||H. H. SOPER, farmer, Wayne Twp., Sec. 31; P.O. Anamosa; lives with and carries on business with his father, Mr. George Soper, who is one of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of Wayne Township. The subject of this sketch was born in Anamosa, Iowa, January 4, 1858, and has always lived in this county. His wife's maiden name was Lizzie Johnson, a native of Germany; they were married September 16, 1879. Mrs. Soper is a member of the Lutheran Church; Mr. Soper is a Republican.
Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 635.
Having lived in and around Anamosa, Jones County, all my life, I am writing my history as I remember and as informed by my parents.
I was born in Anamosa, January 4, 1858, near where the M.E. Church is located. The small house still is in use on Garnavillo Street and owned by Alfred Remley.
At the age of about one year and three months old, my father purchased 320 acres of land four miles northeast of Anamosa. There was about one hundred acres of timber and he built a farm house on the south side of the timber. This land was virgin soil, never having been plowed. My first farm operation was herding cattle with my lunch pail and little dog. I walked back and forth along a one-half mile fence into the carn. I had no way of knowing the time of day but ate my lunch when i got hungry. My next job was plowing with an ox team at the age of seven. My father marked out a piece of land and left me and the oxen. All I had to do was hold the plow up straight. The oxen know more about plowing than I did. We finished the land and the oxen took a bee-line for the farmyard, dragging the plow and me with them. A yoke of oxen were very handy. They seemed to know just what you wanted them to do. You guided them with a whip and any way you wanted them to go, they would follow by the motion you made with the whip or stick you had in your hand.
Father owned some timber three or four miles west of the cemetery and I, with the oxen, and he, with the horse team, hauled logs on the sleds down the river on the ice to the saw mill that stood where the Electric Light Plant is now. Father would load the logs on and drive them out of the timber on the river ice and then go with his team and load, and down the river we would go, unload the logs and load lumber and start for home. I have hauled a great many loads of rock from the Dutch John Stone Quarry northwest of Anamosa with the ox team. One trait I found in the ox team—they never ran away, which I found horses would, but as long as we had ox teams, they were my team to work. But, when and how the oxen were discarded, I fail to remember.
The district school house was just a short distance from our house. There was a summer four-month's school and a winter four-month's school. After I was eight or nine years old, I attended winter school, but I attended the Anamosa Academy school taught by Mrs. Colonel Springer four years. I taught school two winter terms at Bunker Hill, the first county school house north of Anamosa on the Monticello road. I taught the winters of 1877-78 and 1878-79.
September 1879, I was married to Elizabeth Johnson, and farmed until 1902, when I moved to Anamosa. Three children were born to us. Mattie, who died in her 11th year, George on the farm in Jackson Township, and Bessie in Cedar Rapids.
I have served on the City Council and as City Marshall. I was elected M.W.A. secretary and constable in 1903, and still hold the offices of secretary and constable.
Horace H. Soper
Cedar Rapids, IA, December 19, 1940
Source: This autobiography was found in Horace Soper's papers after his death in 1941
Submitted by: Lesley & Renee Franks