Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa - 1896 - W

1896 Index

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


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

WILLIAM R. WARREN submitted by Richard Kinkead

WILLIAM R. WARREN, Treasurer of Wapello County, Iowa, was born in Salisbury, England, September 21, 1843; and while he is of foreign birth he has spent nearly the whole of his life in the United States. He bravely fought for the preservation of the Union, and there is not to be found within its borders a citizen more loyal than he.

Mr. Warren is a member of a large and highly-respected family and the son of a Methodist minister. William and Maria (Young) Warren, his parents, were both born in England, and of the five sons and three daughters which composed their family all are living except one, and of them we make record as follows: William R. whose name graces this article; George J., a Methodist Episcopal minister; Thomas; Joshua who is engaged in the blacksmith and wagon-making business at Fayette, Missouri; Alfred P. Professor of Languages and Mathematics in Howard Payne College, Fayette, Missouri; Millicent, wife of William Piercen, Fayette, Missouri; Julia, wife of William Vickroy, New Cambria, Missouri; and Mattie deceased, was the wife of James Roberts, of Macon City, Missouri. It was in 1846 that the father left England and removed with his family to this country, locating first in Ray County, Missouri. Nearly all the rest of his life was, however, spent in Howard County, that State, but he died in Ray County while on a visit there in 1892, at the time of his death being a little past seventy-two years of age. He was in many respects a remarkable man and exerted a powerful influence for good. For over thirty years he was in the regular work of the ministry. On coming to this country he became a member of the Missouri Conference of Methodist Episcopal ministers, and of his class all have passed away except two. He and Mr. Dockery, father of the present Congressman from the Third Missouri District, were old comrades. Mrs. Maria Warren, the mother, survives and makes her home at Fayette, Missouri.
From a history of his worthy parents, we now turn for information relating to his grandsires; for the biography of no man is complete without reference to the ancestry from which he sprang. Thomas Warren, the paternal grandfather of William R., was born, passed his life and died in Salisbury, England, and at his death was past ninety years of age. His occupation was that of dairyman. He was a man of sterling integrity, a strict disciplinarian and a Wesleyan Methodist. His family comprised four sons. Of our subject's maternal grandfather, whose name was James Young, be it recorded that he, too, was born and died in England. He was by trade a flaxdresser. He was a devout Methodist and very strict in the management of his business and family affairs.

William R. Warren, whose name heads this review, was reared in Missouri. His boyhood days were spent in farm work and in attending school, his education being attained chiefly in the Macon high school. At the outbreak of the Civil war he was on the verge of young manhood, and we find him among the first to enlist as a Union soldier. That was in 1861, and as a member of company C, Sixth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, he went to the front. In the four years that followed he proved himself a true, brave soldier. He was wounded on three occasions, at Stone River, Hoover's Gap, and at Chickamauga. He was in the first battle of the war and saw the first Union soldier that had an amputation performed. Was at Shiloh, on the Corinth siege, at Perryville, Liberty Gap, Missionary Ridge, and on the Atlanta campaign until taken prisoner at New Hope, Georgia; and was in Andersonville from June 5 to September 29, 1864, and then taken to Charleston; and after that to the Florence stockade, and about the 5th of February left Florence for Libby prison. Altogether he was a prisoner for eleven months.

After the war, Mr. Warren returned to Macon County, Missouri, at Bevier, and clerked in a store for four years. Then, in January, 1870, he came to Iowa and located in Ottumwa, taking charge of a store here for the Union Coal Company, which place he filled five years. Next he went to Cleveland, Lucas County, for the White Breast Coal Company, in whose emply he remained as assistant manager for seven years. In 1882 he returned to Ottumwa and was with George Warden in the news business for three years, and continued alone in the same business up to 1889, when he went into the grocery trade, in which he was engaged for three years, selling out at the end of that time. In 1893 he was honored by election to the office of County Treasurer, which responsible position he is now ably filling.

Mr. Warren has a pleasant home at No. 717 West Second Street, Ottumwa. He was married December 22, 1871, to Miss Emma Waitt, daughter of John T. Waitt, and they have three children: Claude, Charles and Howard.

