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

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.

Edward Schafroth, a farmer on section 27, Nodaway township, (post-office Nodaway),, was born in Monroe county, Ohio, march 26, 1856, a son of John and Elizabeth Schafroth, natives of Switzerland.  They had several children, two of whom were soldiers in our last war and are now prominent citizens of Jasper and Mercer townships.  Another one of the children is Mrs. Fred Walter, of Nodaway township.

Edward, our subject, was left an orphan at the age of seven or eight years, and for several years made his home with Henry Walter, his brother-in-law, an esteemed citizen of Mercer township.  He was brought up to the work of the farm.  The first land he owned was in that township, a tract of forty acres.  After a time he sold that and purchased eighty acres of land, where he now lives - good land.  He occupies a frame cottage, on a pleasant building site, surrounded by shade-trees, etc., and the farm is well supplied with all the modern conveniences.  In politics Mr. Shafroth is a Democrat, and in respect to religion he and his wife belong to the German Evangelical Church.

He was married December 7, 1880, to Miss Lizzie, a daughter of John Hedinger.  Her father was born in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, November 24, 1835, a son of Rudolph and Mary Hedinger, and emigrated to this country, locating in Monroe county, Ohio, at the age of nineteen years, and in 1869 he came to Nodaway township, Adams county.

He was married, at Wheeling, West Virginia, May 28, 1863, to Elizabeth Graf, a native of Switzerland, a daughter of John and Lena Graf.  Mr. and Mrs. Schafroth have had three children: Henry Lewis, Clarence A. and Hulda May.

Fred Schafroth, one of the leading stock-raisers and farmers of Jasper township, was born in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, February 5, 1841.  He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Sutlen) Shafroth, natives of the same place.  In 1852 the family, consisting of the parents and nine children, emigrated to America and settled in Monroe county, Ohio.  There Mr. Shafroth purchased a farm and passed the remainder of his days.  He died in the spring of 1863, and his wife survived him but three weeks.

Young Shafroth was reared on a farm and attended the district school; he assisted his parents in the maintenance of the family until the breaking out of the civil war, when he enlisted August 14, 1862, in Company E, One Hundred and Sixteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He participated in many hard-fought battles, and did his country valiant service.  At the close of the war he was honorably discharged, June 14, 1865, and returned to his Ohio home where he resumed the occupation of agriculture.

Mr. Shafroth was united in marriage June 6, 1866, to Miss Margaret Walter, a native of Switzerland and a daughter of Jacob Walter, who emigrated from Switzerland in 1853, and settled in the state of Ohio.  In the spring of 1868 our subject came to Adams county, and settled on what is known as the Dairy Farm near Corning; there he resided until 1877, when he purchased his present farm, which contains 200 acres of good land in a high state of cultivation.  He makes a specialty of breeding short-horn cattle and Berkshire hogs.

Mr. and Mrs. Shafroth are the parents of five children: Emma M., Mary, the wife of Rev. W. C. McClelland, of Donaway township; Cora, Louis and Clara.  The family were deeply bereaved by the death of the wife and mother, which occurred January 10, 1882, at the age of thirty-seven years.

Mr. Shafroth is a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Politically he affiliates with the Democratic party.

R. H. Schooling, one of the pioneer settlers of Adams county, and residing on section 23, Washington township (postoffice Mr. Etna), was born in Bullitt county, Kentucky, February 13, 1813, the son of Joseph and Polly (Frame) Schooling, his father a native of Virginia and his mother of Kentucky. His father, a farmer by occupation, was a captain in the war of 1812, although he never saw active service. He was brought by his parents to Kentucky at the age of sixteen years, and after his marriage there he moved to Vermillion county, Indiana, in 1822, locating upon a farm. In 1837 he removed to Barry county, in the southwestern part of Missouri, settling again upon a farm, and lived there until his death, in 1850, at the age of about seventy-four years. His wife died while in Indiana, about the year 1823. He married again in that State, Miss Margaret Wilson, by whom he had five children; he had had eleven by his first marriage, of whom five are still living.

The subject of this notice, the third-born in the above family, began business for himself at the age of twenty years, mining lead at Galena, Illinois. A year afterward he began farming, in which he has ever since continued, with fairly good success. Beginning without other means than his own brain and muscle, he pushed himself on to victory.

In 1852 he came to Iowa, entering 160 acres of land, to which he has since added until he now owns 500 acres, half of which is now well improved. It is mostly fertile bottom land, susceptible of raising good crops of corn, hay and oats. He has a good orchard, raises also small fruits, and has all the comforts a good farm life can bring.

