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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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dorsed largely for his friends, and when the crash
of 1857 came it required almost his entire fortune to
pay these debts, and he died at Wilton, Iowa, com-
paratively poor, in 1862.

He had been a member of the Methodist Epis-
copal church and a radical temperance advocate
all his lifetime. He was, moreover, held in high es-
teem by all who knew him.

The mother of our subject was a daughter of
Moses Dudley, Esq., formerly, of Wilton, Maine, a
most excellent woman, intellectual and highly edu-
cated. She was a devout member of the Methodist
church, and died in the faith at Wilton, Iowa, in the
year 1863. They had a family of four children,
three sons and one daughter, the latter died in in-
fancy. The sons lived to maturity, but one of them,
John M., died in 1855, while a student at Cornell
College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, leaving our subject
and his brother, Benjamin Franklin, sole survivors.
The latter is now chief clerk in the postal service
between Davenport and Chicago.

The great-great-grandfather of our subject, Will-
iam Tufts, emigrated from the north of Ireland early
in the eighteenth century and settled near Boston,
Massachusetts, where a large colony of his descend-
ants still reside. The Tufts College at Medford, in
that state, was founded and endowed to the amount

of over a million dollars by members of the lineage,
and is a monument to their wisdom and public spirit.

Dr. Cotton Tufts, a descendant of the original
William Tufts, graduated at Harvard College, was a
man of great learning and influence; practiced his
profession for many years at Weymouth. He was
state counselor and a senator for many years ; was a
member of the convention for ratifying the federal
constitution, and was one of the founders of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of
the Massachusetts Medical Society, of which he was
president for ten years.

He married a daughter of Colonel John Qiiincy,
who was a near relative of John Quincy Adams ;
hence the baptismal name of our subject.

The grandfather of our subject, Hon. John Tufts,
was for many years a member of the' upper branch
of the Massachusetts legislature. He afterward re-
moved to Wilton, Maine, and later in life emigrated
to Indiana, where he died.

John Quincy Tufts was raised at Muscatine, Iowa,
and in early life imbibed a taste for agricultural pur-
suits. After passing through the curriculum of the
common schools of the city he spent two years at
Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa, which institu-
tion he left in 1858.

He immediately commenced to improve the farm
on which he now lives, in Cedar county, Iowa, three
miles northeast of Wilton. In 1872 he built a beau-
tiful villa, one of the most ornate and commodious
residences in the state.

He has always been a man of high moral char-
acter, and an earnest advocate of the temperance
cause. From the outset he took a leading position
in his community, and has rarely been without some
local office of trust and responsibility, his educa-
tion and natural gifts seeming to fit him especially
for the position of a leader.

In 1869 he was elected to the lower branch of the



thirteenth general assembly of Iowa, and served as
chairman of the committee on suppression of intem-

In 1871 he was reelected and was made chairman
of the committee on claims against the state, and in-
stituted a system by which all claims having been
once passed on by the legislature are placed on rec-
ord, indexed, and the result indicated for future ref-
erence. This has been the means of saving time of
the legislature and money to the state.

In 1873 he was a member of the extra session
which made and passed what is known as the " New
Code" of statutes of the state. In 1873 he was
again elected and served as chairman of the com-
mittee on railroads, then the most important com-
mittee in the body, and is one of the authors of the
present railroad law of the state regulating freight
and passenger tariffs. He was among the most in-
telligent and useful members of the house, and left
behind a record of integrity and wisdom.

In 1874 he was nominated by the republicans of
the second congressional district of Iowa, and elect-
ed to the forty-fourth congress. During the canvass
he was challenged by his democratic opponent, Hon.
J. L. Sheehan, a leading lawyer of the state, to a
joint discussion, which Mr. Tufts promptly accepted,
and met his competitor at all the towns and cities
in the district, and though the district had polled a
democratic majority the previous year, running con-
siderably ahead of his ticket.

In congress he had but little opportunity to dis-
tinguish himself He was a member of the commit-
tee on Indian affairs, and also a meinber of the spe-
cial committee to inquire into the management of
Indian affairs.

