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Sylvester Renshaw


Posted By: Judy Wight Branson (email)
Date: 8/6/2004 at 18:59:09

Sylvester Renshaw, who is living retired in Earlham, was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, on the 23rd of August, 1845. His parents, George S. and Martha (Evans) Renshaw, were natives of Virginia but the father became a resident of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, at an early period. He was a farmer by occupation and followed agricultural pursuits in the Keystone state until 1852, when he removed with his family to Delaware county, Iowa, and for a year resided there. He then removed to Clayton county, and purchased land which he operated during the remainder of his life. He died in 1868 at the age of sixty-five years and was survived for many years by his widow, whose demise occurred in 1900, when she was eighty-five years old.

Sylvester Renshaw is indebted to the common schools of Pennsylvania and of Clayton county, Iowa, for his scholastic training and to his father for his early knowledge concerning agricultural matters. When twenty-two years of age he began farming for himself and went to Missouri, where his father-in-law gave him land. He operated his place there for a little over a year but in 1870 came to Madison county, Iowa, and purchased land in Jefferson township, which he improved and developed until 1902. He then retired from the active cultivation of the fields and removed to Earlham, building a fine residence, in which he has lived ever since. At the time of his removal here he traded his farm for two hundred and eighty acres near town, which he sold at one hundred and four dollars per acre. In less than a year thereafter the place was sold again at an increase of seven thousand and four hundred dollars. After removing to Earlham he became financially interested in a flour mill here and for about a year was actively connected with its operation. At the end of that time, however, he retired from all business cares and is now enjoying a life of leisure made possible by former labor and by excellent management of his interests.

Mr. Renshaw was married in March, 1868, to Miss Sarah Hazen, a daughter of S. L. and Maria Hazen, natives of Vermont and pioneers of Clayton county, Iowa. Her father was a physician and practiced successfully for many years. He passed away in Missouri and his wife died in Florida. Mr. and Mrs Renshaw had six children: Clarence L., who died March 20, i880; Alfred S. a resident of Los Angeles, California; Mabel L., the wife of Harry Gilmore, a druggist of Vinton, Iowa; Edith E, who gave her hand in marriage to John Bunnell, a farmer of this county; Sarah R., who died on the 16th of January 1892; and James C., a farmer of Dallas county, this state. Mrs. Renshaw died
on the 23rd of February, 1883, and on the 9th of January, 1884, our subject married Miss Serena Bridges, a daughter of Lawson Bridges, who was a native of Indiana and a pioneer of this county. He was a well known and successful farmer and his demise in 1907 was much regretted. His widow survived for five years and passed away on the 23d of September, 1912. Mrs. Serena Renshaw died in 1906 and on the 2nd of June, 1910, Mr. Renshaw was again married, Miss Jean McDaniel becoming his wife. Her parents, Alexander and Isabelle (McFee) McDaniel, were natives of Kentucky and Scotland respectively. Her father farmed in the Blue Grass state until 1870, when he removed to Indiana and followed agricultural pursuits there until his removal to Fort Wayne where he lived retired until his death, which occurred in 1900. He had survived his wife for
many years, as she passed away in 1869. Mrs. Renshaw was born in Boone county, Kentucky, on the 5th of June, 1854.

Mr. Renshaw is a republican and has served acceptably as township clerk of Jefferson township but has never been an office seeker in the usually accepted sense of the term. His religious affiliation is with the Methodist Episcopal church, and he takes a great interest in its work, giving both of his time and of his means to the spread of its influence. As a farmer he was industrious and progressive and ranked among the leading agriculturists of his township and since removing to Earlham he has proved a valuable addition to its citizens.

Taken from the book, "The History of Madison County, Iowa, 1915"


Madison Biographies maintained by Linda Griffith Smith.
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