Biography of Gilbert E. Titus
Buchanan County, IA Biographies





Gilbert E. Titus is a well known lumberman and horse dealer of Winthrop, whose reputation for ability to correctly judge the good points of a horse has extended beyond the limits of this county. Wholesale houses and ice dealers throughout the state often intrust him with the buying of their horses, merely telling him what type of horse they wish and the price they are willing to pay and leaving the rest to him. He is a man seventy five years of age but is still very active in business and in the various phases of life.

Mr. Titus was born in Warrensville, Ohio, which is about eight miles from the city of Cleveland, August 6, 1839, a son of John H. and Angeline (Miller) Titus. His father was born near Rochester, Ohio, a son of Austin Titus. John H. Titus was reared in the vicinity of Rochester and there married, after which he removed to Warrensville, where he operated a sawmill and gristmill. These were destroyed by fire but he subsequently rebuilt the sawmill and continued to conduct it for some time, eventually selling it. He then removed to Painesville, Ohio, where he built a mill which he ran until 1862. In that year he traded the mill, which was yielding good profits, for one thousand acres of land in Wisconsin and one thousand acres in this county. He came here and began to develop the tract of land which he owned, which was wild prairie as yet untouched by man. He farmed during the summers and in the winters went to his holdings in Wisconsin, where he engaged in logging and in shipping the lumber which he cut from his land to this place. At the end of three years he sold his northern property and in 1865 started a lumber yard in Winthrop, conducting the same for a year, at the end of which time he sold out. In 1867 he started another yard, which he ran for two years, after which he sold it also. From that time until he retired from active life he devoted his energies to farming and developing his land, bringing it to a. high state of cultivation. As his children grew to maturity he gave each of them eighty acres of land and started them out in life for themselves and as they had previously been well trained in agriculture they have met with success. He remained in Winthrop until about eighty one years of age and then went to Storm Lake, where he passed away a year later.

John H. Titus supported the republican party by his ballot and for many years was a justice of the peace. By his sensible advice he was able to assist many people in settling their differences outside of the court and thus saved them unnecessary expense. He was reared in the Quaker faith and never departed therefrom. His wife was born near Scottsville, which is in the vicinity of Rochester, Ohio, and was there reared and married. She accompanied her husband to Iowa. in 1862 and passed away upon a farm near Aurora, October 14, 1864, when but forty four years of age. She was the mother of twelve children, two of whom died in childhood. Like her husband she was a member of the Society of Friends. By a former marriage Mr. Titus had a son, Benjamin, who is now living retired in Aurora, this county.

Gilbert E. Titus was reared at home and under the instruction of his father early became proficient in agricultural work. His schooling was that afforded by the public school system and he was well grounded in the fundamental branches of learning. When a young man of twenty two or twenty three years he went to Titusville, Pennsylvania, where oil fields had just been discovered. The man who first found out their existence was Jonathan Titus, a first cousin of the father of our subject, and Titusville was named in his honor. Gilbert E. Titus remained in that place for a year and a half and conducted a livery stable and drove a stagecoach. At the end of that time he went to Painesville, Ohio, where he engaged in the livery business for two years His father in law was government inspector of horses at Cleveland and Mr. Titus was associated with him until the spring of 1864. He then Sold out and in March of that year came to this county, locating upon a tract of land near Aurora. He erected a number of buildings but after operating the farm for three or four years rented it and came to Winthrop, where he has since engaged in the livery business and in the buying and selling of horses His long experience in that line has made him an almost infallible judge of horses and he often sees possibilities of development in an animal that is to all appearances undesirable. Not once but many times he has purchased such a horse and by giving it good care and training has brought out the good points latent in it. He has prospered in his undertakings and is now in possession of a competence which insures him of the comforts of life.

Mr. Titus was married in Ohio to Miss Caroline Abbott, a native of Massachusetts and a daughter of R. H. Abbott, a railway contractor and government inspector of army horses during the Civil war. To Mr. and Mrs. Titus have been born two children: Bessie, the wife of Elmer Brinthall, a son of E. P. Brintnall, deceased, and a carpenter and builder; and Lila, the wife of B. W. Briggs, of Dubuque, Iowa.

Mr. Titus is an adherent of the republican party and has held a number of local offices. In addition to serving as township trustee and constable he held the office of deputy sheriff fourteen years and in that time arrested several notorious horse thieves. Both he and his wife are members of the Congregational church and are active in the support of all good causes. Mr. Titus belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America and is well known in both of those organizations. He holds the unqualified respect of those who have been associated with him in business or in a social way and all who know him wish him many more years of health and strength.

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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