Homer Howard Field.

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

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in Council Bluffs on the 5th of June, 1860. His parents were J. B. and
Amanda J. Lewis, natives of Kentucky and of Illinois respectively. The
father was a harness maker by trade and came to Council Bluffs in 1853, only
about five years after the admission of the state into the Union. The city
was then a frontier town, in which he established a harness business, con-


tinuing his operations in that line up to the time of his demise, which oc-
curred in 1904. His widow still survives and now makes her home with
her son, who is her only living child.

In early boyhood N. H. Lewis was sent to the public schools, where he
acquired a good English education, as he passed from one grade to another.
In early life he learned the trade of harness and saddle making with his
father and they continued in business together until the father retired at
the Bluffs. Mr. Lewis of this review then established a business of his own
at Marne, Iowa, where he continued for six years. On the expiration of
that period he came to Walnut in 1887, established a harness store and has
since carried on the business at this place. He has been very successful
in his mercantile operations and his enterprise and diligence well entitle
him to the measure of prosperity which he is now enjoying.

In 1885 Mr. Lewis was united in marriage to Miss Frances E. Gill, who
was born in Lewis, Cass county, Iowa, in 1860, a daughter of Mason C. and
Mary Gill, whose family numbered eight children. Both parents are still
living, the father having reached the venerable age of ninety years, while
the mother has attained the advanced age of seventy-eight years. Unto Mr.
and Mrs. Lewis have been born three children: Frances E., a graduate of
Drake University and now engaged in teaching school; and Vera and Fred
W., both at home.

Mr. Lewis exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and
measures of the republican party and is recognized as one of its local leaders.
He is now a member of the school board and the cause of education finds
in him a stalwart champion. He is also serving as one of the aldermen of the
town of Walnut and exercises his official prerogatives in support of all that
promises to prove of benefit to the community, lie belongs to the Odd Fel-
lows lodge. No. 327, in which he has filled all of the chairs. His mother
was one of the pioneer members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Coun-
cil Bluffs and now has her membership in the church at Walnut. The
family is an old and prominent one in the county, the name of Lewis hav-
ing figured in connection with the harness trade for more than a half
century, and at all times the name has stood as a synonym for commercial
integrity and progress.


Drury F. Dryden, although now living a retired life in Council Bluffs,
was for many years actively connected with the agricultural interests of
this section of the state, having been a resident of Pottawattamie county
since 1869. In the early days of his arrival the wild game was plentiful,
including deer and various kinds of wild fowls. All this was in sharp con-
trast to his environments and home life in the older east. He is a native
of Cleveland. Ohio, where his birth occurred May 12. 1842. His father,
Cyrus P. Dryden. was born in Massachusetts and removed to Cleveland at


au early period in the development of that city, purchasing a home near
the town, while his time and energies were devoted to the conduct of the
manufacturing business there. Both he and his wife spent their remaining
days near Cleveland, and Mrs. Dryden died recently.

Drury F. Dryden acquired an education in the public schools of Cleve-
land and Baldwin University and remained at home through the period
of his boyhood and youth, assisting his father in the carding mill and chair
factory, when not occupied with the duties of the schoolroom. He con-
tinued with his father until after the outbreak of the Civil war, being among
the first, however, to enlist in response to the country's call. Hardly had
the smoke from Fort Sumter's guns cleared away before he offered his aid
in defense of the Union, enlisting in April, 1861, for three months. After
serving for a time he returned home and found that two more companies in
Cleveland were being organized for active field service. Mr. Dryden then
re-enlisted for three years as a member of the Nineteenth Ohio Light Artil-
lery and served throughout the war, participating in many of the most
important engagements, including the siege of Atlanta and the battle of
Nashville. He was altogether in more than one hundred battles and was
under fire in and around Atlanta for one hundred and five days. He never
faltered in the performance of any duty whether on the lonely picket line
or on the firing line, but ever loyally followed the old flag until he received
an honorable discharge after the close of the war, on the 27th of July,

When the country no longer needed his services Mr. Dryden returned
to the old home in Cleveland and there began business on his own account
by opening a stone quarry. He continued to engage in getting out stone and
sending it to the market for several years, but thinking that still broader
business opportunities might open before him in the west he turned his
face toward the setting sun, making his way direct to Kansas. He then
located in the vicinity of Salina but did not like the country and only
remained for a short period, after which he came to Pottawattamie county,
Iowa, where he has since made his home.

