IAGenWeb Project

Shelby County



Jonas Chatbourn was born on 12 March 1821 in Pendleton, Lancashire, England, the son of Thomas Chatbourn and Margaret. He was baptized on 2 December 1821 at the Church of St Leonard, Padiham, Lancashire.

Church of St Leonard, Padiham, Lancashire

Church of St Leonard, Padiham

Baptism: 2 Dec 1821 St Leonard, Padiham, Lancs.
Jonas Chatbourn - Son of Thomas Chatbourn
Born: 12 Mar
Abode: Pendleton
Occupation: Labourer
Baptised by: J Adamson
Register: Baptims 1813 - 1827, Page 161, Entry 1283
Source: Original Parish Register

Jonas immigrated on 1 July 1845 to New York, New York. Jonas ChadBourne (age 25), wife Mary (age 24), son Thomas (age 3), and daughter Jane (age 3 - sic) arrived at New York on 1 July 1845 aboard the Ship Genesee from Liverpool.

According to the book 1915 Past and Present of Shelby County, Iowa, pp. 1154-58, with attribution to his son George Richard Chatburn, Jonas acquired his middle name from Jonas Knowles, an English soldier who served under the Duke of Wellington. (The Duke of Wellington (Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley) is famously known for leading the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.)

  • One of the Chatburn ancestors was Jonas Knowles, an English soldier, serving under the Duke of Wellington, in the wars in Spain and India, and against Napoleon, his last battle being Waterloo. It was he who gave the father of Prof. [George Richard] Chatburn the name, Jonas Wellington. (Prof. George Richard Chatburn was Jonas Wellington Chatburn's son.)

This was no mean feat as Jason Knowles died in 1795 - 20 years before the Battle of Waterloo and 26 years before Jonas Wellington was born. For the record, Jonas Wellington's mother was Peggy (Margaret) Ingham, daughter of Thomas Ingham and Margaret (Peggy) Knowles. Margaret Knowles was the daughter of Jonas Knowles.

James (Jonas) W. Chatburn (age 39) was living in Magnolia, Magnolia Township, Harrison County, Iowa in 1860 with his wife Mary (39), daughters Jane (17), Mary (15), Margaret (8) and Maria (1) and son Thomas (17). Jonas's name appears as James in the census. (Note: Although shown to be 17, Thomas would have been 19 at the time of the census, Jane 16 instead of 17, and Mary (Ellen) 13 rather than 15. Maria is evidently a mistake for Cecily.)

Chatburn Census 1860, Magnolia Twp., Harrison Co., Iowa

Jonas, his wife Mary and daughters M(argaret) A(nn) and C(ecile) M. J. appear in the 1870 census in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa with the family name Chatham. The John (Chatburn) living with them was the son of Jonas's brother, Richard, who married Jonas's daughter Margaret Ann in 1871.

Chatburn Census 1870, Harlan Twp., Shelby Co., Iowa
Chatburn Census 1900, Harlan, Shelby Co., Iowa

In the 1880 census Jonas and Mary were living in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa, with their daughter Cisley (Cecily) and son George.


Jonas was a widower at the time of the 1900 census living in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa, his wife Mary having died in 1900 prior to the date of the census. His son George, his wife Ann(a), their daughter (Mary) Frances and a servant, Lillian Playford, were living with him.

Jonaswas (re)baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Samuel Wood on 23 May 1869 at Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa.

Grant Wood Note May 23, 1869

Jonas Chatburn's biography was published in the 1889 Biographical History of Shelby County, Iowa, pp. 297-299:

