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Location: Davenport Iowa

Biography of H. E. Casteel

Herbert E. Casteel, one of Rock Island County’s most enterprising and highly regarded citizens, prominent in banking and business circles and a self made man, was born in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, March 15, 1860, and was the son of Appleton and Elizabeth Gardner Casteel. Mr. Casteel’s strides to prominence are the result of hard toiling and struggle in his early days and his keen business methods and perseverance in later years. Terminating his studies in the public schools of Davenport, he was not any too well provided with education with which to enter the great field of business struggle, but with optimistic ideas he quietly worked them to a point of value and with each change of position came a promotion and higher salary. To this end he directed his ardent ambition until he reached the estimable position of bank president. Mr. Casteel’s business career dates back many years, owing to the fact that he started out for his own livelihood at an early age. When only thirteen years of age he went to Port Byron, Illinois, and two years later, in 1875, he entered the employe of the Port Byron Lumber Company as bookkeeper, which position he held for two and a half years. In 1875 he went to Rapids City, Illinois, where he entered the employe of Taylor Williams at the same occupation and, for two...

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Biography of William A. Meese

When that evil day shall come whereon William A. Meese exchanges his 7 1/8 derby of commerce for the starry crown of heavenly reward, doffs his conventional haberdashery of the Mississippi Valley for the celestial cerements of eternal bliss, Moline will pause in its onward march to industrial eminence, consider well this life-time of devotion to the city’s interests, drop a tear of affection for a departed comrade and wonder with apprehension where the half-dozen men are to spring from to take his place in the struggle for civic improvement. He has been for a half-century the loyal friend of his town, the unwavering champion of Moline’s claims to consideration, her press agent, advocate and guardian spirit. This esteem is mutual and reciprocal and the constant plea of Moline is that William A. Meese may long be spared to serve as her envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. His list of activities for the good of his city before deliberative and legislative bodies and as a member of organizations which have built the city into its present proud condition, spiritually, morally, educationally and industrially has not been written. The record is long, honorable and fortunately incomplete. William A. Meese was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, February 1, 1856. It has been a subject of regret that he was not a native of Moline, but this error, not his own, he repaired...

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Biographical Sketch of Hugh A. J. McDonald

Mr. McDonald was born in the City of Rock Island, Illinois, November 13, 1862, the son of H. A. J. and Sarah J. McDonald, of Scotch-Irish descent. He was married to Mary C. Gall June 5, 1889, in Rock Island, Illinois. The offspring of this union are Hugh Earl and George Hobart McDonald, both resident in Rock Island. Mr. McDonald was a member of the State Infantry of Illinois, Company A, Sixth Regiment, from 1884 until 1893, when he resigned with the rank of Captain, which he had held during the last eighteen months of his service. He was manager of the business of David Don from 1882 to 1902. On November 13, 1902, he was appointed by Governor Yates as Chief Clerk of Illinois Western Hospital for the Insane, which position he held till March 1, 1906. During this period, for the space of one year-1903 to 1904-he was Captain and Adjutant of his old Regiment, the Sixth Illinois Infantry. For a period of two years Mr. McDonald was City Collector of Rock Island, resigning the position in 1895, on account of increasing duties in other directions. Appointed as postmaster at Rock Island, by President Roosevelt, on February 1, 1906, he took charge on March 1. Mr. McDonald’s education was acquired in the public schools and in the International Business College, at Davenport, Iowa. He is Past Commander...

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Biography of Walter Johnson

Mr. Walter Johnson, the subject of this sketch, died in Rock Island, November 23, 1903. He was for a third of a century one of the vital forces of the community. For twenty-seven years he occupied the editorial chair of the Daily Union, in which position he at all times was an able and courageous champion of that which he considered right, and calculated to make the community better. His editorial utterances carried weight not only because of their intrinsic merit and evident fairness in the presentation of the subjects under discussion, but because it was recognized throughout the community that they represented the honest and calm judgment of a man who in his private life exemplified his public utterances, and who at all times was actuated by the principles and motives of the Christian gentleman of the highest type. Mr. Johnson was born in London, England, April 27, 1843, being a son of John F. and Harriette Augusta (Ryley) Johnson. The elder Mr. Johnson, who was a ribbon manufacturer in England, came to this country in 1851, settling at Welton, Iowa, at which place and Lyons, Iowa, he engaged in general merchandising, in connection with farming, until 1862, when he removed to Davenport, where he engaged in the grocery trade until 1867, when he removed to Rock Island, which city was his home until his death in 1888....

