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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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be done by ; and they furnish ample proof of his
comprehensive intellect and thorough business ca-
pacity. His reputation for financial ability and in-

tegrity of character have never yet been questioned.
Major Toll, like' his ancestors, is a man of strong
and vigorous constitution, of a solid, compact or-
ganization, and a clear and active intellect. He is
a man well qualified for business and social inter-
course ; prompt, courteous and frank in his manners,
and from his natural quickness of perception and
his constant habit of mingling with men he has a
clear and accurate knowledge of human nature. In
the army he achieved an honorable record, and just-
ly occupies a high position in the community where
he resides.



capitalist and president of the Iowa State
Savings Bank, was born in Stuttgard, Kingdom of
Wurtemberg, Germany, on the nth of March, 1826.
His parents were Fleinrich and Catharina Starker.
His father was a dealer in furniture, as his father
had been before him. He was educated by an un-
cle in Stuttgard and attended the Beale School, and
afterward the Polytechnical School. In youth, his
time was devoted to labor, either over his books by
hard study, or employed in the little duties of house-
hold labor. He left school at seventeen, and was
engaged by the Bavarian government for four years
as superintendent of the work of erecting bridges,
locks, etc., upon the canal. Thus at an early age
was he employed by his government in positions of
responsibility and trust. When twenty-one he at-
tended his military duties, but freed himself from
the conscription. In April, 1847, he went to Upper
Italy (Lombardy), and was engaged in the marble
quarries there, where he remained until February,
1848, when the revolution broke out and most all
the enterprises of the German government ceased ;
and as there appeared no chance for its renewal, he
concluded to emigrate to the United States, and em-
barked from Havre on the 22d of October, 1848, and
after a voyage of forty-two days arrived in America.
Having no relatives or friends in this country, he
went to Buffalo, where he formed an engagement in
a leather store, at a salary of eight dollars a month.
The house he engaged with having opened a branch
store in Chicago, and he being desirous of going far-
ther west, he obtained a situation there, and by mak-

ing himself useful he received a much better salary.
In the spring of 1850 he left the store and engaged
in the office of Mr. T. Ivnudson, an architect, and
assisted him in the erection of the Sweden Church
and the construction of a new arched roof for the
Episcopal Church. In July, 1850, he made an en-
gagement with Hon. James \V. Grimes, of Burling-
ton, Iowa, to erect a residence for him, which, with
other buildings, kept him employed nearly a year.
Finding his regular profession unprofitable, in Octo-
ber, 1851,116 went into the mercantile business. He
had but small means, the result of his earnings, but
by the assistance of some relatives he commenced
the retail grocery business with a capital of four
thousand dollars. He engaged exclusively in whole-
sale trade in 1865, under the firm name of Charles
Starker and Co. Commenced business about 1852,
his sales being about seven thousand dollars the
first year, and the last year they were eight hundred
thousand dollars, the result of his good management
and business enterprise. He attributes much of his
success to steadiness, politeness and honesty, which
gained for him a reputation. He retired from busi-
ness in 1875, and enjoys, as the result of his labors,
a comfortable competence.

He was alderman for four years, and was chair-
.man of wharf, finance and several other committees
during that service. He is president of the German-
American School, erected in 1866; also president of
the Burlington Loan and Building Association since
r868, to this date; director of the First National
Bank since 1862 ; trustee of the Aspen Grove Cem-
etery for some time and is now president of the in-



corporation, and for the past two years has been
president of the Iowa State Savings Bank. He is a
stockholder in nearly every road coming into the
city, and is prominent in all enterprises for the de-
velopment of the city and county.

He joined the Independent Order of Odd-Fellows
in 1 85 1, and is still a member of that order.

He is republican in his principles, and an earnest
worker for republican interests.

He was brought up in the Lutheran church, but
since his seventeenth year has not been an attend-
ant. He is liberal in his views, and hopes to die in
peace, returning his remains to the great nature that
gave them.

He has made three trips to Europe, and traveled

upon the continent, and through his influence more
than three hundred families have emigrated to Bur-
lington and its vicinity, increasing its population
about fifteen hundred. He is deservedly popular
among the German population, and is much es-
teemed by his fellow-citizens.

