Joshua Heizer (1814 – )

“Joshua Heizer, a retired farmer residing in Mediapolis, Des Moines County, Iowa, is one of he pioneer settlers and prominent citizens of Des Moines County.  He first came to this county in the fall of 1842, crossing the Mississippi River at Burlington, Oct. 15 of that year.  At that time the country was almost an unbroken wilderness.  Indians might frequently be seen on the prairies, and all kinds of wild game abounded.  The now populous city of Burlington was then but a small village.  The work of civilization and progress, which now places Des Moines County among the first of the State, was carried on largely by these early pioneers, of whom Mr. Heizer was one of the most active.  He was born in Augusta County, Va., Nov. 8, 1814, and is a son of Samuel and Mary (Ware) Heizer, the father a native of Virginia and the mother of Pennsylvania.  When but three years old his parents removed to Ross County, Ohio, where the father secured land and made a farm in the forest, residing there the remainder of his life.  He reared a family of thirteen children, twelve of whom reached maturity, and six are now living.  The father of these children died at the fifty-two, but the mother survived him many years.  He was a conservative man and possessed excellent business faculties.  He and his wife, together with their children, were members of the Presbyterian Church, and the parents were both of German ancestry.

Our subject was reared upon the farm in Ohio, and what limited educational advantages he received were obtained in a log school-house.  He resided with his mother till his marriage, which occurred Aug. 30, 1837, Miss Isabel Hughes becoming his wife.  She was born in Virginia and is a daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth (McClair) Hughes, both of whom were natives of Scotland.  The young couple began their domestic life in a cabin which had been purchased and removed to a part of the father’s farm, and which continued to be their home for a year.  At the expiration of  that time land was purchased in the edge of the timber, trees were cut down, and there the family lived for three years.  Deciding to go West in the fall of 1842 they came to Des Moines County, locating at Hickory Point, Yellow Spring Township.  Mr. Heizer purchased twenty-two acres of timber land on section 20, where they resided for the first year, and in the fall of 1843 he became the owner of forty acres of raw land on section 17.  A cabin was built into which the family moved, and the ground was cleared and cultivated until it is now one of the finest farms in the county.  The little cabin has long since given way to a comfortable dwelling, and more land was added to the original purchase until the farm became 160 acres in extent.

Mr. and Mrs. Heizer have had four children:  Alexander, a Presbyterian minister, now residing in Lucas, Iowa; Harriet, who died in infancy; Jane, who died May 5, 1872, at the age of twenty-seven years; and Cyrus, a Unitarian minister, now preaching at Manchester, N. H.  On the 1st of March, 1876, Mr. and Mrs. Heizer left their farm and removed to the town of Mediapolis, where they have since continued to reside.  Both have been consistent members of the Presbyterian Church since childhood, and the husband has held the office of Deacon for thirty-five years.  He has also held several township offices of trusts, is Republican in politics, and is an advocate of the prohibition laws.  Mr. Heizer’s success in life has been due to his own efforts.  Coming to this county poor in this world’s goods, by hard work he was enabled to save money enough to purchase a few acres, and by his industry and economy, assisted by the labors of his most estimable wife, he at length gained a most comfortable competency and in his old age can reap the rewards of a well-spent life.  With two sons ministers of the gospel, with the respect and esteem of their neighbors and the good will of all who know them, this worthy couple are indeed happily situated.”

Source:    Portrait and Biographical Album of Des Moines, Iowa  www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~iabiog/desmoines/…/pba1888-h.htm


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