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James J. Sebern (1844-1917)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/24/2022 at 11:07:23

James J. Sebern
(March 1, 1844 November 20, 1917)

J. J. Sebern resides in Manson, but is well known throughout the county and enjoys the high regard of a large circle of friends. He is engaged in the grain and coal business and is an enterprising merchant, carefully conducting trade transactions which are bringing to him well merited prosperity. His birth occurred in Marion County, Indiana, near Indianapolis, on the 1st of March, 1844. His father, Harvey Sebern, was a native of Kentucky, as was the mother of our subject, who bore the maiden name of Susan O'Neal. Their marriage occurred in Indiana, where they resided until 1865, the father following the occupation of farming. In that year he brought his family to Iowa, settling in Benton County, where he leased land, remaining there until 1875, when he came to Calhoun County. His wife died in Benton County in September, 1866. After his arrival in this portion of the state, the father of our subject took up his abode near Lake City, where he purchased raw prairie land and improved a farm, erecting good buildings thereon. He did his trading at Lake City and Glidden, but eventually sold his farm property and lived retired in the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Smock, where he died in 1892. He voted for the Republican party, but refused to hold office. His religious faith was that of the Baptist church, in which he long held membership. In his family were seven children, as follows: William L., who passed away in Indiana, at the age of eighteen years; J. J., of this review; Mary, the wife of Thomas Smock, a retired farmer of Des Moines, Iowa; Alice, who became the wife of James Hinkley, a resident of Carroll County, Iowa; Sarah, the deceased wife of William Noble, of Whittier, California, she having passed away in 1894: Thomas, who married Mattie McNish, of Carroll County, Iowa, and now resides in Lake City, Iowa; and Libby, the wife of Frank Sinclair, of Carroll City, Iowa, who occupies the position of deputy clerk of the court. In the district and subscription schools of Marion County J. J. Sebern pursued his
education through the winter months. In early spring he assisted in the plowing and planting and later in the harvesting of the crops. The year 1865 witnessed the arrival of the family in Iowa, and he then continued his education in a high school in Benton County. When he had attained his majority he entered upon his business career as a salesman in the grocery store of Louis Quinn, with whom he remained for one year, after which, in connection with his father, he leased six hundred acres of land and extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising on his own account.
On the 10th of October, 1867, in Thorntown, Boone County. Indiana, Mr. Sebern wedded Miss Mary C. Hinckley, who was born in Franklin County, Indiana, August 2. 1844, a daughter of Rufus and Janette (Cunningham) Hinckley, the former a native of Massachusetts and the latter of Ohio. They were married, however, in Indiana, and became residents of that state, the father carrying on farming there for a number of years. In the spring of 1869 he came with his family to Iowa, settling in Benton County, where he purchased land, upon which he resided for about five years. He next removed to Carroll County, Iowa, where he purchased a farm that continued to be his home until his death, which occurred in 1877. His political support was given the Republican party. His wife has also passed away. In the family of this worthy couple were seven children, namely: Mary C, the wife of Mr. Sebern; James, who married Alice Sebern and resides in Carroll County, Iowa; Sarah Jane, who died in childhood; Anna, who became the wife of Arthur Noble, a resident farmer of Jackson Township, Calhoun County: Libby, who first married Ransom Satterly, and upon his death married R. B. Hawn and resides in Boone, Iowa; John, who married Hattie Stoolman and resides in Carroll County, Iowa; and Arthur, who married Julia Chambers, and resides in Chicago, where he is engaged in carpentering and contracting. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Sebern have been born three children: Bert E., who was born December 9, 1868, and married Tilly Wise, by whom he has one daughter, Marie, resides in Rockwell City and is acceptably filling the position of county treasurer. Frank J., born May 1, 1871, died April 23, 1894, and was laid to rest in the cemetery at Manson. Florence A., born October 28, 1880, is still with her parents.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Sebern began their domestic life upon the farm which he had leased, and there remained until 1871, when they came to Calhoun County. Here he purchased one hundred and
twenty acres of land in Lake Creek Township, making his home thereon for eight years. When that period had elapsed he became a resident of Manson, and after one year spent in the butchering business he began clerking for M. B. Kelly and purchased stock for two years. On the expiration of that period he begun dealing in grain and coal, an enterprise which has since claimed his time and attention, and in which he is meeting with gratifying success, handling large quantities of both commodities annually. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the
Republican party, but has never been an aspirant for office. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, and his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. [Source Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S.J. Clarke, 1902, p.356]


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