Publicly he has been a county Supervisor, Justice of the Peace, etc. He is a substantial and prominent citizen. He was married in 1835, to Miss Susan Ireland, daughter of William Ireland, of Vermillion county, Indiana, and they had nine children, as follows: P. G., a merchant at Mt. Etna, who married Caroline Ireland; Joseph, who enlisted August 13, 1862, in Company A, Twenty-Ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and died of sickness contracted in the service April 9, 1863, at the age of twenty- four years, was born April 17, 1839; William F., who enlisted the same day as his brother, in the same company, took the same disease and died in the same hospital, at the same hour; he was born October 5, 1841. Mary A., wife of J. N. Fisher, a farmer of Washington township. Martha A., the wife of F. M. Thompson, of this county; R. N., a merchant of Massena, Iowa, who married Margaret Cummins. The other children died in early childhood. Their mother died in 1880, at the age of sixty-three years. She was a dutiful wife, a model mother and a good neighbor.

Politically Mr. Schooling has acted with the Republican party. Coming here, as he did, as early as 1852, he is one of the oldest pioneers of the county, in which there were but seven families at the same time, who had to go to Savannah or St. Joseph for their trading.

David C. Scott

This gentleman, who has long been identified with the interests of Adams county, was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, January 4, 1818. His father, John Scott, a native of Virginia, removed from the Old Dominion to Kentucky at an early day. Of his five daughters and five sons, David C. was the ninth-born and the youngest son. The latter went from Kentucky to Putnam county, Indiana, in 1843, and from there in 1849, to Monroe county, Iowa, where he lived until the spring of 1855, when he came to Adams county, settling in Carl township, when it and Colony township were embraced in one.

In Putnam county, Indiana, March 1, 1843, Mr. Scott was married to Margaret Perkins, who was born in Fleming county, Kentucky, August 18, 1818, daughter of Thomas Perkins, of Kentucky. Only one child has been born to them, Rebecca J., who is now the wife of John Rugesal, a resident of Carl township.

Mr. Scott owns 173 acres of land in Adams county, 160 acres of which are in section 12, Carl township, and the remainder joining to and in the town of Nevinville, all of which is well improved and in a good state of cultivation. He settled on his farm in Carl township at a date that entitles him to claim the distinction of being the oldest settler here. He and his estimable wife are now enjoying the rest and comfort to which they are entitled, in a cozy home with many pleasant surroundings, in Nevinville. Here he has a good orchard and plenty of small fruit. Mr. and Mrs. Scott are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and were members of the first class ever organized in the township and the second in the county. He has been called upon to serve the township in the capacity of Clerk two terms, Assessor one year and other minor township offices.

Mr. Scott has lived to see Adams county changed from a wild waste to the beautiful and highly-cultivated county it now is; has seen the trees he planted with his own hands grow to a diameter of four feet; and has noted the passage of the Indian and deer to make room for the advance of civilization. During all these years he has done much to promote the best interests of the community, and now in his old age is surrounded by many friends and enjoys the respect of all who know him.

William M. Scott, a merchant at Corning, was born in this State, in 1862. His father, Hamilton Scott, was a soldier who gave his life in defense of his country, in the last war as a member of Company L, Eleventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry. His mother's maiden name was Sarah McDowell. In the family were two sons and one daughter, all of whom are living in Adams county. William M., the youngest of these, made good use of his opportunities in the public schools. Entering the house of A. B. Turner, a merchant, he continued with him four years, and then entered business for himself, engaging in the general merchandise trade. At the present time he carries a line of boots and shoes and groceries, and has the largest stock of boots and shoes in Adams county. His honesty and ability are beyond question and his success is due entirely to his own talent. Socially he holds a membership in the orders of F. & A. M., I. O. O. F. and K. of P. For his wife he married Miss Effie Neighbors.

William B. Seley

This gentleman was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, in 1833, son of Joseph and Levina (Loper) Seley. His father was born in Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna river, and was of Scotch ancestry, while his mother was of English extraction and a native of New Jersey. Both died and are buried in Crawford county, Pennsylvania. The father passed away at the age of seventy-five years. He was a farmer all his life; in politics a Democrat; and in religion, a Baptist. Their family was composed of eleven children, of whom William B. was the seventh son.

