Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa 1901 - C

Linn County >> 1901 Index

Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa
Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901.


Joseph J. Caldwell

Joseph J. Caldwell, a prominent citizen and prosperous agriculturist of Bertram township, was born in Fountain county, Indiana June 20, 1836, and is of Scotch ancestry, his paternal great-grandfather having emigrated from Scotland in the early part of the eighteenth century. The vessel on which he sailed was wrecked in a terrible storm, and he was the only one on board that was saved. He finally reached land and later went to New York. He located in the south and there reared his family, in which were four sons who fought for the freedom of the Colonies in the Revolutionary war. One of these was wounded in the hand during his service and another died of camp fever. The third subsequently removed to Butler county, Ohio, and engaged in farming. By trade one of the number was a weaver.

Robert Caldwell, the grandfather of our subject, was the youngest of these patriotic brothers, and was only fifteen years of age when he enlisted in General Washington's army. After the war he continued to make his home in Maryland for some time and was there married. When the father of our subject was about two years old the grandfather removed with his family to Butler county, Ohio, becoming one of its early settlers. He was one of the ten prospectors who first settled on the present site of Cincinnati. At that time the Indians were very troublesome, and the pioneers needed stout hearts and ready hands to protect themselves against the red men and the wild beasts that roamed through the forest. Mr. Caldwell was a carpenter by trade and found a knowledge of this craft most useful in his pioneer life. He was in every sense of the word a representative frontiersman - courageous, energetic and enterprising. For some time he engaged in agricultural pursuits in Butler county, Ohio, and then removed to Fountain county, Indiana, where he died at a good old age.

Joseph J. Caldwell, Sr., our subject's father, was a native of Maryland, and was reared to agricultural pursuits upon the frontier. The greater part of his life was passed in Indiana, but in 1852 he removed to Johnson county, Iowa, purchasing four hundred and eighty acres of raw prairie land in Cedar township, which he proceeded to break with six yoke of oxen and a breaking plow. He soon had his land under cultivation, and erected thereon a good house and barn. There he died in October, 1855, at the age of sixty-two years. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Nancy Runnolds, was a native of Virginia and a daughter of Nehemiah Runnolds. She passed away in January 1855, and her death was widely and deeply mourned. In their family were seven children, namely: Mary, who married Jacob Spitler and both died near Solon, Iowa; Eleaza, who died in California in 1850; Robert, who wedded Mary Spurgeon and both died in Holt county, Missouri; Frank, who first married Mary Williams and second Christina Bock, and died at his home eleven miles south of Independence, Iowa; Simon, who died at the age of two years; Joseph I., the subject of this sketch; and Amzi, deceased, who married Eliza Williams, now residing near Solon, Iowa.

Our subject's early school privileges were very limited, being able to attend the subscription schools for a brief time only. His elder brother, however, had received a fair education, and taught him at home, and by the time he was five years of age he was able to correctly repeat the multiplication tables. At the age of six he commenced work in the fields, and has since labored on an average of sixteen hours per day. He grew up to a self-reliant and self-respecting manhood in his birth place, and came with the family to Iowa in 1852. Immediately succeeding the death of his parents he took complete charge of the homestead farm. His father gave him eighty acres of land, and to this he subsequently added until he had three hundred and thirty acres of rich and arable land in Johnson county, where he made his home until 1897, when he sold his property there and removed to Linn county. He bought one hundred and thirty acres of land on sections 26 and 35, and has since made many improvements upon the place.

Mrs. Caldwell, who was a most estimable lady, a devoted wife, a sincere friend and kind neighbor, died in September, 1892. Our subject was again married at Solon, Iowa, June 7, 1894, his second union being with Miss Elizabeth Blain, who was born in Linn county, April 2, 1874, and is a daughter of Jesse and Erma (Hunter) Blain, natives of Johnson and Linn counties, respectively. She is the second in order of birth in a family of ten children, the others being May, who died in childhood; Ella, wife of Frank Knapp, a merchant of Bertram; Charles, a farmer of Bertram township; Julia; James, Raymond, John and Vesta, all living at home. One died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell have two children: Sherwin, born April 4, 1895; and Ilza, born July 20, 1897.

