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James H. Pell (1859-1955)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 11/3/2022 at 23:03:22

James H. Pell
(July 17, 1859 October 14, 1955)

Although comparatively a young man, Mr. Pell is one of the pioneers of Calhoun County, and has been actively identified with its development and progress. His home is in Twin Lakes Township, where he owns and operates a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres. He was born on the 17th of July, 1859, in Clay County, Indiana, a son of Washington C. and Mary (Stalcomp) Pell. The father was a native of Kentucky, as were also his parents, John and Eleanore (Smith) Pell. The Smith family were among the very earliest settlers of that state, and there Mrs. Pell was born May 24, 1798. Our subject's grandfather was a farmer and land speculator, and during his residence in Kentucky was also a slave holder. At an early day he removed to Indiana and bought a large tract of land, for which he paid one dollar per acre, but afterward sold some of it as high as one hundred and seventy-five dollars per acre, it being valuable mineral and coal land. He continued to make his home in the Hoosier state throughout the remainder of his life, and died there at the age of eighty-five years. His wife lived to the advanced age of ninety-four years. They were the parents of twelve children who reached years of maturity Washington C. Pell, the father of our subject, accompanied his parents on their removal to Clay County, Indiana, and there spent the remainder of his life. He was a farmer and stock-raiser by occupation, and was highly respected and esteemed by all who knew him. He died at the comparatively early age of thirty-five years. His widow subsequently married a Mr. Gross, and they now reside in Jasper County, Iowa. She was born in Johnson County, Ohio, April 14, 1830, and by her first marriage had four children, Pleasant, Richard S., Robert W. and James H. There were also four children born of the second union, but Emma is now deceased. Those living are William, Prank and Thompson. The subject of this sketch spent the first twelve years of his life in Clay County, Indiana, and is indebted to its public schools for his early school privileges. He then removed with the family to Jasper County, Iowa, in 1871, and since then his life has been devoted to farming. The first land which he owned was in Butler County, Nebraska, where he resided for two years, and on his return to Iowa located in Calhoun County, purchasing his present farm in Twin Lakes Township in 1882. At that time it was wild and unimproved, and the country round about was still in its primitive condition, there being no roads and but few settlements. There was plenty of wild game, such as ducks, geese, prairie chickens, etc.. and Mr. Pell made the trapping of muskrats his main source of income. There was no market for what little the early settlers could raise, but the skins of wild animate commanded good cash prices. At first our subject bought only eighty acres, to which he has since added, and now has a good farm of one hundred and twenty acres, which he has placed under excellent cultivation. He has made all of the improvements upon the place, including a nice comfortable residence, good barns and outbuildings, and is to-day successfully engaged in general farming. In addition to his own land he also operates another tract which he rents, and usually raises fifty acres of corn and forty acres of small grain, while the remainder of his place is pasture and meadow land. He has from
twenty-five to thirty head of Durham cattle, from fifty to seventy Shropshire sheep, and a number of horses and hogs, devoting considerable time to stock-raising. Mr. Pell was married, August 14, 1881, to Miss Hannah M. Rhodes, who was born in Marion County. Iowa, April 14, 1860, and is a daughter of Joseph and Anna (Creshaw ) Rhodes, both natives of England. Her father, who was a farmer and miner by occupation, died at the age of fifty-six years, hut her mother is still living, and now makes her home with her children. Mr. and Mrs. fell have three sons: H. Carson, born February 16, 1883; Ernest R., September 27, 1886; and James H., Jr., August 11, 1889. Mr. Pell attends the Methodist Episcopal church and affiliates with the Republican party. For about nine years he has held the office of school director, and has ever taken a commendable interest in all enterprises calculated to prove of public benefit. As a pioneer of this region he endured many of the hardships and privations which fall to the lot of the frontiersman, and has materially aided in the development and upbuilding of this section of the state. [Source Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S.J. Clarke, 1902, p.455]


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