Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

1872-1876, Cyrus Carptenter


1872-1876, Cyrus Carptenter



Cyrus Clay Carpenter was born in Susquehanna County, Pa., Nov. 24, 1829. Orphaned at an early age, he learned the trade of a clothier, but after a few months went to help out on a farm and attended school in the winter. At the age of eighteen he began teaching school, and the following four years divided his time between teaching and attending the academy at Hartford. At the conclusion of this period he went to Ohio, where he engaged as a teacher for a year and a half, spending the summer at farm work. In the year 1854, Mr. Carpenter came further westward, visiting many points in Illinois and Iowa, arriving at Des Moines, then a village of some 1, 200 inhabitants. This place, however, not offering a favorable location, he proceeded on his journey, arriving in Fort Dodge June 28, 1854. He soon found employment at Fort Dodge, as assistant to a Government surveyor. This work being completed, young Carpenter assisted his land-lord in cutting hay, but soon secured another position as a surveyor's assistant. In the early part of the following January he engaged in teaching school at Fort Dodge, but in the spring was employed to take charge of a set of surveyors in surveying the counties of Emmet and Kossuth. On his return to Fort Dodge he found the land-office, which had been established at that place, was about to open for the sale of land. Being familiar with the country and the location of the best land, he opened a private land-office, and found constant and profitable employment for the following three years, in platting and surveying lands for those seeking homes. During this period he became extensively known, and, being an active Republican, he was chosen as a standard-bearer for his section of the State. He was elected to the Legislature in the autumn of 1857. In 1861, on the breaking out of the Rebellion, he volunteered and was assigned to duty as Commissary of Subsistence, much of the time being Chief Commissary of the left wing of the 16th Army Corps. In 1864 he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and assigned to duty on the staff of Gen. Logan, as Chief Commissary of the 15th Army Corps. He continued in the service until the close of the war, and in August, 1865, was mustered out. Upon the close of his service to his country he returned to his home at Fort Dodge, but, owing to so many changes that had taken place, and such an influx of enterprising men into the city, he found his once prosperous business in the hands of others. He turned his attention to the improvement of a piece of land, where he remained until his election, in the autumn of 1866, as Register of the State Land-Office. He was re-elected in 1868, and refused the nomination in 1870. This position took him to Des Moines, but in 1870 he returned to Fort Dodge. During the summer of the following year he was nominated by the Republican party for Governor. He was elected, and inaugurated as Chief Executive of Iowa Jan. 11, 1872. In 1873 he was re-nominated by his party, and October 14 of that year was re-elected, his inauguration taking place Jan. 27, 1874. At the expiration of his second term as Governor Mr. Carpenter was appointed Second Comptroller of the United States Treasury, which position he resigned after a service of fifteen months. In 1881 he was elected to Congress, and in the Twentieth General Assembly on Iowa he represented Webster County. Gov. Carpenter was married, in March, 1864, to Miss Susan Burkholder, of Fort Dodge. No children have been born to them, but they reared a niece of Mrs. Carpenters'. He retired to a farm in Fort Dodge.


State Library of Iowa and State Historical Society of Iowa


1872; 1873; 1874; 1875; 1876;


Portrait and Biographical Album, Muscatine County, Iowa, 1889, page 139


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