-general of the State of New York.

In the summer of 1856 Dr. Lewis removed to Cler-
mont, Iowa, where he has been eminently successful
as a practitioner and is quite popular. The North
Iowa Medical Society has twice elected him its pres-

He is a member of the benevolent order of Odd-
Fellows, and has attained high rank in that body.

He was educated not merely under Episcopal in-
fluences, but chiefly in an Episcopal institution, and
probably few persons are better acquainted with the
Prayer Book and Episcopal service. Its liturgy
seems to be at his tongue's end, and he says he
cannot recall to mind the time when he was not
familiar with it. Between three and four years he
relinquished the practice of medicine, and during a
portion of that time officiated, with general accept-
ance, as a minister of the Protestant Episcopal
church, to which office he had been ordained by
the Right-Rev. B. B. Smith, of Kentucky. To this
work he was led by the urgent solicitation of friends
of the church and his own strong convictions of
duty. However, ill-health coming on, he fell back
on his original profession.

Dr. Lewis has never changed his political creed,
and is a democrat.

In December, 1870, he married Miss Elizabeth
Whitely Blackett, daughter of William Blackett, then



of New York city, and now of Clermont. She is a
highly cultivated woman.

An eminent physician, who lives in an adjoining
county, and who has known Dr. Lewis intimately

since the latter settled in Iowa, speaks of his skill as
follows : " As a physician and surgeon, in my hum-
ble opinion, he stands at the head of his profession
in northern Iowa."



THE best read physician and surgeon in Dallas
county, Iowa, and the most extensive practi-
tioner, is Timothy Jourdan Coldwell, a graduate of
two medical colleges. He comes from the farming
class, his father, William Coldwell, living in Vermil-
ion county, Indiana, when the son was born, on the
2ist of July, 1836. The Coldwells are an old North
Carolina family, extending into Virginia and Ohio,
and states farther west. The grandfather of Timothy
J. was a prominent Baptist minister ; participated
in some of the skirmishes with the Indians in Ohio,
and built what is known in history as the Cold-
well Block-house, located in Preble county. The
maiden name of Timothy J's mother was Mary Jour-
dan, who was descended from Kentucky stock. Our
biographical subject developed his muscle on an
Indiana farm ; finished his literary education at the
Newport Seminary, in his native county; came to
Dallas county in 1853, and located eight miles from
Adel ; aided his father three years in opening a
farm ; commenced reading medicine in 1856 with
Dr. A. M. Nelson, of Wiscotta, in the same county ;
attended lectures in the medical department of the
State University at Keokuk, now called the College
of Physicians and Surgeons, and graduated in Feb-
ruary, t86i.

Locating at Adel, Dr. Coldwell practiced here
steadily until 1864, when he joined the Union army

as assistant surgeon of the 23d Iowa Infantry, serv-
ing in that capacity until the close of the rebellion.

Returning to Adel in the summer of 1865, after
practicing a few months, he spent the following
winter at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia,
and has since reaped the benefit of a thorough re-
view of medical and surgical science. He has per-
formed the surgery in Dallas county for the last ten
or twelve years, and in special cases he visits adjoin-
ing counties. He bears a high reputation, and one
which is on the increase.

Dr. Coldwell is a strong, unwavering republican,
prepared at any time to give a reason for his polit-
ical ethics. He is an Odd-Fellow and a Royal Arch
Mason. His religious membership is with the Pres-

Dr. Coldwell married Miss MellissaV. Maulsby, of
Dallas county, on the 30th of September, i860. They
have no children.

The doctor has one of the finest brick residences
in Adel, and is in all respects a marked success.
His physique is splendid. He has a fall, ruddy com-
plexion ; a sanguine temperament; is five feet eleven
and a-half inches tall ; is very compact, and weighs
two hundred and seven pounds. His health is per-
fect. He obtained his medical education at his own
expense, by zealous and untiring efforts, and now
stands at the head of his profession.



