Biographical History of Montgomery and Adams Counties, Iowa.
Unless otherwise noted, the following biographies were submitted by Dick Barton.
O'Neil, a farmer on section 33, Nodaway township (postoffice Nodaway), was born
in county Derry, Province of Ulster, Ireland, April 27, 1833, a son of Barnett
and Catharine (Flanagan) O'Neil, natives of Ireland. His mother died when he was
four years old, and three years afterward his father moved to Scotland, where
they resided about seven years. They then came to America, settling first in La
Salle county, Illinois, for a short time. Next they moved to Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania, engaging in mining there for a time, and then returned to La Salle
county, Illinois, where Hugh made his home for nineteen years, mining coal. In
1876 he came to Adams county, settling on and which he had purchased five years
previously. He now has one of the best farms in the neighborhood, comprising 120
acres on each of sections 32 and 33, Nodaway township, also forty acres on
section 5, Nodaway township, Taylor county, and twenty acres of timber on
section 9, in the last mentioned township. His residence, 20 x 30 feet in
dimensions and one and a half stories high, is nicely furnished, attesting the
refined nature of the inmates. The barn is 24 x 34 feet in ground area. Other
outbuildings and farm appurtenances complete the equipments. General farming and
stock- raising constitute the scope of Mr. O'Neil operations. In politics he is
a Democrat and in religion a Catholic.
was married in 1854, in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, to Miss Margaret Collins,
who was born in Sligo, Ireland, the daughter of John and Bridget (Tillen)
Collins, both natives of the Emerald Isle. By this marriage there were eleven
children, eight of whom are living, namely: Patrick and John, in Colorado; Mary
Bigley; Maggie, a popular teacher in Omaha; Bridget, in Kansas City, Missouri;
Hugh, Jr., at home; Michael, at Shenandoah (Iowa) College; and Charley, at home.
The three deceased are, a babe unnamed; Winnie, at the age of twenty-two years,
in this county; and Ellen, also at twenty-two, in this county; she was a
successful school-teacher. All the children received a good liberal education.
N. Odell, who resides on section 2 in Nodaway township, is one of the pioneers
of Adams county, and one of the oldest present residents of his township, the
time of his coming having been in November, 1856. There were then but few
families in the township. He was born in Crawford county, Ohio, in 1826, the son
of Eli Odell, a native of Vermont, who removed when a boy of eleven years with
his parents to New York, thence to Canada, and from there went with an uncle to
Crawford county, Ohio, in 1822, when he was a youth of nineteen years. There he
married Miss Asenath Parcher. In 1854 Eli Odell removed with his family to
Winterset, Madison county, Iowa, where they lived until death. They were the
parents of two sons and five daughters who grew to mature years. The two sons
and three daughters are now living.
N. Odell, the subject of this notice, settled on section 16 in the fall of 1856,
and there, in that year, erected a steam sawmill. This was the first steam
sawmill in Adams county, which was an entirely new mill when Mr. Odell bought it
at Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and had it shipped to the place where it was erected. An
effort was made about the same time to erect an old steam sawmill at Brook, but
it was not a success, so that Mr. Odell's mill may properly be said to be the
first steam sawmill erected in Adams county. He removed his mill to Brooks in
the spring of 1859, and in 1863 to Washington township, having sold it to
Christopher Hardier. This mill had now disappeared, as the man to whom Mr. Odell
sold it disposed of various parts to different persons, who removed the same
from the county. Mr. Odell has carried on farming ever since his mill
experience, but in connection therewith was also engaged in carpentering and
building for many years. His father was a carpenter and he very naturally
learned that trade. He has done much building in Adams county, having built the
first frame barn of any importance; this was on what is known as the "Billy
Wilson" farm in Quincy township. The largest barn he built was on the
Vernon place near Corning. In fact he has erected a large number of both
dwellings and barns in Adams and Montgomery counties. He has resided on his
present farm since 1866. He has a fine farm of 200 acres, and has also given
land to his sons.
Odell was married in 1847 to Miss Lydia A. Field, a native of Ohio, and daughter
of Selden Field, a native of Connecticut. Her mother's maiden name was Lydia
Ketchum, a native of Vermont, but reared in the State of New York. Mr. and Mrs.
Odell have seven children, six sons and one daughter, and have lost four
daughters by death. In his political affiliations Mr. Odell has been a
Republican ever since the organization of that party. His first presidential
vote was cast for Martin Van Buren. He voted for General Fremont in 1856, and
for General Harrison in 1888, and all Republican presidents between those two.
He was reared in the Abolition school of politics, his father having belonged to
that party, and in his early days in Ohio helped many an escaping slave on his
way to freedom. He and his wife have long been faithful and consistent members
of the Christian church.
have thus endeavored to give a biographical sketch of Mr. Odell, one of the best
known pioneers of Adams county, who with his wife came here when the country was
new, and have done their part in contributing to the growth and development of
the county. The lives of such as they are well worthy of preservation in the
annals of the county with which they have been so long and closely identified.
