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Dr. Wetherell has a second wife : his first was
Miss Harriet Avery, of Granville, Ohio, chosen in
October, 1843; she had five children, and died on
the 31st of December, i860; one of her children
preceded her to the world of spirits, and another,
the eldest child, Marian, the wife of J. N. Davis, of
Knoxville, died in 1876 ; of the three living children,
Maria is the wife of Thomas Cathcart, of Knoxville,
and Lizzie and Frank are single. His second wife
was Miss Mary Walters, of Knoxville ; married No-
vember, 1861.

Dr. Wetherell is quite fleshy ; is six feet and one
inch tall, and weighs two hundred and fifty pounds.
Like many other men bordering on the Falstaif
build, he has a jovial turn of mind, is quick at rep-
artee, and does not believe in the suppression of
humor, even at the sick-bed, when it will act as a



THE subject of this sketch was born in Brook-
ville, Franklin county, Indiana, on the 14th of
November, 1825. His father, John P. Williams, was
a large farmer, and his mother's maiden name was
Nancy Morris, a sister of the late Judge William R.
Morris, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who for many years was
one of the few leading lawyers of that city.

From early youth to manhood Morris J. Williams
toiled faithfully upon his father's farm, attending in
the winter season the excellent public schools of
Brookville, wher.e he completed his education.

He read law in the office of Judge George Hol-
land, a prominent lawyer of Franklin county ; was
admitted to the bar at Brookville, and removed from
thence to Greensburg, Indiana, where he first com-
menced the practice of his profession in 1851.

In 1852 he was elected on the whig ticket prose-
cuting attorney of Rush and Decatur counties, win-
ning in the discharge of the duties of this office well
deserved fame as a lawyer for so young an attorney.
While at Greensburg, Indiana, he was for some years
a partner of the Hon. John S. Scoby, a lawyer of
much eminence in that state.

In November, 1854, he removed to Ottumwa,
Iowa, where he now resides. In Ottumwa he soon

entered into copartnership with A. H. Hamilton,
Esq., a young lawyer who had preceded him to the
place some two months, and this copartnership con-
tinued most successfully and amicably save an in-
terruption during the year 1858, up to the time Mr.
Hamilton entered the army, in 1862, when the judge
succeeded to the large practice the firm had ac-

In 1870 Mr. Williams was elected upon the re-
publican ticket judge of the second judicial district,
comprising seven counties, and this office he filled
for four years with marked ability, and upon retiring
from the bench he again resumed the practice of the
law in which he is still engaged.

Judge Williams is eminently a self-made man.
His early life developed and matured upon the farm
a sound, strong physique, habits of industry, self-
reliance, and above all a knowledge gained by ex-
perience of how the battle of life is only success-
fully fought. He commenced his professional career
almost wholly dependent upon his own exertions,
and so building from the foundation upward, built
well. The practice of the law in Wapello county
twenty odd years ago, afforded only a scanty re-
muneration at best; and though the judge early



took high rank in his new home in Iowa, his in-
come for many years did very little more than pro-
vide for himself and his increasing family.

From i860 his business became handsomely re-
munerative, especially during the rebellion, and in a
few years he acquired a good foundation for that
fine competence which has placed him well up
among the wealthy men of the county. He has for
many years stood well abreast with the best lawyers
of southern Iowa, and has ever been recognized as
a gentleman of the highest integrity.

He was married on the 29th of May, 1851, to a
most estimable lady. Miss Mary E. Stoops, of Brook-
ville, Indiana. She died in the fall of 1877. This
union was a most happy one, and a large and inter-
esting family of children are growing up to promis-
ing manhood and womanhood.

His -early farm life begot in him a love for agri-
cultural pursuits which still clings to him, and hence
he now owns, cultivates and resides upon a splendid
farm of some three hundred acres about one mile
from Ottumwa.



