JAMES STEWART. Prominent among the respected citizens and successful men of this county, who have succeeded in life through their own energy and perseverance, is the gentleman of whom we write, and who is at present residing on his fine farm on section 8, Monroe Township. Mr. Stewart was born in County Derry, Ireland, Aug. 1, 1814. At twenty-five years of age he left his native land and set sail for the United States, arriving in New York June 15, 1839, a poor man, with only twenty-four cents in his pocket. After landing in New York he continued to remain there, variously occupied, for about a year, when he removed to Philadelphia. There he worked at the carpenter's and joiner's trade, which he had mastered in the old country, for about a year, and in the spring of 1841 went to Pittsburgh, Pa., arriving there the day on which William H. Harrison passed through on his way to the White House.
Our subject was married, Oct. 25, 1848, to Mary Elkin, born in Ireland. They continued to reside in Pittsburgh until 1857, when they came West and located in this county. The journey was made by water to Muscatine and from there with team, and they located on the place where they now live May 20 of that year. The county was very sparsely settled at that time, and there were no residences between his and Traer. There was a small log cabin on his land, into which he moved and in which they lived for four years. They endured all the privations and hardships incident to the settlement of a new country, and hand in hand they labored with but one interest in common, that heing the establishment of a permanent and comfortable home for themselves and children. They reared a family of eleven children, seven of whom are yet living. The record is as follows: William was born April 6. 1845, enlisted in the 8th Iowa Cavalry, and was killed Aug. 16, 1864; Thomas, born July 18, 1847; Mary T., born Jan. 19, 1850, died Oct. 28, 1853; James H., born May 20, 1852; Mary E., born Nov. 7, 1854, died Aug. 17, 1877: John F., born Feb. 4, 1867; Flora L., Feb. 17, 1859; Annie, May 18, 1861; Lovie E., April 11, 1863; Minnie, April 11, 1866, and died July 31, 1863 [sic, probably should be 1873]; and Sadie, born Aug. 11, 1868.As stated our subject came to this country a poor man, with naught but an English shilling in his pocket: but he had a large amount of perseverance and pluck, strong arms and a determined disposition, and by hard, unceasing industry, good judgment and economy, has accumulated a large property. He is passing the sunset of life in peace and quiet retirement and in the enjoyment of the accumulations of a life of labor. In the midst of his present prosperity he is ever mindful of his own early struggles, and the obstacles he had to overcome, and is ever ready to help others on in the battle of life. In an early day he was an old-line Whig, but on the birth of the Republican party he joined its ranks and has since voted with it. Mrs. Stewart is a member of the Presbyterian Church, whose services the family attend. Mr. Stewart has always taken an active part in educational affairs, contributing liberally to their support. He is widely known for his integrity, honesty and uprightness, and is one of Benton County's foremost citizens.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 200-201.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.