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Lawrence Schoonover
Born December 12, 1828


L. SCHOONOVER, cashier of the banking-house of Shaw, Schoonover & Co., Shaw's Block, Anamosa; is a native of Bradford Co., Penn., and was born Dec. 12, 1828; when quite small, his parents removed to Indiana, and he was brought up and lived there and in Illinois until coming to Iowa in 1853; he located in Jones Co., and engaged in farming; upon the breaking-out of the rebellion, he was the first man from Jones Co. to enlist in the three-year's service. He was in Co. G, 1st I.V.C., and was in a number of battles; he was in thc service three and a half years; after his return, in 1865, he was elected Treasurer of Jones Co., and held that office for eight years; he has been a member of the banking-house of Shaw, Schoonover & Co. since its organization in 1873, and holds the position of Cashier. Mr. Schoonover was a member of the first Board of Supervisors of Jones Co., and is a member of the present Board. He was united in marriage to Miss Amelia J. Tanner, from Jefferson Co., N.Y., November 5, 1867; they have had three children, none of whom are living.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 575.

Lawrence Schoonover, whose memory is cherished by all who knew him while he was yet an active factor in the world's work, lives through his influence and the force of his splendid example in the lives of those with whom he came in contact. He was a man whom to know was to esteem and honor not alone by reason of the success which he achieved in business, although he became one of the prosperous residents of the county, but owing to the fact that he made business but one phase of existence, never allowing it to exclude the acts of progressive and faithful citizenship or of a recognition of his obligations to his fellowmen. Those who were associated in life, when speaking of him, pay gracious tribute to his memory for his record was one which awakened admiration, confidence, respect and honor.
Mr. Schoonover was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, December 12, 1828, and was the eldest son of Thomas and Sarah Schoonover. The first thirteen years of his life were spent in the place of his nativity and he then accompanied his parents on their removal to Franklin county, Indiana, where the family home was maintained for seven years. In 1848, a further removal was made to Fort Wayne, Allen county, Indiana, and thus upon the frontier of the Hoosier State during the pioneer epoch in its history Lawrence Schoonover was reared, sharing with the family in the hardships and privations which are always features in pioneer life. He continued under the parental roof until nearly twenty-one years of age and in the fall of 1849, went on foot to Naperville, Illinois, making his way to the home of an uncle residing there. In that locality, he was employed at farm labor by the month until the fall of 1853. In the meantime his uncle died and with his widowed aunt in the fall of 1853, be drove across the country in an open buggy drawn by one horse to Scotch Grove, Jones county, Iowa, looking for government land. Soon afterward he purchased three hundred and twenty acres in the eastern part of Wayne township, after which he returned to Illinois and there remained until 1856. He then again came to Jones county to make it his home, his father having removed to the county about eight months before. In the spring of 1856, he began to develop his farm, plowing the fields and fencing the land. It was some time before the farm proved a profitable property and during the summers of 1858 and 1859, he attended school in Bloomington, Illinois, while in the successive winters he engaged in teaching at Langworthy, Iowa. In 1860, he was elected county supervisor from Wayne county, this being the first county board of supervisors. As the years came and went he continued an active factor in public affairs, whether in office or out of it, for his opinions were always regarded as sound and proved influencing factors in molding public thought and action.
Like the great majority of American citizens, Lawrence Schoonover was deeply aroused to the political situation of the country and its significance in the months which preceded the outbreak of hostilities between the north and the south. just two months after Fort Sumter had been fired upon he offered his aid to the government, enlisting on the 13th of June, 1861, as a member of Company G, First Iowa Cavalry, with which he served with distinction until September 9, 1864. After more than three years spent at the front he was honorably discharged at Davenport, Iowa. He was the first man from Jones county to enlist for three years. He had enlisted under the call for seventy-five thousand troops to serve for three months but for some reason was not mustered into the United States service under that enlistment. He continued with the army for three and a half years and during that time participated in a number of hotly contested engagements which were factors in the victory that finally crowned the Union arms. In 1865, the year following his return from the war, he was elected county treasurer and his fidelity and capability in that position are indicated in the fact that by reelection he was continued in the office for eight years or four terms.
Mr. Schoonover was holding that position at the time of his marriage which occurred November 5, 1867, the lady of his choice being Miss Amelia J. Tanner. The became the parents of five children but three of the number died prior to the death of the father. Those who still survive are George L. and Mary, together with Mrs. Schoonover, between whom and her husband there existed a relation that was largely ideal.
On his retirement from the office of county treasurer, Mr. Schoonover took his place in the ranks of the business men of Jones county and was soon occupying a foremost position. In December, 1873, he entered into banking circles, forming a partnership with Colonel W. T. Shaw, E. M. Condit and J. A. Bell, for the conduct of a private banking business which was carried on for a number of years under the firm name of Shaw, Schoonover & Company, at the end of which time Mr. Condit and Mr. Bell retired, the partnership between Mr. Shaw and Mr. Schoonover being maintained until Colonel Shaw retired from business. Mr. Schoonover was then alone in his banking enterprise until January 7, 1897, when it was consolidated with the Anamosa National
Bank and he was chosen to the presidency of the latter, so continuing until his demise. In Masonry Mr. Schoonover took high rank and was most deeply attached to the organization. He was initiated in Anamosa Lodge, No. 46, August 10, 1866; passed, September 7, 1866; raised October 12, 1866. He served in the square of justice; ever remembering that he was traveling upon the level of time to a better, brighter and purer sphere than this. For a number of years he had not been united with any religious society, yet we find in his life many of the Christian attributes and virtues. His was a religion of works and deeds, rather than one of creeds and professions. He lived and died a manly man. His passing was peaceful and without a groan or struggle, simply falling asleep to wake in a better and brighter world. He died as he lived, at peace with his God, his neighbors and himself. As we look upon his physical face today, pale in the embrace of death. and his body serenely resting in that casket, we are again forcibly reminded that all men are born to die. These are all striking emblems of mortality and afford serious reflection to a thinking mind; but they would be still more gloomy were it not for the emblem of immortality which once bloomed at the grave of the illustrious dead and which serves to remind us of that imperishable part of man which bears the nearest affinity to the Supreme intelligence which pervades all nature and which can never, never die.

    'Still seems it strange that we should live forever?
    Is it less strange that we should live at all?
    This is a miracle, and that no more."

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 14.

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