Jones logo
M. O. Felton
Born March 14, 1827

M. O. FELTON, farmer, Madison Twp., Sec. 11; P.O. Center Junction; born March 14, 1827, in Highland Co., Ohio; in 1831, came to Marion Co., Ind.; in 1853, to Jones Co., Iowa; he owns 250 acres of land; he taught school in Scotch Grove Township during thc seasons of 1853 and 1854, and has held all the township and school offices. Married Anna M. Krouse August 29, 1854; she was born in Germany in 1833; have eight childrenBorn March 14, 1827—Margaret F., George L., Alfred N., Oliver J., Charles W., Anna M., Harlan P, and William R. Republican.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 615.

Very few of the men who came to Jones county in the early days are still living, and of these, few if any, had greater experience with the many different phases of pioneer conditions than M. O. Felton, who has now retired from the active life of a farmer and lives in Center Junction. Unbroken wilderness, prairie schooners, log houses, primitive schools, and all the hardships of those first years of colonization have left their impress upon his memory. This venerable citizen of Jones county was born in Highland county, Ohio, March 14, 1828, being a son of Alexander and Frances (Wells) Felton. His is a representative of an old colonial family, the first of his ancestors to come to America being Nathaniel Felton, a native of England, who settled at Salem, Massachusetts. Many of his descendants still reside around Boston, while others have been pioneers of nearly every state of the Union. Our subject's grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier and other members of the family have fought on the right side of the other wars in which their country has engaged.
Alexander Felton, our subject's father, was a native of Franklin County, Massachusetts, while the mother was born near Richmond, Virginia, but both had gone to Ohio as young people. In fact the mother was only twelve years of age when her parents took up their residence in that state, which was still in its primitive condition, and Mr. Felton was but little older when he began the work of clearing the place for himself. In Highland county, Ohio, the couple were married and in the spring of 1832, when M. O. Felton was about four years of age, they removed to Marion county, Indiana, locating near Indianapolis, where they joined the band of men and women who were endeavoring to reclaim the virgin country. There the parents passed the remainder of their lives, death calling the father when lie was in his sixtieth year, and the mother when she had tolled off eighty-two years.
M. O. Felton, was reared, from his fourth year, in Marion county, Indiana, and pursued his starches in a little log cabin school where the children of the pioneers acquired some knowledge of books. Rough hewn logs formed the sides of the little building, puncheons made the floor, and the pupils sat upon rude benches which consisted only of slabs of wood. When he was nineteen years of age Mr. Felton returned to his native state and in Highland and Brown counties obtained his first experience as a teacher. The next year he returned to his home, taught in the winter months, while he himself attended school through tire summer, being a student at Marion Seminary, Indianapolis, in the summer of 1850. He taught in every state between Ohio and Iowa. In July 1853, he came to this state, stopping first at Bloomfield, Davis county, and then locating in Jones county. In August, just before the elections, he ate his first dinner at the Waverley House in Anamosa, and that fall, it becoming known that he was a teacher of repute he was hired by the citizens of Scotch Grove township to conduct its school. A log cabin had been previously erected to serve as an educational institution, and here Mr. Felton opened his fall classes. But as the farce of his instruction spread and the number of his pupils increased, the little house was not large enough to accommodate the sixty boys and girls who came from far and near to profit by his training. Accordingly the church was turned over to school uses and the winter term was conducted in it.
In the spring of 1857, he moved into the frame shanty, sixteen by eighteen feet in dimensions, which he had put up on his land and immediately commenced to break the soil which was to give him a livelihood. With so much diligence did he prosecute his work that in a few years it was blooming like a garden and returning to him a handsome interest upon his investment of thought and industry. For a period of forty years he pursued his vocation as a farmer, winning a success which justified him in relinquishing the heavier cares of life and removing to Center Junction, which has been his home since 1898. At one time he owned two hundred and eighty acres, all in one, body, and the farm which was the scene of his labors and the home of his eight children until their maturity, is still in the possession of the family.
Among the many enrolled in that first class in Scotch Grove township, was a young woman, who immediately attracted Mr. Felton's attention and who later became his wife, theirs being the first marriage celebrated in Madison township. He entered a quarter section of land, in what is now Madison township, but which was then included in Clay precinct, which comprised four of the present townships. In 1854, he married and that same year the young couple returned to Marion county, Indiana, for Mr. Felton's father had died and he was needed by his mother to care for the home farm. For two summers he operated the place and then in that year of 1856, he fitted out a prairie schooner and a team or horses, preparatory to bringing his wife and baby back to Jones county. He made his start after the nomination of the first republican presidential candidate, and as his sympathies were with that newly organized party on the sides of his schooner he painted the banner "Fremont and Dayton Our Candidates." As the great wagon was hauled from Indiana to Iowa it tacitly did a great deal of electioneering, and, owing to the banner, Mr. Felton made on the journey a number of acquaintances, whose friendship lasted through many years.
It was on the 29th of August, 1854, that Mr. Felton was united in marriage to Miss Anna M. Kraus, who was born in Bavaria, Germany, October 14, 1833. She was only twelve years of age, however, when her parents brought her to this country, and after spending a few years in Kane county, Illinois, came in 1853 to Jones county. The eight children born to this couple grew to maturity but two of them have now passed away. Margaret, the eldest, born June 15, 1855, married George E. Kegley and died February 2, 1890. George Leslie, born November 12, 1857, is a banker and merchant in Millerton, Oklahoma. Alford Nichols, born January 27, 1860, is a farmer and lives at Gooding, Idaho. Oliver John, who was born February 22, 1863, is a lawyer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Charles Wesley, born October 31, 1865, is a railway division agent and lives in Sioux City, Iowa. Annie W., who was born December 31, 1867, became the wife of A. Porter and lives in Maquoketa, Iowa. Harlan Phillip, a physician, born December 21, 1871, has passed away. William Reed, the youngest of this family, born November 10, 1874, is a civil engineer in Miles City, Montana.
Few of the couples who have been married in Jones county can show a record of more than fifty-five years spent in harmony and companionship, as can Mr. and Mrs. Felton. And yet despite the hard toil, which is inseparable from the life of the husbandman, especially if he is a pioneer as well, Mr. Felton looks like a man of sixty-five or seventy-years, so well preserved is he and such good health does he enjoy. Nor does his wife give much evidence of advanced years. They are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which for more than two score of years Mr. Felton served on the official board. Politically he has always been a strong republican and during the years of his activity took a vital part in local affairs, for he was trustee and assessor of the township, and also served as justice of the peace. He belongs to Wyoming Lodge, NO. 206, A.F.&A.M., and is a member of Keystone Chapter, No. 206, R.A.M., of that village. His life, long and useful, the years of which have contributed more than can be adequately told toward the development of Jones county is a record of which Mr. Felton might be justifiably proud, while it is one which demands from his fellow citizens the most unqualified and unequivocal respect and esteem. As one of the earliest settlers of this section of the state, he deserves distinction, but as a man of strong character and high principles he is worthy of the highest tributes which may be paid to any.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 368.


© Copyright 1997-2013, The Art Department, © Copyright 2014-2020, Richard Harrison.
Last updated on Friday, 16-Apr-2021 16:53:24 MST