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As a disciplinarian, he was stern and unyielding,
and his command was noted for order and punctili-

ous compliance with every military regulation, yet
he was always approachable and sympathetic.

As a politician, while he has been an uncompro-
mising abolitionist, and consequently a republican,
yet principles rather than party measures have always
received his approval. His prospects for an election
to congress, once second to none, were sacrificed to
his unswerving devotion to principle. Of late he
has, therefore, eschewed party affiliations, supporting
only such men and measures as meet his approval.

As a citizen, he is quiet and unostentatious, cor-
dially indorsing and supporting any measure of real
public benefit.

In the selection of his books he shows a taste for
the unique as well as the valuable, and has gathered
in his library many volumes prized alike for age,
quaintness or literary merit. In converse with these
he spends most of the time snatched from profes-
sional labor.

In October, 1856, he married Miss Amelia B. Wil-
son, daughter of Henry Wilson, of Iowa county,
Iowa, formerly of Ontario county. New York, by
whom he has two children, Clara B. and Cora J.



AMONG the younger business men of Toledo, no
ir\. one has made a better record than Levi Buel
Nelson. His career is all the more praiseworthy
because he had no school privileges after he was
thirteen years old, yet educated himself for respon-
sible positions, and has shown himself possessed of
uncommon business talents and capabilities. He is
a son of Seth B. Nelson, a physician, and Jane Gray
Graham, and was born at Horsehead, Chemung
county, New York, the 4th of May, 1838, he now
being in his fortieth year. Seth B. Nelson moved to
Tioga county about 1843, and there his son lived
until seventeen, clerking in a dry-goods store as soon
as he was large enough to be of any service. Being
cut off from school privileges at an early age, he
educated himself, securing a good business outfit.

On the 31st of March, 1856, young Nelson reached
his present home, and two days afterward became
deputy recorder and treasurer of Tama county, hold-
ing that position until July, 1861. On the 22d of
that month he was mustered into the United States
service as sergeant of company C, loth Iowa Infant-

ry. He was immediately assigned duty in the adju-
tant's office, and was soon designated by the colonel
to act as his aid. The latter place he held until the
colonel resigned. Mr. Nelson was mustered out in
September, 1862, because of ill health.

Returning to Toledo, he went into the hardware
business, combining with it agricultural implements
and real estate. In 1869 he sold out his mercantile
interests, continuing real estate and the loan agency
until the present time with good success. He has a
partner, Mr. C. P. N. Barker, who attends to this

In the spring of 1873 the Toledo Savings Bank
was organized, Mr. Nelson was appointed its cashier,
and the duties of that office still occupy his undi-
vided and close attention. It is a popular institution
which he is managing, and its success is owing in
no small measure to his method of conducting it.
There is no better business man in Toledo.

In politics, Mr. Nelson was a liberal in 1872; be-
fore that time was, and since has been, a republican.
He is a Knight Templar in the Masonic order, and



a member of the Congregational church, acting as
trustee in the latter society. He is active in the
Sunday-school, warm and generous hearted, and in
all respects a valuable citizen.

On the 20th of October, 1866, he was united in
marriage to Miss Eliza M. Hendry, of Delaware
county, New York. They have had three children,

and, including an adopted son, have three living.
Mrs. Nelson was educated at a private school in
New Haven, Connecticut. Previous to the Ameri-
can revolution her paternal great-grandfather and
his two brothers were taken prisoners in Delaware
county, New York; the brothers weie killed, and he
was taken to Canada and there died in prison.