REUBEN NOBLE, the present judge of the
tenth judicial district, was born on the 14th of
April, i82i,near Kingston, Mississippi. His father,
Henry Noble, was a farmer, and to that honorable
employment the son devoted the first eighteen years
of his life. At that age he left home, came north-
ward to Illinois, and spent about three years at Co-

lumbus, Adams county, attending school part of the
time, and working to supply the means for school-
ing the remainder of the time. During this period
he paid some attention to law books, and when
twenty-one years of age went to Grant county, Wis-
consin, continued his legal studies a short time, and
was admitted to the bar at Mineral Point in the



summer of 1842. He practiced in ^:hat county until
October, 1843, when he crossed the river to Gar-
navillo, Iowa, then the seat of justice of Clayton
county. In 1857 he removed to McGregor, in the
same county, where, as at Garnavillo, he has had a
large practice.

About thirty years ago he was elected prosecuting
attorney of Clayton county, holding the office two
years. In 1854, when the whig party first came into
power in the state, Mr. Noble was elected a member
of the lower house of the general assembly, and was
made speaker without any previous legislative ex-
perience ; he proved to be a prompt and efficient
presiding officer, and, on account of his impartiaUty,
gave good satisfaction to all parties.

In October, 1874, Mr. Noble was chosen judge of
the tenth district, and holds that position at this
time. He has a good legal mind, well stocked with
the best material ; is quick in applying legal prin-
ciples to cases which come before him, and equally
as quick to discern legal distinctions. As a lawyer,
he excels in jury trials, having, probably, no equal
in the district. He has strong common sense, strik-
ing clearness of comprehension, unqualified integrity
and truthfulness, strong sympathies and much nat-

ural tenderness of heart ; and these qualifications
and characteristics combined give him wonderful
power with a jury. The qualities which make him
prominent as a lawyer make him a favorite as a
judge. He is not a hair-splitter, but grasps the
turning points of a case with great ease and firm-
ness, and his rulings and decisions are marked with
fairness and impartiality.

Judge Noble was a whig, then a republican, and
latterly has been a liberal.

He is a Master Mason, and has been through the
ordinary degrees of Odd-Fellowship.

On the 19th of June, 1844, he took to wife Miss
Harriet C. Douglas, of Jersey county, Illinois, a rel-
ative of the late Senator Douglas. She has had
seven children, and five of them are living. The
eldest daughter is the wife of John F. Day, of De-
corah. The eldest son is married, and lives on a
farm in Chickasaw county. The other children are
with their father on a. farm six miles northwest of

Judge Noble is an unostentatious man, making
little external show, and a stranger would at first
sight underestimate his internal weight. His charac-
ter is as solid as gold, and as pure.



THE subject of this biography, a native of Jack-
son Court House, Ohio, was born on the 28th
of September, 1824, the son of Daniel Hoffman and
Julia nee James. His father, originally a gunsmith
by trade, was a man of frugal, industrious habits, and
became a prosperous merchant, farmer and stock-
raiser. His paternal grandfather, who was a gun-
smith by trade, purchased a farm in Ross county,
Ohio, in 1806, he having removed thither from She-
nandoah county, Virginia. He was one of three
brothers who emigrated from Germany ; the other
two settling one in New York and the other in

The maternal grandparents of our subject, John
James and Mary nie Cook, were farmers, and re-
moved from Stonington, Connecticut, to Marietta,
Ohio, in the fall of 1787, six months after Putnam,
who made the first Ohio settlement. Settling on
James Island, he remained there till 1806; at that
time he removed to Jackson, then known as "Sciota

Salt Licks," where he died in 185 1 at the age of
eighty-four years.

After closing his studies in the common school
David studied two years in the University of Athens,
Ohio, and afterward studied medicine with Dr. W.
Black, and later attended two courses of lectures at
Cleveland, Ohio, graduating in 1848 with the degree
of M.D. Removing at once to Logan, in Hocking
county, Ohio, he established himself in his profes-
sion with Dr. E. T. Brown.

