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James Beswick, Jr.

BESWICK, WHITTLESEY, JOHNSTON, NIXON, RACER

Posted By: Jill Joseph (email)
Date: 11/4/2001 at 07:24:16

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa
(published 1890)

Page 417

JAMES BESWICK, JR., is a representative farmer of Union Township, Van Buren County, residing on section 26. For forty years he has been identified with the growth and progress of this community and has borne no inconsiderable part in the advancement of its worthy enterprises. He is now one of the heaviest taxpayers in the township, but no complaint is heard from him as he feels it is his duty to aid in the promotion of the interests of the county. His early life, however, was not passed amid prosperous surroundings. He was born on a farm in Washington county, Ohio, March 13, 1832, was reared to manhood under the parental roof, and in the old log schoolhouse common at that day familiarized himself with the English branches. He was a young man of eighteen years, when in 1850, the family came to Van Buren County, Iowa. On attaining his majority he hired out to his father for whom he had hitherto worked without compensation as a dutiful son, repaying in a measure the care and attention which he had received in his youth. Knowing that he would wish to begin to make something for himself, his father then offered him $100 per year and his clothes. The offer was accepted and for some time he aided in the operation of the home farm.

On the 21st of October 1858, Mr. Beswick was joined in wedlock with Mary F. Whittlesey, a native of Ohio, born August 18, 1840. They became parents of four children – Agnes V., now the wife of C.R. Johnston; Alice M., wife of Stephen Johnston; Wilson S. who died at the age of sixteen years; and Lena R. wife of Julius Nixon. The mother of these children died on the 4th of September, 1868, and November 25th, 1869, Mr. Beswick led to the marriage altar Miss Viola Racer, who was born in Washington County, Ohio, September 6th, 1849 and at the age of eighteen years came to Van Buren County. Two children grace their union – W. Lloyd and Worthy D. who are still with their parents.

Mr. Beswick and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and in the social world are held in high regard. The Beswick household is noted for its hospitality and the members of the family have many friends. The husband and father have prospered in his business life, possessing the ability, energy and thrift which insures success. His father gave to him eighty acres of raw prairie land and in payment for a year’s labor twenty acres of timber. This he placed under development but after a time sold out and removed to Wayne County, Iowa, where he entered one hundred and sixty acres of land which he afterwards traded for eighty acres in Cedar Township, Van Buren, County. In 1863, he made purchase of his present farm – a finely improved and fertile tract of two hundred acres. He has bought and sold a considerable amount of land at various intervals, his possessions now aggregating six hundred and eight-eight acres. His home is one of the finest residences in the community and is surrounded by four good barns, which in turn lie in the midst of broad and well- cultivated fields. He also engages quite extensively in raising fine stock and has received many premiums on the same at the county fairs. He also took a premium on a mule at the first State Fair with Dr. J.N. Norris as judge. For eight years he served as trustee of the Van Buren County Fair Associations, and during the whole time in which the county has held these annual exhibitions he has failed to attend only two. He cast his first Presidential vote for Buchanan and has since supported the Democratic party. He takes considerable interest in political affairs, but has never sought public preferment for himself. Mr. Beswick is an enterprising, progressive citizen who has won the good will and respect of his neighbors and acquaintances.


 

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