Richard Colvin


A substantial measure of prosperity is the logical reward of a busy and useful life on the part of Richard Colvin, a progressive and enterprising farmer of Franklin township, Allamakee county. He was born in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, on the 12th of June, 1847, a son of William and Margaret (Markland) Colvin, natives of Pennsylvania and Kentucky respectively. In 1822, in young manhood, the father went to Jo Daviess county, Illinois, where he found employment in the lead mines, but later took up farming, which occupation proved his real life work. He was thus engaged until 1849, in which year he went to California and for three years worked in the mines, after which he returned to Illinois, spending his remaining days in Jo Daviess county. He was one of the pioneers of that state and served throughout the Black Hawk war. He died in 1880, surviving his wife for twelve years.

Richard Colvin, the younger of two children born unto his parents, attended the Mount Hope school in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, while at the same time he received thorough practical training under the direction of his father. He early became acquainted with farm work and remained with his father, assisting him in the cultivation of the home farm, until eighteen or nineteen years of age, when he began earning his own livelihood, being employed as a farm hand for some time. At the time of his marriage, however, he went to Decatur county, Iowa, and purchased land. That district was still largely a wilderness and after a residence of one year he returned to his native county, where he was engaged in farming for five years. At the expiration of that period he went to Minnesota and there conducted a mercantile business for a time, after which he sold out and became a landowner, following agricultural pursuits in that state for five years. Upon his return to Illinois he took up his abode on the old homestead, which he cultivated for about thirteen years, and then rented a forty acre tract in Delaware county, which he operated for four years. It was at the end of that time that Mr. Colvin came to Allamakee county, taking up his home in the southern part of Franklin township, where he resided for seven years after which he bought his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres, located on section 6, this township, to the operation of which he has since given his entire attention. He carried on general farming, and the progressive methods which he follows are meeting with most excellent results. His farm is a well developed and highly improved property, equipped with modern conveniences and indicative in its neat appearance of the thrift, industry and system of its owner.

Mr. Colvin was married, on the 12th of April, 1868, to Miss Sylvia E. Allen, who was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, April 30, 1847. Her parents, George W. and Theresa (Mitchell) Allen, were natives of St. Lawrence county, New York, and came west in 1855, locating in Jo Daviess county, Illinois. The father, a lifelong farmer, rented land in that state for a time but later purchased property where he resided throughout the remainder of his life. Their daughter Sylvia was the eldest of a family of thirteen children and by her marriage to Mr. Colvfin has become the mother of ten children, as follows: Jesse, born October 24, 1870, who is a farmer by occupation and resides two and a half miles north of Postville,; Phoebe, born in July, 1873, who now makes her home with her parents; Lottie M., born December 11, 1874, now the wife of Charles Davis, a farmer of Myron; Frank, born September 23, 1876, who is engaged in agricultural pursuits on a farm adjoining his father’s home; Bert, born July 26, 1881, residing with his father; Tillie, born June 6, 1884, who married Benjamin Davis, a farmer who resides south of Waukon; Edward, born May 30, 1889, residing with his brother at Myron; and three who have passed away.

Mr. Colvin gives his support to the democratic party but aside from casting his vote for its men and measures at the polls is not active in politics, preferring to concentrate his energies upon his personal affairs. That he has been successful is indicated by the place which he occupies among the substantial and prosperous agriculturists of this district while the respect and regard entertained for him are inspired by his excellent traits of character.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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