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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 678~


Miles Holton

Eighty years have dissolved in the mists of the past since the venerable gentleman and esteemed settler whose name introduces this sketch first saw the light of day. Miles Holton was born October 16, 1829, in Ontario county, New York, where his parents, Francis and Sallie (Ellis) Holton were then living. Three years later the family moved to Huron county, Ohio, and settled about twelve miles from Sandusky, where the subject remained until attaining his majority. Francis Holton, a native of Maryland, died in Ohio at the age of seventy-one years; his wife, who was born in Massachusetts, lived to the age of sixty years. The early life of the subject was spent on a farm in Huron county, Ohio. In 1851, when a little past twenty-one years old, he came to Fayette county, Iowa, and located in Illyria township, where his brother, Samuel, who had arrived the previous year, was then living. The latter was a hardware merchant, but afterwards engaged in the grocery business at West Union where he made his home for a number of years, having been an honored citizen of Fayette county from 1850 until his death, at the age of seventy-one years.

Shortly after his arrival, Miles Holton purchased a tract of school land in Pleasant Valley township, near the village of Elgin, and with his accustomed industry and energy at once proceeded to improve the same. By well directed labor he soon had his possession enclosed and in due time the greater part of it was broken and in cultivation, besides being otherwise well improved. He erected a substantial dwelling and good outbuildings, but the great Civil war breaking out interfered very materially with his plans, for, like other loyal young men throughout the North, he deemed it his duty to assist the government in the time of need, accordingly he laid aside the implements of husbandry, in September, 1861, enlisting in Company F, Ninth Iowa Infantry, entering the army as corporal and in due time rising to the position of first lieutenant. Mr. Holton served with an honorable record until the downfall of the Confederacy, veteranizing at the expiration of the period of his enlistment, participating in many of the most noted engagements of the war, and at its close took part in the Grand Review at the national capital. He was in command of the company when mustered out and his long and strenuous period of service was without a single day in the hospital, nor was he ever absent from the ranks on account of wounds, sickness or any kind of disability. After his discharge, in July, 1865, he retired to Fayette county and engaged in the grocery trade at West Union, where he did a fair business until 1869, when he disposed of his stock and moved to his present farm near Alpha, from which time until retiring from active life, a few years ago, he devoted his attention to the cultivation of the soil. On taking possession of his place it was the mere beginning of a farm, as but few acres had been cleared and the improvements were of the most ordinary kind. By diligent application and good management, however, he was not long in changing the appearance of things and within a comparatively brief period he had the greater part of his land in a successful state of tillage and substantial buildings erected and prosperity seemed to attend his every effort.

Mr. Holton, on March 31, 1867, was united in marriage with Anna Davis, daughter of Philander and Euphrasia (Talcott) Davis, who came to Iowa a number of years ago and settled at Waucoma, Fayette county, where the father died August 2, 1891, the mother on December 29, 1897. Of the family of this estimable couple all are living except Ashbel E., who departed this life at Alpha, in the month of May, 1908. Mrs. Anna (Davis) Holton was born November 30, 1844, in Rock county, Wisconsin, and at the age of twelve was brought by her parents to Waucoma, Iowa, where she grew to maturity and received her education. When but fifteen years old she began teaching and was thus engaged for six years in the public schools of Fayette and Delaware counties, having been employed for three terms at Waucoma, when there was but one teacher besides herself in the town, several of the old residents having been her pupils, among whom were Mrs. Dr. Dodd, J. W. Kieron and A. Webster.

Mr. and Mrs. Holton have had one child who died when quite young. Claire O., whose birth occurred on the 9th of March, 1884, and who was taken by Mr. and Mrs. Holton at the age of seven months, married Lena Talbert and is the father of a daughter who answers to the name of Ruth. He is prominent in the order of Odd Fellows, being past grand of Waucoma Lodge, besides belonging to the encampment, and is also an active member of Alpha Camp No. 5357, Modern Woodmen. A farmer by occupation, he is also a leading citizen of Eden township and enjoys the respect and confidence of a large circle of friends.

Mr. Holton is a zealous member of the Grand Army of the Republic and nothing affords him greater pleasure than to meet his old comrades and recall the trying times and stirring experiences while upholding the honor of the flag on the bloody fields of the Southland. He still has the sword which he carried as first lieutenant and prizes the weapon as a sacred relic. As already indicated, he discontinued active labor some years ago and is now living a life of retirement, his adopted son Claire carrying on the farm.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Ann Borden


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