In the following fall he was married to Miss Emily
Smith, daughter of John A. Smith, a native of Penn-
sylvania, and Mary nee Embich, a native of Mary-

Settling in Jackson, his native place. Dr. Hoffman
there continued his practice until July, 1855, when
he returned to Logan and practiced in connection
with Dr. N. Dalton until May, 1861. He next re-
moved to Oskaloosa, Iowa, his present home, where
he resumed his profession, which has steadily in-



creased until he has become widely known as a reli-
able, successful and skillful practitioner.

Besides being a diligent student in his profession,
Dr. Hoffman has given much time to the study of
geology and mineralogy. In January, 1874, he began
collecting and now has several thousand specimens,
also a numismatic collection of some seven hundred
specimens, a fine collection of insects, and a large
collection of the different issues of United States
currency. His library consists of nearly a thousand
volumes, comprising many old and rare books.

In 1846 he became identified with the Masonic
fraternity, and since his residence in Oskaloosa has
been one of its most active members. He has been
worshipful master, high priest of the chapter, and
eminent commander of the first commandery, which
he was instrumental in organizing. In political
sentiment, he is a republican.

In 1848 he united with the Methodist Episcopal

church, and has continued a faithful and zealous
member of that body, although holding liberal, hu-
manitarian views of religion.

Dr. Hoffman has four children : Edgar B., born
on the 2ist of August, 1849, wlio is now a farmer in
Mahaska county, Iowa ; John A., who was born on
the 23d of April, 185 1, is an attorney at Oskaloosa,
Iowa. He graduated from the Iowa Wesleyan Uni-
versity at Mount Pleasant, class of 1872, at which
time Effie also graduated from the same institution.
She is now living at home, and is a young lady of
marked accomplishments. Repley C, born on the
1 2th of November, i860, is now (1878) a student in
Penn College at Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Throughout his career Dr. Hoffman has main-
tained a high character, and wherever known is
honored and respected. He has made his own way
in the world, and may justly be classed among Iowa's
noble and self-made men.



EC. BOSBYSHELL was born in the city of
• Philadelphia, on the 28th of May, 1822. He
was the eldest son of William and Martha Bosby-
shell, and grandson of Christian Bosbyshell, one of
the earliest merchants in Philadelphia in 1780.

During his childhood his parents moved to Potts-
ville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where he re-
ceived his early education, and was afterward sent
to Litiz, Pennsylvania, where he finished his educa-
tion by taking a course in civil engineering.

After leaving school he came with his father to
Saint Louis, Missouri, where he accepted a position
as clerk in his father's store; and in 1840, with the
assistance of his father, he purchased a farm of two
hundred acres near the mouth of the Illinois river.
This he proceeded to put under the finest cultiva-
tion and built a cabin. «

He soon felt the need of a helpmeet, and on the
28th of May, 1844, he married Clara H. Williams,
daughter of Rev. L. S. Williams, of Carlinville, Illi-
nois. She had spent the most of her life with her
parents in the south, as missionary among the Indi-
ans, and was well fitted for the position she was
about to fill, since she became acquainted with the
hardships and privations of life in her frontier home.
Upon his return with his bride to their cabin home

they found that the waters of the Illinois and Mis-
sissippi rivers had held a revel upon their farm, and
carried away with them to their watery home the
hard labor of four years, leaving their farm barren
and uninviting. It was now that Mr. Bosbyshell's
determination to overcome difficulties was of use to
him. He shouldered his axe, went to the woods,,
and while his fair bride spun her rolls, and bright-
ened the cabin home in the thousand and one ways
which only a woman understands, he cut wood, and
after drawing it to town sold it for one dollar per

.In the spring of 1845 he moved on to a dairy
farm in Macoupin county, Illinois, where, by the
untiring efforts of himself and wife, he accumulated
enough money to move back upon his farm and re-
pair the ravages of the inundation.

