MRS. NANCY A. HAMILL. It is fitting to record the history of those who have lived, and during their lifetime have aided in the development of a new country, as well as to preserve the record of their lives for the benefit of future generations. Our subject was born in Monroe County, Tenn., and is a daughter of John and Rachel Duncan, both of Scotch ancestry. Rachel Duncan made no change in her name at marriage. There may have been some relationship existing, but it could not be traced. Both were born in Washington County, Tenn., where they
were married, afther which they removed to Monroe County. They had eleven children, three of whom died in infancy. The others were: Joseph Carter, deceased; Marion, John E., Nelson, Mary, Jane E., Caroline and Nancy. all came to Louisa County, Iowa, with their parents, sometime in 1840, settling in Columbus City.
The early history of this county would fail in its import if it did not mention the noble son of John and Rachel Duncan, John Calvin, who enlisted when sixteen years of age in the 11th Iowa Regiment and served three years, being engaged in some of the most important battles of the war. Little did think when bidding his dear mother farewell, that he would never see her again, but with a proud step and loyal heart he boldly marched to the front and did his duty like a man. An epidemic of a typhoid character swept over this country in 1865, and filled he houses of many with mourning. Among those was the family of John Duncan, Sr., who, on September 1, buried his oldest son, Joseph, and five days later the devoted wife and loving mother was borne to her last resting-place. She was buried a short time before the return of her soldier boy, who expected to greet her with the joyful news that pace was declared, and that the principles for which he fought had been established.
The father remained upon his farm until his death, which occurred in May, 1876. Francis Duncan, his brother, and a bachelor, was a soldier of the War of 1812, and during the last years of his life made his home with his brother John, and his remains were interred in the Church cemetery. Jane Duncan married Joseph Hamill, and bore three children, all deceased. Joseph Hamill purchased a farm in this county, upon which they were living when his death occurred. His widow wedded Daniel McLaughlin, a prominent pioneer of this county. Nancy Duncan and her sister Caroline both married at the same time and place, March 11, 1862, at the residence of the Rev. Thomas Evans, of Louisa County. Caroline wedded David C. and Nancy A. wedded Reuben H. Hamill. The Hamills were cousins, their families being residents of Louisa County, but later the young couples made homes in this county. Caroline is the mother of John C. and Clara J.; John is a jeweler in Washington. David Hamill is a wealthy resident of Washington.
Reuben H. Hamill and his wife began their domestic upon the farm where our subject still resides. Here they lived and prospered, and here all of there children were born; James. H., Elizabeth, John and Grace A. completed the family circle. The father's death took place in August, 1886. The eldest son owns a half section of land in California, and is at present a clerk in Selma, Fresno County, that State. Much care has been taken in the education of the children, who do honor to the name they bear. Reuben Hamill improved a large farm of 400 acres, building a fine country residence. He was noted for his enterprise, and his extraordinary labor was the cause of his death. He was one of the most generous men of his day, and no one was his peer in subscribing to and aiding charitable purposes. A generous provider for his family, a Christian by birth and education, this good man was known far and near as one in whom all had confidence. Both himself and wife were members of the Crawfordsville United Presbyterian Church, and Rev. James Elliott preached his funeral sermon in the church where for years Mr. Hamill had devotedly worshiped. His remains are interred in the cemetery near Columbus City, and as the birds sing their gentle requiem over his grave, his children and his loving wife, whom he left so amply provided with all the comforts of life, can do his memory no higher honor than in the perpetuation of the history of one who was the most conscientious of men, and deserving of remembrance.
G. L. SHILLIG, merchant and Postmaster, Riverside, Iowa, was born in Washington County, Iowa, in 1848, and is the son of John and Jane (McDonnell) Shillig. They were married in Iowa City, but John was a native of Alsace, France, and Jane McDonnell of Ireland. They ranked among the early settlers of this county, and located in Iowa Township, between Yatton and Richmond, about 1845. John Shillig entered
a quarter section of prairie and eighty acres of timber, built a log cabin, and began the work of making a home in the new county prior to his marriage, and his bride was brought to the new cabin which had previously been bachelor quarters. Our subject was born in that cabin, which a few months later was demolished by a tornado, yet the family escaped unhurt. The mother with her infant boy was kindly cared for by a neighbor and the next day many pieces of bedding and other goods were picked up miles away. Some of the bed quilts were found hanging in trees upon the town site of Riverside distant from the cabin fully two miles. Mr. Shillig erected a frame house late, which is yet standing and is occupied by M. Thomann, who owns the old homestead.