Mr. And Mrs. Warren are members of theMethodist Episcopal Church, and, fraternally, he is identified with the A.F. & A.M.,Ottumwa Lodge, No. 16; Clinton Chapter, N0. 9; and Malta Commandery, No. 31. Also he is a charter member of Cloutman Post, No. 69, G.A.R., Department of Iowa. His political views harmonize with the Republican party, of which he has long been a stanch supporter.

Thus, briefly, is outlined the life of one of Ottumwa's citizens who has been honored by the people of the county.

Thomas Watters, who is serving as City Auditor of Des Moines, and is the senior member of the Watters-Talbott Printing Company, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, on the 18th of June, 1855, and is of Scotch descent.

His paternal grandfather, Thomas Watters, was a native of Sterling, Scotland, and followed the occupation of farming as a means of livelihood. He died at that place about 1855, having reached an advanced age. He became a very wealthy man and owned a large part of what is now called Kelsyth, formerly known as Watters Land. He had a large family that became scattered over America, India and Africa. The father of our subject, Alexander Watters, was a native of Scotland, and in that country married Agnes McKeen, daughter of James McKeen, an agriculturist, who was born in Scotland and died in Leith, Ontario, when about one hundred years of age. He was a very pious man and strict Presbyterian. About 1850 Mr. and Mrs. Watters crossed the Atlantic to Canada, and the father engaged in the dry-goods business in various places, carrying on operations in that line in Hamilton, Guelph, Stratford and afterward in Owen Sound. He came to the United States about 1869, and the following year was joined by his family. His death occurred in Chicago, February 25, 1895. His wife, who was a member of the Presbyterian Church, passed away at the age of sixty-four years.

Mr. Watters, whose name heads this biographical notice, has inherited the sturdy independence and reliability of his Scottish ancestors and to-day Des Moines numbers him among its leading and influential citizens. He attended school at Owen Sound, and after the removal of the family to Chicago learned the bookbinder's trade in the establishment of Cameron, Amberg & Company. In 1878 he came to Des Moines to enter the employ of Carter & Hussey, and continued in their service for three years. On the expiration of that period he began business in his own interest, becoming a partner in the firm of Miller, Girton & Watters, job printers and book-manufacturers. This connection was continued for about six years, after which Mr. Girton retired from the firm and the business was conducted under the firm style of Miller & Watters for three years. The junior partner then sold out and entered into partnership with L.L. Talbott, under the style of the Watters- Talbott Printing Company, of which he is president, while Mr. Talbott is serving as secretary. They now have one of the largest printing establishments in the State, furnishing employment to some forty hands, and doing an immense business. Their office is excellent, well equipped with the latest improved machinery and appliances, and the superior work which they turn out insures an excellent trade.

On the 24th of October, 1889, Mr. Watters was joined in wedlock with Miss Anna Ganz, a daughter of Philip and Augusta Ganz. Two sons grace this union, - Thomas and Philip Ganz. Their home is pleasantly located at No. 1330 West Fifth street, and is presided over by the estimable lady who now bears the name and shares the fortunes of our subject. She is a member of St. John's English Lutheran Church.

Mr. Watters takes considerable interest in civic societies, being a member of the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias Lodge. In his political connections he is a Republican. In 1892 he was elected City Auditor of Des Moines, by a majority of 1,260, and in 1894 was re-elected by a majority of 2,525, double the number which he had first received. He had demonstrated his ability and fidelity to duty and his fellow citizens attested their recognition of his faithfulness by this flattering vote. He has cultivated and given direction to his native abilities and has made good use of his opportunities to win success in the business world. In the walks of life when intelligence, honor and manliness are regarded for what they are worth, he has by the practice of these virtues attained an honorable position in the community and won the respect of all who know him.

