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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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success; he will not do evil that good may come; he
has more faith in being and doing than in mere be-
lief, although he believes the latter to be essential.
His friendships are slow in their formation, but when
once formed they are enduring ; indeed he has never
been known to desert a friend. His feelings of

sympathy are easily enlisted, though in matters of
charity he exercises the same caution that he does
in his own business affairs, and is seldom deceived.
Many a poor and helpless one, especially of his own
race, has reason to thank God from the heart for the
existence of such a man as Alexander Clark.



JAMES S. SMITH, a pioneer in Iowa Falls, is a
son of Thomas Smith, a merchant, and Lydia P.
Wright, who were both from New Hampshire fami-
lies. The great-grandfather of James S. came from
Ireland, and his grandfather, Joshua Smith, was an
early settler in Holderness, New Hampshire, and
died there. The subject of this notice was born in
Dorchester, New Hampshire, on the 27 th of May,
1831. Two years later the family moved to Holder-
ness, where James S. was reared, receiving an aca-
demic education at New Hampton, Belknap county,
attending this institution five or six terms.

In 1850 he removed to Wentworth, New Hamp-
shire ; engaged in clerking there four years, then
bought out the proprietor, merchandising for himself
a year or more, and in October, 1855, settled in the
then prospective village of Iowa Falls. He was the
first merchant in the place, hauling his first load of
goods by team from Dubuque, a distance of nearly
one hundred and fifty miles. He continued in the
mercantile trade for fifteen years, and in 1870 changed

to the grain and live-stock business, which he still
continues, having on the whole fair success as a traf-
ficker. He has always been a straightforward, square
dealer, early securing and steadily retaining the con-
fidence of his patrons. He has seen Iowa Falls
slowly expand from a four-corners in embryo to a
place of twelve or fourteen hundred inhabitants, and
has never shown any backwardness in trying to en-
courage its growth and contribute to its prosperity.
He has served as town trustee and mayor, and is
now in the school board. As an official, he is prompt,
perfectly reliable and very efficient.

He has always affiliated with the democracy, but
has not been among the most active partisans. He
was postmaster during part of Buchanan's adminis-
tration. He is a member and clerk of the Baptist
church, and is living a consistent christian.

On the i6th of October, 1858, he was joined in
wedlock with Miss Rhoda A. Whipple, of Wentworth,
a very prominent family in New Hampshire. She
has had five children, four of them yet living.



ONE of the early settlers and best business men
of Wayne county, Iowa, is Hartley Bracewell,
banker, of Corydon. He made the first entry of land
in Warren township, in the southwestern part of the
county, eleven miles from the county seat, when there
was not a house between his lands and Corydon.
There were then but few voters in the county, and
he has lived to watch its settlement and growth for
twenty-four years, he himself having been one of
the leaders in improving the county.

Mr. Bracewell is a native of Yorkshire, England;
was a son of John and Mary Starkie Bracewell, and

dates his birth on the 3d of March, 1822. The
Bracewells were originally from Scotland ; moved to
West Riding, Yorkshire, two or three centuries ago,
and became a numerous family, the town of Brace-
well being named for them.

The youth of Hartley was spent on his father's
farm. His opportunities for study were limited, yet
he succeeded in obtaining a fair business educa-
tion by attending a night school; and on coming to
this country in 1849 he taught a district school six
months in Green county, Illinois. He then worked
on a farm one season in the same county, and thus



procured the funds for purchasing forty acres of
land, to which he added a little later forty acres
more; farmed in Illinois four years, and in June,
1854, came to Wayne county, entering lands and
locating as before indicated. The land office was
then at Chariton, Lucas county, and when he asked
the proper officer to open his map of Wayne coun-
ty, Warren township showed a clean white page, not
an entry having been made. Mr. Bracewell, who had
previously entered eighty acres of woodland in Jef-
ferson township, now entered one hundred and sixty
acres of prairie, improved it, and remained on it till
1869, when he moved into Corydon. Here he was
a merchant for four years, a miller three, and for the
last two has been cashier of the Wayne County Bank,
in which he is a stockholder. He owns other prop-
perty in Corydon, and three well improved farms in
the county ; has been an eminently successful busi-
ness man, and has a splendid reputation.

