J[ohn]. T. RAVENSCROFT,
a retired farmer living at Vinton, Benton county, Iowa, has been
identified with this county for half a century. He first came to Iowa
in 1856, remaining in Washington county during the winter and in the
spring of the following year moved to Benton county, where he has since
lived, with the exception of three years spent in Mahaska county, this
Mr. Ravenscroft is a native of West Virginia. He was born in Hampshire
(now Mineral) county, September 30, 1830, son of J. D. and Maria (Gulp)
Ravenscroft, both natives of Virginia, where they passed their lives
and died. The mother died in 1843, at the age of thirty-seven years,
and the father some years later. They were the parents of eight
children, of whom J. T. is the only survivor. One son, J. E., was for
many years a prominent and highly respected citizen of Vinton, Iowa,
where he settled in the spring of 1860. Previous to that date he had
for a short time been a resident of Marion and Wapello counties, this
state. In Vinton he became associated with Mr. H. Watson in the grocery
business, in which he was engaged for many years; eight, years he
served as a member of the city council. He died here May 26, 1907. A
younger brother, E. H., was killed in the Civil war.
J. T. Ravenscroft was reared in his native state, in Monongahala and
Preston counties, and in Hampshire county, same state, December 28,
1854, he married Miss Martha Mott, who accompanied him to Iowa and for
nearly fifty years was the partner of his joys and sorrows. She was
born in Hampshire county, West Virginia, September 11, 1836, and died
in Big Grove township, Benton county, Iowa, June 28, 1902. Six children
were born to them, namely: Mary Virginia, born in West Virginia,
September 2, 1856, is the wife of W. C. Uttley and the mother of three
children. They reside near Garrison, in Benton county. The other
children are all natives of Benton county, Iowa: Rachel A. (Mrs.
Luther), born in January, I860; J. Henry, born in 1862, is a widower
with six children, and has a fine modern home on his farm of two
hundred and thirty-six acres in Jackson township, Benton county; J. M.,
a brickmason, of Clarks, Nebraska, is married and has two children; T.
E., engaged in the real estate business at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has a
wife and three children. He studied law and was admitted to the bar.
The youngest child, Robert, died at Valparaiso, Indiana, August 24,
1896, in his twenty-third year. He had taught school several terms, and
at the time of his death was studying law.
Politically the subject of this sketch has been a Republican since the
party was organized. He served four terms as assessor of Big Grove
township and one term in Jackson township; also in Big Grove township
he filled the office of supervisor one term. He is a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church, as also was his wife. When Mr. Ravenscroft
came to Benton county there were no railroads in the county, the
nearest one being at Iowa City. His first purchase was forty acres of
wild land. He added to his first holdings until he at one time owned
two hundred and sixty-six acres, which has since been divided among his
children. Vinton was only a small place when he came, and all or nearly
all of the poineers who were here at that time are now gone.