Location: Van Buren County IA

Biographical Sketch of Jesse Calvin Robb

One of the progressive and influential citizens of the first township is Jesse Robb of Millbrae, manager of the Millbrae Dairy and superintendent of the D O. Mills estate for the past twenty-seven years. Mr. Robb was born at Bonaparte, Iowa, on September 9, 1885 and came to California thirty-nine years ago. After passing ten years in San Francisco he became connected with the country estate of D. O. Mills at Millbrae. Under his supervision this has become one of the show places of California. Although busily engaged looking after this large tract of land, Mr. Robb found time to build up the Millbrae dairy which is not only a model institution of its kind but one of the largest on the peninsula. Mr. Robb has been active in civic affairs. He was a leader in the movement to have the state highway constructed over the mission road and has been one of the county’s greatest good roads boosters. At present Mr. Robb represents the first township on the Advisory Road Commission having been appointed to that place after the death of the late George L. Perham. Mr. Robb has also been prominent in the educational life of the county. He has been a trustee of the San Mateo Union High school for the last ten years during which time it has developed into one of the best institutions...

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Biographical Sketch of William Kassebaum

William Kassebaum, the secretary of the Herman Oak Leather Company of St. Louis, was born at Farmington, Iowa, in 1870. His father, H. A. Kassebaum, was born in Germany in 1808, emigrated to the United States in 1840, and settled in St. Louis, his occupation being that of wagon-maker. With the exception of a very short period spent in Iowa he lived the rest of his life in St. Louis, dying there in 1906. Louise (Hadaway) Kassebaum, the mother of the subject of this review, was born in Germany in 1810 and came to America with her parents when very young. Her father became a well-known contractor of St. Louis. William Kassebaum received his education in the grammar and high schools of St. Louis and in the Business College of that city. He began his commercial career with M. Wolfheim in the hide and fur business, going in 1892 to the Herman Oak Leather Company as a clerk in the offices. In 1910 he became the secretary, a position which he holds at the present time. During the World war he was active in all drives for the Liberty loan and Red Cross, furnishing supplies to the government from the products of his factory, besides subscribing liberally himself. In 1902 Mr. Kassebaum was married to Miss Addelyn Helmkamp, who belonged to an old St. Louis family. They have one...

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Biography of John R. Patterson

JOHN R. PATTERSON. The office of sheriff is one that has been filled by the illustrious head of this Government, and is a position that demands great circumspection, great personal courage and a general and apt intelligence. The county of Cleburne, Arkansas, is fortunate in its choice of its present incumbent, John R. Patterson, who is also county collector and adds to strict integrity the other qualities essential to the thorough discharge of the responsibilities connected with the station. Mr. Patterson was born in Dover, Arkansas, January 16, 1848, his parents being James H. and Civility R. (Bettis) Patterson, the former of whom was born on the eastern coast of Maryland, and the latter in Wayne County, Missouri When a lad of twelve or fourteen years of age James H. Patterson was sent to Natchez, Miss., where he made his home with an uncle, studied law, and graduated at Oxford, Miss. His tastes, however, were rather in the direction of mercantile pursuits than to the practice of law, and in 1843, with Ransol S. Bettis,he opened a store at Dover. In 1852 they went to Patterson’s Bluff (named in honor of Mr. Patterson) and opened a general mercantile establishment there, where they continued to do business until 1856, from which time until 1861 they were in business in Clinton, Van Buren County, Arkansas Mr. Patterson then entered the Confederate...

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Biography of J. J. Plumer, M. D.

