JOHN C. DOWNS, deceased, was born in Monmouth County, N.J., March 10, 1810, and was the son of Joseph and Anna (Anderson) downs, who moved to Ohio about 1815, and where John was reared on a farm and received a liberal education. He was married in Ohio to Elizabeth Clark, a widow, by whom he had four children, all of whom have passed away. She died at Portsmouth, Ohio. In 1856 Mr. Downs came to Iowa and located in Brighton Township. He was there married, Feb. 14, 1865, to Mrs. Phoebe A. Smith, the widow of Caleb R. Smith, who was drowned in 1856 while bathing in the White River in Indiana. Mrs. Downs' maiden name was Pierce, she being a daughter of John and Lucinda Pierce, who were among the early settlers of Hamilton County, Iowa. They were the parents of three children who are now living: Phoebe A., the widow of John C.Downs; Thomas P., now of Brighton, and Mary F., the wife of John chew, residing near Anderson, Ind. Her father and mother both died in 1843.
Mr. Downs died in January, 1883. He was an honest and upright man, but was not a professor of religion. Mrs. Downs was left an orphan, and was reared by her grandparents. She has seen all the rough sides of life, and has borne up under it all in a remarkable manner. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a sincere Christian woman, and highly respected by all who know her. She yet resides on the old homestead, where she has 160 acres of land all under cultivation.
WILLIAM F. HILLHOUSE, one of the earliest settlers of Washington County, resides upon section 36, Washington Township, where he is engaged in general farming, together with stock-raising. He is a native of Livingston county, Ky., born Feb. 16, 1824. HIs father, James Hillhouse, was born in South Carolina, in 1797, and his mother, Catherine (Groves) Hillhouse, in Virginia in 1795. They were married in Livingston County, Ky., and in the fall of 1832 moved to Dearborn County, Ind., and subsequently to Ripley County, the same State. Mrs. Hillhouse died in Indiana in 1835, leaving six children, two of whom are now livingWilliam F., and Mary, the wife of David Mulford, of this county. In 1853 Mr. Hillhouse came to Washington County, Iowa, and lived with his son, William F. He died in 1868. He
was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which body his wife was also a member.
The subject of this sketch was reared in Ripley County, Ind., receiving his education in the typical pioneer school-house, and long before the days of free schools. When eleven years old he was apprenticed to a tanner, with whom he remained five years, subsequently engaging in the trade of carpenter. In 1845 he married Miss Mary J. Sanders, who was born in Ripley County, Ind., Dec. 8, 1825. In 1853 he came to Washington County, where he has since continued to reside. When he located on his present farm it was wild prairie land, which he has brought to a high state of cultivation. Unlike many others, when he came to this county he was possessed of some means. This he was very careful not to squander, but making a judicious investment, he has from time to time added to his possessions, and is now comfortably situated with fine improvements all around him.
In politics Mr. Hillhouse is a Democrat, and has always voted with that party. He and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which body he has been a member of over forty years. He has always taken an active interest in Church work. Mr. and Mrs. Hillhouse are the parents of five children, two livingGeorge married Mary Garren; they have six childrenWilliam F., Delia, Alfred, Elizabeth J., Elsie and Harriet. John married Miss Martha J. Abbott; they have two childrenMinnie and Clark C. Mr. Hillhouse is most universally respected wherever known.
DANIEL ECKERMAN, farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 22, Washington Township, where he owns 160 acres of fine land, all under a high state of cultivation, in addition to which he has sixty acres on section 27, also cultivated. He was born in Franklin County, Pa., Oct. 6, 1839, and is the son of David and Sarah (Van Dyke) Eckerman, both of whom are natives of Pennsylvania, the former being of German descent. They came to this county in 1856, settling in Marion Township, where they resided till their death. The former died in 1885, at the age of seventy years, and the latter in 1881, aged sixty-six years. They reared a family of seven children, six of whom are now living: Daniel; Eliza J., who resides with the subject of our sketch; William residing in Nebraska; Isaac, living in Ringgold County, Iowa; Ezra, residing in Nebraska; Frances E., wife of Talbot Russel, of Ashland, Neb.; George W., also of Ashland, and D. F., deceased. In the death of David and Sarah Eckerman, Washington County lost two of its best citizens, and the family, kind and affectionate parents, whose memory will ever be cherished by one and all.
