History of Cerro Gordo County,
Biographies submitted by Kay Ehlers.
The Sacred Heart Academy , situated in Rockwell, is one of the most important educational institutions in this part of Iowa . It was erected in 1900, during the pastorate of Rev. Father Lawrence H. Burns, who is at the head of its management, Rev. Father J. J. Clune assisting. The location of the academy is ideal, for it is upon the highest elevation in the town, this being toward the northern boundary. Its construction is extremely substantial, the walls being built of brick, a tier of solid ones outside and backed by hollow ones, which insure its being very warm and dry. It is three stories high and has a basement besides, and is one hundred and ten feet long by sixty feet wide. In the center of the main building towards the back is a wing thirty three by thirty-eight feet, with an eighteen foot ceiling, which is to be used as a chapel. Toward the extreme outer ends are two stairways, each seventeen by fifteen feet.
The height of the basement is eight feet ; the first story twelve feet ; the second story eleven feet ; and the third story ten feet. The basement is used for fuel, boiler and storage rooms and also for the kitchen, dining room, laundry, pantry and so forth. The first floor is used exclusively for school purposes, here being found the school and music rooms and the living rooms for the sisters. Upon the second floor are to be found the quarters of the sisters, and dormitories and the like. The third story is a large hall, supplied with numerous dormer windows and suitable for entertainments and exercises of various sorts and also as dormitories for pupils. In front of the building is a tower surmounted by a cross, from the top of which to the ground is a distance of eighty feet.
The academy was built at a cost of twenty-five thousand dollars and presents a handsome and imposing appearance and will be an enduring monument to the courage and persistent energy of Rev. Father Lawrence H. Burns and to the self-sacrificing devotion of the many members of the parish who contributed so liberally towards the funds which made it possible.
The Sacred Heart Academy enjoys a wide reputation and students are enrolled from various sections of the United States . The curriculum qualifies a graduate to enter the freshman class of the state university. The sisters who constituted the teaching force are exceptionally well versed in the respective branches and whole community has been elevated by the influence of the institution.
Notwithstanding the fact that he experienced the somewhat unusual fortune of birth, on June 24, 1847 , in mid ocean, Edward J. Scherf cannot be called a man without a country. He may indeed be regarded as a representative of American and it has been given to him to serve the country in war and in peace. Mr. Scherf is of that stanch German stock whose assimilation is beneficial to any new country. His parents, Christian and Menia (Dingle) Scherf, were both natives of Saxony , and in 1847, they followed the example of so many of their friends and neighbors and decided to seek a new home beyond the seas. They were already the parents of three children and, as previously mentioned, Mr. Scherf's birth occurred en voyage on June 24.
The elder Scherf, who had been a woolen worker in his native land, soon after landing on American shores, went to Milwaukee , where he found a means of livelihood in railroad construction. The early days in the new country was saddened by the death of the mother, Edward Scherf being at the time of her demise but four months old. Of the four children of this first marriage two are still living, Mr. Scherf and Caroline, widow of Peter Adams of Ventura , Iowa . The father married again, the second wife being May Jacobs, who survived until 1900, her age at the time of her death being seventy-two years. This union also was blessed by the birth of four children, all of whom are living.
In 1856, when Mr. Scherf was about nine years of age, his father decided to remove to the country which he believed to possess greater and more wholesome opportunities for a family of growing children. To this end he purchased eighty acres of timber and rough land in Sauk county, Wisconsin , the tract being known as Baraboo Bluffs. This land was cleared and grubbed out and brought to a state where cultivation became possible at the expenditure of great time and labor and like most boys similarly situated young Edward was called upon to take his share of the struggle with the wild country, when he was yet a mere lad. Ten years later, in November, 1866, the father again resolved upon a new scene of endeavor, this time removing to Floyd county, Iowa . The journey from Wisconsin was made by wagon and the usual adventures of the pioneer were experienced. Again the father purchased an eighty acre tract of wild land, four miles west of Charles City , and again began the task of clearing and subduing the hitherto unbroken country. This he accomplished with the assistance his sons and here he engaged successfully in the pursuit of agriculture until some little time previous to his death, when he removed to Ventura .
To Mr. Scherf's lot fell a full share of those hardships and privations which are ever the heritage of the pioneer. In Sauk county, when it was not yet necessary to use two figures in writing his age, the clearing of the rough land was left to him and his step-mother, while the father eked out a by no means abundant living by hiring out by the day. The toil entrusted to him was so far beyond his years and strength that often at night time he found himself too tired to sleep and the dawn of a new day would find him the “raveled sleeve of care” still frayed and worn. But however hard this discipline may have seemed at the time it is doubtless true that it had its beneficial mission and that is assisted in building up the character which ultimately came to be distinguished for its strength and fearlessness. It is needless to say that there was little time left for the acquisition of an education, and Mr. Scherf enjoyed the advantages of but two winter terms of school. But all learning is by no means secured at a desk in a school room and Mr. Scherf, being naturally ambitious, has since by his own efforts done much to remedy this defect. When only thirteen years old he took up the work of teaming and hauled flour for sixteen months with three yoke of cattle from Baraboo to Kilbourne , Wisconsin , himself handling his ponderous commodity. In these journeys he drove a three and four yoke team of oxen.
Meanwhile the Civil war cloud which had been gathering for so many years burst in all its fury, and in February, 1863, Mr. Scherf enlisted in Company L of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry. He was but sixteen years of age and in order to be accepted forged the papers giving his father's consent. It is an almost pathetic commentary on the toilsome and rigorous life hitherto led by this youth that he looked upon the dangers and hardships of war with positive eagerness, preferring them to his hard lot at home. He had intently observed the soldiers at Baraboo and he looked with envious eyes upon their leisure and the good times they seemed to be having. However, when he got in active service and heard the bullets whizzing about his head, and saw his comrades falling about him, he confessed that he many times wished that he was back in Wisconsin hauling flour. As soon as his father discovered the fact of his enlistment he made efforts to have him released on account of his being under age, but he was advised by a lawyer that on account of the papers having been forged it would doubtless be expedient to let the matter rest. And so it came to pass that Mr. Scherf served in defense of the Union until the close of the war, being discharged at Ft. Leavenworth , Kansas , November 15, 1865 . It has been given to few of our country's brave to have a more thrilling Civil war experience than Mr. Scherf. Sixteen months of his service was spent on the frontier among the Indians. He by no means escaped unscathed, but was wounded three times, still bearing the scar of a saber cut across his head and on his hand and still carrying as a vivid memento a bullet which lodged between the thumb and forefinger of his right hand.
