Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

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had removed when twenty-one years of age, and there he was admitted to the
bar in 1859. He then practiced his profession in Adel until after the out-
break of the Civil war in 1861, when he offered his services to the government,
enlisting in the Second Iowa Battery of Light Artillery, of which he was com-
missioned first lieutenant. He commanded the battery in all of its engage-
ments after the 1st of December, 1862, but was not mustered in as captain
until the 1st of October, 1864. The battery was engaged against New Madrid,
Island No. 10, and in Halleck's advance on Corinth, in which were fought the
two battles of Farmington. With his command he was also in the engage-
ments at Iuka, Corinth, Jackson and the siege of Yicksburg, where the flag of
the Second Iowa Battery was for many days the colors nearest to the Confeder-
ate works. Later came the battles of Tupelo, Hurricane Creek, Abbeville,
Nashville and the siege and capture of Mobile.

Captain Reed was mustered out of service in June, 1865, and returned
to Adel to resume the practice of his profession. His ability won recognition
and led to his selection for political as well as professional honors. In 1866 he
was elected to the state senate for a term of two years. In 1869 he removed to
Council Bluffs, where he practiced law for a year as a member of the firm of
Montgomery, Reed & James, after which the withdrawal of the senior partner
left the firm of Reed & James. No dreary novitiate awaited Mr. Reed in Coun-
cil Bluffs. On the contrary he won almost immediate success and in 1872 he
was appointed to fill the vacancy on the bench of the third judicial district.
The ability with which he discharged his duties as judge led to his election at
three successive terms and his continuance upon the bench as district judge
until 1884. He was then elected to the supreme bench of Iowa and his record
of appeals was in harmony with his record as a man and lawyer, being dis-
tinguished by the utmost fidelity to duty as well as by a masterful grasp of
every question which was presented for solution. After five years' service as
a member of the supreme court, Judge Reed was elected to congress from the
ninth Iowa district and further political honors awaited him on the expira-
tion of his term in Washington, for in 1891 he was appointed chief justice of
the court of private land claims by President Harrison. This court had juris-
diction of claims of lands received under grants from Spain and Mexico in
the territory acquired by the United States from Mexico under the Guadalupe
Hidalgo treaty of 1848 and the Gadsden purchase in 1853. Upon his retire-
ment from that office Judge Reed resumed the private practice of law in Coun-
cil Bluffs and is numbered among the most successful and distinguished mem-
bers of the Iowa bar. In 1901 he was elected president of the Commercial
Bank of Council Bluffs.

On the 1st of November, 1865, was celebrated the marriage of Judge Reed
and Miss Jeanette E. Dinsmore, of Ashland county, Ohio, who died on the
27th of July, 1887, and on the 8th of February, 1893, he was again married,
his second union being with Edith M. Evans, of Malvern, Ohio. There is one
daughter of this union.


Judge Reed is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is interested in the
social as well as the political life of his home city. His record is another proof
of the fact that the path to public honor is the road to public usefulness. His
official service has been characterized by the utmost devotion to the general
good and has won him high encomiums, commanding for him the respect of
people of all parties. Earnest effort, close application and the exercise of his
native talents have won him prestige as a lawyer and judge at a bar which has
numbered many distinguished men and Council Bluffs is proud to number him
among her citizens.


Isaac T. Van Ness, a physician and surgeon of Neola, dates his residence
in this county from September, 1880. He was born October 23, 1845, in Stand-
ingstone township, Bradford county, Pennsylvania. His father, Isaac Hankin-
son Van Ness, was a native of Newark, New Jersey, and a descendant of Hol-
land Dutch ancestry. When a young man he went with his parents to Brad-
ford county, Pennsylvania, where he learned and followed the blacksmith's
trade. In that state he married Rachel Whipple, a native of Wilkesbarre,
Pennsylvania, where her father had extensive coal interests. After his marriage
Isaac H. Van Ness engaged in lumbering and farming, owning and operating
two large sawmills. He continued a resident of Bradford county and one of
its prominent business men up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1881,
when he was seventy-seven years of age. . His wife had passed away long years
before, dying in 1852 at the age of thirty-five years, when her son Isaac was a
lad of seven. There were six children in the family, three of whom still sur-