Dr. J. J. Plumer, the physician and surgeon of the De Lamar Mining Company, also engaged in general practice in De Lamar, is a native of Missouri, his birth having occurred in Edina, April 8, 1860. He traces his ancestry back to England, whence in the year 1832 members of the family who belonged to the sect of Puritans crossed the Atlantic to America. They braved the dangers so common to ocean voyages in those days in order to have liberty of conscience in the New World, and they and their descendants were connected with the early history of the colonies. They were mainly farming people, whose upright lives commended them to the confidence and respect of all. The Doctor’s father, William F. Plumer, was born in Marietta, Ohio, and married Miss Sarah F. Beswick, also a native of that place. In religious faith they are Presbyterians and by profession Mr. Plumer is a civil engineer. He now resides in Hillsboro, Iowa, at the age of sixty-seven years, and all of the family, including three sons and three daughters, are also yet living. The Doctor, the second in order of birth, spent his boyhood at his parental home, acquiring his literary education in Birmingham Academy, in Iowa. Determining to make the practice of medicine his life work he prepared for his chosen calling in the Starling Medical College, in...

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Biography of Horace E. Neal

For the past six years this enterprising young businessman has occupied the responsible position of cashier of the Capital State Bank, of Idaho, and is rapidly acquiring the reputation of being one of the ablest financiers in the state. Prior to his connection with this well known banking institution, now regarded as one of the best in the great northwest, he had had experience in the handling of finances, having for several years been engaged in the loan business in this state and in Colorado, and having served as the first county treasurer of Kit Carson county, Colorado, after its organization by act of the state legislature, his appointment coming from Governor J. A. Cooper. The ancestors of Horace E. Neal were Scotch, as his name indicates, and for several generations the family has lived in New Jersey and Ohio. James E. Neal, the father of our subject, was one of the early settlers of Ohio, and was; farmer by occupation. In politics he has been a Republican from the time that the party was organized. For his wife he chose Miss Mary A. Nincehelser, a lady of German extraction, whose family had long resided in Pennsylvania; and unto James E. and Mary A. Neal were born seven sons and two daughters, and three of the sons are numbered among the successful business men of Boise. The birth of...

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Biography of Samuel O. Tannahill

Samuel O. Tannahill, of the law firm of Tannahill & Tannahill, of Lewiston, is a native of Iowa, his birth having occurred in Van Buren County, that state, August 10, 1868. In colonial days the family was founded in New England, and the great-grandfather of our subject, Henry W. Tannahill, was one of the heroes of the Revolution, valiantly fighting for the independence of the nation. He afterward became one of the pioneer settlers of Ohio, and there occurred the birth of Henry and John L. Tannahill, the former the grandfather, the latter the father of our subject. When a young man John L. Tannahill emigrated to Iowa, and became an industrious and successful farmer of that state. He married Miss Elmira Jones, a native of Iowa, and to them were born three sons, all vet living. At the time of the civil war, the father responded to the country’s call for aid and served in the Seventh Iowa Cavalry until the cessation of hostilities. Later he removed to Kansas, in 1872, where he died in the thirty-third year of his age. His widow still survives him and is now forty-nine years of age. She belongs to the Presbyterian Church, as did her husband. Samuel O. Tannahill, the eldest son, acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of Kansas, and later was a student in the Kansas State...

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Biography of Amelia Couch

AMELIA COUCH. – Much honor is due to the worthy lady, whose name is written above for the noble way in which she has met the burdens and hardships of life and has achieved a success that is both gratifying and praiseworthy, while she has always shown forth her characteristic goodness and sagacity, being gracious and affable in her personal walk. Mrs. Couch is the daughter of William and Rebecca Walker being born on November 25, 1838 in Bedford county, Tennessee. The parents removed to Missouri when she was very young and there she received her primary education in the district schools, and there, also, the father died. Later the mother removed to Van Buren county, Iowa, where she finished her education. The widowed mother removed to Jefferson county, Iowa, and then about eight years later our subject went to Missouri where a married sister lived and where also she was married to Mr. R.T. Couch, a farmer, and for sixteen years they lived there. In the centennial year the subject of this sketch and her husband came direct to Union county, whither her mother and sisters had preceded her by twelve years. Mr. and Mrs. Couch rented land for a time and then purchased their present home place of eighty acres which is situated immediately northwest from Island City. On September 7, 1888, Mr. Couch died, being aged...

