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James Duffield


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/6/2001 at 13:29:56

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties 1890
James Duffield, Sr. deceased, one of the honored pioneers of Van Buren County, located his claim in Van Buren Township, then a part of the Territory of Wisconsin, in the autumn of 1836, and the following spring removed his family to their new home, accomplishing the journey by the means of a yoke of oxen, and a team of horses attached to the same wagon.
Mr. Duffield was a native of Maryland. His father, however was born in Pennsylvania. He became a resident of Maryland and subsequently emigrated on horseback across the mountains to Jefferson county, Ohio, where he engaged in trading. In 1833, he removed to Fulton County Illinois and in 1837, accompanied by his wife and children he reached Van Buren County Iowa. His wife in her maidenhood, was Miss Marietta J. Byerly, a native of Pennsylvania. Unto them were born ten children, as follows: Maria, now Mrs. Funk, of Caldwell Kingman County Kansas; John who is married, resided in Van Buren County: William who was drowned in 1850, in Henry County; George C.; James, who is married and resides on the old homestead; Joseph who died in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1849; Elizabeth wife of Thornton Mathias of Van Buren township, Van Buren County; J.H. who is married and resides in Jerseyville, Ill.; Jane, who died in Ohio, at the age of three years; and Henry D. who is married and living in Van Buren County. These children are worthy representatives of their honored parents and as the result of their early training have become useful members of society and valued citizens of the various communities in which they make their homes.
James Duffield, coming as he did to Van Buren County in 1837, had to endure the hardships and privations of pioneer life, such as grinding their own corn for meal, gong long distances to market etc. Indians then were more numerous than their white neighbors, wild game of all kinds was plentiful and wolves were frequently killed near the settlement. Neither was it an easy task to transform the hitherto unimproved prairie into a rich and fertile farm, but the work Mr. Duffield accomplished through his energy, perseverance and industry. His days were greatly taken up by his business interests, yet he found sufficient time to devote to public affairs, especially if any enterprise for the benefit of the community was the question in hand. He did all in his power to promote the interests of town and county and was a valued citizen. In political sentiment, he was first a Whig and afterward a Republican, but never sought or desired political preferment. He assisted in the organization of the county and forming of the State; his life has left an impress on the community and with the record of its progress and advancement his history has been inseparably connected. He died at his home in Van Buren County, in 1876, after a long and useful life, and his wife was called to her final rest ten years later. Both Mr. and Mrs. Duffield died in the eighty-sixth year of their age.
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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