SAMUEL C. DAVIS, farmer and stock-raiser, section 4, Franklin Township, was born in Marion County, Ind., May 26, 1842. He is the son of Samuel and Nancy (Speer) Davis, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. He was reared upon a farm, and received only the advantages of a common-school education. He was married, Sept. 11, 1867, to Mrs. Lydia Blaise, widow of Frederick Blaise. Her maiden name was Rosecrans, and she was a first cousin to Gen. Rosecrans. Four children were born to them: Nancy Luella, born June 30, 1869; A. Victorine, Oct. 27, 1872; Nellie Blanche, Jan. 24, 1875, and Samuel H., born Feb. 6, 1879, died Feb. 5, 1880. By her first marriage Mrs. Davis was the mother of three children: Francis M., now in Kansas; Lydia A., wife of Frank Funk, of Washington County, and Freddie E., wife of William V. McCauslin, of Washington.
Mrs. Davis died May 20, 1884, aged forty-six years, two months and twenty-eight days. Mr. Davis is the owner of 100 acres of fine land on section 4, Franklin Township, which is well improved in every respect. He is a Republican Prohibitionist, and has held several local offices.
AMOS MIKSCH is a farmer and stock-raiser residing on section 30, Franklin Township. He is a native of Northampton County, Pa., and is the son of Frederick and Elizabeth Miksch, the former being a native of the same county as his son, and the latter of Lancaster County, the same State. They were of German descent, but remote descendants of the Moravians who were driven out of Moravia by the Catholics in the thirty years' war in the sixteenth century. His father died in 1837, aged fifty-three years, and his mother at the age of sixty-seven years. They were members of the Moravian Church. Frederick Miksch was a Quartermaster in the War of 1812. He was sober, industrious and conscientious. The family moved from Northampton County, Pa., to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, at an early day, though Amos remained behind some three years. From there he came to Washington County in 1854. Before coming West he served a four years' apprenticeship to a chair-maker, and followed that trade for a number of years. On coming to this county he purchased 219 acres of raw land, which he improved an on which he has since continued to reside.
Mr. Miksch was married, Nov. 30, 1843, to Salome Keller, a native of Ohio, born in 1821, and daughter of Henry and Mary (Frederick) Keller. They are the parents of ten children, all of whom are living, save one: Rufus is by trade a carpenter, and is now residing in Red Cloud, Neb.; Tilthman is a resident of this county; Gamenus died at the age of eighteen months; Mary Elizabeth is the wife of G. C. Wallace, of Lyons County, Iowa; Albert C. resides in Dutch Creek Township, this county; Sarah Ellen is the wife of Fred E. Reuswig, of Minnesota; Julia is at home. The family
are all members of the Moravian Church at Grace Hill. Mr. Miksch came to Washington County with $375. With this capital he commenced work, and with good management, habits of industry, and perseverance, he has added to his possessions, until he now numbered among the well-to-do farmers of Washington County. Politically, he is a Republican, and is also a strong temperance man.
WILLIAM S. BRITTON, farmer and stock-raiser on section 1 in English River Township, owns 321 acres of land there. He was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, Dec. 1, 1814, and is the son of William and Mary (Jacobi) Britton. HIs father was born in Pennsylvania, and was a farmer and a soldier in the War of 1812, who emigrated to Pickaway County immediately after the close of the war. He had improved four new farms in Pennsylvania, and one in Ohio, all of which were timbered. He died in the latter State. While a soldier, stationed on the northern lakes, a plague broke out in his company which caused the death of all except himself and one other man. They wandered homeward, having no officers to muster them out.
William S. Britton, the subject of this sketch, when about twenty-three years of age, started for Iowa, with $1,100 and a good horse. He, however, stopped in Indiana, where he met with an accident that nearly proved fatal, and resulted in crippling him for life. Although his money was almost spent, he decided to marry, and on Nov. 18, 1840, was untied to Margaret, daughter of William Robinson, and a native of Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Britton were the parents of five children, two girls and three boys, all living but one. They are: Mary J., the wife of Samuel Manatt, was born in Indiana; Thaddeus, who was born in English River Township, was a soldier of the late war, and now resides in Kansas, engaged in railroad work; Sarah is the wife of John McKinley, and lives in Lime Creek Township; Scott died at the age of five years; and Douglas lives with his father, engaged in stock-raising and farming. Mr. Britton lost his wife in the spring of 1880.
