TOMPKINS, FRENCH, SHORES, BAXTER, BARNUM, RUSSELL, COFFIN, HOTELEN, WORDEN, NICHOLS
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/19/2011 at 00:57:04
JABEZ TOMPKINS. This gentleman is one of those strictly honorable and upright citizens for which Iowa, and especially Grundy County, has become well known; he possesses all the characteristics for which the native Pennsylvanian is noted—unbounded energy, sterling honesty and much public spirit. He was born in Bradford County, Pa., in 1840, and is a son of John and Naomi (French) Tompkins, and a grandson of Jabez and Hannah (Shores) Tompkins. The grandfather was probably a native of New Jersey, where he followed his trade, that of a millwright, and in connection was also engaged in farming and the sawmill business. In an early day he emigrated to the Keystone State, and was a pioneer of Bradford County, settling in the woods, where he made a good home. He was obliged to go miles to mill, carrying his corn on his back, and while clearing his farm he would start early in the morning with a loaf of rye bread and his ax, and remain all day clearing and improving. His marriage resulted in the following children: John, father of our subject; Ira; Hiram; Daniel; Harriet, wife of Nathaniel Baxter, and Eliza. In politics the father of these children was a strong Democrat. He died in Bradford County, Pa.
The early life of John Tompkins, father of our subject, was passed amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life, and, as his parents were anything but well off, he was often obliged to go without shoes in winter. When but seventeen years of age he was married to Miss French, daughter of Aaron French. At that time he had but seventy-five cents, but this did not prevent the young couple from getting married, and they went to the preacher’s on one horse to be united in marriage. After this he worked for other people, making shingles and working at any other honest employment. By economy and industry he accumulated sufficient means to buy a small farm. Later he moved to Van Buren County, Mich.; he bought land near Decatur, and in connection with farming was also engaged in the lumber business. There his death occurred in 1886. The mother of our subject died in Pennsylvania, and the father was married the second time, selecting his wife in the person of Miss Rebecca Barnum. Seven children were born to our subject’s parents: Dennis; Urial, deceased; Jabez; Warren and Orrin, twins, the latter deceased; Mahala, wife of H. Russell, and Cynthia, wife of George Coffin. By his second marriage, John Tompkins became the father of three children: Naomi J., deceased; Esther, wife of James Hotelen, and John B.
Like the ordinary country boy our subject received his education in the district schools, and when thirteen years of age he began working by the month in the mills and on farms in the neighborhood. This was in his native state, and after he went to Michigan he continued this for some time and then bought land. From there he went to Ogle County, Ill., where he married Miss Hattie Worden, a native of the Prairie State and the daughter of Thomas and Mariah (Nichols) Worden, natives of the state of New York. Mrs. Tompkins’ father was a school teacher in early life, but after his marriage he moved to Ogle County Ill., where he entered Government land, and there he passed the closing scenes of his life. He was the son of Amariah and Rebecca Worden.
Our subject’s union has been blessed by the birth of six children: Naomi, Mariah, Thomas, Anna, Esther and Mary. Mr. Tompkins came to Iowa about 1858, and located in Scott County, where he remained until about 1873, when he came to Grundy County. He first bought forty acres of land, but has added to it from time to time, until he is now the owner of five hundred and twenty-three acres in this county and one hundred acres in Hancock County. In carrying on his vast farming interests Mr. Tompkins does not lose sight of the stock-raising industry, and makes a specialty of fine animals. In early life he learned the carpenter’s trade and has followed that to a considerable extent through life. Like his father, he is a strong supporter of Democratic principles, and was here when there were but six Democratic voters in the county.
Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa
Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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