Mr. Bracewell was elected to the general assem-
bly in 1859, and reelected in 1861, ser^^ing in the
regular sessions of i860 and 1862, and the extra
sessions of 1861 and 1862. He held various town-
ship offices before becoming a member of the legis-
lature, and has also been president of the school
board of Corydon, being an active and very useful
citizen. He has been a life-long democrat.

A member of the Methodist Episcopal church
since early manhood, and a local preacher more
than thirty years, his life has always been above
reproach. He is kind-hearted and obliging, and a
good friend to the suffering and needy.

In July, 1844, Miss Margaret Broughton, of York-
shire, England, became the wife of Mr. Bracewell ;
they have one son, Broughton Bracewell, a farmer
in Wayne county. Mrs. Bracewell has been a true
helpmeet of her husband, and is a worthy christian



PERHAPS there is no name of more antiquity
in its origin, as relating to the Saxon race set-
tled in America, than that of Morse. The original
stock from which the subject of this sketch is de-
scended was named Samuel Morse, who emigrated
to America in 1635. He settled at Dedham, in the
colony of Massachusetts, and died at Medfield, in
the same colony, in 1654.

The Morses are now scattered all over the United
States, though a very large proportion of the direct
issue of the original Puritanic stock still reside in
New England, and most of them in Massachusetts.
The various families of Morse have ever been pro-
verbial for their probity, being, as is demonstrated
in the genealogical 5ook published in Boston in
1850, ever found to-be "worthy citizens and honest
men " in their worldly transactions. Many of them
possessed sterling mental qualifications.

Many of the Morses have been great inventors
and discoverers. From an electric telegraph to a
printing press, they have left their impress upon the
advancement of science, literature and art in the
United States, during the past century, to a greater
extent than has any other family on the continent.

The father of the subject of this biography was
named Alpheus, and was born in Weston, Massa-

chusetts, on the 23d of March, 1803. Alpheus mar-
ried Miss Caroline Bunce, by whom he has had ten
children, seven boys and three girls; four of the
boys and one girl are now living.

Alpheus Morse has ever been foremost in the ad-
vancement of every worthy enterprise, and to a
well-stored mind may be added unfailing health,
which has enabled him to be an ever active man
among men.

He has served two terms in the legislature of
Massachusetts ; elected there by large majorities, at
a time when actual merit and acquirements were
essential to an election.

He has ever been a devoted christian, and for
over thirty years was senior deacon in St. Mary's
Episcopal Church at Newton, Lower Falls. So per-
fect has been his health that in all these years he
never missed a service in his church.

Alpheus and his wife came west in 1866, residing
two years in Chicago, and then removed to Geneva,
Kane county, Illinois, where they now reside.

George A. Morse was born at Weston, Massachu-
setts, on the 4th of October, 1827. He attended
school at Weston in the winter months until he was
seventeen years old, working upon his father's farm
during the summer months.



Not liking this employment, his father secured
him a position in the employ of Grafton and Co.,
Washington street, Boston, where he remained for
six years ; at the expiration of which time he mar-
ried Miss Caroline Merrill, of South Hampton, New
Hampshire, and immediately came to Galesburg,

In a short time after reaching Galesburg he ob-
tained employment with a Mr. Charles McClellan,
of Peoria, with whom, however, he remained but six
months. Returning to Galesburg, he worked at in -
creased pay for one Silas Willard, who kept a gen-
eral country store. Here he remained one year,
and returned to Peoria and reengaged with Mr.
McClelland, with whom he remained one year, at
which time he was induced to accept a proposition
from Mr. Willard, at Galesburg, to go to Wethers-
field, Illinois, to superintend the building of a store
or warehouse at that place, becoming a partner with

The Central Military Track railroad was project-
ed about this time, of which Mr. Willard and Dr.
Bunce were directors. The road' was to run through
to Wethersfield, and hence the construction of this
building. There was no habitation in this place
(the lumber had to be drawn at least thirty miles
over the wild prairie to build the house with); how-
ever, our young scion of a Puritan race worked vig-
orously, and March, 1853, found him ready to stock
the same with a general stock of merchandise. In
the subsequent year the railway had reached the
place which was then called Kewanee, now of five
thousand inhabitants.