The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm and has successfully followed that occupation through life. He was but seventeen years old when the family removed to this county, and in the thirty-one years in which he has resided here he has witnessed may great and important changes. He has seen the change from the wild state of nature into one of the best productive counties in the State of Iowa. Possessing the drive of the Yankee, with the conservatism of the German race, from which he has descended he has been prosperous in all his business affairs, and is now numbered among the best farmers in the county. In 1865, he was untied in marriage with Miss Eliza J. Anderson, a daughter of James B. and Elizabeth (McCoy) Anderson, who were among the pioneers of Washington County. She was born in this county in 1849. they have had four childrenCharles H., Alva L., Otis C. and Roy G.
In 1862, Mr. Eckerman enlisted in Co. H, 2d Iowa Vol. Inf., and served till the close of the war. As is well known, the 2d Iowa was one of the best regiments in the service. Its record for bravery and heroic service is second to none. Its history would fill a volume, even one the size of of the ALBUM. It has six Colonels, two of whom were killed, one promoted to Major General, and two to Brigadier General. In all the engagements in which his regiment participated Mr. Eckerman was found with his company, and with the regiment he marched with Sherman to the sea through Rome and Savannah, Ga., and was in the grand review at Washington. With the regiment he was mustered out at Louisville, Ky., and discharged at Davenport. Immediately on receiving his discharge, he returned to
his home in Washington County, where he has since pursued the peaceful vocation of a farmer, and in which as already stated, he has been eminently successful. Politically, he is a stanch Republican.
EUGENE NICOLA, hardware merchant at Riverside, was born in Preston County, W. Va., Feb. 15, 1840, and is the son of Jacob and Sarah (Cress) Nicola. They removed to Fayette County, Pa., in January, 1850, and there purchased a farm. Two years later this farm was sold and one purchased in Wayne County, Ohio, near Wooster. Enterprising and possessed of a desire to own a large tract of land, Jacob Nicola sold his fine farm, and in 1854 the family came to Iowa, and in the spring of 1855 he bought 280 acres in Cedar Township, Washington County, of which 120 were timber. All of the children were born in Virginia except the youngest son, who was born in PennsylvaniaJohn, Catherine, Henry, Zalmon, Marcellus, Eugene, Collin, Amaziah and Benjamin. All came with their parents to this county, and six are yet residents here.
Jacob Nicola erected a temporary board house early in 1855, which was replaced the same year by a good two-story frame dwelling. HIs elder children aided in the improvement of the new farm. He was by trade a blacksmith, and the first out-building erected by him was used as a smithy. He did work for the neighbors as long as he was a resident of Cedar Township. On that farm the wife and mother died April 2, 1871, and Mr. Nicola afterward married Mrs. Susan Ewing, of Washington, this State, and the couple engaged in the hotel business for a short time in that city. In 1873 he erected a residence in the new town of Riverside, and in its history may be remembered as one of the first residents. His death occurred in February, 1875, aged sixty-five years. His widow is now a resident of San Marcial, N.M. To Jacob Nicola and his second wife, one daughter, Louisa, was born, who resides with her mother, whose sons by her first husband are connected with the A., T. & S.F.R.R. Co.
The subject of this sketch remained with his father on the farm until his twenty-first year. He purchased four yoke of oxen, and the first work he did for himself was a job of breaking prairie for a neighbor at $2.50 per acre. In August, 1861, he wedded Susan, daughter of Christian and Charlotte (Cress) Smith, who came from Preston County, W. Va., about 1857. THe Smiths are now residents of Keokuk County. Susan was born in Virginia, and was twenty years of age when married. Their domestic life was begun in Cedar Township, our subject possessing plenty of energy, but little else. His team represented his earnings and savings, but his industrious habits were rewarded by a gradual accumulation of capital, he having rented land and engaged in farming. Mr. Nicola bought his first farm in 1870, it being eighty acres of his father's homestead. In 1874 this was disposed of, and Mr. Nicola came to Riverside, purchased lots, erected a residence, and with his brother Collins, erected a business house in which they opened a general store. Mr. Nicola purchased his brother's interest in the autumn of 1879, and a few months later Mr. William P. Tansey purchased an interest in the store, continuing three years. He, in turn, sold to our subject, who is yet connected with the business, the firm being Nicola Bros. & Co.
Mr. Nicola was a partner with Billingsley, Hise & Co. in the only creamery built in Riverside, and in fact it may be said that he was the moving spirit in said enterprise, assuming its management. In 1882 Collin Nicola and our subject purchased the interests of the other two men, and from that time to date have controlled the creamery under the name of Nicola Bros. Mr. Nicola is also a partner in the North English Creamery, and in the establishment of that enterprise he owned half the stock and was a moving spirit in its erection.
