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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 571~


James Alexander Claxton


No business man in Fayette, Iowa, is regarded with higher favor than is the gentleman whose interesting life record is briefly outlined in the following paragraphs, who, while looking to his own interests, does not neglect to discharge his duties in fostering the upbuilding of the community in general, and by thus possessing the qualities that inspire confidence and which at the same time win, he is held in high esteem by all who know him.


James Alexander Claxton, president of the State Bank at Fayette, was born in Oswego county, New York, in 1854. He is the scion of influential and sterling ancestors on both sides of the house, being the son of Isaac and Margaret (Holmes) Claxton.  In 1864 his parents moved to Dunhamas Grove, Center Township, Fayette county, Iowa, where the father bought a farm of two hundred and eight acres, lying on the dividing line of Westfield township, and here, amid primitive conditions, he developed a fine farm and established a comfortable home, prospering by reason of arduous toil and good management; and here it was that James A. Claxton, his son, grew to sturdy manhood amid healthful outdoor environment, alternating farming in the summer months with schooling in the neighboring schools in the winter time.  In that way he received a very serviceable education, but, being ambitious to enter the business world properly equipped, he took a commercial course in the Upper Iowa University, and two terms in the collegiate work of the same institution. After leaving the University he taught school for two terms, but not finding this line of endeavor exactly to his liking he returned to farming, which he then followed on his own account, owning a fine place of one hundred and twenty acres, managing the same in a very successful manner.

Mr. Claxton's domestic life began in 1879, when he formed a matrimonial alliance with Emma Elphick, a very estimable lady and the daughter of James and Martha Elphick. She was born near Whitewater, Rock county, Wisconsin, where she spent her early childhood, coming to Fayette county, Iowa, with her parents. The family she represented was highly honored both in Wisconsin and in this county. After his marriage Mr. Claxton continued farming on his place in Center township.

On April 1, 1901, the Bank of Fayette was reorganized as a state bank and Mr. Claxton became a stockholder in the same and was elected vice-president of the institution. In 1903, Judge Hoyt, the president of the bank, died, and Mr. Claxton succeeded him as president, his innate business ability and his record as a straightforward, conscientious business man qualifying him for this place, the duties of which he has discharged with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of stockholders and patrons, the prestige of the institution having been greatly augmented with the succeeding years. In 1906, in order that he might more properly discharge his official duties to the bank and partly in order that his children might enjoy better school advantages, Mr. Claxton gave up active farming and moved to Fayette, where he has an attractive home. This bank is safely and conservatively managed and is in a flourishing condition, having at this writing about three hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars of deposits.  The capital stock is forty thousand dollars and there is a surplus of sixteen thousand dollars.


Besides his interests in the Bank of Fayette, Mr. Claxton is also interested in the bank at Randalia, Iowa. He and his wife are the parents of four interesting children, names as follows: Bessie, Robert, Forest and Bernice. The first named married Ralph Thompson and lives on the home place at Dunham's Grove. Robert took a four years' course in the Agricultural College at Ames, from which he graduated with a very creditable record in June, 1906, and for two years thereafter he managed a big stock farm near Toledo, Ohio. He is now in partnership with William McFadden, secretary of the Poland-China Record Association. He and Mr. McFadden have a large stock farm about twenty-five miles from Chicago. Robert married Sarah Harwood, the daughter of a prominent family.

Mr. Claxton and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.

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