Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa - 1896 - P

1896 Index

A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa
Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

George Wesley Parsons  is one of the prominent and highly esteemed citizens of Hartford, Warren  county, and is numbered among the native sons of this locality.  A well  spent life has gained him an enviable position in the regard of his  fellow men, and he well deserves representation in this volume.  He was  born on the old family homestead on the 14th of June, 1847, and is one  of the four children of George C. and Catherine (Schults) Parsons.  Five  children are now deceased, and the others are: Lucy, wife of W. A.  Canaday, of Palmyra township, Warren county; and William, of Richland  township, Warren county.  The father was a native of Virginia, his birth  having occurred in the Old Dominion in the year 1819.  As far back as  the ancestry can be traced the family has been connected with the  history of the Old Dominion, its first representatives having there  located in early Colonial days.  

George C. Parsons was a farmer by occupation, following that pursuit  throughout his entire life.  He left his native State in early manhood,  taking up his residence in Indiana, and in the fall of 1854 he resumed  his Westward journey, traveling toward the setting sun, until he had  reached Warren county, Iowa.  Here he determined to found a home, and  located on section 28, Richland township, where he purchased a tract of  land and began the development of a farm.  The region was at that time  but sparsely settled, much of the land was still in its primitive  condition, and there was little indication of rapid progress, but the  years and the enterprising spirit of the citizens have worked a  wonderful change in an incredible short space of time.  Mr. Parsons  carried on his farming operations until 1865, when he was called to his  final rest, at the comparatively early age of forty-six years.  His  wife, a native of Miami county, Ohio, died in 1890.  

George Wesley Parsons spent his early life upon the old farm, working in  the fields and attending school.  He watched with interest the progress  and development made in this locality, and has ever borne his part in  its promotion.  Having arrived at years of maturity, he was married, on  the 28th of February, 1884, to Miss Jenetta V. Rawson, a native of  Indiana, and a daughter of Frank and Sarah Rawson, whose family numbered  three children.  The parents were natives of Indiana, and both died at a  comparatively early age.  Mrs. Parsons is now the only surviving member  of the family.  By her marriage she became the mother of four children,  - Preston M., Flossie Lou, Ula Fay, and George F., deceased.  

Although not actively engaged in agricultural pursuits, Mr. Parsons is  the owner of one of the finest farms in this fertile section of Iowa.   It comprises both uplands and splendid bottom lands, and contains more  than 500 acres.  The residence and farm buildings are substantial,  commodious and convenient structures, and all the improvements and  accessories of a model farm of the nineteenth century may there be  found.  Mr. Parsons is a man of good business ability, energetic and  enterprising, and his carefully managed interests yield to him a good  income.  He is numbered among the valued citizens of the community,  giving his hearty co-operation to all enterprises that are calculated to  advance the general welfare and to promote the best interests of the  public.  He was reared in the faith of the Democratic party, of which  his father was a stanch advocate, and when he brought to bear his mature  judgment upon the questions of the day and the attitude of the various  parties toward these, he also allied himself with the Democracy, and has  since supported its men and measures.  His disposition is manly and  generous.  He is social and genial in manner, and has the happy faculty  of not only winning friends but retaining them.  

Roscoe M. Parsons, M. D.,  one of the practitioners of the homeopathic school of medicine in Traer,  Iowa, is a representative of that sturdy stock which comes from the  Green Mountain State.  He was born in Bennington county, Vermont, June  16, 1848, and traces his ancestry through several generations to  England.  His great-grandfather, a loyal soldier and sailor under King  George III., was engaged in the merchant marine service at the time of  the Revolution, and followed that pursuit for many years.  He finally  located in Canada, where he reared his family, which included the  paternal grandfather of the Doctor, who, on reaching maturity, removed  to southern Vermont, where the following two generations of the family  were born.  

