~ JACQUES CHARPIOT ~
Related Surnames - BEUCLAIR, SCHILTZ, FULLMAN
Jacques Charpiot, a farmer and stock raiser of Prairie Township, is leading a peaceful,
happy life in one of the most beautiful localities in all Jackson County. His farm is in
the shape of a right-angled triangle, containing eighty acres of rich alluvial soil, known
as the hermitage, and lies on the Tete des Morts stream amid lovely scenery; the pretty,
cozy home nestling on the slope of a hill, with the bluffs, clothed with graceful birches
and stately spruce trees, rising up boldly in its rear, presenting a picture that would
enchant an artist or any true lover of nature. Mr. Charpiot has led an adventurous,
stirring life, has seen much of the world in its various phases, and has met with many
reverses of fortune, having acquired great wealth and lost it. But he is now once more on
a solid footing, and bids fair to again be prosperous. He is a veteran of the late Civil
War, where he fought bravely in defence of his adopted country.
Our subject was born in Bar, France, in 1839, and is a son of Pierre Charpiot, a native of
the same city. His grandfather Charpiot was a farmer in France, and served in
Napoleon's army, dying at last in Bar. The father of our subject was engaged in the
dry-goods business in Colmar, France, till 1852, when he sold his property there, and
emigrating to this country, located in Philadelphia, Pa., where he established himself as
a dry-goods merchant. A year later he moved to Chicago, Ill., and purchased the French
Hotel, then a well-known house of entertainment for travelers on Clark street. He managed
it with good financial success till 1868, when he returned to France on a visit, and there
died. His wife, whose maiden name was Clements Beuclair, departed this life first, her
demise occurring in Chicago in 1857. Her father, who was a Frenchman by birth, was a
soldier in Napoleon's army. The following seven children blessed the union of the
parents of our subject: Charle!
s, now deceased; Frederic and George reside in Denver, Colo.; Louis, deceased; Jacques;
Eugenie and Henry, who are in Denver, Colo. Louis served in the Civil War as
quartermaster, in the capacity of master of transportation.
Jacques, of this sketch, received a good education in the public schools of his native
France, acquiring a good knowledge of German as well as of his mother tongue. Even when a
small boy he assisted his father in the store, and when thirteen years old was engaged by
a party of French merchants to travel with them through the greater part of Germany,
Austria, Switzerland and Holland as interpreter. His employers considered his services so
valuable that they kepT from him his letters from home, announcing the intention of his
parents to emigrate to the United States, and wishing him to join them. They, not hearing
from him, made inquiries concerning his whereabouts, and finally he was found by a police
officer, and the merchant who had charge of him admitted that his letters had been
purposely withheld from him. As soon as possible our subject made his way to Havre, in
the early part of 1853, only to find that his parents had left one month previous. About
that time the F!
rench Government issued an order that no one should be allowed to leave France without a
passport, on account of a threatened war, and the young lad, unable to procure one,
engaged himself to work in a confectioner's store awhile till he could find means of
boarding an America-bound vessel. At last, by strategy and the aid of a few friends, he
was concealed in a cracker box, and conveyed on board of a steamer bound for this country
by his confederates just as it was ready to start on the voyage. The ruse was successful,
the unsuspecting police inspectors passing the box without taking note of it and its human
freight, and before many hours he was steaming across the ocean to join his friends,
having been released from his unpleasant place of confinement, which he says was the
smallest he was ever in. After a voyage of thirty-six days he landed in New York City,
and was soon with his parents in Philadelphia, and in the spring of 1853 accompanied them
to Chicago. A short t!
ime after that he went to Iowa, and in company with his brothers bought 320 acres of
prairie land, on the Wapsie River, in Clinton County. They also purchased a ferry boat,
which they managed, besides engaging in farming and running a country store. In the
latter part of 1855 Mr. Charpiot was married to Miss Barbara, daughter of Machel Schiltz,
a native of the village of Estenach, Luxembourg, Germany. His father, Gasper Schiltz, was
a furnace builder in that country. Mrs. Charpiot's father was overseer of a fine
china factory for many years, and died in Luxemburg. The maiden name of Mrs.
Charpiot's mother was Elizabeth Fullmann, and she was likewise a native of Luxemburg,
and a daughter of Gasper Fullmann, a mail carrier and a great musician. She came to this
country in 1854, and made her home in Prairie Spring Township, this county, till her
death. She was the mother of four children - Gasper, Barbara, Mary, and John (deceased.)