In the meantime Mr. Dryden was married in Columbus, Ohio, to Miss
Gertrude Goss, a native of that state, and a daughter of Charles H. Goss,
who was a clerk in the Ohio State Prison there during the greater part of
his life. He died in "Columbus, in 1863, after which Mrs. Goss came west
and for a short period remained in Council Bluffs, after which she went to
live with her son in Omaha, where her last days were passed.

Upon the arrival of Mr. Dryden in this county in 1839 he purchased a
small farm in Hardin township, and turned his attention to general agri-
cultural pursuits, but he soon found that stock-raising was a more profitable
business and gave the greater part of his attention to the raising and feeding
of stock. In this he was very successful, annually making large shipments
to the city markets and finding a ready sale for his stock there. As his
financial resources increased he kept buying land and adding to his farm
until he owned three hundred and seventy acres on sections 23, 14 and 24,
in Hardin township, known as farm No. 7542. He still owns this prop-


erty, which is one of the most valuable farms in the county, and he resided
thereon for over thirty-five years, engaging to some extent in general farm-
ing but mostly raising fine stock. In 1904 he gave the farm over to the
care of his sons, deciding to retire from active business, and removed to the
city of Council Bluffs, where he has since lived.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dryden were born eight children: Jessie, the wife
of L. W. Morris, a farmer of Pottawattamie county; Hattie, the wife of
Rev. Godell, a Methodist minister, who at one time had a charge in Council
Bluffs but is now located in Nebraska; Lottie, who is principal of the high
school at Glidden but makes her home with her parents in this city; Ralph,
who operates the old homestead farm; Cyrus P., who is engaged in farm-
ing; Gertrude, at home; Dee F., who is a student of the high school and is
also under the parental roof; and Gussie, who died at the age of eighteen

Mrs. Dryden is a member of the Second Presbyterian church at Coun-
cil Bluffs. Mr. Dryden has membership relations with the Grand Army
post and in politics is a stanch republican, believing firmly in the princi-
ples of the party, which was the defense of the Union in the dark days of
the Civil war and which has always been the party of progress, reform and
improvement. He was for over three year- a member of the board of super-
visors, in which capacity he rendered signal service to his fellow townsmen.
He is one of the best known among the pioneers and old soldiers of the
county. When he removed to the city three years ago he took up his abode
on Park avenue, where he lived for two years, and about a year ago he pur-
chased the present commodious and beautiful residence at No. 621 Franklin
avenue, known as the Devine home. Here he has made great improve-
ments and amid most pleasant and comfortable surroundings is spending
his days in the enjoyment of a rest which he has justly earned and richly
merits. The years have brought many changes to the county during his
residence here, the pioneer conditions having long since given way before
an advancing civilization which has brought with it all the comforts and

conveniences of tl Ider east. Mr. Dryden has borne his full share in the

business development of the county and in the conduct of his individual
interests has gained ,i success which is most gratifying by reason of the fact
that his methods have never been such as seek or demand disguise.


John N. Horn is engaged in general agricultural pursuits and stock-
raising on a farm of two hundred and sixty-five acres, situated on sections
30 and 31, Neola township, and sections 25 and 36, Boomer township. He
is a native son of the county, having been born here on the 12th of May,
1849. His father, John Horn, was a native of Kent, England, and was
there reared and married, Miss Rebecca W. Shuttle, also a native of that
locality, becoming his wife. Mr. Horn was a carpenter and joiner by trade


