Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa.
Unless otherwise noted, the following biographies were submitted by Dick Barton.
Farris, one of the old settlers of Adams county living on section 26 (Mt. Etna
postoffice), was born in Claiborne county, Tennessee, June 10, 1825. His parents
were Robert and Mary (Gentry) Farris, both natives of Virginia. The father was a
farmer all his life. He moved to to Edgar county, Illinois, in 1833, rented land
there, and made a reasonable success of his labors. He died in Illinois, in
1850, at over seventy years of age. His wife died in 1854 at the age of about
seventy years. She was a member of the Protestant Methodist Church.
parents reared eight children to mature years. Our subject is the only one now
living. He began for himself at the age of twenty-six years. He followed the
cooper's trade for several years, with farming, and later gave his whole
attention to agriculture. He farmed in Illinois first, and came to Iowa in 1852,
and settled on the place where he now resides and has been living ever since.
There were seven families in the county when he came. They had to go to Savannah
and to St. Joseph, Missouri, for their goods, quite a contrast with the present
order of arrangement. He now owns 260 acres of good land, all of which is
improved and fenced. He bought a portion of it from the railroad and a portion
from the United States Government. He is nicely located on the old Wintersett
road, has a good orchard, and grove, small fruits, etc. His house is 16 x 32
feet with an L 22 x 16 feet. He is in a good neighborhood, near church and
school. He has been fairly successful, having made much of opportunities; coming
here without means, with energy, industry and frugality he has acquired a nice
Farris was married, April 3, 1851, to Miss Eliza Carns, daughter of David and
Mary Carns, of Vermillion county, Indiana. Their children are: William, married
Nancy Cummins, and Lena was their only child; the mother died in 1880 at the age
of nineteen years; his second marriage was to Carrie Stewart, by whom there are
two children: George and Lucy; Harrison died at the age of thirty years; Frank
married Martha F. Thomas; their two living children are Ella and Perry.
Farris is a member of the Baptist Church. Politically our subject is a Democrat.
Feazell, a prominent farmer of section 6, Carl township (postoffice Mr. Etna),
was born in Wayne county, Ohio, February 23, 1824, a son of John Feazell, who
was born near New Lisbon, Bedford county, Virginia, a son of Barnett Feazell,
who was born in Germany. Four brothers participated in the war of 1812. John
Feazell married Nancy Lawrence, a native of Virginia and a daughter of John
Lawrence, of English parentage. He was a boy when taken to Ohio. In 1845 he
settled in Fayette county, Illinois, and in 1855 he died, at the age of
sixty-one years. In his younger days he had learned the trades of shoemaker and
miller, but was a farmer during the rest of his life. In politics he was a Whig,
and in religion a member of the Disciples' Church, in which body he was a
bishop. His wife died in 1846, in Jasper county, Indiana, leaving four sons and
Feazell, the fourth in the above family in order of birth, at the age of
twenty-one years spent a season in Indiana, and returned to Ohio. He served his
time as a miller, becoming accomplished at the trade, and followed it for many
years. In 1837 he went to Holmes county, Ohio, and lived there until 1868, when
he came to Adams county and purchased eighty acres of wild land in the Nodaway
bottom, when toward the northwest it was eight miles to the nearest neighbor. He
and his sons now own less than 600 acres of the best bottom land in the county.
They have raised as much as 110 bushels of corn to the acre there. Their
blue-grass pasture would rival the best in Kentucky. Mr. Feazell's Hereford
cattle are of the best strain and in fine condition. A beautiful sight is to see
sixty-four white-faced yearlings in one herd on his place. At the head of the
herd is Shiloh, No. 26,434, as good an animal as can be found in Adams county.
In 1890 Mr. Feazell sold three carloads of fat cattle, and he now has 162 head
of cattle on the farm. "Strawberry Plain" is the fancy name of Mr.
