ISAAC S. WAGNER, proprietor of the Roundhouse Stock Farm at Washington, has been a resident of Washington County since 1857, a period of thirty years. He is a native of the Keystone State, born in Schuylkill County, April 3, 1835, and is the son of Abraham and Rachel (Miller) Wagner, natives of the same State. Abraham and Rachel Wagner were the parents of eight children, seven of whom are yet living: Rebecca, the wife of Daniel Lawrence, of Wayne County, Ohio; Mary, the wife of Peter Coon, of this county; Hannah, the wife of George Zearing, of this county; Abraham, of Anamosa, Iowa, John, of Washington, Iowa; Isaac S., the subject of this sketch; Rachel, the wife of James Rittenhouse, of Wayne County, Ohio. Mr. Wagner is deceased. Mrs. Wagner is still living at the age of eighty-one. They were members of the Allbright Church.
Isaac S. Wagner, when a mere child, was taken by his parents to Wayne County, Ohio, where he was instructed in the rudiments of an English education in the common schools of that State. When fifteen years of age he was apprenticed to learn the shoemaker's trade, and served as such three years, receiving for his services $25 for the first year, #30 for the second, and $40 for the third, in addition to which he was given a vacation of two weeks in harvest time, permitted to retain what he could make as a harvest hand in that time. In 1856 he was united in marriage at Wooster, Ohio, to Miss Anna E. Aughey, who was born near Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1836. They have one child living,
Nettie, the wife of Dr. T. G. Roberts, of Washington.
On the 9th of March, 1857, Mr. Wagner came to Washington, Iowa, and at once engaged in the boot and shoe trade, in which line he continued for twenty-five years. On account of failing health he had to abandon the business, and engage in some occupation that would be less confining, and take him more in the open air. Accordingly he commenced the breeding of fine stock, in which he has been eminently successful, having a stable of some of the best stock in the State. In another part of this work is statement of what has been done by Mr. Wagner in fine stock in Washington County.
WILLIAM MOORE, residing on section 33, Washington Township, is well known to almost every citizen. Since a boy he has been known as Uncle Billy Moore. He is now one of the oldest living settlers of Washington County. He was born in Putnam County, Ind., Aug. 27, 1826, and when but ten year of age came with his parents to this county, where he has since continued to reside, with the exception of two years spent in Henry County, Iowa. The educational advantages enjoyed by him were very meagre indeed. In the early days there was no free school, and as settlements in a new country were few and far between, and but few scholars could be gathered together in any neighborhood,it may well be understood that first-class teachers could not usually be employed. A subscription was usually started, and as much as possible raised for the employment of a teacher, and in these subscription schools, as they were known, he obtained the rudiments of an English education. Shortly after coming to this county his mother gave up her kitchen for school purposes, and in his father's house was taught the first term of school in Washington Township, John Embrey being the first teacher and receiving $10 per month.
In this new country William Moore grew to manhood, and in 1853 was united in marriage with Miss Cynthia A. Thompson, a native of Putnam County, Ind., born in 1834. She was left an orphan at a very early age. By this union there are ten children: Richard F., of Washington; Martha A., the wife of Ezra Eckerman, of Saunders County, Neb.; James L., of this county; Charles G., Rebecca E., Mary J., Margaret A.; Arah Almira died in the spring of 1885, of consumption, at the age of fifteen years; Jesse T. and Dolly Belle at home. Shortly after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Moore united with the Christian Church, and of the congregation in the township of Marion, Mr. Moore has now been an Elder for thirty years. In the work of the Church he has always taken a special delight, and has given much of his time and means for the advancement of the cause. He is enthusiastic in the work, and is well posted in the Scriptures, especially the New Testament. He is ever ready to give a reason for the faith that is in him. It can truly be said of Mr. Moore that he has been an eye witness and participant in all the changes that have occurred in transforming the wilderness into a fertile country, which now "blossoms as the rose." It is a pleasure to him to recall pioneer days, and in all pioneer gatherings he is the center of a group of friends. Like his father before him, he is hospitable in the extreme, and taken great delight in entertaining his friends.