In 1850, John Shillig, in company with others from this county, started to California, making the journey overland with ox-teams. After two years spent in mining with good success, he returned to this county and began the improvement of his land in earnest. Having nothing to do business with prior to his California trip, he did not make many improvements till after his return. The lands were then fenced, and prosperity came with advancing years. There were six children born in the farm house mentioned: Elizabeth, the wife of Peter Payer, a farmer of Coffey County, Kan.; William, deceased; Margaret, a sister of charity, residing at Cleveland, Ohio; John, the husband of Rosa Montice, a resident farmer of Ashland, Clark Co., Kan.; Mary, the wife of John Welte, a farmer of English River Township; Theresa, the wife of Antoine Eglen, a farmer of English River Township. The parents live a retired life in the pleasant village of Richmond, their children all being well settled.
Our subject, after learning farm work in detail, engaged as a clerk in the mercantile trade, and after he had become familiar with the business, returned to his farm, and twelve years later, came to Riverside, where he engaged in business for himself. He has continued in the mercantile trade since September, 1882, and his location is one of the best in the village. The fine brick store is owned by John Shillig, and the stock by his son, our subject. The stock is large and embraces everything called for in a country dry-goods store and grocery trade.
G. L. Shillig was married, Jan. 3, 1871, Miss Philipine Fettweis becoming his wife. She was born in St. Louis, Mo., the daughter of Anthony Fettweis, who was born and married in Dasseldorf, Prussia. they emigrated to America in 1850, going to St. Louis, where Anthony worked at the cabinet trade for some time, but later became a resident of Iowa City, and afterward a merchant of Richmond, this county. Both he and his wife are deceased, but all their living children are still residents of the county, namely: Elizabeth and Albert were born in Prussia, Philipine in St. Louis, Mo., and Helen in Iowa City. The deceased were Henry and Mray. Elizabeth is the wife of Joseph Wambacher, and Helen is the wife of Frank Critz, the present Treasurer of this County.
Since the marriage of our subject eight children have graced their union, all born in this countyRoland H., Viola M., Eleanor E., Oscar J., Helen O., G. Otho, Charlotte A. and Ivo A. The family circle has never been broken, and the name is well known in Washington County since its early settlement. Aug. 31, 1884, our subject was appointed Postmaster of Riverside, his commission bearing the signature of Hon. A. E. Stephenson, Assistant Postmaster General. The party affiliations of Mr. Shillig are of course Democratic, and his position is evidence of the esteem of the people and of his loyalty to the party.
J. R. HUFFMAN, located on section 16, Lime Creek Township, is a farmer and stock-raiser. He was born in Belmont County, Ohio, July 14, 1825, and is the son of Abram and Phebe (Smith) Huffman, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania, but moved to Ohio in 1823. Our subject was reared upon a farm and received his education in the common schools of his native State. In 1856, he removed to Iowa nd bought 80 acres on section 16, where he now lives. This land he improved, plated groves and orchards, and also added to it by subsequent purchases until he at one time owned 250 acres, but has since sold a part of it and now has 160 acres of prairie land
and ten of fine timber. His farm is in a fine state of cultivation, with good farm buildings.
Mr. Huffman was united in marriage with Miss E. J. Baker, on the 11th of January, 1849. She is also a native of Belmont County, Ohio, and is the daughter of John and Ann E. Baker. They have been the parents of fifteen children, of which number six are yet living: Annie, the wife of John Adams, a farmer in Lime Creek Township; Phoebe, the twin sister of Annie, is the wife of Ira White, a resident of Guthrie County, Iowa; Viola is the wife of Charles Scheib, a farmer in the latter-named county; Lettie is the wife of Wayne Hall, a druggist at Alexandria, Dak.; Jennie is the wife of Melvin Squeirs, a farmer in Seventy-Six Township; Harrison is at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Huffman are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and take a great interest in all Church work. Politically, he is a Democrat, and has held several of the township offices. He is of a genial disposition, a good conversationalist, and is ever willing to assist in all benevolent or public enterprises.
HON. NORMAN EVERSON is numbered both among the early settlers and most substantial business men of the county. He is a native of New York, born in Vernon, Oneida County, Dec. 29, 1815, and is the son of Isaac and Abigail (Usher) Everson, both of whom were natives of the old Bay State, but who moved to Oneida County, N.Y., previous to the War of 1812. In early life Isaac Everson was apprenticed to a tailor, but the work not agreeing with him he soon abandoned it for more congenial employment. On his removal to Oneida County he engaged in farming, which occupation he followed for many years. Mrs. Everson died about 1827, and Mr. Everson subsequently married Mrs. rust, a widow lady, and in 1836 moved with his family to Lorain County, Ohio, where he died many years ago. By his first wife he was the father of seven children, three of whom are yet living: Mary, the widow of Jonathan Ames, of Hutchinson, Kan.; Lafayette, living in LaCrosse, Wis., and Norman. By his second wife he had two children, one livingIsaac, in Lorain County, Ohio. Isaac Everson, Sr., was in his day a man well posted in the affairs of his State, and was a special friend to education.