Judge Jonas W. Chatburn, proprietor of the Harlan Mills, has been prominently identified with the interests of western Iowa since 1850. He is a native of England, born in Lancashire, March 11, 1821, and a son of Thomas and Margaret (Ingham) Chatburn, natives of the same place. At the age of fourteen years he was apprenticed to a machinist, and served an apprenticeship of three years, after which he served an apprenticeship of seven years in calico printing. Judge Chatburn was united in marriage, December 25, 1843, to Miss Mary Burton, a native of Lancashire, England, and a daughter of George and Jane (Foster) Burton. In the spring of 1845 they emigrated to America, sailing May 12, in the vessel Genesee of Bath, and arrived in New York, July 2, 1845. They went to Frankfort, Pennsylvania, five miles from Philadelphia, where our subject engaged in the printing business at the Tackawanna print works, where he remained one year. He then went to New Jersey, to the pine woods on the Rancocus River, and repaired a steam saw-mill, which he run for six months, having his wife and two children in the green woods. He then returned to Frankfort, and the following summer run the engine in a woolen factory at Grubtown, Pennsylvania. He remained here about a year and then went to Philadelphia, and run out the insurance on a large steam engine, for Sutton & Smith; here he remained a year and a half, and in April 1850, came west, starting with a company of about 100 people, with the intention of going to Salt Lake City. They went by the Pennsylvania Canal to Pittsburg, thence down the Ohio River to the Mississippi, thence up the Mississippi to St. Louis by steamboat, and from there to a trading post on the Missouri River, about seven miles below the present site of Council Bluffs. On the trip up the Missouri River, the boiler of the engine burst; there were 300 passengers on board, and an immense amount of freight; the engineer was unable to repair the boiler, and things were being prepared to float the boat back to St. Louis, when the captain called Mr. Chatburn to him and requested him to examine the boiler; he did so, repaired it, and in less than twenty-four hours the boat was on her way.

Mrs. Chatburn is a member of the Latter Day Saints church, and when she learned that polygamy was in vogue in Utah, she refused to proceed further; so they settled in Iowa. Mr. Chatburn purchased a claim near Council Bluffs from a man who was going to Utah, and located there; he worked at various things until he went to Mills County, and entered a saw-mill, where his early training as a machinist served him a good turn. In 1853 he went into Harrison County, and entered 160 acres of land, near the place where Magnolia now stands; he was the first person to drive a wagon across the place where Magnolia now is. He began to improve the land, and in 1854 built the first mill in Harrison County. It was an up-and-down sawmill, on Willow Creek, near Magnolia. Not being pleased with the idea of going forty miles to get corn ground, Mr. Chatburn conceived the idea of taking two small stones from the prairie, commonly called boulders, and dressing them down for burrs; then the question arose, where the belt was to be procured. He had a dried cowhide which he soaked and cut in strips to make a belt; the mill was put in running order, and the first night the wolves came and devoured the belt. Mr. Chatburn them sawed a walnut log and hauled his lumber to Kainsville and traded it for harness leather, of which he made another belt for his mill, and to this rude mill people came from points as far distant as the place where Sioux City now stands, and would remain a week to get their grinding done. In the manufacture of the first flour in Harrison County Mrs. Chatburn's veil was used as a bolting cloth. In 1862, in company with Thomas Davis, Mr. Chatburn erected a large mill near Woodbine, which he managed in connection with his farming pursuits, until he came to Shelby County, in August, 1866; he settled in Harlan, and lived in the school-house until he could erect a residence. In 1867 he built the first mill in Shelby County, which he continues to manage; he also built a mill in Shelby, and controlled the two for about three years.

While in Harrison County Mr. Chatburn served as judge and justice of the peace; he was also a member of the board of supervisors from its organization, and was president of the board when he left the county. He has served as supervisor in Shelby County, and has held the office of coroner for many years. He is an elder in the church of the Latter Day Saints, and is now presiding elder of the Harlan branch. Judge and Mrs. Chatburn are the parents of seven children -- Thomas, of Independence, Missouri; Jane, the wife of John Burcham, of Shelby County; Mary Ellen, the wife of Wallace W. Wood, of Harrison County; Margaret Ann, the wife of John Chatburn, of Idaho; Cisley J., the wife of A. D. Tinsley, of Iowa; George R., principal of the Portsmouth, Nebraska, schools, and a graduate of Ames College; and one child who died in infancy. Judge Chatburn is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Harlan Lodge, No. 321; Olivet Chapter, No. 107, and Mt. Zion Commandery, No. 49. Politically, he was formerly an old-line Whig, casting his first vote for John C. Fremont, and was one of the organizers of the Republican party. The first corn Judge Chatburn planted in Harrison County he carried from Kainsville on his back; as the waters were very high in the streams he could not take his team, so he started on foot after seed corn, a trip of seventy-five miles. He bought one-half bushel, paying $1.50 for it, and carried it on his back thirty-seven miles. He waded water for miles south of where Missouri Valley is located, and the water was half-leg deep where the city of Missouri Valley is now located.