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Biography of Patterson S. McGlynn

Patterson S. McGlynn, one of the proprietors of the Daily Dispatch, was born in Connecticut in 1850, of Irish parentage. He was educated by his father to read and write and to be appalled by the multiplication table before being sent to country schools in Iowa, commencing at Washington in the State named, “graduating” to a printing office when he was thirteen years old, and then at the age of sixteen going back to school in the old stone school in Davenport, where his printing-office education raced him through to graduation to the high school. But his education may be said to have been chiefly attained at home and in printing offices. After, service as a printer on the Davenport Democrat and on the old Davenport Gazette, under the late Ed. Russell, he was promoted to be a reporter on the Gazette, with his field in Rock Island in 1876 and 1877. From 1877 to 1880 his home was in Chicago, where he had more printing office and newspaper experience. In 1881 he came to Moline to work for the Rock Island Union. After having represented the Union in Moline for more than four years, in company with John K. Groom, he took charge of the editorial management of the Dispatch, the firm name having been McGlynn and Groom, Mr. Groom taking the business management. This was in July...

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Biography of Judson D. Metzgar

One of Moline’s younger attorneys, who has achieved success in his profession, and who has acquired a lucrative office and probate practice, is Judson D. Metzgar. He was born at Port Byron, Illinois, December 5, 1870, and here his parents, Marcellus R. and Mary E. (Brown) Metzgar, resided until he was ten years of age, when they removed to Davenport, Iowa, where they remained three years, going from thence to Moline, which has since been his home. His early education was obtained in the common schools of Port Byron, the Moline High School of which he is a graduate, as well as of the Port Byron Academy which he attended later. His professional education was obtained in the Denver Law School. Upon finishing at this latter institution he was admitted to the Bar of Rock Island County in 1894 and to the United States District Court in 1899. On January 28, 1895, Mr. Metzgar was married in San Bernardino, California, to Miss Alice S. Peterson. Two children were born to them, Mary Alice, aged seven, and Wallace Judson, aged four. He was bereaved by the death of his wife at Phoenix, Arizona, January 2, 1904, where she had gone in an effort to recuperate her failing health. Mr. Metzgar’s church affiliation is with the First Baptist Church of Moline. He is also a member of the Young Men’s Christian...

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Biography of Harry P. Simpson

Harry P. Simpson, editor of the Rock Island Argues, was born in Davenport, Iowa, on July 6, 1863, and moved to Rock Island in 1887. He attended the public schools in his native city, and while yet in high school he developed a decided taste for newspaper work, serving as reporter on a society paper called the Saturday Afternoon People. His work attracted attention and he was offered a position on the staff of the Davenport Gazette, which he accepted, representing that paper in a reportorial capacity in Rock Island and Moline. A little later he was made city editor of the Gazette and held that position for two years. He later served as city editor of the Davenport Herald. In 1887 he removed to Rock Island, having become city editor of the Argus. The Argus was then owned and edited by the late John W. Potter. After his death, in 1898, publication was continued by the J. W. Potter Company, consisting of Mrs. M. E. Potter, H. P. Simpson and the late James J. LaVelle, with Mr. Simpson as editor, a position he has filled to the present time with conspicuous ability and success. On August 12, 1884, Mr. Simpson was married to Miss Ella P. Skiles, daughter of H. M. G. and Eliza J. (McKissen) Skiles, a woman of beautiful character and many accomplishments, a devout member...

