Posted By: Gail Meyer Kilgore (email)
Date: 3/4/2004 at 16:32:02
THOMAS BASKIN, a farmer residing on section 20, Melrose Township, Grundy County, is a native of the Emerald Isle. He was born in the North of Ireland, April 7, 1835, and is a son of Moses Baskin, a farmer of that country. Under the parental roof our subject remained until seventeen years old, and then entered the British army, taking part in the Crimean War under General Thomas. He was wounded by a bullet passing through his scalp, but it did not enter his skull. He served for two years and four months, and for about half of that time was Captain of Company B, Fifty-seventh Regiment. When Lord Raggleston betrayed the forces, Mr. Baskin kept a letter setting forth the treachery of Lord and carried the missive to General Thomas. As a reward for this valuable service, he was promoted from the rank of Orderly to Captain.
When his term had expired, Captain Baskin returned to his old home, but in 1855, he resolved to seek a home in the New World, and crossed the broad Atlantic. He located in Luzerne County, Pa., where he worked by the month for two years and eight months, after which he removed to Stark County, Ill. There he engaged in farming, in breaking prairie and in buying and selling cattle. The succeeding nine years of his life were spent in Illinois, in Stark, Bureau and Henry Counties. The year 1865 witnessed his arrival in Grundy County, Iowa. He took up residence in Melrose Township, on the section which has since been his home, buying one hundred and sixty acres of land, for which he paid $800. He afterwards bought one hundred and sixty acres at $17 per acre. Wild and unimproved was the land which he first purchased, but he at once began plowing and planting the tract, and in course of time it was transformed into rich and fertile fields. He erected the first buildings upon the place, and, in fact, other improvements seen thereon are his handiwork.
In Stark County, Ill., Mr. Baskin was united in marriage with Miss Nancy Simmons, a native of Bureau County, Ill., and a daughter of Josiah Simmons, who was born in Bradford County, Pa. Their union has been blessed with five children, two of whom are now living, a son and a daughter, Clara J., and Charles. The mother died August 1, 1872, leaving many warm friends to mourn her loss.
Mr. Baskin had met with excellent success in his business dealings, and may truly be called a self-made man, for he had worked his way upward from an humble position to one of affluence. His home farm now comprises four hundred and eighty acres of rich and valuable land, and he also owns three hundred and twenty acres in Baker Township, Osceola County. He carries on general farming and stock-raising, and is the owner of one hundred and sixty hogs, one hundred and twenty-six steers (from one to four years old), thirty two head of horses and thirty head of cattle. In politics he is a stalwart Democrat, and in religious belief is an Episcopalian.
Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa
Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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