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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Nathaniel C. Austin
Nathaniel C. Austin, who is engage in farming and stock-raising on section 9, Center Township, has for twenty-two years been a resident of the county, and is a leading citizen of the community in which he makes his home. We know little concerning the early history of his family, but it was probably founded in New England at an early day. His father, Nathaniel T. Austin, was a native of Washington County, N.Y., where he grew to manhood and in the records of the early history of Kane County he is noted as being one of the first arrivals. At the time Chicago was a mere trading post he purchased three hundred and twenty acres of land from the Indians, before it had been surrendered to the Government, and the deed was signed by two Indian chiefs, the signatures being a turtle and a lizard. This deed was on exhibition at the Centennial held in Philadelphia in 1876. Prior to his emigration westward Mr. Austin was married, and in Kane County, Ill., his second marriage occurred. The fruits of this union were three children, our subject being the next youngest: George H. resides in Center Township, this county; and Mary died at the age of seven years.
The third child was born in Kane County, in 1848, and his early boyhood days were spent in the usual manner of farmer lads, unmarked by any event of special importance until his sixteenth year, when in 1863 he entered the United States service as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Forty-first Illinois Infantry, commanded by Capt. Hoyt Winslow. He was mustered into service at Elgin, and was sent on garrison duty to Kentucky and Tennessee. At the close of the war, in 1865, he received his discharge at Camp Douglas, Chicago. Returning home, he once more resumed his interrupted farm labors and continued to engage in that pursuit in Kane County until the autumn of 1868, when he determined to try his fortune on the western bank of the Mississippi. He has never yet had occasion to regret the step then taken. He was one of the first settlers of Center Township and has watched its growth, development and progress. He opened up a farm of three hundred and twenty acres and the improvements which now greatly enhance its value and add to its fine appearance, stand as monuments of his thrift and enterprise.
In the year of his emigration to this county Mr. Austin was here married to Miss Ellie J. Miner, daughter of Almon and Eunice (Allen) Miner, who with her parents were natives of Ohio. Unto them have been born six children but only two of the number are now living: Effie May died in October, 1890, at the age of eighteen years; Mertie died in 1875 at the age of six months; Bernie D. died in 1882 and Bert N. in 1889. Charles and Ruby are at home.
Mr. Austin devotes his time and attention to the improvement of his land, which is now under a high state of stock, yet has also found time to give to public interests. He keeps himself well informed on all topics of the day and is accounted one of the representative men of the community. For some time he supported the Republican party in politics but is now voting with the Democracy. He has served as Treasurer of the school district for a number of years and is now President of the board. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend and one who will leave no stone unturned in advancing its interests. Socially he is a member of Center Post, No. 146, G. A.R., of Randalia, having united with the lodge on its organization and is the present Commander. He is also a member of Fayette Lodge, No. 131, K.P., of which he has been I.N.G, and a member of Randalia Lodge, No. 177, I.O.O.F. Everything calculated for the advancement and upbuilding of the county receives his hearty support and co-operation, and being a prominent and influential citizen of Center Township we know that this brief sketch of the life-work of Mr. Austin will be received with interest by many of our readers and his numerous friends.
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