He was married, on the 9th of October, 1852, to
Miss Maria Runge, of Burlington, a former resident
of- Missouri. Her ancestors were descendants of
General DeBachella.

Mr. Starker is a well-built man, of fine appearance
and handsome features, whom fifty years of age sits
very light upon. He is social and entertaining, and
possesses in a high degree the confidence of all who
know him.



ONE of the first settlers in Crawford county,
Iowa, and one of its most enterprising and suc-
cessful citizens, is Henry C. Laub, twenty- five years,
a resident of this state. He is a native of Pennsyl-
vania, and was born at Little York, on the 18th of
April, 1824, his parents being William and Catherine
(Snyder) Laub, both of German extraction. His
father was a sergeant-major in the war of 181 2, and
an uncle was a midshipman with Commodore Perry,
and was killed in battle on Lake Erie. William
Laub moved to Gettysburgh, Pennsylvania, before
Henry C. was a year old ; the son, after remaining
twelve years in town, and spending four years on
a farm in the vicinity, attending a school during
about six weeks each winter, at sixteen went to
Frederick county, Maryland, learned the shoemak-
er's trade, and worked at it in all five or six years.
During this period he attended school two or three
terms in the preparatory department of Pennsylva-
nia College, Gettysburgh ; subsequently taught for
three or four years, and in 1852 came as far west as
Muscatine, Iowa. There he spent two years, teach-
ing the first year and serving as city and township
clerk the second.

In the summer of 1854 we find Mr. Laub at Cedar
Rapids keeping a small store for a short time, but
long enough to haye the ague fastened on the whole
family, then pushing westward into the adjoining
county of Benton, where he farmed one season; and
on the i8th of December, 1855, he unpacked at

Mason's Grove, Crawford county, seven miles from
the spot where Denison now stands. In unpacking
his trunks, Mr. Laub found the little stock of goods
which he had on hand when the ague closed him
out at Cedar Rapids ; and while he was opening
a farm at Mason's Grove, there being no store of
any kind within seventy miles of him, he found no
trouble in disposing of his little stock. While there
he lived in a plank house twelve by thirteen feet,
built with his own hands, six persons in the family,
and it was then the best house in Crawford county.
In the autumn of 1856 Mr. Laub moved to the site
of Denison, built a store fourteen by eighteen feet,
and has since that time been in the mercantile trade
here. At an early day he was elected county super-
intendent of schools, and held that position for ten
consecutive years. During this period he taught for
two winters. He has since served on the county
board of supervisors at sundry times, commencing
with the first year of such board, and has also held
different offices in the city of Denison*. Since locat-
ing here, in addition to merchandising, Mr. Laub
has dealt considerably in lands and live stock, man-
aging a farm also from the start. He now has sev-
eral farms, cultivating them mainly by renters.

On the I St of August, 1877, he sold out the main
part of his mercantile business, and is giving most of
his time to settling his affairs.

During the early part of the rebellion, Mr. Laub,
by appointment, recruited for the regular army ; and



when the Indian outbreak occurred in 1862, he vol-
unteered to serve on the northwestern frontier, and
became first lieutenant, company D, Colonel Sawyer's
regiment, serving eight or ten months. During this
time he furnished a substitute for himself in the
army at the south.

Mr. Laub is a Master Mason, and has taken the
degree of Rebecca in Odd-Fellowship.

In politics, he was a whig until 1854, and has since
acted with the republicans, being an unwavering
party man.

He found his wife, who was Miss Lydia Baer, in
Frederick county, Maryland, their union taking place
in P'ebruary, 1847. They have had eight children,
all yet living.

Mr. and Mrs. Laub are members of the Meth-
odist church, and he is steward and trustee of the
same. He is a man of solid christian character, lib-
eral toward literary as well as religious enterprises.

He gave one thousand dollars toward endowing a
chair in Simpson Centenary College at Indianola,

Mr. Laub has lived to see Denison spread itself
over the hill on which it is located until it numbers
fifteen hundred inhabitants, with its dozen large
stores, besides smaller ones, some of them in elegant
brick blocks ; its two banks, its great union school
houses, and its six churches. Few men have done
more to make Denison what it is than Mr. Laub.

