IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The late Thomas James Essington, who at the time of his death owned four hundred and forty acres of land in Exira and Oakfield townships and one hundred and sixty acres in Nebraska, has had a varied career. Born in Maine and educated there, after leaving school he became a sailor and worked before the mast for three years, at the end of which time went to California and engaged in mining. From California he went to Idaho and there he worked for three years, coming to Audubon county, Iowa, in 1867, where he worked as a farm hand until he purchased forty acres of land and began farming for himself.

Thomas James Essington was born on December 20, 1839, in Maine. His parents were William and Mary (Murch) Essington, the former a native of England and the latter of Maine. William Essington had come from England to New Brunswick when he was a boy. He was educated in that country and there grew to manhood. He also had gone to sea and sailed before the mast for a few years before locating permanently in the state of Maine, where he worked in a saw-mall until he was quite an old man. Eventually, he located on a small farm of fifty acres and remained there the remainder of his life. William and Mary Essington were the parents of nine children, namely: Thomas James, William, John G., Stephen, George W., Georgiana, Madaline, Jane and Frankie. Frankie and Thomas James are the only members of this family who are now living.

Mr. Essington received his education in Maine and after serving a few years as a sailor and working in the mines of the western states, he began his career as a farmer by purchasing forty acres of land. He increased his holdings from time to time until at the time of his death, he owned six hundred acres of land in Iowa and Nebraska. He was accustomed to raise one hundred and sixty acres of corn on his farm and seventy-five acres of small grains. He fed about one hundred head of hogs each year and from two to three carloads were sold from his place.

Thomas James Essington was married on October 20, 1867, to Mary Alley, the daughter of Samuel and Emeline Alley, and to this union there were born seven children, namely: Charles, Roscoe, William, Agnes, Grace, Emeline and Mayme. Charles married Ida Davis and has two children, Hayden and Mary Elizabeth. Roscoe married Fannie Rich and has one child, Madeline. William married Anna Stendor and has two children, Frank and Evelyn. Agnes married Elem Bills and they have seven children, Wilber, Merrit, Madalyn, Margaret, Emeline, Addie and Milroy. Grace became the wife of Isaac Smith and they are the parents of seven children, Gussie, Roscoe, Henry, Chris, Bessie, Dolly and Wilma. Emeline is the wife of Thomas McGovern and has three children, Bernice, Thomas J. and Ernestine.

Thomas James Essington was long identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was a past grand in this lodge. He was a Republican in politics and served as school treasurer for thirty-nine years. He was a member of the board of supervisors at one time and also had served as school director. Few men living in Audubon county surpassed Mr. Essington in real nobility of character. He was a man who was devoted primarily to the interests of his home and family but he took a worthy interest in public affairs. To say that he is missed not only by the surviving members of a devoted family but by the community as well is to state a very small part of the truth. Thomas James Essington was a worthy citizen of the great Hawkeye state, with which he cast his fortunes and where he lived so many years.

Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 603-604.
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