George W. Armfield, who is engaged in the agricultural implement, grain and coal business in Redfield, was born in Wayne county, Indiana, January 26, 1856, a son of John H. and Mahala (Britton) Armfield. The father was born in Wayne county, Indiana, on September 22, 1835, and his early environments were similar to those of other boys of that period and locality. The largely undeveloped condition of the country necessitated much labor on the farm and gave opportunity for only a little schooling in the primitive educational institutions which existed at that time. At an early age Mr. Armfield was apprenticed to learn the trade of a carriage and wagon-maker, which pursuit he followed during his active life. On April 15, 1855, he was united in marriage to Miss Mahala Britton, and in June of the following year came west to Dallas county, Iowa, remaining here up to the time of his death, which occurred in the town of Redfield, April 3, 1906. Mr. Armfield was accompanied on his removal to this county by his wife’s father, George W. Britton, together with his family, and on their arrival they located one mile east of what is now Redfield then called Irishtown or McKays Post office. Both families spent the fall and winter in a log cabin which had been built by a former settler, and the following spring John H. Armfield moved into town, bought a log cabin, built a shop and began work at his trade. At the outbreak of the Civil war he volunteered for service but was unable to pass the rigid medical examination because of an accident he had sustained in early life, and therefore returned home. He was determined, however, to be of some use in his country’s hour of danger and recruited a company of home guards, which he drilled and commanded in scouting expeditions in his home locality during the period of hostilities. He was a republican in politics and served his community efficiently and honorably in various official positions in his town and township. His life record forms an integral chapter in the history of the early development and growth of Redfield. For many years he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was one of the originators and leading spirits in the organization of the Dallas-Guthrie Old Settlers Association, which has held annual reunions here for more than ten years past. It was given to him to witness the wonderful development which has transformed this region from a frontier wilderness into a district inhabited by a happy and prosperous people, surrounded by all the conveniences and comforts of our modern civilization. So closely had he been identified with the labor necessary to bring about this transformation that, to use his own words, he had grown to love the village even as a father loves his child. In his death the community lost a worthy, beloved and respected citizen, one in whom it had long recognized a stanch champion of its interests. Mrs. Armfield still survives her husband and resides in Redfield on the same lot on which stood the log cabin in which they took up their abode in 1857, on their removal into the town. To Mr. and Mrs. Armfield were born five children, four of whom survive: William O., who resides in Dexter, Iowa; Charles N., living in Guthrie Center, Iowa; Nellie, the widow of Frank Finnicum, of Redfield; and George W., the subject of this review.
George W. Armfield was only six months old when his parents removed to Dallas county and here acquired his education in the primitive schools of that period. He learned the wagonmaker’s trade under the direction of his father and for about ten years worked for him at this occupation. In 1881 Mr. Armfield embarked in the agricultural implement, grain and coal business, and has carried on this enterprise for the past twenty-six years with constantly growing success. In addition to this he owns a farm in Union township, two miles east of Redfield, stocked with from one hundred to one hundred and fifty head of cattle and from one hundred to one hundred and fifty head of hogs, and because of his excellent management this has also become a profitable enterprise to him. He is likewise a stockholder in the State Bank of Redfield, and from the foregoing it will be seen that he is a versatile business man, carrying forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes.
On the 20th of December, 1882, George W. Armfield was united in marriage to Miss Alice Bailey, a daughter of David Bailey, who came to Dallas county in 1852 from Indiana. In 1849 he had made the overland journey to California and on his way through Iowa was so enchanted with the country that on his return from the gold fields he emigrated to this state. Mr. and Mrs. Armfield are the parents of two children: Leah, a teacher of music, who is at home; and Roy, who is employed in his father’s store.
Mr. Armfield gives his political support to the republican party and has served as town clerk and as a member of the town council, being also for twelve or fourteen years a member of the school board. Fraternally he is connected with Wiscotta lodge, No. 158, A. F. & A. M., of Redfield. He is recognized throughout the community as a representative and enterprising business man and as a citizen who is always ready to aid in any measure or movement that will promote the prosperity and aid the material development and upbuilding of his adopted county. He has gained his present position of prosperity by methods which neither seek nor require disguise, and over the record of his business and private life there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.
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