Immediately after his discharge, Mr. Scherf returned to Wisconsin , where he engaged for awhile in farming. In 1869 he married and the following year went to Floyd county, Iowa , whither his father had preceded him. For a year he made his livelihood as an employe of the Milwaukee railroad and from time to time assisted a brother-in-law and an uncle in their farming. In 1872 Mr. Scherf decided to try a hazard of new fortunes and with his wife set out in a wagon to Osceola county, Iowa . They had progressed as far on their journey as Mason City when the horse fell in trying to ford the stream and they were very nearly drowned. Discouraged by this serious mishap they returned to Floyd county, where they remained until the spring of 1873, when they removed to Cerro Gordo county. On December 19, Mr. and Mrs. Scherf located in Clear Lake township, where eighty acres of wild land had been purchased at a cost of three hundred and eighty dollars. The lumber for their first house, which was sixteen by twenty by eighteen feet in dimension, was purchased from Mr. W. C. Tompkins of Clear Lake at a cost of one hundred dollars. Mr. Scherf, who had no ready money at hand, was obliged to ask for credit and at that hauled the lumber from Clear Lake with a team of oxen. For nearly a year the little family lived in the unplastered barn but made of the humble abode as much of a home as a more magnificent dwelling could have been. In 1873 the resources being low, Mr. Scherf found it wise to secure employment upon the Milwaukee railroad in order to earn enough money to meet living expenses. Happily his fortunes steadily improved and in course of time he found himself in a position to purchase eighty additional acres at a cost of five hundred dollars. Prosperity, attracted by our subject's industry and good management, smiled upon him and he is now the possessor of much valuable land, two hundred and fifty acres in Clear Lake township and one hundred and eighty acres in Grant township. His land is all highly improved and he has set out many trees. He is now retired and since 1900 has been enjoying at Ventura the fruits of his former industry. He enjoys several affiliations, among them membership in the Tom Howard Post of the G. A. R., at Clear Lake, and with his brother veterans lives over the exciting days of the war. He has given a life long allegiance to the Republican party. Mr. Scherf has always been a skillful and enthusiastic hunter and during his life has owned probably one hundred shot guns. When he becomes the possessor a new gun he at once removed the stock and barrel lock and proceeds to make one to suit himself, carving the new part out of a walnut strip. Among his collection he has some very beautiful ones inlaid with mother-of-pearl and bone. For years he hunted for the market and has killed three hundred and fifty Mallard ducks in twenty-seven days. In his time has killed and shipped many car loads of prairie chickens and still enjoys the sport.
On December 26, 1869 , Mr. Scherf was united in marriage to Mary Hayes, who was born in Ohio in 1849. To this union has been born a family of nine children as follows : William, of Clear Lake township ; John, of Grant township ; Frank, of Grant township ; James, of Clear Lake township ; Nellie, wife of Clarence Palmer of Lake township ; Bert, of Clear Lake township ; Edward, at home ; Sadie, wife of George Harthan of Clear Lake township ; and Milo, at home.
John Shanks, an enterprising and industrious farmer of Portland township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa , has put all modern improvements on his three hundred and twenty acre farm and has brought his land to a high state of cultivation. Mr. Shanks was born in Chicago , Illinois , August 29, 1852 , a son of John and Helen (Sharp) Shanks, both natives of Scotland . John Shanks Sr. was born near Glasgow , March 28, 1828 , and is now living in California . He came to the United States in 1849, at the age of twenty-one years, and located in Chicago , where he lived some time after his marriage. In 1862 he moved to Elgin , Illinois , where he engaged in mercantile business, conducting a store there and at Dundee until 1869, when he sold out and moved to Iowa , crossing the Mississippi at Dubuque and being taken over the ice in an old stage. He located in Waterloo and conducted a general store there for three years, then purchased a farm in Black Hawk county, where he lived many years. Helen Sharp was born in 1838 and died in 1860, having borne her husband children as follows ; John ; Jennie, wife of James Thompson, of Nora Springs , Iowa ; Joseph K., of Nora Springs ; R. S. and George P. of California . Mrs. Shanks came to the United States at the age of nineteen years. After his death, Mr. Shanks married Mary Creighton, also a native of Scotland , and to this marriage nine children were born, of whom six survive, namely : William and James, of California ; Mrs. Nettie Coleman, of Chicago ; Joseph, of Idaho ; Grace and Ethel, of California . In 1893 Mr. Shanks and his moved to Pomona , California , where he owns land and has an orange grove.
The boyhood of John Shanks Jr. was spent in Chicago and Elgin , Illinois , and Waterloo , Iowa , and he received a common school education, working in his father's store when old enough to be of assistance. When the family moved to Black Hawk county, Iowa , he helped on the farm until his marriage, then rented a farm and began on his own account. In 1880 he moved to Cerro Gordo county, where he rented land fifteen years, then purchased his present farm, which he has improved in many ways. He has made a specialty of raising and feeding stock and is considered on the leading farmers of the community. He is actively interest in public affairs, is a Republican in politics and served four years as school director. He and his wife have many friends and stand high in the estimation of their neighbors.
On March 5, 1879 , Mr. Shanks married Mary O. Whitney, born in Ogle county, Illinois , May 14, 1861 , daughter of Alanson and Delinay (Young) Whitney. Mr. Whitney was born in Prescott, Canada, and his wife was also a native of Canada, he born November 13, 1830, and she March 14, 1838. She died September 22, 1909, and he now lives at Shell Rock, Iowa. They moved from Canada to Ogle county, Illinois, in 1858 and about seven years later moved to Black Hawk county, Iowa;. Mrs. Shanks is the oldest of their nine children, all of whom are living, namely : Mrs. Shanks , Mrs. Elizabeth Harmon, of Joplin, Missouri ; C. A., of Quinby, Iowa ; Mrs. Bertha Schohner, of Glenwood Springs, Colorado ; Mrs. Cynthia Richards, of Shell Rock, Iowa ; S. B. and C. N., of Waverly, Iowa ; Rosco, of Janesville, Iowa ; and Buren, of El Paso, Texas. Children as follows have blessed the union of Mrs. Shanks and his wife : John A., of Portland township ; Mabel H., wife of Carroll Chapman, of Nora Springs, Iowa ; Arthur I., of Nora Springs ; Olive May , at home ; Charles R., of Nora Springs ; and Ray W. and Kenneth S., at home.
ALBERT F. SHOTTS has for many years been prominently identified with the advancement and growth of the industrial prosperity of Mason City , and now, as president of the Mason City Realty Company, is carrying on a successful real estate, loan and insurance business. A son of J. J. Shotts, he was born, February 17, 1855, in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. Born in Germany in the early part of the nineteenth century, J. J. Shotts remained in the Fatherland until twenty-two years of age. Coming then to the United States he was variously employed, during the last few years of his residence in the East being manager of extensive salt works. Locating with his family in Iowa in 1859, he bought land in Keokuk county, and from that time made farming his principal occupation, living in that county until his death, in 1906, at the venerable age of ninety-two years. He married Anna B. Hunker, who came from Germany to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, when eighteen years old. She passed to the life beyond in 1882, at the age of three score and ten years. They became the parents of seven children, of whom five are living, namely : John, of Rock Island, Illinois; J. F., of La Crosse, Kansas; J. W., of Keota, Iowa; Albert F., the subject of this sketch; and Emma, wife of M. Pleveka, of Downer's Grove, Illinois.