Dr. Parsons' father, Benjamin B. Parsons, was born in 1817, in the same  house which became the birthplace of the Doctor.  His mother, Maria P.  (Blanchard) Parsons, was of French lineage, her parents locating in  Windham county, Vermont, where she was born, in 1823.  Mr. and Mrs.  Parsons were reared in the same neighborhood, attended the same school,  and were eventually married, April 12, 1845.  Three sons and a daughter  were born in their family, namely:  Roscoe M.; Fernando A., a banker and  real-estate dealer in Kansas; Winslow R., a manufacturer of novelty  goods in Chicago; and Lenore E., wife of W. S. Bishop, who resides in  Waterloo, Iowa.  

In the fall of 1850 the family removed to Dodge county, Wisconsin, where  they lived for twelve years, and in 1862 came to Waterloo, Iowa, their  present home being on a farm about a mile from that city.  The early  life of Dr. Parsons was spent on his father's farm and in attendance on  the public schools of the neighborhood.  He was early inured to all the  labors of the farm, and while teaching school through the winter months  followed agricultural pursuits in the summer. He began teaching in 1872,  and was thus engaged through the seven succeeding years.  In the fall of  1879 he entered the office of Drs. Banton & Roberts, in Waterloo, with  the determination to fit himself for the medical profession.  After nine  months' preparatory study he entered upon his first course of lectures  at the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College.  The following summer he  returned to the office of his former preceptors, and in the autumn  entered the medical department of the State University of Iowa.  In the  summer of 1881 he opened his present office in Traer.  In September,  however, he resumed his studies  in the Chicago Homeopathic Medical  College, from which he received his diploma on the 2d of March, 1882,  when he resumed his office in Traer, and has since successfully engaged  in practice.  

Dr. Parsons has been most successful in securing the patronage of the  best people throughout the county, and is rated as one of the leading  physicians of the place.  He is a member of the American Institute of  Homeopathy, the Hahnemann Medical Association of Iowa, the District  Medical Association of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is, in addition, a member  of the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  In  religion, as well as on other subjects, he is most liberal, condemning  not the things which he cannot understand.  In politics he belongs to  the Republican ranks but is not an active party worker.  

In 1870 the Doctor was united in marriage to Miss Ella R. Spalding, a  native of Cape May, New Jersey, but whose residence at the time of her  marriage was in Waterloo, Iowa.  They have had eight children, four of  whom are living, namely:  Belle, wife of D. E. Conner, of Traer;  Percival L., who is now pursuing his second year's course in the Iowa  State University; Frederick A., deceased; and Carroll D., a student in  the Traer schools.  Benjamin B., Walter R., Lloyd S., and Frederick A.  all died within two weeks, of malignant diphtheria, in November, 1889.   Linn R., who is still at home, completes the list. 

William Pedigo, of Lucas county, was born in Barren county, Kentucky, August 24, 1825, a son of John Pedigo, a Virginian by birth. His father, Edward Pedigo, was also a native of that State. John Pedigo was reared on a Virginia plantation, and afterward removed to Barren county, Kentucky. He was married there to Frances Hill, a daughter of Clementine Hill. John Pedigo and family left their Kentucky home for Indiana in 1827, locating in Lawrence county, and subsequently settled near Worthington, Greene county, that State, where the parents died, - the mother at the age of seventy years and the father at the age of eighty years. He was a carpenter by trade, but later in life also followed agricultural pursuits. Politically he was identified with the Democratic party, and religiously was a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Pedigo were the parents of nine children, as follows: Elijah, Greenville, John, Elizabeth, Mary, James, William, Edward, and one deceased in infancy.

William Pedigo, the subject of this sketch, was reared to farm life in Indiana. In 1856, in company with his brother-in-law, John Young, he came with ox teams to Iowa. A short time afterward he returned to Indiana, and again came with ox teams, four cows and some household goods to Iowa, locating in Otter Creek township, Lucas county. Six months afterward Mr. Pedigo settled near Marysville, in Nodaway county, Missouri, where he remained eighteen months, after which he returned to Indiana on a business trip. He enlisted for service at the opening of the late war, entering the Ninety-seventh Indiana Infantry, Company C, but was honorably discharged three months afterward on account of weakness of the eyes; he has never fully recovered his sight. Mr. Pedigo has resided in Otter Creek township, Lucas county, since the war.