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Biography of W. M. Crawford

W. M. Crawford, pumper for the St. Clair Oil & Gas Company is now active in that connection on the C. Weavel farm, six and a quarter miles northeast of Delaware. A native of Van Buren County, Iowa, his birth occurred on the 19th of September, 1876, a son of J. H. and Susan (Smith) Crawford. W. M. Crawford received his education in the schools of his native County and also in Missouri and Iowa, but when thirteen years of age he put his textbooks aside and came to Indian Territory with his parents. For three years they resided on Big Creek, about twenty-eight miles south of Coffeyville, Kansas, where the father engaged in farming and then removed to the Jim Martin ranch, six miles southeast of Coffeyville, on which place they resided two years. At the termination of that time Mr. and Mrs. Crawford returned to Iowa, W. M. following them eighteen months later. He remained in Iowa but eight months, however, when he returned to Indian Territory and located on John Thornbrugh’s farm, seven miles southeast of Coffeyville, where he lived for two years. In 1896 he was married and soon afterward moved to the Morrison farm, about seven miles west of Lenapah, farming there with gratifying success for two years. The following year he went to the Jim Gordon farm, about five miles east of Nowata...

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Biographical Sketch of Adolf Sumerlin

Adolf Sumerlin, editor and attorney at law, Mattoon; born in Keosauqua, Iowa, Aug. 24, 1851; moved with his parents, Rufus and I. A. Sumerlin, to a farm in Scotland Co., Mo., in 1859; his father having embarked in the newspaper business in Memphis in 1860, he commenced learning the printer’s trade; in 1865, he moved to Shelbyville, Ill.; in 1869, he conducted the reportorial department of the Shelby Leader, which his father had purchased in 1865; in. the same year, commenced reading law with Thornton & Wendling; moved with his parents to Springfield, Mo., in April, 1871, and after completing his law studies in Phelps & McAbel’s office, was admitted to practice in the courts of Missouri in October, 1871; moved to Mattoon, Ill., in September, 1872, and with his father purchased the Mattoon Commercial; they continued to run the paper together until August,1876, when the paper was purchased by the Mattoon Commercial Printing Co., who appointed A. Sumerlin editor; at present, is editor of the Commercial and practicing...

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Biography of William Francis Holcomb

William Francis Holcomb, a member of the Society of California Pioneers of San Bernardino County, and the discoverer of gold in the valley which bears his name, was born in Indiana in 1831, but his parents moved to Will County, Illinois, in his infancy, where they lived till he was eight years old. They then went, in 1839, to Iowa and located in Portland, Van Buren County Iowa. His father having died, his mother moved with her family in 1845 up into Wapello County and took up a piece of Government land. The same year his oldest brother, Stephen Holcomb, went to Oregon, where he still resides near the city of Portland. Stephen achieved considerable celebrity as an Indian scout in the employ of the Government out on that then wild frontier. After eleven years’ residence in the Hawkeye State, the subject of this memoir left Ottumwa, Iowa, on the 5th of May 1850, for California, In crossing the plains his company narrowly escaped a conflict with the Indians several times, but experienced nothing more serious than slight skirmishes. They came via Fort Laramie, Green River and Sublet’s cut off. In crossing Green river, the ferryboat sank and Mr. Holcomb’s wagon and the entire contents, including his boots, which he had taken off to assist in getting their cattle across, were lost. Securing a mule to pack their little...

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Biography of William L. Nesmith

William L. Nesmith is one of the Kansas pioneers. He had lived in this state more than forty years, having come here in 1874 with his young wife and their wagon trip from Iowa was in the nature of a honeymoon journey. For a great many years William Nesmith was actively engaged in merchandising and in other affairs at Wilson, and is now a resident of Salina and a member of the grocery house of Nesmith & Son. His public spirit as a citizen and his generous contributions to educational institutions and moral movements have been on a par with his notable business success. His birth occurred April 24, 1852, in a log house on a farm in Van Buren County, Iowa. His parents were Joseph T. and Jane (Truscott) Nesmith, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of England. His father was born September 1, 1823, and spent his life as a farmer. For many years he lived in Ellsworth County, Kansas, and died at Wilson in this state December 1, 1898. He was an active member of the Methodist Protestant Church. In 1845, in Van Buren County, Iowa, he married Miss Truscott, who was born in 1829 in England, and came to America in 1836 with her parents, Stephen and Ann (Benny) Truscott, who lived to be past ninety years of age. Both the Nesmith...