(Note: Jonas Chatburn and Mary Burton were married December 25, 1840, not 1843. The child who died in infancy was evidently their daughter, Sarah Ann, who was born in 1856 and may have died the same year.)

(Note: As reported in The Saints' Herald 1896, page 224, Jonas Chatburn also served as mayor of Harlan, Iowa, elected to the position in March 1896.)

Jonas was accorded prominent recognition in Past and Present of Shelby County by Edward S. White published in 1915, pp. 1154-58 and elsewhere:

Jonas Wellington Chatburn was born at Clitheroe, Lancashire, England, March 11, 1821 and Mary Burton Chatburn, at Wiswell, Lancashire, England July 26, 1821. They were married at Whalley church, Whalley; Lancashire, England, December 25, 1839. J. W. Chatburn died at Harlan, Iowa, March 31, 1902, and his wife at Harlan, Iowa, March 12, 1900.

J. W. Chatburn attended private school and worked with his father until he was about 12 years old, when he was apprenticed to a calico printer and worked in a plant belonging to Richard Cobden, the eminent English statesman and earnest advocate of the repeal of the "corn laws." Chatburn did not like the calico printing business and as soon as his term of apprenticeship ended took up the trade of his father, that of a locomotive engineer. (NOTE: The birth record for Jonas identified his father as a "labourer.") From 1840 to 1844 he was an active participant in the Chartist movement and with many others came under the ban of the British government. Being threatened with arrest if he did not give up his principles, he decided to emigrate to America, where "a man was free to do as he pleased." As soon as possible after arriving in this country, he took out naturalization papers, and his interest in our republican form of government never diminished. After a very stormy voyage of six weeks' duration, during which the food supply had become salt water soaked and unfit for use, the family landed in New York in the latter part of the summer of 1844. They settled inPhiladelphia, where Chatburn secured a job running the engine of a large woolen factory. About 1849, through the influence of a "missionary," Mr. and Mrs. Chatburn joined the Mormon Church and in 1850 started for Utah. Arriving at Council Bluffs (Kanesville) in August, 1850, Mrs. Chatburn learned that polygamy was being practiced, by the Mormons, and refused to go farther. Mr. Chatburn worked as carpenter, millwright and farmer in and near Council Bluffs until 1852, when he and family removed to Harrison county, Iowa, where a claim was staked out. Later this land, 160 acres, was purchased from the government at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. It was one mile east of the present town site of Magnolia.

Chatburn dammed Willow creek, which ran through his homestead, and in partnership with Steven Mahoney built a saw mill. This mill sawed the first lumber manufactured in Harrison county. Later, Chatburn made a pair of buhr-stones from "nigger-heads," a sort of hard granite boulder, worn round by glacial action, found on the prairies, and with these were ground the first corn meal and flour manufactured in the county. The first wheat flour ground was "bolted" through a veil which Mrs. Chatburn had brought from Philadelphia, and was used to make a wedding cake for one of the early marriages in that county. The success of that mill led to the erection of a flouring mill by Davis & Chatburn, about 1864, near Woodbine on the Boyer river. Thomas Davis, of this firm, was an early settler of Omaha, and the father of F. H. Davis, now cashier of the Omaha First National Bank.

