Portrait and Biographical Album - 1887

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Washington County Iowa


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FRANCIS TREBILCOCK, a retired farmer, now residing in Washington, is a native of Cornwall, England, born Oct. 10, 1823, and is the son of Frank and Ann (Dowrick) Trebilcock, both of whom were natives of the same country. Frank Trebilcock was born Dec. 24, 1878, and died Aug. 31, 1870, aged seventy-one years, seven months and ten days; and Ann Dowrick was born Feb. 25, 1800, and died Oct. 5, 1869, aged sixty-nine years, seven months and six days. They were married in 1821, and were the parents of twelve children, nine of whom lived to be adults. Their record is as follows: William D., born May 12, 1822; Francis, Oct. 10, 1823; John, Nov. 18, 1824; Joanna, March 28, 1829; Catherine D., May 2, 1833; Joseph D., May 6, 1834; James H., July 6, 1835; Mary J., Dec. 21, 1836; Jeffrey, July 3, 1839; Joanna (2d), Oct. 4, 1840; Margaret, Jan. 25, 1842; George J., Jan. 26, 1845. Those now deceased are William D., Joanna D., Mary J., Jeffrey and George J.

The life of Frank Trebilcock, the father of our subject, was an active one. In 1824 he was sent by a company to Peru, where he had charge of a number of men engaged in silver mining, remaining there four years, discharging his duty in a faithful manner. Returning home, he remained there till 1828, when he was sent to Mexico, where he was employed in gold mining for four years. After returning to England, he made up his mind to come to the United States with his family, for permanent residence. Accordingly, in 1834 they set sail for the States, and landed in Philadelphia,

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from whence they went to Morgan County, Ohio, where they remained a short time, and then went to Athens, now Vinton County, in the same State. Her the father purchased land and engaged in farming. In 1849 he went to California, being among the first to visit the New Eldorado. While in California he engaged in mining, but on account of ill-health was soon compelled to return home. By reason of this visit to California at that time, he was ever afterward spoken of as one of the "old 49ers." After considering the matter well, in 1854 he came with his family to Iowa, and first located in Washington County, but in the spring of 1855 moved to Van Buren County, where he purchased lands, and again engaged in farming. Mr. Trebilcock was a man of considerable force of character, a great reader and observer of passing events. In politics, he was a Democrat. Himself and wife were members of the United Brethren Church for many years. Both died in Van Buren County, and were there laid to rest. Rearing a large family of children, they were required at times to make serious sacrifices, but every sacrifice made to benefit the "flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone" was cheerfully made. They lived to see their children well settled in life.

Francis Trebilcock, the subject of this sketch, was about nine years of age when the family came to this country. That part of Ohio in which they settled was yet almost an unbroken wilderness, and the farmers' boys were not then permitted to live life of idleness, but were required to be up with the sun, and be very thankful if they could retire with the lark. The farm must be cleared, grain must be sowed, the harvest must be reaped, and every member of the family from the youngest to the oldest, was required to do his or her part. Young Francis faithfully did his work, and was thankful for the opportunity of attending school in the old log school-house three months in winter, trudging through the snow a mile and a half. The schools in those days were not of the best, but from the old log school-houses of the pioneers have graduated some of the ablest men and women of this land—statesmen, lawyers, doctors, ministers, and the best mothers in the world.

Days, months and years passed, and the little English lad grew to manhood, strong in mind and physical powers, and forming an acquaintance with Miss Mary M. Mayhew, which ripened into love, on the 12th of December, 1846, they were united in marriage in Vinton County, Ohio. She was born in Athens County, Ohio, May 23, 1829, and was the daughter of William an Aurilla Mayhew, who were among the pioneers of that section of the State. Of a family of ten children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Trebilcock, six are now living: Melissa A., born July 4, 1849, is the wife of Pulaski Maxwell, a farmer of Washington County; Harriet A., born June 23, 1851, married A. L. Smouse of Des Moines; Venitia E., born Oct. 2, 1859,is the wife of Dr. J. A. Gardner, of Kingman County, Kan.; Margaret, born June 24, 1862, married H. D. Goble, and resides in this county; Calvary F., born Oct. 1, 1865, is attending school at Des Moines, and Bessie, born Dec. 2, 1872, resides at home.