CHARLES MILLER resides upon section 4, Marion Township, where he is engaged in general farming and stock-raising. He is a native of Susquehanna County, Pa., born in 1814, and is a son of John and Elizabeth Miller, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ireland. When Charles was seven years old his father moved to Wayne County, Ohio, and there cleared a farm in the heavy timber. As soon as old enough he was required to assist his father in the cultivation of the soil.
When nineteen years of age our subject went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he commenced to learn the harness trade, but remained only one year, going from there to a brother residing in Franklin County, Pa., and then returning home, where he remained till twenty-five years of age. He then went to Henderson, Ky., where he was four or five years engaged in working on the locks in Green River. From Henderson County he went to Warren County, Ky., where he helped construct a lock on Barren River, near Bowling Green, and was there some three years. Again returning to Wayne County, Ohio, he remained till 1856, employed principally in teaming and as a day laborer.
In the latter-name year Mr. Miller came to Washington County, making the entire trip with teams, and during the summer following was engaged in the butchering business at Washington. In the fall of 1856 he settled on section 4, Marion Township, where he purchased eight acres of partially improved land. Here he still lives, and is now the owner of 213 acres of land, all of which is under fence, and in a high state of cultivation. On the 16th of October, 1861, he married Charlotte Wilson, a native of Pennsylvania. Three children were born to themBenjamin F., Charles W. and Joseph A. Mrs. Miller died Feb. 21, 1868.
The boyhood and youth of Mr. Miller were spent under great disadvantages, he never having had an opportunity of attending school, and until thirty-five years of age could neither read nor write. He then learned to do both, and since that time, by reading and observation, has acquired a considerable fund of information, and is able to express himself intelligently upon almost every subject. Going out into the world without a dollar, by hard work and rigid economy, he has acquired sufficient of this worlds goods to render him comfortable through life. In politics , he is liberal, voting for such men as he thinks qualified for the office to which they aspire. Religiously, he advocates the doctrines of the Christian Church, and is a member of that body.
REV. WILLIAM POSTON is engaged in farming and stock-raising on section 12, Seventy-Six Township. He was born in Hampshire County, Va., in 1825, and is the son of Alexander and Melinda Poston, both of whom were natives of Hampshire County, Va., the former being Welsh descent and the latter of Irish. His grandfather, Elias Poston, was a Second Lieutenant in the War of 1812, and had eight brothers who were officers in the State militia. His grandmother on his mother's side was an aunt of the celebrated Joe Johnston, who was a noted rebel General during the war of the Rebellion.
The boyhood and youth of our subject were passed on a farm and in working in a mill, which occupation he continued until he was eighteen years old. His primary education was received in the subscription schools of his native State. This was supplemented by six months' attendance in the Athens (Ohio) College. In the fall of 1840 he accompanied his parents to Athens County, Ohio, and there remained, engaged in milling and merchandising, until the spring of 1844, when he came with them to Iowa. They located in Wapello County, near Ottumwa, where his father died in 1850, aged seventy-seven. His mother died in 1880, aged sixty-nine years. She was for many years a member of the Methodist Church.
The subject of this sketch remained with his parents until 1854. On the 1st of December of that year, he was united in marriage with Miss Martha J. Grimes, a native of Kentucky and daughter of William B. and Margaret (Alexander) Grimes, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Tennessee. Mr. Poston was converted in 1850, and in 1855 entered the Iowa Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1860 was ordained an Elder at Burlington. He had charge of the Unionville Circuit two years before he joined the Conference in 1855. In the active work of the ministry he was engaged until appointed Chaplain of the 8th Iowa Infantry in 1863. As Chaplain he served two years, when the regiment was engaged in the battles of Jackson, Miss., siege of Vicksburg, battles of Raymond, Champion Hills, Memphis, Tenn., and Mobile, Ala.