Dr. Van Ness was the third in order of birth and is the eldest of the sur-
vivors. He was reared on a small farm and aided with its development in con-
nection with the work of the lumber camp prior to the age of eighteen years,
when he began clerking in a drag store at Towanda, Pennsylvania, for Dr.
Porter, under whose direction he also read medicine for five years. On (he
expiration of that period he went to Philadelphia and attended medical lectures
at the Eclectic College, from which he was graduated in the class of 1871.
Thinking to find a better field of labor in the middle west, he removed to
Dixon, Illinois, where he located for practice, remaining there for several

While there Dr. Van Ness was married, on the 24th of June, 1875, to Miss
Helen Gertrude Fletcher, a native of Lee county, Illinois, and a daughter of
James Fletcher, a capitalist of Dixon who owned the electric light and water
plant there and a large estate in that locality. Following his marriage Dr.
Van Ness removed to Burrton, Harvey county, Kansas, where he practiced for
two and a half years and also homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of gov-
ernment land. He then went to Colorado, where he remained for a brief
period, but the rarified condition of the air proved detrimental to him and in


consequence he came to Iowa in 1880, locating at Minden, Pottawattamie
county. A year later he removed to Neola, where he purchased a tract of land
and built a drug store and residence. Three times he has suffered loss by fire,
once at Dixon and twice in Neola. He carries a large and well selected line of
drugs. At the same time he is an active practitioner of medicine and surgery
and for twenty-three years he has been surgeon for the Chicago, Milwaukee &
St. Paul Railroad Company. For two years he practiced his profession in
Council Bluffs, living there at the time. For twenty-seven years he has resided
in this county and is now the oldest practitioner in Neola. As his financial re-
sources have increased he has made judicious investments in property and has
now large landed interests in Huron, South Dakota.

Dr. and Mrs. Van Ness are the parents of three children but they lost
their first born, Robert, at the age of one year. The others are Helen Ger-
trude, the wife of T. A. Mitchell, of Neola, who is engaged in the insurance
business and is local manager for the Hawkeye Insurance Company; and
Henry George, who is in the drug business with his father. He is a graduate
of the Neola high school and is attending college at Ames, pursuing a scientific
course. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have two childrenвАФ Mary Elizabeth, a daughter
of Mr. Mitchell's first marriage, and Myron Thomas, born of the present mar-

Dr. Van Ness has been a life-long republican but without aspiration for
office. He belongs to the Masonic lodge at Neola. In professional life he is
connected with the Pottawattamie County Medical Society and the Iowa State
Medical Society. In his profession he has made continuous advancement by
his broad research and study, keeping in touch with the onward march of
progress made by the medical fraternity. As a merchant and physician he has
made a most creditable record, not only for success but also by reason of the
straightforward business principles he has followed and by his close conformity
to a high standard of professional ethics. Wherever known, and his ac-
quaintance is a wide one, he has the high esteem of those with whom he has
been brought in contact.


William Welch, conducting a transfer business in Council Bluffs, has
spent hjs entire life in the middle west. He was born in Champion county,
Michigan, in 1866, and in 1869 was brought to Council Bluffs by his parents.
The family is of Irish descent and was founded in America by the grandfather
of our subject. William Welch, the father of our subject, was born in County
Sligo, Ireland, in 1837, and when the family came to the new world in 1842
establishing a home at Toronto, Canada, he became a pupil of the public
schools of that city and resided there for about twenty-one years, or until his
removal to Michigan in 1863. He was connected with the copper mines of
that state and there remained until 1869, when he brought his family to
Council Bluffs. He had been married in Michigan, in 1864, to Miss Mary


Connelly, and subsequent to their arrival in Council Bluffs he started out sell-
ing goods with a pack. Later he bought a wagon with which to make his
trips and as the years passed he prospered in his undertakings so that after a
decade or more he was enabled to open a grocery store and coal yard. Thus he
became a prominent factor in the business life of the city, receiving a liberal
patronage, which brought to him a goodly measure of success. Unto Mr. and
Mrs. Welch were born eight children of whom six reached maturity and are yet
living: William, of this review; Joseph H.; Margaret, the wife of Herman
Peeper; Elizabeth, the wife of James Glenn; Thomas; and Edward. The
mother still survives and is now living with her eldest son in Council Bluffs.

