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Major Hoyt Sherman 1827-1904 and his son Frank Allen Sherman (1856-1902)

Hoyt Sherman's home in Des Moines, Iowa is preserved today as a museum and performing arts center. Click here.


Hoyt Sherman

Major Hoyt Sherman • 1827 - 1904

Born in 1827, Hoyt Sherman was the youngest son of eleven children. His family included older brothers, John Sherman, writer of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and General William Tecumseh Sherman, Civil War Hero.

A prominant citizen of Des Moines, Iowa, gave his counsel, time and money to ensure that Des Moines had schools, a college, a waterworks system and many more facilites.

Hoyt initially studied the printing trade in the office of his brothers, Charles and John, in Mansfield, Ohio, while in school. In 1848, after turning 21, he was able to indulge a long-held dream to visit less-traveled parts of the country. Finding his way to Des Moines, Iowa, he quickly decided to make it his home. He soon entered public service as a school fund commissioner. His demonstrated business skills in this role earned him appointment to the position of deputy postmaster, which he held until 1849, when he was named postmaster of Des Moines, serving until 1853. As postmaster, he built the city's first dedicated post office building, moving the postal operation out of a barracks building.

In 1849, Hoyt was admitted to the bar, becoming one of the city's most prominent attornies and a clerk of the district court.

He established the bank of Hoyt Sherman and Company, building a reputation for character and integrity which earned it considerable success, particularly in the trust of the company's banknotes, an important factor in the era before the issue of any official federal currency other than coin. In 1858, a new state constitution allowed the establishment of the State Bank of Iowa with authority to issue note. Hoyt was appointed cashier of the Des Moines branch and one of the State Bank's directors, merging Hoyt Sherman and Company into the new bank.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned Hoyt a major and named him a paymaster in the Army. He held the post for three years, without discrepancy of even a penny.

After the war, he served in the Iowa legislature in 1866. In 1867, he was an organizer of the Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa, serving first as actuary, then secretary, and in Janaury of 1874 beginning a fourteen-year tenure as president.

Actively committed to the development and betterment of his home town, Hoyt was a founder of the Des Moines Water Company in 1871, and 1876, was a founder and president of the Iowa Industrial Exposition Company which sought to establish a museum for arts and industries of the state. Several years after his death, Hoyt's own spacious home, left vacant, began its evolution into the current Hoyt Sherman Place, a major performing arts center and museum.

--source: "History of Des Moines and Polk County", Johnson Brigham.

Frank Sherman, son of Hoyt Sherman, was Sara Sherman's father.

Frank Allen Sherman (1856-1902)

1880 U.S. Census records Frank living in his father's household, and working as a clerk in a life insurance office, presumably his father's company. "History of Des Moines and Polk County" indicates that Frank later became a lawyer, practicing in Des Moines.

Ada Louise Bacon Sherman (1868-1900)

Married Frank Sherman: 1 JUN 1887 in Des Moines,IA

# Birth: in Magnolia,IA

# Death: in Des Moines,IA

Father: George Smith Bacon b: Abt 1825 in New York

Mother: Caroline Meredith Bedsaul b: Abt 1829 in Indiana

Hoyt's home as recently renovated