At the close of the war our subject located in Muscatine, Iowa, and for three years was engaged in buying and shipping stock. He then resumed the ministry, and was actively engaged for eight years. In 1874 he came to Washington County and took charge of the Lexington and Richmond Churches. He continued in the work in this
section five years. While in charge of those churches he purchased eighty acres of land on section 12, Seventy-six Township, to which he removed, and where he still continues to reside. At present he is not actively engaged in ministerial work, but is giving his time to the improvement of his farm. Mr. and Mrs. Poston have three children: Virginia Josephine, now the wife of F. Smith, of Riverside, Washington County, where she has been engaged as a teacher in the public schools for seven years; she has taught altogether in Washington County thirteen years. Milton Bascom is engaged in railroading in the Indian Territory; Debbie Kate is the wife of Kleese Hartman, a farmer in Jackson Township. Mr. Poston is a man of fine abilities, and although not having the advantages of a regular collegiate education, he has studied much and reflected more upon what he has read, until to0day he is one of the best informed men in Washington County. In his younger days he advocated the principles of the Whig party, and being strongly opposed to slavery, having been an eye witness of its evils, shortly after the organization of the Republican party he began to advocate its principles. He continued to act with that party until 1873, when, believing that many of its leaders had become corrupt, he became identified with those advocating what was known as the anti-monopoly doctrine. The anti-monopolists were merged into the Greenback party, and as one holding the views of that party, he has since continued to act with it. A strong temperance man, he is never afraid to express himself upon that question. In 1880 he was honored by his party with the nomination of State Senator, but this being a strong Republican district, he was not elected.
The parents of Mrs. Poston remained in Indiana, where her father died in 1881, at the age of seventy-six years. Her mother died June 24, 1886, in the same place, at seventy-four years of age. They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living: Lucinda, the wife of Albert Grimes, of Russellville, Ind.; William, now residing in Missouri; Martha J., the wife of our subject; Hugh, a farmer, residing in Lucas County, Iowa; Stephen, a farmer, now in Anderson County, Kan.; Benjamin, now residing in Russellville, Ind., and Daniel A., a minister of the old Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
LOBANA WATERS, deceased was born at McKeesport, Pa., Dec. 9, 1851. He was the youngest of three children, two of whom survive him, a sister, Mrs. S. J. Simpson, residing at Latrobe, Pa., and William Waters, residing at Colorado Springs, Col. When Lobana was three years of age he was orphaned by the death of his father. He was then taken into the family of Samuel Waters, living in Somerset County, Pa., and by him nurtured and cared for as a son. The influences surrounding his youth were of the best, and his education was wisely directed in those channels which should prove most useful in mature years. In 1860, Samuel Waters brought his family to Iowa, settling in Washington County. Young Waters came with him and grew to high favor and social position among his associates. Washington's schools were the source from which he acquired largely that knowledge of books which was to prove of such value in his intercourse with men.
Possessed of great courage, always self-reliant, and disposed to accomplish for himself what others would have cheerfully supplied, at the age of seventeen, our subject began the acquisition of a trade. Following the bent of his mind, he entered the printing-office of John Wiseman, then proprietor of the Washington Gazette. In this new field he established himself firmly in the good opinion of his friends, and in his aptness and diligence justified their expectations. His conduct was exemplary. Though possessed of a large share of that buoyancy and lightness of heart natural to his age, his dealings with his employer and others were characterized by strict integrity, which developed into a wonderful probity of character in his manhood. Completing his apprentice ship in the Gazette office, he went to the West, where it was supposed greater advantages awaited the vigorous brain and
brawn required in the development of a new country. He eventually located at Lone Tree, Neb., and started the first newspaper in that county, conducting it successfully until near the close of 1874.
The young pioneer still possessed a large amount of that spirit of dash and adventure which induced him to leave the old roof-tree, and terminating his connection with the paper, he roughed it on the plains of Colorado and Kansas during the winter of 1875, when he returned to Washington. His skill, industry and superior attainments found ready employment as foreman on the Gazette, still under the control of its editor, Mr. Wiseman, which position he acceptably occupied until 1877, when failing health induced a visit to Colorado. He remained away several months, visiting New Mexico and Texas, and early in the winter of 1878 returned to Washington. The reset was succeeded by a determination to study law, which was begun in the office of G. G. Rodman; this he prosecuted with that peculiar industry which characterized the man. His progress was rapid, and to himself and friends satisfactory. In the fall of 1879, W. N. Hood induced Mr. Waters to assume the position of editor of the Washington Democrat, and his ambition became to exalt and build it up to a commanding position. The best efforts of his life were given to the few short years spent in this, his last, most pretentious enterprise, and his efforts were not without success.