DELANO T. SMITH, real-estate dealer and fine
stock raiser in Marshall county, Iowa, and dur-
ing the rebellion one of the active, useful friends of
the republic, is a native of New York, his birth dat-
ing at Litchfield, Herkimer county, the 6th of No-
vember, 1830. His father was a man of unusual
natural powers, of great industry, energy and enter-
prise, owning at different times several farms in the
vicinity where he lived. Most of these farms were
bought more to afford homes and business for rela-
tives and friends than for speculative purposes, an
act of benevolence and enterprise which, owing to
the great financial crisis of 1837, came nigh costing
him all of his hard-earned gains. He died in 1844
of inflammatory disease, caused by overwork, after a
sickness of only ten days, being the only illness of
his life, leaving a widow and three sons, Irving D.,
Delano T., and Melville C. The subject of this
sketch was then thirteen years of age. His mother,
Mrs. Julia Smith, succeeded to the management of
the estate, and most of the land was sold and the
debts paid, leaving the family in possession of the
homestead of some two hundred acres. Mrs. Smith
managed the farm and reared her three children
with marked ability, was a devoted mother, and one
of the most generous and large hearted women in
the country. Her son Irving is now among the
largest farmers in Iowa, and the Hon. Melville C.
Smith one of the most enterprising and prominent
business men and politicians in the city of New York.
She died in Iowa in May, 1876, at the age of seventy,
having spent the last few years of her life with the
subject of this sketch.

Delano gave his youth to the cultiv^ion of land
and his own mind, finishing his school education at
the Clinton Liberal Institute, commencing to teach
at sixteen, while pursuing his academic course. He
taught five years, first in Herkimer and later in the

high schools of Ontario and AVayne counties, steadily
the first two or three years, and later only a part of
the time, giving the residue to the study of law. He
read with Hon. James C. Smith, of Lyons, Wayne
county, now judge of the supreme court, residing in
Canandaigua. He finished his legal studies at the
National Law School, Ballston Spa, and was admitted
to the bar at Albany, New York, in 1852.

After practicing a year in the village of Herkimer
with Judge Graves, he moved to Dixon, Illinois; was
two years in company there with H. J. Sibley and
Colonel C. N. Levanway, prominent attorneys since
deceased ; and in 1855 removed to Minneapolis, Min-
nesota. In June of that year the land there was
made subject to preemption, and he engaged largely
in real estate, continuing the business there some
ten years with marked success. He was elected to
the territorial legislature in 1857, and was also a
member of the senate during the first two years after
Minnesota was admitted as a state.

Among the many favorable notices of Mr. Smith
found in the Minnesota papers we insert the follow-
ing :

Hon. D. T. Smith . . . left Washington about two weeks
since, where he has been occupying a responsible post in
the treasury department. He is also the president of the
sanitary commission, which has done and is still doing so
much for the relief of our wounded and suffering soldiers;
and Mr. Smith has in some instances taken the wounded
into his own house, and, assisted by his estimable lady, has
given them the best of care and attention. The blessings
of those who were ready to perish be upon him.

This, after his unanimous nomination in Minne-
sota for the senate :

Mr. Smith is a true friend of the workingmen every-
where, and they may rely with unwavering confidence upon
his defense of their interests in the legislature. Talented,
honest, industrious and prudently progressive, he will be
elected by those M'ho have the interests of Hennepin county
at heart, and will stand up an embodiment of the integrity
and intelligence of that county in the senate of the State of



He was a prominent actor in shaping the laws of
that state, and his valuable services have not been
forgotten by its citizens. At a subsequent period,
when he and his brother were about to take up their
abode in New York, the " Minnesota State Atlas "
thus spoke of their departure :

HoNS. Delano T. and Melville C. Smith. — Last
week we alluded to the fact that the above named Minne-
sotians contemplated moving to New York city, and ex-
pressed our regret that the state was to lose two so worthy
and prominent citizens. We are glad to learn that although
they are to establish a business office in New York they
will retain most of their interest in Minnesota, and may
still be considered as largely identified with our state. The
Messrs. Smith were early settlers in Minnesota, and from
the first, as business men and citizens, ranked among the
most enterprising and prominent. Always foremost in what-
ever concerned the moral and material welfare of the com-
munity, earnest and energetic, and honest even above sus-
picion, they have won the fullest confidence of our people.
Though largely involved in real-estate transactions at the
time of the terrible financial crash of '57, they were among
the few who went through that trying ordeal with credit
unimpaired and integrity unimpeached. PoliticaHy, both
are effective workers, and on the right side, and to carry
out their present business plans resigned important positions
of trust and confidence. In expressing our regrets at their
departure, and heartily wishing them that success they so
eminently deserve, we but express the feelings of all who
know them.