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and followed that pursuit in his earlier years. On leaving England in 1847,
he crossed the Atlantic to America and made his way direct to Iowa, set-
tling near Council Bluffs. He assisted in building some of the first residences
in Omaha and Council Bluffs and continued in active connection with
building operations for a number of years. He then opened up and im-
proved a farm of one hundred and ten acres in Kane township and there
reared his family. Subsequently he made his home in that section of Kane
township which was cut off and called Garner. He spent his last years
in Council Bluffs, however, and owned a residence there. To him was
allotted a goodly old age in which to enjoy the fruits of his former diligence
and perseverance. He passed away in November, 1906, at the age of ninety-
one, while his wife died about 1888 at the age of seventy-seven years.
Their family numbered three sons and four daughters and with the excep-
tion of two of the daughters all are yet living.

John N. Horn was reared to manhood in Pottawattamie county, which
he has seen developed from pioneer conditions to its present advanced and
progressive state. In the early days he frequently saw Indians here, and
there were many deer and other lesser game. He drove an ox team to tin-
breaking plow in turning the virgin soil and thus contributed in substan-
tial measure to the early development of the county. His educational
privileges were necessarily limited, as his labors were needed on the home
farm, but through experience, observation and reading he has gleaned
many valuable lessons. In early life he worked by the month as a farm
hand for three years and he has always manifested a spirit of unwearied
industry that has constituted the basis of the success which he is now on-

Mr. Horn was first married in Neola township, in 1873, to Miss Mary
Ann Spencer, a sister of G. W. Spencer, who is mentioned elsewhere in
this work. For three years thereafter he resided upon a rented farm and
then purchased forty acres of his present place. Not a furrow had been
turned or an improvement made thereon, but with characteristic energy
he began its development and from time to time bought more land until he
now has a large and well improved farm of two hundred and sixty-five
acres, which is neat and attractive in its appearance, owing to the care and
labor he bestows upon it. He erected a good residence, also two good barns,
a granary, sheds and other outbuildings, furnishing ample shelter for grain
and stock. He also set out an orchard and planted shade and ornamental
trees. In his stock-raising he gives considerable attention to high grade
shorthorn cattle and Poland China hogs. He annually feeds a large num-
ber of cattle and hogs and his yearly sales of stock bring him a good finan-
cial return. Aside from his farming interests he is a stockholder in the
Independent Telephone Company.

On June 19, 1886, Mr. Horn lost his first wife. There were four
children by that marriage: George T., John R., Fred S. and Ida B. For
his second wife Mr. Horn chose Mary Hansen, who died September 8, 1896,
and by whom he had a family of six children: Ernest C, Lucy R., Rosa
M., Albert L., Clyde J. and Bertha. For his present wife Mr. Horn chose


Mary C. Hansen, of Neola township, and they have four children : Elmer,
Stanton, Lilly and Pearl. He lost two children of his first marriage and
one by the third marriage, all dying in infancy.

Mr. Horn has always exercised his right of franchise in support of the
republican party. He was elected and served for several years as road
supervisor and has been a member of the school board for a number of
years, the cause of education finding in him a stalwart champion and a
warm friend. He has not sought to figure prominently in public life, how-
ever, preferring to give his energies to his business affairs. His wife is a
member of the German Lutheran church. Although Mr. Horn started out
on his own account in early life without a dollar, he now owns a large
and valuable farm, from which he derives a gratifying annual income.
Having always lived in Pottawattamie county, he is to-day numbered among
the oldest pioneer settlers, his residence here covering fifty-eight years. Look-
ing at the county to-day with its splendidly developed cities and villages,
its fine farms and its many advantages, it seems hardly probable that it is
within the memory of living men when this was' a trackless prairie, starred
in June with thousands of wild flowers and covered in the winter by a
glistening sheet of snow. During the youth of Mr. Horn the Indians
traveled to and fro in the district, while the presence of wild game also
indicated the frontier conditions. Few men have a wider acquaintance with
events of pioneer times or can relate from personal experience the condi-
tions of life and the mode of living prevalent a half century or more ago.
All this, however, is to Mr. Horn an open book and he relates many inter-
esting reminiscences of the early days.