Mr. Waters was a member of no Church, but his views upon religious subjects were of that nature which gave effect to the good there is in man by the exercise of a broad charity, which condemned none, which yielded to the demands of conscience, and found in him an exponent of "good-will toward men." In his intercourse with men he was light-hearted and jovial. Always courteous, and closely observant of the rights of others, he drew in to a near relation with himself many friends, who, witnessing his steady decline in health, felt the certainty of a fatal termination of his malady. It was believed that the pure air of Colorado would afford relief, and in the summer of 1881 Mr. Waters went to Colorado Springs. For about ten days after arriving in that city, he steadily improved, when nature seemed to give way, leaving him in a state of almost complete nervous exhaustion. He was tenderly cared for by his brother, who returned to Washington with him on Saturday evening, Sept. 3, 1881, where he lingered until the 14th of the same month, and then passed away. His courage never flagged, and in all the trying circumstances which surrounded the last moments of his life he did not murmur or complain, but boldly facing the approach of the inevitable, when it came he stepped down into the dark waters and crossed the shadowy tide with a firm reliance in the love and mercy of Him who holds our destinies in His hands.
DR. A. W. CHILCOTE, a resident and prominent citizen of Washington, and whose portrait is presented on the opposite page, furnishes a notable instance of the results attendant upon a life of active and useful endeavor. History has long since established the fact, that our best and greatest men are by no means confined to the ranks of those ennobled by birth, or surrounded from childhood with every facility for education or moral and social culture. The finest natures are, indisputably, those who override with their latent force and mental power every obstacle, and aim, by virtue of their indomitable wills, that honorable precedence among men that, if conferred solely by the accident of birth, is far less the merit than the good fortune of its possessor.
Our subject's father, Ensor Chilcote, of Somerset, Ohio, was a man of moderate fortune; one of the leading citizens in all the high moral reforms of the day, an uncompromising member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, yet with the grade of generosity to make his almost puritanical strictness lovable. His mother, Mary (Waters) Chilcote, was an English woman by birth, but with all the intense devotion of her noble nature she loved her adopted country. Her Christian traits were so manifold and beautiful, that in her home was perpetual sunshine.
With no inheritance save the priceless one of inborn honor and integrity, Dr. Chilcote was born in Somerset, Ohio, in the year 1825. From this
period until the fall of 1841, his life was uneventful, except in so far as it laid foundations, broad and deep, whereon to rear the bulwarks of a noble life. His education was confined to the practical and not altogether comprehensive routine peculiar to common schools of that day. Limited as were his educational resources, however, he must have evolved from the elements of success, for the autumn of 1841 found him an eminently successful teacher in the Curran district in his native county. He continued his supervision of his school for five consecutive winters, three of the intervening summers having been spent in attending school.
In 1844 he commenced the study of medicine under the auspices of Dr. Stone, one of the most successful and popular physicians of his day. He remained a student in the office of Dr. Stone until the spring of 1847, when, desiring a more extended experience and knowledge of life, he left his native town, traveling over the greater portion of Western Ohio and the State of Indiana, which at that date had fairly commenced its present attainment of political and social importance. Finding a fresh supply of funds indispensable to the continuation of his journey, he opened a school at Bridgeport, a small town ten miles west of Indianapolis. His peculiar fitness for this work was demonstrated by the very decided effort made to retain him after the expiration of his four months' term. Having fully resolved, however, upon completing his medical studies without loss of time, he declined the importunities of his patrons, returned to Somerset, and placed himself under the instructions of Dr. Hood, one of its leading physicians.
