History of Warren County, Iowa - 1908 - B

Warren County >> 1908 Index

History of Warren County, Iowa... to 1908
by Rev. W. C. Martin, D. D. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1908.


Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.

R. A. BARCROFT, who is one of the prosperous farmers and stock raisers and feeders of Greenfield township, owning and operating a well improved and valuable farm of six hundred and sixty acres, is numbered among the old settlers of Iowa , dating his residence in this state since 1864, and in Warren county since 1882. He was born in Holmes county, Ohio , March 8, 1861 , a son of John R. and Susan F. ( Ankeny ) Barcroft, both of whom were natives of that state, the father having been born in Harrison county. John R. Barcroft was a man of exceptionally good education and was a lawyer by profession. He first engaged in the practice of law in Ohio , but in 1864 he removed to Iowa and located in Mahaska county, where he practiced law for eighteen months and then removed to Des Moines , where he continued to follow his profession for a number of years. He later bought land in this county, and opened up the farm where the son now resides, making this his permanent residence for some time, while still maintaining his law offices at Des Moines. Eventually, however, he returned to Des Moines to reside, and there he died on the 20th of January, 1901. His wife survives him and now resides in the capital city. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Barcroft were born four children, namely: R. A., of this review; J. K., a resident of Alexandria , Louisiana ; Mary, the wife of George E. King, a financier and capitalist of Des Moines ; and Hattie, the widow of James M. McCaughan, and also a resident of Des Moines.

R. A. Barcroft was reared and educated in Des Moines. In early manhood he came to the farm and took charge of the place and has since engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has built two good residences, barns and the necessary outbuildings, and has the place well fenced. In connection with the raising of grains and cereals he has made a business of raising high grade stock and fattens for the market from three to five carloads of cattle and hogs annually.

In 1899 Mr. Barcroft was married in Des Moines to Miss Mary Wright, a daughter of John P. Wright, who was a native of Indiana and is now deceased. Politically Mr. Barcroft has been a lifelong republican. He has served as delegate to numerous county conventions but has never sought nor desired public office. Mr. Barcroft has been a resident of Iowa for nearly half a century and has witnessed the growth and development of Des Moines , Indianola, Polk and Warren counties, and is regarded as one of the best known, progressive, public-spirited citizens of this section.


Agricultural pursuits have always claimed the time and attention of William F. Brown, who is now successfully engaged in the operation of a fine farm on section 14, Richland township. He dates his residence in Iowa from 1853, and he had made his home in Warren county since the 4th of January, 1854. He has taken an active part in the upbuilding and development of this region, and is justly entitled to mention among its honored early settlers.

Mr. Brown was born near Lafayette in Tippecanoe county, Indiana, January 14, 1836 , and is a son of James Brown, who was a native of Kentucky , and at an early day removed with his parents to Ohio , being among the first settlers of Miami county. The home of our subject's paternal grandfather was on the extreme frontier at the time of the was of 1812. On reaching manhood James Brown was married in Miami county to Miss Margaret Long, a native of Pennsylvania , and some years later they removed to Tippecanoe county, Indiana, where he opened up a farm. In 1853 he brought his family to Iowa , and the following year located in Warren county, where he purchased five hundred and sixty acres of land, which he broke and cultivated, spending his last years here. He died in 1862, at the age of sixty-six years, and his wife passed away two years later.

William F. Brown was a young man of eighteen years on the removal of the family to this county and he aided his father in the arduous task of developing a new farm, remaining under the parental roof until the father's death. He succeeded to a part of the old home place and has since bought more land, until at one time he had five hundred and sixty acres. Upon the place he has erected a commodious and pleasant residence, good barns, cribs and granaries, has fenced the land and set out fruit, and to-day has one of the most valuable farming properties in Warren county. He has given considerable attention to the raising of stock, making a specialty of pure blooded shorthorn cattle, French draft horses and Berkshire hogs, and annually feeds a large amount of stock for market. He has divided his property, giving a farm to each of his sons, but is still actively engaged in general farming and stock-raising.

On the 23d of May, 1858 , was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Brown and Miss Rachel Viers, who was born at Akron , Ohio , and is a daughter of James and Elizabeth (Ship) Viers, also natives of the Buckeye state, whence they came to Iowa in 1849, arriving in Warren county on the 2d of October. Here Mr. Viers bought a preemption right, and later entered land from the government. Mrs. Brown was principally reared in this county.

Of the eight children born to our subject and his wife, four are now living, namely: Elizabeth, the wife of W. A. Spain, a farmer of this county; James F., who owns a part of the old home place; G. W., a farmer of Lincoln township; and Latie, wife of W. F. Park a farmer of Lincoln township. They also lost four children: Melissa N., the first born, married Thomas Moore and died in 1883, leaving a son, S. G. Moore. Martha J. and Eva both died in infancy, and Cora died at the age of five years. Mrs. Brown has also reared two boys and a girl who are now grown, and now has a little girl, Margaret Dubs, whom she intends to rear and educate.

Mr. Brown has never wavered in his allegiance to the republican party since casting his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and he has served as a delegate to the state and county conventions of his party. He has also served on juries and has been township trustee and treasurer, as well as school director for twenty years. He is a man of excellent business ability and sound judgment, who usually carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes, and he has always been found thoroughly reliable and trustworthy. In religious faith he is a Baptist and now attends church at Hartford.

William T. Butler has throughout his active business life been prominently identified with the farming and stock-raising interests of Warren county and is today the owner of a well improved and valuable farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 20, Otter township.  He was born upon this place, December 28, 1865, a son of William H. and Serepta E. (Truitt) Butler, both now deceased.
The father was born in Virginia in 1815 and spent the first eight years of his life in his native state. At that tender age he was thrown upon his own resources and had to make his way in the world unaided.  Coming west he first located in Wisconsin, where he and his brother subsequently engaged in the stock business, and met with success in that undertaking.  In 1860 he came to Warren county, Iowa, and secured one hundred and sixty acres of land in Otter township where our subject now lives. To the improvement and cultivation of that property he at once turned his attention and as time passed he became an extensive farmer, operating four hundred acres when he retired from active labor in 1878 and removed to Indianola, there spending his remaining days.  While engaged in farming he always gave considerable attention to the stock business.  He was an ardent democrat in politics and was a member of the Masonic fraternity.  After a useful and well spent life, he passed away in 1884.  His wife, who was born in Greene county, Indiana, June 12, 1831, also died in Indianola in 1894.  She was reared in her native state, making her home there until her marriage, when shortly afterward she came with her husband to Warren county in 1860.  In religious faith she was a Presbyterian. Three children were born to them:  Thomas Luther, who was born in 1862 and died in 1864;  William T., of this review;  and Edwin P., who was born in 1867 and is now engaged in farming in Otter township.  He married Miss Kate L. Liston, a daughter of William Liston, who resides with them.
William T. Butler spent his boyhood and youth upon the home farm and since attaining man's estate has engaged in its cultivation.  He received a good practical education in the common schools, and has always engaged in stock-raising in connection with general farming.  In 1887 he was married to Miss Lorena Amos, a daughter of James Amos, deceased, and to them were born seven children:  Esther Pearl, Mary Ellen, Thomas A., Ruth Eva,  Blanche and Olive Mac, all at home;  and one who died in infancy.
In religious faith Mr. and Mrs. Butler are Methodists and attend service at Brown's Chapel.  He also holds membership in the blue lodge of the Masonic order at Indianola, the Modern Brotherhood and a fraternal insurance society.  Politically he is a democrat, though he favors prohibition, and gives an earnest support to all measures which he believes will promote the moral, educational and material welfare of his township and county.