This business was continued profitably for four
years, when Mr. Willard died at Galesburg and the
whole affair was sold out ; Mr. Morse remaining at
Kewanee and engaging in grain and banking busi-
ness till the fall of 1864, when he closed out his
business matters and moved with his family to Chi-

The cause of education has ever been an incen-
tive to unusual exertions on the part of both Mr.
and Mrs. Morse. Possessed of good education
themselves (particularly the lady, who had been a
teacher in the grammar school of Boston), they were
ever actively employed in the furtherance of every
scheme for the development of popular education.
During their stay at Kewanee both had given ear-
nest attention to the cause of education, and to the
formation of Sabbath schools and the institution of
public worship.

On leaving Kewanee for Chicago the Henry coun-
ty "Dial" thus speaks of Mr. Morse:

Mr. George A. Morse and family leave to-day for Chicago
to take up their permanent residence in that city. In the
departure of Mr. Morse the town loses one of its most
worth}', liberal and public-spirited citizens — a true christian
gentleman in all the relations of life. Though still a young
man, he is one of the oldest pioneers of our town, having
built the first store and the first dwelling in it that were
erected after it was laid out. He has been identified with
its business and improvements ever since, and has extended
to all moral and social enterprises, in' which the public were
interested, an open and liberal hand. 'We trust he will real-
ize his best anticipations in removing to the great city.

Arrived in Chicago, Mr. Morse made a copartner-
ship with his brother Albert, under the firm name of
A. Morse and Co.

Here he remained for five years, and then retired
from the firm and began a prospecting tour through-
out Iowa and Nebraska, looking for the best point
to settle for the establishment of a store for the buy-
ing and selling of all kinds of grain and flaxseed, and
for the sale of agricultural implements. The result
of all this prospecting determined him to settle in
Corning, Adams county, Iowa. The before-men-
tioned Military Track road became incorporated in-
to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy road when it
reached Burlington. The Burlington and Missouri
River railway had commenced building a road from
Burlington to the Missouri river. Construction trains
alone were run over the road from Afton to Corning
and westward at this time, so Mr. Morse came to
Corning upon a tie train, and soon commenced build-
ing a warehouse and residence. Corning at this time
contained less than one hundred inhabitants. When
this warehouse and dwelling were but partly built
Mr. Morse returned to Chicago for his family, this
time there being a caboose attached to the freight
train from Burlington to Corning. This was Mrs.
Morse's second experience in the frontier life of west-
ern civilization. This was in 1869. Mr. Morse's idea
in settling here was that there were but very few in-
habitants, and he deemed it advisable to " pitch his
tent " in a country with a future to it, there to live
and share its growing prosperity. The natural pre-
sentment and surroundings of Corning were all that
could be desired. His ability to judge of its future
was learned in his pioneer life in Illinois. By the
strictest attention to business, rigid economy, and
the self-sacrificing exertions of his wife, our young
merchant laid the foundation of his future lucrative
business. As there were no schools in Corning to
which Mrs. Morse could send her children, she de-
termined to open a school in a part of her husband's



wareroom. This school the lady conducted for a
year, at which time a grammar school had been in-
stituted, the result of Mr. Morse's persistent efforts
in this direction. Here Mrs. Morse was induced to
teach, and at the same time raise the grade of the
school, having done which the lady retired at the
end of six months, and opened a private school at
her own house, with fifty scholars, which she con-
ducted successfully, teaching the higher branches for
two years.

In a few years'the yield of wheat and other grains
began to be bountiful. By the strictest adherence
to fair dealing' with the farmers, Mr. Morse has built
up for himself a large business. In 1876 the coun-
ties of Montgomery and Adams conjointly sent one
representative to the general assembly of the state.
The choice of nominee for this campaign belonged
to Adams county, and, unknown to him, his farmer
friends had determined to place their interests in his
hands, and therefore nominated and elected him to
the sixteenth general assembly of Iowa. During this
session the state was redistricted, and Adams and
Montgomery counties were each to send a delegate
to the general assembly. In 1868 Mr. Morse was
again nominated for delegate, this time receiving
forty-three out of fifty-three votes on the first ballot,
and was elected in' October, 1877, by two hundred

and twenty votes, a very large majority. Mr. Morse
is one of the most trustworthy of representatives.
His large business concerns bring him continuously
in contact with agricultural interests, whose wants he
fully understands, and is very active in furthering
their interests by wise and wholesome legislation.

