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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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and was admitted to the bar at that place in Septem-
ber, 1856.

His elder brother, Gustavus G., had been settled
in Charles City, Iowa, more than a year, and hither
Robert bent his steps, reaching the city, then but
a small village, on the 3d of March, 1857. The
brothers formed a partnership in the law and real-
estate business ; started out well, preserved a high
character for promptness, integrity and ability, and
built up an excellent reputation in a few years. On
the ist of August, 1858, I. W. Card joined them,
and the firm of Reiniger, Card and Reiniger con-
tinued until the ist of January, 1861.

In May, 1861, Mr. Reiniger enlisted in the state

service in one of the first companies formed in this
part of the Cedar valley; but the regiment it was
designed for was full, and not till the July following
did he get into the United States service, going out
as first lieutenant of company B, 7 th Iowa Infantry.
He was promoted to captain in the spring of 1863,
soon after the battle of Shiloh, and served until
October, 1864.

Returning to Charles City, he resumed his pro-
fessional labors, continuing with his brother until
1865, when Gustavus G. Reiniger removed to Union,
Missouri, and Robert practiced alone.

On the 10th of October, 1870, he was commis-
sioned by the governor, circuit judge to fill a vacan-
cy caused by the resignation of Judge Ruddick, who
was appointed district judge. At the succeeding
general election, in October, 187 1, Judge Reiniger
was elected by the people to fill the rest of the un-
expired term, and was reelected in 1872 and 1876,
still holding that office.

As a jurist, he is cautious, conscientious and can-
did ; has his prejudices, like other men, but lays
them aside on the bench, and is impartial in his de-



cisions. His honesty, we believe, was never ques-

A legal association was formed in the twelfth judi-
cial district in 187 1, and he was made its president;
he is likewise president of the Charles City Chess

In 1876 Judge Reiniger purchased the interest of
Judge Fairfield in a private bank, and, in company
with W. D. Balch and others, under the firm name
of Reiniger and Balch, is doing a good business.
He is a stockholder and director of the Charles
City Water Power Company, and has considerable
town property, having never dealt in any other ; and
in every branch of business he is a success. He
has one of the finest brick houses and most elegant
home in the corporation.

He has always acted with the republican party ;
is a Royal Arch Mason ; attends the Congregational
church, and has a pure life record.

His wife was Mary E., daughter of Dr. William
M. Palmer, of Charles City. They were married on
the i8th of November, 1867, and have no children.

Gustavus G. Reiniger, of whom we have spoken,
and who was a resident of Charles City from 1855
to 1865, was a brilliant lawyer for years at the head
of the Floyd county bar. He read law at Tiffin,
Ohio, and was one of the first attorneys to settle in
Charles City. Legally and intellectually, as well as
morally, his shoulders were broad and high, and it
was to the deep regret of many friends that he left
Iowa. .

He died in Union, Missouri, on the sth of Octo-
ber, 1869, leaving a widow and five children. The
writer of this sketch became acquainted with him
and his brother Robert as early as 1859, and haz-
ards nothing in saying that as long as he lived in
Iowa, Gustavus G. Reiniger honored the legal pro-



ONE of the oldest practicing physicians in Floyd
county, Iowa, and a man of excellent reputa-
tion, is Joel W. Smith, a native of New York, and
son of Silas and Lydia (Gillett) Smith. He was
born in the town of Franklin, Delaware county, on
the 23d July, 1824. His paternal ancestors were
from England, and among the early settlers in New
England. The Gilletts, it is believed, were origi-
nally from Wales. Joel was educated at the Del-
aware Literary Institute in Franklin, at that time
one of the best institutions of the kind in the State of
New York, noted for the excellent' scholarship of the
young men there fitted for college. At twenty-two
he began studying medicine under the auspices of
ex-Governor Peters, of Hebron, Connecticut, and
finished with Dr. William Detmold, of New York
city, teaching part of the time to defray expenses.
He attended lectures at Pittsfield, Massachusetts,
and in the medical department of Yale College,
graduating from the latter institution in January,
1850. The year before and after graduating he took
special courses of study in New York city.