Although he has had much experience in public

life, yet he is somewhat diffident as a public speaker,
and consequently is not obtrusive in public assem-
blies, but when occasion requires can express his
thoughts freely and even eloquently. He has. strong
convictions of duty, and the courage to stand by
them in the face of opposition. He is a firm tem-
perance man in principle as well as practice, and
favors prohibition in preference to license.

Mr. Tufts is a member of the Masonic order. In
religious sentiment, he adheres to Protestantism.

On the loth of October, 1861, he married Miss
Susan Shaw Cooke, daughter of Henry Cooke, Esq.,
of Williamsburg, Iowa, formerly of Mainville, Ohio.
Mrs. Tufts was educated at Leigh University, is an
amiable and accomplished lady, and was in early life
a teacher; she is a fine conversationalist, and is well
versed in the literature of the day. They have had
nine children: Annie Dudly, Emily, Edward Ben-
jamin, John Quincy, Eva, William Allison, Maud,
Martha, and George Washington. The last named,
who was twin to Martha, died at the age of nine
months, August, T877.

Mr. Tufts is somewhat above middle size, of full
form and fine personal appearance; his complexion
being florid, and his hair and beard of a sandy hue.
He has a large head and high forehead, indicating a
strong intellect ; he possesses, in fact, a well-balanced
mind. He is a great reader, and owns one of the
best libraries of the state.

As a friend, he is true and steadfast, but it re-
quires a strong effort to forget an injury; generous
and tender-hearted to the poor, and held in the
highest esteem by all who know him.

As a husband and father, he is devoted to his
family, holding it as his first duty to minister to their
comfort and happiness.



AMONG the physicians of longest practice and
L. best standing in Ottumwa is Thomas Jefferson
Douglass, who seems to eschew every other branch
of science and to make medicine his life study as well
as life pursuit. By attending entirely and closely to
his profession he has built up an extensive business,
and by his skill has secured the confidence of the
community. He is a native of Pennsylvania, and
was born in Mercer county on the 3d of July, 1829.

His parents were Archibald A. and Maria Parks
Douglass. His paternal ancestors were from Scot-
land, and were early settlers in Pennsylvania and
Virginia, his great-gr^dfather being an officer in
the American revolution. The Parks family were
among the pioneers in Pennsylvania.

The subject of this sketch spent his minority in
his native state, devoting it mainly to literary pur-
suits, finishing his education at the Mercer Academy.



He read medicine with Dr. Rodrigue, of Hollidays-
burg, attended lectures at the University of Penn-
sylvania, Philadelphia, and the medical department
of the Western Reserve College, Cleveland, Ohio ;
graduating from the former institution in 1853, and
from the latter in 1854.

After practicing one year at Hollidaysburg he left
his native state and located permanently in Ottumwa.
He is a first-class surgeon as well as physician, and
his rides not unfrequently extend beyond Wapello
county. Wherever he is best known his services are
best appreciated.

The doctor is a member of the Wapello County
Medical Society, of the Des Moines Valley Medical
Association, and of the State Medical Society, and
has been president of the first two organizations.

Politically, the doctor has been a life-long demo-
crat, but has never sought ofi&ce. To achieve suc-

cess in any one of the learned professions, he evi-
dently believes that one's whole time must be given
to it. He owes his high standing in the profession to
his careful and undivided attention to it.

Dr. Douglkss has a second wife. His first was
Miss Caroline Whaley, of Marshall, Clark county,
Illinois; married on the 22d of October, 1857. She
died on the 27th of June, 1859, leaving an infant
child, who followed her the same year. His present
wife was Miss Lizzie J. Wheeler, of Fairfield, Iowa;
married on the ist of January, 1862. She has had
four children, only two of whom are living. Stella
C. is fifteen and Edna D. is ten years of age.

Dr. Douglass has a partner in the profession, A.
0. Williams, M.D., a graduate of the literary and
medical departments of the State University of Iowa;
a young man of fine culture, excellent moral charac-
ter and much promise.



