DEAL, James H. (1842-1930)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/6/2020 at 21:50:41
James H. Deal
(October 5, 1842 - March 12, 1930)
Ida County Pioneer, Ida Grove, Iowa, Wed., Jan, 28, 1925, p.1
Octogenarians Describe Grasshopper Days and Coming of Railroad
James Deal of Ida Grove is 82 years old, although a stranger would take him for not more than 65 or 70., so straight does he walk, so springy is his step and so bright his eye. And yet he has passed through a strong life, filled with many adventures and hardships that would have daunted many men of less stamina. He was born October 5,1842 near Terre Haute, Indiana, and will be 83 years old this coming fall. IN March 1862 he enlisted at Boone, Iowa in Company K, 16th Iowa Infantry and his first battle was the bloody conflict of Shiloh. He was in engagements around Vicksburg and belonged to Sherman’s army. On September 19,1862 he took part in the hard fought battle of Iuka and had his leg broken below the knee by a minis ball. Twenty-two pieces of bone were taken from the wound and for seven months, he was unable to walk and then got up, with the aid of cane and crutch. But as soon as he was able to get around again late in 1863 he went to Jefferson Barricks in Missouri and attempted to re-enlist, but they gave him his discharge and sent him home.
After the war ended, he became interested in the building of the transcontinental railroad west from Omaha in 1866, and went to Cheyenne, the terminus of the Union Pacific at the time and hired out as a teamster under Gen. Casement, the railway contractor. He hauled freight and supplies from the end of the railroad to the construction camp, following the business for 18 months, until the line reached Ogden, Utah. He then received a pass to San Francisco. He prospected over parts of California and Nevada, working in the smelters at White Pine, Nevada. After making a little stake, he and his partner, sunk a shaft near White Pine and thought they would soon be rich, instead the used up all their money and found no good ore. Mr. Deal slept out in a wagon, under a wagon, or in a dugout, such as he had at the mine, for the a period of over four years. He returned to Iowa in 1870. The following year he married at Boone to Mary Parks, who died 10 years ago. They came to Ida County in 1879 and he and George Porter at first ran a farm for the latters father. Six years later he bought his farm in Hayes twp. He has six children, all living, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He loves to fish and spends many days each summer in pursuit of his favorite sport. To this he attributes some of the credit for his long life, and also to the fact that he has always taken good care of himself and has refused to worry.
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