The history of Pottawattamie county is familiar to Peter Rief from its
earliest development to the present time. Here he has lived for four decades
and his mind is stored with many interesting reminiscences of pioneer times.
So rapid has been the development of the great west that it seems hardly
possible that it is within the memory of men living today when this district
was a great unsettled region and for miles there were no homes upon the
trackless, wind-swept prairie.

Mr. Rief was born in Germany, February 2, 1845, a son of Sievert and
Wiebke fSchrurcO Rief. The father was born at Erfde. Schleswig, which
was also the birthplace of our subject, and the mother's birth occurred in
Moholz. Schleswig. Twenty years a resident of the fatherland. Peter Rief
then came to the new world, landing at Quebec, Canada, in the spring of
1864. He afterward went to Chicago. Illinois, and the same summer lo-
cated nt Valparaiso, Indiana, where during the summer he worked at the
shoemaker's trade, which he had learned prior to leaving his native land.
In the fall he returned to Chicago where he remained for about one year,
and during that time he saw the body of Abraham Lincoln, the martyred


president. Leaving Chicago for St. Louis, Missouri, he spent two weeks
in that city and then started for Omaha, Nebraska, making most of the
trip by boat. He arrived at his destination in the fall of 1865 and helped
construct the first three railroad bridges across the Little and Big Pabio and
Elkhorn rivers.

The spring of 1866 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Rief in Pottawattamie
county and he located in Boomer township, -where he purchased a small
tract of land. In 1867 he sold this to his brother and bought forty acres in
Hazel Dell township, to which he afterward added forty acres more. Some
of this land had been previously settled by the Mormons, but most of it was
still uncultivated and unimproved. In 1885 he traded this property for a
stock of boots and shoes in Council Bluffs and for five years conducted that
business, after ■which he sold out and removed to Lake Manawa, where he
has since resided. He is now serving for the sixth term as justice of the
peace, his re-elections proving his capability and fidelity. His decisions
are strictly fair and impartial, being based upon the evidence and framed
with conscientious regard to the law and the equity in the case. For one
year he was postmaster of Manawa, has also been town treasurer and for
about fourteen years was school director. These various offices have come
to him unsought and have been the expression of public confidence in his
ability and trustworthiness. He has always voted with the republican party
since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and as the years have
gone by he has been a stalwart champion of progressive movements and
measures for the general good.

On the 12th of May, 1867, Mr. Rief was married to Miss Anna C.
Thiesen, a daughter of Peter Thiesen, of Holstein, Germany. Their chil-
dren are: Rosa, wife of George Boyles, of Council Bluffs; Matilda, the
wife of William Schcening, of Woodbury, Nebraska; Josephine, the wife of
Isaac Minnick, of Council Bluffs; Peter Sievert, who is married and lives
in Council Bluffs; and Minnie, who died at the age of twenty-three years.

The life record of Mr. Rief is in many respects worthy of emulation.
It proves what can be accomplished by determined purpose and unfaltering
industry. He had no knowledge of the English language when he came
to America, but within a short time had learned to read and write as well
as speak the tongue and he readily adapted himself to the altered business
conditions which he found in this country. He has always made good use
of his opportunities and is now one of the substantial citizens of Lewis
township. He is not the only member of the family who came to the new
world, for at the time of his emigration he was accompanied by a cousin
and later his brothers, John and Sievert, came. They are now successful
farmers of Pottawattamie county. Later his cousin Henry settled in Grand
Island, Nebraska, his present home. Another brother, Hans Rief, came
to America, in 1867, and now resides in California. Two other brothers,
Johann and Clans, also came in the later '60s, but are both deceased. When
Mr. Rief reached this county, Council Bluffs was but a small town — one
of the outposts of civilization. The country was wild and there were still
a few deer. Wolves were numerous and wild turkeys and other feathered


game could be found in abundance. Mr. Rief has contributed to tbe cbange
which has marked tbe county's growth and progress and is accounted a
valued citizen of his community. Both he and his wife are members of the
Lutheran church and are highly esteemed by many friends.


