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William H. Stivers
Born May 18, 1830


One of the best examples of a self-made man, in the State of Iowa, is William H. Stivers, who never went to school ten weeks after twelve years of age, who worked at the blacksmith trade until twenty-six years old, and who is now a leading man at the bar of Tama county. He is the son of a blacksmith, Benjamin Stivers, a resident of Attica. then Genesee, now Wyoming County, New York, and was born on the 18th of May 1830. His grandfather, Daniel Stivers, a German, who settled in New Jersey, was a pensioner of the revolutionary war. The mother of William was Sophronia Strong, and her mother was from Germany. In the spring of 1836 Benjamin Stivers moved to Nyesville, Meigs county, Ohio, reaching there the day his son was six years old. The place is now called Pomeroy. There William learned his father's trade, and worked at it steadily until 1850, when he immigrated to Iowa, working at black smith trade in Jones county.
In 1851 he removed to Linn county, and in company with David Zeikenfuse built the first blacksmith shop in the embryonic town of Lisbon. He carried on the business five years, studying law during the latter part of this period, being encouraged to so do by Hon. Isaac M. Preston. who is still living at Marion, in that county.
In 1856 Mr. Stivers moved to his present home, read law, and in March of the next year returned to Linn county, and was admitted to the bar at Marion, then and now the county seat.
For nearly twenty-one years Mr. Stivers has been in practice at Toledo. For eight years ,during this period he was in company with J. G. Safley, the firm name being Stivers and Safley. He is now of the firm of Stivers and Leland.
During the eight years he and Mr. Safley were together they were the attorneys for Tama county, the only political office of the least importance with which Mr. Stivers has had any connection. Though a republican, and living in a republican county, district and state, and interested in the welfare of his party, he has given his study, his time and his indomitable energies exclusively to the law. Beginning legal studies late in life, he seems to have come to the conclusion that to succeed- in his profession he must make it his sole pursuit. His great strength is before a jury, he being a powerful advocate. Like General Taylor in battle, Mr. Stivers, with his case in court, never knows when he is beaten. He holds on with bull-dog tenacity, and usually wins. He is five feet and eleven inches tall, is solidly built, has strong lungs, and knows nothing of physical exhaustion.
Mr. Stivers has passed all the chairs in the subordinate lodges of Odd-Fellowship, and belongs to the grand lodge of the state.
He was a member of the first free-soil convention held in Jones county, and has acted heartily with the Republican party since it was formed. Miss Emily Baugh, of Jones county, Iowa, became his wife on the 22nd of August, 1852, and they have four children, two girls and two boys.
Emma, the eldest child, is the wife of Michael J. Boyle, of Toledo; Seward J. is married, and lives upon a farm near town; George Sumner is also a farmer, living at home, and Lilly, the youngest child, is a student at the Rockford (Illinois) Seminary.
Like the Rev. Robert Collyer, of Chicago, Mr. Stivers can still shoe a horse, and do it well. During the past year a journeyman blacksmith, of Toledo, in attempting to put the shoes on one of Mr. Stivers' horses made a failure with one shoe, and Mr. Stivers did the little job for him neatly and hastily, to the surprise and admiration of those who were present.

Submitted by: Charles R. Stivers

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Last updated on Thursday, 19-Jun-2014 09:49:08 MST