Mr. Trebilcock came West with his family at the same time as did his father. He purchased an unimproved farm in Oregon Township, on which a small frame house had been built, and in which the family lived until 1861, when he built one of the best farm houses then in the township. In 1877 he sold this farm and purchased another in Jackson Township, where he moved and remained two years. He then went to Ainsworth and engaged in the mercantile and grain trade. About the same time he erected a business house at Havre, where he also engaged in the grain trade, and was instrumental in having a post-office established there, receiving an appointment as Postmaster. Selling his business at Ainsworth in 1882, and at Havre in 1883, he moved to Washington, where he has since lived a retired life.

Mr. Trebilcock came to this county in limited circumstances, but by industry and economy, and with the aid of a wife who has been truly to him a helpmeet, he has amassed property enough to keep the family comfortably his remaining days. While not among the first to settle here, he yet came at a time when the greater part of the county was in a wild state, and in its development he has contributed his share. In addition to property in Ainsworth, he has an excellent farm of 200 acres in

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Jackson Township, and a grain house, scales and storehouse in Havre.

Politically, Mr. Trebilcock is a Democrat, but takes no active part in political matters, especially of a partisan nature, though he manages to keep posted on all questions that agitate the country. Religiously, he affiliates with the United Brethren in Christ, while his wife is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In educational matters he evinces a deep interest and has ever been a friend to the public schools. As a citizen he is ever ready to do his part in anything that will advance the interests of the community. The Trebilcock family have a genealogical record in the hands of J. D. Trebilcock, of Bloomfield, Iowa, which traces the family history back 300 years.

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HENRY SOMMER, residing on section 27, Marion Township, is engaged in farming and stock-raising. He is a native of Holmes County, Ohio, born in 1844, and is the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Miller) Sommer, the former a native of Somerset County, Pa., and the latter of Tuscarawas County, Ohio. His father was born in 1806, and was reared on a farm in Somerset County, Pa., where he lived until he was about twenty-years old, when he emigrated to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where he lived five years, and then moved to Holmes County, in the same State, and there lived eighteen years engaged in milling and farming. In May, 1853, he came to Washington County, where he has since lived, engaged in farming.

Josephy Sommer was married, in 1830, to Elizabeth Miller, and of this union were eleven children, seven now living: Susan, wife of Samuel Hage, now in Arkansas; Lydia, the wife of Benjamin Eicher, of Marion Township; Eve, the wife of Peter Goldsmith, of Wyoming Territory; Barbary, the wife of Peter Miller, of Marion Township; Henry, the subject of this sketch; Lucinda, the wife of J. A. Rumble, of Union County, Ore.; Mattie, the wife of Wash Neff, of Henry County; Catherine married Daniel Winters, and died in Ohio, in 1882; Jacob died in infancy, in 1834; Levi died in 1849, aged fourteen years; Elizabeth died in 1852, aged two years. The mother died Sept. 20, 1874, aged sixty-five years and two months. The father is still living, and making his home with his son Henry. He os French and German descent.

Henry Sommer, the subject of this sketch, came to this county in company with his parents, June 29, 1853. They settled on section 27, Marion Township, where he grew to manhood, was educated in the district schools, and has since lived. The home farm originally consisted of 120 acres of partially improved land. This was brought under a high state of cultivation, and sixty acres added to the original purchase; the estate now comprises 180 acres. In July, 1866, Mr. Sommer married Hetty Fisblurn, a native of Greene County, Ohio. They are the parents of five children: Charles F., Joseph, David; Elizabeth, who died in infancy, and Leslie.

Mr. and Mrs. Sommer are members of the Mennonite Church of Marion Township. He is now serving his second term as Township Assessor. In his youth and young manhood he learned the carpenter's trade, which he has followed in connection with farming. In the neighborhood where he resides, and by all who know him, he is regarded as a fist-class citizen, one whose word is as good as his bond. His father is also a member of the Mennonite Church.