The true nobility of his nature was seen in early
life, before he crossed the Mississippi river to find a
home on the Iowa prairies. He was the eldest child
in a family of eight children, and assisted his wid-
owed mother, left wholly to her own exertions to
support them, not only in rearing the younger ones,
but in securing a good education for them. He laid
a broad foundation of moral principle in early life,
and has reared a noble superstructure thereon.



and Elizabeth ne'e Wallace Newcomb, was
born in Pittstown, Rensselaer county. New York, on
the 25 th of July, 1794.

His grandfather, Zacheus Newcomb, was the fifth
in descent from the original Captain Andrew New-
comb, a native of the West of England, who was
among the earliest settlers of New England, being
of Puritan stock, and the founder of the family in
America. The first mention which we find of him
is dated in the year 1663, in Boston, Massachusetts,
at which place he died in 1701.

His descendants in America are quite numerous,
and are represented in most of the states of the
Union, embracing some of the foremost names in
various learned professions, as well as law-givers,
scientists, scholars, merchants, agriculturists and
mariners ; it has also furnished a large number of
deacons as well as clergymen to the church.

The Newcombs were largely represented in the
revolutionary war, in the war of 1812, and in the
Florida, Black Hawk and Mexican wars, and also
in the late war of the rebellion ; to the latter strug-
gle we have ascertained that it sent no less than two
hundred and twenty-five members to fight for the

The youth and early manhood of the subject of
this sketch were spent upon his father's farm in his
favorite pursuit, agriculture. In the war of 1812 he
served under General Eddy during the invasion of
Plattsburgh, September, 1814. In r822, at the age
of twenty-eight, he located in Essex county. New
York, with a view of cultivating a large tract of
land which he owned there, situated in what is now
the town. of Newcomb, so named after him, incor-
porated in 1828, and of which he was the first su-

On the 13th of July, 1825, he was married to Miss
Patience Viele, eldest daughter of Abraham L. and
Hannah (Douglass) Viele, of Pittstown, where she
was born on the sth of February, 1804, and sister to
Hon. Philip Viele, elsewhere sketched in this vol-

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb
removed to Essex county, then a wild region of the
Adirondacks, where they resided some four or five
years, when they returned to Pittstown. Mr. New-
comb's ambition was to become an extensive agricul-
turist, and he therefore decided to explore the great
west. Leaving his home in January, 1837, he trav-
eled alone on horseback, with the snow in many
places two feet deep, through western New York,



upper Canada, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, cross-
ing the Mississippi river into Iowa (then Wisconsin
Territory), and deciding to settle on the west side of
the " Father of Waters." In September of the same
year Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb removed to their west-
ern home, accompanied by Mrs. Newcomb's parents
and other members of the family. They located in
a beautiful part of the country on the Mississippi
river, about fifteen miles below Rock Island, and
took possession of a log cabin. At that time there
were but two counties in Iowa (being then about
twenty-five miles wide) — Dubuque and Des Moines.
Here they resided several years, enduring all the la-
bor, fatigue and privations incident to frontier life in
the west. Here Mr. Newcomb found ample scope
for the gratification of his ambition, and became the
owner of large tracts of land in Iowa. He operated
one farm in Iowa containing a field of twelve hundred
acres, all inclosed by a substantial fence, and which
in one year produced the enormous yield of thirty
thousand bushels of grain. He was one of the first
Iowa farmers who used agricultural machinery in
the state. The profits and proceeds of his estate,
under his judicious management and untiring indus-
try, in due time accumulated a large fortune.

At an early day, seeing that the present site of
the city of Davenport was surpassingly beautiful,
even in a state of nature, he decided to make it his
future home ; accordingly in 1842 he removed to
that locality, and in after years erected a splendid
residence on spacious grounds, now well known as
the Newcomb mansion. In this lovely home, which
commands a charming view of the Mississippi river
and Rock Island, he spent the remainder of his days,
dispensing the same generous hospitality that he had
done in his log cabin in the country. He died of
apoplexy, on the 2 2d of December, 1870, leaving no
issue, beloved and respected by all who knew him.

