Few if any of the residents of Dallas county have longer resided within its borders or have more intimate knowledge of its development and its history than Joshua Boone, who is living on section 20, Boone township, and who came to the county in 1847, to find here a wild and unsettled district which was at times the hunting ground of the red men, and the haunt of deer and other wild game. Now all this has changed. The then uncultivated prairie is today rich and fertile fields; the streams have been bridged and the forests cut, while here and there towns and villages have sprung up and the county gives every evidence of a progressive and modern civilization.
Mr. Boone, as one of the first pioneers, well deserves mention in this volume. He was born in Rush county, Indiana, January 29, 1834, a son of William Davis Boone, a native of Boone county, Ohio, the grandfather being one of the earliest settlers there. It was in that county that W. D. Boone was reared. He learned the tanner’s trade in Cincinnati and followed it to some extent, going to Harrison county, Indiana, when a young man and there working as a tanner. While there he was united in marriage to Miss Susannah Farnsley, a native of Kentucky, who went with her father to Indiana. In the year 1846 William D. Boone came to Dallas county, where he purchased a claim of several hundred acres, and the following year he removed his family to his new home. Here he cultivated his land and opened up a farm, upon which he reared his family and spent, his last days, although his death occurred in Des Moines, whither he had gone on a business trip. He was then fifty-eight years of age. His wife survived him for a number of years and died on the old home farm.
Joshua Boone is one of a family of two sons and seven daughters, of whom he and four sisters are yet living. His life, in youth and early manhood, was spent upon the frontier, — first of Indiana and later of Iowa. He came to this state when a young man of seventeen years and assisted in the arduous task of breaking the sod, planting the crops and otherwise developing the farm. He remained upon the old home place until he had attained his majority and assisted to carry on the farm until after his father’s death. He was about twenty-four years of age when he won a companion and helpmate for life’s journey, through his marriage in Boone township, March 22, 1858, to Miss Emiline Speer, a native of Ohio and a daughter of William Speer, who died in the Buckeye state. Mrs. Boone came to Dallas county in 1854. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Boone located on the farm where they now live, occupying the house in which his father had first lived on coming to this county. It was their home for four years when Mr. Boone built a commodious, neat, frame dwelling. Recently he has erected a large barn and has put up other outbuildings, affording ample shelter for grain and stock. He broke and fenced his land and made the farm what it is today — one of the finest properties in the county. He owns five hundred acres in the home place, with three hundred and twenty acres east, in Boone township, and one hundred and twenty acres in Van Meter township. His possessions aggregate nine hundred and forty-three acres, including three acres purchased later from his mother making him one of the extensive landowners of the county — and for this he deserves much credit, as nearly all has been acquired through his perseverance and diligence. He has planted an orchard, set out shade trees and made a very valuable place of his home farm, and in connection with the cultivation of grain he has been engaged extensively and successfully in the raising and feeding of stock. He received two hundred acres of land from his father, but otherwise has gained through his own labor all that he now owns.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Boone were born five sons and five daughters: William D., who is in business for himself; Frank, a farmer near Waukee, who is married and has five children; Charles, now on his father’s farm; John, a farmer of Boone township, who is married and has one daughter; Harry, who is married and lives on the home farm; Mrs. Flora Smith, who is a widow and is teaching in Linden; Helen, the wife of John Robison, a resident farmer of the township; Stella, the wife of Elmer Robison, of Boone township; Hattie, at home; and one, Jennie, who died in infancy.
In his political views Mr. Boone is a republican. He has served as township trustee, was road supervisor for years and has been officially identified with the schools. Few men from personal observation are so well acquainted with the history of the county. Events which to others are matters of record are to him matters of experience or of personal observation. He has been particularly helpful in reclaiming wild land and converting it into rich farms and has thus contributed largely to the agricultural development of the county.