JAMES L. BYRD
...And when the Byrd family came, in the summer of 1852, they found no other creatures within the present limits of Pymosa, than the wild animals and game which, at that time, abounded.
During the summer of 1852, James L. Byrd built a cabin on section 30, Pymosa township. He and his sons, Aaron, Thomas, Abraham and Jonathan, and his son in-law, Mason Gill, all made claims, and when the land was put in the market, they entered a large tract, principally in Atlantic township.
James L. Byrd (deceased) was one of the pioneers of Cass county, having arrived within its boundaries in 1852. He was a native of Kentucky, born in Barnes county, January 5, 1801, and was a son of Jonathan B. Byrd, who in an early day, removed from Georgia to Tennessee, thence to Kentucky. Jonathan Byrd's wife, the mother of James L., was a native of Tennessee and of English extraction, her ancestry having been traced back to the royal stock, which, centuries ago, passed away. The grandfather of James L. was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and served in the army from beginning to end, entirely through the struggle for liberty and independence, thus contributing his full share toward the establishment, on a firm foundation, of the liberty and freedom so much enjoyed by the present generation. Many incidents in connection with that remarkable conflict were indelibly impressed upon his memory, and the description of the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington was among the reminisences often repeated to his children. The family removed from Barnes county, Kentucky, to Crawford county, Indiana, and there, at the age of twenty years, James was married to Rachel Randall, by whom he had seven children, five sons and two daughters. She was a native of South Carolina, born near Charleston. The children were...Clark, Abraham S., Aaron, Thomas, Mary, Jonathan and Margaret. Of these, Aaron came to this county in 1852, and made a settlement on section 36, Brighton township. He is now living in Fillmore county, Nebraska. Thomas now lives in Brayton, Audubon county. He settled, on first coming west, in Brighton township. Mary is the wife of Mason C. Gill, and lives in Washington township. Jonathan came with the other boys, but subsequently moved farther west. Margaret died when two years old. The subject of this sketch left Indiana from Putnam county, where he was quite a prominent man, (having, among other acts, given the casting vote that built the court house of that county,) in May 1852, and came with teams to Wapello county, Iowa, and there put in a crop, consisting of fifteen acres of corn. Not being entirely pleased or satisfied with that location, in company with Mr. M. Gill, and his son Abraham, he started out on a prospecting tour, with a team, going first to Oskaloosa, thence to Boone county, thence to Des Moines, then traveling up the river twelve miles, went across the country to Adel, then crossing Middle Coon creek, followed such trails as could be found, and after looking at considerable country, arrive in what is now Bear Grove township. After looking at various pieces of land in that township and in the vicinity of where Lorah now stands, they started down the Nishnabotna river, and finding on Buck creek a situation suited to their tastes, they staked off the bottom and made claims. They then started for Indiana, carefully observing in every direction if a better of more promising place could be found. The Fourth of July found them in Winterset. Subsequently they came back to Cass county and bought a claim near the mouth of Buck creek, consisting of about one thousand acres, for which he paid one hundred and twenty-five dollars. Six months afterwards one Dr. Ballard came and set up a title to this land. Mr. Byrd paid him one hundred and fifty dollars for a quit-claim deed, built a shanty and began pioneer life in Cass county. Abraham, one of the sons, who is now a resident of Cass county, pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres at Five-Mile-Grove, where he built a shanty and deeded it to his father, except forty acres of timber, and entered an eighty acre tract where his house now stands on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 31, Pymosa township. There he built a small house in 1858, and in 1868 erected his present commodious dwelling, on a beautiful plat of ground, near by, and overlooking the present site of Atlantic. He has added to his original farm until he now owns three hundred and forty-five acres. Abraham S. Byrd was born in Crawford county, Indiana, January 9, 1856, and remained with his father till 1858. He was married May 30, 1864, to Emeline Tabor, of Washington county, Indiana. They have five children.
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, pg. 556.