Historical and Biographical Record of Black Hawk County,
Benjamin Bahr, retired farmer, was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, December 31, 1814, his parents, John and Magdalena Bahr, being natives of the same State. Of a large family born to his parents, the following children survive – Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, Solomon, William, Daniel, Jacob and Benjamin. Benjamin Bahr was reared to manhood in his native State, and was there united in marriage, in April, 1838, to Miss Elizabeth Barge, who was born in Pennsylvania, in November, 1820, a daughter of Frederick and Mary Barge. This union has been blessed with seven children, of whom six are still living – Mary, Levi, Hannah, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Jacob. Mr. Bahr left Pennsylvania in 1855, and settled with his family in Wisconsin, making his home in that State about twenty years. He then came to Black Hawk County, Iowa, and has since been a resident of La Porte City, where he is living somewhat retired from the active duties of life, enjoying that rest which he has so well earned by a life of toil and industry. He began life without capital, and by his own untiring efforts has accumulated a fair competence for his declining years. Both he and his wife have been identified with the German Evangelical Association for nearly half a century, he having served as class-leader for many years. In politics he affiliates with the Republican party.
JOHN BALL, Surveyor of Black Hawk County, was born in Grafton County, New Hampshire, July 4, 1814, a son of Aaron and Betsey (Pillsbury) Ball, natives of Massachusetts and New Hampshire respectively. The great-grandfather of our subject, Eleazer Ball, was a native of Hollis, Massachusetts, and of English ancestry, and on his mother's side he was of Scotch descent. He removed with his parents from his native State to Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, where he lived many years. His parents settled in Black Hawk County, Iowa, in 1863, where they resided till their death. John Ball received his early education in the schools of his neighborhood, and later attended a military academy at Norwich, Vermont. At the age of twenty-one years he went to New York and taught school in Genesee and Chautauqua counties. In 1837 he came to Keokuk, Iowa, remaining a short time in Keokuk where he was in the employ of the Government survey. He then went to Missouri and entered 120 acres of land in Lewis County, where he followed farming three years. He was married in 1839 to Juliet Pougue, a native of Scott County, Kentucky, and the youngest of a family of ten children. Of the eight children born to this union only one, John P., is living. After his marriage Mr. Ball moved to Quincy, Illinois, thence to Dubuque, Iowa, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising until the fall of 1864. He then removed with his family to Black Hawk County, Iowa, and engaged in agricultural pursuits on a farm two miles east of Waterloo. In 1865 Mr. Ball was elected surveyor of Black Hawk County, which position he held two years. In 1869 he was re-elected to the same office, serving this time for four years. He was again elected in 1883 and re-elected in 1885, in which capacity he still serves. While living in Dubuque Mr. Ball took Government contracts to the number of sixteen, in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Dakota. Mr. Ball has spent the greater part of his life on the frontier, and in former years was quite familiar with the Indian chief Black Hawk.
JOHN BARKER has been a resident of this county since December 1, 1861. He lived at Waterloo till March, 1862, when he settled on his present farm of eighty acres, on section 16, Lester Township . On his land a small log cabin had been erected, and a half acre of land broken when he first settled on it. His land is now under cultivation, and his residence is comfortable and commodious. Mr. Barker was born in Essex County , New York , August 22, 1820 , and when he was four years old his parents, Samuel and Parmelia (Henderson) Barker, moved to Georgia , Vermont , then to Massachusetts , and three years later removed to Lower Canada . His father was born in England , and at the age of sixteen ran away from his home, coming to America , and was married in Shelburne , Vermont , his wife being a native of that place. He died in 1836. John Barker began to earn his own living at the early age of ten years. He was married in Randolph, Wisconsin, April 23, 1849, to Mrs. Sarah A. Presba, and to this union have been born two childrenóFrederick G., born February 9, 1850, died in Black Hawk County, May 24, 1874, and Alice J., born in Wisconsin, August 23, 1854, married Thomas Carns, of Lester Township, and has three children. Mrs. Barker was born in Lower Canada, May 2, 1821, and was there married to her first husband, John Presba, a native of New Hampshire, who died in Wisconsin in 1848, leaving four childrenóWilliam, Ann, Betsey and James A., of whom William is the only one now living. Mrs. Barker is a daughter of William B. and Elizabeth Cory, who were natives of New Hampshire , living there till after their marriage when they removed to Lower Canada . Mr. Barker's Grandfather Henderson was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He was one of the old settlers in Vermont , in which State he resided till his death. In politics Mr. Barker is a Republican. He has served his township as trustee for one year, and has also filled the office of school director and road supervisor. He and his wife are members of the Free-Will Baptist church.