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Russell, Gerald Dee “Jerry” – Obituary

Baker City, Oregon Gerald Dee “Jerry” Russell, 67, died June 22, 2003, at his home in Baker City. At his request, there will be no formal funeral. His family will have a private gathering in celebration of being a part of Jerry’s life. He was born on Nov. 8, 1935, at Farmington, Iowa, to Craige and Annabelle Lucille Dee Russell. About the age of 8, he moved with his family to Fruitland, Idaho. It was there that Jerry graduated high school and a short time later married Barbara Reimers. The couple had two daughters: Lori and Sandra. During his life he worked as a route man for American Linen Supply in Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho. Most all of his working years were spent in the Oregon and Idaho areas. He worked for the National Guard Reserves in Boise for three years in maintenance repair. He then transferred to the armory in Baker City. He served at that site for eight years, retiring in 1974. He then moved to Salem where he lived for four years before moving to California. Last May Jerry moved back to Baker City, living with his daughter, Sandy, and his granddaughter, Kaitlin. Jerry was so thankful to be surrounded by his family during the last days of his life. Even on those days when his health seemed to betray him, he always had a...

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Biography of Hon. Cornelius H. Hanford

HON. CORNELIUS H. HANFORD. – The subject of this sketch, although a young man, is one of the pioneers of Washington. He was born in the town of Winchester, Van Buren county, Iowa, on the 21st of April 1849. His father was a well-to-do farmer at that place. The gold discoveries in California soon attracted attention to the Pacific coast; and in 1853 he resolved to dispose of his Iowa property and seek a new home on Puget Sound, where his two brothers Seymour and George then were. Accordingly in the spring of that year he started with his entire family in emigrant wagons drawn by oxen for the new El Dorado. Joining one of the many trains which were then crawling across the plains, he with the train moved slowly westward, meeting and overcoming the numerous dangers and hardships then commonly incident to a journey of that kind, and finally reached a point near Portland, Oregon, in time to go into winter quarters. Here the elder Hanford left his family and proceeded to Seattle, which consisted of a small sawmill and a few rough cabins surrounded by an impenetrable forest. He found his brothers there, and, although to a farmer the surroundings seemed in striking contrast with the beautiful plains he had left, he was quick to perceive the grand possibilities of the country, and decided to cast...

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Biography of Jay Baird, M. D.

Jay Baird, M. D. The medical profession of Kansas has one of its able representatives in Dr. Jay Baird of Coffeyville. Doctor Baird is a man of broad experience, splendidly equipped professionally, and has acquired success and high standing in this state, and is particularly well known among eclectic physicians, and in 1915-16 served as president of the State Eclectic Medical Association. Some generations back his ancestors were prominent Scotch people, and in that country enjoyed the distinction of a coat of arms marking them one of the ancient clans of Scotland. This coat of arms represents a bull and boar rampant. From Scotland the Bairds came to Pennsylvania in colonial times. Josiah Baird, grandfather of Doctor Baird, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1802, and when he was quite young his parents moved to Muskingum County, Ohio, where he married and where he took up the trade of blacksmith. A number of years later, along in the ’50s, he moved out to Iowa with his son, the father of Doctor Baird, and lived in Van Buren County of that state until his death in 1886. In religion he was a stanch old Covenanter Presbyterian. Politically he was a republican. Josiah Baird married Mary Thompson, who was born in Ohio in 1806 and died in Van Buren County, Iowa, in 1892. Their children were: Nathan; Cephas, who was a minister...

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