At the commencement of Mr. Lincoln's adminis-
tration Mr. Smith was very highly recommended by
more than half of the United States senate, by most
of the prominent members of the house of repre-
sentatives, and by all the leading officials of Minne-
sota, for one of the most responsible positions under
Secretary Chase ; and so strong were these recom-
mendations, such a full indorsement of his strict
integrity, marked ability and true patriotism, that
the President remarked, on reading them, that he
should cheerfully sign his appointment to any office
in the treasury department, and that they were suf-
ficient to justify him in taking him into his cabinet.

At the solicitation of the secretary of the treasury
in 186 1 Mr. Smith took the appointment to the chief
clerkship of the third auditor's office of the treas-
ury department, with the understanding and promise
that he should soon be made "the auditor ; but owing
to the exigencies of the war a vacancy was not made
as was contemplated by the president and secretary,
and he therefore remained in that position until Oc-
tober, 1863, when he resigned at the suggestion of
Secretary Chase, and accepted the appointment to
the office of United States direct lax commissioner
for Tennessee, and at once entered upon its duties.

In the winter of 1864-65 he went from Memphis
to Washington by the direction of the secretary of
the treasury, Mr. Fessenden, to aid in securing ad-

ditional legislation to more efficiently collect the
direct taxes in the rebellious states. He laid the
matter before the proper committees of the house
and senate, and persisted in his efforts until the law
.pertaining thereto was amended in accordance with
his views, and as desired by the government. Sub-
sequently, however, President Johnson issued an
order forbidding the sale of property for the non-
payment of taxes in the insurrectionary states, thus
rendering the law, so recently amended, inoperative,
substantially stopping all the collections thereunder.
For that reason, and desiring to engage in business
with his brother in the city of New York, Mr. Smith,
in July, 1865, resigned the office of tax commissioner,
much to the regret of all having knowledge of his
faithful and efficient discharge of its important du-
ties. On this event the New York "Tribune" thus
editorially commented :

The Hon. Delano T. Smith, tax commissioner for Ten-
nessee, has resigned his position, to the regret of the Presi-
dent and Secretary McCullough, by whom he was esteemed
a very faithful officer.

Mr. Smith is one of the truest patriots, and during ^
the progress of the civil war few men had deeper
concern for the country. While in Washington, he
was president of a union league and of other organi-
zations having for their end the salvation of the
nation. He was a member also of the executive com-
mittee of the National Union League, and worked
effectually in that capacity with leading men of the

After resigning his office in Tennessee he spent a
short time in Minneapolis arranging his business and
property interests, and in the autumn of 1865 re-
moved to the city of New York, where he remained
and engaged actively in business for four years.
During a part of this time he was at work, in con-
nection with his brother Melville, in projecting the
"Arcade Railway," to run under Broadway in that
city, one of the most important projects ever con-
ceived for the benefit of New York. It would vir-
tually have made Broadway and other streets double,
and provided ample accommodation for the trade
and travel of that overcrowded city. Notwithstand-
ing it was estimated to cost sixteen million dollars,
and was to make so great a transformation of the
streets, the Smith brothers secured the necessary
influence and a pledge of the required capital, and
the legislature of the state passed a bill authorizing
the construction of the work. The enterprise en-
countered the bitter opposition of the "Tweed



ring," then in the zenith of its power, and through
its influence John T. Hoffman, then governor, was
induced to veto the bill, and thus this great project
was for a time defeated. Commodore Vanderbilt,
who pledged two million dollars in aid of the origi-
nal undertaking, has since adopted the plan in what
is known as "The South Avenue Improvement,"
which cost six millions to construct, and it is not
unlikely the original purpose may yet be fully car-
ried out.