Cordial and genial in disposition and ever generous and hospitable, they have
the esteem and respect of all.
Olive, the enterprising proprietor of Mr. Olive farm, on section 18, Prescott
township, was born in Lancashire, England, April 3, 1843, a son of Matthew
Olive, a native of the same place. His mother, whose maiden name was Miriam
Cochran, was born in Scotland, of Scotch parents. Israel was eight years old
when his father came to America, and they labored assiduously to earn the money
with which to bring over the rest of the family, which was accomplished in about
two years. The family then settled in La Salle county, Illinois, at Split Rock,
where father and son opened and worked the best coal mine in that county. The
mother died there, and the father died at Springfield, that State, at the age of
seventy-four years. Six of their children grew up. One of them, John, joined the
One Hundred and Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the war, and was
killed at Duval's Bluff, Arkansas, when thirty years of age. Another son,
Thomas, lives in Prescott township; Robert was killed in a coal mine in England;
and the second Robert, named after the first, was killed by an accident in La
Salle county, Illinois, when a small boy.
Israel Olive grew up to manhood in La Salle county, followed coal- mining and
other occupations for twenty years there and then settled on ninety-two acres of
wild prairie in Adams county, where he has since made his home. He now owns 215
acres, - the "Mr. Olive farm," which is one of the best in the
township. On it is a fine modern dwelling, 18 x 24 feet, with an L 14 x 16 feet,
and both two stories high, beautifully adorned surroundings and farm buildings
and appurtenances, all in good condition. The barn is 32 x 46 feet, with 20-foot
center posts. On this beautiful homestead the proprietor and his family can
spend their days in comfort.
Olive was married in Ottawa, La Salle county, Illinois, January 2, 1874, to Miss
Ellen Bush, a native of Scotland and a daughter of Joseph and Margaret (Watson)
Bush, also of Scotch nativity. Her father died June 29, 1885, and her mother is
living with her. The Bush family came to America in 1853, settling in
Pennsylvania, and in 1862 they removed to La Salle county, Illinois. Mrs. Olive
has one brother, James Bush, at Streator, that county. Mr. and Mrs. Olive have
five children living, namely: Thomas, Charley, Estella, Maggie and Cora.
Olive is a Republican, is an Oddfellow and was reared a Methodist. Mrs. Olive
was brought up a Presbyterian, but in Illinois united with the Baptist church.
Osborn, a worthy citizen and a prosperous farmer, residing in section 36,
Washington township, Adams county, Iowa (Mt. Etna postoffice), was born in
Guernsey county, Ohio, May 11, 1832. His parents were Lewis and Mary a. (Covey)
Osborn, both natives of New York. The father was a cabinet- maker by trade, and
was one of the early settlers of that locality. He owned a farm, and carried on
farming also. He died many years ago and his wife passed away in 1872, aged
seventy-three years. She was a devout member of the Baptist Church. They had
twelve children, our subject being the eleventh-born. Of this family ten are
Osborn began life for himself at the age of nineteen years, at which time he
started to California in company with fifteen others from Guernsey county, Ohio.
They made the journey via Nicaragua and arrived at their destination March 5,
thirty-one days after they left New York. He remained in California two years
and a half, successfully engaged in mining. July 5, 1856, he turned his face
homeward, and made the return voyage via the Panama route, arriving in safety
after a journey of twenty-two days. He at once engaged in farming in Ohio, and
was thus employed when the war came on.
January, 1864, Mr. Osborn enlisted in Company D, Sixtieth Ohio Volunteer
Infantry, was in a number of important engagements, and on the 17th of June,
1864, while charging the breastworks in front of Petersburg, was wounded in the
hand, losing the second finger and the use of the others. He was sent to the
hospital, afterward to Washington city, and still later to Little York,
Pennsylvania, remaining in the hospital at the latter place until his discharge
in July, 1865.
returning home and recovering, he moved with his family to Story county, Iowa,
where he lived two years and a half. He then moved to his present location on
the half section road which leads through Mr. Etna, and here he owns 120 acres
of land, a comfortable cottage home, orchard, etc., and is well fixed to enjoy
Osborn was married September 23, 1858, to Miss Christiana A. McPeak, daughter of
Daniel and Lydia McPeak, of Guernsey county, Ohio. Following is the issue from
their union: Lydia A., wife of James Homan, a farmer of Adams county; Mary A.,
wife of Alpheus Madison, who is engaged in the lumber business in Corning;
Lizzie A., who has been a successful teacher for ten years and is now engaged as
Principal of the Mt. Etna graded school; Carlie A., a farmer; Wesley E. and
Osborn is a deacon in the Baptist Church, of which his wife was also a devoted
member. The latter's death occurred July 4, 1879, at the age of fifty-two years.
In her life she was the truest and purest type of Christian wife and mother
combined, and her death was a source of much bereavement to her family and many