Feazell's place, and it is indeed a beautiful home.
his political sympathies Mr. Feazell is a Republican, and he is a wide-awake,
was married February 8, 1849, to Miss Mary Harris, who was born in Holmes
county, Ohio, October 13, 1829, a daughter of John Harris, a native of Virginia,
and Sarah, Winslow Harris, who was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, of New
England ancestry. Mrs. Feazell's parents died in Ohio, - the mother at the age
of sixty-seven years, and the father at seventy-seven. They had ten children, of
whom three sons and four daughters grew up. Mr. and Mrs. Feazell have had five
children, and three are living, as follows: Sophronia Caroline Olds, who lives
in Keya Paha county, Nebraska, and has six children; John F., who lives near his
father, married Martha A. Burris, and has two daughters and a son, - Francis S.,
Thornton Walter and Hattie; and Joseph D., married to Laura Blooms, who was born
in Richland county, Ohio, and resides near by, and has one boy, - Elmer. Two
children died, - Sarah Isabelle, the first born, at the age of ten years, and
George, in his fourteenth year.
S. Fickel, section 9, Carl township, Adams county, is one of the enterprising
and successful citizens of this vicinity.
was born in Adams county, Pennsylvania, December 6, 1841, near the historic spot
where the battle of Gettysburg was fought. His father, George Fickel, and his
grandfather, John Fickle, were both natives of that county, and the latter was a
soldier in the war of 1812. His great-grandfather, William Fickel, was born in
Germany, emigrated to America and became one of the first settlers in Adams
county, Pennsylvania. George Fickel was reared in his native county and at the
age of twenty-one was united in marriage with Elizabeth Schriver who was born
and reared in that place, daughter of Benjamin Schriver, of Pennsylvania. In
1865 they moved to Henry county, Iowa, where they lived eight years. In 1873
they moved to Adams county, Iowa, where, a year later, the wife died, leaving
five sons and two daughters. George Fickel now resides with his son, T. S. The
latter was reared on his father's farm and educated in the common schools.
the late war Mr. Fickel enlisted, August 7, 1862, in the Pennsylvania Volunteer
Infantry, Company I, Regiment One Hundred and Twenty-seven, and served nine
months. He took an active part in the battle of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville
and other minor engagements.
receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to his home in Pennsylvania where
he remained until 1865. That year he moved to Henry county, Iowa, and made his
home there till 1873, when he located on his present farm in Adams county. Here
he owns 200 acres of well-improved land, has a nice cottage home and other
Fickel was united in marriage, at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, June 23, 1867, to Miss
Leah J. Chronister, a native of Pennsylvania and daughter of John and Catherine
Chronister. Their family is composed of nine children, namely: Warren C., Dora
M., wife of W. E. Hofmeister, of Carl township, this county; and Cora A., Sadie
E., Laura J., Harry A., Theressa S., John S. and Ruby C. Their first born,
David, died at the age of three years.
Fickels, father and son, are strong radical Republicans, and are numbered,
socially, politically and financially, among the best citizens of the township.
T. Fife, a farmer and stock-raiser of section 24, Jasper township, was born in
Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, March 3, 1829, a son of William Fife, who was a
descendant of John Fife, of Fifeshire, Scotland. John Fife was born in 1721, and
removed to county Tyrone, Ireland; in 1756 he came to Winchester, Virginia, and
in 1766 to Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, where he purchased 1,000 acres of land
of the Indians and there he died November 19, 1800, and this land still belongs
to his descendants. William Fife, the grandfather of our subject, a son of John
Fife, Jr., was born in 1751, and died July 25, 1818, and served as a soldier
during the Revolutionary war. His wife was Margaret Boyd. The father of our
subject was reared on the old Fife homestead, and married Mary Thomas, of
Nodaway township, Washington county, Pennsylvania. The maternal ancestors of our
subject were among the first settlers of Washington county, and were of Welsh
descent. In 1835 William Fife sold his interest in the old homestead and removed
to Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died when our subject was fourteen
years of age, leaving his widow and twelve children but limited means.
became necessary for those that were able to do anything to go to work; our
subject commenced work on a farm at $4 per month and never received more than
$7. In the summer of 1847 he attended Washington college; in the fall of the
same year he engaged in the sale of books and in this business he obtained means
to pursue his studies until the spring of 1850, when he left school and went to
Salem, Columbiana county, Ohio, and there purchased a property of Rev. A. G.