Brought to this city when only three years of age, William Welch, when a
little lad of six years, entered the public schools and was here educated. He
left school at the age of eighteen and entered the grocery .store of his father,
with whom he continued until the hitter's death in 1887. He then disposed of
the store but has conducted the coal yard up to the present time and has a
large patronage in this line. Just before his father's death he had established
a transfer business, which William Welch has since carried on. He has suc-
ceeded well in this undertaking and in connection with teaming he also con-
ducts a storage warehouse. The various branches of his business are now
bringing to him a merited success.

Mr. Welch is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and belongs to
the Catholic church. He is not actively interested in politics, preferring to
give his undivided attention to his business, and by reason of his close applica-
tion and unfaltering diligence he has progressed to a point where he now
stands in advance of the great majority, being classed among the successful
residents of Council Bluffs.


No history of Pottawattamie county would be complete without mention
of John F. Garner and the family of which he is a representative. He was
born in the township which bears the family name, being so called in honor
of his father, who was its first settler, and of whom mention is made on an-
other page of this work. The birth of John F. Garner there occurred on the
27th of February, 1849, and amid the wild scenes and environments of pioneer
life lie was reared, early becoming familiar with the arduous toil incident to
the development of a new farm. He attended the public schools as opportunity
"Hi rod and worked upon the old homestead until the time of his marriage,
which was celebrated in October, 1868, the lady of his choice being (diss Mary
Elizabeth Dial. Her father, William H. Dial, was one of the early settlers of
the county, arriving here during the period of the Civil war. Unto Mr. and
Mrs. Garner have been born six children: Lillie, now the wife of Joseph
Young; Halcyon, deceased; John, who resides in Garner township; James, who
bas also departed this life; Maude, the wife of Eli Jones, of Harrison county;
and Edna, at home.


At the time of his marriage John F. Garner began farming on one of his
father's properties, for William -Garner was one of the largest landowners in
the township at the time of his demise. The subject of this review improved a
part of the land on which he located and later built a good house and barns
there. He lived upon that place for about thirty-two years, transforming it
from wild prairie into richly cultivated fields and then, retiring from active
agricultural pursuits, removed to Council Bluffs about 1901. There he lived
for three years and in 1904 returned to farm life, taking up his abode on sec-
tion 17, Garner township, where he now makes his home. He owns three hun-
dred and twenty-five acres of rich and productive land in this township and
formerly his possessions were more extensive, for in the summer of 1906 he
sold one hundred and twenty-five acres. He now has about fifty acres in his
home place. Great indeed have been the changes which have occurred during
the period of his residence here. He can remember a day when there were
many deer and some bears in this locality but owing to the severity of the
winter of 1856-7 the deer mostly perished. Indians still visited the neighbor-
hood to some extent and wild animals roamed at will over the prairie or sought
shelter in the timber which bordered the streams. Only here and there had a
habitation been placed, showing that the seeds of modern civilization were be-
ing planted on the western frontier. In his boyhood and youth Mr. Garner
bore his full share in the work of reclaiming wild land for the purposes of
civilization and as the years have gone by he has continued to carry on agri-
cultural pursuits with excellent results, being now one of the substantial farm-
ers of his community.


Captain John P. Williams is an honored veteran of the Civil war, who at
one time was associated with the building interests of Council Bluffs as a con-
tractor and builder but is now living retired. His natal day was January 2,
1825, and the place of his birth Windsor county, Vermont. His father, Henry
Williams, was born in Springfield, Vermont, and died in 1832 at the compara-
tively early age of twenty-eight years. His wife bore the maiden name of
Abigail C. Cram, and was born in the Green Mountain state in 1806. There
she gave her hand in marriage to Henry Williams in 1824.