About this time Mr. Bosbyshell was elected jus-
tice of the peace and appointed postmaster; think-
ing that the good people who came after their mail
might be induced to buy some dry goods or grocer-
ies, Mr. Bosbyshell concluded to begin store-keep-
ing. Accordingly the cooking-stove was moved into
the parlor, sitting-room, dining-room and family bed-
room, and the kitchen was fitted up for a store. Af-
ter borrowing two hundred dollars of his hired man



he went to Saint Louis to lay in his stock. During
the same year he was elected associate county judge
of Calhoun county, Illinois, which office he held un-
til 1856. He then came with his wife and four chil-
dren to Glenwood, Iowa, at which time he possessed
four thousand dollars in gold, the proceeds from
the sale of his property in Illinois. He invested his
money in real estate, and being furnished with ten
thousand dollars' worth of goods by business houses
in Saint Louis he again went into the mercantile
business, receiving one half of the profits.

In 1857 Mr. Bosbyshell was elected county judge
of Mills county, which office he held for over two

At the close of the war he was appointed by the
state legislature a trustee for the orphan asylums of
the state, and built the Orphans' Home located at

Mr. Bosbyshell became an Odd-Fellow in 1851,
and in 1856 joined the Masons.

In religion, he is a Congregationalist ; joined that
church in i860. He is a consistent christian, and
has done much to further the work of his Master.

In politics, he is a democrat ; gave his first vote
for James K. Polk, and never " falling from grace."

In 1872 he was elected vice-president of the Mills
County National Bank. In 1876 he was elected
mayor of the city of Glenwood, and reelected in


He is five feet and eleven inches in height, and is
straight and fine appearing. He is very active, and
moves with the sprightliness of many but half his
years; is cheerful, kind-hearted, and is a personal
friend of all. His education, and the constant com-
panionship of an educated and refined wife, have
fitted him well for the social position which he sus-
tains. His home is a quiet, peaceful nook crown-
ing the brow of one of Glenwood's most beautiful
mounds, and deserves the name of "home" in the
fullest sense of the term.



CARLTON CORBETT, who twenty-two years
ago came to Iowa as agent of a Massachusetts
emigration society, and who has done much to de-
velop the agricultural resources of Cherokee county,
was born in Milford, Worcester county, Massachu-
setts, on the 1 2 th of August, 183 1, his parents be-
ing John and Almira Parkhurst Corbett. He is of
remote English descent, the Corbetts coming over
and settling in the old Bay State at an early date.
His grandfather, John Corbett, fought against the
mother country in the contests for independence
and was taken prisoner. He also enlisted in the
second war, but took part in no action.

Carlton early learned to farm, and had only ten
or twelve weeks' schooling annually after he was old
enough to work.

In February, 1852, he went to California, engaged
in mining between three and four years with a fair
degree of success, and on his return came to Iowa
as agent of the Milford Emigration Society, with
Lemuel Parkhurst as an associate in the business.
Albert Phipps, G. W. Lebourveau, B. W. Sawtell,
James A. Brown, and others, came out from Massa-
chusetts at the same time. The company consisted
of about fifty members, for whom Mr. Corbett hunt-

ed up lands, they coming out and preempting them.
He and others organized the county of Cherokee, in
August-, 1857, locating the seat of justice a mile and
a half from the present city of Cherokee. The
county seat was moved to the new town when the
railroad came through in 1869.

During the winter of 1862-63, 'he winter follow-
ing the Indian massacres which commenced in Min-
nesota, Mr. and Mrs. Corbett were among the half
dozen white settlers who remained in the county,
partially protected by a few soldiers.

Mr. Corbett lived on a farm which he had early
selected, improving it and raising stock, until about
1870, when he removed to the town of Cherokee.

In the spring of 1873 he formed a partnership
with F. E. Whitmore, in the real-estate business, as
agents for the Railroad Land Company, the firm
name being Corbett and Whitmore. Their sales
have been very large. In a single year, 1875, they
sold eleven thousand six hundred and thirty-six
acres, valued at eighty-four thousand dollars. Dur-
ing the same time they also sold extensively for
other parties. They are energetic and thoroughly re-
liable business men, their transactions being marked
by promptness and the strictest integrity.



