Alvin Bever owns and operates a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres on section 1, Colfax township, and his business qualifications and his genuine personal worth entitle him to mention with the representative residents of Dallas county. Moreover, he is an honored veteran of the Civil war and as such the country owes him a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid, for the soldier in the south bore hardships and faced dangers for which there can be no monetary compensation. Like a great majority of the boys in blue he was but a young man when he went to the front.
His birth occurred in Seneca county, Ohio, August 27, 1842, his parents being Solomon and Maria (Cross) Bever, both natives of Virginia. Leaving the Old Dominion they became early residents of Ohio, Solomon Bever taking up his abode in the Buckeye state at a time when much of the land was still in the possession of the government. He entered a tract of eighty acres which was entirely unimproved and with characteristic energy began transforming this property into arable and productive fields which would render his labors profitable in the rich harvest that they would produce. He carried on farming there until his death and his wife also passed away upon the old Ohio homestead. In their family were eleven children, of whom ten are yet living: John B., a resident of Dallas county, Iowa; William, a resident of Ionia county, Michigan; Joseph, who makes his home in Pawnee county, Nebraska; Henry, who is living in Williams county, Ohio; Martin, who is located in Ionia county, Michigan; Mrs. L. J. Egbert, who died in Adel, Iowa, at the age of fifty-six years; Alvin, of this review; Russell B., who is living in Dallas county; Wesley, who is engaged in business in Livingston county, Illinois; Mrs. Annie M. Greene, whose home is in Columbus, Ohio; and Cecelia, who is residing in Pawnee county, Nebraska.
Alvin Bever was reared to the occupation of farming and has made that pursuit his life work. When a boy he took his place in the fields, performing such tasks as his age and strength permitted. He worked from the time of the early spring planting until the crops were harvested in late autumn and during the winter months attended the public schools. Reading and observation in late years have made him a well informed man and his business interests have brought him wide experience in agricultural lines. He remained with his parents until twenty-two years of age when he went to Michigan and there, on the 6th of August, 1864, he enlisted for service in the Union army and was sent to Tennessee. He entered at once upon active duty in the south, participating in the battle of Murfreesboro and other engagements. When the war was over and the stars and stripes floated victoriously over the south, he was mustered out in Washington, D. C., on the 13th of July, 1865, and returned to his home. Through the successive six months he remained in Ohio and during the next four years his time was divided between Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. In 1869 he came to Dallas county, Iowa, where he provided for his own support by working as a farm hand for several years.
As a companion and helpmate for life’s journey Mr. Bever chose Miss Annie Mitchell, to whom he was married May 28, 1872. She was born in Vermilion county, Illinois, July 12, 1844. Her father, John Mitchell, was a native of Ohio, in which state her mother, who bore the maiden name of Caroline Baldwin, was also born. They became early residents of Illinois, where they remained until 1853, which year witnessed their arrival in Dallas county, Iowa. Here Mr. Mitchell purchased a quarter section of wild land upon which no improvements had been made and they cast in their lot with the pioneer settlers who had come to the frontier to establish homes and were aiding in reclaiming the district for the uses of civilization. Though many hardships and trials were to be borne in the early days Mr. Mitchell resolutely took up the work of developing the new farm and continued the task of cultivating the fields and caring for the crops until his life’s labors were ended in death in 1899. For about five years he had survived his wife who died in 1894. Thus the county lost two of its well known and worthy pioneer settlers, who for more than forty years had been residents of this section of the state, Mr. Mitchell having aided in laying broad and deep the foundation for its present development.
At the time of his marriage Mr. Bever purchased eighty acres of land and a little later bought forty acres more in Washington township. The improvements on the place at the time of the purchase consisted of a small house and a little barn, while thirty acres of the land had been broken. Mr. Bever began the further development and cultivation of the land, carrying on the farm work there until he traded that property for land in Van Meter township, upon which he lived until 1890. In that year he sold the farm and purchased his present place of one hundred and sixty acres on section 1, Colfax township. Here he has now lived for about seventeen years. The place is a finely improved farm equipped with large barns and outbuildings, while the residence, which was built by Mr. Bever a few years ago, is one of the commodious, substantial and beautiful homes of Dallas county.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Bever have been born five children and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death. In order of birth they are as follows: Emma C., at home; Wesley, who is living in California; W.A., who is also on the home farm; Franklin C., who married Miss Bessie Britton and resides in Dallas county; and May, who married Clive Mills and lives in Washington township, this county.
The parents are members of the Methodist church and are esteemed as citizens of genuine worth who are actively interested in public progress along material, intellectual and moral lines. Mr. Bever has been a school director for a number of years and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. His political support is given the republican party. Viewed from a business standpoint his life may be termed a success, for he started out empty-handed, yet realizing that there is no excellence without labor, he has put forth strenuous effort to achieve the measure of prosperity he is now enjoying.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.