Erasmus GivensErasmus M. Givens was likely born 1833 in Botetourt County, Virginia, the first child of Margaret A. Reynolds Givens Wells (BLM Patent records Margaret living in Morgan County, Indiana 1834). Family history did not record the first name of his father; it is assumed that he died before 1836. There are significant numbers of Givens families in Craig County, Virginia and Posey County, Indiana, in the early 1800's.

In 1837 Erasmus' mother married James Madison Wells in Benton County, Indiana, and was widowed the following year. Erasmus M. Givens appears in the 1850 US census for Indiana, Benton County District five, as Erasmus Wells age 16 born in Virginia, below name of Margaret Wells and above William A. Wells.

In 1853 Erasmus M. Givens, his mother and younger brother settled in Marion County, Iowa, joining his uncles: Lewis, Trainer and Joel Reynolds who arrived in 1847. In the 1854 Iowa State census Erasmus appears within his mother, Margaret Wells', household of four as a male of military age but not voting age.

Erasmus Givens is listed in the 1860 US Census for Marion County, Iowa, nearest Post Office Pleasantville, working as a "farmhand" for John and Grace Davis together with Pleasant Wilson age 20 and Fanny Shunkweilen age 17. Pleasant Wilson is buried in the Pleasantville Cemetery; a casualty of the Civil War on April 17, 1864.

The marriage of Erasmus Givens to Catherine Caffrey , the daughter of Samuel and Hannah Caffrey, was recorded in Marion County, Iowa, on February 3, 1861.

In the 1880 US Census Erasmus and Catharine Givens are living in Cedar Township, Green County Iowa, with four daughters.

The 1885 Iowa State Census finds Erasmus and Catherine Givens farming in Reading Township, Calhoun County Iowa. Erasmus reports that he is 52 years old. Erasmus and Catharine have five children by 1885: Ida 20; Clarisa (Clara) 17; twins Anna and Hanna 12; and son Joseph, two years old.

Erasmus M. Givens died in 1897. He rests with his wife Catharine Caffrey Givens (1840-1928) and children: Ida A. Givens Haynes (1865-1917); Hannah Galome Givens Haynes (1871-1936); and Joseph Givens (1882-1938) in the Reading Cemetery, Farnhamville, Calhoun County, Iowa.

Contributed by Susan Nisbet, June 25, 2013, and formatted by Al Hibbard