While living on the home farm Albert F. Shotts was well trained in the mysteries of farming, and after leaving the district schools further advanced his knowledge by attendance at the Iowa State University for a year. Beginning the battle of life for himself, he served for a year as clerk and second mate on a Mississippi river passenger packet plying between Vicksburg and Memphis. Entering then the employ of O. F. Ferguson, a railroad construction contractor connected with an Evansville, Indiana, company, he was purchasing agent, time-keeper, and pay master for two years, working all through the middle west. The following three years Mr. Shotts traveled on the road as general agent for the Western Publishing Company of Chicago, selling school supplies, covering most of the states and territories and Canada. He probably spent twenty years as a salesman in different lines. He was afterwards in the drug business in Iowa and Kansas for three years, the ensuing eighteen months being department manager of the Historical Publishing Company of Philadelphia.
Locating then in Williamsburg, Iowa, Mr. Shotts was there engaged in the hardware and implement business for five years, one year of that time serving as mayor of the town. Going from there to Keota, Iowa, he embarked in the lumber, grain and coal business, continuing three years, and he was a member of the council and was chief of the fire department while there. On December 26, 1900, Mr. Shotts came to Mason City to help organize the American Brick and Tile Company, of which he was subsequently the business manager for six years. In 1906 he was one of the promoters of the Wardrobe Company of Mason City, in which he is a stockholder and is now the president. He is a stockholder in the Martin Manufacturing Company, which he was influential in having located in Mason City, and, as above mentioned, is president of the Mason City Realty Company, which was here established January 1, 1908.Mr. Shotts married, January 1, 1891, Ruth Anna Dugdale, who was born at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, May 17, 1866. Mr. Shotts is active and prominent in fraternal organizations, belonging to the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and as a Mason being a member of the lodge, the chapter, the council, the commandery, and the shrine. Politically he is a cheerful supporter of the principles of the Republican party. Mrs. Shotts is a member of the Congregational church, towards the support of which he is a liberal contributor.
Among the young and enterprising farms of Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, is Julius F. Siewertsen, who lives on the farm in section 33, Falls township, where he was born on February 24, 1880. He is a son of Godber A. and Catherine (Johannsen) Siewertsen, both natives of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. In his native country Godber Siewertsen was a roof-weaver or thatch-maker, and all his sons were taught the same trade. At the time he emigrated to the United States, in 1876, he had but just enough money to reach his destination. He spent the first summer with a brother, then purchased eighty acres of land with no improvements, where his son Julius now lives. He kept adding to his land as his success warranted until the place now contains two hundred and ninety-five acres of land, with two sets of buildings to accommodate two families. Mr. Siewertsen, who was born December 25, 1841, died June 4, 1910, at sixty nine years of age. His wife died in 1906, at the age of sixty-seven years. They were the parents of seven children, namely : Annie, wife of Paul Thompson of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota ; Hattie, wife of Jurgen Jensen, of South Dakota ; Johannah, wife of Thomas Casperson of Portland township ; Augusta, wife of Cornelius Casperson, of Butterfield, Minnesota ; Dora, wife of Christian Thomson, of Portland township ; Julius ; Matilda, wife of William Brakel, of Portland township.
Julius F. Siewertsen was reared on his father's farm and received a common school education. When he married he took charge of one hundred and eighty-seven acres of the home place, and he purchased the estate in the fall of 1910. He is a successful farmer and raises a good many cattle and hogs. He stands well in the community and in his business dealings is upright and honest. He pays close attention to all the details of his work and follows up-to-date methods. In politics he is a Republican, and he and his wife attend the German Lutheran church of Mason City, of which they are members.
On February 13, 1907, Mr. Siewertsen married Johannah Witt, who was born in Germany, March 30, 1885, and came to the United States in September, 1905. On daughter and one son have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Siewertsen, the former, deceased and the latter, Herbert, born November 20, 1909.
Dr. Smith lent dignity and honor to his profession through his able and active service as physician and surgeon and he was number among the pioneer members of his profession in Mason City , where he was engaged in active practice of 1878 until his death, which occurred on the 25th of February, 1909 . He was in a most significant sense humanity's friend and he labored with all earnestness for the alleviation of suffering and distress, ministering to the afflicted with the utmost self-abnegation and showing an abiding sympathy that transcended mere sentiment to become an actuating motive for helpfulness. The Doctor held a secure place in the affection and esteem of the people of Cerro Gordo county and his memory will long be revered in the community which represented the scene of his devoted labors through so long a period of time.
Dr. Chauncey H. Smith was born in Chautauqua county, New York , on the 26th of March, 1837 , and was a son of Walter W. and Lyda (Rice) Smith, both of whom are likewise natives of the old Empire state of the union, where the respective families were founded in the early Colonial days. The Doctor was one of a family of eight children and seven of the number attained to years of maturity. Dr. Smith was afforded the advantages of the common schools of his native county and made the best possible utilization of the same. At the age of eighteen years he began the study of medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. H. H. Gladden of Panama , where he continued his studies for three years, except during a period passed in attending one course of lectures in the medical department in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor . He pursued his technical studies under difficulties, as his financial resources were very limited, but he grounded himself thoroughly in the learning of his profession and was finally granted his diploma as Doctor of Medicine. In the autumn of 1870 he again attended medical lectures and in March of the following year he received a second diploma. Dr. Smith followed the work of his profession at Sugar Grove , Pennsylvania , until 1878, when he came to Iowa and, as already stated, he was continuously and successfully engaged in the practice of his chosen profession at Mason City from 1878 until he was summoned to the life eternal, in the fullness of years and well earned honors.
With the passing of time Dr. Smith did not permit himself to lapse in the study of the best in medical literature, through recourse to which he kept well informed in connection with the advances made in both medicine and surgery. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Iowa State Medical Society, the Cerro Gordo County Medical Society and the Austin Flint-Cedar Valley Medical Society. Though he found it impossible to withdraw entirely from the exacting work of his profession, owing to the insistent demands of his loyal clients, including many of the representative families of Cerro Gordo county, Dr. Smith gradually reduced his labors in his profession from the year 1900 and thus found surcease from so constant toil and endeavor during the last years of his life. He was a Republican in his political proclivities and was a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which he passed capitulary degrees, having been affiliated with the lodge, chapter, and Knights Templars order in Mason City for many years, and was also a member of the Mystic Shrine. He had a deep reverence for the spiritual verities, but was not formally identified with any church organization. His wife was a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church.In the year 1862 was celebrated the marriage of Dr. Smith to Miss Martha J. Allen of Warren county, Pennsylvania . They are survived by two children – George, who is manager of a wholesale grocery at Dubuque , Iowa , and Harriet who is the wife of Dr. William J. Egloff, concerning whom specific mention is made elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Smith was summoned to the life eternal on the 23rd of January, 1904 , at the age of sixty-five years.
Captain Henry Irving Smith, an honored veteran of the Civil war now retired from active life and residing at Mason City, Iowa, is a native of Nottingham, England, born May 4, 1840. He is a son of William and Mary Ann (Moore) Smith, the former a native son of Dumfrieshire, Scotland, and the latter of Nottingham. William Smith was a traveling man and died when his son Henry I. was small. In 1849 the mother, who was well educated and a woman of unusual ability, brought her four children to the United States, stopping a few months in Canada on the way. She spent a year at Buffalo, New York, and then located at Geneva, Illinois, where she support her family by needle work, in which line she was very proficient. Henry was the oldest son and was soon able to work and help support the family, the others working as soon as they were able. At the death of the father's brother in Scotland, the children were left an inheritance of about five hundred dollars apiece and on April 1, 1855, the family started west, arriving at Shell Rock river, Falls township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in the latter part of the month. They bought one hundred and twenty acres of land, which they began improving. They erected a log house, in which they lived two years with nothing but a dirt floor, and at first were able to break and cultivate but a few acres at a time. Henry, as the oldest son, worked for others a great deal, and assisted with the other farm work. They endured the usual hardships and privations incident to pioneer life, but all were ambitious and energetic, and saw a bright future before them.
