A[nson] P. BIXBY, a highly respected and esteemed farmer on section 10, Canton Township, is a native of New York, born in Clinton County on the 12th of August, 1814. His father, Joel Bixby, was a native of Rockingham, Vt.; his mother, Sylvia (Morse) Bixby, was born in Clinton County, N.Y. A. P. Bixby is the oldest of eight children, but when he was only six months old, his mother was prostrated with a very severe illness, and, being unable to properly care for her child, she gave him to a French family residing in Canada, in which household young Bixby spent the first six years of his life. He then returned home and lived under the parental roof until thirteen years of age. His opportunities for obtaining an education up to this time were limited to a few weeks' attendance in a district school. He now entered a general store where he was engaged as clerk, serving two years, during which time, being of studious habits and a close observer, he took advantage of every chance which presented, calculated to improve his mind, and thus by self-instruction, succeeded in laying the foundation of a practical education, which in after years served him to good purpose, and developed him into a well-informed man. At the age of seventeen he went into the lumber regions of New York, and there was put in charge of forty men. Two years later he was found in command of a force of men constructing the Miami Canal, in Indiana and Ohio, after which he went South and spent several years in the Southern States. In 1844 he went to Wisconsin and became one of the pioneers of Dodge County, where he had the honor of driving the first four-horse team in that part of the State. The country was then heavily timbered, and thus it was several years before many roads were laid out other than Indian trails and those of a few early settlers, which could be followed by keeping watch of the trees, which were "blazed" with an ax. There in the woods Mr. Bixby entered some land and commenced to improve a farm.
In 1845 he made the acquaintance of Electa Bruce, who, on the 23d day of November of that year, became his wife. She is a daughter of David and Cynthia (Smith) Bruce, and was born in Caledonia County, Vt., Sept. 30, 1829. When she was but three years of age, the family moved to Buffalo, N. Y., whence eleven years later they removed to Burlington, Wis., and in the spring of 1845 to Dodge County, in that State.
When the railroad from Milwaukee to Portage City was being built, Mr. Bixby had charge of the construction for a distance of ten miles west from Horicon. This occupied most of his time for two years, but at the same time he also carried on his farm, to which he afterward gave his entire attention. In 1869 he sold out and removed to Iowa and purchased of W. C. Robbins eighty acres of choice land, to which he afterward added 163 acres, but later in life gave eighty acres of it to his son. He has erected good buildings and made other improvements, and now is the owner of a pleasant home farm.In politics Mr. Bixby is a stanch supporter of the Republican party, voting with it on all occasions, and has been frequently elected to local office, in which he has given general satisfaction. He and his amiable wife are active, earnest workers in the Baptist Church, with which they are connected by membership. They are kind parents, good neighbors, and are surrounded by a large circle of warm and admiring friends. They have been the parents of four children, two of whom are deceased: Sylvia A. married John Seers and died at the age of twenty-two years; Charles died at the age of thirteen. Those surviving are Albert and Wallace.
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. 209-210.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on January 28th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.