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BIRT, James J. - 1912 Bio (1854-1910)


Posted By: Debbie Nash (email)
Date: 10/19/2003 at 18:09:19

From the History of Jefferson County - 1912, Volume II
Pages 175-177


“With the passing of James J. BIRT from the scene of earthly activity the community in which he resided lost one of its most honored and valued citizens, for in him were manifest those qualities which ever win respect and confidence. He was yet in his prime when called to his final rest, his birth having occurred on the 24th of December, 1854, in Pennsylvania. His parents, John J. and Jemimah (MANSFIELD) BIRT, were both natives of England, where they were reared and married, and where the father learned and followed the brick mason’s trade. Later he took up agricultural pursuits and after coming to America in 1850, located in Pennsylvania where he followed that occupation until about 1856. From there he came to Iowa and took up his abode on a farm just west of Fairfield in Jefferson county, upon which a son now resides. Throughout the rest of his days this place remained his home, and here he passed away in 1875. His wife also spent her last days on that farm, her death occurring when she was eighty-three years of age. In their family were four children of whom only two are now living: Lincoln, a farmer of Smithfield, Nebraska; and Frank, operating the old homestead.

James J. BIRT was a little lad of two years when brought to Iowa, and almost his entire life was passed within the boundaries of Jefferson county. His boyhood and youth were spent in the routine of farm work and after the death of his father he continued to give his mother the benefit of his assistance about the home place until he was thirty-six years of age, when he was married and at once took up farming independently on a tract of land which he purchased five miles northwest of Fairfield near Brookville, and there he resided for one year. At the end of that period he removed to the forty-acre tract situated just outside of the city limits of Fairfield, upon which his family still reside. This land is located on section 26, near the fairgrounds and to its further development he at once directed his energies. Year after year he plowed and planted and carried on the work of the farm, remaining there until his life’s labors were ended in death, when he left to his family a well improved and desirable property.

It was on the 2d of September, 1891, that Mr. BIRT was united in marriage to Miss Sarah C. Du BOIS, a daughter of John W. and Elizabeth (DILL) Du BOIS, the former born in New York city of French parentage and the latter born in Nashville, Tennessee, of American progeny. They were married in Illinois and in the spring of 1842 came to Jefferson county, Iowa, locating about two miles west of Fairfield on a farm. There the father carried on general farming and stock-raising until about three years prior to his death, when he retired from business life. He passed away in 1888, having survived his wife for seven years, her death occurring in 1881 on the farm where her daughter now resides and upon which she has spent her entire life. In the Du BOIS family were nine children, five of whom are now living, namely: Reuben, of Fairfield, a retired farmer; Theodore Polk, engaging in farming in Center township, Jefferson county; John, a farmer of South Dakota; Mrs. Asa D. ROBERTS, of Fairfield, and Mrs. BIRT. To Mr. and Mrs. BIRT were born two children, Nathaniel S. and Ona Mary, both students of the Fairfield high school. Since the death of the father the son has taken charge of the home farm under the direction of his mother, the work of which he carries on during the vacation periods and when not engaged with his text-books. Mr. BIRT was a faithful member of the Christian church of Fairfield, to which his wife and children also belong, and in the faith of that denomination he passed away on the 4th of May, 1910. His political allegiance was given to the republican party and for many years he filled political offices of various kinds. He acted as road supervisor for several terms in districts No. 1 and 8, and as school director in district No. 8 for a long period, and no project which had for its object material, intellectual or moral development sought his aid in vain. He was a man of fine personal character, well known and highly respected throughout this section of the county, and when he passed from this life, the community lost one of its most valued and honored citizens. His demise came as a great blow to his family, by whom he was cherished as a devoted husband and kind, loving father. With him his home was his first and his last consideration and no sacrifice was too great for him that would further the pleasure and comfort of his loved ones. To his family he left not only a comfortable competence but also the priceless heritage of an untarnished name and a record that is well worthy of emulation.”

I am copying this for genealogical purposes and am not related to said individuals.


Jefferson Biographies maintained by Joey Stark.
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