MAHLON BRANIN, a retired farmer, residing in Vinton, corner of Elm and Dustin streets, is a son of Ezra and Rachel (Shinn) Branin, and was born in New Jersey. Aug. 10, 1820. His father was also a native of that State, born Oct. 9, 1788, and the mother was born in Pennsylvania, March 28, 1789. There were eight children in the parental family, four of whom are yet living: Abby died in this county two years ago, aged seventy-two; Hannah is unmarried and lives in Stark County, Ohio, with her sister Susan, who is the widow of Benjamin Snode; Mahlon is next in order living; Rachel, the youngest sister, married Francis Enke, a farmer of Stark County, Ohio. The father of our subject died on the farm where Susan now lives, April 10, 1876, and the mother died in that county Jan. 26, 1857. The father was a saddler and harness-maker by trade, but followed farming some years in Mahoning County, Ohio. He was a member of the Society of Friends.
Our subject was reared on a farm of his father's in Mahoning County, Ohio. The place was timber land, and our subject assisted in clearing it up. The place was afterward sold and another tract of 159 acres purchased, and Mahlon assisted in clearing and repairing a large portion of this. He was married while living on his father's farm, in Berlin, Mahoning County, March 27, 1844, to Miss Margery Ellyson, a native of Stark County, Ohio, and they have had four children — Willis I., a dealer in books and stationery at Columbus, Kan.; Chester, an architect and builder, living in Columbus; Alvert is Chief Train Dispatcher on the Northern Pacific Railroad at Tacoma, Wash. Ter.; Ezra Hartwell is telegraph operator and station agent at Centralia, Wash. Ter.Mr. Branin's first wife died in Big Grove Township, March 22, 1859, and Jan. 14, 1860, he married Mrs. Mary E. Taber, widow of T. E. Taber, of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Her birth took place at Mt. Vernon, Knox Co., Ohio, Nov. 23, 1832. She had one son, Frank E., who is a farmer and is following his vocation on the place belonging to our subject. Mr. Branin came West in the spring of 1854, making the journey overland with a team, and located in Big Grove Township, where he took up 160 acres of Government land, consisting of wild prairie. He lived in a rented house for a year, and during that time cultivated a small tract of rented land and also made improvements on his own. He erected a log cabin on his place, in which he lived and was there industriously engaged in the improvement of his land until he was enabled to build a good residence, together with substantial out-buildings, and had brought his land to a good state of cultivation. Feb. 18, 1875, our subject rented his farm, which at that time he had increased to 280 acres, and moved into the city of Vinton. There he took charge of the Granger's Agricultural Warehouse for one year, and since that time has lived retired from the active labors of life, with the exception of about two years he spent as agent of the Eden Fire Insurance Company. He is at present agent for the Mutual Cyclone Insurance Company, the head office of which is located at West Union, Iowa. He visits his farm often and assists in keeping it in repair, and often drives the harvester to cut the grain. It is a fine stock-farm with plenty of running water on it.
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. 304 & 307.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 12th, 2009. Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.