Born in Pennsylvania in 1821, Died
At Lenox, Iowa, May 26, 1902,
Aged 80 years and 6 months.
Matthew Cresswell was born in Huntington, County, Pa., Nov. 26, 1821, and died at Lenox, Iowa, May 26, 1902. In 1841 he came with his father and family to the territory of Iowa and located in Van Buren Co. In the fall of that year he returned to his native state and spent the winter attending school returning the following spring to assist his father in the work of building a home in the new west. Late in the autumn of 1842 he again returned to the scenes of his childhood where he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Stewart.
When nature began to don her robes of beauty the following spring, in company with his young wife, they set out for what he considered to be the land of promise, on arriving began at once the labor of building a home for themselves in Harrisburg township, Van Buren Co. where he remained until the end of the century. His wife died in December, 1891. Deceased was the father of eleven children. Alice, George and Mary preceded their father and mother over the dark river of death. Those that remain are E. S. Cresswell, of Lorimor, Iowa; F. H. Cresswell, Mrs. Lina Brady and Miss Anna Cresswell of Lenox, Iowa; Eminger Cresswell of Nashville, Mo.; Sheridan and John Cresswell of Bonaparte, Iowa; and Mrs. Ida Walker of Ottumwa, Ia., all of whom were permitted to visit their father during his last sickness. Mr. Cresswell has one brother and two sisters living. Robert Cresswell of Ottumwa, Iowa, Mrs. Newlon of Bentonsport, Iowa and Martha Goesler of Oregon.
Rev. Lee a former pastor of the Harrisburg church officiated at the funeral, assisted by Rev. Bancroft. The services were held at 10 o'clock A. M. Thursday, May 29, from the home of his son, John Cresswell, in Harrisburg township and the remains were interred in the Vale cemetery.
M. Cresswell was born with a destiny, the fulfillment of which was ever his highest ambition. Possessed of a high degree of inherent ability and an application commensurate therewith his youth and early manhood were occupied in study, reading and other means of obtaining knowledge until he became a skilled didactic instructor in the public schools and a competent surveyor of real estate.
Being an early settler he had ample opportunity for the exercise of his best gifts along the lines of his chosen professions, teaching in the early but populous schools of the county and spending much time in the service of the government making the second survey of the state.
Though unconscious of the fact, he was a born leader. Few men of his time with the then limited advantages afforded have arrived at so enviable a station in all the elements that make a true and noble citizen as did the deceased. A good physique, dignity of demeanor, an active intellect and a well stored memory all conspired to enviable place and potential influence in the community.
Thoughtful, considerate and conservative in all things, his wise counsel always served as an antidote to litigation among his neighbors and to this fact no little credit is due for the peace and good citizenship of the community.
His leadership asserted itself in all enterprises for the benefit of the public. Himself a teacher, he took laudable pride in all public school work and was time and again a member of the Board, serving as its treasurer for seventeen and one-half years or until he resigned on his own motion on account of age.
Thoroughness in whatever he undertook was a dominant trait in his makeup and this was nowhere more manifest than in his ideals of farm management. He ever sought the most approved means in methods and machinery, in breeds and breeding, tending to bring agriculture and the rearing of stock to the highest attainable perfection. Here again we find him occupying an honorable place in associations tending to the enhancement of these respective interests.
He was the acknowledged dean of his chosen political party in the community and a force of recognized ability in the county and state. A partisan not so much from choice as from what others made him, yet he was always considerate of the well defined and intelligent opinions of his opponents and, be it said to his credit and for the emulation of his political admirers, that such was his regard for the views of Jackson, Douglas, and others that in every exigency of our county such as the dark hours of the assassination of Lincoln his loyalty to government rose above that of party and asserted itself in no uncertain manner.
Socially he was of the highest type of manhood. His moral status, his high sense of honor, his esteem for his friends and neighbors, his generosity to the needy and his thoughtful consideration of the afflicted or those in distress, all conspired to render him the ideal citizen that he was and his name a household work in every home in the community.
His early environments were good and such was his own intuitive sense of right that he possessed a firm belief of the supremacy of the All-wise Being and the responsibility under which we are to Him; hence he was always considerate of the church and her people and gave in support of her cause as a means of benefiting mankind and glorifying his Creator.
He exercised the same elements of generalship in the wisdom, devotion and manifest interest in the present and future well being of his family. It was his ambition of late years to put all things in readiness and, in so far as possible, to be his own executor.
Thus closes the life of one of the oldest, most active, painstaking, exemplar, well beloved and public spirited citizens of Harrisburg. Van Buren county has few such men to lose.
Source: Entler Scrapbook, vol. 4, Iowa Historical Library, Iowa City, IA
I am NOT related and am posting this obit for those who may find this person in their family history.