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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1365~




The respect which should always be accorded the brave sons of the North who left homes and the peaceful pursuits of civil life to give their services, and their lives if need be, to preserve the integrity of the American Union is certainly due James H. Lakin, now a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado, but for many years a well known and honored resident of Fayette county, Iowa. He was one of the first volunteers from this county and he certainly proved his loyalty to the government in many situations and for this and many other reasons is eminently deserving of the high esteem in which he has always been held.


James H. Lakin was born at Point Pleasant, Clermont county, Ohio, March 11, 1838, and is the son of William P. and Sarah Bretney Lakin, the father born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, October 23, 1791, and the mother was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, November 7, 1799, the former of English descent and the latter of German ancestry. (Note: the William Lakin biography gives his name as William B. Lakin.) They were married at Lebanon, Ohio, and located near Point Pleasant, that state, where they spent the remainder of their lives. The father was engaged in the pottery business and in farming. An uncle of William Lakin, Benjamin Lakin, was a prominent pioneer Methodist minister for a period of sixty years, from 1790 until his death in 1848.


James H. Lakin, of this review, was reared in Ohio and he received a good education in the common schools of his native community, in the Clermont Academy in his native county and also at the Upper Iowa University at Fayette. He emigrated to Fayette, Iowa in May, 1858, and during the next few years he was a student in the college and a clerk in the store here. At the first war meeting held in Fayette county, April 24, 1861, he was one of the eighteen who enlisted, the first company from this county being mustered in at Keokuk, June 8th, following, and was soon afterwards assigned to duty in Missouri. Mr. Lakin volunteered as a private in Company F, Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry, but he was mustered into service on June 8, 1861, as fourth sergeant, and appointed regiment color bearer in August following. For meritorious service he was commissioned second lieutenant, April 9, 1862, and promoted to first lieutenant, the following September. He performed the duties of color bearer at the battle of Blue Mills, Missouri, July 24, 1861, and received honorable mention for his brave conduct there; he also carried the colors on the first day of the battle of Shiloh and again received honorable mention. He also took part in the siege of Vicksburg, battle of Hatchie Bridge and a number of minor skirmishes in Missouri and elsewhere. He was assigned to duty as aid-de-camp on the staff of Colonel Pugh, July 3, 1863, and later on the staff of Gen. T. K. Smith, commander of a detachment of the Seventeenth Army Corps on the Red River expedition. Thus, after faithful and meritorious services in behalf of his country, Mr. Lakin was mustered out of the service at Davenport, Iowa, June 18, 1864.


Colonel Lakin has devoted his life to the mercantile business and farming. In 1872 and 1873, as a member of the firm of Birch-Lakin & Company, he took a contract for grading a section of the Davenport & St. Paul railroad, now known as the Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad, the division of which he had charge being in Fayette and Howard counties. He was identified with the organization of the Bank of West Union in 1884, of which he was made vice-president, which office he held to the satisfaction of all concerned until he left the state in 1890, since which time he has been more or less engaged in the mercantile business and mining.


Politically, the subject is a Republican and he was auditor of Fayette county for two terms from 1876 to 1880 and he was appointed to fill an unexpired term in 1883. In 1874 he was appointed aid-de-camp on Gov. C. C. Carpenter's staff with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was formerly a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, but is now a Congregationalist. He has long taken an active interest in the affairs of the Grand Army of the Republic, being a charter member and past commander of Abernathy Post, No. 48, of West Union, Iowa, and also belongs to the Society of the Army of Tennessee. He is a member of Brighton Lodge, No. 78, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Brighton, Colorado; also Ansel Humphreys Chapter No. 80 Royal Arch Masons, at Fayette, Iowa, and Langridge Commandery, No. 47, Knights Templar, at West Union.


Colonel Lakin was married on April 19, 1870, to Sarah Thompson, daughter of Wilson L. and Nancy (Sherwin) Thompson, of Point Pleasant, Ohio, and after a mutually happy wedded life of eighteen years, Mrs. Lakin was called to her rest on March 14, 1888. This union resulted in the birth of three children, namely: Marie T. born May 31, 1874; Lee H. born June 4, 1879; Irene R., born October 4, 1882. On February 11, 1890, James H. Lakin married Helen M. Sabin, the representative of an excellent old family.




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