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Elbert Argene Allbee
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Birth: Jun. 9, 1849
Vermont, USA
Death: Apr. 4, 1935
Muscatine County
Iowa, USA

ELBERT ARGENE ALLBEE. For more than thirty years the name of Allbee has been associated with the educational development and progress of Muscatine county in the various capacities of teacher, school director and county superintendent. Elbert Argene Allbee was born in Vermont on the 9th of June, 1849, and is the descendant in both the paternal and maternal lines of old New England families. His father, Gustavus Allbee, was born in the state of Vermont on the 27th of April, 1822, and the paternal grandfather, also a native of Vermont, was born on the 19th of June, 1775. The mother, Eliza Malvina (Allbee) Allbee, was born in Vermont on the 2d of February, 1828, a daughter of George Washington Allbee, who was born in the same state on the 24th of December, 1799, and the latter's father, also from Vermont, was born on the 16th of April, 1768. Mr. and Mrs. Gustavus Allbee were married in the state of their nativity on the 29th of January, 1844, continuing to make their home in New England for the first eleven years thereafter. At the end of that period they decided that the prairie states of the middle west promised better opportunities than the more thickly settled districts of the east, and so started on the long journey which had its termination in Davenport, Iowa, on the 6th of December, 1855. It was at the latter point that the first bridge across the Mississippi river was under construction which was completed in the following spring. This bridge was raised upon a falsework that rested on the ice that was from three to four feet thick that winter. William Cook was team boss and Gustavus Allbee drove the company's team that raised all of the falsework. When both ends of the bridge had been constructed from their respective shores to the piers next to the drawpier on each side, two large ropes were stretched from each end to the drawpier, plank were fastened upon them and a handrope stretched above them, thus making swinging bridges over which the workmen might pass to the drawpier from either side. On Saturday evening, at the completion of these swinging walks, Boss Cook heard the contractor suggest to the superintendent that they bring their wives down early Monday morning and have them to be the first women to cross the mighty river on a bridge. At Mr. Cook's suggestion he and his wife, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Allbee and their son Elbert, at that time six and one-half years of age, repaired to the bridge early Sunday morning. It was a raw, windy morning in March, 1856, the river was full of floating ice, the current swift and the walk swung so frightfully that Mrs. Cook took but a step or two and shrank back refusing to go; but brave little Mrs. Allbee unhesitatingly took the lead, and, followed closely by her husband, leading their little son, walked clear across to the Illinois shore and back to Iowa. Thus she was the first woman ever to cross the Father of Waters on a bridge and her son Elbert the first child ever to do so. Shortly after this incident Mr. Allbee bought one hundred and twenty acres of land in Muscatine county, Iowa, upon which they located and continued to reside for thirty-two years, at which time they retired to a smaller tract, upon which they spent the remainder of their days. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Allbee were born eight children, five of whom are still living: G. W. Allbee, of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Mrs. J. W. Fowler, of Grinnell, Iowa; Leslie Allbee, of Sweetland township, Muscatine county; Mrs. E. J. Eis, also of Sweetland township; and Elbert A. Allbee. The mother passed away on the 3d of October, 1893, but the father lived until the 10th of September, 1905. They are buried in Parr's cemetery, Fulton township, Muscatine county.
Elbert Argene Allbee was a lad of but six years when his parents left Vermont and therefore practically his entire life has been spent in Iowa. He attended the district schools of Muscatine county until such time as he was qualified to become a teacher, when he became connected with the profession with which he has been identified in some form or other the greater part of his life. He remained a member of his father's household until he had reached the age of twenty-two years, when he rented some land from his father and began farming, continuing his teaching, however, for several years. At the time of his father's retirement in 1888 he purchased the old homestead with its two hundred acres of land, which he has improved and brought to a high state of cultivation, and is now owner of one of the finest and most valuable farms in Muscatine county.