Besides Henry I. Smith, the other children were : Peter, who served in the same regiment as Henry, was wounded at Shiloh, from the effects of which he died in 1862 ; Maggie Jane, married Captain F. M. Gregory, who served in the Eight Illinois Cavalry, and they now reside at Mason City ; Mary Anetta, married Ben A. Brown, who died in 1908, and she now lives in Wisconsin.
As a young man Captain Smith worked considerably at teaming between McGregor and Charles City. He helped with the work on the home farm when he was not employed elsewhere, and the second year they planted three acres of wheat, as the seasons went by increasing their operations and in a few years were able to sell some. The saw and grist mills were then some distance away, in Chickasaw county, and at first their nearest market was at Manchester, later being at Cedar Falls, Janesville, and finally at Charles City, the last named being thirty miles from their farm. Besides the hard work and privations in the early days they suffered much from ague. At the beginning of the Civil war, when the two sons enlisted, the mother leased the farm and lived some years in Rock Falls. Later the farm was sold and another farm was purchased with the proceeds. The mother spent her later years with her children, and died at the home of a daughter at Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1900. She was greatly loved and honored by her children to whom her life had been an inspiration , and her memory is very dear to them. In religious belief she was Unitarian.
Captain Smith was the first man to enlist from Cerro Gordo county, the date of his enrollment being July 8, 1861. He took six men from the neighborhood with him and they joined Company B, Seventh Iowa Infantry, the nearest recruiting station being in Chickasaw county. They were mustered into service at Burlington, Iowa, July 24, and with the Fifth and Sixth regiments went at once to St. Louis and to the front. They served under General Grant at Shiloh and later in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth army corps, being mainly in the Army of Tennessee. Captain Smith participated in many important engagements, being present at the first battle of Belmont, Grant's first battle in the war. He was wounded in that battle and again slightly so at Corinth, in the fall of 1862. While recuperating at Belmont he did recruiting for a time at Fort Madison, Iowa, but was after that always with his regiment and on the fighting line. Besides many skirmishes, he took part in twenty-six important engagements. At the time of his enlistment he was chosen corporal and served in all the office up to and including the rank of captain, which he received during the latter part of his service. During the famous "March to the Sea" he commanded his company. After two and a half years of service, with most of his regiments Captain Smith accepted a veteran furlough, visited home with his company, then returned to the field and served to the end of the war, being mustered out July 14, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Upon his return home Captain Smith spent a year in farming, but was not in a physical condition that would enable him to stand hard manual labor, and accepted the office of deputy county treasurer in the fall of 1866. He served two years, in 1869 was elected treasurer and served four years-two terms. In 1873, in company with J. B. W. Montague, Captain Smith engaged in the insurance business and they purchased the Cerro Gordo Bank, which they conducted several years. Later they organized the First National Bank, of which Captain Smith served as president during the twenty years of the first charter. The success of this bank was [phenomenal] from the start, and with it were identified some of the most substantial business men of the county. Captain Smith resigned from the presidency some eight years ago, since which he has been retired from business. He organized the Mason City Wholesale Grocery Company and served for years as president of the same. He served six years as director of the State Agricultural Society and served some time as councilman and member of the school board at Mason City. In politics he has always been a stanch Republican.
Since his married in 1868, Captain Smith has been a resident of Mason City, where he erected two or more residences and not owns a fine home at the corner of Adams and State. For years he owned a fine stock in Falls township, making a specialty of Short-horn cattle and other high-grade stock, but a few years since sold this property and for some time has been in poor health.
On May 14, 1868, Captain Smith married at Mason City, Miss Delight E. Bogardus, who was born in Westerlo, New York, May 24, 1845, daughter of Robert B. and Maria (Vermilyea) Bogardus and sister of E. R. Bogardus, mentioned elsewhere in this work.. Five children have blessed this union, namely : William Irving, born in April, 1869, engaged in the lumber business and now in British Columbia, married Edith G. Hicks and they have two children, Gladys, born in 1897, and Irving G., born in 1900 ; Miss Lou D., born in September, 1872, is at home ; H. Carl, born in April, 1877, has been in the banking business several years, was conducting a ranch in Dakota some years, and is now a resident of Mason City, married to Adelaide Stannard ; Robert Percy, born November 1, 1879, assistant cashier in the First National Bank, of Mason City, where he has been employed ten years, married Mildred Beebe and they have two children, Alice Elizabeth, aged four, and Robert Henry, aged two ; Warren B., born in April 1881, married Miss Helen Atkins, and they have one daughter, Marian, aged two years. Robert Percy Smith was a member of the Iowa National Guard. He was at school in Minnesota when the Spanish-American war began, and served one year in the Philippines, his entire regiment receiving medals for meritorious conduct from President McKinley. Warren B. Smith is now residing in Pollock, South Dakota, where he is manager of a branch of the North Star Lumber Company and handles lumber, furniture and hardware supplies.
Captain and Mrs. Smith are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is affiliated with the G. A. R., C. H. Huntley Post, No. 42, Army of the Tennessee, and she is a member of the Women's Relief Crops. Both are well known and have a large circle of friends. Captain Smith has been one of the most prominent men in Mason City since he has been living there and has been identified with its best interests. No man is more highly esteemed in the community, not only for his service in the war, but for his steadfast good citizenship and high character. He has a medal of Honor Legion, dated June, 1897.
The senior member of the well known law firm of Stanbery & Stanbery, in which his associate is his son Ralph S., the subject of this review holds a place of prominence as one of the leading members of the bar of Iowa and is also an influential factor in civic and business affairs. The major portion of his life has been passed at Mason City and here he commands unqualified confidence and esteem as a citizen of sterling worth and as a leading member of the bar of Cerro Gordo county. On other pages of this work is given a memoir concerning his distinguished and honorable father, Dr. William C. Stanbery. As ready reference may be made to the article in question is unnecessary to repeat the data in the present sketch.