Mr. Seley grew up on a farm in his native State, receiving an ordinary education in the common schools, which was afterward supplemented by study and reading at home. This reading he has continued all through life, has gained a general store of useful knowledge, and is well posted on the topics of the day. Mr. Seley remained in Pennsylvania, engaged in agricultural pursuits, until 1860, when he moved to Henry county, Illinois, spending four years there. At the end of that time he returned to Pennsylvania, and a year later came west again, this time to Union county, Iowa, where he was one of the early settlers of the county and an important factor in its growth and development. In 1877 he disposed of his interests there and came to Adams county. He came to his present farm, 160 acres in section 12, Carl township, in 1883. From its wild state he has brought it up to a high development. His cottage home is erected on a natural building site and near by are his orchard and grove. Here he is engaged in general farming and stock-raising, assisted by his sons.

In Crawford county, Pennsylvania, at the age of twenty-three years, he wedded Miss Lucretia Finlay, who was born, reared and educated in the Keystone State. Her father, William Finlay, was born in Ireland and was only six months old when he arrived in Pennsylvania, where he was reared. Her mother, Rebecca Finlay, nee Taylor, was a native of Crawford county, that State. Mr. and Mrs. Seley have had born to them sixteen children, eight sons and eight daughters, eleven of whom are now living, namely: Thomas B., of Creston, Iowa; Jennie, a successful teacher of Carl township, this county; Willie E., of Adair county, Iowa; Ed. F., of Creston, engaged in business with his brother Thomas B.; Minnie, wife of Joseph Fisher; Mary, who is attending the Creston high school; and Joseph F., Samuel L., Della W., Gifford W. and Gracie Mabel, at home. Ed. F. is a graduate of the Creston high school and was the recipient of a gold medal.

Politically Mr. Seley is a People's man, believing in the best measures and best laws for the greatest number of people. He and his wife and daughter Mary are members of the Congregational church.

Andrew Shewman has been identified with the agricultural interests of Adams county since the year 1875. He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Crawford county, August 19, 1819, and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Craft) Shewman, natives also of the "Keystone" State and of German descent.

Our subject was reared in the State of his birth, receiving a limited education in the subscription schools held in the primitive log schoolhouse of that time. At the tender age of nine years he was put upon his own responsibility, and started out to earn his living. At the age of eighteen years he came to Illinois, where he remained about one year, after which he returned to Pennsylvania. He was united in marriage November 19, 1841, to Miss Mary Ann Stilling, a daughter of Walter and Dorcas (Huston) Stilling, natives of Pennsylvania, of French and English descent. In 1850 Mr. Shewman and his family emigrated to the West, and located in Jackson county, Iowa, where he purchased 160 acres of partially improved land on which he resided twenty-five years. In 1875 he came to Adams county and bought eighty acres of land upon which some improvements had been made; his farm now consists of 208 acres developed into one of the best farms in the county.

Mr. and Mrs. Shewman are the parents of five children: Benjamin J., of Sioux City; Ormina W., the wife of William Robertson; William, of Greenwood county, Kansas; Alvina, wife of John Stout of Antelope county, Nebraska; and W. W., of Cass county, Iowa. The parents are consistent members of the Baptist Church; they have lived together a half a century, a life of peace, happiness and content. Mr. Shewman is allied with the Republican party. He is a self-made man, and has accumulated a good property which he uses to the best advantage in giving his children a good, practical education, a treasure of which no man can defraud them.

Silas G. Simpson, general merchant at Nodaway, Adams county, is a representative of one of the pioneer families of the State of Iowa. He located at Nodaway in the fall of 1879 and engaged in the hardware business, which he continued about two years, when he engaged in general merchandising. He erected his present store building in 1884.

Mr. Simpson is a native of Dearborn county, Indiana, where he was born in 1828, the son of Matthias Q. Simpson. The ancestors of the subject of this notice came to America in Colonial times, long before the Revolutionary war. The grandfather, William Simpson, was born in New Jersey, August 25, 1767, and at the age of twelve years entered the service of the Government as a teamster. This was during the darkest days of the struggle of the colonies for their independence. After the close of the war, and while yet a young man he went to Pennsylvania, and there married Miss Anna Ammerman, a lady of German descent. The marriage occurred May 8, 1797. In 1800 the grandfather was a farmer in Cayuga county, New York, whence he removed to Dearborn county, Indiana, in 1817, and thence to Warren county in 1829, where he died, July 21, 1841. William Simpson was of Irish descent, and was the father of six sons and three daughters.

Matthias Q. Simpson, the father of the subject of this sketch, and son of William Simpson, was born in the State of New York and went to Indiana with his father's family in 1817. He married Sin Garrison, who died when her son, Silas G., was but a boy. The father is still living, at this writing, in 1891, residing at Farley, Dubuque county, Iowa.

Matthias Q. Simpson came to the Territory of Iowa with his family about 1838, settling first in Jones county.