During the following spring he returned to Indiana, and was united in marriage with Miss J. A. Ballard, the daughter of Mr. John Ballard, of Bridgeport, a prominent man in his own town and county, and a member of a large and influential family. Having by this time acquired the title of M. D., the subject of this sketch located, with his young wife, in the town of Perkinsville, on White River, and commenced the practice of medicine. At the end of one year, while rapidly acquiring a large and lucrative practice, he found his general health failing and his eyesight becoming so much impaired that abandonment of his profession seemed inevitable. It was a terrible disappointment, in the first flush of gratified ambition, to give up his long cherished hope of attaining eminence in his profession. But with characteristic fortitude and philosophy he yielded to the inevitable, and establishing himself in Danville, Hendricks Co., Ind., opened a drug-store. It proved under his efficient management, a fortunate venture, and he was indulging in the fresh anticipations of success when, in 1852, a disastrous fire occurred, sweeping away the greater part of the business portion of the town, destroying utterly his business and his home, and as he was without insurance, leaving him penniless. With the same indomitable energy that sustained them in the first disappointment, the Doctor and his wife placed the remnant of their stock in trade in a one-horse buggy, and with undaunted courage, set their faces westward.
Attracted by the fine location and scenery of Washington, than a small town of but 300 inhabitants, the Doctor determined to open a drug-store there. HIs commencement was necessarily on a very limited scale, but his perseverance and close attention to business could not fail of results. The passing years brought with them increasing success, until, in 1868, he found himself the proprietor of a business that, for a western town, was exceptionally large and thriving. Having at this period won the unbounded esteem and confidence of his fellow-townsmen, he retired from the drug business and interested himself in the organization of the Farmers and Merchants' Bank, with a capital of $50,000, since which time it has changed to the Washington National, with a paid-up capital of $100,000, and by good management and careful financiering has already laid up a surplus fund of $50,000 after paying good dividends to its stock-holders. Dr. Chilcote has filled the office of President since its organization, and with the unbounded confidence of the people in this institution and its officers, and their safe and honorable management, no bank offers a more safe and secure means for commercial transactions than the Washington National.
The foregoing sketch needs little in the way of summing up. Character, like capital, is earned by long and meritorious effort, and those of the rising
generation who desire to emulate Dr. Chilcote's example and attain his present honorable position, must not forget that the iniatory steps are perseverance, moral courage and unswerving integrity.
THOMAS W. THOMAS, a farmer and stock-raiser, on section 8, Washington Township, is a native of South Wales, born Aug. 31, 1830, and is a son of Christmas and Margaret Thomas, both natives of Cardiganshire, South Wales, who emigrated to the United States in 1842, and settled in Licking County, Ohio. They were the parents of eight children, three of whom are living: Evan and David, residing in Licking County, Ohio, and Thomas W., the subject of this sketch. Both parents died in Licking County, Ohio. They were reared in the Episcopal faith, but at the time they came to America, not finding a church of that faith in the vicinity of their home, they united with the Congregationalists.
Thomas W. Thomas was twelve years of age when he came with his parents to this country. In 1854 he left Ohio and came to Iowa, and located upon the big prairie in Des Moines County, and was among the first to leave the timber and settle upon the rich prairie land. At the time of his location in Des Moines County, wild game was abundant, and there was no trouble in procuring all necessary for family use. In the spring of 1855, he broke some sod and planted corn. the following fall the wild geese took it all before he had time to gather it. Mr. Thomas was married in Des Moines County, July 8, 1856, to Miss Ann Jones, a daughter of Benjamin Jones. She was born in London, England, in 1840. By this union there are eleven children: Hattie E., born March 23, 1857; Judson P., april 25, 1859; John W., Oct. 10, 1860; Evan E., March 14, 1862; Mary F., Nov. 18, 1863; Benjamin F., Aug. 15, 1865; Sarah E., April 11, 1867; Edwin S., Jan. 24, 1870; David A., Oct. 20, 1872; Charles S. Nov. 30, 1876; Cleveland L., Jan. 18, 1885.
In 1881, Mr. Thomas came to Washington County, and purchased the Bodkin farm on section 8, known as the Rose Hill farm, where he has since continued to reside. The farm consists of 140 acres of land adjoining the city of Washington and valued at $75 per acre. He also owns 254 acres in Des Moines County, which is under a high state of cultivation, and valued at $50 per acres. Roscoe Station on the B. & W.R.R. is situated on this land. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are members of the Baptist Church. Politically he is a stanch supporter of the Democratic party.
Commencing life on the lower rounds of the ladder, he has mounted step by step, until he occupies a secure position, surrounded by the comforts of his later days. The toils and privations of the past, the family experienced to the fullest extent, but now plenty abounds.