ALEXANDER MITCHELL was a native of Ireland, who came to this country when eighteen years of age, and subsequently married Eleanor Beatty, a native of Washington County, Pa., who at that time resided in Harrison County, Ohio. Shortly after their marriage they settled in Holmes County, the latter State, and in 1865 moved to Jefferson County, Iowa. They were the parents of nine children, three of whom are living: Thomas and Alexander, of Colorado, and Jennie, the wife of Charles N. Amspoker, of Washington County. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell both died in Jefferson County, Iowa. They were members of the Associate Reformed Church, and in all things endeavored to do their duty well.
Thomas Mitchell, one of the sons of our subject, enlisted in the 31st Iowa Infantry, and served nearly three years, being discharged shortly before the expiration of his term of service, on account of disease contracted in the field. Joseph R. enlisted in Co. A, 102d Ohio Vol. Inf., was captured in one of the engagements of the war, and while coming home on parole is supposed to have gone to the bottom of the river on the ill-fated steamer Sultana. Robert W. volunteered his services at the time of Price's raid through Missouri, and was killed by Levi Vasser, a bushwhacker, one of Price's band, near Alanthus Grove in Gentry County, Mo. He was the first martyr in Northwestern Missouri. Vasser himself was shot some time after, about three miles from Rochester. Alexander enlisted in Co. F, 67th Ohio Vol. Inf., and served till the expiration of his term. It will thus be seen that the family were patriotically inclined.
FRANCIS T. TOWNSEND, who resides upon section 30, Clay Township, is engaged in general farming and stock-raising, and is also a general merchant at Clay Station. He was born March 5, 1829, in Reading, Vt., and is a son of William and Hannah (Bigelow) Townsend, the former a native of Massachusetts, and the latter of Vermont. They reared a family of eight children, of whom seven are now living: Eliza resides at Flechville, Vt.; one died in infancy; F. V. A. is a machinist in Springfield, Vt.; Isabel is the wife of Henry Waterman, a druggist in Mapleton, Kan.; Francis T. is the subject of this sketch; Van Buren is a resident of Tampa, Fla.; Velette P. resides in Worcester, Mass.; Marquis D. served three years as a member of the 25th Iowa Infantry, and is now engaged in merchandising in Conneaut, Ohio. The father died in 1865, at the age of eighty-six. He was a great musician and was fife major in an old militia regiment in Vermont. He was always an active and popular man. His father, the grandfather of our subject, with two great uncles of our subject, were in the Revolutionary War. The mother died in February, 1884, at the age of ninety. She was a member of the Congregational Church. They were buried in the cemetery at
Reading, Vt. They gave to each of their children a good education.
The subject of this sketch started out in the world open-handed, with nothing but the clothes upon his back. Going to Worcester, Mass., he there secured work in a wire factory, in which he was engaged for two years. Having gained the confidence of his employers, they sent him out as a purchasing agent, buying iron for the firm. He continued in this work for three years more. He then decided to come West and "grow up with the country." Coming to Washington County, Iowa, he purchased ninety acres of land on section 24, Dutch Creek Township, now owned by Capt. J. F. Blickensderfer. He built a dwelling, planted the grove and orchard, and then sold the same, and in 1869 purchased 100 acres of prairie land in Clay Township, and five acres of timber. This farm he has under a high state of cultivation, with a fine farm dwelling-house, and barn 30x56 feet, with basement. In connection with his farm work he has done much carpenter work in this county. For some time he has been engaged in changing his stock into Holstein cattle, in which he has been quite successful.
On th 3d of August, 1852, Mr. Townsend was united in marriage with Miss Charlotte Stebbins. She is also a native of Vermont, born in 1826, and is the daughter of Seth and Jemima (Hutchinson) Stebbins, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter of Vermont. Three children have blessed their union: George B., born Oct. 31, 1854, married Miss Carrie E. Meacham, and now resides in Chicago, where he is the Financial Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. of that city, and one of its best workers; his entire time is given to that work, and he has held his present position for four years. Frank S., born April 23, 1857, is general agent for the Shonk Tin Sign Printing Company, of Chicago, and travels in almost every State in the Union; Harriet E., born Oct. 9, 1860, is the wife of Dudley A. Meacham, who has charge of the home farm. The mother of these children died April 1, 1874. She was a devoted member of the Congregational Church, a loving wife and a kind and indulgent mother. Mr. Townsend was again married, in 1875, to Mrs. R. Heward. She died Feb. 4, 1877. She was a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Townsend's third wife was Mrs. M. A. Braman. They were married Aug. 19, 1877, and on the 23rd of September, of 1884, she also departed this life.