Kirk, for $800; $50 cash, 4100 in three months, $150 in six months; balance in
two equal yearly payments with interest. He gave his mother the free use of this
property whilst she remained a widow and with the assistance of a brother and
sister provided for her and the younger children.
was married, November 25, 1852, to Miss Elizabeth H. Shafer, a native of
Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, and daughter of Michael Shafer, a soldier of the
war of 1812. In 1853 he rented a farm in Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, and
farmed in the summer and sold books in the winter. In 1855 he removed to Seneca
county, Ohio, and for $10 per acre he purchased 240 acres of land in a branch of
the Black swamp; the land was considered worthless by the citizens; he ditched a
portion of it and put it in a good state of cultivation and divided it into four
lots, and in 1860 sold the same at a price ranging from $20 to $30 per acre and
moved to Marshall county, Indiana, where he continued to farm until 1872.
the last year of the civil war he served the Government in the capacity of a
detective. When our Government was at war with Mexico he was a member of the
Jefferson Grays, and with the company offered his services to the Government,
which received orders to be ready on notice to go, but the war coming to an end
they were not called for. He also served as a detective and broke up a gang of
thieves headed by John Mauler, in the vicinity of Tyner City, Indiana. In 1872
he removed to Adams county, Iowa, purchased 240 acres of raw land and improved
and his wife were the parents of eight children: Lawrence H., Andrew V., Arthur
S., Olive O., Michael T., James M., Bertha I. and Clara E. His wife died in
October, 1881. Lawrence and Bertha are also dead. He was again married in
August, 1883, to Mrs. Mary a. Mitchell, a native of Brown county, Ohio; by this
union they had one child, born in November, 1887, and died in March, 1888. March
17, 1886, his house and household goods and barn and farming utensils were
destroyed by fire; they were partly covered by insurance in the AEtna and it was
promptly paid to a cent; he rebuilt in good shape; here he lives and intends to
stay and enjoy all he can of life.
Fisher, postoffice Nevinville, is one of the enterprising and successful farmers
of Carl township, Adams county, Iowa. He was born in Austria, March 19, 1857,
son of Joseph and Mary (Svejkovska) Fisher, natives of Bohemia, in Austria. He
was one year old when his parents came to America. After residing two years in
Chicago they came to Iowa and settled in Johnson county. They subsequently
removed to Keya Paha county, Nebraska, where the father died and where the
mother still makes her home; but Joseph moved to Adams county, Iowa.
latter grew up on a farm in Johnson county, Iowa, and owing to the poor
circumstances of his parents he was unable to receive even common school
education, but in later years he acquired a good education by home study in both
languages. In 1880 he came to this county, and three years later purchased his
present farm from Alonzo Keezler. It is one of the best improved farms in the
neighborhood; has an attractive cottage with bay window and porch, and is
surrounded by shade trees, orchard and grove; outbuildings, windmill, good
fences, and other improvements all combine to make it a desirable property, and
indicate at once the success which has attended its owner.
Fisher has been twice married. At the age of twenty-three he was married in
Johnson county, Iowa, to Miss Josephine Patera, also a native of Austria. Their
union was blessed with five children - Delia, Aggie, Molly, Clara and Edward.
Aggie died from the effect of a burn. Mrs. Fisher's death occurred January 4,
1890. October 18, 1890, Mr. Fisher wedded Miss Minnie Seeley, daughter of W. B.
Seeley, of Carl township.
