Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Loveridge Samuel Axtell (1832-1908)

From Field's History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Vol. II, 1907.

   Endowed with an interesting first name (and an even more impressive beard) Loveridge S. Axtell was a resident of distinction in his adopted home county of Pottawattamie, Iowa, being at various times a teacher, superintendent of schools and state representative. This oddly named man with the flowing facial hair was a Pennsylvanian by birth, being born in the small borough of Sheakleyville on November 23, 1832,  a son of Samuel and Mary Loveridge Axtell. Inheriting his odd first name courtesy of his mother, Axtell began his education in schools local to Mercer County, Pennsylvania and later attended the Allegheny University during the early 1850s, teaching school during the winter time. 
  After the completion of his education, Axtell became a locating agent for a colony of Pennsylvanians that had made preparations to relocate out west. The two hundred strong group made the trek to the Kansas Territory in 1854 and once settled Axtell established a homestead. In the following year he served as a judge for the first official election held in the territory, and during the election, proceedings had to contend with a mob of angry "Border Ruffians", natives of Missouri who had made their way into Kansas and attacked anyone associated with the Kansas "Free-State" movement. 
  During this time period (commonly known as "Bleeding Kansas") Axtell wisely decided to relocate to Missouri, and soon after his relocation began teaching school in what is now the Lee's Summit area. In September 1855 he married to Ms. Sarah Holloway, and later moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa where his first daughter, Flora, was born. Their marriage proved to be short-lived, as in April of 1856 Sarah Axtell died, and in the fall of that year, Flora Axtell also died. Following their deaths, Loveridge Axtell taught school in a log building Council Bluffs, with an "average daily attendance of eight five pupils, and a highest daily attendance of 105."  In 1862 Axtell remarried in Council Bluffs to Frances Sarah Wade, a native of England who had later migrated to Missouri and later, Iowa. The couple would later have eight children, who are listed as follows in order of birth: Loveridge Hutton (born 1864), Charles Monroe (born 1866), Ida Permelia (1868-1971), Aggie Jane (1871-1913), Henry Wade (1874-1922), Frank (died in infancy in 1877), Walter Garfield (born 1879) and Spencer Burson (1882-1961). 
  Throughout the first half of the 1860s Axtell continued teaching in Council Bluffs, and in 1865 took on the position of superintendent of schools for Pottawattamie County. Around this same time period, he left teaching and began farming, eventually purchasing over 100 acres of land in Boomer Township where he erected a home for his family. He later bought up an additional 160 acres in Rockford Township and over the next few decades built up a substantial farming complex, with the Biographical History of Pottawattamie County noting that in addition to his large amount of acreage, Axtell also raised "a large stock of hogs, cattle and horses." This same work also details his success as a producer of apples, stating that "his orchard, commenced over twenty years ago, has by later additions grown to be over ten acres and has never failed for a single season, since large enough to bear, to yield a substantial supply of fruit."

The Loveridge S. Axtell homestead,  from the 1885 Pottawattamie County Atlas.

   Described as being an active Republican since the foundation of the party, Loveridge S. Axtell was elected by his fellow Pottawattamie citizens as a member of the Iowa State House of Representatives in November 1872. Taking his seat in January 1873, Axtell served one term in the legislature and during his tenure served on the Committee on County and Township Organization and also chaired the house committee on schools.
  After leaving the legislature in 1875 Axtell continued operating his farm and is later remarked as residing with his daughter Aggie Axtell Nusum. He died shortly before his 76th birthday on November 1, 1908 and was survived by his wife Fannie, who died in 1928 at age 87, both being interred at the Grange Cemetery in Honey Creek, Iowa. A number of Axtell's children also survived him, including his daughter Ida Permelia, who died in July 1971 at the grand age of 102!

Axtell's death notice from the Des Moines Capitol, November 12, 1908.

1 comment:

  1. This was fun to find! Loveridge was my gg grandfather on my father's, mother's side. There was a photograph that my g grandmother made from this photograph of him which used to hang at one of his granddaughter's homes in Salem Oregon, recall thinking he may be related to Santa Clause as a youngster. Thanks for posting!