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county, engaging in agricultural pursuits. He owns 217 acres of land, which are well improved. He was married to Miss Helen Jelsma, of the Netherlands, January 6, 1857. She was born November 27, 1837. They have seven children living: John (born March 11, 1859), Jake (born July 28, 1863), Carrie (born January 3, 1866), Barbara (born May 11, 1869), Sunny (born November 10, 1871), Cattie (born December 27, 1847), Minnie (born June 4, 1878). Mr. Veenstra and family are members of the Reform Church at Otley.
VERDUGHT, W.-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 25, P. O. Otley. Was born in the Netherlands, February 6, 1837, and in the spring of 1845 came to America, locating at St. Louis, where he remained until the spring of 1846. Then located in Marion county, and is now the possessor of 220 acres of land, which are pleasantly located. He was married to Miss Mary de Jong, of the Netherlands, January 25, 1859. She was born June 15, 1840, and came to America in the spring of 1855. They have eight children: Mary, Liena C., Dirk, Peter, William, Cornelius, John, and Maggie. They also have one adopted child, Nettie Verbertes.
VERHEUL, ARIE-Farmer and stock-raiser, Sec. 24, P. O. Otley. Was born on the 27th of February, 1829, in the Netherlands, and was raised there as a gardner. Came to the United States of America in 1847, soon after the first Holland colony. He settled in New Jersey, and resided there nine years, following gardening, then came this county. He has a fine farm of forty acres and good comfortable buildings. Has held the office of school director several years. Commenced life poor, and has been the architect of his own fortune, and belongs to Iowa's army of self-made men. He married Miss Martha Baker in Angust, 1854. She is also a native of the Netherlands, and was born on the 6th of December, 1830. By this union there are six children living: Mary, Henry, Jane, Kryn, Martha, and Fannie. They lost two. Himself and wife are members of Bethel Church, in which he holds the position of elder.
TIENEKE, G. A.-P. O. Otley, in which village he also resides, and is at present engaged in the management of the Otley beer club. He was born in Almena, district of Varenleolz, Germany, under the reign of the Prince of Lippe Dedtmold, August 18, 1847. He was raised partly at Almena, where he attended public school. Hoping to better his fortunes he came to America early in life, and has not been disappointed. After varied business experiences in Illinois he finally adopted this State as his home. He is now married and happily situated in his cheerful homelife in Otley. He owns a block in Newton, and is a man of prosperity and influence.
WIELENGA, L. J.-Of the firm of Wielenga & Den Beste, dealers in dry goods and groceries, Otley. He was born in Kollum, Netherlands, February 2, 1845, and was raised and educated in his native town. His occupation in that country was that of a sailor. In the spring of 1867 he came to America, locating in Marion county, and there engaged in agricultural pursuits, which he pursued till 1879, when he engaged in the mercantile business, and is now one of the leading business men of Otley. Mr. W., in 1875, took a pleasure trip to his native home, where he remained about five months. He was married to Miss Johanna Hoekstra, of the Netherlands, December 19, 1871. Six children were the fruit of this union: Sarah, Jake, Maggie, Henry, Lutecia and an infant.
WILLIS, HIRAM-Farmer, Sec. 26, P. O. Otley. The subject of this sketch is a native of Ohio, and was born in Coshocton county, December 9, 1811, and spent his boyhood days on a farm with his parents. Was engaged in agricultural pursuits in his native county until December, 1852, when be became a citizen of Marion county, Iowa. His landed estate now consists of 266 acres. He was married to Miss Christena Clark, of Coshocton county, Ohio, June 27, 1833. She was born October 17, 1811. They have one child living, Elizabeth (now Mrs. Thomas). She was born January 15, 1835. Have lost one. Mr. W. is a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 55. WITZENBURG, M. A.-Farmer, Sec. 36, P. O. Pella. Was born it the Netherlands, August 2, 1820, and remained in his native country until September 22, 1849, when he sailed for the United States, locating in Ma rion county, Iowa. Is now considered one of her best citizens. His landed estate consists of 525 acres, well improved. Was married to Miss Lucy Jelsma, of the Netherlands, in May, 1845. She was born January 15, 1827. They have five children living: Seitsle M., Quna M., Rebecca M., Jells M., John M., and have lost five. Mr. W. has served as township trustee
WOODY, JOHN-His ancestors were supposed to have come from Ireland. His father was a farmer in North Carolina, and married Sarah Thompson. In this State John was born, December 27, 1806, and moved with his father into Indiana, where he was raised and educated. In 1849 he came from Lawrence county to this county, and in May of that year entered eighty acres of the northeast quarter of section 6, and bought sixtyseven acres more of the northern part of the same quarter. Here he lived until his death, January 19, 1863. He had been a leading deacon in the Baptist Church for many years. Was married in Lawrence county, Indiana, January 1, 1829, to Miss Mary Horton, who was born in Tennessee, January 17, 1813, of English parentage. Their children were: Joseph N. (married Louann Piper, and is living in Jackson county, Oregon), James F. (deceased), William H., Lucy A. (married J. A. Whilted and lives in Jasper county), John T. (married and lives in the same county), Asa N., Sarah E., Emily J. (married Ellis Gifford, living in Jasper county), Eliza A. (married J. W. McCroskey, living in Sac county, Iowa), Nancy C. (deceased), infant unnamed (deceased) and Leonard (deceased). Mrs. Woody died February 27, 1880. About $6,000 worth of property was left to the heirs. Mrs. W. had been a faithful member of the Baptist Church for forty years.