A. MASON WHEELER, one of the most prominent farmers and stock-raisers of Lucas county, residing on section 33, Liberty township, and the efficient County Commissioner, whose interest and labor in behalf of the public welfare well entitles him to representation in this volume, was born in Perry county, Ohio, on the 23d of April, 1840. His parents, Samuel Davis and Elizabeth (Nathis) Wheeler, had eight children. Our subject spent his boy hood days in his native State until sixteen years of age and then came West with his father's family, who made the journey overland with an ox team in the year 1856, settling finally in Liberty township. He continued under the parental roof until he had attained his majority and then started out in life for himself, renting a farm of his father on which he raised a crop.

In September of the same year, - 1861, - he enlisted in Company C of the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, under Colonel Crocker, joining the troops at Chariton. The troops were first sent to Davenport, Iowa, and then transferred to St. Louis and later to a point near Jefferson City, Missouri, where they were detailed to guard railroads. Subsequently they followed Johnston, and on the 3d of October, 1862, participated in the battle of Corinth and followed Price in his retreat, returning thence to Corinth. Mr. Wheeler was under the command of Grant throughout the Vicksburg campaign, his regiment being at that time attached to the Seventeenth Army Corps under General McPherson, who was killed during the Atlanta campaign. Mr. Wheeler also served through that campaign and was honorably discharged from the service at Nashville, Tennessee, in November, 1864, after three years and two months of faithful and arduous service, during which he participated in a number of hard-fought engagements and valiantly defended the old flag and the cause it represented. Though never seriously injured, he passed through many trying experiences and had many narrow escapes.

Having served his country nobly in her hour of need, Mr. Wheeler then returned to his home and the duties of civil life and once more rented his father's farm, upon which he raised one crop. As a companion and help-meet on life's journey he chose Miss Sarah J. Budd, their marriage being celebrated in the fall of 1865. The lady was born in Franklin county, Ohio, and was one of the four children of Abraham and Eliza (Coon) Budd. They have six children: Charles F., who is now living in Washington; Elizabeth E., Mintie, Bertha, Harvey and Samuel D., who are all yet at home.

In 1866 Mr. Wheeler purchased a farm four miles north of his old homestead, where he lived for four years, when he sold it and purchased the farm of his father, upon which he has since been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has been uniformly successful and from time to time has added to his possessions by the purchase of more land until he to-day owns a splendid farm of 420 acres, all of which is included in the home place save a tract of eighty acres. He has for some years been extensively engaged in stock-raising, his farm being very favorably situated for that purpose, the White Breast river running through it, giving at all times an abundant supply of water for the stock. He has on hand over twenty head of horses, seventy-five head of cattle and an equal number of hogs. He makes a specialty of shorthorn cattle and Clyde horses, and has some very fine specimens of these upon his place, while his efforts have done much to advance the grade of stock raised in this locality. His farm buildings are substantial and commodious, and are models of convenience peculiarly adapted to the uses to which they are put. Nearly all have been placed upon the farm since the present owner took possession and indicate his characteristic thrift and enterprise. He is well known as a practical farmer whose success in life is the result of his own energy and able management.

In politics Mr. Wheeler has always been a strong and able adherent of the Republican party and has been honored with many offices of trust. He has served for many years as Justice of the Peace in his township and for more than twenty years has been a member of the School Board, while for several years he has acted as Assessor of Liberty township. He is a warm friend of education and gives his support to all measures calculated to prove of public benefit. The position and standing of Mr. Wheeler in Lucas county are well shown by his long continuance in office. In 1888 he was elected County Commissioner, and has ever since creditably and acceptably filled that position, involving much arduous service. During his term the splendid court-house has been built, at a cost of $59,000, whereby $1,000 was saved, the appropriation having been $60,000. He labors for the best interests of the community and is well known as a valued citizen as well as prominent farmer and an honored man.

Hon. SAMUEL DAVIS WHEELER, a retired farmer residing in Chariton, is one of the oldest living pioneers of Lucas county, and one of its most honored citizens. To a student of human nature there is nothing of more interest than to examine into the life and history of the self-made man, and to analyze those principles that have made him pass many on the highway of life and attain a position of prominence in the community. Mr. Wheeler is a type of this class. He was born in Virginia, September 22, 1810, and is the only survivor of a family of four children, whose parents were Robert and Nancy (Davis) Wheeler.

