The Families of Adam Keith



Hon. Joseph Warren Stewart [1846-1936]


Ancestry: Adam Keith1>Johann Michael Keith2>Michael Keith3>Michael Keith4>Mary Ann [Keith] [m. John S.] Stoutner5>Naomi [Stoutner] m. [Joseph Warren]  Stewart6

History of Washington Co. IA from the first White Settlements to 1908, Howard A. Burrell, Vol II, S. J. Clark Publishing, Chicago, 1909. pp. 352-358.




The salient points in the life record of the Hon. Joseph Warren Stewart are such as have gained for him the respect and good will of his fellow townsmen. He has made a most creditable public record including service in the thirty second general assembly and he is even more widely known as one of the most prominent and successful stock buyers of the west. His is the record of a strenuous life the record of a strong individuality sure of itself stable in purpose quick in perception swift in decision and energetic and persistent in action.


Mr Stewart was born in Dearborn county, Indiana September 6, 1846 and is a son of Archibald K. and Mary Ann Lawrence Stewart. The father a native of Beaver county Pennsylvania was born March 23, 1820, and when fifteen years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Dearborn county, Indiana, his parents traveling westward by boat while Archibald K. Stewart drove across the country with a four horse team taking with him a portion of the household effects. He attained his majority in Dearborn county and was there married to Miss Mary Ann Lawrence who was a native of that county.

They began their domestic life in that locality where they continued to reside until 1856. In 1852, 1854, and again in 1855, however, Mr Stewart had made trips to Iowa and on the first occasion purchased two hundred and forty acres of wild and unimproved land five miles east of the city of Washington in Washington county. Two years later he bought a farm of four hundred and eighty acres in Dallas county and in 1855 made investment in a tract of land of three hundred and fifty four acres in Louisa county to which he removed in 1856. Upon that place he resided until 1865 when he came to Washington county locating on the farm he had purchased thirteen years before. For about eleven years he was busily occupied with the work of the fields and in 1876 he came to Keota where he purchased three farms adjoining the town in Keokuk county. Throughout his entire life he depended upon agricultural pursuits as a source of livelihood and the extent and importance of his business affairs brought him a very gratifying measure of success. He was justly numbered among the most prominent representatives of agricultural interests in Iowa. During the Mexican war he raised a company of soldiers and was commissioned its captain but was never called to active service. In his early manhood he affiliated with the Know Nothing party but in later years was a democrat. For many years he acted as president or treasurer of the school board and the cause of education found in him a stalwart champion whose labors in its behalf were effective and far reaching. He was one of the best known and most highly honored men in this section of the state his labors being a potent force in the growth and progress of the district along many lines. He died December 19 1901. His family numbered four sons and five daughters namely Arthur E. who is engaged in the stock business at Keota, Archibald K. who is serving as police judge of Des Moines Iowa, Lee also a resident of Keota, Joseph Warren of this review, Lavinia who makes her home in Keota, Eliza J. who is the widow of A. L. Erdice and resides in Keota, Louie B. the wife of Charles Harter of Perry, Iowa, Grace the wife of C. E. Arnold of Keokuk county, and Sarah D. the wife of Clem Butler of Oklahoma.


Joseph Warren Stewart spent the first ten years of his life in the state of his nativity and then accompanied his parents on their westward removal to Iowa. His early education acquired in the common schools of Indiana was supplemented by further study in the public schools of this state and in the Ainsworth Academy while later he attended the Iowa City Commercial College. In May. 1867 he started out in life on his own account making an overland trip to the Pacific coast. He drove a four mule team through to Walla Walla Washington and for two years remained on the coast teaching school through the winter seasons. In 1869 however he returned to Iowa by way of the Isthmus route and New York city. After arriving home he engaged in breaking prairie for two summers in Washington county and for many years has been closely associated with the agricultural development and progress of this part of the state aiding in gaining for Iowa its reputation as one of the foremost producers of grain and stock in all the Union. In 1870 he began buying stock in partnership with E. A. Stone and since that time has been prominently identified with the stock business for several years. He went to Keota in May, 1872 and was associated in business with his two brothers A. E. and A. K. Stewart and later with a half brother Lee who came into the firm when A. K. Stewart withdrew. They developed an extensive business shipping as high as six hundred carloads of stock in a year. J. W. Stewart is said to be recognized by eastern stockmen as the leading representative of this department of business west of the Mississippi river. He is thoroughly conversant with the different grades of stock produced and his opinions are recognized as almost infallible concerning the value of any animal that is upon the market. In 1873, Mr Stewart purchased land at Keota becoming owner of ten acres on which he now resides. In 1872 he built the stockyards at which time the town contained nothing but the railroad depot and corn fields. As the result of his enterprise and ability the town has steadily developed and stands as a monument to the enterprising spirit of Mr Stewart. Not only has he been very successful as a dealer in live stock but is also the vice president and one of the directors of the Keota Bank and for a short time was its president.


In 1875 Mr Stewart was united in marriage to Miss Naomi Stoutner of Washington county Iowa by whom he had eight children six of whom still survive as follows, Edith the wife of George F McCarty who is cashier of the Peoples Savings Rank at Delta Iowa, Grace the wife of Clarence Lacey who is cashier at Keota Iowa, Warren Ray who is associated with his father in the cattle business, Naomi who is attending the Iowa State University, Howard K. a high school student, and Arthur D. attending the public schools.


In his political views Mr Stewart has been a stalwart democrat since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He has been actively connected with the work of the party and in the fall of 1906 he was the choice of the district for representative to the state legislature serving in the thirty second general assembly. He has never been a politician, however, but gave his services from a sense of duty. At all times he is a public spirited citizen cooperating in any movement for the general good. His worth is widely acknowledged and without invidious distinction he may be termed one of the foremost men of this part of the state. The extent of his operations as a stock dealer and his ability in that line have gained him wide and deserved prominence and the methods which he has ever pursued in his business career have made his an untarnished name