History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/William H. Merritt
WILLIAM H. MERRITT was born in New York City, September 12, 1820. He received his education at Lima Seminary. In 1838 he went to Rock Island where he obtained a clerkship. He was sent to Ivanho in Linn County in 1839 to take charge of an Indian trading house. In 1841 he was a clerk in the Council of the Legislative Assembly at Burlington. In 1847 he removed to Dubuque and for two years was editor of the Miners' Express. He made the overland journey to California and returning in 1851 again became editor of the Miners' Express, having purchased an interest in the establishment. In 1855 he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office at Fort Dodge and after selling about 2,000,000 acres of public land, he engaged in banking at Cedar Rapids. When the Civil War began he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the First Regiment of Iowa Volunteers and participated in the Battle of Wilson's Creek, having served three months when the regiment was mustered out. In July, 1861, he was nominated by the Democratic State Convention for Governor but was defeated by Samuel J. Kirkwood. In 1863 he removed to Des Moines and took editorial charge of The Statesman, a leading Democratic newspaper. In 1866 he was appointed by President Johnson Collector of Internal Revenue but his nomination was rejected by the Senate. Colonel Merritt died on the 23d of July, 1891.