Thus thoroughly prepared to operate in the heal-
ing art, Dr. Smith settled at Croton, in his native
county, remaining there between six and seven years,
and in March, 1857, settled in Charles City. Here

for twenty years he has steadily adhered to his pro-
fession, and has built up a wide practice. No phy-
sician in Floyd county is better known, and none,
probably, is so highly esteemed for his skill and
personal character. In surgery he has no superior
in this part of the state, and some of his cases show
special skill.

In 1862 Dr. Smith was offered a position as sur-
geon in one of the Iowa regiments, but could not
accept it. In June, 1864, during the severe fighting
in Virginia, he volunteered to join General Grant's
army as a volunteer surgeon, and reached New York
city early in July, where he learned that his services
were not then needed.

He has been United States examining surgeon for
many years, during and since the war.

Dr. Smith was postmaster from 1861 to 1869, but
.he did not relinquish his medical practice, clerks
attending to much of his official business. He was
president of the school board for several years, and
is very active in educational matters, and in what-
ever pertains to the literary, moral, social, material
and sanitary interests of the community.

He is a member of the district and state medical
societies, and of the American Medical Association,
and read a paper before the latter body at its ses-



sion of 1877. He is a reading, thinking, progressive
man, and contributes to several of the medical peri-
odicals. He was also a member of the International
Medical Congress at Philadelphia in 1876.

In religious belief he is liberal, but wholly un-
sectarian in his views. He is not a member of any
secret societies, owing more to want of time than
from any prejudice upon the subject.

On the 4th of April, 1850, Dr. Smith was joined
in wedlock with Miss Susan M. Wheat, only daughter
of the late William Wheat, Esq., and Alta Wolcott

Wheat, both of New England. They have had six
children, all but one of them still living. Irving W.,
the eldest son, was educated at the Iowa State Agri-
cultural College, and the Jefferson Medical College,
Philadelphia; is married, is in practice with his
father, and is a young man of much promise. In
July, 1877, he received an appointment as physi-
cian at the Kiowa Indian agency. Ida E., the only
daughter, is the wife of L. W. Noyes; of Batavia,
Illinois. Three boys, all under fifteen, are being
educated at home.



JOHN CHANEY was born in Monroe county,
Indiana, on the 4th of July, 1832. His father,
Francis Chaney, was a native of Randolph county,
North Carolina, and was born in March, 1796. He
was taken from North Carolina to Tennessee when
he was twelve years of age. He became a practical
mechanic and farmer. His mother's maiden name
was Rachel Elban. Mr. Francis Chaney married
this lady at Harrisoti county, Indiana, in 1831.

John Chaney went to school at intervals until he
was thirteen years of age, when he learned his
father's trade of blacksmithing, which he worked at
until he was twenty-one. He then went to college
at Mount Pleasant until he was twenty-four. Upon
leaving this college he commenced the study of law
in the office of Colonel Dungan, at Chariton, Lucas
county, Iowa, and also taught school. He continued
to read law and teach school for several years, and
on the 19th of July, 1862, he entered the Union
army, and was mustered in as second lieutenant of
company K of the 34th Iowa regiment, and was
subsequently advanced to the first lieutenancy, in
which position he remained during the entire war.
Lieutenant Chaney is one of the very rare examples
of hair-breadth escapes from the imminent deadly
peril of the battle-field. He was almost continu-
ously in action, marched over fifteen thousand miles,
was never injured in the least by the enemy, and
was always physically able to report for duty.

We propose to narrate the leading events which
occurred in Lieutenant Chaney's regimental action
in connection with the war of the rebellion, and with-
out any expressed desire that we do so on the part
of the gallant lieutenant. His regiment was connect-