When this mill was sold in 1867, Chatburn moved to Harlan, the county seat of Shelby county, Iowa, and there built a mill on the Nishnabotna river, which he operated till his death, 1902. This mill for many years was a land mark in western Iowa, and is yet standing although a drainage ditch, straightening the Nishnabotna river, has been constructed a few feet east of the mill.

While J. W. Chatburn was always interested in politics, he held but few political offices. He served as county judge and as member of the county board of supervisors of Harrison county, for many years was coroner of Shelby county, and served a term as mayor of the city of Harlan. Some years after moving to Harlan, Mr. and Mrs. Chatburn united with the Reorganized, i. e. the monogamous, branch of the Latter Day Saints' Church and remained consistent members of that branch till death.

To Mr. and Mrs. Chatburn were born seven children, one of whom died when a small child. They are: Thomas W. Chatburn, Independence, Missouri; Mrs. Jane E. Burcham, Defiance, Iowa; Mrs. Mary E. Roberts, Danbury, Iowa; Mrs. Margaret A. Chatburn, Albion, Idaho; Mrs. Cecile J. Tinsley, Deadwood, South Dakota; George R. Chatburn, Lincoln, Nebraska.

One of the Chatburn ancestors was Jonas Knowles, an English soldier, serving under the Duke of Wellington, in the wars in Spain and India, and against Napoleon, his last battle being Waterloo. It was he who gave the father of Prof. Chatburn the name, Jonas Wellington. The Burton family, according to tradition, lost their land through confiscation during one of the civil wars in England. For many years the British court of chancery sent notices to the family asking the mother of Professor Chatburn to prove heirship to an estate.

Jonas also had a short biography in the 1915 History of Harrison County Iowa, pp. 658:

Judge Jonas W. CHATBURN - From the earliest day in Harrison county, the name CHATBURN was almost a household word. It was Jonas W. CHATBURN who constructed the first mill in this county and with the same ground the first meal and flour made in the county. He was an early-day county judge and was prominent among the membership of the church of the Latter Day Saints.

Jonas W. CHATBURN was a native of England, born in 1821, who emigrated to this country in 1845, worked as a machinist in Philadelphia five years and in 1850 started west with the idea of going to Utah with the Mormon people, but upon reaching Council Bluffs, refused to go further on account of that people's practice of polygamy. He operated a saw-mill in Mills county until 1853, when he came to Harrison county, entering a quarter section of land near where now stands the village of Magnolia. In 1854 he and Stephen MAHONEY constructed, on Willow creek, the pioneer mill referred to. In 1862 Thomas DAVIS and Mr. CHATBURN erected a large flour mill at Woodbine, and in 1867 built the flour-mill at Harlan, Shelby county, where Judge CHATBURN spent the remainder of his days. He also had a mill at the town of Shelby, Shelby county. He walked twenty-five miles to Council Bluffs to get his first seed corn. He paid a dollar and a half for half a bushel and carried it on his back, wading through water knee deep on the flats where now stands the city of Missouri Valley. In politics he was first an old line Whig and later voted for John C. FREMONT for President and was one of the original organizers of the Republican party in 1856, doing good service in that connection.

Jonas Wellington Chatburn died on 31 March 1902 in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa. He was buried together with his wife Mary in the Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa cemetery.

Gravestone, Jonas Wellington Chatburn, Harlan, Shelby Co., Iowa

Jonas Chatburn married Mary Burton on 25 December 1840 in the Whalley Church (St Mary and All Saints), District of Clitheroe, Parish of Whalley, County of Lancashire, England.

Marriage Record, Jonas Charburn, Mary Burton, 1840, Whalley, Lancashire, England

Mary Burton was born on 26 July 1821 in Wiswell, Lancashire, England and baptized on 14 October 1821 at the Church of St Mary and All Saints, Whalley, Lancashire. She immigrated to New York, New York with her husband, Jonas ChadBourne, son Thomas and daughter Jane on 1 July 1845 aboard the Ship Genesee from Liverpool. She died on 12 March 1900 in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa and was buried on 15 March 1900 in the Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa cemetery with her husband.

