Open main menu

History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Alonzo Abernethy

ALONZO ABERNETHY was born April 14, 1836, in Sandusky County, Ohio. His early education was received in the public schools of that State. In March, 1854, he came with his father's family to Fayette County, Iowa. He entered the Chicago University, leaving the senior class in August, 1861, to enlist in the Ninth Iowa Infantry as a private. He was engaged in seventeen battles and won rapid promotion, attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel before the regiment was mustered out. In 1865 he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Eleventh General Assembly from Fayette County. In 1870 he removed to Denison, in Crawford County, but was soon chosen president of Des Moines College. In 1871 he was elected on the Republican ticket Superintendent of Public Instruction, serving six years by reëlections. He was largely instrumental in securing the enactment of the laws providing for Teachers' Normal Institutes and the establishment of a State Normal School. In September, 1876, he resigned his office to accept the presidency of the University of Chicago. After two years' service he made a trip to Europe and upon his return made his home on a farm near Denison. In July, 1881, he was elected president of the Cedar Valley Seminary at Osage. Colonel Abernethy has long ranked among the eminent educators of the State.