biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
WILLIAM E. VERNON, patentee and manufacturer of Vernon's Steam Nut & Coffee Roaster at Oskaloosa, is one of the foremost businessmen of that city. He is engaged in manufacturing steam-engines, does job work, and started his business in that place in 1878. He has, nevertheless, been a resident of Mahaska County since 1869. He was born in Lancashire, England, Oct. 22, 1842, and is a son of Thomas and Hannah (Hall) Vernon. He emigrated to the United States with his parents when only three or four years of age, and lived with them in Newark, N. J., where he was reared to the age of maturity, and where, in the common schools, he was educated. When eleven years of age, in 1853, his parents both died, leaving a family of seven children, six in this country. In 1854 he went to England with his brother Varnam. They both went to be educated by their brother, but he being a Roman Catholic and requiring them to become members of that church, they left him and worked at various kinds of business for two years, when they received from their sister Martha the necessary funds for their return, and both came back together. In December, 1860, be came to Illinois on a visit, and on the breaking out of the late Civil War, April 22, 1861, he enlisted in Juliet, in Co. F, 20th Ill. Vol. Inf., and served three years and four months. Prominent among the battles in which he participated were those of Donaldson, Shiloh, Corinth and Bretton's Lane. He then went back to Memphis, then to Lake Providence, La., from there to Milligan's Bend, then to Ft. Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills and Vicksburg. He was in the campaign under Sherman, returned to Vicksburg, and from there went to Cairo, Ill., at which time his term of enlistment had expired. In connection with others be drove some 2,200 head of cattle to Chattanooga. He was detached from his regiment and took part in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, after which he returned to Nashville, Tenn., and was there mustered out in July, 1864. In September, 1864, Mr. Vernon came to Oskaloosa, where he was employed for a short time, and in the spring of 1865 went to Montana and there engaged in placer mining at Silver Bow. He remained in Montana until 1869, occupying his time while there in mining, and also in the running of a pony express between several of the towns. He returned to Oskaloosa in 1869, and in 1870 purchased a steam bakery at that place and carried on the business until 1882. He also dealt in fancy groceries, and in 1878 invented the coffee roaster, of which he is the patentee, and since 1879 has been engaged in the manufacture of his roasters. He was also Superintendent of the Currier Middling Mills one year. He has a fine farm near the city limits, on which he has a fine brick residence and a number of blooded horses and fine stock. As a business man and farmer he may be reckoned as second to none in the county. Mr. Vernon was united in marriage, June 7. 1870, at Oskaloosa, with Miss Lydia Fisher, daughter of Dr. Isaac Fisher. She was born in Harveysburg, Ohio, March 15, 1838, and has borne our subject four children, three of whom are living─William E., Cyrus F., and an infant unnamed; May is deceased. Mrs. Vernon is a member of the Congregational Church. In politics our subject votes with the Republican party. He has been a member of the City Council for one term, and socially belongs to the Masonic fraternity. He is also a member of the Iowa Legion of Honor, and is one of the respected and honored citizens of Mahaska County.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy