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1884 Biographies


James M. Baxter, one of the pioneers of Cass county, lives upon section 1, township of Cass. Mr. Baxter was born July 12, 1831, in Norwich, Windsor county, Vermont. He is a son of Charles and Lora (Partridge) Baxter, both of whom are now deceased. James M. Baxter received the education commonly given to sons of Vermont farmers, and was reared to agricultural pursuits. He emigrated to this State in March, 1856, arriving here on the 11th of that month, since which time he has been a resident and identified with the interests of Cass county. When he came here the country was very sparsely settled. One small dry goods store at Lewis was the only one in the county. There was no blacksmith shop and they were obliged to go to Council Bluffs for their blacksmithing. There was occasionally a school, but not a school house in the county. Mr. Baxter worked for two years as a farm laborer, but the first summer bought eighty acres of land six miles southwest of Lewis. He began improving his land in 1858. He was married August 12th of that year, at Lewis, to Euphemia Richardson, a native of the State of New York. Her parents, William and Sallie Richardson, removed when she was a child, to Trumbull county, Ohio. She and a brother, Emory Richardson, came to this county in 1857. A married sister, the wife of William Arnold, then lived at Lewis.

Mr. Baxter has contributed largely to the development of Cass county. He has broken and improved two thousand acres of the prairie soil, built many houses and at least twenty-five miles of fence. He has put down wells and built barns in proportion. He has bought, improved and sold a number of farms, and now owns sixteen hundred acres in Bear Grove and Cass townships, all under fence and in tame grass, pastures or crops. He farms about on thousand acres himself, renting the remainder of his land. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter have six children...Charles M., living on his father's farm, and married to Emma Granger, of Atlantic; Roxa A., wife of H.D. Sheets; Lora P., William D.C., Henry P. and Jedley I. The last named died in March, 1880, aged eight years. Mr. Baxter was elected in 1880, supervisor of district No. 4. In 1883, he was elected chairman of the county board of supervisors, and is at present school director of district No. 1, Cass township. Mr. Baxter is an enterprising and public spirited citizen, and one of the prominent men of the county. June 10, 1880, a cyolone(sic) passed over his place, doing much damage. His loss was estimated at thirty-five hundred dollars. The storm destroyed three tenement houses, carried away small barns and sheds, a hog house, one hundred and twenty-five feet long, and one hundred and twenty-five bogs, not one of which were ever seen again, ninty-five(sic) pigs and four horses. Mr. Baxter is the largest farmer in the county. He pays much attention to improved stock of all kinds, and is the owner of three fine imported stock horses.

Transcribed by Gloria Goltiani from "History of Cass County, Iowa. Together With Sketches of its Towns, Villages and Townships, Educational, Civil, Military and Political History: Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Old Settlers and Representative Citizens." Springfield, Ill.: Continental Historical Company, 1884, pp. 523-524.

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