Mr. Newcomb was a man of little or no personal
pretensions, unusually retiring, remarkable for sound
judgment and close observation, upright, unques-
tionable and correct in all his dealings, and so gen-
erous to the needy and kind to the poor that he was
often called "the poor man's friend." The golden
rule, " Do unto others as you would have others do
unto you," was the law of his life, and no man could
with truth charge him with injustice or oppression in
any business transactions, and all trusts committed
to him were scrupulously performed. The sternness
of his character was fully equaled by his goodness,
temperance and integrity.

Though a member of no church, his sympathies
were with the Old School Presbyterians, and he en-
tertained a profound respect for religion, which was
manifested by an habitual attendance at the house of
worship. He lived and died in the assurance of a
blessed immortality, often saying his hope of heaven
was unclouded, and that death to him had no ter-
rors, and the silent grave no gloom. No words more
fully represented his feelings than the sublime oracle
of Job, so familiar to christian ears, " I know that
my Redeemer liveth." He repeated this sentence
as his own experience a short time before he died.
His character may be thus briefly summed up : to a
sound judgment and uprightness of heart and life
he united great energy and untiring industry in all
business affairs.

His remains rest in the family grounds in Oak
Dale cemetery, Davenport.

Mrs. Newcomb, who survives her husband, is truly
a remarkable woman, of more than ordinary intelli-
gence. Possessed of a firm and earnest christian
character and a high order of executive ability, she
exercises a deservedly great influence in the com-
munity where she dwells. She enters heartily into
all philanthropic enterprises, and is liberal in the use
of her large fortune. During the late war she was
active in the care of our wounded soldiers, and dur-
ing the entire period of the war she was the very
efficient president of the Soldiers' Aid Society of
Davenport, and also one of the incorporators of the
Soldiers' Orphans' Home, located in that city. She is
an earnest and consistent worker in the Presbyterian
church, and aids largely in maintaining its interests.

She some time since erected the " Newcomb Me-
morial Chapel " at Davenport, in memory of her late
husband, and quite recently, with a wise liberality,
donated to the Davenport Academy of National
Science a lot, whereon a fine building is now being
constructed. The impetus thus given to this worthy
enterprise has placed the institution in advance of
all similar ones in the west. This good, deed was
soon followed by a like donation to the Literary
Association in the neighboring city of Moline by a
lady, and still another to the Library Association of

Mrs. Newcomb's father was born at " The Val-
ley," now Valley Falls, in the town of Pittstown, '
Rensselaer county. New York, on the 8th of Octo-
ber, 1772, and died at his residence in Muscatine
county, Iowa, on the 17th of May, 1840. His father,
Lodewecus Viele, settled " The Valley " more than



one hundred years ago. Her mother, Hannah, only
daughter of Major Samuel Douglass, was born in
the town of Pittstown, New York, on the 21st of Oc-
tober, 1781, and died at her son-in-law's. Dr. G. W.

Fitch, in the city of Muscatine, Iowa, on the i6th
of March, 1846, and is buried with her husband in
Oak Dale cemetery, Davenport, in the same lot with
their son-in-law, Daniel Tobias Newcomb.



THE subject of this biography was born on the
26th of September, 1846, at Rising Sun, Indi-
ana. His father, the Rev. Daniel Mclntire, was a
Methodist Episcopal clergyman. In the formula of
this church the clergyman is allowed to hold the
pastorate of one church only two years. This cus-
tom was observed by his father until he was located
at New Albany, where he remained for six consec-
utive years. His father was a man of sterling in-
tegrity and of great usefulness in the church.

C. C. Mclntire went to school until he was thir-
teen, after which he was employed in a dry-goods
store for two years. Evincing a predilection for
books rather thatf commercial pursuits, his parents
sent him to Asbury University at Greencastle, In-
diana, where he remained for four years and grad-
uated in 1868.

After graduating he returned to Rising Sun and
taught school for several months, at the same time
reading law in the office of Judge Downey. From
this office he went to Washington, Indiana, and read
law in the office of Judge Pierce until the following
fall, after which he practiced law in the same place
for several months ; he then went to Sullivan, In-
diana, and practiced there until the summer of 187 1.
Recognizing his superior talent, his townspeople
nominated him as the republican candidate for dis-
trict attorney for the eighteenth judicial district, but
he, however, failed of an election.