John S. Stanbery was born in Mercer county, Ohio , on September, 28, 1846 , and he was about five years of age at the time of the family removal to Iowa . The home was maintained at Vinton, this state, until 1858, when the parents removed to Clear Lake , Cerro Gordo county, where they resided until 1860, when permanent location was made in Mason City where the subject of this review has continuously maintained his home since he was about twelve years of age. He was afforded the advantages of the pubic teaching in the district school in Cerro Gordo and Hancock counties. In the meanwhile he began reading law under effective preceptorship and finally he entered the law department of the University of Iowa , in which he completed the prescribed course and in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1870, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He was simultaneously admitted to the bar of the state and he began the practice of his profession in Mason City , where he was associated in D. T. Gibson until 1873, when the partnership was dissolved. Mr. Gibson is now living retired at Waverly, this state. In 1874 Mr. Stanbery entered into partnership alliance with Hon. Joseph J. Clark now district judge, and they continued to be coadjutors for thirty years, within which they built up and controlled a large and representative professional business. After the dissolution of this firm Mr. Stanbery was a member of the firm of Stanbery, Hill & Eulette for a period of two years, at the expiration of which in 1906, he admitted his son Ralph, to partnership under the present firm name of Stanbery & Stanbery. He has been attorney and counsel for various important corporations and representative business men of Cerro Gordo county and is an able trial lawyer who has appeared in connection with a large amount of important litigation in the various courts.
In politics Mr. Stanbery has ever accorded staunch allegiance to the Republican party and has rendered yeoman service in behalf of its cause as one of the leaders of its local ranks. He served six years in the office of justice of the peace and for an equal period was a valued member of the board of education of Mason City . In 1904 he was elected to represent the lower house of the state legislature, where he served through two sessions and proved a valuable conservator of the interests of his constituency and of those of the state at large. In the Masonic fraternity he has attained chivalric degrees and his maximum affiliation is with the Antioch Commandery, No. 43, Knights Templars [sic]. He also holds membership in the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, though he does not now maintain any active affiliation with the same. For the past thirty years he has been an officer in the Methodist Episcopal church of his home city and he is one of its most influential and valued members. His personal popularity has its basis in his sterling integrity of character and his generous and kindly attitude in his association with his fellow men.
On the 29th of June, 1873, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Stanbery to Miss Laura J. Ives, who was born at Mount Holly, Rutland county, Vermont, and who died on the 21st of August, 1875, leaving no children. In October, 1876, Mr. Stanbery wedded Miss Martha A. Waldo, who was born in Rock county, Wisconsin , and who was graduated in Milton Academy, Wisconsin. She was summoned to life eternal on the 11th of March, 1906 , and is survived by two children, -- Anna W., who remains with her father a graduate of Cornell and Latin teacher in the high school for the past five years, and Ralph S., who is his father's associate in the practice of law.
Ralph S. Stanbery was born in Mason City on the 15th of January, 1881 , and he completed the curriculum of the public school of this city, in whose high school he was graduated as a member of the class of 1898. Thereafter he continued his studies in Cornell College at Mt. Vernon, Iowa, after leaving which he entered the literary department of the University of Minnesota, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1903 and in the law department of which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1906 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. For one year after his graduation he was employed in the farm-loan department of the Northern Trust Company of Chicago and he then returned to practice of his profession, in which he is well upholding the prestige of the honored name which he bears.
Mrs. Ralph S. Stanbery is staunchly arrayed under the banner of the Republican party and as a citizen he is essentially progressive and public spirited. He is now serving as secretary of the Mason City Commercial Club, to which position he was elected in January, 1910. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and he is affiliated with the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias, in the Sigma Nu college fraternity and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. He married Jessie Klemme on June 8, 1909 . She was born at Klemme, Hancock county, Iowa , a daughter of Harmon J., and Effie (Hoyt) Klemme, the father a native of Indiana and the mother of Iowa . Mr. Klemme homesteaded land in Hancock county, Iowa, and followed farming for a time, later engaging in the lumber and grain business and now owning large tracts of land. He is a wealthy man and he makes his home in Belmond.
Numbered among those who have lent dignity and honor to the medical profession in the state of Iowa, where he initiated his humane endeavors in the pioneer days, was Dr. William C. Stanbery, who was long numbered among the representative physicians and surgeons, as well as the active and influential citizens of Cerro Gordo county, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred at Mason City on the 21st of April, 1874. His memory is revered by all those who came within the sphere of his kindly influence and it is most consonant that in this publication be incorporated at least a brief tribute to his memory.
Dr. Stanbery was born at Waynesburg, Green county, June 29, 1824 , where he was reared to manhood and where his early educational advantages were those afforded in the common schools of the period. In preparation for the work of his chosen profession, he finally entered the Cincinnati Medical College in the city of Cincinnati , Ohio , in which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1842 and from which he received his well earned degree of Doctor of Medicine. For several years thereafter he was engaged in the practice of his profession in Mercer county, Ohio , and in January, 1846, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Elizabeth Stettler, of St. Marys , Ohio . Soon afterward the moved to La Porte , Indiana , where he continued in the work of his profession until 1851, when he removed to Vinton, Benton county, Iowa, where he established himself in practice. To fortify himself more fully for his chosen vocation, he completed an effective post-graduate course in the Keokuk Medical College , from which he received the supplemental degree of Doctor of Medicine in the autumn of 1857. In May, 1858, he located at Clear Lake , Cerro Gordo county, which represented his place of residence and professional headquarters until 1860. In the meanwhile, Dr. Stanbery had taken up the study of law and commenced to practice, having been admitted to the bar in 1859, by Judge Samuel Murdock, who was then presiding on the bench of the circuit court for Cerro Gordo county. In 1860, Dr. Stanbery formed a law partnership with Irving W. Card, who later became postmaster of Mason City . Here they were associated in practice until 1861, when shortly after the outbreak of the Civil war, Dr. Stanbery gave distinctive evidence of his intrinsic loyalty and patriotism by tendering his services in defense of the Union . He enlisted in Company B., Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in which he was commissioned first lieutenant. After his arrival with his command in Tennessee he was appointed to the office of provost marshal. In this capacity he afterward did service at New Madrid, Missouri, and there he received his honorable discharge in 1863, on account of physical disability. After his return to Iowa he resumed the practice of law in Mason City , where he continued to reside until his death.
In politics Dr. Stanbery gave staunch allegiance to the Democratic party, of whose principles and policies he was an effective advocate. He was a delegate to the national convention in the city of Baltimore that nominated Stephen A. Douglas as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. Shortly before his death he was the candidate of his party for the office of judge of the circuit court of the twelfth judicial district and he had the distinction of serving as the first mayor of Mason City . Under the administration of President Andrew Johnson he was appointed collector of internal revenues for the district that at that time comprised about half of the state of Iowa . In 1860 he was a candidate for the lower house of the Iowa legislature as representative of the district now comprised in the Tenth congressional district.
He was a man of fine intellectual attainments and great practical ability and he wielded potent influence in connection with civic, professional and public affairs in the early days of the history of Iowa , upon the roster of whose honored pioneers his name merits an enduring place. His religious faith was that of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his devoted wife was likewise a member. The death of the latter occurred at her home in Mason City on the 7th of March, 1910 . She was one of the most venerable pioneer women of Cerro Gordo county at the time of her demise and was held in affectionate regard by all who had come within the sphere of her gentle influence. Dr. Stanbery was especially appreciated and valued in the Masonic fraternity in Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite. He was the founder of Benevolence Lodge, No. 145, Free and Accepted Masons of Mason City and was its first master. He also organized Forest City and Belmond Lodges and was similarly identified with several other Masonic lodges in this section of the state.