Robert Wheeler was a native of Maryland, born in 1749, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, serving under General Smallwood. When the Colonies had achieved their independence he removed to Virginia, where he lived until 1816, when he became a resident of Pennsylvania. In 1829 he went to Ohio, where his remaining days were passed, his death occurring in February, 1843, at the very advanced age of ninety-four years. Samuel Wheeler, the grandfather, was born in New England, and died in Maryland, at an advanced age. The ancestors of this family were English and came to America in early Colonial days.

Our subject was but six years of age when his parents left the Old Dominion and settled in Pennsylvania. There his childhood was passed, and at the age of nineteen he accompanied them to Ohio. He started out in life for himself when twenty-four years of age, and the success that has come to him is the reward of his own efforts. In early life he studied law, in the Buckeye State, with Judge Hickman, and in September, 1854, was admitted to the bar, after which he followed his profession for several years, but becoming dissatisfied with it he gave up regular practice and emigrated Westward, taking up his residence on section 33, Liberty township, Lucas county, Iowa, in the year 1856, from which time, until his retirement from business life, he was principally engaged in agricultural pursuits. On coming here he took up 280 acres of Government land and subsequently purchased forty acres, making in all a farm of 320 acres, on which he lived for seventeen years. he then purchased land in White Breast township, where he erected a home, and resided for seventeen years, when he sold his property, and in 1890 came to Chariton, where he is now living retired. He and his estimable wife have a large circle of friends and are enjoying life in their pleasant home.

In April, 1834, Mr. Wheeler was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Mathews, a native of Muskingum county, Ohio, and a daughter of George and Amy Mathews. They have six children living, - Emily J., a widow; A. Mason who is represented elsewhere in this work; Amy A.; George C.; Sarah E., and Abraham L.

For more than half a century both Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler have been earnest and consistent members of the Methodist Church, - a noble record indeed, and their long and well spent lives have gained them the highest esteem of all who know them. In early life Mr. Wheeler was a Democrat, becoming a voter under Andrew Jackson, but upon the formation of the Republican party he joined forces with it and for nearly forty years has supported its men and measures. In 1860 he was elected a member of the Board of Supervisors of Lucas county, serving in that capacity for eight consecutive years, and for many years was Justice of the Peace. In 1868 he was elected to the Twelfth General Assembly of Iowa, and subsequently served as Justice of the Peace of White Breast township. No more capable official for these various positions could have been chosen, for Mr. Wheeler's trustworthiness and fidelity to duty are matters of record. A man of liberal education and broad views, well versed in the law, he was a natural leader. Both in public and private life his energies were devoted to the best interests of the county and State of his adoption, while his record, covering a period of nearly forty years' residence in Iowa, will be a precious heritage to his descendants long after he shall have gone to reap the reward of his labors.

Jacob Julius Wohlwend, Police Judge of Burlington, as his name indicates, is a native of Germany, but he became identified with Iowa about the time he began to number his years by the "'teens," and since 1872 has lived in Burlington.

Jacob Julius Wohlwend was born in Baden, Germany, February 19, 1839, son of Martin and Catharina Wohlwend, both natives of Germany. Three children, two sons and a daughter, composed their family, and one of the sons is now deceased. The daughter, Catharina, is the widow of Kasper Schied and lives in Burlington. Their father was a forester in Germany, and was a participant in the war in that country known as the Revolution of 1848. In 1853 he emigrated with his family to America, took up his abode in Keokuk, Iowa, and in that city passed the rest of his life, dying there in 1867 at the age of sixty-seven years. His wife died in 1859. They were Lutherans.

Judge Wohlwend, the subject of our sketch, was fourteen years of age at the time he crossed the Atlantic with his parents and made settlement in Keokuk. In his native land he had received a fair schooling, and the year following his arrival in Iowa he began learning the printer's trade in the Gate City office. He has been a printer and publisher constantly since then until 1894, with the exception of a short time during the war, when he was with the Mississippi flotilla. From 1853 to 1872 he made Keokuk his home, and since 1872, as already stated, he has resided at Burlington. He established the Keokuk Telegraph, which he published for a number of years, or until his removal to this place, and here he was at first foreman on the Iowa Tribune, a German paper; and he also worked on the Hawkeye. In 1879 he purchased the Iowa Tribune, and ran it from 1880 until 1887, when he sold out and opened up a job printing office, the latter being conducted in partnership with his sons.