PROBABLY the first man who ever saw the site
of Iowa Falls, and now resides here, is Thomas
Bracy Knapp, who located in the valley of the Iowa
river five miles southeast of this city in 18.154. That
was the year before Iowa Falls was laid out, and
when there was nothing here except the grist-mill
and saw-mill of B. I. Talbot and Captain Samuel
White. Thomas B. Knapp is a son of Thomas Bracy
Knapp, senior, and Mercy Seger, and was born in
Danbury, Connecticut, on the 9th of July, 1822. The
Knapps were originally from England, and settled
in Connecticut at an early day. The grandfather of
our subject, Bracy Knapp, was a paymaster in the
revolutionary army, and lost his house when Dan-
bury was burned by the British. His maternal grand-
father was also in the revolutionary strife. The Se-
gers were of Welsh extraction. When our subject
was twelve or thirteen years old the family moved
to Sheldon, Wyoming county, New York, and three
years later to Clarksfield, Huron county, Ohio, young
Thomas spending most of his time at this period
at the Norwalk Institute in the same county.

In 1840 he went to Alabama; clerked in a store
a few years at Montgomery, and in 1846 was elected
lieutenant of a company which offered its services
for the Mexican war, but was not called out. He
went into business for himself about that time, and
followed it until the fever for gold began to rage all
over the country, and early in 1849 went to Califor-
nia. There he mined and traded between three
and four years, arriving in New York city on his
return in December, 1853. Proceeding to Alabama,
he spent the winter there, and in April, 1854, came
to Hardin county, Iowa, purchasing a farm which

lay on both sides of the Iowa river. That season,
in his peregrinations up and down the valley, he
looked over the grounds where Iowa Falls now
stands, and was smitten with the beauty of the site,
the two millers already mentioned being the only
parties located there.

Mr. Knapp continued to improve his lands, visit-
ing Iowa Falls now and then, until after the civil
war had commenced. In 1862 he was elected sutler
of the 32d Iowa Infantry, and served in that capacity
between two and three years, resigning in the winter
of 1864.

On returning from the south Mr. Knapp sold- his
farm and settled in Iowa Falls. He was in general
merchandise until 1870, when he closed this branch
of trade awhile, settled up his business, and in 1873
opened a hardware store, of which he is still the
proprietor. He is among the substantial class of
merchants in Iowa Falls.

Mr. Knapp was a member of th.e lower house of
the general assembly in 1866 and 1868, taking an
active part in both sessions. During one of them
he was chairman of the committee on public build-
ings ; during the other, of the committee on public
lands ; and he served also on the committees on rail-
roads, and on two or three others. He did much
more work than talking in that body, and proved
himself a considerate and judicious legislator. In
1868 he was one of the committee appointed to visit
the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Cedar Falls.

Mr. Knapp has been in the local council or on the
school board nearly all the time for the last ten
years, and labors assiduously for the general inter-
ests of the place.


60 1

He aided in organizing the republican party in
Hardin county ; was a delegate to the first repub-
lican state convention, and still acts as one of the
local leaders of the party. He glories in its history,
and looks for its continued usefulness to the country.

He joined the church in youth, and has an abid-
ing faith in the power and importance of the chris-
tian religion. His original connection was with the
Baptist church in Selden, New York, and he is the
treasurer of the church of the same name where he
resides. In integrity he is "true as steel."

His wife was Mrs. Louisa L. Hoover, of Mount

Vernon, Iowa, a graduate of Cornell College located
at that place. They were united in marriage on the
9th of November, 1864, and have one child, Henry
Hamlin, a student in the graded school. The maid-
en name of Mrs. Knapp was Lamb, born in Wayne
county, Indiana, in 1839. She married Henry H.
Hoover in 1856, moved to Mount Vernon, Iowa ;
became a widow at nineteen, and afterward went
through college, graduating in 1864. She taught
school before leaving Indiana, and afterward in Iowa
and Missouri, and is a woman of fine literary taste,
much mental culture and large christian zeal.



chant, was born at Cairo, Green county, New
York, on the 12th of March, 1813, and is the son of
James H. Stewart and Betsy nh Osborne. His father
was of Scotch-Irish descent; in his younger days a
school teacher, but in later life a farmer on a small
scale. He was a man of more than ordinary intelli-
gence, of sterling moral principles, and deep religious
convictions, and a member of the Methodist church.
He died in Meigs county, Ohio, in the year 1865,
in the ninety-third year of his age. The- mother of
our subject was of English origin, a woman of very
considerable intellectual endowments, active and
energetic, of robust constitution. She devoted all
her life and powers to the education and training of
her children. She still lives in Ohio, being now
(1877) in the ninety-fourth year of her age. James
H. Stewart had a family of seven children, of whom
our subject was the fifth, and three of whom are
still living.