On the 23d of October, 1864, Mr. Townsend enlisted in Co. K, 13th Iowa Vol. Inf. He was with Gen. Thomas at the battle of Nashville, Tenn., with Hood and Sherman at Washington, D.C. The regiment formed part of the grand review at Washington, in May, 1865, and was mustered out in July at Louisville, Ky., and discharged at Davenport, Iowa, July 30, 1865. On receiving his discharge, Mr. Townsend returned to his home, and resumed his occupation as a farmer and carpenter, but for the past ten or twelve years has been unable to perform manual labor, nor has he at all been the able-bodied man that he was prior to his enlistment. In consequence of his inability to attend properly to the duties of his farm, in October 1886, he built a storeroom and put in a full stock of general merchandise, and has since been engaged in that business. He is working up a good trade, and does not propose to be undersold by any.
Politically, Mr. Townsend is a Republican. A temperance man, he is a strong advocate of prohibition, and the day that he was twenty-one years of age, cast his first vote against licensing the sale of alcoholic liquors. He has never wavered from his faith and has contributed much of his means for the advancement of the temperance cause. He has been honored by his fellow-citizens with all the township offices, and for some years was the President of the School Board. A friend of education, he has done much for the advancement of the public schools. Religiously, he is identified with the Congregationalists.
CHARLES N. AMSPOKER resides on section 21, Washington Township, and is engaged in general farming and stock-raising. He is a native of Harrison County, Ohio, born Sept. 3, 1820, and is the son of Samuel and Mary (Norris) Amspoker, who were natives of Virginia, but who emigrated to Harrison County, Ohio, at an early date. They were the parents of nine children, seven
of whom are yet living: Alexander, of Harrison County, Ohio; Samuel, of Logan County, that State; Susanna, the widow of William Patterson, who now resides in Lawrence, Kan.; Mary, the widow of Vincent Ferguson, residing in Harrison County, Ohio; Sarah, the wife of John Osborne, also of Harrison County; Charles N., of this sketch; and Jonas, an ex-soldier of the war of the Rebellion, residing in Jefferson County, Ohio. Mrs. Amspoker died in 1842, and Mr. Samuel Amspoker subsequently married Miss Ellen Green. He died in 1863.
Charles N. Amspoker was reared upon a farm during the pioneer days of Harrison County, Ohio, in the common schools of that section receiving his education. He was married, in April, 1846, to Miss Jane Slemmons, also a native of Ohio, born in Harrison County in 1821. She died Feb. 6, 1871. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church. In March, 1872, Mr. Amspoker contracted a second marriage, with Miss Jennie Mitchell, a daughter of Alexander and Eleanor (Beatty) Mitchell. Mr. and Mrs. Amspoker are members of the Presbyterian Church of Washington, Iowa, and are well respected by all who know them. Their farm upon section 21 is well improved with all the conveniences necessary to make life happy.
DAVID COOPER, section 28, Lime Creek Township, is a native of Ross County, Ohio, born March 2, 1820, and is the son of John and Rebecca (Wolf) Cooper, both of whom were natives of Hampshire County, VA. He was the fifth of a family of eleven children, six of whom are now living: David, the subject of this sketch; Mary A., the wife of Abram Shannon, of Poweshiek County, Iowa; Theodocia, the widow of Orison Kellogg, resides in Chicago, Ill.; Rebecca Jane is the wife of David Taylor, of Missouri; Charlotte is now the wife of Jerome Chandler, of Lime Creek Township; John W. is now residing in California.
John Cooper was an early settler of Ross County, Ohio, and there remained until 1827, when he moved with his family to Vermillion County, Ind., becoming one of the first settlers of that county. He opened up a farm in the heavy timber, and there our subject grew to manhood, and was educated in a private school. He was married, in 1843, to Miss Martha J. Malone, a native of Indiana, born in 1827, and daughter of Samuel and Jane (Thompson) Malone, the former a native of Pennsylvania, and the latter of Ireland. Two children blessed their union: John R., who died in 1861, at the age of seventeen years, and Samuel M., who resides at home, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising.
The young couple remained in Indiana after their marriage until 1847, when they came to Washington County, Iowa, and for one year rented a farm, when Mr. Cooper entered forty acres of land in English River Township. A log cabin was at once erected, and, for a time, the only door was a blanket, while wolves were plenty all around them. The land was in a wild state, and had to be improved. Being unable to hire help, Mrs. Cooper drove the oxen while Mr. Cooper held the plow in breaking forty acres of land. The settlement on English River at that time consisted of but very few persons. No school had been held in what is now Lime Creek Township, and one being desired, Mrs. Cooper in her own house taught a three months' term of school, the first in the township. In 1854, Mr. Cooper sold his first farm and purchased eighty acres on section 27, English River Township, where he lived until 1876, when he moved with his family to section 28, Lime Creek Township, where he had previously purchased forty acres of land, to which he has added by subsequent purchase, until he now owns 244 acres, all under a high state of cultivation. Here he still resides with his family, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life. Politically, he is a Democrat. HIs wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. and Mrs. Cooper have now been residents of Washington County for a period of forty years. For several years after their arrival they did much of their trading at Burlington. Among all their neighbors, at present, there is not one who was then living here on their arrival in 1847. When they came here their only possessions were a poor team of horses and $4 in money. Mr. Cooper worked among his neighbors to obtain the necessaries of
life until he could raise a crop. the first tax that he paid in Washington County was thirty-six cents; the last paid was $86. No persons in Washington County enjoy the respect and confidence of those who know them to a higher degree that Mr. and Mrs. Cooper. They have one adopted son, Howard Scott Cooper, a young man of good ability and habits, one who is a comfort to them in their old age.