In conclusion of this brief memoir is entered the following record concerning the children of Dr. and Mrs. Stanbery : John S., who is individually mentioned on other pages of this work ; Sarah J., who became the wife of James Elder of Mason City, and died in 1903 ; Margaret is the wife of Horton E. Francisco of Mason City ; Thomas P., is engaged in the coal business in this city ; Recompense is one of the prominent and influential citizens of Mason City, where he founded both of the principal early newspapers and where he is owner of a large amount of valuable realty ; William C. D. A., is a prominent merchant of Clarion, this state ; Harry E., is identified with the newspaper business in Mason City and has attained prominence as an author and correspondent ; May is the wife of William E. Farman of Monrovia, California ; Eliza Belle is the wife of Frank A. Van Vleck of Minot, North Dakota ; Henry S., is engaged in the printing business in Mason City ; Francis L., died at Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1859.
Jacob W. Steil, a prominent farmer and stock raiser of Falls township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, where he owns and operates eighty acres of land in section 33, is a native of the state, born in Chickasaw county December 1, 1865. He is a son of Peter Steil, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. His parents are natives of Germany.
Until he was eleven years old Jacob W. Steil lived in Chickasaw county, and since 1876 has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county. He received a common school education and then turned his attention to farming, which he has since followed. He is an up-to-date farmer and follows modern methods. He appreciates the advantages of raising high grade stock and has brought his farm to a high state of cultivation. He has been a resident of Falls township since 1895 and has a large number of friends in the neighborhood. Politically he is a Republican and has served in several minor offices. He is a member of the Mystic Toilers of Mason City, and he and his wife are members of the Christian church of Mason City, which is his postoffice address.
On February 25, 1891, Mr. Steil married Miss Jennie Sauerberg, born in Clinton county, Iowa, November 5, 1874, daughter of George and Katie (Hansen) Sauerberg, who located in Mason City about 1880. Mr. Sauerberg conducted a blacksmith shop and they lived on a farm in Mason township a few years, then moved to Mason City, where they owned a ten acre tract of land. Mr. Sauerberg died March 15, 1910, in his sixty-third year. Mr. and Mrs. Steil have four sons and one daughter, namely : Irvin, aged sixteen years ; Miss La Bonna, aged eleven ; Milton, seven ; Leonard, three, and Verne, one.
Peter P. Steil, whose post office address is Mason City, Iowa, has lived on his present farm near this place since 1876, when he came here with his father and family from Illinois. Mr. Steil is a native of Stephenson county, Illinois, born September 12, 1863, son of Peter and Magdalena (Kehm) Steil, natives of Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany. Peter Steil was born January 20, 1821 ; was married in the old country, and few years later, with his wife and two children, George and Elizabeth, came to America, landing in Stephenson county, Illinois, in 1850. For thirteen years he carried on farming in Illinois, then he sold out and came over into Iowa, settling first in Chickasaw county, where he bough eighty acres. This farm he subsequently sold, and in the spring of 1876 came to Portland township, Cerro Gordo county, and bought the farm of one hundred and twenty acres which is now owned by his son Peter P. Here the senior Mr. Steil was successfully engaged in farming until his death, January 31, 1890, at the age of sixty-nine years. His widow survived him until December 12, 1909, when she died at about the age of eighty-three years. Both were members of the German Evangelical church. The two children they brought with them to this country died in Illinois and four other children, two sons and two daughters, were added to their family in America, namely : Eva, wife of Adrian Mills, of Fresno, California ; Lena, wife of A. D. Krusenmark, of St. Paul Park, Minnesota ; Peter P., the subject of this sketch ; and Jacob, a farmer of Falls township, Cerro Gordo county.
At the time of the removal of the Steil family to Cerro Gordo county, Peter P. was a boy of fourteen years, and here he has since been engaged in farming, having contributed his part to the development of the land and now having one of the best improved farms in the vicinity.
On July 13, 1892, Mr. Steil married Miss Amanda Nopschall, a native of Valparaiso, Indiana, born in 1876, daughter of Gastave and Pauline (Yabu) Nopschall, both natives of Germany, born in Prussia and Holstein respectively, from whence, when children, they came with their parents to America, the mother's people settling in New York state and later moving to Valparaiso, Indiana, the father's people going directly to Valparaiso. In 1887 Mrs. Steil's parents came to Iowa and took up their residence in Portland township, Cerro Gordo county, where they made their home until the mother's death, in the fall of 1903, at the age of forty-eight years. The father, now retired, is a resident of California. To Mr. and Mrs. Steil three children have been given : Alma, Clarence and Della, the last named having died in infancy.
Politically, Mr. Steil is a Republican, and has served efficiently in several local offices. Fraternally he is identified with the M. W. A., the Yeomen and the Mystic Toilers, the last two in Mason City and the first in Portland. Mrs. Steil also belongs to the Mystic Toilers, and both are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which Mrs. Steil was reared, her parents having been worthily identified with that denomination.
George Steiner, who owns a well-cultivated farm in section 17, Portland township, Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, carries on his work according to modern methods and has up-to-date equipment for doing his work. Mr. Steiner was born in Dane county, Wisconsin, December 18, 1857, son of Nicholas and Dorothea (Schultheis) Steiner, both natives of Germany. Nicholas Steiner was born in 1823 and died in 1869, and his wife, who was born February 15, 1827, died at Mason City, February 24, 1898. Of their three children two are living, namely : Lydia , who married F. Uphoff and is living in Wisconsin , and George. After the death of Nicholas Steiner his widow married Albert Schlosser, who was born April 28, 1824, and died August 12, 1900, at Mason City, Iowa. She had no children by her second marriage. In 1884 Mr. Schlosser and his wife moved to Cerro Gordo county, locating on a farm in section 18, Portland township, where they lived until 1890, and then removed to Mason City .
George Steiner was reared on a farm and received a good common school education. He helped with the work on the farm as soon as old enough. He came to Iowa with the family in 1884 and located at Nora Springs, where for one year he conducted a meat market. In the spring of 1886 Mr. Steiner purchased the farm where he now lives. He has one hundred and sixty acres and has devoted himself to developing a fine farm. At the time of its purchase this land was unimproved and he has set out the trees on his property. He takes great pride in his achievements and is considered a representative, useful citizen. In politics he is a Republican, and he and his wife are members of the Evangelical church at Nora Springs .
On March 3, 1877, Mr. Steiner married Lydia Schlosser, who was born in Marquette county, Wisconsin, October 8, 1854, daughter of Albert and Catherine (Niess) Schlosser, the father born in Wurtermberg, Germany, April 28, 1824, and came to the United States in 1846, locating in Wisconsin, where his first wife died in 1861. He married for his second wife, Mr. Steiner's mother, as already mentioned. Mr. Steiner and his wife have no children of their own, but are fond of children and have reared two : Mary, wife of Guy Rader, of Nora Springs , and Raymond Cooley, still living with his foster parents. Mr. Steiner and his wife stand well in their neighborhood and have many friends.
Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, includes among its enterprising and prosperous farmers, Jay L. Stevens, whose fine farm of two hundred and eighteen acres on section 18, Falls township, is one of the best improved ones in the locality.