William Henry was raised upon his father's small
farm in the Catskill mountains, which barely yielded
a subsistence to the family, and as soon as able to
drive an ox team or ride a horse he was hired out,
during the summer seasons, to the neighboring farm-
ers, and for several seasons after the age of ten years
his compensation was at the rate of six and a quar-
ter cents per day, and he esteemed himself quite a
man whren his wages were increased to twelve and
a half cents per day. During the winter months
he attended the district school, and became a good
penman and a fair mathematician, and in later years
increased his stock of knowledge by reading and

observation, until he is now regarded as one of the
best informed men of the day.

At the age of thirteen years he was apprenticed
to a man named John Sayle, to learn the bricklay-
ing and plastering trade, but after a year's tuition
his master failed in business and young Stewart
abandoned the brick and mortar craft, and in the year
following he was indentured to learn the boot and
shoe trade, which proved to be more congenial to
his tastes, as well as more profitable. After master-
ing the trade he emigrated to Ohio, where for several
years he worked as a journeyman, and, in 1836,
opened a store in Marietta, Ohio, and commenced
business on his own account, which he conducted
with reasonable success at that point until 1854,
when he removed to Muscatine, Iowa, which has
since been his home. Here he continued the shoe
trade with very considerable success until January,
1875, when having accumulated a competence he
retired from business.

Though always. an industrious and diligent busi-
ness man, yet he found time to keep himself informed
on the current political issues of the day, in which
he took a deep interest, believing it to be his boun-
den duty, no less than his privilege, to employ what-
ever influence he might be possessed of for what he
considered the benefit of his country and the best
interests of his fellow-citizens. He was always an
opponent of slavery, and was accordingly a whig in
politics until the formation of the republican party,
with which he has since been identified. He has
never, however, sought any office, though for several
years he served in the city council of Marietta,



Ohio, and after his removal to Muscatine was elected
to the board of supervisors of the county, on which
he served with distinction for a period of eight years
ending in 1872, being chairman of the board during
the last three years. He was one of the original
organizers of the Merchants' Exchange National
Bank of Muscatine, and has been a member of its
board of directors since its inception in 1865. He
is a prominent member of the Independent Order of
Odd-Fellows, having filled all the chairs and posi-
tions in the society.

He was raised in the principles of the Methodist
church, was always in theory a Methodist, and has
been for many years in communion with that church,
to the institutions of which he is a liberal contributor.

On the isth of November, 1838, he married Miss
Cynthia Morton, at Marietta, Ohio. She is of Scotch
descent, and endowed with the high moral and in-
dustrial principles of the race from which she sprang.
They have had six children, five sons and one
daughter, all living, married, and comfortably set-
tled in life : William M., Sylvester N., Marcus, Theo-
dore S., Edward C, and Rita. William M. is the
purchasing agent of the Saint Paul and Milwaukee
Railroad Company; Sylvester N. is a resident of the
city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he is en-
gaged in the patenting and sale of mechanical inven-
tions of his own devising, he having a remarkable

talent in that direction; Marcus is engaged in the
shoe trade at Tipton, Iowa; Theodore succeeds his
father in business in Muscatine ; Edward is in the
same trade at Creston, Iowa, and Rita is the wife of
Mr. E. H. Betts, one of the proprietors of the Musca-
tine "Daily Tribune."

The career of William H. Stewart has been both
honorable and successful, and he has always enjoyed
the confidence and respect of the community in
which he has resided. Since his removal to Musca-
tine he has taken a deep interest in everything per-
taining to the growth and prosperity of his adopted
city, and his services as a member of the board of
supervisors of the county have been of great and'
permanent value to his constituents. His social
qualities are well developed; he enjoys the society
of friends and neighbors, and loves to dispense that
hospitality for which the race from which he springs
are so noted. He is modest and unassuming in his
habits, manners and bearing, kind and liberal to the
poor and needy, an upright citizen, a straightforward
business man, a christian gentleman, who would do
honor to any community in which his lot might be
cast. He is now prominently named by his friends,
and they are numerous, for the position of repre-
sentative of Muscatine county in the next general
assembly, a position for which his experience and
talents eminently fit him.



