OLIVER J. DERBY.
General farming and stock raising have always claimed the attention of Oliver J. Derby, who is most successfully
engaged in both pursuits at his home place, which is situated on sections 7 and 18, Port Louisa township. He was
born in Illinois, on the 26th of March, 1864, and is the youngest child and only son of the late Jerome and Lucinda
(Wyman) Derby. The parents were married in Vermont, of which state they were natives, and later removed to Illinois,
where they resided until 1878, when they came to Iowa. Upon their arrival in this state they purchased a farm of
one hundred and twenty acres in Louisa county, which they cultivated for three years. They disposed of that place
at the expiration of that time and purchased one hundred and eighty acres on sections 7 and 18, Port Louisa township,
which they cultivated until 1892, when they sold it to their son and removed to Grand View, where the father passed
away in July, 1897. The mother subsequently resided with her son until her demise in January, 1911. Four children
were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Derby: Mary L., the wife of John Allen, of Macomb, Illinois; Belle, who died in infancy;
Alma, who died at the age of forty years; and Oliver, J., our subject.
The boyhood and youth of Oliver J. Derby were not unlike those of other farmer lads of his time and circumstances.
His education was acquired in the district schools, such time as he was not there engaged being either occupied
in the performance of such tasks as were assigned by his parents, or in the diversions usually indulged in by young
people in the rural districts. After laying aside his school books he assisted his father with the cultivation
of the farm until he attained his majority, at which time he left home. For six years thereafter he farmed as a
renter, during which time by means of close application, untiring energy and rigid economy he acquired the capital
to enable him to become a property owner. Naturally his preference fell upon the old homestead and as his parents
were anxious to retire he bought the farm where the greater part of his life had been spent. During the long period
of his residence he has made many changes in the place. The improvements are all substantial, the fences are good,
the land is thoroughly tiled, while the fields are given the careful and capable supervision which results in abundant
harvests. In fact everything about the place suggests thrift and prosperity. Mr. Derby engages in general farming
and stock raising, his preference being for red Durham cattle, and he is also an extensive feeder. He has met with
success in his ventures and in addition to his beautiful homestead owns one hundred and sixty acres of land in
Rosebud, South Dakota, which is also well improved and thoroughly cultivated.
On the 4th of March, 1885, he was united in marriage with Miss Anna B. Benz, who is also a native of Louisa county,
her birth occurring on the 17th of September, 1864. She is a daughter of Mathias and Lucy (Schneider) Benz, the
father a native of Germany and the mother of Pennsylvania, in which state they were married and later came to Iowa.
Although Mr. Benz was a brewer by trade, after locating in this state he engaged in agricultural pursuits until
the time of his demise in 1907, which was two years after that of. his wife. Six children were born to them, in
order of birth, as follows: Lydia, who married W. F. Nelson, a resident of Louisa county; Mary, the wife of H.
J. Jeffries of Muscatine; Anna B., now Mrs. Derby; Jacob, who is living in Louisa county; Albert, who died at the
age of six years; and Zula, also deceased, wbo was the wife of J. H. Hintermeister, of Muscatine. To Mr. and Mrs.
Derby have been born the following children: Paul A., who was born on the 2d of November, 1887, and now owns one
hundred and sixty acres of land in South Dakota; Harvey W., born on the 29th of March, 1890, living at Carter,
South Dakota; Ethel May, born on the 25th of May, 1898; Oliver E., born on the 2d of April, two; and Frank I.,
born on the 17th of October, 1905. The three younger children are all attending school.
Mr. Derby always casts his ballot for the candidates of the democratic party, but not being an aspirant for office
he does not actively participate in public affairs. He is well regarded in the township where he resides and is
recognized as one of the successful and substantial agriculturists of the county.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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