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James Beswick, Sr.


Posted By: Jill Joseph (email)
Date: 11/4/2001 at 07:26:58

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

Page 465

JAMES BESWICK, SR., one of the honored early settlers of Van Buren County, is of English birth, and a son of James and Elizabeth (Gaywood) Beswick, who were also natives of England. By trade his father was a shoemaker, and did an extensive business, furnishing employment to several men. Wishing to try his fortune in the New World, in 1818, accompanied by his family, he crossed the Atlantic to America, and made a location in Washington County, Ohio, where he turned his attention to the occupation of farming. He reached the allotted three-score years and ten, and his wife died at the ripe old age of eighty-six years. Six children accompanied them on their emigration to the United States, of whom three are now living – James, Mrs. Elizabeth Beach, and George. The two latter are residents of Ohio.

James Beswick was born in the town of Stockport, Cheshire, England on the 13th of April, 1806, and ere leaving his native land had mastered the common English branches of learning. Leaving the parental roof at nineteen years, he began life’s battle with the world to struggle forward and at last gain the victory. By years of industry and toil, supplemented by good business ability and fair dealing, he acquired a competence which now enables him to live a retired life and rest from the toils of former years. Along life’s journey, aiding him in all possible ways and encouraging him in hours of adversity, has walked one who for sixty-four years has truly proved a helpmate to him – his wife. On the 10th day of December, 1826, he led to the marriage altar Miss August F. Thorniley, a native of Washington County, Ohio, born January 18th, 1804. Her parents were William and Elizabeth (Markham) Thorniley, the former a native of Cheshire and the later of London, England. In early life both came to the United States. Her father, with his parents and her mother, who had been left an orphan in early girlhood, with friends. Soon after their marriage they removed to Marietta, Ohio where Mr. Thorniley worked in a ship-yard. He died at the age of fifty-six years, but his wife lived to the advanced age of eighty-six. Mrs. Beswick is the only one of their seven children now living.

For many years Mr. Beswick carried on farming in Ohio, but at length, in 1850, he resolved to seek a home further west, and located in Van Buren County, Iowa, where he purchased one hundred acres of land on section 23, Union Township. That farm continued to be his home for nineteen years, when in 1869, he and his estimable wife removed to Winchester, where they expect to spend their last days. He was a successful farmer, and in all his dealings his transactions were marked by an uprightness and honesty which won him the confidence of all with whom he came in contact. He has been a voter for some sixty-two years. He cast his first Presidential ballot for Andrew Jackson in 1828, and has continued to support the Democratic party.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Beswick were born twelve children, six of whom are yet living: George G., who resides in Memphis, Mo.; James, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume; Mrs. Fannie Plummer and Mrs. August Whitaker, who reside in Van Buren County; Thomas T., whose sketch is given elsewhere; and Mrs. Minerva Thorniley, of Van Buren County.

The parents of this family have now reached an advanced age, and their lives have been well and worthily spent. They have reared a family of children who occupy important positions in society, and have exerted an influence on the side of morality which will be felt long after they have passed away. The kindness and charity of their lives has won them friends and the respect of the entire community is unreservedly given them.


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