M. Flowers, of Quincy township, settled on section 32, where he still resides,
in 1868. His farm comprises eighty acres on section 32 and forty-four, on
section 31. He was born in York county, Pennsylvania, in 1842, the son of David
and Mary Ann (Mead) Flowers. Mr. Flowers was reared to farm life, and at the age
of eighteen years enlisted in the defense of his country, in the war of the
Rebellion, becoming a member of Company I, Seventy-seventh Ohio Volunteer
Infantry. The date of his enlistment was October 25, 1861. He was mustered out
of the United States service March 8, 1866, his term of service covering a
period of nearly four and half years. He participated in many of the most
important campaigns and battles of the war. He was at Shiloh, Corinth, Holly
Springs and Little Rock. He was captured by the Confederate forces at Marks'
Mills, Arkansas, and was held a prisoner for ten months at Tyler, Texas, but was
paroled, and exchanged thirty days later. He was then furloughed for sixty days
and returned home, reporting to his regiment, which was then at Mobile, at the
expiration of his furlough. After the surrender of the Confederate forces to the
armies of the Union, and the consequent close of the war, he accompanied what
was left of his regiment to Brownsville, Texas. He was mustered out with his
regiment at Columbus, Ohio, at the time above mentioned.
the war Mr. Flowers was for some time engaged in the manufacture of lumber.
Coming to Iowa, he reached the village of Quincy, May 11, 1868. He came with his
father's family, which comprised his parents, three sons and a daughter, all of
whom are now living but the mother. Mr. Flowers was married October 9, 1882, at
Woodsfield, the county seat of Monroe county, Ohio, to Miss Blanch Bell, a
native of Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Flowers have three sons: Clinton De Witt, Jesse
Bell and Forest. Mr. Flowers is one of the respected citizens of Quincy
township, and was for more than four years a faithful soldier in the cause of
the Union. He is a worthy member of Llewellyn Post, G. A. R., at Corning.
Focht has been identified with the best interests of Montgomery county, Iowa,
since 1857, when he took up his abode on his present farm, 520 acres in section
27, Douglas township. He is one of the enterprising, successful and popular
pioneers of the county. For the important part he took in developing its
interests and for the prominent position he now occupies among its worthy
citizens, he is most justly entitled to honorable mention in this volume. A
resume of his life is as follows:
Focht was born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, January 5, 1827. His father,
Adam Focht, a native of the same place, was a son of George Focht, who was born
in Hamburg, Germany. In his young manhood the latter came to America and settled
in Pennsylvania. He served in the Revoluntary War, a portion of the time in the
militia and later as a teamster. He assisted in drawing the cannon from
Philadelphia to Valley Forge, and for services rendered received a special
pension of $50. The mother of William Focht was nee Susanna Furry, a native of
Pennsylvania and a daughter of George Furry, a Scotchman by birth. Adam Focht
and family moved from Pennsylvania to Allen county, Ohio, 1837, and there the
parents passed the residue of their days, each dying at the age of about
sixty-six years. The father was all his life engaged in agricultural pursuits.
In politics he was a Democrat. He was a steward in the Lutheran Church, of which
both he and his wife were members, and in that faith reared their children.
Their family consisted of seven sons and three daughters. On of the sons, Jacob
Focht, is a resident of Pilot Grove, Iowa.
was a lad of eleven years when the family settled in Ohio, and in Allen county
he grew to manhood, working on the farm and attending the common schools. At
nineteen he enlisted for the Mexican war, in Company K, First Regiment of
Artillery, under command of "Stonewall" Jackson. He helped to guard
the wagon train from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. After the war he returned
to Ohio, and a short time later went to Pennsylvania, where he made his home for
three years[.] Again returning to Ohio, he remained in Allen county till 1857,
the year he came west and located in Montgomery county. Here he purchased 160
acres of wild land, built a cabin and made a home. Prosperity attended his
earnest efforts on the frontier, and as the years passed by his property assumed
a different appearance. The primitive cabin has long since given place to a
modern cottage, which is situated some rods back from the highway and is
approached by an avenue. Substantial improvements in the way of barn,
outbuildings, fences, etc., combine to make this place a valuable one. Mr. Focht
has purchased other lands and is now the owner of 520 acres.
