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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory


H. R. Pilgrim


Elk Twp.


     Through many years H. R. Pilgrim was numbered among the well known and highly respected farmers of Elk township, where he passed away on the 17th of July, 1910. His birth occurred near London, England, on the 21st of September, 1831. His father died in that country.
     H. R. Pilgrim was reared in England to the age of twenty one years, when he resolved to come to America, attracted by the favorable reports which he heard concerning business conditions in the new world. Accordingly he crossed the Atlantic in 1852 and made his way to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was employed in a greenhouse for several years. Later he made his way to this county, arriving in the latter part of the '50s. He invested his capital in one hundred and forty four acres of land on section 16, Elk township, and with characteristic energy began the further development and improvement of his place. As the years went on his labors wrought a marked transform ation in the appearance of the farm. He added many modern equipments and accessories and his farm presented a most neat and thrifty appearance. Fences and buildings were kept in good repair and the work of the fields was carefully and systematically managed, so that as the years went on he gathered good harvests, while the sale of his crops enabled him to add annually to his bank account.
     In 1860 Mr. Pilgrim was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Gibbs, who was born in the state of New York, August 18, 1841, a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Bunns) Gibbs, both of whom were natives of England and in early life came to America, eventually making their way to this county, where they arrived in 1851. The work of progress and development seemed scarcely begun here at that time and they cast in their lot with the pioneer settlers. There was still much land that was in possession of the government which in the summer was covered with the native prairie grasses, dotted with a million wild flowers, while in the winter seasons the deep snow oft times rendered the roads impassable. Mr. Gibbs entered three hundred and twenty acres of land near Earlville and at once began the develop ment of a farm, his labors resulting in transforming the wild prairie into productive fields. Upon that place both he and his wife passed away. Mrs. Pilgrim was one of their family of thirteen children, and by her marriage she has become the mother of eight children, as follows: E. H., who is a resident of Manchester, Iowa; J. M., living in Loui­siana; George and Albert W., who make their home in Edgewood, Iowa; Sarah, who gave her hand in marriage to Joseph Airhart, of Delaware county, Iowa; Rose A., the wife of Charles Rizer; and two who are deceased. The family circle was again broken by the hand of death when on the 17th of July, 1910, Mr. Pilgrim passed away, the family being thus deprived of a devoted husband and father. His remains were interred in Grandview cemetery at Greeley and a widow and six children were left to mourn his loss. Mrs. Pilgrim still resides upon the old home place of one hundred and forty acres and personally superintends her business affairs.
     In his political views Mr. Pilgrim was an earnest republican from the time that he became a naturalized American citizen, and he always kept well informed on the questions and issues of the day. For some years he served as a school director and was a stalwart champion of the cause of public education. His life was in harmony with his professions as a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and he always took an active and helpful interest in church work, doing all in his power to advance the moral progress of the community. He never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the new world, for here he found the opportunities which he sought and in their improvement worked his way steadily upward to success.


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 348-449.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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