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History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Peter Melendy

PETER MELENDY was born on the 9th of February, 1823, and attended private schools in his boyhood, later taking a three years' course in Woodward College, Ohio, where his father then lived. He purchased a farm near Cincinnati and in 1855 helped to organize the “Iowa Fine Stock Company.” This company selected a tract of 10,000 acres of Government land in Butler County, Iowa, near Bear Grove where a farm was opened for the breeding of fine stock. Mr. Melendy also bought a farm near Cedar Falls consisting of 1,080 acres which he stocked with fine cattle. In 1860 Mr. Melendy with others established a large grain and implement warehouse at Cedar Falls. In 1862 he was appointed by Governor Kirkwood to select the 240,000 acres of public lands granted by Congress for the support of the State Agricultural College. There were nearly 6,000,000 of acres of Government lands in Iowa at that time to choose from and Mr. Melendy made excellent selections which eventually produced a munificent endowment fund for the new college. In 1864 he was chosen superintendent of the college farm and secretary of the board of trustees. In 1865 he was appointed by President Lincoln, United States Marshal for Iowa. In 1871 he was reappointed for four years by President Grant. He was instrumental in 1865 in securing the location of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home at Cedar Falls and was one of ten citizens to purchase forty acres of land on which the home was located. In 1864 he was a delegate to the National Republican Convention which renominated President Lincoln and was one of the committee sent to Washington to notify the President of his nomination. Mr. Melendy was for five years president of the State Agricultural Society and also served as vice-president, marshal and treasurer. He was chairman of the Republican State Central Committee in the Grant campaign of 1868 and was a delegate to the Chicago National Republican Convention which nominated Grant and Colfax. He was a member of the board of trustees of the State Agricultural College for fourteen years and one of the most influential promoters of that institution. In 1866 he was a member of the committee to visit and examine into the working and plans of the various Agricultural Colleges of the country, report a plan for organization, and select suitable persons for president and members of the faculty. In 1879 Mr. Melendy was appointed agent for the Quartermaster's Department of the United States to adjust claims arising out of the war and served in Tennessee until 1886. After his return to Cedar Falls his old neighbors insisted on making him mayor of the city which had been his home for nearly half a century. He died on the 18th of October, 1901.