ANSON, PARALEE, RIGSBY
Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 10:53:05
From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties – 1890
Thomas Anson, who resides on Section 20, Henry Township, dates his residence in Van Buren County from 1835, therefore for fifty-five consecutive years his history has been connected with that of the community. Most of his friends and neighbors of that early day have passed away, he being one of the few left to tell the story of life in Iowa when the State was situated on the extreme western frontier. The story of those pioneer days was one of great interest and we regret that we cannot enter more elaborately into details, but as we proceed to give a history of his life we will doubtless mention facts which are new to our younger readers.
Thomas Anson was born in Pike County Missouri, July 24, 1826. Little is known concerning the early history of the family except that it was established in America during Colonial days. His father, Henry Anson, was born in Maryland, there spent the days of his boyhood and youth and on attaining to years of maturity wedded Elizabeth Paralee, also a native of that State. About 1820, they removed with their family to Kentucky but four years later resumed their westward journey and made a location in Pike County Missouri, where Mr. Anson opened up a farm, clearing and developing the wild land. Again in 1835 a change of residence occurred. The preceding year he came to Van Buren County, Iowa, and laid a claim after which, he brought his family to their new home and from that time until his death he was numbered among the leading citizens of the county. He took an active part in political affairs and was interested in all that pertained to the welfare and building up of the community. On April 15, 1850, at the ripe old age of seventy-seven years, he was called to his final rest. His wife preceded him to their final home dying in 1846. They had a large family numbering twelve children but only four are now living. Peter died in La Fayette County, Missouri, leaving a family; Keziah died in California in 1887; Catherine, wife of Isaac Rigsby died at her home in Henry Township in June 1887; Henry died in Lick Creek Township in 1882; George makes his home in California; Eliza resides with her brother Thomas; Flarious died in California in 1889; Christiana died in Van Buren County in 1883; Thomas is the next in order of birth; and William is married and living in Henry Township.
Mr. Anson, whose name heads this sketch, was a lad of nine summers when he accompanied his parents to Van Buren County. Iowa then formed a part of the Territory of Wisconsin. He has therefore resided in the Territory of Wisconsin and the Territory and State of Iowa, yet all the time his home has been within the borders of Van Buren County. The companions of his childhood he found among the Indian boys and being thus thrown frequently into their company he learned their language. On many of their hunting expeditions he accompanied the, for friendly were the relations between the white and red races at that day. In the subscription schools he acquired his education and necessarily his advantages were quite limited, but in a great measure experience and observation have overcome the difficulties arising there from and he is now well informed on all matters of general interest. He assisted his father in the arduous task of developing a farm, following the oxen day after day in breaking prairie. When only seventeen years of age he began life for himself. In company with his brother William, he purchased four hundred and thirty acres of partially improved land which they placed under cultivation and thereby reaped a golden reward for their efforts. Although he has met with some obstacles and difficulties he has generally traveled the road of success and is now the owner of eight hundred and seventeen acres of land individually, and half owner in one hundred and eighty-four and a half acre tract. The former amount is under a good state of cultivation or in pasturage. Without interruption save about three years spent on the Pacific Slope, Mr. Anson has resided in Van Buren County, since 1835. It was during the gold excitement in California that in 1850 he crossed the plains with an ox-team to that State, reaching his destination after three months of travel. He gave his attention to mining for some three years and in the spring of 1853 returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City. Once more resuming the occupation of farming he has since devoted himself exclusively to that pursuit and to raising stock. A truly self-made man, he deserves no little credit for his success. On reaching California he had but thirty-five cents in his pocket but on his return his exchequer was in somewhat better condition. In the years that followed, he has gained a handsome property, yet has been liberal with his means for the advancement of all enterprises calculated to benefit the town or county. For a quarter of a century he has served on the School Board and to him in no small degree is due the excellence of the school system in this community. In political sentiment, he is a Republican and is a stalwart supporter of the party principles.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.
Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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