For almost a quarter of a century Mr. Caldwell has engaged in buying, feeding and shipping cattle and is considered an excellent judge of stock, as well as a man of good financial ability. He is a scientific farmer, and has acquired a comfortable competence, to which he is continually adding. For many years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and has always been found on the side of right and justice. He takes an active interest in all things pertaining to the good of the community in which he lives, and was a prominent factor in building the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Great Northern Railroad through Linn and Johnson counties. In his political affiliations he is a Republican. His wife is a bright, intelligent lady, most pleasant in her social relations, and takes a very active interest in church work.

Colonel Charles A. Clark

Among the prominent attorneys and influential citizens of Cedar Rapids is Colonel Charles A. Clark, who devoted the opening years of his manhood to the defense of our country from the internal foes who sought its dismemberment, and his gallant service on field of battle won for him distinctive preferment in military circles. He was born in Sangerville, Maine, on the 26th of January, 1841, and belongs to a family which was founded in this country by Hugh Clark, who came from England in 1640 and located in Massachusetts. William G. Clark, the Colonel's father was a life-long resident of the old Pine Tree state, and a prominent lawyer, who was noted for his great oratorical ability. As a speaker he took a very active and influential part in the national campaigns, and was one of the leading politicians of the Whig party in his state. In 1855 he was secretary of the state senate of Maine, when Hon. James G. Blaine and Chief Justice Fuller were members of that body, the latter being at that time editor of the Augusta Argus, the leading Democratic paper of the state. Throughout his active business career Mr. Clark continued to follow the legal profession and died in Sangerville of typhoid fever at the age of forty-two years, honored and respected by all who knew him. In early life he married Miss Elizabeth White Stevens, a daughter of Dr. Whiting Stevens, who for over half a century successfully engaged in the practice of medicine in Limerick, York county, Maine. The Stevens family was of English origin and among the early Puritans who came to this country. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clark were born eleven children, of whom the Colonel is third in order of birth. The four oldest sons were soldiers of the Civil war and all were wounded, while one was killed in battle, and another died from the effects of his wounds several years after the close of the war. Of the four our subject and his brother Frank A. are still living. He has four other brothers namely: George E. and Eugene H., both prominent lawyers of Algona, Iowa; William G., who is now engaged in practice with our subject; and Frank A., who has served in the second auditor's office in the United States treasury for many years. The mother of these children died in Algona, Iowa, at the age of sixty-eight years.

During his boyhood and youth, Colonel Clark attended the Sangerville public schools and the Foxcroft Academy of Maine, where he pursued a literary course fitting himself for Harvard University, but when the Civil war broke out he laid aside his books and entered the service of his country, enlisting in April, 1861, as a private in Company A, Sixth Maine Volunteer Infantry. For his meritorious service and bravery on field of battle he won promotion rapidly, and was soon made adjutant of the regiment. Later he was successively commissioned captain and assistant adjutant-general, brevet-major and lieutenant colonel. While serving as adjutant he received a congressional medal of honor by saving his regiment from capture through his personal gallantry and skill at Banks Ford, Virginia, just outside of Fredericksburg, May 4, 1863. He was severly wounded in a successful charge on the Confederate works at Rappahannock, November 7, 1863, when from his regiment sixteen out of the twenty-one officers that entered the charge were either killed or wounded, and in the official report it was recorded that Adjutant Clark fell "after he had driven his sword into an enemy" in the hand to hand contest which resulted in holding the works and capturing two thousand prisoners, seven pieces of artillery and five Confederate battle flags. He was also with his regiment in its successful chrge upon the heights of Fredericksburg, May 3, 1863, a portion of Sedgwick's operation, while Hooker was engaged in the battle of Chancellorsville. Colonel Clark was in the successful charge upon the Confederate works at Petersburg, July 15, 1864, and upon Fort Harrison in front of Richmond, in September of the same year. He was with General Burnham, who led the victorious column, and received that commander in his arms when he fell mortally wounded within the assaulted fort. Thus Colonel Clark bore aa conspicuous part in four out of the eleven successful charges made by the Union forces on earth works during the entire Civil war as recorded in Fox's work, "Regimental Losses." With exception of the first battle of Bull Run he participated in all of the important engagements in which the Army of the Potomac took part, including the battle of Yorktown, the "seven days' battles" in front of Richmond, under McClellan, the battle of Williamsburg, the second battle of Bull Run, and the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, Gettysburg and Rappahannock Station. He was in the command of General Butler during his operations around Petersburg and Richmond, and was with General Grant at the battle of Cold Harbor, where ten thousand men were lost before breakfast. He was with Baldy Smith in his successful charge on the works of Petersburg and the engagements around that stronghold and Richmond. Being broken down in health and suffering from the wounds he had received, Colonel Clark resigned in the fall of 1864 and returned to his old home in Maine, with a war record of which he may be justly proud.