In 187 1 he came to Osceola and commenced the
practice of law under the firm name of Ayres and

Mclntire, and in July, 1875, on mutual separation,
he succeeded Mr. Ayres. When this firm com-
menced business they were without a client, and
almost without a dollar, but in the four years they
were together a prosperous business had been estab-
lished, which has now reached to large proportions
in the hands of Mr. Mclntire, who has oftentimes
more than he can possibly attend to, though, unlike
metropolitan lawyers, he knows no specific hours
for labor, but may be found at midnight in his office
plodding away through the intricacies of some com-
plex case. The erudition of his well stored mind,
and his manly, straightforward manner of dealing
with all his clients, have endeared him very much
to the people of Clark county. A brilliant future
is before him if he does not overwork himself So
persistently has he confined himself to sedentary
labor that he now at thirty-one has the manner and
style of a man nearer fifty than forty.

Mr. Mclntire married in May, 1875, Miss Hattie
Chickering, of Chariton, Iowa, by whom he has one
child, a daughter.

His mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Clark,
of Baltimore, Maryland, Both his parents are now
residing at Lynn, his father being still in the active

He is in politics a republican, and in religious
sentiments a confirmed Methodist.

He is an Odd-Fellow in fraternity, but by no
means so in his manners, which are of the most
transparent and genial character.



HAMLIN B. WILLIAMS, one of the leading
lawyers of Mills county, was born on the
13th of September, 1840, at Hamilton county, Indi-
ana. His father was the Rev. Sanford S. Williams,

who at an early age was taken from Kentucky to
Indiana, where he remained the greater part of his
life, and died when Hamlin was but eight months
of age. His mother still survives.



Hamlin received all the elements of a first-class
English education, and in 1856 entered the Law-
rence University at Appleton, Wisconsin, from which
he graduated in 1862, and commenced the study of
law in the office of Hon. T. R. Hudd; but in the
breast of this quiet student of Blackstone burned the
fires of patriotism. His country was in the throes
of a gigantic civil war ; the State of Wisconsin was
calling for volunteers, and young Williams gallantly
responded, and on the 15th of August, 1862, he en-
listed in company D, 21st Wisconsin Infantry, and
went almost immediately into active service. At
the battle of Chaplin Hill, Perryville, Kentucky, on
the 8t\i of October following, he was badly wounded
in the chest, and was honorably discharged from
the service on the 12th of December.

After sufficiently recovering to permit application
to his books, he recommenced the study of the law,
and in 1863 was elected justice of the peace. He
removed in 1865 to Ripon, Wisconsin, where he en-
gaged in mercantile pursuits till 1866 ; but the law
had far more attraction for him than merchandise.
He was admitted to the bar and again elected jus-
tice of the peace, which position he held till April,
1869, when he removed to Glenwood and continued
the practice of law. He has five times been elected
city attorney of Glenwood.

He became an Odd-Fellow and a Mason in 1863,
in both of which organizations he is still an active

He was brought up a strict Methodist, and his re-
ligious tendencies take that direction, though not a
member of any church organization.

On the 13th of July, 1864, he married Miss Kate
M. Peabody, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and his
marriage has been blessed with three boys and two
girls, though he has been called upon to mourn the
loss of one boy and one girl.

Mr. Williams is essentially the arbiter of his own
good fortune. At the age of thirty-seven he finds
himself on the high road to the very head of his
profession. His office enjoys a very large business,
and he is almost constantly before the courts of his
state and county. He has a fine presence, and is a
keen observer of human nature. He is very earnest
in all he undertakes, and husbands his resources of
mind by strict temperance, both in eating and drink-
ing. He is in the full vigor of healthy manhood,
and seemingly has many years of usefulness before
him. In politics, he is a pronounced republican.

We pen this sketch of Hamlin B. Williams with
more than ordinary interest. Left fatherless when
quite an infant, a fond mother's ever constant care
brought him to active boyhood, and then gave him
a good education. He has rewarded this paternal
solicitude by vigorous and decisive action. 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 84 of 125)