From a beginning as the driver of four yoke of oxen, in 1861, Mr. Nicola has steadily increased his profits by careful attention to business details, until he is a partner in several large business firms, and has a farm consisting of 240 acres in this county, a part of which adjoins the plat of Riverside. The children of Eugene and Susan Nicola were all born in this county, John H. is deceased; Jacob C. is now a partner in the general merchandise store of Nicola Bros., at Riverside; Clarissa A. and
Walter E. complete the family, all residing in the peasant village of Riverside. In addition to his business cares our subject is one of the present village officers. He is a charter member of Lodge No. 105, A.O.U.W., and has passed the several chairs in that order, and is the present Treasurer. For a number of years Mr. Nicola has been a member of the School Board, and for three years has served as President.
SAMUEL A. WHITE, Cashier of the First National Bank of Washington, is a native of Lawrence County, Pa., born March 14, 1840. He is the son of Allen and Martha (Aiken) White, who were also natives of the same State. They were the parents of ten children: Sarah, now the wife of William McClymonds, resides in Lawrence County, Pa.; Mary J. is now the wife of John C. Wellar, a farmer residing in the same county; Samuel A., of Washington, Iowa; Margaret E., the wife of Robert Mehard, a millwright and farmer, resides at East Brook, Pa.; Mattie is the wife of T. J. Hyde, a merchant residing in Middlesex, Mercer Co., Pa.; Myra M. resides in Lawrence County, Pa.; Caroline died in 1861; Anna is the wife of Vance McClymonds, of Butler County, Pa.; Elda is the wife of Thomas J. McGee, a farmer of Lawrence County, Pa.; Dora is the wife of James Hyde, a druggist in West Middlesex, Mercer Co., Pa. Allen White was originally an anti-slavery Whig, but on the organization of the Republican party became one of its stanch supporters, and continued to affiliate with it until his death, which occurred in May, 1883. He was for many years a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Mrs. White is yet living at Wurtemburg, Pa., at the ripe old age of seventy-five.
The subject of this sketch was reared upon his father's farm, and received as liberal an education as was afforded in the district schools of his native State. On the 18th day of October, 1861, he enlisted in what was known as the Roundhead regiment, and afterward as the 100th Pennsylvania Infantry, and served till the close of the war. This regiment did as hard service and and was in abut as many engagements as any other in the service. Its first rendezvous was a Kalarama Height, Washington, D.C., from which place it was sent to Annapolis, and from there in what is known as Sherman's expedition to Hilton Head, being among the first troops to plant the stars and stripes again on South Carolina soil, landing at Hilton Head Nov. 8, 1861. In December it moved to Port Royal Island and had an engagement at Port Royal Ferry, Jan. 1, 1862. On the 16th of June, 1862, the regiment was engaged in an attack on Ft. Pemberton, on James Island, near Charleston, where it was badly cut up, and in which many of its men were lost. Returning to Hilton Head, in the following July it was ordered north and formed part of the 9th Army Corps under Gen. Burnside, at the second battle of Bull Run, where it also suffered heavily. On the Monday following that battle it was in an engagement with Jackson at Chantilly, where a number of its officers and men fell. At South Mountain the regiment was again in the thickest of the fight with great loss. Three days later it was in the battle of Antietam, where it again suffered heavily. Fredericksburg was the next engagement in which the Roundheads were engaged. It was then transferred west to the Department of the Ohio, and was subsequently with Grant in the siege and capture of Vicksburg, and then in the second battle of Jackson, after which it returned to the Department of Ohio, and marched by way of Cumberland Gap to East Tennessee, where it was in the fight at Campbell station, siege of Knoxville and battle of Blue Springs.
In December, 1863, the regiment veteranized and was sent home on furlough, Mr. White accompanying it as a veteran. At the expiration of its furlough the regiment was ordered to Annapolis, where it was recruited and then ordered to the Potomac, receiving its next baptism in blood at the battle of the Wilderness. At Spottsylvania the regiment suffered heavily, and Mr. White received a wound in his left shoulder, and was sent to the hospital at Washington, whence he was transferred to Baltimore, then to York, Pa., and later to Pittsburgh, Pa. From the effects of this wound Mr. White has never fully recovered, his shoulder being
almost useless up to the present time. On being sufficiently recovered to be discharged from the hospital he was placed on detached duty as a clerk in Washington in the Adjutant General's department. Mr. White was present at the time of the grand review in Washington at the close of the war, and was still in the city when President Lincoln was assassinated, and has a vivid recollection of the terrible affair, and the excitement which existed. He saw the body of the dead President lying in state in the capitol building, and witnessed the funeral cortege as it started on its sad journey to Springfield, Ill., where the body was interred. The 100th Pennsylvania Infantry has a glorious record, having participated in over thirty engagements, with honor to the brave men of which it was composed. It was finally mustered out at Washington, July 25, 1865.
