William W. Bowen, M.D. (p. 79): born 1869; public schools, University of Iowa, post-graduate work in Berlin; surgeon, president of county medical society; church member. Ft. Dodge, Iowa.Conclusion
Family: father: locomotive (wood-burning) engineer, farmer, grist mill operator.
father's father: farmer.
brother: lawyer in Los Angeles.
children: one with immigration bureau of the U.S. department of the interior and former member of board of trustees of the Iowa State historical society; another is the wife of a professor at Northwestern.
Evaluation: A capable and established surgeon has risen above the status of his ancestors. His brother also rose, presumably. His children are his equals.
Robert Evans, M.D. (p. 91): born 1857; public schools; five years a teacher; Detroit College of Medicine, physician and surgeon at Ft. Dodge, Iowa; K. of C.
Family: father: "successful farmer."
father's father: farmer.
mother's father: government employee in Ireland.
Evaluation: A middle class doctor descended from a line of Irish farmers. His position is obviously more public than theirs was, and probably higher. In the Middle West there are, of course, many doctors who do not rank with the most prominent farmers in the county.
Edgar N. Zinn (p. 98): born 1886; public schools, high school, graduate of school of pharmacy, Chicago College of Medicine, one year post-graduate work after practicing in two towns; lodge member, bowling, golf.
Family: father: sash and door business.
brother: a dentist.
wife: graduate of a business school and ass't cashier in bank before marriage.
daughter: now at U. of Wis.
Evaluation: There are indications that subject lives better and associates with persons of higher status than did his father; there is no proof of this, however.
Willey John Steckel (p. 104): born 1862; public schools; at age 14 became a member of banking and real estate firm; president of the Exchange Bank; honored and influential citizen of Bloomfield, Iowa.
Family: father: "large influence in civic affairs. He became one of the leading members of the bar of Davis County . . . "; newspaper editor; county superintendent of schools; delegate from Iowa to Paris exhibition of 1878.
Evaluation: Subject was not self-made; he was prefabricated.
John E. Mulroney (p. 110): born 1896; public schools, one year at college; enlisted in Rainbow division, corporal, U. of Iowa, B.L., lawyer, county attorney; clubs.
Family: father: realtor, "prominent businessman"; delegate to Democratic convention of 1896.
father's father: gold rusher, founder of the First National Bank at Ft. Dodge, vice president of same.
sister: wife of a high school teacher.
wife: daughter of a leading attorney of Ft. Dodge.
Maurice Taylor (p. 117): born 1904; public school, high school, employee of Standard Oil, deputy county clerk, county clerk.
Family: father: manager of the Iowa and Nebraska Light and Power company's branch at Dunlap, Iowa.
father's father: forty years agent of an insurance company, cousin and playmate of Rutherford B. Hayes.
sister and brother: wife of a doctor; employee in U.P. office at Omaha.
Evaluation: This young man had both a father and a grandfather.
Albert Kirby Gifford (p. 127): born 1876; high school, U. of Western Ontario; learned trade of jeweler and watchmaker; medical school, M.D. Two lodges.
Family: father: MA. at Toronto; Ph.D. at Northwestern; prominent clergyman in Montreal, Ottawa, etc.
father's brothers: one has AB., Litt.D., Ph.D.; one is associated with a dry goods company; one is a clergyman of note in Canada.
father's mother: sister of a governor of Minnesota.
brothers: two: both "professional men."
wife: graduate of Woman's College of Hamilton, Ont.
son: BA. and BS.
Evaluation: Family's status is one of high degree. Much social class continuity.
W. C. Strock (p. 134): born 1873; high school, Drake University (B.L.), lawyer, one of the more prominent attorneys in Des Moines, was once city solicitor; Episcopalian; once president of local bar association.
Family: father: operated flour mills.
mother's father: farmer, saw mill operator, flour mill operator, owner and operator of a general store. Built and operated first water works at Sterling, Iowa.
uncle: dean of law school, Drake University and distinguished lawyer, mentor of subject.
wife: daughter of a banker and manufacturer.
children: one a wife of a business man; one graduate of Smith College, one a high school student.
Evaluation: Subject may possibly have received more of a boost from his uncle than from his parents, who lived in a small town.
Dr. Arthur J. Oliver (p. 141): born 1870; district schools; Drake University, Rush Medical College; doctor at Muscatine, Iowa; member of several lodges.
Family: father: a teacher in New York State, then connected with lumber companies in Iowa, then farmer, a first sergeant in Civil War.
The data given above are more complete for each case than those given for Virginians. This is necessary in order to give a better view of each situation.Next Page
Several things are noticeable: (1) More of the Iowans than of the Virginians were of nineteenth immigration. (2) Iowans gave more information about themselves, less about their ancestors. (3) Almost all Iowans of importance belonged to several lodges, or seemed so.
With regard to the social class aspect, particularly the factor of rising, one can conjecture the following:
(1) Farmers' sons have gone into the professions and industry. Agriculture has remained stable, more or less; other fields have boomed; therefore, many sons of farmers have been swept upward with the growth of towns. But which farmers gave their sons this start? Iowans are not as careful to tell the exact size and importance of grandfathers' farms as are Virginians. Some of these farmers must have started with less, some with more, world goods, training, and so forth.
(2) Once successful, families seem to stabilize. by using the proper schools and their own businesses, they place their children several notches above the common herd.
(3) More people "with social class" went to Iowa than one might superficially imagine. And they did not settle down to swilling pigs.
(4) If there were ever a period when social mobility "ceased" in Iowa, it was earlier than the present century, as is often presumed. It happened as soon as early rising land values laid a fabulous sum in their owners' hands.
(5) The cases cited here give a person the impression (a) that families are units in the social class sense, (b) that most instances of success can be accounted for in ancestral terms, (c) that exact data about the backgrounds of pioneers are woefully lacking, and (d) that there are some cases of social class percolation.