But every sunshine has its shadow. The hand of
death has dealt heavily with this family. They have
lost two sons and one daughter by scarlet fever, and
one boy, fourteen, who, having first passed a very
successful examination for admission into the high
school of Chicago, was drowned while bathing in
Lake Michigan near Douglass Grove. They have
now two sons and two daughters living.

Mr. Morse has now a very large business built up
upon the sure foundation of fair dealing with all
men. He is essentially the arbiter of his own good
fortunes, and worthily bears an irreproachable char-
acter, not only among his fellow-townsmen, who now
number nearly two thousand, but throughout Adams
and adjoining counties.

He was educated and brought up an Episcopalian.

He was originally a whig in politics, and deposited
his maiden vote for General Taylor. Subsequently
he adopted the republican creed and voted for J. C.
Fremont, and has ever since been a strict adherent
to the fortunes of the republican party.



THE subject of this sketch, now representing
Howard county in the general assembly, was
born in Augusta, Oneida county. New York, on the
23d of February, 1813. He was the son of a Baptist
minister. Rev. Philip P. Brown, who was a pioneer
in central New York, and who died in September,
1876, at the age of eighty-six years. The maiden
name of Charles's mother was Betsy Dickey, a de-
scendant of the Dickeys who with other Scotch-
Irish emigrants settled in Londonderry, in southern
New Hampshire, more than two hundred years ago.
Philip P. Brown moved to Smithfield, Madison
county, in 1814, and there the subject of this brief
sketch lived on a farm until eighteen or nineteen
years of age. Subsequently he took a scientific
course in Madison University ; graduated from the
theological department of that institution in 1838;
preached four years at Norway and Warren, Herki-

mer county, and in May, 1842, crossed the Missis-
sippi river, and since that date, with the exception
of a few years, has made Iowa his home. He organ-
ized a church near Maquoketa, Jackson county ;
soon after became pastor of the Baptist churches at
Davenport and Rock Island, with his residence at
the former place ; a little later was pastor at Le Claire,
Scott county, and Maquoketa; in 1857 removed to
Vernon Springs, and Howard county has been his
home most of the time since that date, he holding
a pastorate until 1876. He removed from Vernon Lime Springs in 1870. He was the first
superintendent of schools in Howard county, and
was on the county board of supervisors one terra.

Early in 1865 Mr. Brown became chaplain of the
3d regiment United States Heavy Artillery, Colonel
Kappner, commander, stationed at Memphis, Ten-
nessee, serving one year.



He was elected to the general assembly in Octo-
ber, 1877, and at the session convening the next
January was placed on the committees on railroads,
suppression of intemperance, institution for the edu-
cation of the blind, soldiers' orphans' home, state
university, and hospital for the insane.

Representative Brown was in early life a strong
anti-slavery man, voting for John P. Hale for presi-
dent in 1852, and has been a steady and firm ad-
herent to the republican party since its origin. He
cherishes his political and religious sentiments with
equal sincerity, and is guided by a clarified judgment
and a clear conscience in all the duties of life. No
truer man lives in Howard county.

The wife of representative Brown was Miss Fran-
ces Lyon, of Little. Falls, New York; married on the
26th of September, 1838. They have had five chil-
dren, and lost two of them ; Benjamin P., their eld-

est son, was drowned in boyhood in the Maquoketa
river, near the city of Maquoketa ; George L. was
killed at the age of eighteen, while coupling cars, at
Saint Paul Junction, Minnesota ; Charles P. is United
States revenue agent at Ottumwa, Iowa; James D.
is railroad-station agent at Lime Springs ; and Willie
C. is train dispatcher for the Chicago, Burlington and
Quincy Railroad Company, with location at Burling-
ton, Iowa. All three are young men of much prom-
ise. Mrs. Brown is a true christian mother, and is
well rewarded for the pains she has taken in aiding
to rear the family of sons.