In the spring of 1842, Mr. Britton emigrated from Indiana to Iowa with his family, by team. He had various mishaps, losing one of his horses after getting here. He then started back for Indiana with his wife and child, after buying a cheap horse. One of his horses became sick and died at Burlington, and a stranger trusting him for another horse, he proceed to Indiana, closed up his property there, and started again to Iowa with a team and four cows. He lost two cows by poisoning at Burlington, where he staid [stayed] a week, waiting his turn at the ferry, which was delayed by high winds. After making his home here, he hauled rye to Muscatine, where he received ten cents a bushel for it, and paid $1.50 a bushel for salt. The distance is thirty miles. He sold wheat for twenty-five cents a bushel, and pork for $1.50 per hundred. He split rails at the rate of twenty-five cents a hundred to get money to pay for postage. The first winter spent in Iowa he had only one-half bushel of ground meal. the remainder of his supplies was obtained by pounding corn by hand. He cheerfully endured these privations and hardships of a pioneer life, and is now enjoying the fruits of his early toil and thrift.
WILLIAM ALLEN, retired farmer and merchant at Kalona, was born in Grayson County, Va., Aug. 2, 1821. He is the son of Robert and Anna (Miller) Allen. When nine years of age he removed with his parents to Jackson County, Ohio, where he grew to manhood and later was a school teacher, and was also employed as a merchant's clerk. He was married, April 17, 1844, to T. A. Elizabeth West, a native of Virginia, and a daughter of John and Elizabeth West. Mr. and Mrs. Allen were the parents of five children, two sons and three daughters, as follows: Marcus, married to Miss Hannah King, resides in Ottumwa, and is a machinist by trade; Mary J. is married to William Izar, of Denver, Dol.; Sarah A. died at the age of two years; James W. is married and lives in the State of Oregon, and is a machinist, contractor and builder; Eudocia died when one year old. Mrs. Allen died Aug. 30, 1854, and Mr. Allen married again, April 5, 1855, in Scioto County, Ohio, his second wife being Miss Perlina S. Wait. She was the daughter of B. F. and Mary (Smith) Wait, and was born in Scioto County, Ohio. They were the parents of five children, two boys and three girls: William, who died at the age of thirteen months; Benjamin F., now a physician in Kalona; M. Grace, Emma E. and Cora E., living at home. The mother of these children died June 23, 1881, regretted by a large circle of friends.
Mr. Allen came to Washington County, Iowa, in April, 1856, and made his home in Lime Creek Township. He was engaged in mercantile pursuits for two years at Dayton, and afterward in farming. He was elected Representative in 1868, was County Commissioner six consecutive years, and has held minor offices in his township. He moved to Kalona in 1886. He still owns his farm in Lime Creek Township. The home farm comprises 162 acres, but the family owns additional land, making in all 300 acres. They attend worship at the Methodist Church, but Mr. Allen is independent is his views. Politically, he is a Republican. He is a man of original ideas, courteous, upright, and highly respected.
ANDREW FERGUSON was born near Knoxville, Tenn., in 1829. He is the son of James and Elizabeth (Morelock) Ferguson, the former of Scotch, and the latter of German descent. They were the parents of seven childrenJohn, Andrew, Maragret A., William W., Lucinda, Sarah and George. After the death of his first wife, James wedded Isabella Jeffries, who bore nine childrenEsther, Susannah, Sophronia, Clementian, James, Mary, Arazy, Benjamin and Otis. He was a farmer, but never owned a farm. Having a large family, he concluded to emigrate to Iowa, and came to this county May 4, 1883; his death occurred the same month. His widow and children yet reside here. All the children of this family are married and have families, except three.
Our subject was the first one to come, and he now ranks among the old settlers of the county, having located in 1851, being then twenty-two years of age. Later he went to La Crosse, Wis., and engaged in the lumber trade, but so well pleased was he with the broad and fertile prairies of Iowa. that two years later found him a resident of this county. His success has been phenomenal. When he landed at Ft. Louisa after leaving Tennessee, he had $3.50 in his pocket, and after investing $3 of that in a pair of cowhide boots, started on foot for Columbus City, whence he sent back several ox-teams to bring out a number of Tennessee people who waited for transportation to that place. Rev. Thomas A. Kendall was the head of that party who left Tennessee on account of their strong abhorrence of slavery, and a desire to possess homes of their own on free soil. Seventeen families of that part made homes in Iowa, most of whom settled in Louisa County.
Our subject soon found employment at $10 per month, kept his fifty cents until his five months' engagement ended, and put in his pocket his hard-earned $50.50 and started for Wisconsin. His two years' labor there was remunerative, and upon his return he purchased and paid for eighty acres of land upon which Murray A. Frew now lives. He erected a new house which was destroyed by fire before it was occupied, but with his characteristic energy, he at once rebuilt and began the improvement of his land. He was wedded, in 1857, to Mary A., daughter of John and Jane E. (Moore)Ferguson, very distantly related to him. Their domestic life began in the new house under the most favorable influences, and there the three eldest children were born: Martha J., wife of Wallace J. Holmes; George, the husband of Mary Harris; and John, who yet resides with his father and attends school in Washington.
