Tuesday, October 16, 2012

James W. Stout: By T.M. Dunshee

This is the third in a series of biographical sketches written by Thomas M. Dunshee between 1903, when he collected the material, and 1910, when he finished entering the sketches in a small blue "tablet" notebook now in the Lucas County Historical Society collection. The subjects all were fellow pioneers in the Newbern neighborhood of English Township, Lucas County.

By T.M. Dunshee
Dated Dec. 23, 1903

James William Stout was born in Switzerland County, Indiana, on the 23d day of Feby 1829, of German descent, was married Oct. 13, 1852, to Cornelia K. Maxfield of Danville, Des Moines County, Iowa. She was formerly from Ohio, where she was born Feby 20th, 1833 (tombstone inscribed 1832). Her people were from Connecticut. Mr. and Mrs. Stout have had four children born to them, two boys and two girls: Carlisle D., Harriet, Edward and Mary Isabel.

His early years were spent on his father's farm in Indiana. At the age of twenty he left home to do for himself. He came to Burlington, Iowa, March 1849, at which place he landed with but fifty cents in money in his pocket. He remained here for four years, some of the time at Danville, twelve miles west of Burlington, working on the farm in the summertime, chopping cord wood in the winter. Part of his time was occupied in rafting, steamboating and rail roading, anything to find employment that was honorable, looking forward to the time when he might own a farm of his own.

In 1853, Mr. Stout moved by ox team and wagon to Dallas Township, Marion County, Iowa, where he entered 40 acres of government land. At that time there were but four cabins between Knoxville and Newbern. They lived on this place until March 1861, when they came to English Township and settled on land in Section 3 where they have lived continuously since, then excepting three years they made their home in Chariton.

Money with the early settler was the one thing that could hardly be obtained. Yet nothwithstanding the many hardships and heroic self sacrifices that had to be endured, they enjoyed life to a degree that few people of the present day obtain. There was a common tie bound all together alike regardless of pride of position or of ancestors. All were poor in this world's goods. Men and women met together on a common level and were social and neighborly, went visiting and to church in their ox wagons dressed in their jeans and linsey suits. No wonder they look back over the years and speak of the many pleasant memories with kindling eyes and fond recollections.

Mr. Stout says, "I have gone to the timber many a day and cut and split rails at fifty cents per hundred; made my two hundred rails per day to obtain the dollar to purchase corn to take to mill, corn that the purchase price was one dollar per bushel. But I was glad of the chance to make the dollar and enjoyed my dinner of corn bread and water, obtained from a hole in the ice of the creek.

"Our milling was done mostly at Red Rock on the Des Moines River. The neighbors went to mill by turns; would club together and make up a load in order to save time.

"My wife has taken my jeans pants when they became pretty thread bare in front and cut the legs off and turned them around and sewed them back in again to make them last as long as possible. We done well to have one spare suit. The women considered them selves lucky to have a spare calico dress to wear of a Sabbath to meeting and very often they would have to wash and iron this spare dress that they might appear respectful.

"After we began to accumulate a little stock around us, we found we had no good home market. Buyers took our hogs and cattle at a low price and they were driven to Eddyville or Burlington. It was no uncommon thing to go to Burlington for salt or farm machinery. I have hauled salt by the wagon load in sacks and sold out to make money to buy my own salt, the distance 130 miles.

"I went to the army in the fall of 1862, enlisted in Co. E, 34th Iowa, N.B. Gardner, captain, and Warren S. Dungan, lieutenant colonel. Served three years in the war."

Mr. Stout is a stalwart Republican, faithful to his party, a good citizen. They are among English Township's best people.

Mr. Stout died Feby 10th 1908.

This photograph of the Newbern Cemetery tombstone of James W. and Cornelia Stout is taken from the Web site, "Find a Grave."

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