About Henry Anson
Namesake of Anson Elementary
On the highest ridge of Pioneer Hill in Riverside Cemetery, is a monument to Henry Anson - the ambitious pioneer whose efforts helped establish Marshalltown as the county seat and site of the largest population area in Marshall County.
Henry Anson was born in Canadaiagua, Ontario County, New York. At the age of five, his family moved to Ohio. In April of 1851, with his team and a prairie schooner, he set out for Iowa. He left his family in Illinois, came here and built a shanty on what is now 112 West Main Street (where a plaque now marks the site) then, went back after his family. When the town was surveyed in 1853, it was named Marshall, after a town in Michigan where Anson had once lived. However, a town in Iowa already had claimed that title so Marshalltown was selected.
Henry, humorously called "Hank, the Red-headed Yankee", was a versatile chap of many talents. He extracted teeth with a pair of bullet molds and he also served as local land agent (locating and filing claims for those settling here) , Justice of the Peace, had his own conveyancing and surveying business, was appointed County Supervisor, and was general promoter of population growth, welcoming any and all settlers westward bound who could be prevailed upon to stop at his McLean House for rest, refreshment and permanent settlement.
Henry also built the first steam mill in the county and sawed all the lumber for buildings and fences for this up and coming prairie town. He built the first cabin here with windows...
He married Miss Jennette Rice in July 1846 and they had three children... Adrian C.* , Sturges R. and Melville F. who died. Henry Anson's funeral was held in the present Courthouse on December 6th, 1905.
*The first child born in this new town was that of Henry and Jennette Rice Anson - Adrian "C." (Constantine) Anson. "Cap" Anson went on to play professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox professional team and was an outstanding player for almost two decades, as well as, Captain of the Chicago Baseball Club. He was also voted a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 1939.*
*Information compiled by: Ryan Jennings