Their son John was but seven years of age at the time of the father's
death. He was feared, however, in Vermont, where he lived to the age of
thirty years, and in the common schools he acquired his education, the little
log schoolhouses affording him the privileges he enjoyed for the mastery of
different branches of English learning. He was on the farm for a few years,
early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the
agriculturist, and when twenty years of age he established a sawmill and feed
business in Perkinsville, Vermont, where he remained for three years. On
the expiration of that period he went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he drove
a coach for the Eastern Railroad Company for two years. After returning


to his native county he again engaged in farming for five years and subse-
quently turned his attention to the business of shipping poultry, eagerly em-
bracing every opportunity that offered for his business advancement and that
contributed to his success.

In 1854 Captain Williams came to Council Bluffs, which was then a town
upon the western frontier, giving little promise of future development and
yet containing large possibilities in that direction. Soon after his arrival here
he took up a claim in Washington county, Nebraska, where he engaged in
raising grain. In 1855 he again came to Council Bluffs and turned his atten-
tion to carpentering. Since that time he has been more or less closely
associated with building interests but his business life has been interrupted
by official and military service. In 1860 he was elected sheriff of Potta-
wattamie county on the republican ticket and filled the office for two years.
He then responded to the country's call for aid and raised Company A of
the Twenty-ninth Iowa Volunteers, of which he was elected captain. Going
to the front he served for eighteen months, after which he was discharged on
account of physical disability.

Following his return to Council Bluffs, Captain Williams was engaged
in the meat business for two years and then resumed work at the carpenter's
trade. In 1872 he went to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he engaged in min-
ing and building for two years, and on the expiration of that period he con-
tinued his journey down the Pacific coast, spending about four years on the
seaport at different places. Once more he came to Council Bluffs, where he
entered the registered mail service under Postmaster Phil Armour, serving
until the close of the latter's term. On the expiration of that period Captain
Williams entered the office of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, doing
night transfer service for two years. Once more he took up carpentering
and continued actively in building operations until the early '90s. Since
then he has devoted only a portion of his time to that work, largely living
retired. His life has been an active and useful one and in all of his business
operations he has been found honorable and trustworthy.

On the 14th of May, 1851, Captain Williams was married to Miss Hannah
Dewey, a relative of Admiral Dewey. She was born April 1, 1833, in Lebanon,
New Hampshire, and acquired her education in the common schools there.
She was a granddaughter of one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war and her
father served his country in the war of 1812. Unto Captain and Mrs. Wil-
liams have been born the following named: Mrs. Harriet Gray is the widow
of Henry Gray. She was born in Hartford, Vermont, in 1852 and now lives
in San Francisco, California, being a teacher in the public schools of that
city. She is a member of the Daughters of the Revolution and of the Order
of the Eastern Star. For more than thirty yen- she has made her home in
San Francisco and she was very fortunate in escaping all loss during the earth-
quake and fire disaster, her home being just outside the destroyed dis-
trict, John P. Williams, Jr., the second of the family, born in
1854, died in 1855. Mrs. Kate Spangler, born in 1856, is living in Walnut,
Pottawattamie county, and is a member of the Daughters of the American
Revolution. Ida, born in 1858, departed this life in 1863. Edmund Otis,


born in 1860, died in 1863, only a few days after his sister's death. Charles,
whose birth occurred in 1864, passed away in 1873. Fred O, born in 1866,
is living at Florence, Colorado, where he is engaged in the cigar and tobacco
business. Nellie, born in 1875, died when only a few months old.

Captain Williams is a member of the Masonic lodge, having affiliated
with the order since 1856. He is likewise a member of Abe Lincoln post,
No. 29, G. A. R., and his wife holds membership in the First Presbyterian
church of this city. He owns several rental properties and a comfortable home
at No. 605 West Washington street. He had the honor of erecting the first
building in Omaha and has been to a greater or less extent associated with
building operations in Council Bluffs for many years. He came to this city
more than a half century ago and although his residence here has not been
continuous he has spent the greater part of his time here and has been an
interested witness of the changes which have been wrought, making this one
of the leading cities of the great west. He has passed the eighty-second mile-
stone on life's journey and his life has been fraught with many good deeds
and actuated by many kindly purposes that have made him a most respected
and honored man.