The Colonel then took up the study of law with A. W. Paine, of Bangor, one of the foremost lawyers of the state. Taking Horace Greeley's advice, he came west in May, 1866, and located in Webster City, Hamilton county, Iowa, where he made his home for about ten years, enjoying a large and lucrative practice, which extended all over northwestern Iowa, taking in fifteen or twenty counties. As there were no railroads in that locality at that time he traveled over the territory either on horseback or with livery teams and in stage coaches. He was instrumental in getting the first railroad through, acting as attorney for John I. Blair, when he built what is now the Illinois Central from Iowa Falls to Sioux City.

In 1876 Colonel Clark came to Cedar Rapids and formed a partnership with Judge N. M. Hubbard, which connection lasted for ten years. He was then alone in practice until 1898, when he admitted his son James W., to partnership under the firm name of Charles A. Clark & Son, and now his youngest brother William G. Clark is also with them. During his residence here the Colonel has been interested in much of the important litigation of the state, either on one side or the other, and has practiced in the United States courts of half a dozen other states; in the United States supreme court at Washington, D. C., since 1880; and in the United States circuit court of appeals since its establishment. He has argued in person a large number of important cases in the United States supreme court. He is a man who thoroughly loves his profession, and is eminently gifted with the capabilities of mind which are indispensable at the bar. He is also a man of deep research and careful investigation, and his skill and ability have won for him an extensive practice. He has a very valuable and complete law library.

On the 19th of December, 1863, in Sangerville, Maine, Colonel Clark was united in marriage with Miss Helen E. Brockway, a native of that town and a schoolmate of our subject. Her father, Cyrus Brockway, was a prominent and prosperous manufacturer, proprietor of Brockway's Mills at Sangerville, and a representative of an old pioneer family of that locality. He had four children of whom Mrs. Clark is the youngest. Of the seven children born to the Colonel and his wife one son died in infancy. Those living are Mary A., at home; Laura A., wife of Robert I. Safely, of Cedar Rapids, whose sketch appears on another page of this volume; Helen and Florence, both at home; James W., who married Miss Messer and is now engaged in the practice of law with his father; and Atherton B., who is attending the public schools of Cedar Rapids.

Fraternally Colonel Clark is a prominent member of the Loyal Legion and was commander of the order in this state in 1899 and 1900. He is also a member of the Medal of Honor Legion of Washington, D. C., and the Grand Army Post of Cedar Rapids. He now belongs to the blue lodge, chapter and commandery of the Masonic fraternity, and was master of the lodge at Webster City during his residence there. Formerly he was a Democrat in politics, but in 1896 and 1900 he supported William McKinley for the presidency. He has always taken a very active and prominent part in political affairs, and has made many addresses in every important campaign in Iowa during his residence here. The bar of Linn county made him their candidate for supreme judge in 1900, and he received a good support from lawyers all over the state but was not nominated, very much to his own satisfaction, as he prefers to give his entire time and attention to his extensive private practice. He served one term as mayor of Cedar Rapids, during which time he made many improvements in the city, especially as to its cleanliness, driving the horses and cows from the streets, and the pig pens from the back yards. It is but just and merited praise to say that as a lawyer Colonel Clark ranks among the ablest in the state, and as a citizen is honorable, prompt and true to every engagement. It is not alone because of special prominence at the bar that he has, and is justly entitled to, the respect and confidence of his fellow men, for his personal qualities are such as to make him loved and honored. He is a worthy representative of that class to whom more than to any other is due the continued growth and prosperity of many thriving cities of the west.

Edward M. Crow

Wherever there is pioneer work to be done, men of energy and ability are required, and success or failure depends upon the degree of those qualities that is possessed. In wresting the land of Linn county from its native wilderness; in fitting it for the habitation of men; in developing the natural resources of the community in which they lived, few if any contributed more than Edward M. Crow, who was the first white man to locate permanently in this county.