ed with the thirteenth army corps. The 34th Iowa
served with General Sherman on his first attack on
Vicksburgh. Thence they went to Arkansas river,
where they captured about five thousand prisoners.
The regiment was then detailed, in company with
four companies of Illinois soldiers, to escort these
prisoners to Camp Douglas, Chicago. The regi-
ment then recruited at St. Louis; they were there
from the 14th of February until the 13th of April,
when they were ordered to report at Iron Knob,
Missouri, to repel an attack of General Marma-
duke's rebel forces ; there they remained till the 6th
of June, when they were ordered to join the siege
against Vicksburgh, under General Grant. On the
surrender of Vicksburgh the thirteenth army corps
was ordered to New Orleans to join the nineteenth
corps, commanded by General Banks. A detach-
ment of this corps, including the 34th Iowa, was
then ordered to proceed to Morganza, on the Mis-
sissippi river. They subsequently returned to New
Orleans, and on the 25th day of November the
whole corps embarked for Brazos, Santiago. This
fleet consisted of twenty vessels, which was overtaken
by a terrible storm the first night out, which sepa-
rated it. The thirteenth corps were, however, among
the first that landed on the island. The corps here
marched up the Rio Grande river to Brownsville,
opposite to Matamoras, where they remained for
three days. At this time a division of this corps,
including the 34th Iowa, was ordered to reconnoitre
the coast. The division was landed on the west end
of St. Joseph's Island, where they remained about a
week, and then marched up the coast to Cedar Pass,
where they had a skirmish, and crossed the pass on



to Mattagorda Island ; marched up that island to Fort
Esperanza, where a desperate action was fought, and
the fort captured, on the 22d of December, 1863.
Here they remained and fortified the post, and con-
structed five forts across- the island. The division
was then ordered to reinforce General Banks at
Alexandria, Louisiana, on the Red river. Here they
took part in several sharp engagements. It became
necessary to dam the river at this point, which was
done under the direction of General Baily. They
then embarked on boats, and proceeded to Mor-
ganza, from whence they embarked for Baton Rouge.
From here they went to New Orleans, and again
embarked on gulf steamers on Lake Pontchartrain,
and landed on Dauphin's Island on the 3d of August,
1864; captured Fort Gaines, and then crossed the
pass in vessels to Fort Morgan, and captured that
place. Here they remained until the latter part of
August, and then embarked on their vessels and re-
turned to Morganza, on the Mississippi river, and
encamped there for two months, during' which time
they had several engagements on the Atchafalaya
river, at which place they were ordered to reembark
and proceed to the mouth of the White river, in
Arkansas, where they remained in camp for several
weeks, at which time the regiment was consolidated
into a battalion. Here they embarked again, and
returned to Morganza, and while there they were
consolidated with the 38th Iowa regiment. In Feb-
ruary, 1865, they embarked for Pensacola, Florida,
where they remained until the loth of March. Here
the corps were united with six thousand colored
troops, and placed under command of General Steel,
and marched to Pollard, in Alabama, at the junction
of the Mobile, Montgomery and Pensacola railroads.
They captured this post and then marched on Fort
Blakeley, which they invested and laid siege, charged
the works, and captured them about the 13th of

April, 1865. Here they remained for several days,
and then embarked for Montgomery, Alabama. When
they reached Selma, Alabama, they met a dispatch
boat from the rebel general Johnson, with dispatches
advising the rebel general Taylor, then in command
on the Tombigbee river, about forty miles from
Selma, to surrender. They remained at Selma, and
about nine o'clock that night they received a dis-
patch from General Taylor that he would surrender.
Here they remained for about two weeks, and were
then ordered to return to Mobile, from which place
they were ordered to Texas, landing at Galveston in
July, 1865. Here the 34th Iowa was ordered to
Houston, Texas, where they remained until the ist
of September, when they were mustered out of the
service, being ordered to Davenport, Iowa, where
they received their pay and final discharge. Not
more than three hundred and forty of the original
34th regiment were then alive.

Almost as soon as he returned home. Lieutenant
Chaney commenced the study of law, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in the spring of 1867, and came to
Osceola, where he opened an office on the 20th of
June, 1867. Lieutenant Chaney has had a very fair
success in business,, and is a very popular man in
and out of court. Despite the' privations, exposures
and sufferings of his long and arduous campaign.
Lieutenant Chaney is now in the meridian of his
life, full of health and exuberant spirits.

He was married on the 21st of July, 1861, to Miss
S. C. Fuel, of Lucas county, Iowa; their family con-
sists of three children, one girl and two boys, the
youngest boy being dead.

He is a rabid repubhcan in politics, and in re-
ligious convictions a spiritualist. He is a Master
Mason, also a member of the encampment and sub-
ordinate lodges of Odd-Fellows, of which he is a
past grand.



