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STAATS, John Peter - 1890 Bio (1813-1908)


Posted By: Bill Rathbun (email)
Date: 1/29/2004 at 19:42:45

“Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa.” Lake City Publishing Co. Chicago: 1890
Pages 227-228

JOHN P. STAATS, one of the early settlers of Jefferson County, residing on section 1, Black Hawk Township, traces his ancestry back through several generations to Peter STAATS, of Holland, who in Colonial days left his native land and crossed the Atlantic to America, settling in New Jersey, where he engaged in farming. His son, Peter Jr., enlisted as a private in the Revolutionary War, but ere the close of the struggle had been promoted to the rank of Captain for meritorious conduct. He participated in the hard fought battle of Monmouth. His son, Peter P. STAATS, who became the father of our subject, was born in New Jersey, acquired a good commercial education and in the early years of his manhood engaged in the mercantile business in Western New York. On the 7th of September, 1809, he married Miss Catherine VOORHEES, of New Jersey, who was of Dutch descent. He afterwards laid aside mercantile pursuits and engaged in farming until old age caused him to lay aside the more arduous duties of life, which were then taken up by his son John, who operated the farm for his father for some years.

In 1839, Peter STAATS removed with his family to Jersey County, Ill., where he purchased a farm which his sons managed and which continued to be his home until his death in 1871. He had survived his wife several years. Both were members of the Dutch Reformed Church. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, taking an active part in political work and for a number of years served as Justice of the Peace. Unto Mr. and Mrs. STAATS were born five children: John P., of this sketch; Abram, now deceased; James M., an Illinois farmer, who died in 1883; Susan, deceased wife of James QUICK, and Peter A., a farmer of Texas.

JOHN P. STAATS, whose name heads this sketch, was born on the 19th of November, 1813, in New Jersey, and in his youth received an academic education. Although reared to agricultural pursuits, he fitted himself for a seafaring life and obtained a midshipman’s commission, but when he was about ready to sail, an uncle of his met his death on the ocean, which accident aroused the fears of his parents who induced him to give up his cherished plan. He then remained at home until November 14, 1833, when he was united in marriage with Miss Maria BARCALOW of New Jersey. The young couple began their domestic life upon a rented farm, but after a year he purchased land in his native state an engaged in its cultivation until 1838, when disposing of his interests in New Jersey, he emigrated to Illinois, investing his capital in land patents. By an act of legislation these patents afterwards became worthless and he lost almost everything. He bought land for $3 per acre and continued his residence in Illinois until 1853, when he crossed the Father of Waters into the new State of Iowa and made a location in Jefferson County. For thirty-seven years he has made his home on section 1, Black Hawk Township. On his arrival he purchased eighty-seven and one-half acres of land from which he developed a good farm, devoting himself to its cultivation until within a few years past, since which time he has lived a retired life, his son operating the homestead. Mr. STAATS may truly be called a self-made man. He began life with no capital save a young man's bright hope of the future, yet to-day is numbered among the substantial citizens of the community. Industry and thrift were the means used to accomplish that end and without which success can never be attained.

During the residence of the family in Illinois, Mrs. STAATS was called to her final home, leaving seven children, the eldest of whom, Catherine, is now the widow of Daniel LEE, of Adair County, Iowa; Clara is the wife of Fred FUNSTON of Richland; Farrington B. is a farmer of Missouri; Theresa is the wife of Jason SQUIRES, of Des Moines; Susan wedded James W. DONOVAN, contractor of the capital city; George makes his home in Black Hawk Township; Voorhees is living near Ft. Scott, Kan. Mr. STAATS was a second time married, in Iowa, in November, 1854, when he became the husband of Mrs. Agnes BONSER. By her former marriage the lady had two daughters, Laura and Orpha and by the present marriage three children were born: Chester L., at home; Agnes M., wife of William HICKS, of Washington Co., Iowa; and John, who is employed as telegraph operator on the Rock Island Railroad and is now in Colorado.

Mrs. STAATS is a member of the Baptist Church and Mr. STAATS contributes liberally to its support, as he does to other charitable and benevolent interests. On attaining his majority, he cast his first Presidential ballot for Andrew Jackson and voted with the Democratic party until the question of slavery became an issue, when, in the election of 1856, he supported Fremont. He then continued his connection with the Republican party until President Grant's second election, when he once more joined the ranks of the Democracy, of which he has ever since been a stalwart advocate. He has attended conventions of his party and has served as Township Trustee and in other minor offices.


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