September 1, 1850, in Indiana, our subject was united in marriage with Elizabeth E. Beem, a native of Owen county, that State, and a daughter of Neely and Leah (Storm) Beem, natives of Kentucky and both now deceased. They were the parents of six children, namely: Cynthia Ann, Mary, Rich, John, William and Elizabeth.

To Mr. and Mrs. Pedigo have been born four children: Jesse W., of Monroe county, Indiana; Molly J. Gray, an accomplished musician, is at home; Rich E., also at home; and John C., formerly a clerk at Woodbine, Iowa, who died at the age of twenty-eight years.

Mr. Pedigo originally voted with the Democratic party, but was a strong Abolitionist, and since the war has been identified with the Republican party. He served with honor and credit as Township Trustee two terms. Mrs. Pedigo is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Hon. Emlen G. Penrose occupies a high position in business, political and social circles.  He ranks among those representative men of Iowa who have gained high position solely through their own efforts.  He is a typical Western man, possessed of the  enterprise and progressive spirit so characteristic of this section of the country, and his straightforward course, his adherence to the right and his energetic business career and honorable political record, have gained him the high esteem of all.  To-day he is a member of the State Senate from the district comprising Benton and Tama counties, and is the oldest hardware merchant of the city of Tama.

Mr. Penrose was born in Chesterfield, Morgan county, Ohio, August 22, 1844, and is descended from a family whose founders crossed the Atlantic with William Penn, on his second voyage to America.  They located in the Pennsylvania Colony, and were members of the Society of Friends.  The grandfather of our subject, Thomas Penrose, removed to Ohio about 1830, locating near Pennsville in Morgan county, where he purchased a farm that he operated until his death, at the age of seventy-five years.

Thomas Penrose, father of our subject, was born in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, in 1805, and went with his parents to the Buckeye State, where he was reared on a farm that he aided in clearing and improving.  He there married Maria Clendennen, a native of Belmont county, Ohio.  He then turned his attention to merchandising, which he followed in Morgan county, conducting a general store.  In 1860 he removed to Keokuk county, Iowa, where he carried on agricultural pursuits until his retirement to private life.  He died in West Branch, Iowa, at the age of seventy-five, and his wife, surviving him three years, passed away at the same age.  They were the parents of six sons and a daughter, all of whom reached years of maturity, namely: Clarkson T., a retired merchant of West Branch, Iowa; Osborn, a farmer of Butler county, Kansas; Isaac C., who is connected with an irrigating company and lives at Idlewild, California; William, a resident of West Branch, Iowa; James, who followed merchandising in that place until his death; Emlen G., of this review; Hannah, wife of John T. Emmons, a resident of West Branch, Iowa.

Mr. Penrose, our subject, attended the common schools of Ohio, and after becoming a resident of this State spent a short time in the Iowa State University.  He also engaged in teaching school in Keokuk county, but was mostly engaged in farm labor during his early days.  He aided in breaking prairie, in operating a thresher, and for one year farmed land in his own interest.  Coming to Tama in 1868, he entered the employ of a firm dealing in lumber and farm implements.  In 1870 he purchased a hardware business at Grand Junction, Iowa, which he concluded for three years, when he returned to Tama and bought a similar establishment here.  For a short time he was associated with a partner, but soon became sole proprietor, and has since carried on a general hardware business, having the largest stock in the county.  His trade is very extensive, and has been secured by honorable dealing and courteous treatment.  For about six years he was also a partner in a grocery establishment; and he erected the broom factory, which he conducted for three years.  He has indeed been prominently connected with the business interests of Tama, and has largely promoted its commercial activity, and thereby the material welfare of the community.

