Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 511-12. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910


J. L. James, cashier of the First National Bank of Thornton and owner of one of the model farms of Cerro Gordo county, was born in Jo Daviess county, Illinois, March 8, 1859. His parents, Richard T. and Mary (Combellick) James, are both natives of England. The father emigrated to the "land of promise" when a young man and secured employment in the lead mines in Jo Daviess county. After his marriage he farmed for a time in that section and in April, 1881, he removed to Franklin county, Iowa, where he purchased land near Sheffield and engaged in its improvement and cultivation. He died on the homestead in 1882, at the age of fifty-seven years, and the mother, who was born October 25, 1833, is still living in Sheffield. Mr. James is one of a family of nine children, the following seven of whom are living: Henrietta, wife of Reuben Atkinson of Sheffield; Mr. James, of this review; Clara, wife of C. B. Wilt, of Savannah, Illinois; May, wife of Harvey Bowen, of Brookhaven, Mississippi; Eva, wife of George Benzler of Britt, Iowa; Ella, who is at home; and Edgar, a resident of Franklin county, Iowa.

J. L. James passed his boyhood days upon the farm in Jo Daviess county owned by his father. He spent the usual number of hours in the school room, and when his parents came to Franklin county he came with them. In 1886 he rented a farm and started in as the author of his own fortunes. In 1891 he removed to Cerro Gordo county and purchased the east half of section 36, which at that time was raw prairie. He broke the land, erected commodious buildings, set out trees and otherwise improved it until today he possesses one of the most attractive, productive and valuable farms in all the extent of Cerro Gordo county. His property consists of about four hundred and eighty acres.

On August 28, 1906, the First National Bank of Thornton came into existence and in the following month Mr. James began his duties as cashier. He still holds this position, while at the same time operating his farm, in which latter he is ably assisted by his sons. He votes the Republican ticket and has given efficient public service fifteen years as secretary of the school board; ten years as township clerk; and two terms as assessor. He is a valuable member of the Methodist church at Thornton and acts as its steward and trustee.

On February 10, 1886, Miss Martha Farnham became the wife of Mr. James. Mrs. James is a native of Lafayette county, Wisconsin, where she was born December 15, 1864. To this union have been born eight children: Raymond L. and Stella reside at Mason City; Paul is at Sioux City, Iowa; and Richard, John W., Esther, Ruth and David are at home.

NOTE: Martha Ann (Farnham) James died at Thornton IA on October 16, 1919. She was interred at Pleasant View Cemetery, Thornton IA.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014



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