On the roll of Council Bluffs successful and enterprising citizens appears
the name of Drayton W. Bushnell, a bookseller and stationer, carrying a large
and well selected line of goods. His wide acquaintance and the favorable
regard in which he is universally held renders his life history a matter of
interest to the community, and it is therefore with pleasure that we present
to our readers this record of his career. He was born in Ashtabula county,
Ohio, December 22, 1844, the family home being in the little town of Cherry
Valley. His ancestors had .long resided in the Buckeye state. His paternal
grandfather was Alexander Bushnell, a native of Connecticut, who, on remov-
ing to the middle west, settled in Trumbull county, Ohio. He died during the
period of the Civil war, when about sixty-five years of age. His son Luman
J. Bushnell was born in Hartford, Ohio, in 1820, and was a country merchant.
He was married in 1842 to Miss Eliza McFarland, who died in 1859.

Drayton W. Bushnell, their only child, remained a resident of Cherry
Valley, Ohio, to the age of sixteen years and then came to Boone county,
Iowa, where for a year he remained upon a farm. He watched with interest
the progress of events in the south brought about by the momentous questions
that involved the country in civil war. After the outbreak of hostilities he
watched the course of the war and on the 24th of January, 1862, he offered
his services to the government in defense of the Union, enlisting as a private
in Company B, Fifteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered out
at Newberne, North Carolina, on the 17th of March, 1865, after having par-
ticipated in the battle of Shiloh, the advance on Corinth, the Atlanta campaign
from Big Shanty until after the fall of Atlanta, subsequent to which time


he was sent to Tunnel Hill, where he did garrison duty until February 2, 1865.
He then went to Newbeme, North Carolina, and then out to Kingston, North
Carolina; was in the battle there March 14 and 15, and then back to New-
beme, where he was mustered out, having for more than three years done his
full duty as a soldier who is ever loyal to the cause he espouses.

When his military experiences were ended Mr. Bushnell returned to
Boone, Iowa, and for one season worked at farm labor. He afterward attended
school at Mount Vernon, Iowa, for one term, and in 1866 was graduated from
Eastman Business College, at Chicago. Being thus equipped for a successful
commercial career he again returned to Boone county, and for two years was
deputy treasurer there. He then turned his attention to the stationery busi-
ness in Boonesboro, Iowa, becoming a member of the firm of Moffatt & Bush-
nell, which relation was maintained from 1868 until 1872. In the latter
year Mr. Bushnell sold his interest, removed to Council Bluffs and became
a partner in the Postoniee Bookstore under the name of Bushnell & Brackett.
These gentlemen remained as partners until 1877, when Mr. Bushnell again
sold out, spending the succeeding year in the Black Hills, in Colorado and
in California. He then went again to Boone, Iowa, where he became inter-
ested in the drug business as a partner in the firm of Bushnell & Townsend.
A year later he disposed of his share in the business and went to Chicago.

In the last named city Mr. Bushnell was married on the 24th of Decem-
ber, 1879, to Miss Sophie \Y. Eyndshaw and in the spring of 1880 he came
back to Council Bluffs, where he bought out the interest in the bookstore
in which he had previously been a partner, the firm again becoming Bushnell
& Brackett and so continuing until the partnership was dissolved in 1884, Mr.
Bushnell taking one of the two stores as his share of the business. Here he
is yet engaged in the stationery trade and keeps a complete stock of the leading
lines of stationery as put upon the market by the large manufacturers of the
country. Everything in the way of stationery can be found in his store, and
as his price- air reasonable and his business methods honorable, he has secured
a liberal patronage. He belongs to the Elks lodge and is a republican in poli-
tics but takes no active part in political affairs, preferring to concentrate his

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 30 of 59)