JAMES E. BARRETT, residing on section 20, Lincoln Township, was born in Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York, August 2, 1840, a son of Charles E. and Charlotte (Olin) Barrett, the father born in Essex County, New York, October 8, 1811, and the mother a native of Canton, New York. The mother died in St. Lawrence County, New York, in 1844, and of her three children our subject was the second. Mary, the eldest died in Canton aged eighteen years, and Charlotte, wife of W. H. Stevens, died in Lincoln Township, Black Hawk County. The father was again married in 1846 in St. Lawrence County to Charlotte V. Backus (who died April 2, 1886), and to this union five children were born, all natives of Canton--Mrs. Florence Cole of Minneapolis; Mrs. Frances Earl, of Jefferson County, Wisconsin; Mrs. Jane Searles, of Milwaukee; Charles, of Mandan, Dakota, and William, of Jefferson County, Wisconsin. In 1859 the family removed to Jefferson County, Wisconsin where our subject resided till 1866. James E. Barrett our subject enlisted in defense of the Union in 1863, in Company E, Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, his father enlisting in the same company, being then fifty-two years of age. Both father and son were efficient soldiers, serving honorably and faithfully in the Gulf department until their discharge in July, 1865, when they returned to Jefferson County, Wisconsin. James E. Barrett came to Black Hawk County, Iowa, in March, 1866, when he bought the farm of 160 acres where he now resides, his father making his home with him since August 8, 1885. He was married in 1862 to Miss Maryette Stevens, a native of Jefferson County, Wisconsin, who died in July, 1866, leaving one son--Merritt, who still lives with his father. Mr. Barrett was again married in 1871 in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, to Miss Margaret Rutherford, who was born in St. Lawrence County, New York. She died in May 1872, also leaving one son--Charles J. Mr. Barrett married Miss Pauline Thompson October 11, 1873, she being a native of York County, Maine. Two children have blessed this union--Earl and Charlotte. Mrs. Barrett is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Barrett is a member of the Legion of Honor, belonging to lodge No. 90, of Renbeck. He has served his township as trustee for several years, and is now serving his second year as township assessor. By his upright life and gentlemanly deportment Mr. Barrett has during his residence in Lincoln Township won the confidence and esteem of all who know him. In politics both he and his father are radical Republicans.
M. W. BARTLETT, A. M., Assistant Principal and Professor of English Language and Literature, at Iowa State Normal School, was born February 26, 1834, in Bath, New Hampshire. He entered Dartmouth College in 1853, and graduated in 1857; came to Western College, Linn County, Iowa, the same year, where he taught for a term of ten years, mostly in ancient languages, and was president of the college for the years 1866 and 1867; then went to Denmark Academy, Lee County, as teacher for six years; then spent three years teaching in Memphis Academy, Missouri, and in the fall of 1876 was chosen for his present position. He was president of Iowa State Teachers' Association in 1885 and 1886. He married Miss Julia Abbott July 12, 1859. She was born in October, 1836, in Bath, New Hampshire. They have had four children; three are living--Elmer E., Will A., and Mary E. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett are members of the Congregational church.