He was born in Paoli, Orange county, Indiana, June 4, 1816, a son of John and Mary (Millis) Crow, natives of North Carolina, who removed to Orange county, Indiana, in early life and were there married June 20, 1815. They continued their residence there until the spring of 1834, when they removed to Chicago, but as Joliet, Illinois, was then the most promising town they went to that place after spending one season in Chicago. Six months later, however, they removed to Kane county, the same state, locating near Geneva, where the mother died January 9, 1836. Later the father married Miss Docia Hill, of Naperville, Illinois, and in the spring of 1838, they came to Linn county, Iowa, locating east of the present town of Viola. There the father died March 3, 1841. His children were all by the first marriage and in order of birth were as follows: Edward M., our subject; Garrison C., who died in California, December 13, 1875; Wesley, who died in Grant county, Wisconsin, October 8, 1883; Nelson A., a banker and capitalist of St. Charles, Minnesota; Esther, who married Julius A. Peet and died in Jones county, Iowa, February 22, 1883; Nancy, who married Truman J. Peet and died in Buffalo township, Linn county, November 1, 1854; John, who died in Jones county, this state, November ?? 1873; and Mary, who wedded Charles C. White and died in California June 10, 1864.

Mr. Crow of this review was eighteen years of age when the family went to Chicago, and he accompanied his parents on their various removals until the autumn of 1835, when he returned to his native county and there attended school for one winter. Desiring to try his fortune farther west, he purchased a horse and on horseback went to Kane county, Illinois, where he remained until June 4, 1837, when he crossed the Mississippi and came to Linn county, Iowa. On the 4th of July he laid claim to a large tract of land on what is now sections 13 and 14, Brown township, east of where Viola now stands. He then returned to Fox River, Illinois, and shortly afterward, in company with James Dawson and his brother, Garrison Crow, purchased six yoke of cattle and made preparations to again come to Linn county. The little wagon train left Fox River in the latter part of August and arrived at their destination September 5, 1837. They built a shanty on Crow creek in Brown township, which stream was named by the United States surveyors in honor of Mr. Crow, who was living on its banks when they arrived. The little company immediately began cutting hay and making general preparations for the winter season.

Subsequently Edward Crow, in company with John Joslin, returned to Illinois after provisions to carry them through the winter. Being overtaken by a snowstorm, they left their teams at a Mr. Nye's on this side of the Mississippi. They crossed the river and traveled eastward about fifteen or twenty miles, where they bought corn, meat and other provisions, which were hauled to the river by hired teams. After having their corn ground at Mr. Nye's mill they started for the big woods on the Wapsie, but were overtaken by a heavy snowstorm at Cherry Grove and in order to reach their cabin had to wade through very deep snow. The following winter was intensely cold, long and dreary, and the privations endured by the little band of pioneers was exceedingly great. Snow lay about two feet deep on the level.

On the 22nd of February Mr. Crow was obliged to return to Illinois to meet his father and family, and the third day after starting they reached Black Dick's point, which was a small grove of timber. The trail was so bad that they could only travel about eight miles a day. The ice on the river was weakened by the January thaw, but had been somewhat strengthened by subsequent cold, but as it was then the latter part of February, the little band of travelers were fearful that it was not strong enough to bear the full weight of their ox teams, so they unhitched them and drew the wagon across the river with one ox, the other being led at a safe distance in the rear. Upon the island in the river they met a band of wood choppers who were cutting wood for steamboats. During their trip from Linn county to the Mississippi, however, they had only met one white man, a trapper by the name of Wheat. They proceeded on their journey to Prophetstown, Illinois, where they crossed the Rock river on the ice, meeting between two rivers only three white settlers. Near Pawpaw Grove, about twelve miles from the Rock river, they met a little cavalcade on sleds, which proved to be that of their parents. As the snow melted the following day the sledges were abandoned and the remainder of the journey was made by wagon. They followed the Rock river down to within four miles of its mouth, and crossed the Mississippi at Davenport, reaching home April 10, 1838. The father brought with him fifty head of cattle and about the same number of hogs, which were the first swine brought to the big woods.