February 8, 1859, Mr. Wohlwend was united in marriage to Miss Rosa Schied, daughter of John and Barbara (Smith) Schied; and with the passing years sons and daughters to the number of nine came to brighten their home, their names being William J., Edward F., Charles C., George Martin, Henry, Julia, Emma, Mina and Clara. William J. is now foreman of the Hawkeye. He married Miss Emma Waldsmith, and they have four children. Edward F. married Miss Christina Loesch; he also is a printer. Charles is a traveling man; he married Miss Nellie Lehmann. The other sons are printers, and are still members of the home circle. While not members of any church, Mr. and Mrs. Wohlwend give their preference to the Lutheran faith and attend worship at this church. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. and also of the Printers' Union; and his political support is given to the Democratic party. By this party he was in 1894 elected to the office he is now ably filling, that of Police Judge.

His residence is at No. 211 Garfield avenue, Burlington.


Descendant: Sandra Harris Osborne is the great-great-granddaughter of Jacob Julius Wohlwend. Julia Wohlwend Hartman is buried in Johnson County, Texas.

JOHN WRAGG, one of the firm of John Wragg & Sons, nurserymen, Waukee , Iowa , is a gentleman whose name is well known all over the State. The visitor to his place will find an enterprise of extensive proportions, and will be agreeably entertained by the Messrs. Wragg, all of whom are enterprising and up-to-date men in everything pertaining to their business. We are pleased to present in this connection a biography of the senior member, and before proceeding to a sketch of his life we wish to refer briefly to his ancestry.

John Wragg's paternal grandfather was born and reared in Leicestershire , England , and was married there to Lydia Ellis, in March, 1794. In the fall of that same year they started to the United States on an American liner, which was overhauled by a French frigate, and Mr. Wragg and his wife, among other British subjects, were taken prisoners by the French and held as such at Brest until the spring of 1795, when they were exchanged. On being released they carried out their original intention in regard to their emigration to this country. The French had robbed them of all their possessions, and on their arrival in Boston they found themselves penniless; but they were fortunate in meeting the celebrated chemist and theologian Dr. Priestley, who installed them on his farm in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania , as his farm steward. In the fall of 1819 they removed to Luzerne county, Pennsylvania , when that region was as unbroken wilderness. They were the parents of five children, of whom the youngest, born January 22, 1808 , was the father of our subject. He was married January 31, 1831 , to Mary Ann Delany Lewis, and on his farm in Luzerne county, December 2, 1832 , John Wragg first saw the light of day. Luzerne county has since been divided, that part in which Mr. Wragg was born now being known as Lackawanna county.

After the death of his parents Mr. Wragg, of this sketch, was engaged in lumbering in Pennsylvania until 1852, when he left the Keystone State and sought a home in Michigan . For one year he was engaged in lumbering in Hillsdale county, Michigan , and from there, in 1853, came to Iowa , first locating in Clayton county, where he entered 120 acres of Government land and farmed the same until 1863. In that year he sold out, and the next two years he spent in various parts of the State, and in 1865 bought forty acres of land in Dallas county, to which he added by subsequent purchase until it was increased to its present size.

On the 28th day of May, 1857, he was married to Hannah McManus, who was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania , on the 25th of October, 1835 , and the family now consists of three sons and one daughter.

In 1878 he and his sons started a nursery, which they have since conducted under the firm name of John Wragg & Sons, and which from a small beginning they have increased to an enterprise of magnitude. In this connection a few statistics will best serve our purpose in giving an idea of their business:

Nursery stock handled in the spring of 1895........$ 22,000

Freight and express paid........................... 1,500

Postage paid since last November................... 300

Weekly pay-roll.................................... 150

Cars of freight shipped............................ 55

Stock planted this spring and grown from seed...... 500,000

Estimated number of trees and plants salable fall of 1895 and spring of 1896....................... 300,000

Men employed at the packing ground................. 25

With increase of their nursery business they have given up farming almost entirely and now devote their whole time and attention to the former.