CHARLES D. BECKER, Recorder of Black Hawk County, was born in Jefferson County, New York, July 12, 1841, son of Lewis and Almena Becker, who were also natives of New York State. They were the parents of two children--Mary A. and our subject. The father was the owner of a farm, but made millwrighting, carpentering and joining his principal occupations through life. His death occurred when our subject was but twelve years of age, his widow surviving till 1876. Charles D. Becker was reared on his father's farm, and attended the village school during the summers till he was thirteen years old, after which he spent the winter months at school. At the age of twenty he began his career as a teacher, which he followed for two terms. He enlisted in the Union army August 9, 1862, in the Tenth New York Heavy Artillery, and served almost three years, receiving an honorable discharge on July 7, 1865. He participated in the battle of Cedar Creek, after which he was transferred to the commissary department where he served till his discharge. He then returned to New York State and engaged in agricultural pursuits until the spring of 1866. He then came West to Illinois, where he remained two years. In the fall of 1869 he came to Black Hawk County, Iowa, residing in the southwest part of the county till the fall of 1884. He then left his farm and moved to Waterloo to assume the duties of the office of recorder to which position he had been elected the same fall and is still holding that position. He has also served as township treasurer for six years. He was united in marriage in 1868 to Almeda Sarvay, of Jefferson County, New York, and to them have been born four children, one son and three daughters. Mr. Becker is a member of the Masonic fraternity and has served as master of Cain Lodge, No. 394.
Henry Becker, farmer, section 28, Big Creek Township, was born in Berkshire County, Pennsylvania, May 8, 1838, the eldest of twelve children of John and Rebecca, both natives of the Keystone State . He was reared a farmer, and has devoted his life to agriculture pursuits. He came to Iowa in 1871, and in 1876 located in Black Hawk County . He now owns a good farm of forty acres, and a house and lot in La Porte City . His wife has a fine farm of 120 acres of valuable land. He has been twice married. His first wife was Mary Bramer, a native of Ohio . She died August, 1875. In 1876 he married Mrs. Sarah E. Balk, widow of George Falk, who was born in 1827 and died in 1873. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1840 and was a daughter of John and Hannah Reed, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Maryland . Her fat her died in his native State, and her mother is still living, aged eight-one years. She has two children by her former marriage--Laura, born May 7, 1865, and Lorenzo, born January 28, 1867 . Mr. Becker has served his township as school director and road supervisor. In politics he is a Republican. He and his wife are members of the Evangelical church.
Samuel A. Bisbee, section 13 Mount Vernon Township, was born in Sand Lake, Rensselaer County, New York, November 26, 1826, a son of Elisha and Mary A. (Cottrell) Bisbee. When he was an infant his parents removed to Delware County, New York, where they followed farming. Our subject was reared to manhood in Delaware County in the towns of Delhi and Meredith, and for some time worked by the month on a farm. He was first married March 4, 1852, to Catherine Palmer, who was born October 28, 1834, at Courtwright, Delaware County, New York, a daughter of John Palmer. She died at Applington, Iowa, October 19, 1859, leaving two children--William H., born February 23, 1853, now living in Tennessee, and Mary E., born February 22, 1855, married Hiram Elliott and died at Applington, Iowa, January 24, 1877. Mr. Bisbee married for his second wife Nancy H. Swarthout, March 14, 1863. She was a daughter of James and Nancy (Hunt) Swarthout, her mother dying in 1827, when Mrs. Bisbee was but three days old. She was born at Romulus, New York, August 30, 1794. James Swarthout was born in Seneca County, New York, in 1792, and was three times married, Mrs. Bisbee being a child by his first marriage. His third wife is living in Kansas. He had a family of twenty children. His death occurred at Aurora, Illinois, March 2, 1863. Mrs. Bisbee is of Dutch and Irish descent, her Great-grandfather Swarthout coming from Holland, and her Great-grandfather Joseph Hunt emigrating from Ireland before the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Bisbee has in her family a chair which belonged to her Great-grandfather Swarthout. Mr. and Mrs. Bisbee have had born to them one child--Ada, born July 20, 1864, on the old homestead in this