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Frank J. Brainard
Born 12 March 1902


When Frank J. Brainard passed from this life on the 12th of March, 1902, Cass township lost one of its most valued and representative citizens, who for more than four decades was actively and helpfully identified with community affairs. Few men's lives are crowned with the honor and respect which were uniformly accorded him and few have enjoyed in so great a measure the love and confidence of their fellowman. A life governed by the most honorable principles, Mr. Brainard never deviated from what he believed to be right between himself and his fellowman and in much that he did was actuated by a public spirit that found manifestation in the tangible aid which he gave to the county of his adoption. His personal characteristics, his straightforward business career and his efficient public service have made his memory sacredly cherished since he was called from this life.
Mr. Brainard was born on the 24th of September, 1842, in Wyoming county, New York, on the old homestead farm located about one and a half miles cast of the town of Gainsville. His parents were Stephen and Jemimah (Helmer) Brainard, also natives of Wyoming county, where their entire lives were passed. Their family consisted of six children, four sons and two daughters, but only one son now survives.
Under the parental roof Frank J. Brainard was reared to manhood and at the usual age was sent as a pupil to the district schools near his father's home, later attending an academy and high school. He supplemented his early training by a course of study in the academy at Pike, New York, and after completing his course in that institution engaged in teaching school for three terms, the summer months being devoted to farming in partnership with his fattier. In 1866, he sold his interest in the farm and came west to Iowa to visit friends living in Anamosa. He was so impressed with the excellent opportunities which this state offered along agricultural lines that he decided to take up his permanent abode here and consequently, in the spring of 1867, he purchased a farm of eighty acres in West Cass, for which he paid ten dollars per acre but sold in 1909 for one hundred and twelve dollars and fifty cents. He added another tract of forty acres to his original purchase and on that farm of one hundred and twenty acres be continued to make his home until 1876, when he sold out and purchased the farm upon which he was residing at the time of his demise and which is now operated by his son. It consists of two hundred and forty acres of land, located on section 9, which, under his careful management, was brought under a high state of cultivation, the farm becoming one of the best improved properties in the township. The place is equipped with two comfortable and attractive dwellings and has a large barn forty-eight by one hundred feet, while he also added all the modern conveniences and accessories used to facilitate farm labor. In addition to his general farming he made a specialty of raising cattle and hogs, and was a most successful, all around agriculturist, whose well directed labors were crowned with a most gratifying degree of prosperity.
On the 21st of October, 1866, in Gainsville, New York, Mr. Brainard was united in marriage to Miss Martha E. Price, native of that town, born on the 15th of July, 1843. Her father had been twice married, Mrs. Brainard and two brothers being the children of the second union, while by his former marriage he became the father of six children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brainard were born five children, namely: Fred A., of North Dakota; Grace May, who passed away when seven years old; Walter and Warren, twins, who died at the age of three months; and George, who resides upon and operates the home farm. The last named married Emma Pfiel, by whom he has two children, Geraldine and Carlton, while Fred, the eldest son, is also married, the lady of his choice being Miss Lizzie Crain. They are the parents of seven children, namely: Asa, Bertha, Chauncy, Dorothy, Ethel, Florence and Glenn.
Aside from the high rank which Mr. Brainard attained as an agriculturist, he also became a well known and influential factor in community affairs, although be never sought to figure prominently before the public. A life-long republican, he did all in his power to further the influence of that party in the community, and his fellow citizens, recognizing his genuine worth and ability, called him to various public offices. He was elected township trustee, in which office he served during the years 1886 and 1887, and was also chosen as assessor and justice of the peace. In 1899, further civic honors came to him in his election to the office of county supervisor, being a member of the board at the time of his demise and discharging the arduous and sometimes tedious duties of this office with exemplary diligence and fidelity. During his entire lifetime he had been a faithful and regular attendant at church and Sabbath school, never being absent unless detained by illness. On the 6th of March, 1879, he became a member of the Cass Center Congregational church, and for nearly eighteen years served as deacon therein. In the Sunday school he was by turn scholar, Bible class teacher and superintendent, occupying the latter office for eight years' He was a stanch advocate of the cause of temperance, doing all in his power to extend its influence in the community, for he realized that the liquor traffic is one of the greatest evils against which the country has to contend. He remained throughout his life an earnest student, keeping in touch with modern thought and advancement, and was well known as a man of sterling integrity and well cultivated intelligence.
Two weeks prior to his demise Mr. Brainard was seized with a chill developed into grippe, and this, with a complication of heart trouble, proved to be his fatal illness. He passed away on the 12th of March, 1902, at the age of fifty-nine years, five months and sixteen days, his remains being interred in Cass Center cemetery. His death was a great shock to the members of his family, for he had ever been a most loving husband and father, while his loss was also sorely felt throughout the community, where he was known as a faithful and considerate neighbor and a man of kindly thought and spirit, generous and helpful in action, and at the same time his genial disposition made him the life of every social gathering. just prior to his final illness he was engaged in a characteristic ministry, assisting to care for a sick neighbor. He realized as few men seem to do his obligations to his fellowman and to the community in which he resided. He looked at life from a broad standpoint and the simple weight of his character and ability carried him into important relations with his fellowman and won for him the unqualified regard and esteem of everyone with whom he came in contact.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 192.

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