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Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 523-525

JAMES Y. GILCHRIST, a retired farmer, for the past twenty years a resident of Vinton, Iowa, came to Benton county in 1856 and settled in Taylor township. He made the journey here by team from south of Indianapolis, Indiana, and crossed the Mississippi river at Davenport. His wife came by rail to Iowa City, and thence by stage to Vinton. On this overland journey he was accompanied by his brother, William Gilchrist, now a resident of Vinton, and eighty-one years of age. Together they bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, which they subsequently divided, and to his portion James Y. added another eighty and a forty-acre tract, making a farm of two hundred acres in Taylor township, about three miles from Vinton, which he improved and where he lived and carried on general farming and stock raising until he removed to Vinton. He has since sold his farm to his son, James Albert.

Mr. Gilchrist was born August 25, 1830, in southern Indiana, forty miles from Louisville, Kentucky, son of James and Mary (Duncan) Gilchrist, the former a native of Washington county, Kentucky, born in 1795. James Gilchrist and his wife, also a native of Kentucky, settled in southern Indiana among the pioneers of that state, where he engaged in farming, and later he moved to a farm not far from Indianapolis. He died at Franklin, Indiana, at the home of a daughter, when about eighty years of age, his wife having died about six years previously. They were the parents of ten children, three daughters and seven sons. All grew to maturity, but the only ones still living are James Y. and his sister, Mrs. Lucy Ann Branam, of Greenwood, Indiana. Three brothers, all residents of Vinton, died during the winter of 1909-10.

On June 22, 1852, in Indiana, James Y. Gilchrist married Miss Lydia A. Banta, a native of that state and a daughter of Albert and Martha Ann (Vorres) Banta, who had moved from Mercer county, Kentucky, to Indiana at an early day and settled in Johnson county. Her father died when Mrs. Gilchrist was small and her mother married again; she died at an advanced age in Cumberland county, Illinois. Mrs. Gilchrist was one of seven children, all of whom grew to maturity, except one brother. Of the family, only two are now living — she and Mrs. William Gilchrist. To Mr. and Mrs. James Y. Gilchrist were born three children. One died in Indiana, at the age of two years. The others are James Albert and Martha Bell. The latter is the wife of B. T. Stuben of Waterloo, Iowa, who owns and conducts a pop factory. Politically Mr. Gilchrist is a Democrat, Mrs. Gilchrist is a Presbyterian.

James Albert Gilchrist, who owns and occupies the old Gilchrist homestead, now comprising one hundred and ninety-four acres, two and a half miles southwest of Vinton, was born in January, 1856. In the fall of 1887 he married Miss Mattie Clemmons, who was born in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1855, daughter of William and Lavina (Chaffin) Clemmons, who came to Iowa from Scioto county, Ohio, about 1852 or 1853. William Clemmons died at Muscatine during the Civil war and his widow and her family subsequently removed to Benton county and settled at Shellsburg, which was the family home until her death, in July, 1884, at the age of sixty-four years. Of her eleven children five are deceased. Besides Mrs. Gilchrist there are: F. D., of Vinton, a veteran of the Civil war; George, of Shellsburg, Iowa; John S., of Cedar Rapids, a traveling salesman; Zachary, a farmer near Nevada, Missouri; and Mrs. M. Heath, of Shellsburg. Mr. and Mrs. J. Albert Gilchrist have one son, Clark, aged seventeen.

Like his father, Mr. A. J. Gilchrist, is a Democrat. He has for years taken an active interest in local politics, and was at one time the candidate of his party for the office of sheriff of Benton county. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Knights of Phythias, and Mrs. Gilchrist is a Pythian Sister and a member of the Royal Neighbors. They attend the Presbyterian church, of which his mother is a member.

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