county. Mr. Bisbee left Delaware County, New York, in 1856, and located in Polo, Illinois, where he was employed in a freight office during the first winter, and in April, 1857, he started with his fammily for Iowa, making the journey by ox team in about two weeks. When he came to Waterloo there were not more than three or four log houses to be seen on the east side of the river. He first settled in Applington, Butler County, lived there six years, and March 4, 1863, settled on section 13, Mount Vernon Township, and commenced improving his land, of which only five acres were broken, building a small frame house, which is now the kitchen part of his present substantial residence. On coming to Iowa he possessed but 50 cents beside his few household goods. He has been an industrious and hard-working man and through his own efforts has acquired a competency, and is a highly respected citizen of this community. His farm, which is located south of his first settlement in this township, contains 100 acres of well-cultivated land. Mr. Bisbee was reared a Baptist, but is now an attendant of the Methodist Episcopal church. In politics he is a Republican. Elisha Bisbee, father of our subject, was born in Massachusetts and is now deceased. His widow is now living with her youngest son, David, in Applington, Iowa. She was born in Meredith, Delaware County, New York, about 1808. Samuel Bisbee's Grandfather Bisbee was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving through fifteen hard-fought battles without receiving a scratch.
Rev. William R. Bradfield, pastor of the Free Methodist church at Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa, lives on section 8, Spring Creek township, where he owns a fine farm of 235 acres. He was born in Randolph County, Indiana, February 20, 1840, a son of Carey and Atlantic O.(Bales) Bradfield, pioneers of Black Hawk County . He was reared to the occupation of farming which he followed forty-four years, and in 1884 began to prepare for the ministry, although for several years he had held an exhorter's license. He has now been in circuit a year and a half. He has always been a hard-working man, and his industry and good management has gained him a fine property. He is now an earnest worker in the ministry, and has made many friends, both in and out of the church. He was married in 1861 to Martha E. Conor, a native of Indiana, born April 6, 1846, daughter of William and Maria Conor. They have three children--John J., Rosa E. and William R. The eldest son now has charge of the farm, and is an industrious and thrifty young farmer. In politics Mr. Bradfield is a Republican.
Worcester F. Brown is a native of Kennebec County, Maine, born in the town of Albion, June 19, 1823, the third son of a family of nine children. He passed his youth on a farm and received the benefit of a common-school education. At the age of sixteen years he began learning the trade of a millwright and machinist which he followed till reaching maturity. He was married in 1850 to Cyntha E. Rich, of Winterport, Maine, who died December 9, 1882. Of the eight children born to this union, four survive--Ella R. (a widow), Eleanor E., Walter E. and Iola A. Soon after his marriage Mr. Brown removed to Philadelphia, where he and a brother were engaged in manufacturing flooring for a few years. He was then engaged, by a company from Boston, in the Southern States till the fall of 1855, when he came to Waterloo, Iowa, which at that time was a mere village. After coming here he was variously engaged for a time, when he spent two years in Dubuque County, where he lost his right hand by having it caught in a saw. He then returned to Waterloo, and in 1861 he was elected sheriff of Black Hawk County, assuming the duties of his office in January, 1862, serving in that capacity six terms of two years each, with credit to himself and to his constituents. He has also held the office of school director five years, and that of assessor two years. He served for two years as Deputy United States Marshal for Black Hawk County under George W. Clark, and during this time he was connected with the grain business in which he was engaged till June, 1885. In 1883, he engaged in the creamery business, and now owns a creamery in Orange Township and also rents one at Hudson, this county, where he carries on a successful trade. Mr. Brown's parents, John I. and Mary (Warren) Brown, had a family of seven sons and three daughters, of whom six children survive. The father was a native of New Hampshire, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. He died in 1867 aged seventy-six years. His widow survived till Janurary 14, 1885, dying at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.