Among the representative men of Yell township, Webster county, Iowa, is William H. Dutcher, who was born July 9, 1842, in Ross county, Ohio, a son of Charles and Nancy (Ratliff) Dutcher. both natives of Ohio, where they were married and where they remained for twelve years thereafter, living upon a farm. They then removed to Moniteau county, Missouri, where the father purchased six hundred acres of raw prairie land. This he broke with ox teams and spent his life in cultivating the property, living there until his death, which occurred in 1885. The death of his wife took place in 1870. In politics he was a Republican. Seven children were born to them, namely: Reuben married Lucy Harriman and resides in Stewart, Idaho; John, deceased, married Camelia Dunham, who now resides north of Homer, Iowa; David, deceased, married Abbie Burnett, who lives in Oregon; William H., our subject, is the next of the family: Jeramiah married Margarette Jessup and resided in Webster county, Iowa, until their deaths; Charles married Eliza Jane Steeley and makes his home in Moniteau county, Missouri; and Robert died at the age of three years. The Dutcher family is of English extraction and its founder in this country settled in New York. Various members of it became prominent, the grandfather of our subject being a well-known Methodist minister.
William H. Dutcher attended school at the Pilot Grove church school in Moniteau county, Missouri; at Hopewell, Missouri; and also at Sand Hill in the same vicinity. At the age of seventeen he left school and as his opportunities in that direction were poor his education was necessarily limited. The schools were conducted on the subscription plan and held only in winter, the pupils working on the various farms in summer. He remained at home until he was twenty-one, assisting his father upon the farm.
On June 15, 1862, Mr. Dutcher enlisted in Company B, Forty-third Missouri State Guards, encamped at the state capital. He did guard and scout duty and remained in the service until December. 1864, when the regiment was disbanded. In the spring of 1865 he came to Iowa and located in Webster township, Webster county, where he worked at the trade of carpenter and farmed a little. Marrying that year, he removed to Homer, where he engaged in carpenter work remaining in that locality three years. He then came to Yell township and purchased eighty acres on section 22, which was only partially cultivated, and he has since added to his property until he now owns two hundred and fifty-eight acres, the greater part of which he has turned over to his sons, as he is now living a retired life. When he was actively engaged in farming he raised a great deal of stock for the market, making a specialty of hogs, and also raised sufficient grain to feed his stock.
On December 12, 1865, Mr. Dutcher was married, at Webster City, Iowa, to Sarah W. Pierce, who was born in Missouri January 1, 1846, a daughter of William and Permelia (Eslick Alcorn) Pierce, natives of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce were married in Missouri and lived there until 1851, the father being engaged in farming. In 1851 the family removed to Iowa, settling in Webster township, Webster county, where Mr. Pierce purchased seven hundred acres of wild land. There was a log cabin on this land, into which he moved his family. He was a most successful man, possessed great intellect and was the first judge of Webster county. In politics he was a Democrat and always took a deep interest in all that pertained to the advancement of the community in which he lived. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity and during his latter days became a member of the United Brethren church. His death occurred on June 20. 1870, and his remains were interred in the Vigo cemetery in Webster township. The Pierce family is of English extraction and was founded in America by two brothers, one of whom changed the spelling of the name to Pearce, while the other retained the original form, and it is to the latter branch of the family that Mrs. Dutcher belongs. They were members of the William Penn colony of Quakers that settled in Philadelphia. The family has been well represented in all the wars of this country; Mrs. Dutcher's great-great-uncles, George and James Pierce, having taken part in the Revolutionary war while her father participated in the Black Hawk war and afterward received a land warrant for his services. Her grandfather, Thomas Goldsbury Pierce, had a family of eight children.
Mrs. Dutcher's mother now resides with a son, R. G. Pierce, in Homer, Iowa. By her first marriage she had two children: Polly, who died in childhood; and Robert, who married Charity Hice and now lives in Oklahoma. He served through the Civil war as a member of Company D, Sixteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and held the rank of first lieutenant. By her second union Mrs. Pierce had nine children, namely: Frank M., who enlisted in Company K, Sixth Iowa Cavalry and died in the service; Thomas G., who enlisted in Company D, Sixteenth Iowa Infantry and was killed at the battle of Atlanta, Georgia; Samuel, who died in infancy; Sarah W., the wife of our subject; Levina, who married Matthew Landreth and resides in Baker City, Oregon: Alexander, who married Mrs. Mary (Dingman) Hetzel and resides at Homer, Iowa: Martha Jane, who died when one year of age; John W., who died at the age of five years: R. G., who married Mary Dutcher and later Maud Fisher, and now lives at Homer, Iowa.
Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dutcher, namely: (1) Thomas S., born September 6, 1866, married Stella Ewing and resides in Yell township. They have four children: Ralph, Forest, Lester and Ernest. (2) Reuben W., born September 11, 1868, married Minnie Bankston and resides in Yell township. They have six children: John W., Floyd, Lillie, Roy, Frank M. and Pierce A. (3) Richard J., born April 9. 1871, married Hannah Odell and resides in Yell township. They have three children: Charles, Thressa and William. (4) Nancy, born February 15, 1874, married Sidney Culver, of Lehigh, Iowa, and they have two children: Florence and Sylvester. (5) Robert, born November 25, 1877, married Sarah J. Carpenter and lives in Yell township. (6) Sadie, born February 14, 1884, is at home with her parents. (7) One child died in infancy.
Mr. Dutcher is a Republican in politics, and has been honored by election to many of the township offices, always giving entire satisfaction in every position he has been called upon to fill. He is highly esteemed in the neighborhood where he and his family are so well-known and his life of hard work is now crowned by years of ease in which to enjoy the comforts secured by former toil.
SOURCE: S. J. Clark Publishing Company, The Biographical Record Of Webster County, Iowa, p. 506-8