Soon after his discharge from the service, Mr. White returned home and entered the Iron City Commercial College of Pittsburgh, from which he was graduated with honors. In the spring of 1867, he determined to come West, and on arriving at Ainsworth, Iowa, formed a partnership with A. L. Voorhees, under the firm name of Voorhees & White, which partnership continued one year, when A. Anderson purchased Mr. Voorhees' interest, and the business was continued by Anderson & White for fifteen years. In 1880 Mr. White was elected Clerk of the Courts of Washington County, and re-elected in 1882, serving two terms. On the expiration of his second term, Jan. 1, 1885, he was chosen Cashier of the First National Bank of Washington, Iowa, which position he still occupies.
On the 3d of November, 1882, Mr. White was united in marriage with Miss Lizzie A. McClelland, daughter of Dr. William McClelland, of Washington. Mrs. White is a native of Butler County, Pa., and came with her parents to Washington County. They were among the earliest settlers of the county. They have had three children, two of whom are yet livingWillie A. and Mattie C. Maggie Pearl is deceased.
In 1882, on the organization of the Iowa National Guards at Washington, Mr. White was elected First Lieutenant, and Dec. 28, 1885, was promoted Captain. this company has an excellent record for drill and discipline. Capt. White is a man of more than ordinary ability, and in his business relations enjoys the confidence of all who know him. A genial, kindly man, he makes friends wherever he goes, and retains their friendship till the last.
ROBERT McCALEB is a farmer and stock-raiser on section 22, Dutch Creek Township, and one of the earliest settlers of Washington. He was born Nov. 13, 1819, in Cumberland County, Pa., and is the son of Alexander and Sarah (Slentz) McCaleb, who were also natives of that State. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native village and educated in the public schools. While yet in his youth, he worked at odd jobs at so much per month, being required to lend a helping hand in supporting the family. At the age of twenty he left the parental roof and went to Richland County, Ohio, where he worked for a farmer by the month, and continued in farming in that State for five years. In the fall of 1845 he went to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and in company of Mr. Hiskey, passed several months on the Skunk River engaged as a laborer. In the fall of 1846 he went to Wisconsin and spent the winter in working in the lumber camps. In the spring of the following year he came to Dutch Creek Township, where he had previously purchased eighty acres of land on section 21.
In 1847 Mr. McCaleb married Miss Phoebe E. Suires, a native of Pennsylvania, born Feb. 18, 1831, and settled upon forty acres where he now lives, and to which he has added by subsequent purchase, until he now has 685 acres, 645 being in one body. The parents of Mrs. McCaleb, Thomas and Anna M. (Duke) Suires, were natives of Pennsylvania, and were among the pioneers of that State. Her mother died when she was about fourteen years of age, and her father about 1871. They were members of the Baptist Church, and in all Church work, and in every moral enterprise, took an active part, and were kind and indulgent parents. Mr. and Mrs. McCaleb have been blessed with thirteen children, seven daughters and six sons: The first-born
died in infancy; John resides with his parents; Sarah is the wife of Frank Wolfe, a farmer of Union County, Iowa; Thomas is a farmer, residing in Washington County; James is also a farmer, and resides in Dutch Creek Township, this county; Adel, now deceased, was the wife of L. C. Johnson; George is a farmer in Union County, Iowa; Martha and Clement are twins, the former now the wife of William Strutner, a farmer residing in Seventy-Six Township, the latter engaged in farming in Union County, Iowa; Viola, Robert and Alma are at home. Mrs. McCaleb is a member of the Baptist Church.
Robert McCaleb has been a resident of Washington County about thirty years. In that time he has witnessed many changes, and has taken an active part in everything tending to advance the interests of the county. That he has been an industrious man, his large property interest will attest. Until within the past few years, when failing health compelled him to cease active work, he has given his personal attention to all matters connected with the farm. By his fellow-citizens he has been honored with most of the township offices. As a citizen he is greatly esteemed and has probably as many friends and as few enemies as any other person in Dutch Creek Township.
On an adjoining page will be seen a lithographic portrait of Mr. McCaleb as he looks in 1887.