Layton Township Biographies




CHARLES A. BROWN, confectioner and news dealer, Walnut; born in Lakeville, Conn., May 23, 1854, son of Albert H. and Caroline (Saunders) Brown, he a carpenter, born in Lakeville, Conn., June 10, 1832, she born in Lakeville, Conn., June 18, 1832; has three children, viz., Charles A., Jennie E., born May, 1861, and Sadie, October, 1865.

Subject attended the graded school at Sheffield, Ill., from 1859 to 1872, at which time he, with his parents, moved to this county, where he commenced life on a farm, and married, at Walnut, December 25, 1877, Laura N. Work, born in Sheffield, Bureau Co., Ill., August 18, 1858, daughter of J. M. and Martha Work, both born at Williamstown, Vt., in 1832.  Mr. and Mrs. Brown have one child—Grace E., born November 19, 1880.

Subject canvassed this State in 1879 for McCabe’s “History of the World,” which took him a little over a year, when he engaged in the loan and insurance business in Walnut.  He is a Republican, and cast his first vote for R. B. Hayes; is an Odd Fellow, and a direct descendant of Lord Eli Brown, heir of Brown Castle, Wales.

  1. R. HINCKLEY, capitalist, Walnut.  It is difficult sometimes to estimate the worth to a community of a leading or master spirit.  In the personal mention of some of the citizens of Layton Township, it is our object to give credit only to those to whom credit is due.  It is almost unanimously conceded by the citizens of the northeast corner of Pottawattamie County that Mr. E. R. Hinckley has been the agitator of almost every movement which has resulted in the general welfare of the citizens of Layton Township.

Mr. Hinckley is a native of Barnstable County, Mass.  He was born on September 10, 1823, and at the age of eleven years became a resident of the city of Boston, by the removal of his parents.  There he received a good literary education, and continued a resident of that city until his twenty-sixth year, when he went to New York City, and for the following six years he was a successful operator on Wall street.  Removing to Chicago, he made his home in that city until 1869; the following year he spent in Atlantic, Iowa, and in 1870 he located at the point where the thriving little town of Walnut now stands, the founding and building-up of which has been mainly due to his energy and enterprise, and a history of which will be found in the history of Layton Township.  When Mr. Hinckley located in Layton Township he was alone on a wild prairie, and so far as neighbors were concerned, they were almost as scarce as Enoch Arden’s, and he could feel something of the spirit of that unfortunate character of Tennyson’s when he counted himself monarch of all he surveyed.  Opening a land office for the sale of lands granted to the C., R. I. & P. Railroad, Mr. Hinckley entered upon a very successful business career in the West.  He soon became largely interested in real estate on his own account, and also in buying and grazing stock, and there has not been a time since that he has not owned one or more herds of cattle, and both improved and wild lands.

In 1875, in company with his son, he engaged in a general banking business in Walnut.  This, however, was in addition to his other business.  In 1880, they sold the bank to Mr. J. H. Henry, and since then have purchased large tracts of land in Northern Iowa, the most of which is located in Pocahontas County.  Mr. E. R. Hinckley is spending most of his time in the development of these interests, and is at present opening five farms, and has a herd of 500 cattle.  Becoming interested in the business of loaning money for Eastern capitalists, Mr. Hinckley has for several years done an extensive business in this line, and is still actively engaged in it.  Having acquired a competency, he is now endeavoring to dispose of most of his real estate, and put his business in such shape as to require the least care.  Almost every public institution in Walnut has received liberal donations from him, and, indeed, the town itself owes its existence to his enterprise and good financiering.

But few people are so fortunate as Mr. Hinckley in tracing their ancestral lineage back to English origin.  If it is any honor to be able to trace one’s ancestry back to the early part of the fourteenth century and find that one is a lineal descendant of a line of ancestry of which he may well be proud, then that pleasure or honor is his.  The year 1327 is the earliest record of the family found in English history.  Gov. Hinckley, of the Plymouth Colony, was one of their family, and is in the line of ancestors of our subject.  The family were among the early and prominent settlers of the New England States, and the name, so far as the reputation of E. R. Hinckley is concerned, has lost none of it luster, nor will it, as he is a man whose habits and principles are founded upon motives of right and justice.  When the best citizens of a community have only praise to offer to the name and principles of a man, that man is usually deserving of all that may be said in his favor.  This is the position held by Mr. Hinckley among the citizens of Layton and surrounding townships, and it is only due to him to say that he has earned the position by just and honorable measures.

MARK PEATT, miller, Walnut, born in Dexter, Mich., April 20, 1832, son of Thomas and Loram (Brown) Peatt, he a farmer, carpenter and miller, born in West Chester County, N. Y., and she, also born in New York, died in 1841.  They had four children, viz., Sarah, Turzy, Eugenia and our subject, who received a common school education; commenced life as a miller, and continued as such with the exception of three years, when he was in the mercantile business at Dexter, Mich.; married, in Manchester, Mich., December 29, 1853, Mary Ann Boyden, born in Pittsfield, Mass., October, 1832, daughter of Pomeroy and Abigail (Ayers) Boyden, both born in Massachusetts.  Mr. and Mrs. Peatt have three children, viz., Ada I., born September 7, 1855; Erastas B., born January 13, 1859, and Eva, November 30, 1866.  Mr. Peatt has been an active member of the Methodist Church since 1858, is a Republican, a Freemason, a member of the    A. O. U. W., and a member of the Legion of Honor.