Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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HISTORY of CERRO GORDO COUNTY, IOWA
WHEELER, J.H. Vol. II. Pp. 710-14. Lewis Pub. Co. Chicago. 1910

BIOGRAPHY ~ NELSON J. GRUMMON

Nelson J. Grummon, a pioneer and retired farmer, is one of those who belong particularly to Iowa by reason of long residence within her borders, having seen the country developed from raw prairie to its present high state of productiveness. Mr. Grummon was born in western New York, August 7, 1837, his parents being Horace B. and Caroline (Balcom) Grummon. The father was born in New Jersey in 1809 and died near Cherry Valley, Illinois, in 1888. The mother died in her native state, New York, in 1839, when Mr. Grummon was but two years of age, and the father took for his second wife Caroline Barton. In 1841 the little family set out for Rockford, Winnebago county, Illinois, passing through Chicago, which was then a very small town. This was in the winter time and proved a very long, cold trip. They lived near Rockford two or three years and then removed to Boone county, near Belvidere, where the father purchased eighty acres of unbroken prairie. He labored against the usual difficulties of the pioneer, and managed to build a frame house, break the sod, and here continued to live until his death. After the death of the second wife Mr. Grummonís father married a third time, Sarah J. Whitmore being united to him. She survives and resides in Alexander, South Dakota. Nelson J. Grummon was the only child by his fatherís first marriage. To the second three children were born: Sidney, who died near Cherry Valley; Lurana, who married Cyrus Ewing and died near Cherry Valley; and George, who is not a resident of Belvidere. There was no issue by the third marriage.

Nelson J. Grummon received his early education in the log school house in New York state and in the subscription schools of Boone county, Illinois. This education opportunity was of a limited character, but Mr. Grummon was naturally a student, and he has since remedied this deficiency by well-advised reading and culture. He remained under the parental roof until his twenty-second year, when he took unto himself a wife and farmed for two years on rented land in Boone county. On October 29, 1861, he and his wife and daughter started to drive through to Cerro Gordo county and on November 5 of that year they arrived at Geneseo township, locating on eighty acres of wild land which Mr. Grummon had purchased previous to their arrival. He soon after added to the prairie holdings ten acres of timber land. He thus had at hand material for a log house, which was erected and moved into by March 13, 1862. The snow was at that time three feet deep on a level and as the house was only "chinked" on the south side and the floor laid with common rough boards, it goes without saying that nobody was over-warm. The size of this house was fourteen by sixteen feet. The settlers were few and far between and there were but four families in Linn Grove which is no known as Rockwell. The prairie was practically uninhabited, the houses being built in the timber along the stream, and from eight to ten miles apart. The wolves were unpleasantly numerous and a few deer were occasionally to be encountered. Wild geese and ducks and prairie chickens were delicacies to be found upon the pioneerís table. What little trading Mr. Crummon [sic] did was at the little store in Mason City, kept by A. B. Tuttle. He had brought fifty cents worth of sugar along and this was made to last a long time. There were no tea and coffee. Grain was taken to Cedar Falls, Ackley and Waverly, fifty and fifty-five miles away, and four days were required for the trip. The family went eight to ten miles to covenant meeting, taking along a log chain with which to pull out the wagon when it became stuck in the mud.

After taking up his abode in his new log house, Mr. Grummon began to break his ground and put up fences. He also traded a portion of his original farm for the piece upon which his house now stands, this bringing his property to the road. It was sometime in the early Ď70s that he built his present residence. He has also built numerous barns and out-buildings and set out many trees. He was not afraid of hard work and privation and chopped wood nine hours a day and boarded himself for five shillings a day, thus saving sufficient money to pay his first taxes. He walked twelve miles to Mason City to make the payment. He was very active then as now and he consumed only five hours in making the round trip. He passed only one house on the way. In the spring after the removal of the family into the log house there was a stretch of three weeks when there was nothing to eat except the grain which was ground in the coffee mill. Those were the days of the tallow dipped candle and when there was any coffee molasses and sorghum were used to sweeten it. The mail was received once a week and was carried on foot from Mason City to Iowa Falls, by way of Owens Grove. Nearly all the houses in the locality were built of logs.

Mr. Grummon was married in Boone county, Illinois, October 23, 1859 to Miss Romelia Quackenboss, who had come to the county with her father when a child. She died February 20, 1888, and Mr. Grummon was a second time married, August 5, 1891, the lady to become his wife being Mrs. Mary M. Sherman. The first union was blessed by the birth of three children: Myrtie, born May 18, 1861, and died December 16, 1882; Charlie, born March 13, 1865, and died in Denver, Colorado, December 29, 1889; and William A., born June 2, 1868, now postmaster at Rockwell, editor of the Phonograph, and very active in Republican politics. Nelson J. Grummon, like his father before him, is a stalwart Republican and takes a keen interest in public events. He has been assessor for six years and several terms trustee. He and his wife have long been connected with the Baptist church, as well as the daughter who died. Mr. Grummon is the owner of ninety well-improved acres.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2014

 

 

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