In 1872, Mr. Ferguson purchased his present quarter section, and as he looks back on his successful business, thinks with honest pride of long ago, when with fifty cents in his wallet, he left the Mississippi River on foot, with a determination to make a home and fortune for himself. His correct habits have made him an honored citizen, and a wealthy man. He was also one of the brave boys who helped perpetuate the Union of the States, and became a member of the gallant 25th from this county, and as he expresses it, "went back to knock some
"of the fellows in the head who helped run him out of Tennessee on account of his opinions." He was part o f the time in charge of the corral of his regiment, and saw active service while under arms.
One son, James, was born on the homestead. Our subject bears the proud distinction of being one of the number who aided in the organization of the Republican party in this county. Several are yet living who, in the old Seceder Church, of Crawfordsville, were first to arrange for, and finally complete the party organization. True to his principles, he is yet firm in the faith, and never for one moment has regretted the day that he became a citizen of the county, nor a member of his party. His capital of fifty cents has been increased to 667 acres of land, all made honestly and fairly in thirty-six years. All this land, except a few acres of timber, is finely improved, and all is under fence. Surely this is a record to be proud of. He never paid but twenty cents for whisky, and never took a chew of tobacco. He is the largest land-owner in Crawford Township, and is yet a hard worker. He is an ample provider for his family, and a citizen who feels a deep interest in the welfare of his neighbors. His lands, at a modest valuation, are now worth $24,000, and he has a large amount of valuable stock not included in this enumeration.
P. H. DAYTON is the second son of Lenox and Anna (Coleman) Dayton. He was born in this county on section 30, Cedar Township, in 1842, where he now owns 100 acres of land and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. He was married, in February, 1864, to Martha Fishburn, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of Henry Fishburn, a native of Ohio. They are the parents of six childrenJefferson, Aurilla, James, Webster, Bessie and Ora.
In May, 1861, Mr. Dayton enlisted in Co. A., 7th Iowa Vol. Inf., and served twenty-two months, when he was discharged for disability. Returning home, he resumed his former occupation of farming, and remained until February, 1864, when, having recovered his health, he again enlisted, in the 45th Iowa Infantry, and served until the close of the war. He was First Sergeant while a member of the 7th Regiment. While in the service he participated in the battles of Belmont, Mo., Ft. Donelson, Shiloh, and first and second Corinth. Politically, he is a Republican.
In 1859 Mr. Dayton went to California, by way of New York and the Isthmus of Panama, and returned in the winter of 1860 on the "Star of the West," the last trip made by that vessel before she was fired upon at Ft. Sumter. While in California he was engaged in mining. With the exception of the time spent in California and in the service of his country, Mr. Dayton has been engaged in farming. In 1886 he suffered the loss of his house by fire, since which time he has been residing in the village of West Chester.
SAMUEL DAVIS, deceased, was born in Greene County, Pa., in 1791, and was the son of John and Jemima (Barnhill) Davis, who were of Welsh and Scotch descent. John Davis was born Oct. 9, 1750, and Jemima Barhill in 1758. They were married Sept. 26, 1780. While an infant, Samuel moved with his parents to Fleming County, Ky., where he grew to manhood and learned the trade of a wheelwright. In 1822, he emigrated to Indianapolis, Ind., and in connection with a brother ran a shop for some years. He there, on the 7th of December, 1826, was united in marriage with Nancy Speer, a native of Franklin County, Ind., born Oct. 13, 1809, and daughter of Robert and Nancy (Williams) Speer, the former being a native of Ireland, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Shortly after his marriage he moved to a farm in Marion County, Ind., and there lived till 1856, when the family moved to Washington County, where he lived till his death, which occurred Feb. 24, 1880.
On coming to Washington County, our subject bought 100 acres of land on section 4, Franklin Township, where his widow still lives. They were the parents of nine children, Mary, wife of Preston Smithers, of West Chester, born Sept. 28, 1827; John, born Feb. 10, 1830, now residing in Lane County, Kan.; Martha Jane, born April 19, 1832,
was married to Henry W. Miller, of Marion County, Ind., and died Feb. 5, 1855; Robert Speer, born Jan. 10, 1835, died in infancy; Elizabeth B., born July 28, 1836, died Sept. 18, 1854; Nancy Ann, born June 22, 1839, married Daniel Anderson, and died Nov. 30, 1869; Samuel Craig, born May 26, 1842, now resides on the home farm; William Thomas, born Feb. 14, 1846, died in infancy, and Minerva, born Feb. 7, 1848, is now the wife of R. H. Runyon, of Keota.
Mr. Davis was a soldier in the War of 1812, under Gen. Harrison. He was an honest, upright man, fair in all his dealings, and was well respected by all. Mrs. Davis is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.