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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Theodore Perry Shonts

Amelia Drake Shonts, daughter of the late Ex. Gov. Drake, of Iowa, and wife of T. P. Shonts, the Railroad Magnate of New York, was born in Drakeville, Iowa.  Her mother, Mary Lord Drake, was a woman of rare spirit and beauty of character.  Mrs. Shonts was graduated from Oskaloosa College, later attended Wellesley and finished with the study of music and languages abroad.  On Dec. 28, 1881, at the beautiful old home in Centerville, she was married to Theodore Perry Shonts, the son of Dr. Henry Daniels and Margaret Nevin Shonts.  He was at that time employed by the national banks of Iowa to standardize and simplify their system of bookkeeping.  When a very young man he had been graduated from Knox College.  He took up the study of law and was admitted to the bar becoming associated with General Drake, who had very large financial and railroad interests, a large part of the management of which he placed in Mr. Shonts' hands. He built and became the controlling interest in the Iowa Central R. R., built the M., Ia. & Nebr. R. R., and later the Ind., Ill. and Ia. R. R.  He sold these interests and bought the control of the Toledo, St. Louis & Western R. R., which he made a success.  In 1905 he was appointed by President Roosevelt as chairman of the Isthmus of Panama Canal Commission.  He formulated the plans for that work and continued as its head until 1907, when he became president of the Interboro Rapid Transit Co., and had charge of the subway and elevated systems of New York.  He is now president of the Interboro Met. Co., Toledo, St. Louis & Western R. R. Co., and the Iowa Central R. R. Co.  They have two daughters:  Duchesse de Chaulnes, and Marguerite Amelia Shonts.  They live in the Plaza Hotel, New York, although Mrs. Shonts returns each year to the old home in Centerville, and spends much time abroad.  She is a member of the Church of Christ, of the P. E. O. sisterhood, the Chicago Woman's Club and the Woman's Athletic Club.



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