Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 491-92.

Transcribed by Mary Alice Schwanke and Cyndi Vertrees

Biography of  John Wilcox

John Wilcox, a retired agriculturist residing on section 28, Scott township, was born in Fountain county, Indiana, December 6, 1834. He has the genealogical record of the family, showing that representatives of the name emigrated to the United States in 1734. The father, Levi V. Wilcox, who was a native of Essex county, New Jersey, was a hotel proprietor in early manhood but later purchased a farm of five hundred and seventy acres in Warren county, Indiana, on which his demise occurred in the year 1853. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Hulda Crane, was also born in New Jersey and was called to her final rest in 1837. Unto this worthy couple were born ten children but only two of the number survive, John and Frank. The latter is married and makes his home in Champaign, Illinois. Like his brother, he was a loyal defender of the Union at the time of the Civil war, was made major of the Sixty-third Regiment and later was promoted to the rank of colonel of the Fifteenth Infantry.

John Wilcox received but limited educational advantages, for he began work as a cowboy when only fourteen years of age, herding cattle on the Grand prairie in Indiana and also in Illinois for four years. Subsequently he was employed on a farm in Warren county, Indiana, and in 1856 removed to Winterset, Iowa, where he resided for two years. On the expiration of that period he went to Colorado and for two years hunted buffaloes on the plains and deer and sheep on the mountains. He afterward went to Mound City, Kansas, and there enlisted in Company D, Seventh Kansas Cavalry, with which command he served for three years and twenty-five days. He was ever a brave and loyal soldier, faltering in the performance of no task to which he was assigned, and there is still imbedded in his limb a piece of lead which he received in battle. After the close of hostilities he went to Winterset, Iowa, and subsequently came to Buena Vista county. In 1869 he homesteaded eighty acres of the farm on which he now resides on section 28, Scott township, and later purchased an additional tract of eighty acres When he erected his little shanty there was not another structure of any kind in sight, for the district was but sparsely settled and bore little resemblance to the prosperous and thickly settled region of today. Mr. Wilcox made all the improvements on his place, set out the trees and brought the fields under a high state of cultivation. He still resides on the farm but is now living retired, enjoying in well earned rest the fruits of his well directed labor in former years.

On the 13th of October, 1863, at Winterset, Iowa, Mr. Wilcox was united in marriage to Miss Susanna Loy Bard, a native of Trumbull county, Ohio, and a daughter of William H. and Nancy (Caldwell) Bard. In 1856 Mrs. Wilcox accompanied her parents on their removal to Madison county, Iowa. Unto our subject and his wife have been born four children, namely: Mary E., the wife of William Bice, an agriculturist of Buena Vista county; William L., who wedded Miss Mary Larson and operates the home farm; Laura M., the wife of Harry A. Mack, who follows farming in Minnesota; and John E., who married Miss Alice Harden and resides in Oliver county, North Dakota.

Mr. Wilcox gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has capably served as assessor for two terms and also as justice of the peace. He still maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in the G. A. R. He is numbered among the worthy pioneer settlers of the county and moreover receives the veneration and respect which should always be accorded one who has traveled thus far on life's journey and whose career has ever been upright and honorable.