Not finding life in that great city to agree with
his health, Mr. Smith again moved west, and on the
1st of September, 1869, reached Marshalltovn. Here
for eight years he has been engaged in real estate,
money loaning, and, after one year, stock raising,
making every branch a success. He is now, withal,
an extensive farmer; has a thousand acres or more
in Logan township, eighteen miles from Marshall-
town, under excellent improvement; six hundred
and forty acres in Plymouth county, near Lemars,
besides his stock farm, " Highland Home," adjoining
the city. On this farm and that in Logan he usually
has from forty to sixty thoroughbred shorthorn cat-
tle, two or three hundred thoroughbred Berkshire
swine, and two hundred or more graded cattle. He
is one of the most extensive stock raisers in the

Mr. Smith has always been a republican, and has
advocated the principles of the party by pen as well
as tongue. The first political article he ever wrote

was against the fugitive slave law, and was published
in the Lyons, New York, "Gazette" and other pa-
pers in Wayne and Ontario counties. In the days
of his Minnesota campaigns few stump speakers had
more weight with the people. He was earnest, forci-
ble and eloquent, and being well posted and on the
right side, produced conviction, and was remarkably
successful as a politician in whatever he undertook.

He has had two wives : the first was Mary E. Cook,
of Springville, Erie county, New York; married in
1852, died at Minneapolis in 1857, leaving one child,
Mary J. His present wife was Miss Mettie A. Pal-
mer, daughter of Chauncey Palmer, a prominent iron
founder and builder of Utica, New York. She is the
mother of five children, one son and four daughters,
all living.

In this brief sketch we have done scant justice to
the important events in Mr. Smith's busy life, and
still less have we portrayed those characteristics
which make him so respected and honored, and most
by those who know him best. Starting comparatively
without means, he has been " the architect of his
fortune," and stands prominent among our noble
array of self-made men. Temperate in habits, honest
and upright in motive and action, kind and con-
siderate of others, sincere and patriotic, of untiring
energy, quick and clear in his perceptions, discreet
and comprehensively thoughtful, he has justly earned
and is more than entitled to his marked success and
position among men.



JESSE CLEMENT, once for eleven years a resi-
dent of Iowa, and one of the writers of this
volume, comes of revolutionary stock. His grand-
father, Moses Clement, at the age of seventeen was
on guard the night before the battle of Bunker Hill,
and witnessed that early blow struck for the inde-
pendence of the colonies. At the end of six months
the young private returned to his farm in Dracut,
Middlesex county, Massachusetts, where he subse-
quently married Rachel Perham, of Tyngsborq, Mas-
sachusetts, and had a family of fourteen children.

The second of these children was Asa Clement, a
farmer and poultry merchant, and the father of Jesse,
who was born on the 12th of June, 1815. His mother
was Elizabeth Wilson, of Pelham, New Hampshire,

and died when the son was eleven years old. He
was reared on the farm, but had no taste for agri-
cultural pursuits, and always took his newspaper or
book into the hay-field. At nineteen years of age
he left the farm for the academy at New Hampton,
New Hampshire, and in the course of five years at-
tended school a little more than three, teaching dis-
trict schools during five consecutive winters, and oc-
casionally a select school for a short time. He had
a hard struggle, particularly during the early part of
his academic life, boarding with a farmer and pay-
ing in work at six cents an hour.

From May, 1840, to December, 1842, Mr. Clement
taught in the English department of the institution
where he had been educated ; in the last named



month he went to Buffalo, New York, and was there
connected with the " Western Literary Messenger "
for fourteen years, being its sole editor the last twelve.
From 1847 to 1857 he was also a traveling corre-
spondent of the "Buffalo Commercial Advertiser."
During this period he had the compiling and entire
supervision of nine city directories. In addition to
these labors he wrote more or less poetry for the
" Knickerbocker Magazine," the " Ladies' Book,"
the "Union Magazine," and the "Southern Literary
Messenger." In 1850 and 185 1 he edited "The No-
ble Deeds of American Women," a volume of five
hundred and eighty pages, and wrote the first life of
Adoniram Judson, the pioneer American missionary
to Burmah. He also wrote regularly for three or
four Baptist papers ; for one of which he has writ-
ten thirty years, for another more than twenty.

In April, 1857, Mr. Clement removed to Dubuque,
Iowa, and became one of the founders of the " Daily
Times," of which he was associate editor until Feb-
ruary, 1863, when he engaged in the business of life
insurance, following it ten years. During these years,
however, he did not wholly relinquish his literary
labors, often delivering lectures, poems and addresses
before colleges, literary societies and various other
organizations. In the spring of 1868 he removed to
Chicago. For the last five years he has been a travel-
ing correspondent of the " Daily Inter-Ocean," writ-
ing more or less for other papers, secular and re-

ligious, and doing some literary work on the Wiscon-
sin, Iowa and Minnesota volumes of The United
States BioeRAPHicAL Dictidnary.