In 1870 Mr. Penrose was united in marriage to Miss Jennie C. Stoddard, a daughter of Joel Stoddard, who was formerly a farmer of Indiana but subsequently removed to Tama.  The lady was born in the Hoosier State and came with her parents to this place.  Mr. and Mrs. Penrose now have one son, Frank B., who was born in July, 1871, graduated from the Tama high school, and attended Western College and Cornell College.  He is now associated with his father in business.Mr. Penrose is a stalwart Republican and a recognized leader, being an able counselor in his party.  His fellow townsmen, appreciating his worth and ability, have frequently called upon him to serve in public office.  He was first a member of the City Council of Tama, which position he filled for several years.  In 1878 he was elected Mayor of the city, and is now serving his third term in that office.  He was for some years a member of the School Board, and in 1893 was elected State Senator for a four-years term.  The district the previous year gave a Democratic majority of 868, but Mr. Penrose won the election by 99 votes, thus running very largely ahead of his ticket, a fact which indicates his great personal popularity and the trust reposed in him.  That this confidence has never been misplaced is prima facie to all who know Mr. Penrose's character.  He was made chairman of the committee on commerce and is a member of other important committees, while his efforts toward wise legislation has gained him the strong approval of his party.

Socially, Mr. Penrose is a Knight Templar Mason, and Past Master of Hiram Lodge, No. 203, A. F. & A. M.  He also belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity, and is president of the Twin City Athletic Association.  His business has proved a profitable one, and he now owns, besides his hardware stock, his business block and other town property, two improved farms in Tama county, and 480 acres of land in Nebraska.  He has made his own way in life, entirely unaided by capital or influential friends, and his success is therefore dwell deserved.  He takes a deep interest in the welfare of the community and everything pertaining to its upbuilding, and justly ranks among Iowa's valued citizens.    

JOHN PETERSON submitted by Richard Kinkead

JOHN PETERSON, of Derby, a highly respected and prosperous citizen, has been a resident of Lucas County for a quarter of a century, and is therefore well-known in his community. Even his nationality, Sweden, vouches to a great extent for the best elements of his character, namely, industry, honesty and judicious management.

He was born December 16, 1827, his parents being Peter Jonson and Stina Karey Peterson. His father died in Sweden, his native land, at the age of seventy-eight years, and his mother in Aurora, Illinois, at the age of sixty-nine years. Their children, whom they brought up, comprised three sons and nine daughters, constituting a family which demonstrated the health, vigor and inherited longevity of their parents. Their names are Joanna, John, Sophia, Alfred, Charlotte. Josephine, Cornelius (who was a soldier in the last war and was killed in Arkansas), Erma Holteen (of Lucas County), Carlinie, Clara Dujina, and two who died in infancy.

Mr. John Peterson, who is the subject proper of this sketch, was reared in his native country, attending school until he reached the age of fifteen years, and receiving a good education, as he had a good intellect and good moral habits. He continued to reside with his parents, assisting them on the farm until he was twenty-one years of age, when he emigrated to the New World for greater opportunity. His first position in this country was as a farm hand for Solomon Dunham, the importer of fine-grade horses at Wayne, Illinois. Mr. Peterson was in the employ of Mr. Dunham, in Kane County, Illinois, for the long period of fifteen years, a fact which argues favorably for both himself and his employer.

August 24, 1861, Mr. Peterson enlisted in the defense of his adopted government, becoming a member of Company K, Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the regiment commanded by Colonel Grierson and Lieutenant Colonel Ed Joslyn; and the captain of his company was J.Q. Adams. Mr. Peterson, with his fellow soldiers, participated in the battle of Pea Ridge, in Arkansas; of Pittsburg Landing, Corinth, Perryville and Stone River, – all severe engagements. In the last mentioned he was severely wounded in the left hip by a minie ball, and he was confined in the hospital at Nashville and at Camp Dennison, Ohio. On recovery he was transferred to the Eighty-seventh regiment, Second Battalion, of the Invalid Corps, October 31, 1863, and was stationed at Camp Dennison. Faithfully serving until December 15, 1864, he was honorably discharged, after having served in the army for a period of three years and four months, making a gallant record as a soldier.

