Biography of George Whitlatch
Marion County, IA Biographies





George Whitlatch is one of the venerable residents of Indiana township, having passed the eighty fifth milestone on life's journey. He has always carried On farming and there are few whose length of residence in Marion county approaches his own, for he arrived here seventy one years ago. He was born in Adams county, Ohio, May 29, 1829, a son of Noah and Eva (Bible) Whitlatch, natives of Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively. They were married, however, in Ohio and to them were born ten children, seven sons and three daughters. Of this numerous family only two, George and William, are now living.

On leaving Ohio the parents removed with their family to Indiana, where they lived until 1843 and then came to Marion county, Iowa, settling in Indiana township. This was then a frontier district and the seeds of civilization had scarcely been planted when they took up their abode here. Wild animals infested the forests; there were wolves, deer and many kinds of feathered game. Indians, too, were numerous but on the whole were friendly toward the settlers. There were no railroads, few wagon roads had been laid out and it was a long distance to mill and market. The settlers depended largely upon what they could raise for their supplies, although the skillful hunter had no difficulty in supplying his table with meat in the early days.

Mr. Whitlatch secured one hundred and sixty acres of government land and at once began the difficult task of breaking the sod. There were many hardships and privations to be met in those early days but the father, with the aid of his sons, continued the work of development and in the course of years his place became profitable. He was a democrat in his political views and was interested in public affairs, cooperating in various plans and movements for the upbuilding and improvement of the district in which he lived. He held some of the township offices ands his duties were discharged with promptness and fidelity. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in early manhood and afterward joined the Methodist Protestant church, living an earnest Christian life until called to his final rest in 1865. His wife long survived him and passed away in 1891, at the age of ninety five years. They were laid to rest in a cemetery in this county.

George Whitlatch was a youth of fourteen years when brought by his parents to Iowa. He pursued his education in log schoolhouses both of Indiana and Iowa. Split logs were used for seats and desks and the building was heated by an immense fireplace. The methods of teaching were very primitive and the pupil had an opportunity of studying only a few branches. Mr. Whitlatch broke the prairie for a dollar and a quarter per acre in his early manhood and when twenty seven years of age he left homed and started in business on his own account. He has always followed farming and is still the owner of good property on section 20, Indiana township. In his earlier years he was very active in the work of the fields, doing everything necessary upon the farm for its development and improvement. In addition to cultivating corn, wheat and other cereals he engaged in the raising of graded stock and this also brought to him a substantial financial return.

On the 14th of September, 1856, Mr. Whitlatch was united in marriage to Miss Rachel Morrison, a daughter of Henry and Sarah (Whitlatch) Morrison, who in the year 1854 came to Iowa and settled in Marion county, taking up their abode in Indiana township. Both parents passed away here. The father was buried, however, in California and the mother in Missouri. They had a family of six children, four sons and two daughters. To Mr. and Mrs. Whitlatch were born seven children, namely: Mary J., who died at the age of eighteen; Ida, the wife of Jackson Rogers; Frank; Odella, who died in infancy; Cora, also deceased; Amnie, who died at the age of two years; and Hugh, who is engaged in farming in Marion county.

The parents hold membership in the Methodist Protestant church and guide their lives by its teachings. In politics Mr. Whitlatch is a democrat and has filled a number of local offices with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. No history of this county would be complete without extended reference to him, so long as he resided here. As one of the pioneer settlers he is indeed widely and favorably known and there is no phase of the county's development and improvement with which he is not familiar. Many events which are to others a matter of history are known to him through personal connection therewith. He has seen the land claimed and cultivated, churches and schoolhouses erected and villages converted into thriving towns and cities. As the years have gone on he has rejoiced in what has been accomplished and he loves to tell the story of what has been done, a tale which he relates in a most interesting manner.

From:
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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