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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 5/19/2004 at 14:32:28

Biography reproduced from page 557 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

Among the prosperous and highly successful agriculturists of Kossuth county must be numbered James Carroll, who owns and cultivates three hundred and twenty acres of fertile land located in Swea and Seneca townships. He was originally a subject of Canada, his birth having occurred on a farm fifty miles east of Quebec, on the 15th of October, 1856. His father, John Carroll, was born and reared in the same vicinity and was of Irish extraction, his parents having been natives of the Emerald Isle. He married Miss Mary Ann Dundas, who was born in Ireland, whence she emigrated to Canada when a child of four years with her parents, who located in the province of Quebec. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll passed the early years of their married life on a farm near the home of his boyhood, but in 1864 they crossed the border into the United States, settling in DeKalb county, Illinois. In the spring of 1865, they came to Kossuth county and the father homesteaded the southeast quarter of section 31, Swea township, and resumed his agricultural pursuits. He energetically engaged in the cultivation of his farm until his death in 1878. He was survived by the mother and nine children who subsequently removed to Armstrong, Emmet county, where she lived until her death on Marcy 25, 1898. The Carroll and Dundas families were among the very first settlers of Swea township, Kossuth county. The first house built in this township was erected on the homestead of William Dundas, uncle of Mrs. Carroll, on the northwest quarter of Section 31. It was only a little log cabin, as was also the home of John Dundas, another uncle, which was the second house built in Swea township. The third house was made of sod and was built on the homestead of a Mr. Herrick, the present farm of our subject, and stood twenty rods west of Mr. Carroll’s residence. The entire county was but sparsely settled and the nearest trading post was Algona, where a small stock of general merchandise was kept in a little log building, the only store in the town.

The education of James Carroll was begun in Canada, where he passed the first eight years of his life, and continued in a district school held in a sod house in Swea township. In common with the majority of the youths of the pioneer period he early laid aside his text-books and devoted his entire time and attention to the work of the farm. He continued to assist his father until he was twenty years of age when he left home and started out to make his own way in the world. The Canadian Pacific Railroad Company was the constructing its lines and was paying good wages to men with teams for grading, so Mr. Carroll drove all the way from Armstrong Grove to Winnipeg, where he worked for eighteen months. At the expiration of that period he returned home, going first to Fargo, North Dakota, by way of the Red river, and from there to St. Paul, thence to Mason City and on to Algona. The summer after his return he worked in the harvest fields, but the next year he rented the farm he now owns and engaged in farming on his own account. He subsequently bought eighty acres of land in Seneca township, but he sold that in 1884 and bought his present homestead, on which he located three years later. The cultivation of this proved to be so remunerative that he subsequently increased his holdings by the purchase of one hundred and sixty acres of unimproved land in Seneca township, two miles south of his homestead. He now has three hundred and twenty acres under cultivation and in connection with farming raises and feeds cattle and hogs for the market. Mr. Carroll is a very energetic and capable man and directs his undertakings with foresight and sagacity. As a result he is prospering and is numbered among the substantial and enterprising agriculturists and stockmen of the county.

On the 21st of July, 1887, Mr. Carroll was married to Miss Jennie Dundas, a daughter of John and Jane (Gibbons) Dundas, the father of Irish and the mother of English extraction. John Dundas was born and reared in Canada, where he resided until 1861, when he crossed the border and located in Illinois. Four years later he came to Kossuth county and here he met and subsequently married Miss Gibbons, a native of Iowa. Mr. Dundas homesteaded the northeast quarter of section 31, Swea township, in 1865, and there he engaged in farming for nearly thirty years. About 1893 he withdrew from active work and removed to Estherville, this state, where he is living at the age of seventy-four years, while the mother is sixty-eight. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Carroll, as follows: Edith May, who passed away at the age of eight years, seven months and sixteen days; Melissa, who was born on the 19th of July, 1890, the wife of John Codner, a railroad man of Parkersburg, Iowa, and the mother of one child, Neolene; Ralph, who is engaged in farming with his father; Andrew, who was thirteen years of age on the 9th of February, 1912; and John, was was born on the 7th of July, 1907.

His political support Mr. Carroll now accords to the democratic party, but he formerly voted the republican ticket. He served for nine years as trustee of Swea township and for two terms as school director in district No. 9. He is a most estimable man and a worthy representative of an honorable pioneer family.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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