MATT. PARROTT, as everybody in Iowa calls
him, the newly elected state binder, is a na-
tive of Schoharie, Schoharie county, New York, and
was born on the nth of May, 1837. He is a son of
William and Maria (Beck) Parrott, who were natives
of England ; came to this country in 1833, locating in
Albany, New York, where they remained two years,
and then settled in Schoharie. William Parrott was
a baker by trade, with quite as many children as he
could supply with bread, there being ten in all, our.
subject standing third from the head. All these
children the father gave a fair education, all the for-
tune he had to bestow.

Matt, attended a district school until ten years of
age, then the Schoharie Academy about three years,
paying his way by building fires and sweeping the
school-rooms for his tuition, thus acquiring a fair
English education. He had no especial relish for
hard study, and exhibited no signs of superior genius
by keeping uniformly at the head of his classes.
The writer once heard him declare that he was a
dull scholar at that early age.

At thirteen, in the autumn of 1850, Matt, entered
the office of the Schoharie "Patriot," then published
by Peter Mix, and received his first lessons in the art
of printing. He liked the business from the start,
because there were always plenty of newspapers to

read in the office, while there had been a dearth at
home, his father receiving only a county paper, a
church monthly and an anti-slavery monthly. In the
''Patriot" office Matt, was compositor, job printer,
pressman, mailing clerk, and almost everything else.

In 1854 he left this office, a full-blown journeyman
printer, and took his first " tramp." Obtaining a situ-
ation in the job department of the Troy, New York,
" Traveler," he remained a few months ; returned to
his native town and worked in the "Republican"
office until early in 1855 ; went to Utica, and obtained
a situation on the " Morning Herald ";^in July, 1856,
started for the- west; spent a few weeks on the Chi-
cago "Democrat," published by John Wentworth ;
went to Davenport, Iowa, in August, and worked in
the "Evening News" office until about the ist of
February, 1857, when he connected himself with the
office of Luse, Lane and Co., who were then printing
the debates on the new constitution.

The following summer Mr. Parrott visited several
new Iowa counties, hoping to find an opening for a
newspaper in some destitute yet ambitious town, but
failing to find such a place he found a situation on
the Burlington "Hawkeye." In December of the
same year he went to Anamosa, Jones county, and
entered into partnership with C. L. D. Crockwell in
the publication of the " Eureka," a paper then in its

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first year. A year or two later Edmund Booth bought
the interest of Mr. Crockwell in the paper, and Mr.
Parrott continued one of the publishers until Decem-
ber, 1862, when, having received flattering promises
from citizens of Morris, Grundy county, Illinois, he
sold out and started the Morris "Advocate " early
in 1863. The help promised never came, and after
a few months' hard struggle, occasioned by the lack
of sufficient working capital, the paper "breathed
its last," and the unfortunate publisher returned to
Iowa a poorer and perhaps a wiser man. He learned
that promises are not the most reliable assets on
which to found business.

In the autumn of 1863 we find Mr. Parrott once
more in the office of Luse, Lane and Co. (this time
in the position of foreman), then the largest job-
printing and publishing house in the state. He re-
mained in that situation until 1869, perfecting him-
self in book-work, and giving unqualified satisfaction.

In February of the year just nientioned, in com-
pany with J. J. Smart, he purchased the office of the
" Iowa State Reporter " at Waterloo, Black Hawk
county, a paper originated as a democratic organ,
and which had died of the political measles at the
end of about eight months. Two months later the
" Reporter " was revived as a republican paper ; a
bindery was added in June, and the business of man-
ufacturing blank books for counties actively com-
menced. The prospects were good at the start ; bus-
iness has grown rapidly, and hardly a county in the
northern half of the state but has books with the
imprint of this house on them. Their work is hon-
estly, substantially done, and gives the best satisfac-
tion. The "Reporter," too, has thrived. It has
increased in size and beauty as well as circulation,
and is a credit to the newspaper press of Iowa, which
is noted for its many first-class journals.

In 1872 James L. Girton became a member of the
firm, and the name was changed to Smart, Parrott
and Co. In January, 1876, Mr. Smart retired, and
J. P. Sherman took an interest, and the firm name
was changed to Parrott, Girton and Sherman. The
Reporter " has a spacious and inviting home of its
own, forty by eighty feet, built by Smart and Parrott.
It has all the necessary facilities for business, — steam,
gas, power-presses, — its outfit being perfect. No
office in the interior of the state is better equipped.