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Biography of Peter Fries

Man whose personality was strongly A impressed on Rock Island County, was Peter Fries, distiller, banker, and man of affairs. Mr. Fries was born May 4, 1822, on the family estate known as “Guss-Hof,” situated on the River Main, in Bavaria, Germany. He died July 20, 1902, in Rock Island, Illinois. His father’s name was Johann, his mother’s, Gertrude (nee Brand), of Reistenhausen. Johann Fries was the owner of the Guss-Hof, the estate which had descended from father to son for many generations, and was situated near Stadt Prozelten. Peter Fries, the subject of this sketch, was the youngest of eight children. After receiving his education, he assisted his father in the affairs of the estate, until he reached the age of manhood, when he sold his inheritance to his oldest sister. The burden had been heavy, and being informed of the rare opportunities for thrift and energy in America, he came in the year 1849 to the United States, and located in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Here he engaged in the tannery business, but his investment proved unfortunate, and he continued but for one year, when he removed to Henry, Illinois, where he once more embarked in the leather business. After two years spent in Henry, he sold his establishment and re-moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he engaged in the manufacture of vinegar, which he continued until the year 1854....

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Biography of George S. Brooke

GEORGE S. BROOKE. – This gentleman is the cashier of the First National Bank of Sprague, and is also a director and one of the largest shareholders. Mr. Brooke comes of cavalier stock. On his father’s side, he is a descendant of the Brookes of Maryland. In the year 1650, Robert Brooke, of England, having brought out a colony consisting of his wife, ten children and servants, forty persons in all, settled on the east shore of the Patuxent river. The settlement was called De La Brooke. The founder had a patent direct from Lord Baltimore. He was a member of the privy council and subsequently governor of Maryland. One of his representatives, through a female line, was Roger Brooke Taney, Chief Justice of the United States. On his mother’s side, Mr. Brooke is a descendant of a well-known Virginia family, the Williams of Culpepper. This family is descended from Pierre Williams, a sergeant-at-law of London. Mr. Brooke’s father, who is still living, is an Episcopal clergyman. In 1850, he with his wife moved from Virginia to Dubuque, Iowa, where the subject of this sketch was born on the 12th of February, 1855. He graduated with honors from Griswold College at Davenport, Iowa, in 1872, being awarded the Latin salutatory, although the youngest member of the class. Shortly afterwards he entered the office of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids &...

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Biography of Theodore C. Van Epps

THEODORE C. VAN EPPS. – Mr. Van Epps, a portrait of whom is placed among the illustrations of this work, is one of the best known men in Washington’s capital city. He was born in New Scotland, eight miles west of Albany, New York, February 15, 1847, and is the son of Charles and Angelica (Vedder) Van Epps, both of whom were born in New York of Holland parentage, his mother being a cousin of ex-President Martin Van Buren. His great-grandfather was from Holland, and founded the town of Amsterdam in New York State. At the age of six Theodore moved with his parents to Davenport, Iowa, and in that city received his education. In 1867, having spent one year at St. Louis, he found employment as a school-teacher in Muscatine, Iowa. In the autumn of 1868 he moved to Cass county, Nebraska, and located a homestead on which he lived until 1875. In that year he crossed the mountains to Washington, selecting Olympia as his future home, and purchasing with S.C. Woodruff as partner the stationery store of A.J. Burr & Co. In 1881 Mr. Van Epps purchased his partner’s interest, and continued the business, conducting one of the largest and most successful book, stationery and notion stores to be found on the Sound. In February, 1889, he sold his store to is son, W.A. Van Epps, for...

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Biographical Sketch of Claus Rochau

Claus Rochau of Galva Township, Ida County, Ia. resides on Section 3. He has been a resident of the township since 1877, and is one of the old settlers. He was born in Germany, near Holstein, in 1842. He was the son of Hans and Catherine Rochau, both natives of Germany. In 1860, Claus crossed the great waters to America. He married Minnie Bower in Davenport, a native of Germany. She came to America with her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Carl Bower, when quite young. Claus and Minnie had 10 children: Gusta, Herman, Annie, Lizzie, Minnie, Emma, Willie, John, Katy, and Alice. He served in the office of School...

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