Mr. Allbee was united in marriage on the 1st of January, 1873, to Miss Celia E. McElroy, who was born in Pennsylvania on the 21st of November, 1844, the daughter of James E. and Margaret (Jordan) McElroy. The father was born in Ohio on the 22d of April, 1820, and the mother in the Keystone state on the 29th of May, 1817. Mr. and Mrs. McElroy came to Muscatine county in 1858 and located on a farm in Fulton township, where they continued to reside during the remainder of their lives. They became the parents of six children, five of whom are yet living, as follows: William J., who lives in Fulton township, Muscatine county; James E., also a resident of this county; Mrs. C. G. Van Epps, of Sheldon, Iowa; Mrs. D. S. Brown, of Dexter, Iowa; Mrs. E. A. Allbee, the wife of our subject; and John W., who died in infancy. Mr. McElroy passed away on the old homestead on the 9th of June, 1863, but the mother survived until the 27th of July, 1873. They were laid to rest in Parr's cemetery, Fulton township.

Mr. and Mrs. Allbee have become the parents of six children, who are as follows: Rev. Mrs. C. C. Brown, of Shellsburg, Iowa; Mrs. George Wise, the wife of Professor Wise, who occupies the chair of modern languages in the State University, Salt Lake City, Utah; Gustavus, who is practicing law in Muscatine, Iowa; Erwin E., managing the home farm; Irene, who passed away at the age of eighteen years; and one who died in infancy.

The family are all members of the Presbyterian church, Mr. Allbee being a ruling elder in the Nolo church. Ever since attaining his majority he has been identified with the democratic party. He has always taken an active interest in all political issues, particularly in those pertaining to the schools as education has at all times found in him a strong supporter. He has usually been identified with some public office, serving as justice of the peace for eight consecutive years and county superintendent for four and one-third years, and for eighteen years he served on the local school board. In addition to these he has filled several of the township offices, being elected clerk for two terms and assessor three. That he has proved capable and trustworthy in each and every instance is indicated by his reelection to the same office and to others. Mr. Allbee is a member of the Masonic fraternity, having taken the degrees of the council and commandery of the York Rite, his local affiliation being with Lodge No. 2, of Muscatine. He is also identified with Pleasant Prairie Lodge, No. 118, M. B. A. He is one of the well known and highly respected men of Muscatine county, whose success has been the result of close application and honorable and upright business methods, and he thoroughly deserves the esteem accorded him by those who know him.

Source: History of Muscatine County Iowa, Volume II, Biographical, 1911, page 424

(Thanks to Colleen Root for this contribution)

Family links: 
  Gustavus Allbee (1822 - 1905)
  Eliza Malvina Allbee Allbee (1828 - 1893)
  Celia E McElroy Allbee (1844 - 1918)*
  Margaret M. Allbee Brown (1875 - 1947)*
  Gustavus Allbee (1879 - 1947)*
  Erwin Elbert Allbee (1882 - 1965)*
  Irene Caslista Allbee (1887 - 1906)*
  Calista Allbee Benshoof (1846 - 1907)**
  Elbert Argene Allbee (1849 - 1935)
  Eleazer Allbee (1852 - 1863)*
  George Washington Allbee (1853 - 1934)*
  Leslie Allbee (1859 - 1942)*
  Arozina Malvina Allbee (1860 - 1863)*
  Eliza Melvina Allbee Fowler (1864 - 1939)*
  Theda Allbee Eis (1866 - 1929)*
*Calculated relationship
Parr Cemetery
Muscatine County
Iowa, USA
Created by: John Vincent "VINCE" Pow...
Record added: Nov 14, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61647178
Elbert Argene Allbee
Added by: Collene "Family Finder"
Elbert Argene Allbee
Added by: John Vincent "VINCE" Powers
Elbert Argene Allbee
Added by: Christine Masterson
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a volunteer adding to memorials of Muscatine co,Iowa.
- Collene "Family Finder"
 Added: Mar. 5, 2015

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