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W. O. HOFSTEATER is a farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 22, Oregon Township. He is a native of Putnam County, Ohio, born June 8, 1848, and is the son of Eli and Eliza (Atrain) Hofsteater, the former a native of Ohio, and of German descent, and the latter of Pennsylvania and of Irish descent.

The family came to this county in 1852, when the subject of this sketch was but four years of age. Here he was reared on a farm and educated in the commons schools of Washington County. He was married in Louisa County, Iowa, in 1873, to Maria A. Sweet, daughter of Oliver and Charity (Hayden) Sweet,who were among the pioneers of that county, settling there in 1836, but three years

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after the territory was open to settlement, and ten years before the admission of Iowa as a State. She was born in Louisa County, Dec. 29, 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Hofsteater have three children—Nettie V., Nora I. and William F.

Mr. Hofsteater is a member of the United Presbyterian Church, while Mrs. Hofsteater is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Both are highly respected by friends and neighbors. One, a native born Iowa, the other having spent all his life here with the exception of the first four years, they know something of pioneer life, and have lived to see most of the changes that have been wrought in Washington and Louisa Counties. In the development of this section of the State, each has contributed his or her part. The parents of Mr. Hofsteater are yet residing in this county, and are numbered among its best citizens, enjoying the respect and esteem of all who know them.

Mr. Hofsteater was a resident of Dallas County, Iowa, nine years, and in that as in Washington County, he followed his chosen occupation of farming. He was elected by the Republican party to the office of Township Assessor of Lincoln Township, Dallas County, two terms, and filled the office with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. Mr. Hofsteater is a public-spirited man, and feels an interest in the upbuilding of the county in which he lives.

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GEORGE DICKINSON, farmer and stock-raiser, section 17, Clay Township, was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, Oct. 3, 1834, and is the son of Henry and Eliza Dickenson, both of whom were natives of New York. they were the parents of ten children: Julia, the wife of Johnson Barnes, a farmer in Clay Township; Hiram is a farmer residing Clay Township; Olive is the wife of Wells de Wolf, a farmer in Republic County, Kan; George, the subject of this sketch; Cyrus, a farmer in Clay Township; Emily, the wife of Reuben Ash, a farmer in Clay Township; Chloe, deceased, was the wife of Alfred Pringle; Mary E., the widow of James Fitch, resides in Taylor County, Iowa; James and John M. are farmers residing in Clay Township; Samuel is a farmer residing in Keokuk County, Iowa.

The family moved from Ohio in 1846, starting to Wisconsin, but on arriving at Montrose found the river so low as to render it unnavigable. They were then persuaded by William Reed to come to Washington County, Iowa. On arriving in this county he purchased 160 acres, it being the claim of an early settler. In the fall of 1857 he traded his farm for three yoke of cattle, with the intentions of returning to Ohio. Changing his mind he rented a farm here, and here he has continued to reside, with the exception of six years spent in Wisconsin, where he purchased a farm. Returning to Washington County he bought fifty-nine acres of land on which he continued to live till his death, which occurred in 1869. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and always took an active interest in Church work. His widow yet survives him, making her home with her children. She is now seventy-eight years of age, and is in the enjoyment of good health. She was also a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The subject of this sketch, George Dickinson, was reared upon a farm, and on the 17th day of March, 1860, was united in marriage with Miss Amelia Wagoner, who was born March 17, 1840, in Virginia, and the daughter of Jacob and Catherine Wagoner, who were also natives of that State. She came from Virginia with her parents, making the trip from that State to Washington County, Iowa, by team. Her father died in February, 1887, and her mother is yet living in Clay Township. Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson have five children: John, born Feb. 13, 1861, is a farmer in Holt County, Neb.; Mary, born June 22, 1863; Charles, born June 8, 1866; Jacob F., born Sept. 3, 1869; Carrie, born Sept. 22, 1872. The first three are now living in Holt County, Neb., where they are the owners of 640 acres of land. In 1867 Mr. Dickinson purchased eighty acres of land in Clay Township, and at once began its improvement. He has since added thirty acres to his original purchase, and now has a farm of 120 acres of good land, all under fence and in a high state of cultivation.