Silas G. Simpson began life for himself as a carpenter and farmer, but at the age of about forty-two years he gave up carpentry. He was married in Cedar county, Iowa, to Miss Harriet Hall, who died about twenty years later. His present wife was formerly Mrs. Courtright, whose maiden name was Mary Shirley. Mr. Simpson has four living children, - two sons and two daughters, - two of whom are by his first marriage and two by the second.

Mr. Simpson has been a resident of Iowa for more than half a century, and is a worthy and respected citizen.

Jerome Smith has been a successful farmer and stock-raiser in Adams county since the year 1872. He was born in Steuben county, New York, October 19, 1848, and is a son of William and Jane (Jones) Smith, also natives of the great "Empire State." The paternal grandparents were natives of Scotland. Our subject was reared to the occupation of a farmer, and received his education in the Genese Wesleyan Seminary. He resided with his parents until his marriage, which occurred November 4, 1868, to Miss Lydia Jane Bellinger, also a native of Steuben county, New York, and a daughter of Steuben county, New York, and a daughter or William Bellinger, who was descended from Dutch ancestors. After his marriage Mr. Smith resided upon the farm which had been his father's and which his grandfather had pre-empted from the Government in 1808. In 1872 he removed to the West and settled on his present farm in Jasper township, Adams county, Iowa; he first purchased eighty acres of wild land, on section 13, on which stood a small log cabin; for three years this furnished shelter, and in fact made a very comfortable home; the land was improved, and later on eighty acres were added to the first purchase; the farm is now one of the best in the township in point of quality of land and improvements. Mr. Smith makes a specialty of the raising of live-stock, and has gone into the dairy business quite extensively. The shade trees which add so much to the appearance of the place were planted by Mr. Smith, and the ornamental trees were set out by him when they were quite small. The Smith family consists of four children: Ethel, Algy, Jerome, Minnie L., and La Verne B.; Edith died at the age of thirteen years, in 1887; William was nine years old when he died in the same year.

In his political opinions Mr. Smith adheres to the principles of the Republican party; the people of this township have elected him Justice of the Peace for several terms, and he has discharged the duties of the office very satisfactorily.

John Smith, who resides on section 17 in Quincy township, is one of the pioneers of Adams county.

The time of his reaching Quincy, his point of destination, was in the afternoon of the 16th of November, 1854. He was born and raised in Cumberland township, Greene county, Pennsylvania. His birthday was July 28, 1818. His father, Benjamin Smith, was a native of the same town and county, as was his mother, whose maiden name was Barbara Neff. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Ichabod Smith. The Smith family are of Scotch descent, but the maternal ancestors were of German lineage.

The mother of Mr. Smith died at the homestead in Greene county, Pennsylvania, in 1846. The father later went to Richland county, Ohio, and died at the home of his sister, Mrs. Mary Findley. Mr. Smith is one of ten children, seven sons and three daughters; only four of the family are living in 1891. Mr. Smith was obliged to make his own way in life from an early age. He began learning the trade of a carpenter and joiner when eighteen years old with Albert Rickey. After about two years he engaged to learn cabinet-making with Hiram Mulligan, with whom he continued three years, and became a thorough master of the trade,

In the fall of 1845 he went to Indiana; general work at his trade was easy to yet at that time; while in Indiana he engaged in the manufacture of fanning mills. But he returned to Ohio in the fall of 1845, and engaged at the business of carpentering in Coshocton county, at West Carlisle. The following February he returned to his old home in Pennsylvania, and next April he returned to Coshocton county, Ohio, accompanied by his brother, Abraham.

June 3, 1852, he was married to Miss Hannah Plowman, a native of Maryland, and a daughter of Joseph and Harriet (Moffitt) Plowman, who emigrated from Maryland to Ohio, where they lived till death. In the spring of 1854 they removed to Knox county, Ohio. In October following they started for Western Iowa, for the purpose of making a permanent settlement. The family then consisted of himself, wife and one child, Benjamin F. They came through in a wagon, being about six weeks on the journey. Mr. Smith settled with his family in the village of Quincy, where he continued six years, engaged in working at his trade. He then settled where he now lives. He has 260 acres in his home farm and on section 27 has 200 acres, and seventy-five acres of timber on section 29. Mr. Smith has a fine farm and a pleasant home. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In fact, Mr. Smith has been a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1842, and his wife, since she was fifteen years of age. They are the parents of six children: Benjamin F., Joseph R., James Freeman, Emery Alvin, Ella, wife of George Baker, and Mary.

Mr. Smith is one of the well-known and esteemed citizens of Adams county, where he and his wife have resided so many years. He has ever been interested in the financial, moral and religious growth of the community, where he has lived so long.