ONE of the best-read physicians and most skill-
ful practitioners in Tama county, Iowa, is Will-
iam Corns, of Tama City, who has been a resident of
Iowa since he was two years old. He is a native of
Ohio, and was born in Muskingum county on the
17th of October, 1835. His father, William Corns,
was a millwright in his younger years, and later in

life a farmer, and his grandfather was a revolution-
ary soldier. The Cornses are of German pedigree,
and settled in Pennsylvania. The mother of Will-
iam was Phebe Adaline Bagley, whose ancestors
were early New England settlers. William Corns,
senior, moved with his family to Princeton, Bureau
county, Illinois, in 1836, and the next year crossed



the Mississippi river, and settled in Muscatine coun-
ty, where West Liberty now stands. When he lo-
cated in what was then a part of Wisconsin Terri-
tory his worldly effects consisted of a yoke of oxen,
an excellent four-wheel wagon, a little bedding and
furniture, and wife and two small children. Though
but two and a-half years old, the subject of this
sketch recollects crossing the great river at Daven-
port, and also the rkames of the oxen. When a little
older he hoed corn for an uncle on ground which
now constitutes the principal streets of West Liberty.
He lived in that vicinity, tilling land and attending
school until March, 1861, finishing his literary ed-
ucation at the West Liberty High School, which he
attended one term. At the date just mentioned he
commenced reading medicine with Dr. Peter A. Car-
penter, of West Liberty, who, a few months later, went
into the army as surgeon of the sth Iowa Infantry,
and who died of consumption at Fort Collins, Col-
orado, some time after the close of the war. Mr.
Corns finished his medical studies with Dr. Albert
Ady, of West Liberty ; attended two courses of lec-
tures at Keokuk; Iowa, in the winter of 1862-63, ^-nd

in the following spring graduating in June, 1863. In
the following August he was appointed contract sur-
geon, and served in that capacity in the general hos-
pital at Keokuk until the ist of April, 1865. He was
in active practice during all that time, having new
cases constantly, and an excellent opportunity for im-
provement, particularly in surgery. The discipline
he then and there received has served an excellent
purpose in his practice since that date. It gave
him skill in his profession, and laid the foundation
of his present extensive practice and popularity. He
loves surgery, studies science con amore, and is a
progressive man. He is a member of the Iowa
State Medical Society, and was its vice-president
two of three years ago. His standing among the
medical brethren of the state is excellent.

Dr. Corns located in Tama City in the spring of
1865, and since that date has had a growing prac-
tice. He is examining surgeon for pensions. In
politics, he is republican, but keeps out of office.

On the nth of October, 1864, he married Miss
Isabel Hemperly, of Muscatine county, and has six



PROMINENT among the physicians of Iowa is
enrolled the name which heads this sketch.
He was born on the 22d of June, 1818, near New
Philadelphia, Ohio. His father, John Maxwell, was
of Scotch descent, of liberal education, but a native
of York county, Pennsylvania, and was born in 1766.
His mother's maiden name was Ruth Cypherd, who
was of Holland descent, being a near relative of
the proprietor of the noted publishing house of
William Cypherd, Amsterdam, Holland. She was
born in Adams county, Pennsylvania, in 1774, and
married in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1792. The
novelty of pioneer life led them to leave a most
comfortable home in the east to immigrate to Ohio,
soon after that state was admitted to the Union.
There Mr. Maxwell spent most of his large means
in opening farms, erecting mills, etc., which resulted
more in the accommodation of poor emigrants than
the enrichment of his estate. He died in New
Philadelphia, Ohio, in May, 1822. His wife died in
October, 1839. The family consisted of ten sons
and four daughters. Three sons died in infancy;

the rest lived to rear families and hold honored po-
sitions in society ; five are still living.

The doctor's early life was that of a farm boy un-
til his sixteenth year; meanwhile receiving a com-
mon-school education. Although a natural mechan-
ic, he at an early age developed a taste for literary
labor, and resolved to make it his profession ; to this
end he eagerly read all biography and history within
his reach. To procure means to complete his edu-
cation and to somewhat satisfy his longing for read-
ing matter, he, in October, 1834, procured a situa-
tion in a printing office in his county town, where
he rapidly learned the art and posted himself in the
current events of the day; applying every odd mo-
ment in the study of the rudiments of an academic
course, aided a medical gentleman of fine attain-
ments, who edited the paper on which he labored.