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Mr. Dickinson commenced life in Washington County in very limited circumstances, but has by industry and economy acquired a fine property. For a number of years he has been afflicted with weak eyes, and for some time the management of the farm has been in the hands of his sons. Mr. and Mrs. Dickinson are members of the United Presbyterian Church. They have given each of their children a good education, thus fitting them for useful lives.

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W. S. GriffithW. S. GRIFFITH, farmer and stock-raiser, a portrait of whom appears upon the opposite page, is residing on section 14, Lime Creek township. He was born in Washington County, Ind., Nov. 25, 1818, and is the son of Horatio and Elizabeth W. (Fleming) Griffith, who were united in marriage in 1818. The father was a native of Western New York, born in 1796. The mother was born in Pennsylvania, in 1800. They removed to Washington County, Ind., in the summer of 1818, and remained there until 1826, then went back to New York, near Geneseo, in Livingston County, where Horatio Griffith bought a tract of land, which he subsequently sold on time, and went to work by the month. After he had made collection on the sale, he again moved with his family to Washington County, Ind., in 1831, settling in Brown Township, and residing there until his death, which occurred in 1846. He was a very active man and took a lively interest in public affairs, was a great admirer of J. Q. Adams and Henry Clay, and was an enthusiastic supporter of W. H. Harrison. Mr. and Mrs. Griffith were the parents of eleven children, nine of whom grew to maturity: W. S., of whom we write, was first in order of birth; Jackson died at about the age of six years, in New York; Martha is the widow of Washington Wright, and resides in Orleans, Iowa; Margaret F., the widow of Argus Clarke, now resides in Whiteside County, Ill.; Elizabeth, the wife of Sanford Towsnley, resides in the northeastern part of Nebraska; Charlotte, the widow of Thomas Clark, resides in Custer County, Neb.; Sarah, deceased, was the wife of Franklin Whissinand, who is also deceased; Ellen died in 1855 in this county; James F. was a farmer in Pawnee County, Neb.; he died Oct. 16, 1885, leaving a wife and eight children. John W. is a farmer in Lime Creek Township; one died in infancy.

The subject of this sketch came to Iowa in 1845, and took a claim near South English River, township 77, range 11, Keokuk County, consisting of 320 acres of land. He then returned to Indiana in August, and in April of 1846 rented his farm, going to Wassonville, where he engaged in carpentering, continuing there at different kinds of work until 1849, when he commenced repairing wagons and making new ones till the fall of 1850. In the spring of 1850 he sold his land near South English for a horse and a note of $100 without interest, having decided to go to California. If he returned from California the note was to be paid, if not, the note was not to be paid; but the contemplated trip was not made. July 2, 1850, he was united in marriage with Mary A. Bower, a daughter of Anthony Bower. Mrs. Griffith was a native of Maryland. By this union four children were born; of that number one is yet living, Scott, who was educated for the law, but followed teaching and is now residing in Astoria, Ore. Mrs. Griffith died in 1860.

In 1850, our subject bought 132 acres of land near Dayton, and sold the same in 1854, buying land on sections 21 and 28, of township 77, range 9, consisting of 160 acres, and followed farming until the breaking out of the Civil War. In 1861, he enlisted in the State service and went to Davenport, but was rejected and came home. Nov. 17, 1861, he was united in marriage with Mrs. Christina Sargent. Her maiden name was Foster. By this union two children were born, both dying in infancy. The mother died Nov. 29, 1863.