Mr. Crow could relate many interesting incidents of pioneer life, when he was compelled to go to the lead mines at Galena, Illinois, for his mail, a distance of sixty miles, and had to pay twenty-five cents for each letter received. The trip was frequently made on foot. At one time he went to Davenport, fifty miles away, to get his plow sharpened and his coulter mended, so that he might continue his work of breaking prairie. The first grain he raised was sod corn and buckwheat, which he took to Thompson's mill on the Little Iowa river, five miles from Dubuque, but the mill was so imperfect that when ground the buckwheat could not be bolted. The trip was made with ox teams and required ten days. Mr. Crow being compelled to camp out on the way and carry food for himself and cattle. In crossing streams he frequently had to cut the ice or scatter old hag along and pour water over it and later freeze it to keep the cattle from slipping. On the other hand when there was no ice he had to built rafts to cross the stream.

In the spring of 1838, Mr. Crow commenced to improve his claim, but the following October he sold it and returned to Orange county, Indiana, where he attended school during the winter of 1838-9. He had previously made a claim in Buffalo township, this county, and erected thereon a shanty, which he found had been destroyed by fire on his return here in April, 1839. He at once rebuilt and continued to make his home in Buffalo township throughout his life. In later years he erected a good brick residence upon his place, and made many other valuable and useful improvements. He prospered in his farming operations and kept adding to his landed possessions until he had at one time thirteen hundred acres of land in Linn and Jones counties, but later disposed of a portion of it, retaining four hundred acres in Buffalo township, this county; fifty-eight acres in Jones county, Iowa; one hundred and fifty-seven acres in Crawford county, this state; and a large stone quarry with eighty acres in Kansas. He was quite extensively engaged in stock raising, feeding about sixty head of cattle, 6 horses and fifty hogs annually.

On the 14th of November, 1839, in Linn township, Mr. Crow was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Bennett, who taught the first school in this county. Her father, Ezra Bennett, was lost at sea. She was born in Syracuse, New York, but was reared in Canada, and died at her home in Buffalo township, this county, February 1844. By this union were born two children: Mary E., born November 11, 1840, married John Wall and died in Redwood, Minnesota, April 18, 1868; and John Wesley, born May 4, 1842, married Rachel Boltenhouse, and is now living on a ranch near Houston, Texas. He served over three years in the Civil War as a member of the Thirty-first Iowa Infantry.

Mr. Crow was again married in Brown township November 14, 1848, his second union being with Mrs. Narcissa E. Bowman, the widow of Isaac Bowman. By their union three children were born, namely; Willard D., born November 7, 1849, married Louisa Burke, and is a large land owner and wealthy citizen of Houston, Texas; Edward Linas, born November 13, 1852, married Adelia Gillen, and is now a stock and grain dealer of Mapleton, Iowa; and Nancy E., born May 3, 1856, died December 13, 1891. She was the wife of George S. Elwood, who was an extensive land owner and stock dealer of Washington county, Kansas. The mother of these children departed this life in Buffalo township July 17, 1857.

At Anamosa, Iowa, December 8, 1860, Mr. Crow married Mrs. Sarah A. Green, widow of Addison Green, and to them were born seven children, as follows: Jefferson D., born December 25, 1861, married Elsie Leaf and is engaged in farming near Mapleton, Iowa; Nelson M., born March 19, 1863, married Addie Dial and died in State Center, Iowa; Sarah E., born September 18, 1864, is the wife of Owen Carl, of Perry, Iowa; Charles F., born August 5, 1866, married Mertie Boyles and is a farmer of Jones county, Iowa; Garrison M., born April 28, 1868 and Louis N., born August 17, 1870, are both deceased; and Orpha B. born September 30, 1871, is the wife of J. Harold Leaf, who is represented on another page of this volume. Mrs. Crow died November 3, 1872.

In his political views Mr. Crow was a Jacksonian Democrat and a stanch supporter of his party and its principles. As one of the leading and influential citizens of his community he was called upon to fill a number of local offices, and served as supervisor for nine years and justice of the peace in early life. In religious belief he was a Universalist, broad and liberal in his ideas. He passed away July 26, 1894, honored and respected by all who knew him. His remains were interred in Wilcox cemetery, Brown township, near the village of Viola, where his wives were also buried. He always took an active and commendable interest in the welfare of his adopted county, and was prominently identified with its growth and development. He was not only genial and hospitable in disposition, but was exceedingly charitable, and no one coming to him for aid was ever turned from his door empty-handed. He often gave shelter to those less fortunate than himself, both children and grown people making their home with him at various times. Mr. Crow was not only Linn county's earliest settler, but was also one of its best known and most highly esteemed citizens.