Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Jerome S. Melton

Looking back over a long and active career, beginning as a soldier in the Union army when seventeen years of age and extending through thirty years of arduous work as a bricklayer, Jerome S. Melton has many interesting subjects for thought. It has been with him a principle to do to the best of his ability whatsoever he has attempted, and as a result he is now enabled to live retired in a pleasant home, which is the fruits of labors of former years.

He was born in Scott county, Iowa, June 18, 1847, a son of Preston and Zerna (McDonald) Melton, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Indiana. The father was by trade a brickmaker. In his young manhood he removed to Indiana, where he was married and lived for several years near Greencastle. About 1842 he came to Iowa and took up his home in Scott county, where he followed his trade. In 1857, however, he again made a change of residence, settling in Brown county, Kansas. He departed this life in 1860, being then sixty years of age, and his wife passed away at the age of seventy years. She and her husband were both consistent members of the Methodist church and were highly respected by all who knew them.

Clifton Melton. the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a farmer of Kentucky and had four sons: Preston, Clifton, Nehemiah and Sydney. The maternal grandparents were natives of Canada. There were seven children in the family of Preston and Zerna Melton, namely: John F.; Sidney; Philip; Sarah, who became the wife of William Gray; Hannah, now deceased; Zura, who married William Effingham; and Jerome S., the subject of this review.

Jerome S. Melton was reared principally in Scott county, Iowa, and possessed advantages of education in the district schools. He spent three years in Kansas but returned to Scott county, where he worked for a month on a fann. In 1864, being then seventeen years of age, he responded to the call for soldiers and enlisted in Company A. Fourteenth Missouri Cavalry, serving for two years principally against the Indians. The records indicate that he was one of the faithful men of his company and in times of danger faced the bullets of the enemy without flinching. Although having many narrow escapes he passed through unscathed. After receiving his honorable discharge he returned to Scott county and engaged for two years in farming, then taking up bricklaying. which he followed almost without interruption for thirty years, making his home in Denison from 1876. He has lived retired since 1908.

On the 1st of August, 1868, Mr. Melton was united in marriage to Miss Susan A. Smith, a daughter of Alexander and Catharine Smith, and a native of Davenport, Iowa. Her father was a native of Virginia and her mother of Indiana. After living for some time in this state they removed to the state of Washington, where they continued until their deaths. Six children of their family grew to maturity: John, Jacob, James, May, Catharine and Susan.

Mr. and Mrs. Melton are the parents of eleven children, two of whom died in infancy, the others being: William; Alexander; Jessie, who married John Liggitt, of Deadwood, South Dakota; Cora. who married George Bailey, of San Francisco, California; James; and Price, Zura, Lilly, and Katie, all four of whom are deceased.

Mr. Melton is a valued member of John A. Logan Post, G. A. R., and politically, gives his support to the republican party. He has never sought the honors or emoluments of office but many years ago served as constable. He and his wife are consistent members of the Methodist church. He is a man of kindly disposition and his generous nature has awakened a response in the hearts of many who are his warm personal friends. Nobly has he performed his part in the development of Denison, many of the finest and most substantial buildings of the city standing as visible evidences of his handiwork, He has always had great faith in the growth of the city and his faith in its future is even brighter than ever before.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.