Pgs 466-467 

Col. R.B. Wyckoff, a retired farmer of Lyons and one of its most prominent and highly respected citizens, is a native of Delaware County, NY and was born Oct. 28, 1815.  He is the son of John W. and Catherine (Benjamin) Wyckoff, natives of New Jersey and New York, respectively.  His father was a mason by occupation and died in Green County, NY, Nov. 26, 1875, and his mother in Delaware county, NY, Feb. 14, 1819.  They had reared a family of six children, five of who survive to the present day. {written in year 1886}  Roxanna, Alice, Betsy M., Richard B. and John B.   Hiram B. Wyckoff  died at the age of sixty-six years. 

The subject of this personal history remained at home until he was eleven years of age, when he went to live in the home of a farmer where he remained three years.  He then left him and was apprenticed to learn the mason's trade, at which he labored for some years.  He came to Michigan in 1835, and followed his trade there until 1838, and then decided to emigrate still farther west, and taking a team, he went overland to the then Territory of Iowa, crossing the Mississippi at Sabula into Jackson county and locating in Van Buren Township.  Taking up a claim of 240 acres of Prairie and timber land, he built a log house 16x18, with puncheon floor and a shake roof.  As he was truly a pioneer, all sorts of inconveniences and hardships which frequently approximated to the suffering, were his.  He was obliged to do without tea or coffee for six months, and in the cold winter days while splitting rails he carried only corn cakes for his dinner.  To eat them he was obliged to thaw them with his breath as they were frozen.  He, however, continued his work cheerfully, and with noteworthy and commendable perseverance, remained on his farm, working and improving it until forty years had elapsed.  during the passage of these decades many important events transpired.  A residence of which anyone might well be proud,  was erected as well as a neat and handsome barn and outbuildings.  He retired from active labor in 1878, and came to Lyons and settled on the corner of Washington and Prospect streets, where he bought three lots on one of which is a handsome dwelling.  

In 1836 Col. Wyckoff deserted the ranks of bachelorhood, abdicating in favor of Miss Esther Jones, a native of Vermont.  They now have a family of seven children, four of whom are living, as follows:  Charles, who is married to Mary Wyckoff and is the father of seven children- Theodore, Elizabeth, Joseph H., Charles E., Samuel C., Charlotte and John E.:  George married Margaret Smith and they have four children - George J., Clara B.,  Alice M.,  and Clara.    Albert married Phebe A. Prusia and their family consists of Bertie E., Nora D., Clarence E. and Bobbie E.:  Richard is the youngest child of Col. Wyckoff's family. Those children deceased of Col. Wyckoff's are as follows:  James J., married Mary Knowles, they had one child - -James B.  After her (Mary Knowles) death he (James J.) married Clara Chamberlain and they had a daughter Mirtie.  James J. died Dec. 14, 1871;  Adelia Wyckoff became the wife of John Weed; she died June 18, 1879  Mary J. Wyckoff married Joseph Cobb.  He was killed during the war (Civil War) south of Atlanta.  She subsequently married J.W. Latta, by whom she had two sons; she died Oct. 8. 1878  Col. Wyckoff lost his wife by death April 30, 1856, in Iowa.  She was a true and devoted wife and a tender, loving mother and both husband and children were bereaved in her loss.  His second matrimonial alliance was with Mrs. Charlotte Purssell nee Traver.  Her husband, Jesse Purssell, was killed near De Witt, in what was know as the Comanche tornado, June 3, 1860.  They were married Feb. 7, 1867.  She was born Sept. 17, 1823. 

Col. Wyckoff in politics is a Democrat and had been a member of the City Council twice.  He was also a delegate to Iowa City for the formation of the first State Constitution and was a member of 1st Iowa Legislature in 1850-51.  He is a man of high mental attainments, strong purpose, is well read and may be considered among the solid and substantial men of his county.  No person had ever been turn away hungry from his door.  He dispenses Charity liberally and with that noble spirit which does not "let his right hand know what his left hand doeth."  Any section of country may be proud to include within its borders a man of such high principle and integrity as our subject.  He has held the office of Probate Judge and also that of County Treasurer, collector and Recorder.  These offices were held in Jackson county During his residence there.  This was from 1857 to January, 1862.  He is liberal and broad in his religious beliefs and true to every good principle.

(transcribed by A. Warnick, July 2000) 


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