Mr. Parrott has been in the council of Waterloo
two or three years ; was president of the school board
of East Waterloo independent district in 1873 and
1874, and is now mayor of Waterloo, being elected

in March, 1877, and reelected on the 4th of March,
1878, after a unanimous nomination and an almost
unanimous vote, receiving all but seventeen in a
poll of eight hundred and eleven. These positions
all came to him unsought, and were accepted only
after repeated solicitations from his neighbors and

In January, 1878, Mr. Parrott was a candidate for
state binder before the general assembly, and after a
lively canvass, with two competitors in the field, he
was nominated on the first ballot. His ofificial term
will not commence until the istof May, 1879. After
it was known that he was to be a candidate for this
office before the seventeenth general assembly the
Iowa press gave him a very strong indorsement,
nearly every leading paper on the republican side
speaking in the highest terms of his peculiar fitness
for the office. From a score of notices of this char-
acter which might be given we select the following
from the " State Register," Des Moines :

Mr. Parrott has every qualification of fitness and every
merit to entitle him to such a position. First, and most im-
portant, he is himself skilled practically in binding, is now
proprietor of one of the largest binderies in the state, and
understands the whole business from beginning to end. To
this, in a business sense, he adds superior executive ability
and a high sense of honor and pride which would lead him
to perform all his duties in the best possible manner. There
could be no man found better qualified in all respects for
the state bindership. As to his standing and merits as a
republican, he is equally strong. The " Reporter " as a
paper well represents both his business ability, his mechan-
ical skill and his working republicanism. It is a paper cred-
itable to the journalism of a state which is proud, and has
reason to be proud, of its newspapers. In his own profession
Mr. Parrott is very popular, both on account of his genial
and sterling qualities as a man and his merits as a journalist.

The Waterloo " Courier," published at the home

of Mr. Parrott, thus spoke of him as a man about

the same time :

Mr. Parrott is a gentleman in every sense of the word,
one against whose integrity not a word can be whispered.
He has been one of the partners in the publication of the
" Iowa State Reporter " ever since it was started as a repub-
lican paper, and among the first steps taken by the firm
which resurrected the " Reporter," and parent firm of the
present flourishing house of Parrott, Girton and Sherman,
was the establishment of a bookbindery. This branch of
the business, from occupying narrow quarters in Union
block, has grown with the steady increase of the "Re-
porter." Long connection with this'establishment has given
Mr. Parrott thorough knowledge of the business, and every
one who knows him will unite with us in saying that the
interests of the office of state binder would be greatly sub-
served by being intrusted to his hands. Mr. Parrott has
been connected with the printing business for twenty-six
years, and during a large portion of this time has been iden-
tified with the republican press of Iowa. He has always
been a stalwart champion of true republican doctrine, and
has never wavered in his support of the right as it appeared
to him. We have known this gentleman for a score of
years past, and can say that we have always found him a
man worthy of the highest trusts.



The writer of this sketch has known Mr. Parrott
for nearly twenty years, and can indorse all that is
here said of him.

In local enterprises Mr. Parrott has promptly lent
the aid of his hand and pen, and is in all respects an
enterprising citizen. Should his business take him
to Des Moines, even temporarily, he will be missed
in Waterloo.

Mr. Parrott has been a member of the Masonic
fraternity since i860, and has held various official
positions. He was a charter member and the first
junior warden of Victory Lodge, No. 296, of Water-
loo ; was afterward senior warden, then treasurer,
and is at the time of writing filling the master's
chair; is also a member of the chapter, command-
ery and consistory, and has been prelate of Ascalon
Commandery, of Waterloo, since its organization.

He is a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church,
Waterloo, and a man whose christian integrity is

above suspicion. He is a firm believer in practical
Christianity and charity, and always ready to relieve
the necessities of the destitute or to extend a help-
ing hand to those who need such encouragement.

Politically, he was a whig, like his father, in youth,
and shouted for Scott and Graham in 1852. Since
old enough to vote he has affiliated steadily with the
republicans ; but while a party man, he is not one of
those who believe a party is of more importance than
right and honesty.