Mr. Clement was originally a democrat, with free-
soil proclivities, but he left the party in thorough
disgust in 1854, or at the time that an effort was
made to nationalize slavery.

He is a member of the University Place Baptist
Church, and has been one of its deacons since it
was organized. He held the same office in Buffalo
and Dubuque, and has been an earnest worker in
all christian organizations. He was among the first
members of the Young Men's Christian Union, of
Buffalo, acting at times as treasurer, president or
manager, and was at the head of the Sunday-school
associations of both places.

Mr. Clement was first married on the 21st of Au-
gust, 1841, to Miss Mary E. Blood, by whom he had
two children, only one of whom survived her. This
daughter, Ada Elizabeth, is the wife of William J.
Gilbert, law-book publisher, of St. Louis, Missouri.
His present wife was Lucetta H. Blood, to whom he
was married on the 25th of April, 1859. She has
two sons : Ernest Wilson, aged eighteen, a sopho-
more in the University of Chicago, and Clarence,
aged eleven. His wives were daughters of David
Blood, Esq., of Dracut, Massachusetts; both were
women of fine mental qualities, and earnest workers
in religious and benevolent enterprises.



THE father of James Simpson Hurley was born
in the gallant State of New Jersey when the
infant republic had been but ten years an inde-
pendent nation. His grandfather had borne a con-
spicuous part in the heroism of that time, and his
patriotism legitimately descended to his children,
and they in turn imparted it to their issue.

The father of J. S. Hurley was a Quaker, who
had become one of the early pioneers of Ohio, and
the subject of our biography was born in Cham-
paign county, in that state, on the i8th of May,

In 1814 his father had married Miss Elizabeth
Downs, of New Jersey, a lady of rare qualities of
mind and of good education. Bringing her chil-
dren into a new country, upon the very outskirts

of civilization, there were for a long period no
schools to which she could send them, and she
consequently devoted much of her time to their
instruction, and to her unceasing care in this di-
rection J. S. Hurley owes nearly all the material
education he ever received. She also implanted
in his young heart the right principles of conduct
which have been so conspicuous in his after career.
In 1840 his father removed to Iowa. James Simp-
son Hurley worked upon his father's farm for four
years after his settlement in Wapello, when a dis-
trict school was established, which he attended dur-
ing three or four winters. His father died in March,
1848, when the cares of the farm and the family de-
volved upon him. This continued until 1852, when
he entered the academic department of Knox Col-



lege, at Galesburg, Illinois, but in six months' time
he was obliged to return to the farm and superin-
tend its affairs. He commenced reading law in the
office of B. F. Wright, at Wapello, with whom he
remained until -the fall of 1853, and then went to
the law school at Dubuque during the winters of
1853-4, and was admitted to the bar in 1854, in the
fall of which year he commenced his practice. In
the succeeding year he was elected to the office
of prosecuting attorney for Louisa county, which
office also involved the duties of the county judge
during that official's absence. He was first elected
to fill a vacancy, and was subsequently elected for
the full terra of two years, acting in the double
capacity almost the entire time. The new consti-
tution of Iowa was adopted in August, 1857. By
its provisions the election of a district attorney for
each judicial district was instituted in lieu of prose-
cuting attorney for the county at large.

At the expiration of his term of prosecuting at-
torney he devoted himself to the practice of law
until October, 1861, when he was elected to the
state senate for four years from January, 1862. In
the first session of this legislature the most impor-
tant committee he served on was that of schools
and universities, and among others that on new
counties and on commerce. During the first ses-
sion he introduced and had the management of the
bill for the settlement of claims for swamp lands
which were given to the states by an act of con-
gress in 1850. By the provisions of this bill a vast
amount of land was reclaimed by the state. There
were two regular sessions and one special session

Online Librarypub American Biographical Publishing CompanyThe United States biographical dictionary and portrait gallery of eminent and self made men. Iowa volume → online text (page 95 of 125)