Mr. Brown has been a successful preacher and
pastor. While at Davenport and other places nu-
merous accessions were made to the churches which
he served, and the work which he has done during
the last twenty years in Howard county will be a
lasting memorial of his solid worth.



JACOB SCOTT RICHMAN, attorney and ex-
J district judge, was born at Somerset, Perry
county, Ohio, on the nth of March, 1820, and is
the third son of Evert Richman and Mary ne'e Scott.

His father was regularly educated for the Methodist
ministry, and was for a number of years a clergy-
man of that church ; but the necessities of an in-
creasing family, as well as the desire for a fixed
local home, led him to seek other pursuits, and he
accordingly commenced the study of law. Mean-
time he was for several years clerk of the house
of representatives, and afterward associate judge of
the court of common pleas of Perry county, Ohio,
though he was never admitted to the bar. He was
a man of studious habits and high intellectual en-
dowments ; took much interest in current social
and political questions, and not unfrequently gave
his views to the public through the press.

He was a distinguished Freemason of the order
of Knights Templar; had many warm friends, and
was highly esteemed by those who knew him best.
He died at Somerset, Ohio, in the thirty-seventh
year of his age, and was buried by his brethren of
the Masonic fraternity, who erected a fine monu-
ment to his memory.

The mother of our subject was of Scotch lineage,
a woman of much force of character, prudent, faith-

ful and religious in the best sense of the term ; al-
beit, she eloped with her husband and married con-
trary to the wishes of her parents. She managed,
without much means, to bring up a family of six
sons and one daughter (an eighth child, son, died in
infancy), preparing them, by her counsel and guid-
ance, for useful and honorable stations in life. Her
influence upon all her children was controlling ;
with them she was peerless. She died in 1873, in
the seventy-seventh year of her age.

The Richman family is of Holland origin, the
name being originally Rychnan, and is so spelled
still by one branch. The great-grandfather of our
subject came from his native country and settled
in New York city about the middle- of the eigh-
teenth century. His son, John Ryckman, the grand-
father of our subject, was born at Hackensack, New
Jersey, on the nth of March, 1767; learned the
business of cabinet making, and settled in New
York city, where he acquired means to build one
or two houses in Duane street; he afterward moved
to Paterson, New Jersey, where he owned some
property, and embarked in the tannery business.
He subsequently removed to Ohio, then a wilder-
ness, where he lived to a good old age, and died
near Zanesville on the 17th of January, 1842.

J. Scott Richman received a common-school edu-



cation in the county schools of Bucks county, Penn-
sylvania, to which place his mother removed after
the death of his father. He worked on a farm till
the age of fifteen, and afterward for three years was
clerk in a country store.

At the age of eighteen he came west, and for a
short period he halted at Knoxville, Knox county,
Illinois, where he commenced his legal studies, bor-
rowing books from Mr. C. K. Harvey, then practic-
ing law in that city. Removed to Muscatine, Iowa,
in 1839, where his elder brother, John W. Richman,
resided and kept a wholesale grocery house, and in
the same year was admitted to the bar; after which
he opened an office in Rochester, Cedar county,
Iowa, but followed the county seat to Tipton, and
in the autumn of 1840 removed to Muscatine, where
he formed a copartnership with Hon. S. C. Hast-
ings, who was afterward a member of congress from
Iowa for the practice of law, which continued with
marked success until the appointment of Mr. Hast-
ings to the supreme bench of Iowa in 1847. After
this he practiced alone in Muscatine and adjoining
counties until 1855, when he formed a copartner-
ship with his brother, D. C. Richman (elsewhere
sketched in this volume), his former pupil, under
the style of Richman and Brother, which continued
until 1863, when our subject was appointed judge
of the seventh judicial district of Iowa. This posi-
tion he retained until May, 1872, when he retired
from the bench in order to form a partnership in the
law practice with E. E. Cook, Esq., of Davenport;
the firm is still in successful operation.

In politics, the judge was raised an old-line whig,
from which he naturally drifted into the republican
party. He has never been much of a politician in
the accepted sense of that term, but he manifests
great interest in the current questions of the day,

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 81 of 125)