P. G. Freeman, now living practically retired in Independence, has been identified with many pioneer experiences
of Buchanan county and has not only been an interested witness of the growth and development of this section of
the state, but has taken a helpful part in promoting the changes which have brought the county to its present state
of progress and prosperity.
He was born in Allegany, New York, in 1839, a son of Isaac. G. and Elizabeth (Armstrong) Freeman, the latter also
a native of Allegany. The father was born at Boundbrook, New Jersey, and in early life became a farmer of Allegany,
New York. In addition to tilling the soil he engaged in raising sheep. He took an active part in the public life
of the community, serving as sheriff for several years in the early '30s and also commanding a regiment of the
New York State Militia as colonel. On removing to the west he settled at Belvidere, Illinois, where he carried
on general agricultural pursuits, remaining there for eight years. In the spring of 1854 he came to Buchanan county
and took up land from the government. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made upon the place, but with
characteristic energy he began to develop the fields and soon brought his farm to a high state of cultivation.
To his original holdings he added until he was the owner of considerable land in Buchanan county. He was likewise
active in shaping the public policy and molding the destiny of the county along other lines. He filled the offices
of county supervisor and justice of the peace and was a recognized leader in the ranks of the whig party until
its dissolution and afterward in the ranks of the republican party. He was also a very helpful and earnest member
of the Baptist church and his life was ever guided by its principles. In his family were twelve children, of whom
P. G. was the fourth in order of birth. One of his sons, Reuben, who was the sixth child, served in the Civil war,
going to the front as a member of Company D, Twenty seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and died of measles, which
he contracted at Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
P. G. Freeman was but a little lad at the time of the removal to the Mississippi valley. He pursued his education
in the schools of Illinois and of Iowa, and when eighteen years of age secured a clerkship in Van Winkle's store
at Lowell, Michigan. There he remained for two years, spending the last year as manager of the Van Winkle sawmills
at Greenville on the Grand river. Because of sickness he then went to Beloit, Wisconsin, and for a year was employed
in the general store of W. P. Adams. On the expiration of that period he returned to Buchanan county and entered
the store of P. C. Wilcox of Independence as clerk. The following year, 1861, he opened a store of his own, but
sold out in the fall of 1862 and became connected with Beardsley Brothers, a wholesale house of Chicago, which
he represented as salesman for five years. His next connection was with the Edward Lafercade Erwin Company of Philadelphia,
wholesale dealers in dry goods, with whom he continued for twelve years, representing the house upon the road as
a traveling salesman. When his employers sold out he became connected with John Mott & Company of New York.
Eventually he retired from the dry goods business and afterward engaged in buying and selling butter and eggs.
He is the owner of a farm in Buchanan county comprising two hundred and forty six acres, which includes a part
of the original land taken up by his father, who had come to the west with an ox cart, bringing with him sheep,
horses, cattle and oxen. Before leaving the farm in his boyhood Mr. Freeman had driven a six yoke team of oxen
in breaking up the sod for his father and neighbors. He knows much concerning the early pioneer experiences of
this part of the state and can relate many an interesting incident of the early days. In addition to his farming
property he has other interests, being now a stockholder, director and the treasurer of the Sherman Smith Manufacturing
In 1865 Mr. Freeman was united in marriage to Miss Adelaide J. Smith, who was born in New London, Connecticut,
a daughter of Sabin Smith, a merchant of that place. To that marriage was born a son, Ledyard M., who is a traveling
salesman, selling Ball brand products of Mishawaka, Indiana. He is married and has one child, Kenneth G. Mrs. Freeman
died in March, 1901, and in June, 1902, Mr. Freeman was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Josephine
(Smith) Jones, a native of Ohio and a daughter of Wilbur R. and Mina C. Smith. Her father was a farmer of Ohio.
Mrs. Freeman takes an active part in the religious, social and club life of Independence, having been president
of the Ladies Musical Club, the Literary Club, the Missionary Society and was the organizer of the Civic Improvement
Club. She is deservedly recognized as one of the most prominent women of Independence and her efforts along the
lines of progress are far reaching and beneficial.
Fraternally Mr. Freeman is connected with the Masons and his political allegiance is given to the republican party,
while his religious faith is that of the Presbyterian church. His has been an active and well spent life, in which
effort has brought to him success. Wherever he is known, and his business has brought him a wide acquaintance,
he is held in high esteem and most of all where he is best known.
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Bachanan County, IA
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