Biography of Albert Merrill
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





ALBERT MERRILL.
The Merrill family have been represented in this county since pioneer times and have been leaders in all that makes for the public welfare and the name is highly honored in this locality. Albert Merrill is a worthy representative of the family and has the unqualified respect of those who have been associated with him. He is a retired farmer, living in Winthrop, enjoying a leisure won by former years of wisely directed labor.

He was born in Tusearawas county, Ohio, February 17, 1848, a son of John and Margaret (Guthrie) Merrill. The former was born in Pennsylvania and was a son of Jesse Merrill. The ancestry is traced back to two brothers, who, at an early day, emigrated from Holland to the United States. Jesse Merrill married Miss Nancy Hemphill, a native of the Keystone state, although her parents were born in Ireland. She accompanied her husband to this county and they remained residents thereof until called to their final rest. She died when about eighty five years of age and he lived to the venerable age of ninety three years. After he came to this county, about 1855, he lived with his son John and other members of his family. As a young man he ran a distillery in Pennsylvania but in 1832 removed to Belmont county, Ohio, where he followed farming.

John Merrill, father of our subject, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, in 1812, and remained there until he was a young man of twenty years. He then removed to Belmont county, Ohio, where he married and where he carried on farming for a time. However, in June, 1849, he came to this county and settled four miles south of the present site of Winthrop. The land is now in Liberty township but at that time the county was unorganized. He purchased forty acres from a squatter and the family resided for some time in a log house upon that place. He also took up a claim from the government and began the improvement of his land. By degrees he added to his property until at the time of his death, which occurred when he was eighty two years of age, he owned about one thousand acres of land in the county. He was not only one of the leading agriculturists of his locality but was prominent in public affairs. He held county supervisor at the time that the poor farm was purchased and held various township offices. He and his wife were among the charter members and organizers of what is now known as the Pine Creek Presbyterian church, the history of which organization is given elsewhere in this work. He was also an elder therein for many years. He died July 19, 1894, at the age of eighty two years. His wife, who was in her maidenhood Miss Margaret Guthrie, was born in Harrison county, Ohio, January 28, 1814, a daughter of Robert and Jane (Cmighan) Guthrie, natives of Scotland and the parents of a large family. Mrs. Merrill was reared in Ohio and there her marriage occurred. Upon the journey to Iowa it was necessary to go to Wisconsin by canal and thence by ox team to this county. She was one of the honored pioneer women of Buchanan county and did her full share in redeeming the land from the wilderness. She survived her husband for several years and passed away October 25, 1902, at the advanced age of eighty eight years. In their family were eleven children, namely: Jesse, who died when about thirty years old; Jane, a resident of Winthrop; Nancy, also living here; Mary, the wife of Charles Boon of Linn county, Iowa; Margaret, now Mrs. David Milne and a resident of Creighton, Nebraska; Robert, who met death by accident when in his thirteenth year; Albert, the subject of this review; James, who was a farmer by occupation and died in 1901; John, living retired in Ames, Iowa; Alice, the widow of Samuel Slemmons of Independence; and Sarah, who married Samuel Wilson and passed away in 1886.

Albert Merrill spent his boyhood under the parental roof and when his time was not taken up by attendance at the public schools he assisted his father in the work of the farm. When twenty four years of age he located on one hundred and sixty acres of wild land in Middlefield township that belonged to his father and began operating the same. He subsequently bought the place and still later purchased eighty acres adjoining. He built a good residence upon his land and in many other ways improved his property and from time to time added to his holdings until he was the owner of four hundred and forty acres of fertile land, all under cultivation. He successfully carried on agricultural operations until 1907, when he sold two hundred and eighty acres, retaining one hundred and sixty acres, which he now rents to his sons. He purchased his residence in Winthrop and has since resided here, enjoying a well earned ease. He has extensive landed interests in other states, owning eight hundred acres in New Mexico; twenty eight acres of valuable irrigated land near Brownsville, Texas; one hundred and sixty acres in the Panhandle of that state; and three hundred and twenty acres of wild land in Stanton county, Texas.

Mr. Merrill was married on the 23d of January, 1879, to Miss Fannie L. Kershuer, who was born in New York state, February 12, 1855, a daughter of Jonathan and Jane (Vance) Kershner, natives of Pennsylvania and the Empire state respectively. Her paternal grandfather, Jonathan Kershner, was born in Germany. The parents of Mrs. Merrill came to this county in 1868 and located in Liberty township, where they lived for a time, after which they removed to Middlefield township, where her father died at the age of fifty five years. Her mother made her home with the subject of this review until her death, which occurred in 1913, when she had reached the advanced age of eighty nine years. Both were members of the Methodist church. To them were born seven children, namely: John, a resident of Independence; Florence, the wife of A. P. Miller, of Boulder, Colorado; Mrs. Merrill; Fred, a resident of Winthrop; Mary, who died in New York state when three years of age; Edwin, who was accidentally killed when a lad of fifteen; and Anna, the widow of William Auten and a resident of Winthrop. Mrs. Merrill was fourteen years of age when she accompanied her parents to this county. By her marriage she became the mother of eight children: Fred, who died at the age of seven months; Willis Hodge, who is conducting a general store in Winthrop; Clyde R., at home; Charles R., who resides upon the home farm; Jessie Jane, a nurse by profession; Bessie, who is engaged in teaching in this county and resides at home; Susie, who conducts a millinery store in Winthrop; and Hazel, likewise a teacher.

Mr. and Mrs. Merrill are members of the Presbyterian church and take a keen interest in its welfare. The father and grandfather of Mr. Merrill were the prime movers in establishing the first Presbyterian organization in Liberty township and in building the first church edifice of that denomination in the township, and he has been very active in erecting the three buildings of that church. In early life he voted the republican ticket but of late years, has given his support to the prohibition party. He has served as trustee of his township and as road commissioner and for fifteen years was a. school director. He is upright in all of his dealings, and his sincerity and straightforwardness have won for him the esteem of his fellow citizens.

From:
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1914


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