WOODY, A. N.-Farmer, Sec. 6, P. O. Monroe. Was born in Lawrence county, Indiana, April 12, 1841, and came to Marion county, Iowa, in the spring of 1849. Owns a farin of sixty-four acres. Was married to Miss Sarah C. Jarnigan, of Highland county, Ohio, December 29, 1867. She was born May 19, 1846. They have two children: Gustavus J. (born Oc tober 6, 1868) and Geo. P. (born October 2, 1872). Has been school director eight years.
WRIGHT, E. R.-Physician, Otley. Is a native of Union county, Indiana, born December 25, 1824, and was mostly raised there. When sixteen years of age he moved with his parents to Putnam county, Indiana, and in 1847 to Jasper county, Iowa, where he was principally engaged in teaching school. Has the name of teaching the first school in Jasper county. The fall of 1850 came to Marion county, where he was engaged in teaching and clerking in store. In 1859 he went to California, returning
in 1862. In May, 1864, he enlisted in company A, Forty-seventh Iowa, and was mustered out in October of same year. In 1872 he moved to Putnam county, Indiana, where he remained, engaged in the practice of medicine, till 1877, when he returned to Marion county, Iowa. His landed estate consists of 103 acres in this county, and fifty-three in Indiana. Has been twice married; first to Miss Nancy A. Harson, of Vermillion county, Indiana, April 15, 1852. She was born September 17, 1827, and died June 17, 1858. Had four children by this union: Mary E., Martin G., Louisa J. and Luella M. Was married the second time to Miss Nancy F. Case, of Ross county, Ohio, January 17, 1863. She was born May 29, 1834.
TOWELL, M. W.-Farmer, Sec. 30, P. O. Otley. Was born in Culpepper county, Virginia, January 13, 1823, and was there raised and educated. He followed farming till 1848, when he moved to Fayette county, Ohio, and remained about six years. Then moved to Iowa and located in Marion county. His estate now consists of 142 acres of land, 136 of which are well improved. Was married to Miss Susan E. Colvin, of same county as himself, October 13, 1847. She was born December 27, 1822. seven children living: John W., C. W., A. J., Francis M., Eliza J., Homer E. and James K. P. Lost two.
RED ROCK TOWNSHIP.
Township of Red Rock-Town of Red Rock-Biographical.
RED Rock township consists of all of township 77, range 20, north of the Des Moines River. It is bounded on the north by Jasper county; on the east by Summit; on the south by Union, with the Des Moines River as its boundary line; and on the west by Perry. Most of the township is well timbered, though in the northern part, approaching the upland prairie, the timber scatters into separate groves, that margin the small streams. The principal streams that course through it, running southward, are Calhoun and Miksell's creeks, each large enough to afford saw-mill water-power three or four months of the year. Coal exists in many places, but has not been. so extensively mined as in some other parts of the county, fuel being abundant and coal market rather distant.
Red Rock township, as first organized, January 6, 1847, included, besides its present territory, all of township 77, range 19 (Summit); all of township 76, range 19, north of the river (now a part of Polk), and all of township 77, range 20, south of the river (now belonging to Union). The place of holding elections was at the house of Benjamin Bowman. Only a part of the territory that is now known as Summit; all of Polk north of the river; and so much of the present township of Red Rock as lies east of what was known as the "old Indian boundary line," a short distance west of the present site of Red Rock village, first belonged to what was called "Red Rock precinct"; and the remainder of the township, lying on the west side of said line, including all of the present township of Perry, belonged to Gopher Prairie precinct.
