JAMES AUSTIN, who died at his home in Jackson
township, June 7, 1899, had been engaged in farming in Benton county
since 1866. He was born in County Down, Ireland, October 19, 1832;
further mention is made of his parents in connection with the sketch of
Samuel and Robert Austin, found elsewhere in this work. James Austin
came to America in 1849, preceding the others of his family, and
located in Dubuque county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming. He had
received a good education in common school, being a school-mate of Hon.
William B. Allison, former United States senator from Iowa. Under
Abraham Lincoln's administration Mr. Austin served four years as
postmaster in Dubuque county. He was a staunch Republican and took an
active interest in public affairs. He became a successful farmer and
stood high in the estimation of his fellow citizens. He and his wife
were members of the Presbyterian church of Vinton, and at one time he
belonged to the Knights of Honor. He had joined the church in his
boyhood in Ireland, and gave liberally to the support of the faith.
Mr. Austin married, December 31, 1861, in Dubuque county, Iowa, Annie
Graham, born September 13, 1838, probably the first white girl child
born in Dubuque county. She is a daughter of John and Sarah (Mason)
Graham, of Maryland, the father being of Scotch-Irish descent. They
were married at St. Louis, where John Graham was for several years
engaged in mercantile business; they came to Dubuque county in 1836 and
entered land there, securing ultimately some four hundred and ten
acres, recognized as the finest farm in that county. There John Graham
died just before the Civil war, at the age of sixty-three years; his
widow removed to Jones county, Iowa, where she died at the age of
seventy-four. Mrs. Austin's brother, John, is now a resident of Eldora,
Iowa; one brother, Robert, lives at Dubuque; one sister, Mrs. Mary
Steele, now lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Mrs. Steele's husband was
formerly a merchant at Vinton, and later engaged in farming near
Lawrence, Kansas, where he died.
Mr. Austin and his wife became the parents of five sons and five
daughters, namely: Mary, Mrs. Crane, now of Sumner, Iowa; Jennie, Mrs.
Sandhouse, of Monticello, Iowa; Anna, Mrs. Sloan, died in 1902, in
Bruce township, Benton county, at the age of thirty-six years; Walter
J., in the stock business at Anamosa, Iowa; William B. died February
21, 1910, at forty years of age; Robert C., of Everett, Washington, in
the planing mill business; Charles A., operating the home farm in
Jackson township, married Dot McQuilkin, of LaPorte City, Iowa; Martha
E. and Jessie E., unmarried, living at home; and Roy L., in Everett,
Washington. Mrs. Austin resides on the home farm.