ZELOTES T. FISHER was born on the 13th of
December, 1819, in Franklin county, Ohio.
His father was Josiah Fisher, a Carmelite preacher
of repute. His mother was a woman of most ster-
ling qualities of mind, and a devoted christian. Jo-
siah Fisher and his wife had born unto them six sons
and four daughters, four sons and two daughters
having died. These people emigrated to the State
of Iowa in 1856, converting a large tract of wild land
into farms. Seven years after settling in Iowa his
mother died, and two years later his father passed

From the age of twelve Zelotes was at work up-
on his father's farm, attending during the winter
months an inferior school held in a log hut. At the
age of sixteen he learned the cooper's trade, in
which he became very proficient.

On the 4th of July, 1837, while engaged in cele-
brating the great day, he lost his right arm in the
accidental discharge of an old-fashioned cast-iron
gun. At the time of this misfortune he had never
been able to more than read printed matter indif-
ferently, but he continued to acquire knowledge by
virtue of the severest personal application. He
learned to write and to readily read manuscript, and
subsequently had the benefit of one year's tuition at
the high school at Worthington, Ohio, boarding at
home and walking five miles a day, from home to
the school.

At the close of this year of schooling his father
moved to Delaware county, Ohio. Here Zelotes
commenced the study of medicine under his uncle,
William Fisher, continuing for a year and a half, dur-
ing which time he had been upon the jury on sev-



eral occasions. Life in a court-room had for him
special attraction, and he determined to abandon
Esculapiiis for Blackstone, and forthwith made an
arrangement to read law in the office of the Hon.
Thomas W. Powell, at the town of Delaware. He
continued reading law and teaching school mean-
while, as a means of self-subsistence. In Septem-
ber, 1842, he was admitted. to the bar at Mount
Vernon, Ohio.

In January, 1843, with but six dollars in cash as
his financial assets, he opened a law office' in Lon-
don, Madison county, Ohio. It was his good for-
tune to find at this time and place a warm friend
in the person of W. H. Squires, at whose hotel he
boarded, subject to his convenience as to pay. Here
our young lawyer applied himself to vigorous study.
In the course of a year and a half he was elected
prosecuting attorney of Madison county, which po-
sition he held for four successive terms. During
the holding of this office he had frequently to com-
bat defense set up by such brilliant lights of the
bar as Noah H. Swain, now justice of the supreme
court of the United States ; Sampson Masom, James
Bates, W. Denison, subsequently the great war gov-
ernor of Ohio, and others of equal note. After
serving in this office for seven years he accepted a
nomination for the assembly, resigning his attorney-
ship. He was elected to sit in the first session of
the Ohio legislature after the adoption of the new
constitution in 185 1, taking rank as the first parlia-
mentarian in the house, often occupying the speaker's
chair pro tempore. He remained in the house for
two terms. During this stay of twelve years at
London he had acquired two farms and a town resi-

In September, 1844, Mr. Fisher had married Je-
mimah Jones, of Madison county, Ohio, daughter of
R. B. Jones. Her mother's maiden name was Eliza
McCormick; both these parents are still living. In
1855 Mr. Fisher converted his farms and residence
into cash, determining to go farther west. With his
wife and three children he came to Oskaloosa, Ma-
haska county, Iowa, having purchased in that and
other counties nineteen hundred acres of wild land,
his intention then being to practice law for a few
years and subsequently to establish a large stock
farm. With this in view, Mr. Fisher imported the
first shorthorn cattle ever brought to Mahaska coun-
ty. Here he commenced a very profitable practice
of law. His sons were coming to manhood; but
evincing an utter indisposition for agriculture, he

was forced to abandon his farming proclivities. He
however had his wild land converted into three large
farms, which he sold.

In 1858 he was elected vice-president of the State
Board of Agriculture, and in the succeeding year
was made president.