In i860 Mr. Corbett was elected recorder and
treasurer of the county, holding the office six years,
and then served two years as treasurer alone. In
1870 he was chosen recorder, and held the office
one term. He made a faithful and popular county

In 1859 Mr. Corbett married Miss Rossabella

Cumings, of Milford, Massachusetts, an acquaint-
ance of his childhood. They have three children,
one son and two daughters : Elmer A., Idella F.
and Mary E., who are being educated in the excel-
lent graded school of Cherokee.

He has always been a republican, but not very
active, except in local matters.



HON. JOSHUA TRACY was born in Belmont
county, Ohio, on the 12th of July, 1825, and
is son of Joshua and Sarah Tracy n^e Moore. The
former was a native of Maryland, and the latter of
Virginia. Their parents were among the early set-
tlers of Ohio. His father was a farmer, and he was
raised upon a farm, assisting his father until he was
nineteen years of age, when he left his home and en-
tered college. He was educated at Beverly College,
Washington county, Ohio, and at the Institute of
Professor Samuel L. Howe, at Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
He came to Iowa in the autumn of 1846, and settled
in Burlington in 1850, and commenced the study of
law with Hon. M. D. Browning, and was admitted
to the bar in Burlington in the fall of 1852. He
was elected city attorney for Burlington in the spring
of 1853, and continued in office until the spring of
1855. In the fall of 1854 he was elected to the
legislature, and served as member during the ses-
sions of 1854-5, and at the called session of 1856.
He was elected district attorney of the first judicial
district of Iowa in the fall of 1858, and reelected
to the same office twice, holding it until the fall of
1869, when he was appointed district judge to fill ,
the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge

Francis Springer, and was elected to office in 1870
for a term of four years, but owing to the meager
compensation paid judicial officers by the state, he
resigned in the spring of 1874 and entered into the
practice of law. Judge Tracy has practiced most
successfully his profession, and has been a zealous
worker. In manners, he is singularly winning and
gracious, and is noted for his hospitable and genial
disposition ; and the high position he holds in Des
Moines and adjacent counties as a lawyer and citi-
zen, has been won entirely by his own industry.

In politics, he was formerly a democrat until the
rebellion, since which time he has acted and voted
with the republican party in all political issues.

He was married in October, 1847, to Mrs. Antoi-
nette Kinney nee Stone, daughter of Colonel H. A.
and Mrs. Mirand Stone, formerly of Albany, New
York, but who immigrated to the west, and were
among the early settlers of Iowa.

Judge Tracy's son, Samuel K., is a partner in his
father's law office, and is one of the rising young
lawyers of Iowa.

He was educated at the Burlington University and
at the Iowa Law School, and is now serving his sec-
ond term of office as city attorney for Burlington.



THE first settler, with one exception, on the
site of Cherokee city, was Eugene Cowles, who
built the second dwelling house there, and who was
a pioneer attorney. He is a son of Oliver D. Cowles,
merchant, and Euletheria Andrews, both families of
English de.scent, and was born in New Haven, Ver-
mont, on the loth of March, 1835. His grandfather.

John Cowles, moved from Massachusetts to Vermont
when the latter state was an almost unbroken wilder-
ness. Eugene devoted his boyhood and early youth
to literary studies, but never entered college, al-
though at seventeen years of age he was fitted in
all branches, excepting Greek, to. enter the junior



In 1852 he immigrated to Iowa, and settled in
Jackson county. From this date Eugene com-
menced paddling his own canoe, and has never re-
linquished the oars to other hands, not even for an
hour. He read law at Bellevue, in the county just
mentioned, and was there admitted to the bar in
September, 1856. He practiced in Bellevue in com-
pany with Judge D. F. Spurr until 1859, at which
time he moved to Dubuque, making that city his
home until 1869, with the exception of an absence
of three years, during which he was looking after
the interests of a client.

In June of the year last mentioned, Mr. Cowles
looked over the grounds where the city of Cherokee
now stands, the railroad having nearly reached the

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 79 of 125)