Sylvester Snyder is a pioneer of Adams county. He has been a resident of the county since the spring of 1855 is well known here, and a resume of his life will be found of interest to many. Briefly it is as follows:

Sylvester Snyder was born in Cattaraugus county, New York, August 10, 1835, son of Peter Snyder, a native of Montgomery county, same State. Grandfather Jacob Snyder was born in Holland and was among the first Holland Dutch settlers of New York State. He was a Revolutionary soldier. Peter Snyder was married in Montgomery county to Hannah Cornwell, a native of that place and also of Dutch extraction.

The subject of our sketch was a lad of eight years when his parents moved to Jo Daviess county, Illinois, and settled two miles and a half west of Warren. Here young Snyder grew up on a farm and received his education in the common schools. He helped to build the first railroad through the county, and also worked on the Mineral Point railroad north of Warren.

In 1855 the Snyder family came to Adams county, Iowa, being among the earliest settlers here. They first located in Washington township and in 1875 moved to Carl township, where the parents passed the rest of their days and died, the father at the age of eighty-one years and the mother, seventy-five. Both were worthy members of the Methodist Episcopal church. The father was a Democrat before the war, but a Republican after the organization of that party. Their family consisted of five children. One son, Fred, entered the service of his country as a member of the Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, and died at Keokuk in 1864. Sylvester offered his services, but was rejected on account of a crippled finger. Another brother, Mark, also enlisted and was not accepted into the service.

In 1861 the subject of our sketch settled on eighty acres of wild land in section 17, Carl township. This he sold in 1870 and bought his present farm of 160 acres, then wild land. He now has a good farm, well adapted for stock or grain, and improved with buildings, orchard, grove, etc.

Mr. Snyder was married in Adams county, Iowa, in 1858, to Miss Elizabeth Hamon, a lady of intelligence and culture and an efficient teacher before her marriage. Her father, Lewis Hamon, of Corning, Iowa, is one of the pioneers of Adams county. Mrs. Snyder was born in Illinois and reared in Jones county, Iowa. They have had sixteen children, thirteen of whom are living, viz.: Frank W., Lane S., Cora V., Grant W., Avanelle M., Jennie R., John R., Ada S., Nanny A., Minerva E., Ethel E., Irene B. and Lola M. Lilly, John and an infant son are deceased.

Mr. Snyder's political relations are with the Greenback party.

Jacob Strait

Jacob Strait

Jacob Strait was born in eastern Ohio, on the Muskingum river, October 24, 1826, son of Peter and Catherine (Hummel) Strait, both natives of Pennsylvania, the former of German ancestry. Leonard Strait, an uncle of our subject, served in the war of 1812. Jacob was a boy when his parents moved to Athens county, Ohio, where he grew up on a farm and received a common- school education. His parents lived for a time in Pickaway county, that State, where the mother died. The father subsequently came to Adams county, Iowa, where he died at the age of ninety years. He was a farmer all his life; politically, a Republican; religiously, his views were in harmony with Methodist doctrines, although he was not a church member. He and his wife had nine children. Three of their sons participated in the late war. Jacob was a member of the Ohio National Guards, State Militia, and saw active duty when Morgan made his raid through Ohio.

Mr. Strait lived in Athens county, Ohio, until 1865, when he came to Adams county, Iowa. Here he built a log house, 18x20 feet, which still stands as a landmark of pioneer days. He now has a comfortable cottage home, good barn, fine orchard and grove, and 100 acres of rich, well- improved land, located in section 36, Douglas township.

At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Strait was married in Athens county, Ohio, to Sarah Thomas, a native of that place and a daughter of Major and Eliza Thomas. Their union was blessed with six children, five of whom are living, viz.: Sarah A., wife of Henry Taylor, of Brooks, Iowa; Mary C. Thomas, of Bedford, Iowa; Ellen, wife of Harrison James, of Douglas township, this county; Emmeline, wife of George Lawrence, of Nodaway township, this county; Peter, a resident of Douglas township. Mrs. Strait died February 12, 1889. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a woman of many virtues. In her death her family and many friends sustained a severe loss. In October, 1889, Mr. Strait married Miss Celona Clark, a native of Henry county, Iowa.

Mr. Strait is a man thoroughly identified with the best interests of the community in which he resides, and any movement which has for its object the advancement of religion, education or good morals finds in him a hearty support. He is a member of the Methodist Church.

From Floyd Harlow Lawrence:

Jacob Strait's history was written the same year of his death, & the bios.  Jacob 1824-1892, bur Baldwin cem Adams co Iowa.  Floyd