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Emerson Shotwell
Born March 19, 1864


Emerson Shotwell, a substantial farmer of Greenfield township, was born in Lobo, Ontario, Canada, March 19, 1864, and is the son of Joseph Marsh and Martha (Ferguson) Shotwell. On his father's side he is descended from the Friends or Quakers who came to this country in the second half of the seventeenth century. A. M. Shotwell, a relative, with care and diligence traced the family genealogy back two hundred and fifty years and as the result of his study a large book of tables and historic data is in the possession of Mr. Shotwell. There are many interesting items concerning this compilation, first in regard to the men who began it and the means used to carry on the work. A. M. Shotwell, who undertook the task of looking up the old records and tracing the different members of the family, strange as it may seem, had no use of his eyes. He was assisted by a brother and sister. His brother did most of the writing, but he was also disabled and, because of paralysis of his arms, was compelled to hold the pen in his teeth. With the aid of a sister the work was completed and made useable. From it is learned that Abraham Shotwell was the first of the family in this country. He came from England in 1665 and located in Elizabeth, New Jersey, whence his descendants have spread over the United States and into Canada, their location in the latter section of this continent being due to the fact that as Quakers the family took no part in the Revolutionary war and in compensation for their neutralities were given a grant of land in Canada by the British government. Considering the other side of the struggle, William Shotwell, a great-grandfather of the subject, was fined by the colonies for failing to render military service and his property confiscated, including the stone house that was completed on the day Cornwallis surrendered, October 19, 1781. He thereupon moved to Welland, Canada West, where he passed the remainder of his days, dying at the advanced age of ninety-three years. He had a son John, one of the sixth generation since the founding of the family in the United States, who was born in 1785 and died in Lapper county, Michigan. His home had formerly been, however, in Thorold, Canada West, which is now the district of Ontario. This book of genealogical facts has a historic value in that it corrects a mistake that from constant repetition is supposed to be authentic, namely the battle commonly known as that of Lundy's Lane, should be Lundy's Land, as it was fought on the property owned by Lundy, who was a distant relative of Mr. Shotwell.
Joseph Marsh Shotwell, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Canada and came to Iowa first in 1854. He remained here for some time and then returned to Canada, where he married Miss Martha Ferguson and then in 1866 came to Greenfield township, Jones county, to spend the rest of his days. His wife, like himself of Canadian birth, can also trace her family back many generations. Through her marriage she became the mother of two children: Emerson, of this review; and Louisa, who was born in June 1870, and died at the age of two years.
Emerson Shotwell was a child of two when his parents came to live in Greenfield township and here he grew to manhood, learning the secrets of the cultivation of the soil from his father and through actual experience. He received a common-school education and when it became time for him to embark upon the sea of life upon his own responsibility he devoted himself to farming. He now owns one hundred and twenty acres on sections 21 and 22, Greenfield township, a well- improved tract of land, cultivated by progressive methods.
In 1893 Mr. Shotwell wedded Miss Louisa Bishop, a daughter of Francis M. and Hairiest (Armstrong) Bishop, who were old settlers in this county and were the parents of two other daughters: Mrs. Angeline Gordon, now living in Oklahoma; and Lydia, who has remained at home. To Mr. and Mrs. Shotwell have been born two children: Alma, born September 4, 1894; and Francis Joseph, born November 15, 1896.
Mr. Shotwell's political sympathies are largely with the democratic party, but he is independent and inspired with progressive ideas and frequently votes for the candidate or issue which he thinks best irrespective of party ties. He has been school director and secretary of the board of education for the past twenty-two years, and trustee of the township for four years. In both capacities he has ever exerted his influence in the development of all the enterprises which would advance the best interests of the community in which he lives. He has in this manner made himself a vital factor in local affairs.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 388.

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