Mr. Wragg cast his first presidential vote for Fremont and has maintained his allegiance to the Republican party ever since. At various times he has been honored with local office, has filled nearly all the township offices, and for six years served as District Director in the State Horticultural Society, and both as a Republican and a horticulturist he is widely known. For the past two years his health has been very poor, and his sons have taken entire charge of the business and give a warm welcome to the many friends who from all parts of the Northwest come on visits, of both business and pleasure. Mr. Wragg is also one of the old members of the famous Tippecanoe Club of Des Moines.

Judge George G. Wright

The name of this gentleman stands out in bold relief against the background of Iowa's illustrious pioneers, many of whom will go down to posterity as great in the nation's annals as in the record and traditions of this proud prairie state. Iowa justly boasts of able statesmen, just judges and fluent orators; of faithful, conscientious lawgivers, advanced educators and popular lecturers; of zealous promoters of the agricultural industries of the State; of eloquent platform speakers, charming after-dinner talkers and upright, successful business men; but probably no other possesses all these qualifications combined to such a degree as does the subject of this sketch. His great versatility of talent has enabled him to fill the multifarious positions in public life to which he has been called with great credit to himself and the commendation of his friends, which term probably comes, in his case, as near to including all who knew him as is ever the case with a living man.

Little, rock-ribbed Wales, so many of whose children are naturally gifted with oratory and song, was the home of his ancestry. His native State was Indiana, whose early inhabitants had a struggle against miasmatic influences, perhaps not overdrawn in Dickens' portrayal of the experiences of Martin Chuzzlewit and Mark Tapley, and who may have been by those very vicissitudes of hardship, homesickness and the leaden weight of malarial disease, remarkably strengthened in their love for one another and the homes they wrung from the wilderness in the face of such difficulties. At any rate, certain it is that the temperament for humorous and poetic speech, logic and impassioned oratory, with intense love of home and family, and a feeling for all social and domestic ties, are characteristic of this honored citizen of Iowa. Something of all this appears in his very lineaments, and the State is fortunate in possessing, in the portrait which hangs in the Supreme Court room at the capitol, a likeness which will convey to coming generations, if they have insight, a glimpse of the personal qualities which endeared this eminent man to his contemporaries.

As has been intimated, Judge Wright's parents were of Welsh stock. To them were born nine children, five sons and four daughters, of whom one son died in infancy. The father of the family died when the subject of this sketch was but five years old, leaving a widow with six children at home dependent upon her and her small estate. It often happens what within such narrow limits the heroic discipline was received and the heroic heart awakened which fit one for the highest walks of life. Of that houseful of children the Judge and two sisters remain.

George G. Wright was born in Bloomington, Indiana, on the 24th of March, 1820. A lameness, resulting from rheumatism, early cut him off from the more active sports of boyhood, but did not cause him to fall into idle moping. He was a diligent student, and was graduated at the Indiana State University with high honors at the age of nineteen. Each county in Indiana had the privilege of sending two worthy and prominent students to the State University tuition free. These chosen sons were denominated by the other students "charity scholars," and Judge Wright was one of these.

Upon receiving his degree, the future Judge entered upon the study of law in his brother's office, in 1839. The brother, Joseph A. Wright, in whose office young George acquired the beginning of his lore and erudition, became a very eminent man in his State, serving in the House of Representatives, in Congress and as Governor of Indiana; afterward as Minister to Berlin, United States Senator, and again Minister to Berlin, where he died in 1867.

Judge Wright attained his manhood in this State, having settled in the then new Territory of Iowa, November 14, 1840. He was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Van Buren county in the first year of his stay here, from which post he stepped into the State Senate in 1848. In 1855 he was made Chief Justice of Iowa, and was almost continuously upon that bench until 1870. In January of the last year he was elected to the United States Senate, taking his seat there in March, 1871. For six years he was a member of that branch of our national council, serving on the committees on finance and judiciary, and was chairman of the committee on claims and of the committee of retrenchment and reform. He declined re-election in 1876.