Norman Everson was reared in his native county, and until fourteen years of age varied his time in attending the common schools of the neighborhood in which the family lived, and assisting his father on the farm. When fourteen he went out into the world to do for himself, and worked his way through Hamilton College at Clinton, Oneida Co., N.Y., graduating at the age of twenty-two. In his younger days, to say nothing of the later period of his life, there was a vein of humor running through his composition, and in nothing did he take more delight than playing some practical joke on the unsuspecting faculty. A little ingenuity was required occasionally to avoid punishment, but he finally passed his examination and received his degree. In 1837, after leaving college, he went to Elizaville, Fleming Co., Ky., and engaged in teaching school, a profession in which many of the greatest men in this nation first engaged as a step to future advancement, on the plea, doubtless, that if they could well govern a school they would be able to govern a Nation, for "men are but children of a larger growth." After leaving Elizaville he went to Cynthiana, Ky., where he also engaged in teaching, in the meantime purchasing a small number of law books, which he read, passed an examination, and was admitted to the bar.
Believing the new territory of Iowa a better field for a young man, in 1841, Mr. Everson came to Washington County, and here first "hung out his shingle" as an "attorney and counselor at law." But the county at this time was thinly settled, and clients were "like angels' visits, few and far between," so he had again to resort to school-teaching, that he might secure the means to pay his weekly board bills, and now and then purchase another book for his small law library. For the next seventeen years he continued in the active practice of his profession, adding not only to his store of knowledge as the years went by, but accumulating "something of this world's goods." It will cure an attack of the blues at any time to hear him relate his experience, especially before the Justice's courts
of that early day. After abandoning the law Mr. Everson engaged in the banking and real-estate business, in which he has since continued to engage, with profit to himself.
Like all attorneys in an early day, Mr. Everson devoted more or less of his time to politics. The first office he held was that of Postmaster of Washington, at the time when his hat was the receptacle of all the mail that came to the office, and when it was easier to deliver it as he made his rounds inspecting public improvements in the future metropolis of Washington County. He says the staid old people of Washington did not desire that he should have the office, but "the boys" were in favor of him, and like Eli, he "got there." He was also Road Supervisor, at an early day, being strongly desirous of securing the appointment, from the fact that one dark night when going to singing-school he ran afoul of the stump of a tree that had been left in the middle of the road, and being just a little vexed he vowed that when he was Road Supervisor that stump should come out, and it did.
In early life Mr. Everson was a Whig, and during the existence of the party he was virtually its leader in Washington County. By that party he was elected in 1850 to the State Senate to represent the district comprising the counties of Louisa and Washington, and served four years. At that time there was but four Whigs in that branch of the General Assembly. While a member of that body he helped to form the first code for the State of Iowa. Until the dissolution of the Whig party, after the defeat of Scott, Mr. Everson was its recognized leader in this county, but on the formation of the Republican party, he at once began to advocate its principles, and has continued to work and vote with it to the present time.
The first banking institution in Washington was established by Mr. Everson in 1857, and meeting with good success in the business, caused him gradually to withdraw from, and in 1858 abandon altogether the practice of law. This bank he continued to operate until after the establishment here of a branch of the State Bank, when its business was merged into the latter institution. On the organization of the First National Bank, in 1864, he became a heavy stockholder, and in 1879 was elected President of the same, and served for several years. As a financier he has been remarkably successful. In the building up and adornment of the town Mr. Evrson has contributed his share. In 1868 he erected Everson's Block and Opera House, one of the most substantial buildings in the city, and which cost $24,000. He has also other property interests here, and in the buildings has contributed liberally of his means. To him much of the credit is due for the railroad system of the place. Inf act, there has been no enterprise advocated calculated to build up the place but he has shown a readiness to contribute both time and money in its aid.
In 1865 Mr. Everson returned to his old home in Lorain County, Ohio, and was there married to Miss Ellen E. Pierce, a daughter of Alonzo Pierce. Mrs. Everson is a lady of great refinement and culture, a graduate of Oberlin College, the most noted educational institution in Ohio. In their pleasant home just east of the square they live a quiet and happy life, and when they so desire, spend their time in travel. Together they have visited almost every place of note or interest in this country, and in 1878 crossed the ocean, visiting England, France, Italy, and other European countries. In this way they have acquired a practical knowledge only derived through extensive travel.
As the PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM of Washington County would not be complete without a portrait of Mr. Everson, its publishers are pleased to give the same in connection with this sketch. It will be appreciated by all.