Mrs. Charpiot was born in the Grand D!
uchy of Luxemburg, April 13, 1833. She received a fine education, becoming proficient
both in German and French, and when nineteen years old attended the convent in Metz,
France, six months. After the completion of her education she went to live with the
family of Gen. Langela, in Metz, staying with them till 1854, when she came to America
alone, joining a brother in this country to have preceded her, embarking at Havre, in the
sailing-vessel "Elizabeth," and landing at New York, thence she went to Tiffin,
Ohio. Mrs. Charpiot remained there six months with her brother, and then proceeded to
Chicago, where she met her future husband.
In 1861 Mr. Charpiot removed with his wife to St. Louis, and made their home there, while
he did business in Belleville, Ill., where he bought a coal mine. That proved a fortunate
and paying investment, and at that time he purchased his present place of residence in
Prairie Springs. He continued in St. Louis where the tide of fortune turned for him, as
in the exciting times of the war, business prosperity did not stand on a very firm
foundation, and in the spring of 1863 he resolved to cast in his lot with the brave
citizen-soldiers of the Union, who were patriotically struggling to preserve its
integrity. He enlisted in the 1st Missouri Infantry, was mustered in at St. Louis, and
took part in several battles and skirmishes, and was also employed with his comrades in
guarding forts near St. Louis. He served till after the close of the war, winning an
honorable military record as an intrepid, courageous soldier. After leaving the army Mr.
Charpiot returned to his farm in!
Prairie Spring, and remained here till the spring of 1866, when he fitted himself out for
a freighter across the plains to Denver, Colo, then but a small village. He had
forty-eight yoke of oxen and twelve wagons, and, accompanied by his wife, he bought goods
at St. Louis and carried them to various points on the plains. He also engaged in
business in Denver, employing a good many men to drive his teams and did exceedingly well.
With the money thus made he employed men to prospect for him, and at one time owned or
had a share in many mines, and was worth over $100,000. While living in Central City,
Colo., a fire occurred in which he lost his property, residence, etc., and he was obliged
to give up business.
In 1872 our subject entered the employ of the United States Geological Survey, and
traveled through Colorado, and had many Indian fights, in which he received severe knife
thrusts from the wily foe, and engaged in many general battles with the savages. He was
mounted on a little mare, considered the fleetest on the plains, that he had purchased of
the sheriff of Nebraska City in 1866, and with her and his trusty Wincester rifle and
revolvers he felt perfectly safe. He has a sufficient knowledge of the Indian language to
make himself understood, and for that reason, and on account of his long experience on the
plains his services were invaluable to the United States Survey, with whom he remained for
about four years. He is a daring man, of cool nerve, fully competent to meet the Red men
on their own ground, and while scouting received numerous wounds, none of them serious,
and had several narrow escapes.
Sometime afterward Mr. Charpiot's last fight occurred with the renegade Utes, in
Southwestern Colorado, Aug. 15 and 16, 1875, when he distinguished himself by leading the
men to the charge, and remaining conspicuously at the front, a target for the skillful
marksmen among his foes, and was finally shot in the scalp. He and his command were
obliged to make their way back across the desert to their supply camp, a distance of 500
miles, and they were almost starved before they reached their destination. When Mr.
Charpiot returned to Denver, after that exploit, the United States Government, in just
recognition of his services, presented him with a handsome silver-mounted pistol, on which
was engraved the words "Presented to Jacques Charpiot, for bravery and fidelity in
the battle with the renegade Utes Aug. 15 and 16, 1875." After that expedition Mr.
Charpiot left the employ of the Government and opened a restaurant in Denver, and was
doing well, when a fire destroyed the bui!
lding and his stock, which misfortune so discouraged him, fate seeming against him in his
various enterprises, that he gave up business, and returning to the quiet, rural scenes of
him home in Iowa, he settled down to the peaceful and tranquil pursuit of agriculture, and
has ever since been contentedly engaged in caring for his farm, and in raising cattle and
hogs. He has everything comfortable here, and all the conveniences that make life worth
living, even to a cellar hewed in the rock that is ice-cool throughout the hottest
Our subject is a man of good physical proportions, medium sized and well-built, with the
genuine courtesy and pleasing manners characteristic of his race, making him a general
favorite. As a man of the world, who has seen much, he can talk very interestingly
concerning his travels, embellishing his stories with his keen, racy wit, and he is the
best of friends and companions. Politically, he is a stanch Republican, and a great
admirer of the institutions of this country, for which he fought so nobly during the
darkest hours of the Rebellion. Religiously, he is a believer in the Lutheran doctrines,
and holds their great founder, Martin Luther, in veneration. He neither seeks nor desires
public honor or office.
("Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson County, Iowa", originally published
in 1889, by the Chapman Brothers, of Chicago, Illinois.)