IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Benjamin W. James

Benjamin W. James is successfully established as a manufacturer and dealer in the best grade of cemetery monuments of granite and marble and in this line of enterprise is the worthy successor of his honored father; who was one of its pioneer exponents in Clayton county. Mr. James has well equipped business quarters in the thriving city of Guttenberg, and is one of the representative business men and popular and influential citizens of his county.

Mr. James was born in Millville township, this county, on the 20th of June, 1863, and is a son of Charles and Amelia (Greybill) James, the former of whom was born in Dillon, Staffordshire, England, August 17, 1826, and the latter of whom was born at Richfield, Pennsylvania, October 4, 1834, coming with her parents, Thomas and Amelia (Womer) Greybill to Guttenberg on May 2, 1842.

Charles James, the father of the subject of this sketch, was but four years of age at the time of the family immigration to America in 1830, and his father, Thomas James, first established the family home in the state of New York. Later he resided at Massillon, Ohio, and at Janesville, Wisconsin. He met his death as the result of a ship wreck in Thunder Bay on Lake Huron, dying as the result of the exposure. For many years prior to leaving England he was employed as a mechanic in work on Windsor Castle. Charles James acquired his early education in the schools of New York and Ohio, and at Cleveland he served a thorough apprenticeship to the trade of marble and granite cutting, in which he became a skilled artisan. After leaving the Buckeye state he resided for some time at Galena, Illinois, and was engaged as traveling representative of the R. L. Rosevro Monument Company, now of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1862 he came with his family to Clayton county, Iowa, and established his residence in Millville township, where he became the owner of a small farm and where also he continued actively engaged in the granite business for many years, many fine specimens of his handiwork being found in the various cemeteries of Clayton county at the present day. He died at his old home in Millville township on the 17th of August, 1896, a sterling and honored citizen of the county that had represented his home for more than thirty years. He was a stalwart advocate of the principles of the Republican party, and was a zealous member of the United Brethren church, as is also his venerable widow, who now maintains her home in the city of Waterloo, this state.

Of the children, the subject of this review is the eldest; Ada is the wife of Louis Wentworth, a wholesale lumber dealer and contractor, of Omaha, Nebraska; Hannah is the widow of Caleb Kenyon, and in her home at Waterloo she has the companionship of her loved mother; William is a substantial farmer of Millville township; and Dwight and Esther are deceased. After having duly profited by the advantages of the public schools of his native county, Benjamin W. James gained a higher course of academic discipline by attending Leander Clark College, at Toledo, Iowa.

Under the effective direction of his father he gained thorough knowledge of the trade of granite and marble cutting, and he has been successfully established in the monument business and northwest land investment at Guttenberg since 1895, the high grade of his work and the effective service given, having combined to make him one,of the leading exponents of this line of business in Clayton
county, where he has ever held impregnable vantage place in popular confidence and esteem. The Republican party has the unswerving allegiance of Mr. James, and though he is loyal and public-spirited as a citizen he has never been troubled by aught of ambitian far palitical office. He is the owner of an attractive home property at Guttenberg, besides his place af business and a tract af valuable land in La Maure and Stutsman counties, North Dakota. He is affiliated with the local lodge af the Independent Order af Odd Fellows and he and his wife are zealaus and official members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Guttenberg.

On the 8th of October, 1894, was solemnized the marriage af Mr. James to Miss Minnie B. McCrum, daughter of Thomas and Martha McCrum, of Earlville, this state, and they have two sons - Paul G., who. was born March 20, 1897, is at present superintendent of the Consolidated Schools at Fertile, Iowa, and Dwight, who.o was born February 21, 1904.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; pg 194-196
-submitted by S. Ferrall


Return to 1916 Biographies Index