Hon. John Fletcher, mayor of Avoca and member of the Pottawattamie
county bar, was born in Scott county, Iowa, January 5, 1874, his parents
being John and Martha (Fletcher) Fletcher. The father's birth occurred
near Londonderry, Ireland, in 1837, and there he was reared, after which
he made his way to the United States at the age of twenty years. He first
went to the home of an uncle, who was a' slaveholder in Delaware and with
him continued for two years. On the expiration of that period Mr. Fletcher
came to Iowa in 1857 and settled in Scott county, where he went to work as a
farm hand. He was one of a large family in Ireland and he came to the
new world empty-handed, so that his financial condition made it imperative
that he find immediate employment. After a few years spent at farm labor
he began the cultivation of rented land on his own account, living very
frugally in order to acquire capital sufficient to purchase a farm. In 1870
he went to Kenosha, Wisconsin, to wed the woman of his choice, whom he
had known in his native country and who had come to the United States
about two years before. After his marriage he returned to Scott county,
Iowa, and in 1881 removed to Pottawattamie county, where he purchased
a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Valley township, on which he
made his home until 1904. He then retired from active life and removed
to the village of Hancock, where he and his wife are now living, being
esteemed and worthy people of that locality. In politics he is a republican,
while he and his wife are devoted members of the Presbyterian church, in
which he is now serving as an elder. In their family were five children:
Samuel D. ; John and Jennie, twins, the latter the wife of Howard Wilson,
of Avoca; Hester A., the wife of Fred Bullis, a resident fanner of Wright
township; and Noble, a farmer living in Valley township.

John Fletcher was reared under the parental roof and after acquiring
his early education in the district schools attended the State Normal School at
Cedar Falls, Iowa. Subsequently he taught school for one year and in
November, 1896, he began reading law in the office of J. L. Blanchard at
A.voca, In the fall of 1898 he entered the law department of the State Univer-
sity of Iowa at Iowa City and completed bis course there by being admitted to
the bar in May, 1899. After his admission to the bar, being undecided as to
a favorable location, he spent one year on the road for the implement house
of Reeves & Company, manufacturers of threshing machines and sawmills
at Columbus, Indiana. He went upon the road as traveling representative
from their branch house at Des Moines. However, taking up the active
practice of law, he opened on office al A.voca on the 1st of May. 1900. and


he has since built up an extensive law practice here. He is well versed in
the general principles of jurisprudence and in the law applicable thereto
and in the trial of his cases makes thorough and careful preparation, while
in argument his thought is clear and convincing.

On the 14th of June, 1900, Mr. Fletcher was married to Miss Marie D.
Schmidt, of Avoca, and unto them has been born a son, Maurice J.

In politics Mr. Fletcher is a republican with firm faith in the princi-
ples of the party. He served for one term as city attorney of Avoca and in
1903 was nominated and elected to the office of mayor, so that he is now
the chief magistrate of the city. The duties of the position are discharged
with promptness and fidelity and with conscientious regard for the welfare
of the community at large. Mr. Fletcher is a member of Mount Nebo lodge,
No. 297, A. F. & A. M., of which he is the present master. He also belongs
to Avoca lodge, No. 220, I. 0. O. F., and to Avoca camp, No. 165, M. W. A.
Socially popular and professionally prominent, he well deserves mention
in this volume as one who is wielding a wide influence in community affairs,
while at the same time he is never neglectful of those business opportunities
which eventually lead to success, having in the trial of causes won some
notable forensic victories.


Alexander Clifford Brown, engaged in the practice of osteopathy in
Council Bluffs since 1901 and widely recognized as a prominent member
of the profession, was born at Mediapolis, Des Moines county, Iowa, on the
12th of July, 1873. His parents were Alexander C. and Hannah (Roberts)
Brown, the former a merchant and veteran of the Civil war. After the
outbreak of hostilities between the north and the south, the father joined
the army as a private of Company I, Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 42 of 59)