Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Henry Fiddler and Francis George, Our 3rd Great GrandParents.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Overlooking the Pleasant Grove

Dear Clan,
In my search to find information on famous ancestors I feel I tend to neglect our great grandparents who lived lives similar to our own. I'm talking about simple folks that get up every day and do their best to put bread on the table and shoes on the kid's feet. These are the people that built America one homestead or farm at a time. Tonight we take a minute to celebrate the life of one such American.

Family, I’d like to introduce you to our 3rd Great Grandfather and Grandmother Henry Fiddler and Francis George. Henry and Francis were the Grandparents of Grandma Mattson’s Father, Walter Edwin Pierce.

Grandpa Henry was a native of Pennsylvania. He was born on 23rd of Nov. in 1823. His parents were Abraham Fiddler and Susan Keller. We know little of the the Fiddlers until 1838 when the family moved to Richland County, Ohio, where in 1846 Henry Fiddler married Francis George, daughter of Jacob George. In 1853 the family came to Iowa, stopping to winter in Muscatine County.

On March 24, 1854 he traveled to DesMoines to make a payment on 129 acres of land on Section 29. He only had one dollar in money. It was just enough to pay the fee at the land office. He relied on the charity of other pioneer settlers along the way as he travelled home. On the trip home he picked up three passengers who paid him $1.50 each. That money paid his expenses and he felt, with that money in hand, to be in good financial circumstances when he got home.

Grandpa Henry improved his land, and in 1855 resumed his work as a trained carpenter. They continued to live at Eldora where he built the third framed house in the town. He was elected Sheriff of the County in 1856 and served as Sheriff for four years. In 1859 he took his first prisoner, Eli Osbourn. Eli was convicted of stealing bacon. Henry took him to Ft. Madison. The trip took one month, which was a sixth of Eli’s prison sentence. In 1856 he arrested two men for the attempted murder of a Mr. Marryweather. Henry took them to Des Moines - home of the nearest jail. In August of 1856 he took another prisoner to DesMoines as well. He was arrested for stealing four hundred dollars at Hazel Green.

The locals wrote that Henry Fiddler was a conspicuous character in the pioneer history of Hardin County. He and Francis had 10 children. Eldora E. is our second Great Grandmother.

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