Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jesse Louis Twining: A Well Lived Life (52 Ancestors #20)

Jesse Louis Twining was my 2nd great grandfather. Since I wrote about his wife last week, I felt compelled to carry on with the family. Jesse, I discovered, was quite interesting!

Born in Iowa, died in Iowa. But that did not hinder him from having an adventurous life. Perhaps he felt the need to stay put due to his unsettled childhood.

Born, as I said, in Washington IA on August 5, 1850 to a circuit riding pioneer minister father and a homesteading mother. Through his father he was a descendant from the old Puritan stock that settled Massachusetts. He was the only child born to his mother, who had married his father as a recent widower with 6 small children all under the age of 8!

For the first decade or so of Jesse's life the family moved around a lot. Relocating in one small Iowa town or another as his father was called to establish churches and do missionary work.

For all the traveling about, Jesse did receive a fine education. He was schooled for a time in Washington IA and attended Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. It was there Jesse decided to pursue the noble profession of medicine.

Jesse headed to Chicago IL to pursue his medical training and studied at Northwestern University. (where 10 years later one of my Faulkner ancestors would study medicine!)

Jesse was finishing his residency in October 1871 at Mercy Hospital in Chicago when, on the night of the 8th, the Great Chicago Fire broke out. And, yes, several of my Irons ancestors also lived through that fire - the more I write these stories the more I marvel at "coincidence".

After his graduation Jesse returned to IA to practice medicine and surgery, working as a railroad surgeon in Creston, IA for the Burlington Railway franchise. But he took the pain and suffering of his patients to heart too much and gave up the profession in 1874. Healing was still in his blood, however and he settled in Corning, IA that year as the owner of the town's drug store. His profession was listed as druggist on the 1880 U.S. census.

In 1876, while on a shopping trip to nearby Brooks, IA, Jesse met his future bride, Flora Rowley,  as she shopped for draperies with her father. Apparently it was a match made in Heaven, as the two were wed in October of that same year.

Jesse and Dell, as he was fond of calling his new bride, made their home in Corning for the next 50 years. The couple has four children, three daughters and one son.

Jesse was very active in community life, he served as Mayor of Corning in 1881 to 1882 and again in 1891 to 1892. He was a member of the School Board. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge in Corning, of which he was a member for 57 years. He was also a Knight Templar, a Knight of Pythias and a Shriner; and belonged to the Blue Lodge and Eureka Chapter no. 77 at Corning; the Bethany Commandery at Creston; and the Kaaba Temple of the Shrine at Davenport, IA.

In 1896 Jesse left the drug store to become a traveling salesman for Arbuckle Brothers wholesale tea and spice co of Kansas City, MO. His territory was Southern IA and Northwest MO. He retired in 1926.

It was said that Jesse Twining was a loving, kind, friendly person who adored his wife and children. He was a good story teller, had many fascinating experiences to talk about, had a fine sense of humor, and was a bit if a tease. "He was one of the most popular men in the county".

Jesse and Dell left Corning after Jesse's retirement to spend their senior years in Des Moines, IA in the home of their oldest daughter Bessie and her husband Irv Potwin.

Jesse Twining died April 7, 1933 just 4 months after the death of his beloved wife. He was 82 years old. They are buried together at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Corning IA.

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