In April, 1865, Mr. Griffith bought a half interest in the Wassonville mill, and removed to that village, where he remained until 1866, when he sold out and moved to Dayton, engaging in the general merchandise business at that place, continuing there until the spring of 1867, when he again sold out and moved to the Dickenson place on section 22, Lime Creek Township. March 4, 1869, he was again united in marriage, Mrs. Hannah A. Berry becoming his wife. She was born in Washington, Ill.,

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Aug. 15, 1840, and was the daughter of Horatio Wanton and Rosanna (Lamont) Parker, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Ohio. Six children have been born of this union: Martha W., the wife of Dennis Bull, a farmer of Lime Creek Township; Nellie G., at home; Charles W., deceased; one who died in infancy; Robert Parker and James Mack. Mrs. Griffith was the mother of four children by her first husband, William Hayes: Susan married Philip Whetstine; Lucy J., deceased; Wanton, deceased; Laura, the wife of James Coffey.

In 1876, Mr. Griffith bought seventy-nine acres where he resides, and now owns 244 acres, all under a fine state of cultivation, with all necessary out buildings for a well-regulated farm. He came to Iowa with a cash capital of about seventy-five cents, and, with that as a start, by his own industry and good management, has accumulated an abundance with which to smooth his declining years. He is now turning his attention to stock-raising, and has on hand some fine specimens of the Norman and Clydesdale breeds of horse, together with Short-horn and Red-Polled cattle. He has set out between seven and eight hundred fruit and a number of shade trees on his farm. Mr. Griffith cast his first vote for Harrison, and was an ardent supporter of the war measures. Socially, he is a member of the A.F. & A.M., Dayton Lodge. Politically, he is independent, and religiously, both Mr. and Mrs. Griffith are members of the Christian Church.

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REV. JOHN T. TATE has been a resident of Washington County since 1854. He is a native of Ohio, born in Xenia, Greene County, Nov. 5, 1820. His father, Hugh Tate, was a native of Virginia, well educated, and followed the profession of a teacher for some years. He was a soldier in the War of 1812, serving with the rank of Major. He married Mary Torrence, a native of Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish descent. They were married in Ohio, first settling in Warren County, and then moved to Greene County. They were the parents of five children, tow of whom are living—Jane C., the widow of William Jordan, residing in Indianola, Iowa, and John T., of Washington. Mrs. Tate died in 1827 or 1828. Mr. Tate subsequently married again. He was a member of the Associate Presbyterian Church, as were also his wives. He died in Montgomery County, Ohio, in 1839.

The subject of this sketch was reared upon a farm, and in early life was inured to toil, helping to clear up a farm in the heavy timber of his native State. After attending the common schools of the neighborhood in which the family lived for a time, he entered Xenia Academy, where he prepared for college. After pursuing a regular course in Franklin College, New Athens, Ohio, he graduated from that institution in 1846. Soon after this he entered the Cannonsburg (Pa.) Theological Seminary, and finished the course in that institution in 1850. After graduating here he went to Pittsburg, Ind., where here remained one year, supplying the pulpit of Rev. Dr. Pollock. He was then called to Stephenson County, Ill., where he engaged for one year, but did not fill out his time. From Stephenson County he went to Le Claire, Iowa, and from there to Cedar Rapids, and in 1854 came to Washington County, where he settled as pastor of the Pleasant Valley congregation of the Associate Presbyterian, now the United Presbyterian Church, located in Dutch Creek Township. With this Church he as labored nearly thirty years, which certainly speaks well for his wearing qualities. In an early day, in addition to his pastorial duties, he served two years as Professor of Greek in the old Washington College.

Shortly after coming to this county, on the 16th of March, 1854, Mr. Tate was united in marriage in Washington, to Miss Nancy A. Miller, born in Hayesville, Ohio, in 1835, and a daughter of Dr. S. G. and Nancy J. Miller, the former an early physician of this county. Eight children have been born to them, six of whom are now living: Samuel A., now residing in Adams County, Iowa; Mary A., a graduate of Washington Academy, engaged in teaching in this county; Clara L., also a teacher, and an artist of more than ordinary ability; Arthur M., residing in Greeley County, Kans.; J. Howard, a graduate of Washington Academy, engaged in teaching, and N. Jennie, at home.

