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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

JOHN F. PYNE, for many years editor of the Benton County Herald, was born in Ovid, Seneca Co., N. Y., Feb. 23, 1830. He is a son of David and Anna (Fanning) Pyne, both natives of Ireland, who there married in 1827, but soon after emigrated to America and located in New York. In 1834 the family moved to Boston, Mass., but in 1840 returned to New York in a prairie schooner, and located in Cazenovia. The father was an active Democrat, a man of more than ordinary ability. There were twelve children in the family, eleven of whom lived to be adults: Mary, who married J. B. Woods, in 1848, and died at Davenport, Iowa, in 1880, while engaged as Matron at the Soldiers' Orphans' Home; John F., the subject of this sketch; Catherine, who married Lemuel Doolittle, a superintendent of oil-works in Pennsylvania; Anna, who married John K. Hall, and who died in Charles City, Iowa, in 1884; David, now residing in Los Angeles, Cal., was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in the 9th Missouri Infantry; while before Vicksburg he was wounded in the head and arm, and was subsequently promoted First Lieutenant in the 1st Mississippi Regiment (colored); William W., who enlisted in the 18th Wisconsin Infantry as Orderly Sergeant, and was wounded at Corinth, Miss., after which he was offered his discharge or an appointment as Commissary Sergeant; he accepted the latter and served until the close of the war, and died at Independence, Iowa, in September, 1883; Edward, a prominent business man at Marysville, Ohio, for many years; Margaret E., wife of J. W. Walker, a prominent farmer and stock-dealer in Charles City, Iowa; James, who served as a member of the Iowa State Cavalry, now collecting agent for the Howe Sewing Machine Company, at Columbus, Ohio; Charles M., who was a member of the 2d Iowa Cavalry and was injured by being thrown from his horse near Nashville., Tenn.; he now resides in California; Henry, a professional engineer, now residing at Los Angeles, Cal. The father died April 5, 1873, at the residence of his son, John F., in Vinton; the mother died at Iowa Falls, in March, 1869.

John F. Pyne, the subject of this sketch, learned the shoemaker's trade with his father. His education was obtained in part at the O. C. Seminary, at Cazenovia, N. Y. After he quit working at his trade, he entered the office of Richard Thomas as a law student. In 1851 he went to Susquehanna Depot, where he engaged as book-keeper for Nathan Lenham, dealer in general merchandise, where he remained one year. He was afterward engaged with Harvey Smith, and closed out his stock of dry goods in Susquehanna. He then went to Windsor to close out another stock of goods, but purchased the same at one-third off, and moved it to Harpersville. N. Y.

On the 21st day of June, 1854, he was united in marriage with Miss Ruth A. Stringham, born in Windsor, N. Y., in 1835. They were the parents of four sons, only two of whom are living — Edward, an attorney at law, and Joseph, a printer by trade, now residing in Rushville, Neb. In the spring of 1855 Mr. Pyne came to Iowa, landing at Davenport May 5. Remaining there a few weeks, he started out to look for a location, Newton, in Jasper County, being his objective point. He met a man east of Iowa City, who advised him to come to Vinton, claiming that it was one of the best locations for a town in Iowa. Moving his family to this place, be engaged in the boot and shoe business, but in 1856 embarked in the newspaper business, as editor and publisher of the Benton County Democrat, the first Democratic paper issued in the county. He sold out the following year and purchased a stock of ready-made clothing. In 1860 he formed a partnership with Isaiah Van Meter, in the publication of the Benton County Democrat, continuing the same during the campaign. In 1865 Mr. Pyne was employed by Traer Bros., as cashier and book-keeper in their bank. In the fall of 1868 he established the Democratic Standard, running the same until the fall of 1868. In 1874 he was admitted to the bar to practice law. In 1878 he started the Benton County Herald, and continued its editor and publisher until May, 1886, when he sold the paper to J. P. Wallace, who consolidated with it the Independent, of Belle Plaine, under the name of Benton County Herald, its office of publication being Vinton.

Mrs. Pyne died in August, 1863, and in June, 1865, Mr. Pyne married Miss Lavina F. Burruss, only daughter of Rev. Edward D. Burruss, of Greensburg. Ind. Three children have been born to them — Rose, May and Bertha E.; the latter is deceased.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 202-203.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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