On the 5th day of January, 1865, a meeting was
held in a country school-house, upon the prairie in
Mahaska county, for the purpose of organizing a
company for the construction of the Central Rail-
road of Iowa. Mr. Fisher prepared the articles of
incorporation, which were adopted then and there,
Mr. Fisher being elected one of the directors, and
subsequently elected by the board as its secretary.
The enterprise was conducted with great vigor, and
the road, about one hundred and thirty miles in
length, was completed in four or five years, and is
now a very important link in the railway system of
the state.

Desirous of placing his two sons in business, he
began to look about the state for a proper location,
and determined upon Red Oak as a suitable place,
to which point he removed in 187 1. Here he im-
mediately commenced the practice of law.

In May, 1872, he purchased a half interest in the
Red Oak " Express," and became its editor, running
the paper through the Grant campaign. In 1872 he
was elected mayor of Red Oak, declining a renomi-
nation at the close of his first term. He is now in
full practice of his profession, though he is a part-
ner with his son, Z. T. Fisher, junior, in one of the
largest hardware establishments in the State of Iowa.

We have here but briefly sketched the career of
this eminently self-made man. His parents were
burthened with a large family, and bad but slender
means, and Zelotes had to fight his way along the
rugged paths of boyhood as best he could. At the
age of eighteen years he had the misfortune to lose
his right arm, thus disqualifying him for any agri-
cultural pursuit, which no doubt was the natural bent
of his mind. Under the most discouraging circum-
stances we find him trying to learn. His indomitable
will, ever encouraged by the kindly words and coun-
sel of his devoted mother, nerves him on to renewed
exertions. He abandons physic for law, in the prac-
tice of which he has had an enviable professional
and financial success, and now in his fifty-eighth
year he is in splendid condition, both physically and

Mr. Fisher claims that his great success in life has
come from two causes : first, he had one of the very



best of mothers, who inspired him to early exertion,
and secondly, he has one of the very best of wives
ever vouchsafed to man, who in his maturer years
has ever been his counsel and advice, and to whose
clear judgment he owes much of the good fortune
that has followed his life. His family at present

consists of his wife, five sons and three daughters,
one daughter having died.

In politics, Mr. Fisher is a very active republican,
frequently appearing before his fellow-citizens in this
and adjoining counties. He is a powerful and ready



A MONG the many manufacturing interests of the
1\. northwest, none deserve more favorable men-
tion than the firm of Reupke, Schmidt and Schwart-
ing, cracker and biscuit manufacturers, Davenport,
Iowa. The firm, although still in its infancy, has
gained for itself an enviable reputation throughout
the country, and established a trade wherever they
are known. They are comparatively young men, but
they are ambitious and enterprising, and are doing
a large and very lucrative business, which is steadily
growing every year. They established their busi-
ness on the ist of July, 1874, with a capital of six-
teen thousand dollars, their building for manufac-
turing purposes being about one-half its present
size, and employed a force of from ten to fifteen
hands, and manufacturing about sixteen thousand
barrels of crackers per annum. From the time they
started their success was guaranteed, and they very
soon had to enlarge their factory and put in new
machinery to keep up with their orders. They now
occupy a fine two-story brick forty-two by one hun-
dred and fifty feet on its original situation, corner of
Fourth and Iowa streets, and employ from eighteen
to twenty hands constantly, requiring a capital of
thirty thousand dollars, with a produce of thirty-five
thousand barrels of crackers per annum, their sales
amounting to from ninety to one hundred thousand

dollars. Their success may be attributed to their
energy,^ perseverance and business ability, as well as
the superior quality of the goods made by them.

Charles H. Reupke, the senior of the firm, was born
in Europe. However, he came to this country while
quite young, and engaged in the grocery business
for a number of years successfully. He is a self-
made man in every particular and owes his success
to his own unaided ability and energy, and has par-
ticular qualifications as a manager.

Hugo Schmidt was born in Prussia, and came to
this country when fifteen years old. He has filled
many positions of honor and trust; has acted as sur-
veyor, draftsman, bookkeeper, and, for fourteen years
prior to going into this business, as a banker. He

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 91 of 125)