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Alva Benjamin Caffee
Born 12 November 1853

Alva Benjamin Caffee belongs to that type of energetic, industrious and persevering men who through their own well directed efforts in business lines are meeting with substantial success. A native of Jones county, Iowa, he was born two miles south of Fairview on the 12th of November 1853, a son of John and Eliza Ruth (Reid) Caffee. The father was one of the early settlers of Fairview township, where he located in 1840, entering land from the government and continuing to make his home thereon until his death. He was a brickmaker by trade and made the brick used in the state buildings at Iowa City, which were erected in 1837 and 1838. It was in the fall of 1838 that the mother of our subject came to Fairfield township where her brother, Calvin Reid, had located the previous spring. He was a millwright in the employ of the government and constructed a bridge and dam across the Wapsipinicon river just above the location of the present bridge. Miss Reid was married to Mr. Caffee at Iowa City in 1839, and unto this union were born six children, namely: Mrs. Vesty, sixty-seven years of age, who was formerly the wife of Ben Holden, a soldier who was killed in the Civil war; Ezra Delos, sixty-six years of age, residing in Washington; Thomas Jefferson who, at the age of sixty-two years, is living in Sioux City, Iowa; Frances Langstaff, who passed away at the age of thirty years; Alva Benjamin, of this review; and John Calvin, who was forty-six years of age at the time of his demise.
In the township of his nativity Alva Benjamin Caffee spent the first twenty-six years of his life, the days of his boyhood and youth being passed under the parental roof. At the usual age he was sent as a pupil to the district schools and after laying aside his text-books he remained at home, giving his father the benefit of his assistance, until he attained years of maturity. In 1881 he went to northeastern Nebraska, where he resided for eleven years, being engaged during that time, in agricultural pursuits, and at the expiration of this period removed to Missouri where he made his home for two years. He then returned to Jones county, Iowa, taking tip his abode in Martelle, where he has since continued to reside. After his return to Iowa he engaged to some extent in agricultural pursuits, but at present is confining his attention entirely to buying and selling livestock, his operations in this field of activity being both extensive and successful. He possesses excellent business ability, is careful and discriminating in the management of his affairs and through close application and intelligently directed energies has won a most creditable place among the businessmen of Martelle.
Mr. Caffee was united in marriage in 1877 to Miss Cassie G. Belden, a daughter of Dr. G. W. and Louisa (Hotchkiss) Belden, of Mount Vernon, Iowa. Unto this union have been born four children, as follows: Gladys, the wife of John Ireland; Alta, who wedded Charles Darsee: Alva Belden, who married Evalyn Horn; and Olive, residing at home. In his fraternal relations Mr. Caffee holds membership in White Rose Lodge, N. 279, K. P., of Martelle, and has held all of the offices in that order. His fellow citizens, recognizing his sterling worth, honored him with election to the office of mayor. During his incumbency in office he gave the town a businesslike, progressive and beneficial administration, inaugurating various needed reforms and improvements, the excellent performance of his duties being a source of honor to himself and of credit to his constituents. He is at present acting as a member of the board of education, Martelle possessing a very good, up-to-date graded school. Preeminently public spirited in his citizenship, he at all times has the best interests of the community at heart and the record which he has made for himself during his residence in Martelle is such as has gained for him the unqualified respect, confidence and good will of all with whom he has come in contact.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 645.


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