Church of St. Mary and All Saints, Whalley, Lancashire, England

Church of St. Mary and All Saints, Whalley

Jonas Wellington Chatburn and Mary Burton had the following children:

  • i. Thomas Wellington Chatburn was born on 22 March 1841 in Lancashire, England. He married Selina Tuck who was born in January 1847 in Wisbeach, Cambridgeshire, England. He was a minister and elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He died on 2 October 1915 at Independence, Missouri and was buried in Mound Grove Cemetery, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri on 5 October 1915. His joint will with his wife Selina who died on 30 November 1926 at Independence, Missouri, was dated 27 May 1914 and decreed that their possessions upon each and the other's death be left to their children in equal shares. Their children were:

  • - Frank J. born 16 September 1864 in Magnolia, Iowa
    - Myra born 22 October 1867 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Florence C. born 20 July 1868 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Alma B., a male, born 13 September 1870 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Charles D. born 13 November 1872 at Harland, Iowa
    - Nellie born 27 November 1875 in Shelby County, Iowa
    - May born 20 May 1880 in Shelby County, Iowa
    - Mary A. born 6 October 1882 in Shelby County, Iowa
    - Thomas born 25 March 1886 at Independence, Missouri

  • Selina died on 30 November 1926 at Independence, Missouri, and was
    buried on 2 December 1926 with her husband in Mound Grove Cemetery.

  • Thomas served in the Civil War with Company C, 29th Iowa Infantry Regiment, as a private from 14 January 1864 to 10 August 1865.

  • ii. Jane Elizabeth Chatburn was born on 25 April 1844 in Sabden, Lancashire, England. She died on 10 June 1935 at Harlan, Iowa. She married John Wallace Burcham, Sr on 22 December 1861 in Harrison County, Iowa. John Wallace died on 12 September 1934 at Harlan, Iowa. Both are buried in Harlan Cemetery. John Wallace and Jane Elizabeth had 10 children:

  • - Jonas Francis born 22 September 1861 at Magnolia, Iowa
    - Mary born 8 October 1864 at Mondamin, Iowa
    - George Richard born 12 May 1867 at Magnolia, Iowa
    - Ruth Ellen born 22 August 1869 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Cisley J. born 6 October 1871 at Magnolia, Iowa
    - Bessie born 2 November 1873 at Mondamin, Iowa
    - Winifred born 29 October 1877 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Thomas Andrew born July 1881 in Shelby County, Iowa
    - Fanny Ophelia born 3 November 1884 at Mondamin, Iowa
    - John Wallace, Jr born 28 May 1887 at Harlan, Iowa

  • iii. Mary Ellen Chatburn

  • iv. Margaret Ann Chatburn was born on 15 November 1852 in Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Pottawattamie County, Iowa. She died on 5 May 1937 in Albion, Cassia County, Idaho, and was buried on 8 May 1937 in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Albion, Cassia County, Idaho. She was married to her first cousin, John Chatburn, son of Jonas Chatburn's brother Richard who was born on 4 November 1844 at Wiswell, Lancashire, England. John Chatburn died on 5 December 1918 at Albion, Idaho, and was buried also in Pleasant Hill Cemetery. John and Margaret Ann Chatburn had 13 children:

  • - Jonas Richard born 20 August 1871 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Mary Alice born 15 January 1873 at Harlan, Iowa
    - James H. born 2 March 1874 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Thomas Roger born 9 December 1875 at Harlan, Iowa
    - William Wellington born 2 February 1878 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Freddie born 5 December 1879 at Harlan, Iowa
    - John Benjamin born 4 December 1880 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Mary born 23 September 1882 at Harlan, Iowa
    - George Arthur born 9 January 1884 at Harlan, Iowa
    - Bernard Allen born 12 February 1888 at Albion, Idaho
    - Margaret Ellen born 7 September 1890 at Albion, Idaho
    - Walter Merriett born 5 May 1893 at Albion, Idaho
    - Stephen born 14 May 1896 at Albion, Idaho

  • v. Sarah Ann Chatburn was born in 1856 in Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa. She died about 1856 in Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa.