ELI DEEN, a farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 7, Lime Creek Township, was born in McLean County, Ill., May 17, 1846. He is the son of Enos and Lucy (Fordice) Deen, the former a native of Virginia, and the latter of Ohio. the father was reared on a farm in his native State, and followed the vocation of a farmer. He moved to Ohio, where he became acquainted with and was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Fordice, the marriage being celebrated Dec. 27, 1827. She was the daughter of Stanton Fordice, a native of Scotland, who emigrated to America in the year 1801. He was in the War of 1812, and therefore had only been a citizen of America eleven years when he was called to defend her borders. He died in Illinois in 1840. Mrs. Deen, the mother of our subject, was born in Morgan County, Ohio, March 14, 1809, and is now making her home with her son, Eli, and is a well-preserved woman both in body and mind. Her father was a farmer in Ohio. He improved a farm in that State and then removed to McLean County, Ill., in 1850, and there bought 160 acres of land, which he improved and made his home until the fall of 1852, when he removed to Wapello County, Iowa, remaining there until the spring of 1853, when he came to Lime Creek Township, Washington County, where he bought 220 acres of land, and was one of the first settlers in the township. He will be well remembered by all old settlers in the county.
Mrs. Deen has lived to witness the many wonderful changes that have been made in the county since her first arrival, and has shared the sorrow and the pleasure of the people of Lime Creek Township for many years. She was separated from her life companion Dec. 31, 1855. He was a minister of the United Brethren Church, and was engaged in that work for about fifteen years. While living in Illinois their house was the home of all traveling ministers, and many were brought to see the light and truth of the Gospel within their walls. Ten children were born unto them: Nancy died and was buried in Ohio; Susanna was the wife of George Phillips, and is deceased; James M. and John are deceased; Lucinda, deceased, died about six weeks after her marriage; Amanda M., deceased, was the wife of A. J. Treadwell; George died in Illinois; Enos and Lucy both died in infancy; Eli, the subject of this sketch is the only ne living of the ten children. The mother, now seventy-eight years of age, looks back over her life, and notwithstanding the many sorrows that have come to her, still knows that she has done her part in life, and now only awaits the call to meet her loved ones on the other shore. She united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1824, and has lived a faithful Christian life for sixty-three years, and by her example many have been led to see the way that leads to life everlasting.
The early life of Eli Deen, the subject of this sketch, was spent upon the farm an in attending the common schools. At the age of eighteen he was called to the management of the farm, but he was fully competent for the undertaking, and under his care it has steadily been improved. He now owns 220 acres of fine land, with a good farm house and all necessary out-buildings, and also has on hand a fine grade of Short-horn cattle. He was united in marriage with Miss Caroline C. Beohme, Feb. 17, 1870. She was born Oct. 12, 1851, in Vermont, and is a daughter of William and Mary A. (Devan) Beohme, the former a native of Germany and the latter of England. they are residents of English River Township. Mr. and Mrs. Deen are the parents of three children: Clara E., born Dec. 17, 1871; George B., Jan. 24, 1874, and Elsie A., Nov. 5, 1876. They are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and politically, he is a Republican.
Benjamin Deen, the grandfather of our subject, came from England at the age of twelve years, and settled in Virginia, where he was bound out to a
man by the name of Collins, and at the age of sixteen, entered the army and served five years in the Revolutionary War. He then re-enlisted and served three years longer, Collins receiving the sum due for his services. He then returned to Virginia, where he afterward lived and reared a family.
E. S. FESLER is a member of the firm of E. S. Fesler & Co., dealers in hardware, farm machinery, stoves, furniture, and also undertakers at Kalona. This business is a branch of the firm of Fesler & Nicolay, at Riverside, and was established in Kalona Jan. 12, 1885, under the management of Mr. E. S. Fesler. they carry a stock worth #3,500. Mr. Fesler was born in Liberty Township, Johnson Co., Iowa, Jan. 3, 1857, and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Slife) Fesler. His father was a pioneer of Iowa, of 1839, having settled in Johnson County at that date, and in the fall of 1858 removed to Washington County, engaging in the grain trade at Riverside.
Our subject was reared on a farm where he remained until of age. In 1884 he began clerking for his brother at Riverside, then removed to Wellman, where he served in the same capacity, and in January, 1885, he bought an interest in the business and opened the present store at Kalona. Mr. Fesler was married at Keota, Iowa, to Violet, a daughter of W. W. Gwin, of English River Township, where she was born. Mrs. Fesler is deceased. Politically, Mr. Fesler is a Democrat.