History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 542
A well improved and valuable farm of one hundred and sixty acres pays tribute to the care and labor bestowed upon it by James Fossett, an enterprising and prosperous agriculturist of Grove township, who has been a resident of Taylor county for a period of about thirty years.  A native of Illinois, he was born in Peoria county on the 22d of April, 1855, and is a son of James and Mary (Dean) Fossett, the former born and reared in Indiana, and the latter born in Massachusetts but reared in Illinois.  The father went to Illinois when a young man, locating in Peoria county, where he was united in marriage.  His entire life was devoted to farming, and he was engaged in that line of activity in Illinois to the time of his demise, which occurred about 1859, when he was thirty-three years of age.  His wife survived until about 1883 and also passed (page 543) away in the Prairie state.  Their family consisted of three children, the sisters of our subject being: Sarah E., the wife of George Blake of Dunlap, Illinois; and Mary E., who wedded John Stephenson, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
James Fossett was but a little lad of four years when his father passed away, and it was therefore necessary for him at an early day to assist his mother in the support of the family.  Consequently his educational advantages were very limited.  At the early age of eleven he began earning his own livelihood, being employed as a farm hand for several years.  In the spring of 1879, he came to Taylor county, Iowa, and rented a farm, carrying on agricultural pursuits in that capacity for a number of years.  He purchased a breaking team and for a season or two broke prairie land and later invested in a tract of forty acres in Ross township.  For three years thereafter he resided in Bedford, the last year being devoted to the occupation of teaming, and then he located upon his little farm, upon which stood a small house.  He remodeled the dwelling and later added another tract of eighty acres to his original purchase.  He continued to make that his home for about five years and in the meantime greatly improved and developed the property, so that at the expiration of that period he was able to sell the farm at a very gratifying advance over the original purchase.
Coming to Grove township, Mr. Fossett bought one hundred and sixty acres located on sections 26 and 27, upon which he has continue to make his home to the present time.  He has since directed his entire energies to its further cultivation, and under his careful management it has become one of the well improved and valuable properties of the township.  When it came into his possession it was equipped with a small house, in which he resided for two years, and then it was replaced by a neat and attractive modern residence.  He has also erected a large barn and substantial outbuildings and has a good orchard of his own planting, while everything about the place indicates a spirit of progress, thrift and industry on the part of the owner.  Not only to the tilling of the soil has he confined his attention, but he has also engaged to some extent in the stock business, raising and fattening a large number of hogs annually, for which he receives good prices on the market.  Energy, diligence and perseverance have characterized his entire business career and have proven salient elements in the acquirement of the gratifying measure of success which he today enjoys.
It was on the 9th of October, 1881, that Mr. Fossett was united in marriage in Grove township to Miss Sarah Tando, whose birth occurred in Bureau county, Illinois.  Her father Edward Tando, who was born and reared in Connecticut, was there married to Miss Mary Matthews, a native of Ireland, and later they moved to Bureau county, Illinois.  In 1870, they came to Iowa, being numbered among the early settlers of Taylor county.  Here Mr. Tando lost his wife and about 1873, was again married, after which he moved to Washington county, Arkansas, where his remaining years were spent.  The union of Mr. and Mrs. Fossett has been blessed with one son, Charles L., a young man who is now assisting his father in the operation of the home farm.
Although Mr. Fossett casts a republican vote in all national issues, he exercises his right of franchise at local elections in behalf of men and measures which, in his opinion, are best adapted to conserve the public welfare, regardless of party ties.  Although he has ever been most active and public spirited, having been (page 544) remiss in none of those matters which demand the interest and attention of every true and loyal citizen, he has never sought public preferment nor would he suffer himself to be elected by his fellowmen to any public office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon the conduct of his own personal business.  Having resided within the borders of Taylor county for about thirty years, he has in the meantime been thoroughly identified with the interests of the county and is numbered among its representative citizens.  Having started out at the early age of eleven years to make his own way in the world, he has made continuous progress in the business world until he today ranks among the substantial and prosperous agriculturists of his township, well deserving the proud title of a self-made man, and his labors have contributed to the general upbuilding of the community as well as to his individual success.