Returning to Kane County, Illinois, he continued to reside there for five years; then, in 1870, he moved to Wayne County, Iowa, and a year afterward to Lucas County, two and a half miles south of Chariton. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Warren township, which he kept and cultivated until 1891: he then removed to Derby, where he now has a fine residence.

He was married in Sweden, at the age of twenty-one years, just before he sailed for the New World, to Christina Monson, a lady of excellent qualities as wife, mother, neighbor and member of society. Mr. And Mrs. Peterson have had nine children, of whom eight are still living, namely; Sophie Brown, of Chase County, Nebraska; James R., of Monroe County, Iowa; Emma Anderson, living in Benton township; Frank, a resident of Nebraska; Mrs Tina Viser, of Derby; Alfred, also in Nebraska; Ed, a railroad-bridge builder in Nebraska; and Charles, also engaged in building railroad bridges in Nebraska; besides a babe who died unnamed. The living children are an honor to their parents.

David Phillips, who resides on section 3, Pleasant Grove township, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Marion county. He has witnessed the growth and development of this region from the days of its infancy, has seen its wild lands transformed into beautiful homes and farms, has watched the upbuilding of towns and cities, and has ever borne his part in the work of progress. He therefore deserves mention among those residents who have been valued factors in the county's progress, and with pleasure we present the record of his life to our readers.

Mr. Phillips was the fourth in order of birth in a family of ten children whose parents were David and Martha (Wilson) Phillips. The father was born near Hartford, Connecticut, and was of English descent.  Emigrating to Ohio, he was there united in marriage with Miss Wilson, who was born in Virginia, of Irish parentage, and who during her girlhood went to Kentucky, whence she afterward removed to Ross county, Ohio. There they continued their residence until 1834, when they removed to Indiana.

Our subject was born in Ross county, Ohio, September 26, 1823, and was therefore only eleven years of age when he became a resident of the Hoosier State. Amidst the scenes of frontier life in Indiana he grew to manhood, and then, in company with his brother, started to seek a home beyond the Mississippi. They journeyed by team and at length reached Marion county, Iowa, where they made a claim, comprising three forty- acre tracts of land. They then returned to the old homestead and spent the winter there, but in the spring again came to this State. Mr. Phillips at once began the improvement of his property, planted a crop and built a cabin. From early morning until late at night he worked in the fields, continuing their cultivation until the wild land was transformed into a valuable tract. In 1867 he fenced the place and erected a comfortable modern residence, in place of the cabin home. As the years have passed he has continued the work of development and improvement until he now has one of the most desirable farms in the county.

On the 14th of January, 1855, Mr. Phillips was united in marriage with Miss Elizbeth Metcalf, who was born in Fayette county, Indiana, January 12, 1833, a daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Heck) Metcalf, the former a native of Indiana and the latter of Kentucky. In the family were five sons and two daughters, of whom Mrs. Phillips was the fourth in order of birth. By her marriage she became the mother of twelve children, ten of whom are now living: Martha, wife of F. T. Williams; Sarah, wife of F. P. Kise; John W. and James H., who also are married; Prudence, wife of J. S. Proffitt, of Kansas; Charles M., who is married; Mary M., wife of W. E. Hodgson; Arletta, wife of J. W. Proffit; Anna, deceased; C. W., deceased; Chester D.; and Marvin E. Mr. And Mrs. Phillips also have thirty-eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In politics our subject has always been a stalwart Republican, and served as Township Treasurer, Road Supervisor and School Director. Both he and his estimable wife are members of the Christian Church. He has made several long journeys, and is very fond of travel, having visited many of the scenes of interest in this country.