On the 25th of October, 1859, he was married at
Davenport to Miss Frank M. Field, youngest daugh-
ter of Isaac N. Field, and they have three boys.

Mr. Parrott has gray eyes, a florid complexion, an
unwrinkled face, a young look, a pleasant disposition,
and the cordiality of a sincere, honest and warm
heart. He is five feet and eight inches tall, weighs
one hundred and ninety pounds, and has very sym-
metrical proportions.



ONE of the most enterprising canal and railroad
contractors in the northwest is Lewis Car-
michael, son of Zophar Carmichael, a farmer, and
Sarah Eldred, residents of Orange county, New
York, where Lewis was born on the 7th of May,
1825. His paternal great-grandfather was from
Scotland; the Eldreds were from England, and set-
tled in Orange county about the time of the rev-
olution. In that seven years' war Lewis' paternal
grandfather carried a knapsack and musket.

At fifteen years of age, after receiving a knowl-
edge of farm work and the meagre rudiments of an
education, Lewis commenced railroading, beginning
at the lower round of the ladder, as "jigger." In a
short time he became foreman, and a little later gen-
eral superintendent of construction, operating some-
times on canals and oftener on railroads. During
the last thirty years he has taken and filled contracts
, on railroads in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Ken-
tucky, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Colorado and
Utah. He never took a contract without finishing
it, and never agreed to finish a job in a designated
period without doing it. Few men have done as
much heavy work as Mr. Carmichael. He has con-
structed half a dozen tunnels in almost as many
states. New York, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.

The first tunnel ever built in Illinois he put up at
La Salle in 1853. His last work of railroading was
on the Union Pacific road and the Chicago and
Northwestern in Wisconsin. He had several con-
tracts between Omaha and Promontory, no contract-
or on that great line exhibiting more energy and
business dispatch. During part of these years that
he was railroading he lived in Davenport and Mus-
catine, Iowa. For the last eighteen years he has re-
sided in Tama county, and since 1867 in Tama City.
He is one of the most public-spirited citizens of this
young city.

The Bank of Tama was organized and opened in
1870, and Mr. Carmichael is its president.

He has been engaged in real estate for several
years, having lands in New York, Iowa and Nebras-
ka. In Tama county alone he has fifteen hundred
acres of improved lands, all worked by renters ex-
cept the home farm, of which he has taken the su-
pervision during the last three years. Prior to this
period contracting was his main business, and by it
he had made most of his money. He began a poor
boy with no capital but a good constitution, a plucky
heart and two industrious hands, and his life has
been one of liberal undertakings and liberal success.
He seems to know "no such word as fail."



Mr. Carmichael was originally a whig, and of late
years has been a republican, always too busy with
his own matters to assume the duties of a political

He is a Knight Templar in the Masonic brother-

On the 29th of October, 1847, he was joined in
wedlock with Miss Mary E. Bunce, a native of Hart-
ford, Connecticut, but residing at the time of her
marriage in Sullivan county. New York. She died
four years ago. She was a member of the Baptist

church, heartily cooperating with her husband in
all efforts to advance the kingdom of Christ. She
had nine children, and one of them preceded her to
the spirit land. Of those living, Mary E. is the wife
of George E. Maxwell, cashier of the Bank of Ta-
ma, Tama City ; Henry F. has a wife and also lives
in Tama City. The others are single.

Mr. Carmichael has a stately mansion standing in
a six-acre lot, overlooking the whole city, a residence
which the proudest prince of the old world need
not be ashamed to occupy.



PETER NESBIT WOODS, a practicing physi-
cian for nearly a quarter of a century, and one
of the leading citizens of any profession in Jeffer-
son county, Iowa, is a native of Ohio, a son of James
and Hester A. Woods, and was born in Greenville,
Stark county, on the 8th of September, 1829. His
paternal great-grandfather came from Germany to
this country, with his friends, when quite young, and
settled near Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania. His father
was a native of Virginia, was left an orphan at an
early age, and lived with his maternal grandfather
until he was apprenticed to a gunship near Harper's
Ferry, Virginia. In later life he was a farmer in
Stark and Richland counties, Ohio.

Peter Nesbit was the fifth child in a family of
eight children. He lived at home during his youth,

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 89 of 125)