In October, 1836, he went with his employer, to
complete his apprenticeship, to Findlay, then a small
village in the wilds of Ohio, and started the " Find-
lay Courier," a democratic paper

In 1837, being a master workman, he was em-



ployed as foreman of the " Whig " office for one
year; there he enjoyed the society of a cultivated
gentleman and lady (Mr. and Mrs. Marion), who
gave him great assistance in the study of Latin,
Greek and French during his hours of recreation.

In the spring of 1839 he removed to Mansfield,
Ohio, and commenced to publish the "Shield and
Banner," a democratic journal, in company with
Colonel John Meredith. For two years he labored
successfully, at the same time continuing his studies,
receiving help from several noted ministers and law-
yers by books, suggestions and recitations. He also
commenced the study of law, aided by Hon. Jacob
Brinkerhoof (now one of the most prominent judges
in that state) and Esq. Gates, now of Iowa. In the
meantime he took an active part in the Presidential
campaign of 1840, as well on the stump with Samuel
J. Kirkwood (then studying law at Mansfield, but
now United States senator from Iowa,) as through
the columns of his popular paper. At the close of
his engagements with Colonel Meredith he refused
numerous favorable offers to continue his connec-
tion with the press, and devoted his time to obtain-
ing an education.

He had made all arrangements to enter the Ohio
University at Athens, but owing to the convenience
of the Ashland Academy to Mansfield and the un-
settled state of his business, he chose the latter and
commenced in earnest, under such noble instructors
as Drs. Fulton and Andrews (since Colonel An-
drews of the 4th Infantry and president of Kenyon
College). In eighteen months he completed his
academic course, taking the honors of the institu-

Continuing his law studies, he was seized by a se-
vere attack of Laryngitis, which destroyed his voice,
and resulted in his having to leave his collegiate
course and abandon his favorite profession, the law.
With deep regrets, almost with remorse, and with
many misgivings, he commenced the study of medi-
cine in 1842 at Berlin, Ohio, with John M. Cook,
M.D., an eminent and successful practitioner, late
of York, Pennsylvania. He entered earnestly into
his studies, which soon took quite a practical form;
for, from necessity, he had to be doctor as well as
student; this interrupted his studies, but gave a
training of value. He graduated at Cleveland, Ohio,
in the medical department of the Hudson College,
in 1847, with a prominent standing in a class of sev-

Returning to Berlin, he entered into partnership

with his former preceptor, which continued to 1850,
when he took in his youngest brother.

In r852, his health failing him, he with his family
traveled through the western and southwestern states,
performing many of the finer operations of surgery.
His health being partially restored, he commenced
practice, in connection with the management of a
stock farm.

He sold his interests in Ohio and located in Dav-
enport, Iowa, on the 3d of April, 1855. He spent
most of his time and means in improvements in the
city and country until arrested by the crash of 1857,
in which he suffered severely financially. He again
devoted himself to the practice of his profession,
and although it took the greater part of his consid-
erable real estate to meet his obligations, every cent
was paid, and by energy, frugality and industry he
reinstated himself in comfortable circumstances.

At the first call for men to go to Mexico he vol-
unteered and -raised nearly a company, but received
the unwelcome word that the regiments were full,
and on account of poor health he had to refuse a
commission as assistant surgeon in the loth regi-
ment. United States army.

During the war of the rebellion he was sent by
Governor Kirkwood to give medical and surgical
relief to our soldiers in the field. This was imme-
diately after the fall of Fort Donelson, and under
orders of the chief medical director he aided the sol-
diers in the field, hospital transports and general hos-
pitals as assistant surgeon. United States army. He
was at Shiloh, Corinth, Jackson and other battles ;
at the battle of luka he was surgeon inspector gen-
eral on Grant's staff, and had charge of the wounded
and sick being sent north. He was placed in charge
of hospitals Nos. 6 and 8 at Keokuk, during which
time he filled the chair of physiology and pathology
in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Keokuk.

In June, 1863, he was appointed sanitary inspect-
or of hospitals in the eastern division of the army,
and declined to accept an appointment from the
governor as state sanitary agent or surgeon at large
to operate in the field. He visited the principal
hospitals in the south and west, rendering aid and
relief, particularly at the siege of Vicksburgh and
Fort Hudson, and extending to New Orleans and

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 87 of 125)