James Madison Proctor
A Biographical Sketch
From: A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa; pub 1896; p. 459
Madison Proctor has for forty
years been identified with the history of Warren county, Iowa, an
honored pioneer settler who has not only witnessed the growth and
development of this region but has also aided in its progress and
advancement. Since his arrival the wild lands have been
transformed into beautiful homes and farms, towns and cities have sprung
up, industries and enterprises have been established and civilization
has here taken up its abode, transforming Warren into one of the leading
counties of the commonwealth, while among its valued citizens is
numbered Mr. Proctor.
He was born in Hamilton county, Illinois, two miles from McLeansboro, May 27, 1820, his birthplace being a double log house with a clapboard roof and mud-and-stick chimney. The floor was made of puncheons and the structure was heated with a broad fire-place. While Illinois was still a frontier region, before railroads had been laid or telegraph poles put up, Littlepage Proctor, his father, emigrated from Kentucky, bringing with him his wife and children. In the midst of the forest he cleared a space on which to erect a log cabin, and when the wild flowers of spring began to dot the prairies he planted his first crop and began the development of a farm. He had to endure many hardships and trials, struggling with poverty and privations, but at length perseverance and energy brought to him a good home. The lady whom he had wedded in Kentucky did not long survive her marriage, and the father afterward wedded Miss Sallie Bates, a native of Tennessee, who tenderly cared for the little children that had been left motherless. She also had ten children of her own, our subject being the third in order of birth. The family numbered twenty children, ten of whom were born in Kentucky. The father was an honored Christian gentleman, who as opportunity afforded preached to his neighbors, and in all possible ways aided in promoting morality and Christianity among those with whom he was thrown in contact. After a long and well spent life of ninety-three years he was called to the home beyond the grave. His wife survived him for a number of years, and died when more than seventy years of age.
Early in life James M. Proctor was inured to the hard labors that fall to the lot of frontiersmen. Before he had attained his majority he removed to Peoria, Illinois, where he worked assiduously to secure a home for himself. While living there he met and married Miss Elizabeth Davis, the wedding being celebrated on the 2nd of April, 1843. Nine children came to bless their union, of whom four are living: Melissa, widow of Matthew Milligan, and a resident of Otter township, Warren county; William and James D., who are residents of Des Moines; and Benjamin, a popular photographer of Milo. Those who have passed away are Martha Jane, who died at the age of four years; Angeline, who died at the age of four; Rachel Emma, who died when two years of age; Editha Alice, grew to womanhood, married Isaac Bingley, and died leaving two children; and Peter A., who died in Des Moines, at the age of twenty-four, leaving many friends to mourn his loss.
In the spring of 1855 Mr. Proctor emigrated to Warren county, locating in White Breast township, where he entered eighty acres of land from the Government. After three years he sold this property, and bought a farm on section 1, Belmont township. In 1877 he went to Harlan county, Nebraska, where he secured a homestead of 160 acres, living upon it for a part of two years, when he returned to his family. In 1881, he disposed of his farming property, purchased town lots in Mio and erected a very commodious and comfortable dwelling, where he is now living retired. His life has been a busy and useful one and to within a few years knew few leisure hours.
After the breaking out of the Civil war Mr. Proctor manifested his loyalty to the Government by enlisting, on the 1st of December 1861, in Company C., Seventh Iowa Infantry, and was honorably discharged on the 2nd of January, 1864. Two days later he re-enlisted and continued a member of his old company until the 1st of June, 1865, when he was honorably discharged on account of wounds received at the battle of Resaca, Georgia. He participated in the engagements at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Corinth, and suffered much from exposure and forced marches, but was always a valiant soldier whose bravery was above question. His generous spirit prompted him to share with those around him all that he had in the way of comforts, and he won the sincere love and esteem of his army comrades. He case his first presidential vote for Martin Van Buren, and has since been a Democrat in politics. Socially he is a charter member of Milo Post, No. 175, F. A. R., and his family adhere to the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In all the relations of life he has been honorable and upright, and the many excellencies of his character account for the high regard in which he is universally held.
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