the age of twenty-eight he was married, in Auglaize county, Ohio, to Miss
Rebecca Williams, a native of Champaign county, Ohio, and a daughter of Jacob
Williams, who was born in the eastern part of the United States, of Scotch
ancestry. Mr. and Mrs. Focht have seven children, viz.: P. S. is married and has
four children; John A. is married, has two children and lives in Douglas
township, this county; Melvin, also a resident of this township, is married and
has four children; James of the same township, has a wife and one child; Samuel,
Washington is married and has two children; Homer is married and lives on the
old homestead; and Oscar, at home and unmarried. They lost six children, three
sons and three daughters, when quite young.
Focht is a Democrat and is active in the councils of his party. He has served in
various townships offices, always with credit to himself and his constituents,
and is at present township trustee. He has recently been chosen by his party as
a candidate for county Supervisor, in which selection the best of judgment has
been evinced. Mr. Focht is a member of the Centennial Lodge of Grant, No. 373.
He has been a Mason forty years. He assisted in organizing the Red Oak Lodge
when there were only seven Masons in the county. During the late war he was a
member of the State militia and took an active part in the march to St. Joseph,
Missouri, to guard the State border.
Focht is a worthy member of the Baptist Church.
R. Fosmire, of section 11, Union township, Adams county, was born in Monroe
county, New York, January 8, 1835, the son of John Fosmire, deceased, native of
Rensselaer county, New York. The latter emigrated to Knox county, Illinois, in
1844, settling on a farm near Galesburg, when it was yet a new country. Ezra R.,
our [subject] was reared to farm life and received his education in the common
schools of Illinois, and also in the Knoxville public schools. He subsequently
learned the wagon-maker's trade, which he followed several years, having
previously worked at tailoring. He was engaged at carpentering for the United
States for a time during the war, and was at Chattanooga when Hood's army
threatened the place and cut off our communication with Nashville. Mr. Fosmire
was engaged in a wagon and carriage shop several years in Oneida, Illinois, and
in the spring of 1879 came to this county, settling on his present farm of 160
acres, where he is engaged in general farming and stock- raising. He raises
graded short-horn cattle, English Shire horses and Poland-China hogs. He has
served as Justice of the Peace six years, and was secretary of the Board of
School Directors a few years. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. and Farmers'
Fosmire was married July 5, 1857, to Ellen Randall, a daughter of Ralph Randall,
of Knoxville, Illinois. They had five children: Adelaide, Seth H., Fannie,
Frederick R. and James. The mother died in 1874, and August 30, 1876, Mr.
Fosmire married Mrs. Mary McDonald; she had one child, Jennie, by a former
marriage, who married A. Mayne, and resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.
M. Frederick, of the firm of Frederick & Winne, dealers in agricultural
implements at Corning, was born in 1830, in Pennsylvania, a son of Abraham and
Margaret (Mills) Frederick, natives of East Coventry, Chester county,
Pennsylvania, who lived and died in that State. He came to Wisconsin before the
war and engaged in farming. In 1862 he enlisted in Company B, Twenty-Third
Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and served to the end of the war, taking part in a
large number of the great sieges and battles; was with Banks on the Red river
expedition, Grant at Vicksburg, and Sherman on his march to the sea. While in
the service he was injured by a fall, but returned to be discharged with the
the war he resided again for a time in Wisconsin. In 1869 he came to Adams
county, and settled in Lincoln township, where he improved an estate of 200
1882-3 he was county Treasurer. In 1889 he moved to Corning and engaged in the
sale of agricultural implements, in his present partnership relation. Into his
business, as in all others, he has brought that care and integrity which have
won for him an honored place in the estimation of his fellow-citizens. He is a
stalwart Republican, and a member of the G. A. R., R. A. M., and I. O. O. F.,
and also of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
was married in 1857, to Miss Isabella Roberts, and they have had twelve
children, eleven of whom are living in Adams county.
