PRICE: Hirum / Hiram, railroad advocate, bank president, paymaster general for State of Iowa, Iowa Temperance Society organizer, Commissioner of Indian Affairs [Pres. Hayes].
I was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, 10 Jan 1814, and first employed as a dry goods clerk, later as chief clerk of an iron works. At about the age of 20, I married Susan BETTS (no info). We moved to Davenport, Scott, Iowa, and I again settled into the mercantile business.
In 1847, I was elected first School Fund Commissioner of Scott County and kept the office for 9 years. The following year, I was elected Recorder and Treasurer of Scott County, serving for 7 years. For most of the 1850s, I served as alderman of Davenport. At this time I was able to retire and dedicate my life to public service.
I had a mind for improvment of society and commerce, and was an extreme advocate of the temperance movement, organizing a chapter of the temperance society - The Grand Division of the Sons of Temperance for the State of Iowa. For many years, I served as a representative to the National Division of North America as well as head of the local chapter.
A firm believer in building railroads, I became one of the first people to advocate a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean. I served as Secretary for the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company, formed in Davenport, and was responsible for building the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River in Davenport.
Starting with its second year of operation, I served as the president of the Bank of Iowa, a state-run bank. By the time it closed, all investors received every dime back.
During the Civil War, I acted as Paymaster General for the State of Iowa, responsible for paying all of Iowa's soldiers. Iowa didn't have enough money to take care of all of its soldiers so I paid for upwards of 5000 men out of my own pocket. When Camp McClellan in Davenport ran out of bread because the baker could not afford to make it, I paid for it. I saw fit to put myself in harm's way and personally took the pay owed to some of the soldiers to Missouri and made sure they received their money.
After the war, I served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs under Pres. Rutherford B. HAYES [Find-a-Grave says GARFIELD] and would eventually become a member of Congress twice.
I died 30 May 1901 [no location]. I am buried in Davenport, Scott, Iowa's Oakdale Memorial Gardens. Marker says HIRAM.
This is a script for Oakdale's semi-annual cemetery walk where notable citizens are characterized by volunteers in period clothing at each grave site. [see Oakdale website]