Local founders to be featured at Historical Society event

Thomas Hart Benton Jr., and H.E.J. Boardman are buried on “Founders Hill” in Marshalltown’s Riverside Cemetery.

Their lives during the town’s early history will be the subject of a presentation by history professor emeritus Tom Colbert of Marshalltown, 6:30 p.m., Feb. 21 at the Binford House, 110 N. Second Ave. in Marshalltown.

The Historical Society of Marshall County is sponsoring the event as part of its monthly Third Thursday presentation. The event is free and open to the public.

“Benton was a Brigadier General in the Civil War and was later appointed Iowa’s first head of the then State Department of Public Instruction,” said Colbert. “He was also active politically, and ran unsuccessfully for governor under the Union-Democratic Party against incumbent Republican William Stone.”

Boardman took a different path to fame.

“Boardman was initially known for his determined, but unsuccessful efforts to keep the courthouse in Marietta,” said Colbert.

“He moved his law practice to Marshalltown and founded the Cartwright, Druker and Ryden law firm. He would become a bank owner, be a key figure in Marshalltown’s commercial development and active politically. He was supposedly the richest person in Marshalltown at one time.”

Regular attendees of the Third Thursday programs will note the location change.

“The Feb. 21 presentation is being held at the Binford House because of construction work at the museum,” said HSMC administrative assistant Juli Hinson. “We are pleased to have Tom as presenter for what will be an informative program but are planning to be back at the museum for the Third Thursday March 21 program.”