Mr. Stevens was born in Blue Earth county, Minnesota, near the town of Mankato, in October, 1866, son of T. G. and Eliza (Lathrop) Stevens. T. G. Stevens, a native of Ohio, left that state about 1861 and made settlement in Minnesota, where he was variously occupied, giving no little time to buying and selling property. About 1863 he made his first visit to Iowa, and at that time, purchased the farm now owned by his son, Jay L. He improved this farm, and for several years carried on agricultural pursuits here. Later he moved to Plymouth, where his death [occurred] in 1885, at the age of sixty-five years. Although being deprived of his sight through an accident which happened when he was a young man, he was successful in his undertakings and maintained an active interest in public affairs, at times serving in local offices, such as member of the school board, etc. He married in Indiana, Miss Eliza Lathrop, who as a bride accompanied him to Minnesota. She was born in New York, reared in Indiana, and died in Iowa, her death occurring in 1903, at about the age of seventy years. Of their five children two are in Iowa, the subject of this sketch and his sister Clara, wife of L. Cole of Plymouth, and three are residents of North Dakota, namely : Ella, wife of A. D. Graves, of Tokio ; H. E., of Ray, and F. T., of Merricourt.
Jay L Stevens was reared in the county in which he now lives and received his education in the public schools, and from his boyhood has been occupied in farming and stock raising. For years he has been interested in raising thoroughbred Short-horn cattle and Poland China hogs.
In 1888 Mr. Stevens married Miss Anna Glassel, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of John Glassel and wife, both natives of Germany. The Glassels came to Iowa in 1885 and took up their residence in Cerro Gordo county, where Mr. Glassel engaged in farming and later in gardening. Now at the age of eighty-five he is retired, and he and his wife make their home with Mr. and Mrs. Stevens. Mrs. and Mrs. Stevens have four children, Ralph, Nellie, Ethel and Lloyd, all at home, the eldest twenty-one years of age and the youngest ten.
Politically Mr. Stevens is Republican ; has served efficiently in local office and has always been keenly alive to the best interests of the community. For six years he was township assessor, and at this writing he is president of the township school board. He is secretary and manager of the Plymouth Co-operative Creamery Company, and is a director in the Farmers Elevator Company, the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company and the North Iowa Fair Association. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
than half a century ago when there were only a few white men at Clear Lake,
Iowa, Oscar Stevens joined the little settlement here, and southwest of the lake
set up a steam sawmill which he had brought with him. That was in 1854. He has
ever since been identified with the business interests of the place and has
contributed his part toward its substantial growth and development. Among the
pioneers he found here were James Dickirson, James Sirrine, Michael Callen and
J. B. Wood. Young Stevens at once went to work in his sawmill, and conducted it
for several years until 1869, when he built a grist mill. The latter he operated
until 1887. In the meantime he engaged in the hotel, boat and livery business,
with which he was identified for a period of twenty-five years, after which he
sold out. Of recent years he has been engaged in the manufacture of concrete
blocks and buildings.
Stevens is a native of the "Keystone State." He was born in Wayne
county, Pennsylvania, in 1833, a son of Alfred and Ester (Kellogg) Stevens, and
with them in 1836 moved to McHenry county, Illinois, where he was reared, his
father having settled on a farm in that county and having been engaged in
agricultural pursuits there for a number of years. The parents died in
Wisconsin, the father at Racine and the mother some years later at Lodi. An
uncle, R. O. Sirrine, had taken up his residence at Clear Lake, Iowa, and it was
through his influence that in 1854 Oscar Stevens left Illinois and came hither
as above stated.
1857, at Clear Lake, Mr. Stevens married Miss Mary Govro, a native of Lake
county, Illinois, and four years his junior. Four children were born to them, of
whom one, Mrs. Mabel Hover, died in 1902. Those living are : Hubert, of Dubuque,
Iowa ; Guy, of Clear Lake ; and Minnie, wife of C. A. Stratton, also of Clear
In political matters Mr. Stevens has always maintained an independent attitude, keeping himself well posted and voting for men and measures rather than adhering strictly to party lines. He served on term as a county commissioner. Socially he has long been connected with numerous organizations. IN Masonry he has advanced to the higher degrees and has membership in the Mystic Shrine at Cedar Rapids and the Commandery at Mason City. His identity with Odd Fellowship dates back over fifty years, he has been a Knight of Pythias since 1875, and he has membership in several insurance organizations.
F. E. Stewart, of Clear Lake , Iowa , belongs to the fast thinning ranks of Civil War veterans. As such and as a representative citizen of Cerro Gordo county, a sketch of his life is of interest in this work, and briefly, is as follows:
F. E. Stewart was born in St. Marion, Ogle county, Illinois , August 15, 1841 , son of Samuel F. and Mary (Sweet) Stewart. Samuel F. Stewart, born September 1, 1803 , was a native of Massachusetts , and his father, Jonathan, was born in Scotland and spent the first sixteen years of his life there. He traced his genealogy back to King James Stuart and to Mary Queen of Scots. In Massachusetts S. F. Stewart grew to manhood and married, April 11, 1837, and he made Illinois his home until 1842, when he moved to Dane county, Wisconsin, where he was engaged to farming the rest of his life. He died there, in 1876, at the age of seventy-two years. His wife, born November 5, 1807 , in Oneida county, New York , died about 1872. In their family were three sons and two daughters, of whom two are deceased, those living being James and Charlotte, of Milton Junction, Wisconsin , and F. E., the subject of this sketch.
F. E. Stewart, was reared in Dane county, Wisconsin , and was just emerging from his teens when [the] Civil war was inaugurated. In answer to the ninety day call he enlisted his services and at the end of that time re-enlisted for three years, as a member of Company F, Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry, with which command he participated in numerous engagements, including those of Franklin , Decatur , Nashville and Lookout Mountain , at first with the Twentieth Army Corps and later with the Fourth. He was mustered out December 19, 1865 , at San Antonio , Texas , following a siege of typhoid fever in a field hospital.
Returning to Wisconsin at the close of his army service, he made his home there until about 1877, when he came to Iowa and settled in Cerro Gordo county. He owned and operated a farm in Lincoln township, subsequently selling it and buying another there ; and after selling the second one came to Clear Lake township and invested in land near the county line. This last farm he also sold and has since lived retired.
Mr. Stewart married, in Wisconsin, March 27, 1866, Miss Lucinda A. Sprague, a native of Milton, Rock county, that state, born July 19, 1846, a daughter of Orrin and Amelia (Cady) Sprague, the former born in Otsego county, New York, and the latter in Pennsylvania. They went to Rock county, Wisconsin in an early day, and came to Howard county, Iowa , in 1852. Mr. Sprague was a blacksmith, and he died at Clear Lake , July 12, 1887 , his wife dying February 25, 1878 .
Mr. Sprague was one the pioneers of Wisconsin , and he came to Iowa in 1852, as above stated. To him belongs the distinction of having built the first sawmill in Chickasaw county, Iowa . Mr. and Mrs. Stewart are the parents of three sons and one daughter ; John H., Ira E., and David L., all of Clear Lake, the last two being partners in the transfer and ice business ; and Nelia May, wife of W. F. Collins, also of Clear Lake.
In his political views Mr. Stewart is independent, and fraternally he is identified with the Masonic Order. Mrs. Stewart is a member of the Eastern Star and Relief Corps and attends the Methodist Episcopal church.