On the eighth of January, 1850, the township was extended so as to include sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24, of town
ship 76, range 20. This took the remainder of the present township of Union, and one tier of sections now belonging to Knoxville; but by the organization of Union and Summit in 1850 and 1852, the township was reduced to its present size and shape.
We have been unable to obtain a full list of the officers elected in this township, both before and after its township organization, but we have the name of Robert D. Russell as justice of the peace, and John Tallman as constable, as early as 1845. John D. Bedell was first justice after its organization.
With Mr. Bedell's settlement in Red Rock begins the history of the town ship and village; and we shall therefore introduce the history by a brief sketch of his life up to time of its location.
Mr. B. was born in Bath county, Kentucky, September 25, 1817, from whence he emigrated to Montgomery county, Missouri, in the fall of '28: from thence to Clark county, same State, in the fall of '30, and from thence to Van Buren county, Iowa, in the fall of '42, and made a claim near the present site of Farmington, and erected a cabin. Two weeks after making this claim he sold it and returned to Missouri. But early in the spring of '43 he returned to Iowa, and at Iowaville met and formed the acquaintance of a Frenchman named Lewis Leplant, who could converse in the Indian language, with whom he formed a sort of copartnership in an expedition into the new purchase in quest of a location for a settlement.
He then went to Agency, and applied to Captain Allen, who had com mand of the post there, for permission to pass the line. But the captain refused, adding that he had no authority to grant such a privilege, but he could take it at his own risk, only being careful to avoid discovery by the dragoons, who sometimes amused themselves by persecuting the whites who could show no legal authority for their presence in the territory.
Mr. Bedell assumed all responsibility and went forth to possess the land. On taking a survey of the locality, he thought the beautiful plat, partly walled in by hills would make a good place for a trading house and So he inmediately decided to locate there so soon as it should be practicable to do so, and in order to effect a sort of preliminary establishment of his claim, he "blazed" a tree that stood on the bank of the river, a short distance below where his store now is, and from thence blazed a line northward, taking in not only the whole town plat, but a considerable tract of land besides.
This done, he and Leplant returned to Missouri for provisions. These they brought on horseback, arriving about the last of April, 1843. On the first of May a house was built. It was a light pole cabin, fourteen feet square, covered with bark, and stood about twenty steps from the river bank, near where stands the old frame building built and formerly owned by James Harp. Their only assistant at the raising was John Jordan, who, as we have heretofore stated, kept a trading house on the other side of the river, and they finished the building ready for occupation by three o'clock in the afternoon.
About two weeks after this Mr. Bedell, in company with John Jordan, went to Keokuk and purchased a keel boat and loaded it at Alexandria with about ten tons of such merchandise as was needed to stock a frontier trading house, and hired it pushed up the Des Moines to their settlement.
The first person who succeeded Mr. Bedell as a settler there, was Amos Shaw. He built a cabin in which he also traded till he died, some time in
1845 or '46. In the spring of 1844, Ray Alfrey and wife moved in and occupied the cabin of Mr. Bedell, he boarding with them.
Red Rock township, as originally constituted, was the most populous in the county.
At the April election in 1846, Red Rock township polled 46 votes, to 26 in Knoxville township, and 22 in Lake Prairie.
The election referred to was the first spring election held in the township. It was held at the house of Robert D. Russell. The judges were Robert D. Russell, James Chesnut and Claiborn Hall. J. D. Bedell and J. W. Hart were the clerks.
No better evidence of the number and names of the first settlers of the township is attainable than that found in the names of voters in the poll book of said election. They are as follows:
John Ross, Joseph S. West, Josiah Fair, Elisha Hana, Nathan Coleman, Benjamin McConnell, John W. Alley, Isaac Metcalf, C. S. Mitchel, Pharies Gooden, Claiborn Hall, James Chesnut, Robert D. Russell, Theodore Cannon, Michael S. Maas, John H. Bass, Hiem Pew, John D. Bedell, James W. Harp, David Ray, William Cannon, Simon Drouillard, George Billaps, James Stevenson, George Willson, John Toleman, Freman Willson, James Madison Williams, Thomas H. Morgan, Edward Drouillard, Richard Billaps, J. Bell, Alexander S. Caton, John Williams, Wm. M. Blankinship, Andrew Stevenson, Robert Stevenson, Ruben Matthews, Edward C. Stevensou, Rufus Lucas, John Mikesell, James Price, Isaac Cruin, James Count, David Tice, Fleming Tice.
According to the assessors' returns the following has been the valuation of the property in the township at various times in the past:
From which it will be seen that while the increase of value in real estate has been gradual and continuous, the value of personal property diminished from 1870 to 1879.
The population of the township increased some from 1870 to 1875, and