  • vi. Cecily J. Chatburn was born on 22 December 1858 in Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa. She died on 3 August 1953 at Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. She and Alfred Dwight Tinsley were married on 10 November 1881. Alfred Dwight was born on 5 December 1854 at Blakesburg, Wapello County, Iowa, and died on 10 December 1923. They are buried in Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa.

  • vii. George Richard Chatburn was born on 24 December 1863 in Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa. He died on 30 January 1940 at Lincoln, Nebraska. He married America Ann Murphy on 21 July 1889 at Plattsmouth, Nebraska. America Ann was born on 26 August 1865 at Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and died on 24 March 1947 at Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. They are buried in Wyuka Cemetery at Lincoln, Nebraska. George Richard and America Ann had three children:

  • - Mary Francis born 6 April 1891 at Humboldt, Nebraska
    - Alice born 2 August 1897 at Harlan, Iowa
    - George Richard Jr born 9 September 1900 at Lincoln, Nebraska.

The following two photos were obviously taken at the same time at what was probably a family reunion at the home of Jonas Wellington and Mary Chatburn in Harlan, Iowa.

Jonas Wellington Chatburn & Mary Chatburn Family, Harlan, Shelby Co., Iowa

Standing left to right: Margaret Ann Chatburn, Jane Elizabeth Chatburn Burcham and Mary Ellen Chatburn Wood Roberts

Seated left to right: Mary Burton Chatburn, Richard George Chatburn, Cecily J. Chatburn Tinsley and Jonas Wellington Chatburn

The likely timeframe of the photos was late-summer or fall 1899, which was when Margaret Ann Chatburn travelled back to Harlan, Iowa, from her home in Albion, Cassia County, Idaho to help care for her ailing mother, Mary Burton Chatburn. For more see the photo below.

Jonas Wellington Chatburn & Mary Chatburn Family, Harlan, Shelby Co., Iowa

Mary Burton Chatburn and Jonas W. Chatburn are seated at center left and right (compare to the preceding photo). At far left is their daughter Margaret Ann Chatburn who married Jonas's nephew John Chatburn son of Jonas's brother Richard Chatburn. (Hence Margaret Ann and John Chatburn were first cousins.) The man in the rocker to the right of Margaret Ann is John Burcham, husband of Jane Elisabeth Chatburn. Jane Elizabeth is seated between John Burcham and Mary Burton Chatburn. Mary Ellen Chatburn Wood Roberts is seated at far right. By the process of elimination, the man seated to the right of Jonas Chatburn is possibly Merritt James Barry*, and the lady seated below and between him and Jonas could possibly be Merritt Barry's wife, Ellen Chatburn, who was the daughter of Jonas's brother Richard and niece of Jonas. The two young girls seated in front are possibly Margaret and Martha Barry the daughters of Matthew Berry and Ellen Chatburn born in 1892 and 1896, respectively. The young man seated in front is possibly John Wallace Burcham, Jr, the youngest son of John and Jane Elizabeth born in 1887. (There are no other children or grandchildren in either Jonas's or his brother Richard's families that are candidates by age.) Jonas and Mary's daughter Cecily is seated between the unidentified man (possibly Matthew Barry) and Mary Ellen, and the man kneeling between Cecily and Mary Ellen is Cecily's husband Alfred D. Tinsley. (Jonas and Mary Chatburn's son Thomas Wellington Chatburn and his wife are not in the photo.)

*Another source indicates the man is Jonas's and Mary's son George Richard Chatburn. However, George Richard in the previous photo appears to be wearing glasses and has a white bow tie, whereas the man in the photo above is not wearing glasses and appears to have a black bow tie.)

Compiled and contributed November, 2020 by Dean Wood, great-great-grandson of Jonas Chatburn. Dean indicates that in the course of his research he collaborated with Nellie Louise Good Love (now deceased), a great-granddaughter of Jonas, and with Michael Field, a great-great-grandson of Jonas.