Fudge, a worthy and well-to-do farmer of Washington township, Adams county,
Iowa, was born in England, May 14, 1859. His parents are Benjamin and Keziah
(Salvage) Fudge. His father came from England with his family in 1869 and
settled on a farm in Knox county, Illinois. There his father and mother still
reside, aged respectively seventy and sixty years. They have three sons and two
daughters, namely: William; Benjamin Albert, who resides in Sarpy county,
Nebraska, married a Scotch lady, Miss Maggie McLain, and has two children,
Willie and May; Henry E., of Knox county, Illinois, married Miss Alice Weech;
Bessie, who is married and lives in California; and Elizabeth A., a member of
the home circle.
since he started out in life for [himself] William Fudge has been engaged in
farming. He came from Knox county, Illinois, to Cass county, Iowa, in 1888, and
in 1889 took up his abode in Adams county. He owns 120 acres of well improved
land, indeed, a most beautiful farm capable of raising all the various kinds of
fruits and grains indigenous to the State. His home is located three miles and a
half north of Mount Etna, and commands a view of the most beautiful and fertile
Fudge was married April 6, 1885, to Miss Ida Cox, daughter of Mrs. Sarah Cox of
Knox county, Illinois. Her mother, a lady of much culture and refinement, now
resides in Cass county, Iowa. She was born in England, of English parents, and
came with them to this country in 1855. Her three children are Mrs. Fudge;
Charles, at home carrying on the farming operations; and Oren, a
business-college graduate, is employed as a cashier and bookkeeper. Mr. and Mrs.
Fudge have two children, Arthur and Wilbur.
Mr. Fudge usually affiliates with the Republican party. He is a representative,
good citizen of the county, and believes in keeping pace with nineteenth century
M. Fuller, a farmer and stock-raiser of section 20, Jasper township, has been a
resident of Adams county since 1871. He is a native of the State of Ohio, born
in Morgan county, in May, 1842, and is a son of John M. and Nancy (Duval)
Fuller; the father was a native of Pennsylvania, of English descent, and the
mother was born in Rhode Island, of Puritan ancestry. Our subject was reared on
a farm and remained under the parental roof until the breaking out of the civil
war, when he enlisted in Company E, Seventy-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He
participated in many hard-fought battles; was in the battle of Fort Donelson,
the battle of Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, the capture of Jackson, Tennessee,
the battle near Bolivar, Tennessee, was in the march and retreat through central
Mississippi, in the Vicksburg campaign, took part in the battles of Port Gibson,
Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, siege of Vicksburg, was with the Meridian
[expedition], was in the Atlanta campaign, in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain,
the 21st and 22d of July near Atlanta and was with Sherman on his immortal march
to the sea. He was mustered out of the service at Beaufort, South Carolina, and
received an honorable discharge January 12, 1865. He then returned to his home
in Morgan county, Ohio, and engaged in agricultural pursuits.
1871 Mr. Fuller removed to Iowa, and engaged in the lumber business in Adams and
Montgomery counties for a period of three years.
January 1, 1873, he was united in marriage to Miss E. V. Teeter, a native of
Licking county, Ohio, and a daughter of C. W. and Mary (Ashford) Teeter, natives
of Pennsylvania. After his marriage he settled on his present farm; his first
purchase consisted of eighty acres, and from time to time, as his means would
permit, he has made additions to the tract until it now covers 255 acres; it is
well improved and in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Fuller had made a
specialty of raising high grade cattle and hogs and has met with marked success.
he supports the Republican party. He is a member of G. A. R. Post, No. 324.
and Mrs. Fuller are parents of six children: C. F., C. P., L. G., Mary A., John
M. and one who died in infancy.