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Benton County, Iowa Obituaries

Blairstown Press; Tuesday, February 2, 1925
James W. Athey



Lived For Sixty Years on Same Farm, Which He Bought From the Government for Eighty-three Cents An Acre

Another pioneer, one of the last of the real pioneers who brought Iowa from its primeval state to a land of plenty, has passed to his reward. James W. Athey of Blairstown, whose life story is told below, was the man and his history is of more than passing Interest. Ere long the last of this hardy stock will have passed from view and the connecting link between the old and the new will be but a memory but the work of these hardy, men and women will live on until the latest lapse of time.

An old man, a long time resident of the community, and a pioneer, has answered the final summons. James Washington Athey was born in Park County, Indiana on October 28, 1820, and quietly passed away from earth at his home in Blairstown, Iowa, on the morning of January 29, 1925, at the advanced age of 95 years, 3 months and 3 days.

He was the son of Judson W. and Susanna Athey who were pioneer American stock, the originators of which came from Ireland. There were ten children in the family, eight of whom preceded him in death. He came with his parents and their family to Iowa in 1846 and they settled in Cono township, now called Marengo township, Iowa County. In 1847 he started out make a home for himself and pre-empted a claim in Jefferson township, Poweshiek county, Iowa, where he lived for two years and then sold it for a yoke of oxen. In 1853 he located on a farm in LeRoy township, Benton County, one mile south of Blairstown which he purchased from the government for eighty-three cents an acre. For two years he was the only white settler in the township. He resided on this farm for over sixty years, selling it in 1914 when he moved to Blairstown to make his home for the remainder Of his life.

James W. Athey was married to Miss Sarah Catharine Brown of Johnson County, Iowa, on July l4, 1853 and they began housekeeping in the log cabin which the husband had erected on his newly acquired farm. To them were born four children, Joseph Alexander of Prairie du Chien, Wis., Emily A., who passed away in 1904, Judson W. of Nowata, Oklahoma and John M. The wife and mother passed away on November 11, 1865.

On May 31, 1866, he was united in marriage with Mrs. Minerva Haughenbury and her two little children, Ellen and Joseph, came with her into the family and he became a father to them. To this union six children were born. Two of them Mattie and Emmett died in infancy. Clinton B. passed away on November 30, 1923 and Cora E. died on March 18, 1924. There remain James M. of Deep River Iowa and Roy who lives in Pomona, California and with them his two step children, Ellen and Joseph Haughenbury. Mrs. Athey died on April 23, 1924. There remain to mourn for him his five sons, two step children and one brother, M. J. Athey, of Belle Plaine. He has been in declining health since the death of his wife and has been tenderly cared for by his step daughter, Ellen, who has been his, main stay and comfort in these his declining years. His step son, Joseph Haughenbury has been by his side during the last fourteen months, with a willing hand helping to care for him and ministering to his every need.

Mr. Athey will be greatly missed in this community where he has lived for so many years. He has been a hard worker and a business factor till age prevented further activity. He enjoyed the fact that he plowed corn for seventy-five seasons, a great record.

He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church for a long time being received on probation February 9, 1868 and was baptized and received into full connection on December 20th of the same year by the Rev. S. W. Heald. The first religious service in the township was held in his log cabin home. The Bible and the hymns he had learned were a great comfort to him in his last years.

The funeral services were held at his late home on Monday afternoon, February 2nd, conducted by his pastor, the Rev, S. C. Bretnall and the body was tenderly laid away in the family lot in the cemetery but a few rods from the old home on the farm.

The music was furnished by a mixed quartet. Miss Lydia Groff, Mrs. William Carlson, the Kouba brothers of Luzerne and were accompanied by Mrs. Delphia Rice.

The pall bearers were Frank Kouba, Charley Kreager, Wm. Hamman, John Schinn, Frank Heck and Wm. Trontzman.

Those from a distance, who were in attendance at the last rites were: Alexander Athey, Prairie du Chien, Wis.; Judson Athey, Nowota, Okla.; Mr. and Mrs. James Athey, Deep River, Ia.; Ray Athey, Pomona, Cal.; Mrs. Clint Athey and son Clarence of Des Moines; Mrs. John Athey, Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Smith of North English, Ia.; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Bell, Marengo; Louis, George and Morgan Merrifield and son George, Cedar Rapids; Clyde Howard, Belle Plaine; Milton Athey, Belle Plaine; Mrs. Martha Smith; Wm. and T. W. Smith of Marengo; Mr. and Mrs. L. Allen, Belle Plaine; Charles Glesking, Marengo.

James Athey of Deep River who was called here by the death of his father, James W. Athey on Wednesday, returned to his home on Friday. He returned early in the week to attend the funeral which was held on Monday.

{Submitter comment: Not related}
Submitted on Feb 10, 2006 by
John Shuck,

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