Judge Wright was five years president of the State Agricultural Society, and served the Van Buren Agricultural Society in the same capacity a like term, after having been its first secretary in 1842. He was one of the organizers of the present law department of the State University in 1865, since which time he has always been more or less connected with it as a lecturer and instructor. It is to be hoped he has been able to indelibly impress his high ideal of moral and professional rectitude upon the young law students who held him in such high and affectionate regard, and with whom he is so popular as a lecturer. He did not, however, restrict his labors in that line entirely to that institution. In the midst of his busy professional and political life he has responded so far as possible to every demand on his time and powers. He has delivered lectures on many topics in a majority of the counties of the State, before colleges, universities, agricultural associations, in the interest of schools, churches, libraries and all kinds of benevolent organizations.

In the unstudied utterances thrown off at a moment's call, Judge Wright is particularly happy. On one occasion, hurried to a banquet without time to prepare his regular toilet, his daughter being with him, expressed regret to a friend that he must go in his well-worn business suit, thinking they were almost certain to call on him for a toast or a response. Sure enough he was called up to respond to some sentiment, and, as usual, the bursts of laughter his gay sallies of wit evoked were quenched in the tears his pathos drew forth so readily and the tears in their turn evaporated in humorous smiles. As they were preparing to return, the daughter, while caressing his arm, was heard to say, "Father, I was not ashamed of the old coat, I was so proud of the man inside it."

Judge Wright is President of the Iowa Pioneer Lawmakers' Association, now serving his third term. The recognition of his eminence as a jurist in the nation at large was shown in his election to the presidency of the American Bar Association in 1887 and 1888. As a leading young attorney Judge Wright practiced throughout the Des Moines Valley, giving and taking hard blows from 1840 until 1855, and with his "honors thick upon him" returned to the bar in 1877, at his home in Des Moines. Five years later he accepted the presidency of the Polk County Savings Bank, and continues to occupy his office and chair in both with the utmost regularity.

On the 19th of October, 1843, Mr. Wright was married to Hannah B. Dibble, daughter of Judge Thomas Dibble, who was at one time a member of the New York Legislature and in 1846 of the Constitutional Convention of Iowa. This union was blessed with seven children, five sons and two daughters. One son died in his 'teens; the others reached maturity, married and all but one are living.

Active as Judge Wright was during all the war period, when Iowa almost stripped herself of able-bodied men to fight her country's battles, it was entirely out of the question for him to go personally to the front, but he gave a gallant soldier to the Union Army in the person of his eldest born, who attained his majority just about the end of the Civil war, and whose recent sudden death, while it seemed so untimely, yet was the earthly close of a life remarkably full and rounded. The golden wedding of the parents last autumn was the silver wedding of this eldest son and wife. The silver circlet is now prematurely severed, but the golden band of the pioneer wedding still endures.

Of religious faith, the foundation and crown of a perfectly symmetrical character, the stanzas Judge Wright read at Governor Kirkwood's funeral speak, voicing a recognition of the Omnipotent Hand, which touches with love and power the course of national and individual life, weaving all into a wondrous tapestry. The obstacles which beset Judge Wright's pathway were many. Poor, lame and fatherless, but with indomitable will and perseverance, he attained to the most exalted positions in this great State, and furnished an object lesson for all boys of what can be accomplished in America, unless energy fail.

Since the above sketch was written Judge Wright has been called away, the "Omnipotent Hand," of which he wrote, has been laid upon him, and the "golden band of the pioneer wedding" has been severed. In the different organizations with which he was connected, the public gatherings where he was wont to be seen in social life and in business circles, he is missed, but more than all in that home, where the true, kindly, noble character of the man was best known. His history is largely that of the history of the State. There is no one who figures more honorably or prominently in the public affairs of Iowa, which go to form its annals; and though the friends who knew him find him no more among them in person he lives in their memory, and his work remains in the formation of one of the most important States in the Mississippi valley.