(from the 1901 History)

The subject of this personal narration is one of the most successful and progressive farmers of Marion Township, though his home is in the city of Marion on Seventh avenue west. He was born in Delaware County, New York, on the 27th of October, 1829, and is a son of David P. and Rachel (Brownell) Carpenter, the former also a native of the Empire state and the latter of Rutland, Vermont. The father was a farmer by occupation and was an officer in the War of 1812, receiving a land warrant for his services. He had two brothers, William and Charles, who fought for American independence as soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Both he and his wife were active and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which he served as class leader for many years. He died in New York at the age of sixty-four years, and she passed away at the age of fifty-four. Of their thirteen children our subject is probably the only survivor, though his brother Caleb, who has not been heard of for years, may be still living in Pennsylvania.

During his boyhood Washington B. Carpenter attended the district schools of his native state, but his educational advantages were meager. His training at farm labor, however, was not so limited and he early acquired an excellent knowledge of agricultural pursuits. Before coming west he was employed in a wholesale store in New York City for eight or nine years. In March, 1864, he arrived in Mt. Vernon, Linn County, Iowa, and was first engaged in farming in Franklin Township, where he purchased land. In his farming operation he has met with most excellent success, and is now the owner of a fine farm of four hundred and seventy-five acres of land in Marion Township, all of which is under a high state of cultivation with the exception of a small tract of timber land. He has an orchard upon his place, but most of the land is planted in corn and oats. He raises a high grade of thoroughbred cattle, and raised the finest steer ever produced in the state, it weighing thirty-six hundred pounds in Chicago when four years old. He owns two farms, one of which he rents, while the other is operated by hired help.

On the 21st of March, 1852, Mr. Carpenter was united in marriage with Miss Frances A. Mason, also a native of New York, and a daughter of R.W. and S.M. Mason, who came to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, about 1850. By occupation her father was a farmer. Of his twelve children three sons were among the boys in blue of the Civil war. L.H., who had previously served as sheriff of this county, was a quartermaster in the service and died about twelve hours after his return home. E.R., now a resident of Marion, was a lieutenant, and was held a prisoner at Andersonville for six months. John C. entered the service as a corporal, and was severely wounded in the battle of Shiloh, after which he returned home. He has been sergeant at arms at the capitol in Des Moines, and is now serving as justice of the peace in Greenfield, Iowa.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter were born three children: (1) Alfred M., a farmer of Marion Township, Linn county, married, first, Alice D. Simpson, and they had seven children, Blanche, Florence, Frances, Pearl, Emily, Cora and Earl. In 1897 she died, and in April, 1899, he married Mrs. Marjorie Goodlove, and they have one child, Dorothy. (2) Claud C., an extensive farmer and cattle dealer living a mile east of Marion, married, first, Libbie Belle, and they had five children: Daisy, who died young; Belle; Benjamin; Clinton and Ralph. In 1893 she passed away, and for his second wife he married Stella Stinson, in 1899, and they have one child, Frances Beulah. (3) Cora A. married Charles Heer and died in 1887, at the age of twenty-four years. With her was buried her daughter, Louise, who died at the same time, aged two years. Our subject and his wife have three great-grandchildren: Lewis Matthews, Earl Lary and Alice Thompson.

Since her girlhood days Mrs. Carpenter has been an earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and she is also a member of the Chautauqua Society. Mr. Carpenter is a Knight Templar Mason, and is one of the most prominent and highly esteemed citizens of Marion. In business affairs he is upright and honorable and his life has ever been such as to commend him to the confidence of all with whom he has come in contact either in business or social affairs.


The Biographical Record of Linn County Iowa; Illustrated, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1901.
pages 116-118.

Submitted by: Carrie J. Robertson of Marion

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Washington Benjamin Carpenter
(from the 1911 History)

Washington Benjamin Carpenter was for many years identified with farming interests and although now living retired, making his home in Marion, is still the owner of a valuable and productive farm of four hundred and eighty-five acres, situated about five miles north of the. city in which he lives. He was born in Delaware county, New York, and is a son of David P. and Rachel (Brownell) Carpenter. The father always resided in his native state. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, serving with the rank of captain, while two of his brothers, George and Thomas Carpenter, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war.

Washington B. Carpenter is one of a family of thirteen children but only he and his brother Caleb, a resident of Pennsylvania, now survive. He attended the common schools and worked on the home farm with his father in his youthful days but thinking that his opportunities were limited by the confines of the farm, he afterward went to New York city, where he remained for eleven years, which brought him up to the time that he was thirty-five years of age. He then left the east and, making his way to Iowa, settled at Mount Vernon, where he purchased two hundred and seventy-five acres and began the development of a new farm. Later he located on the place which he now owns in the vicinity of Marion, in 1870. Year after year he carefully tilled the fields, bringing the place under a high state of cultivation and became, through judicious investment, the owner of four hundred and eighty-five acres of valuable land, which he continued to cultivate with gratifying success until about fifteen years ago, when he turned the active work of the farm over to others and took up his abode in Marion. He has the proud record of raising the finest steer ever produced in the state, it weighing thirty-six hundred pounds in Chicago when four years old.

Mr. Carpenter was married on the 21st of March, 1852, to Miss Frances Mason, and unto them were born three children. Alfred M., the eldest, is a farmer of this county, who married Alice Simpson, and unto them were born eight children: Blanch, the wife of Robert Larry; Florence, the wife of Lou Mattis, by whom she has one child, Louie; Frances, the wife of Andrew Falcon, and the mother of two children, Gladys and Norman; Emily, the wife of Alfred Busenbark; one child, a boy, who died in infancy; Pearl, the wife of Marion Owen, by whom she has a daughter, Alice; Cora, the wife of Sumner Jordan and the mother of a daughter, Isabel; and Donald. After the death of his first wife, Alfred M. Carpenter wedded Marjorie Goodbye, and their children are Dorothy arid Charlotte. Claud C. Carpenter, the second son of W. B. Carpenter, married Miss Elizabeth Beall, and their children are: W. B., at home; Belle, the wife of Joseph Napier; Clinton C., attending college in Ames, Iowa; and Ralph, at home. For his second wife Claud C. Carpenter chose Stella Stinson and they have four children, Frances, Mary, Howard and Irene. Cora, the third child of W. B. Carpenter, is the wife of Charles Herr. They had a daughter, Louise, now deceased. After losing his first wife Mr. Carpenter of this review wedded Elizabeth Cooper, a native of County Down, Ireland.

In his fraternal relations Mr. Carpenter is a Mason and has attained the Knight Templar degree. He has always been interested in the welfare of the community and has aided in promoting its moral progress as a member of the Methodist church. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers & Merchants State Bank at Marion and is still one of its directors. He belongs to the Old Settlers Association and takes an active interest in its meetings and in recalling the early days when this was a pioneer district in which the work of improvement and development had scarcely begun. Through his business life he took an active part in promoting the agricultural progress of the county and he has been an interested witness of its growth along many lines since coming to the county more than four decades ago.


History of Linn County Iowa, From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. II,
Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1911,
p. 332-5.

Submitted by: Contributed by Terry Carlson

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