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Cherokee County Biographies

James D. Parkinson

JAMES D. PARKINSON, One of the careful, enterprising business men of Grand Meadow Township is he whose name heads this review.  Few farmers of Cherokee County have been more successful financially, have a wider acquaintance, or stand higher in the estimation of the people of their communities than does Mr. Parkinson.  His beautiful farm of 400 acres is as nicely located as any in the county, and is well improved; it shows careful attention in its arrangement, and is well adapted both to grain and live-stock.  It is to such gentlemen as Mr. Parkinson that we must look to find the minds that have controlled the affairs both business and political, that have placed Cherokee County in the front rank in Iowa. James.D. Parkinson was born in La Fayette County, Wisconsin, July 20, 1848 and is the eldest of a family of five, all of whom are now living: they are: Addie, Charles, Malinda C. and William.  Addie and William still reside at home in Wisconsin; Charles is a merchant in Denel County, Dakota, and Malinda is the wife a second cousin whose name is also Parkinson.  William Parkinson is the father of the family, and the mother's maiden name was Nancy T. Padon; they are both natives of Madison County, Illinois.  The Parkinsons were among the pioneer settlers of Wisconsin, Daniel M., father of William, having settled there in 1827, while it was still a Territory; he was prominent in the Black Hawk War, being Colonel of a regiment sent out by Governor Dodge, first Territorial Governor of Wisconsin.  The parents of our subject are still living in Iowa County, Wisconsin, where they carry on a large farm.  Mr. Parkinson remained at home until he was twenty-three years old; he attended the common schools, and worked on the farm.

In March, 1878, he came to Cherokee County and purchased his present place; it contains 400 acres in one body and is in an advanced state of cultivation.  He devotes himself to raising grain and live-stock feeding from one to two carloads annually.  He had very little capital in the beginning beside pluck and energy but these have served him a good turn, and he is today in independent circumstances.

Mr. Parkinson was married in Iowa County, Wisconsin, December 31, 1873 to Miss Mary Chenhall, who was born March 6, 1855.  She is a daughter of Stephen and Jane (Truing) Chenhall, natives of Cornwall, England.  Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson: Azalia, Albert and Florence.  Mr. Parkinson is a prominent Democrat,  frequently representing his township in conventions, and serving as chairman of the district committee.  He is a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 473, at Correctionville.  He has met with one very serious misfortune, and that is the loss of his right eye, the accident occurring while he was feeding flax in a threshing machine.  He has rented his farm and is going to the Pacific Coast, expecting to make his home there.

Source: Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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