Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa - 1892 - F

Montgomery County  >> 1892 Index
Adams County

Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa. 
Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1892.


Unless otherwise noted, the following biographies were submitted by Dick Barton.

Gideon 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.

These 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 home.

Mr. 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.

Mrs. Farris is a member of the Baptist Church. Politically our subject is a Democrat.

Jordan 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 four daughters.

Jordan 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.

In his political sympathies Mr. Feazell is a Republican, and he is a wide-awake, progressive citizen.

He 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.

T. S. Fickel, section 9, Carl township, Adams county, is one of the enterprising and successful citizens of this vicinity.

He 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.

During 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.

After 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 substantial improvements.

Mr. 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.

The Fickels, father and son, are strong radical Republicans, and are numbered, socially, politically and financially, among the best citizens of the township.

James 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.

It 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.

He 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.

In 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 it.

He 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.

Joseph 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.

The 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.

Mr. 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.

David 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.

After 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.

William 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:

William 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.

William 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.

At 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.

Mr. 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.

Mrs. Focht is a worthy member of the Baptist Church.

Ezra 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' Alliance.

Mr. 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.

John 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 rest.

After 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 acres.

In 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.

He was married in 1857, to Miss Isabella Roberts, and they have had twelve children, eleven of whom are living in Adams county.

William 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.

Ever 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 country.

Mr. 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.

Politically 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 progress.

C. 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.

In 1871 Mr. Fuller removed to Iowa, and engaged in the lumber business in Adams and Montgomery counties for a period of three years.

On 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.

Politically he supports the Republican party. He is a member of G. A. R. Post, No. 324.

Mr. and Mrs. Fuller are parents of six children: C. F., C. P., L. G., Mary A., John M. and one who died in infancy.