William B. Stilson, a retired resident of Mason City, Iowa, living at 223 East Fifth street, first came to this part of Iowa in the winter of 1856-57, and is familiar with its early history, its growth and its development. He was born in Preble county, Ohio , February 25, 1832 , son of Sylvanus S. and Eleanor (Bishop) Stilson.
Sylvanus S. Stilson was a native of New York state, from whence when a youth he accompanied his parents and other family members of the family to Hamilton county, Ohio , and later to Preble county. At the latter place when a young man he taught school and subsequently went to Cincinnati and worked in a packing house. His father was born in Connecticut , and died at Elkhart , Indiana , to which place he had gone with his son Sylvanus S. From Indiana the latter moved over into Illinois and settled in McHenry county. That was in 1837. There he entered a claim, and for a number of years successfully carried on farming. He and his wife spent their last years at Mason City , Iowa , at the home of their son Abner. Of their eight children, James M., a veteran of the Civil ward, died several years since at the home of a son in Hancock county, Iowa ; William B., the subject of this sketch, was the second born ; Abner R., and Oliver H., both veterans of the Civil war, are deceased, the former having died in 1908, at Mason City, Iowa, leaving a widow and two children, the latter having died in 1909 at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He had been a resident of Cerro Gordo county two years, and Abner R. had lived here since the later ‘60s. Horace died in Illinois , at the age of twenty years. Of the daughters, Laura and Eleanor, the former is the widow of J. G. Bailey, and early resident of Mason City , who died here in 1908, and the latter and her husband, John McMillan, are both deceased.
William B. Stilson, in referring to early days in Cerro Gordo county, said that his brother, James M., came here with an Indian trapper and hunter in 1855, before Mason City was laid out. He afterward acquired title to land in Owen township, now Portland township, which he subsequently sold to William B. The two brothers made a trip to Chippewa Falls , Wisconsin , in the winter of 1857-8, William B. taking several yoke of oxen and produce, which he traded as part payment for his brother's land in Cerro Gordo county, the purchase price being five dollars an acre. James M. married and settled at Chippewa Falls . The summer previous to this, William B., in company with A. J. Churchill, did considerable breaking of prairie. They put up a comfortable shanty in which they kept “bachelor's hall,” and two years later, when Mr. Stilson returned to Iowa , bringing with him his wife, he settled on this land and here carried on farming successfully for a number of years. He made his home on the farm until 1871, when he moved into Mason City . The last few years he has been practically retired from active work, having sold the farm. During the Civil war Mr. Stilson served one term as sheriff of Cerro Gordo county, and again, in 1871, he was elected to this office and served a second term. Also at different times he filled various other offices. He was one of the first county commissioners of Cerro Gordo county, and later he was street commissioner of Mason City , an office he filled for fifteen years. It was during that time the most of the pavings and crossing of the city were built.
On February 9, 1859, Mr. Stilson married in McHenry county, Illinois , Miss Mary Stevens, who was born in Wayne county, Pennsylvania , February 2, 1834 , daughter of Silas Molby and Juliette (Kellogg) Stevens, natives of Vermont and Pennsylvania respectively. Her grandfather Kellogg was an aide of General Washington in the [Revolutionary] war. Mrs. Stilson was one of a family of seven children, the others being as follows : Homer, who died in Vermont ; Asher M., of Oregon, but for many years a resident of Cerro Gordo county ; Marcus, a veteran of the Civil war who lost an arm at Gettysburg, and some years since died in Illinois ; James, a Civil war veteran, died in Dakota several years ago ; Esther, wife of John Pearson, died in Pennsylvania, leaving two daughters ; Harriet, wife of N. P. Jensen of Portland township, Cerro Gordo county. To Mr. and Mrs. Stilson have been given two daughters, Ida A., and Julia Eleanor. The latter was the wife of Willard H. Skiff and died a number of years ago. On February 9, 1909 , Mr. and Mrs. Stilson celebrated their golden wedding.
Politically Mr. Stilson has always affiliated with the Republican party, fraternally, with the F. and A. M. and the B. P. O. E. and both he and his wife are members of Chapter No. 58, O. E. S. Mrs. Stilson is also identified with the Fidelity Club and has long been an active member of the Baptist church. Miss Stilson is a member of the Sorosis Club.
Cerro Gordo county is fortunate in having been settled by a remarkably industrious, enterprising, intelligent and prosperous class of people, prominent among the number having been the late Andrew W. Storer, for many years on the foremost agriculturists of Pleasant Valley township. He was born January 15, 1851, in Dane county, Wisconsin, and died November 29, 1904, at Mason City, his death being regarded as a public loss to the community.
He was the son of Daniel and Eunice (Palmer) Storer, the former of whom, a venerable man of eighty-five years, is living in Dane county, Wisconsin, while the latter died in May, 1908, at the age of seventy-nine years. They were the parents of five children as follows : Andrew W., the subject of this brief biographical sketch ; Prescott ; E. R. of Mitchell, South Dakota ; Dr. W. D., of Chicago, Illinois ; and Nettie, living with her aged father.
His parents settling near Madison , Wisconsin , when he was but four years old, Andrew W. Storer acquired his first knowledge of books in the district schools, subsequently attending the State University in Madison one year. In 1873, having previously taught school one term in Wisconsin, he came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa and having purchased one hundred and sixty acres of wild land in Pleasant Valley township began the improvement of a farm, for six years teaching school during the winter months. He met with good success in his labors, from time to time buying more land and acquiring title to seven hundred and twenty acres of rich and productive land in Cerro Gordo county, and to a well improved farm near Brookings , South Dakota . Retiring from active pursuits in 1903, Mr. Storer removed his family to Mason City, and was here a resident until his death. He was a steadfast Republican in politics, and had the distinction of being the first man to serve as road master in Pleasant Valley township, where he also held all other township offices.
Mr. Storer married, December 5, 1878 , Etta Cannon, who was born in Columbia county, Wisconsin , March 9, 1858 . Her father, Amaziah Cannon, was born in Chautauqua county, New York, September 21, 1819, moved with his family to Wisconsin in 1858, came to Cerro Gordo county, Iowa, in 1865, and here resided until his death, in February, 1881, in Mason township. Mrs. Cannon, whose maiden name was Cornelia Waite, was born in Chautauqua county, New York , January 16, 1823 , and is now living in Mason township. To her and her husband three children were born, two of whom are living, as follows : Emeline, wife of Willis Dent, of Mason township ; and Mrs. Storer. Although a child of seven years when she made the overland trip from Wisconsin to Iowa, Mrs. Storer remembers Mason City as a small hamlet containing one general store, a blacksmith's shop, no hotel, with Austin, Minnesota, as the nearest railway station. Mr. and Mrs. Storer became the parents of five children, namely : Willis A., of Pleasant Valley township ; Eunice, wife of Frank H. Hosmer, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the mother of one child, Hope, born September 11, 1909 ; Daisy A., studying music at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio ; Ruth W ; and Myra E., at home. Mrs. Storer is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and belongs to the C. H. Huntley Post, No. 72 W. R. C.