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In early life Mr. Tate was an old-line Whig, but a stanch supporter of the anti-slavery cause. When the Republican party came into existence, he became an adherent and advocate of its principles, and with that party he has since continued to act. He is a man of fine personal appearance, and although near his threescore and ten, with hair whitened by time, he yet stands erect, and otherwise shows but little the effects of passing years. His Christian bearing commends itself to all, and with a talented family, all of whom honor their parents in a becoming manner, with the love and respect not only of those with whom he has labored, but of the community as well, his remaining years will doubtless be of unalloyed happiness. As a minister of the Gospel, he has endeavored to adhere closely to the Word of God, and guided by His spirit, feed and tenderly care for those over whom he has served as a pastor.

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THOMAS J. ALLEN, Justice of the Peace, Wellman, Iowa, was born in Franklin County, Ind., Nov. 8, 1836, and is the son of John and Frances (Thompson) Allen. His father was born in Harrisburg, Pa., March 30, 1876, and was of Scotch descent. His mother was born Jan. 5, 1800, in Clarksburg, Pa. His grandfather, John Allen, was among the first settlers of Franklin County, Ind., and built the first mill in that county, known as the Brookville mill. He died Oct. 3, 1837, and his son, the father of our subject, Oct. 30, 1841, in Franklin County, Ind. Both were blacksmiths by trade.

John Allen, the father of our subject, was a man who took a lively interest in public affairs. He was a Whig, and served sixteen years as Justice of the Peace in Brookville. He served through the War of 1812, as Lieutenant, under Capt. Henderson, of the 7th Regiment of Indiana Rifles, and our subject is still in possession of his commission. He was of Quaker descent, and at the time of his death was the owner of 320 acres of land. Frances (Thompson) Allen, the mother of our subject, died Feb. 18, 1881, at Daytonville, Iowa, and was taken to Indiana for burial. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was a kind and devoted mother. They were the parents of twelve children, eight of whom are now living, two in this county—Naomi Shepard, now living in Washington, and our subject.

The subject of this sketch obtained his education in the district schools of his native State, and at the age of fifteen, in 1851, came by wagon to this county and settled at Wassonville, where he remained engaged in breaking prairie until May, 1853, when he returned to his old home, by way of St. Louis, Louisville, and Cincinnati, traveling by water. He arrived at home May 18, and entered a blacksmith-shop in Dunlapsville, Ind., Sept. 26, 1853. For his first years's work he received his board and clothes, and was to have $75 for the next year, but his employer dying, he only received twenty-five cents. He remained there until Dec. 31, 1855, when he again started west, and landed at Wessonville, in December, 1856. He started a blacksmith-shop in that place the next day, and has worked at that trade ever since. He improved a farm near there, which he sold in the fall of 1878, removing to Dayton, and from there to Wellman, in 1880, where he still resides. He sold his blacksmith-shop in November, 1886.

Mr. Allen was married, Jan. 1, 1886, to Marian J. Leighton, a daughter of Isaac Leighton, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Allen are the parents of nine children: Serepta A. died in infancy; Clara Belle, who wedded John L. Poland, who died Aug. 1, 1883; Bertha May graduated at Keota High School and is now a teacher; Alice Annette is attending a Normal School and fitting herself for a teacher; Ada Wstella, at home; Ernest L., at home; Georgia Cornelia died in April, 1877; John Everett and Thomas Glenn, at home.

Mr. Allen is a Republican in politics, and has served in several of the township office. In 1870, he was elected Justice of the Peace, serving six years, and was again elected in 1886, and is still performing the duties of that office. He has several times been Township Assessor, has been Township Clerk fourteen years, and Trustee ten years. Fraternally he is a member of the A. F. & A. M. Mr. Allen has always been a hard worker, having made

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his own way in life since eleven years of age, working on a farm, and at various kinds of labor. With a limited education received in school, he added to his knowledge by studying at odd times while making his living. He is a man of influence, and is well informed on all subjects of public interest.

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