James Rollins a well known farmer and stockman of East Boyer township, is the owner of three hundred and sixty-three acres of rich and productive land.
His birth occurred near Belfast, Ireland, on the 13th of July, 1834, his parents being William and Jane (White) Rollins, who spent their entire lives on the Emerald isle. The father, a farmer by occupation, was an elder in the Presbyterian church. Our subject is the only surviving member of a family of five children, the others being William G., Martha, John and Robert.
James Rollins was reared on the home farm and attended the public schools until twenty years of age. In 1854 he came to the United States on a sailing vessel and took up his abode near Pontiac, IlIinois, where he was engaged in general agricultural pursuits until 1862. In that year he enlisted for service in the Union army, joining Company M, First Illinois Light Artillery, and remaining with that command until honorably discharged at Chicago on the 24th of July, 1865. As a private he participated in the following engagements: Green River Bridge, Columbia, Campbellsville, Muldraugh's Hill, Lebanon, Franklin, Triune, Chattanooga, Ringgold, Pea Pine Creek, Chickamauga, Ringgold Gap, Stone Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Strawberry Plains, Loudon, Tiger Creek, Rockyface Ridge, Rockyface Gap, Resaca, Etowah River, Barrett's Mills, Euhalle River, Widow Jackson's, Coosa River, Adairsville, Kingston, New Hope Church, Pumpkin Vine Creek, Dallas, Ackworth, Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, Big Shanty, Kenesaw Mountain, Marietta, Chattahoochee River, Buckhead, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta (the battles of July 22d, July 28th and also the siege of that city), Stone Mountain, Jonesboro and Lovejoy.
After the last named skirmish Mr. Rollins did garrison duty until discharged. At Chickamauga his horse was shot from under him in the midst of battle but he always fortunately escaped injury and was never in a hospital during the entire period of his enlistment. He was under fire for one hundred and seventy-eight days and traveled three thousand one hundred and two miles.
When hostilities had ceased he came to Denison, Iowa, in August, 1865, and subsequently purchased his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres on sections 17 and 18, East Boyer township. The following year he began making improvements, first erecting a frame house, sixteen by twenty-two feet, which he later replaced by a fine residence which is still standing. He now owns three hundred and sixty-three acres of valuable land and in connection with the tilling of the soil devotes considerable attention to stock, breeding polled Durham cattle, Poland China hogs and also raising fine horses. In addition to his agricultural interests he acted as agent for the Kiron Insurance Company for four or five years. He is likewise interested in real estate at Denison and has long been numbered among the prosperous and representative citizens of Crawford county.
On the 7th of October, 1869, Mr. Rollins was united in marriage to Miss Emma Coleman, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a daughter of Spencer and Elizabeth (Crocker) Coleman. The father was likewise born in the Buckeye state, while the mother's birth occurred in Germany. Spencer Coleman, who was a shoemaker by trade, came to Iowa about 1870, locating near Cedar Rapids, where he turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits. Subsequently he purchased a farm in Missouri, making his home in that state until called to his final rest in 1895. He was twice married, his first wife passing away when their only child, Emma, was but two years of age.
For his second wife he chose Miss Malinda Carnes, by whom he had three children, as follows: Sarah, the wife of Wallace Carnes, of Missouri; Arthur, who is deceased; and Nettie, the wife of Alvin Colliss Senter, of Greene county, Iowa. Mrs. Malinda Coleman, the mother of the above children, died in 1897.
Unto our subject and his wife have been born eight children, namely: William C., who wedded Theresa Nyers, of Denison, Iowa, by whom he has one child, Lucille; one who died in infancy; Frank S., a cement contractor of Denison, Iowa; Jennie, at home; John, engaged in the real-estate business at Denison, who married Miss Susie McCutcheon, by whom he has two children, Leslie and Irene; Lizzie, the wife of William Robertson, a railroad man of Des Moines, by whom she has one child, James; James A., who wedded Kate Davis and is now a widower with two children, Ruby and Ruth; and Robert E., still at home.
Mr. Rollins is a republican in politics and has been called to fill a number of local offices. He has served in the capacity of township trustee, was also township clerk for two terms and acted as a school director for nine years. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Presbyterian church, to which his wife and children belong. He still maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in John A. Logan Post, G. A. R., and in days of peace has ever been as loyal to the interests of his adopted country as when he followed the old flag upon southern battlefields. He has now passed the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey and receives the respect which should ever be accorded one who has traveled thus far on this earthly pilgrimage and whose career has been at all times upright and honorable.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.