IAGenWeb logo

Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

John Uriah Rector

Farmer, Banker




    John Uriah Rector, who died April 3, 1911, was one of the most successful farmers of Oneida township, owning a fine property of four hundred and ninety-five acres. He was also vice president of the Security Savings Bank of Greeley and vice president of the State Savings Bank of Oneida and held a number of local political offices, discharging to the full all of the obligations which devolved upon him in every relation of life. He was a man of unusual fineness of spirit and his upright life commanded the respect of all.

     Mr. Rector was born at South Bend, Indiana, December 13, 1849, a son of Andrew J. and Elizabeth (Waldsmith) Rector, who were natives of South Carolina and Indiana respectively. They came to Delaware county and located upon a farm in Oneida township. Andrew J. Rector made government entry on land north of Earlville in Oneida township in 1849 and in 1851 a log cabin was built on this land, it being in this cabin that the election was held in 1856, which resulted in the organization of Oneida township.

      Much of the youth of John U. Rector was passed in this county amid pioneer conditions. His father and mother believed thoroughly in the advantages of a good education and not only saw that their son regularly attended the schools in the  neighborhood but sent him to Lenox College at Hopkinton. After leaving  school he first taught for a while but decided that he preferred farming as a life work and accordingly took up his residence upon a farm in Oneida township which remained his home for almost forty years.  He was diligent in business and as he was thoroughly progressive and always willing to utilize any new dis­coveries or methods that promised to make his labors as a

farmer more efficient he harvested annually abundant crops which commanded high prices upon the market. He was an excellent farmer and a man of unusually good business judg­ment and the gratifying success which came to him was but the merited reward of his good management and industry.  He attained more than a competence and was connected with the broader financial life of his locality as vice president of the Security Savings Bank of Greeley and vice president of the State Savings Bank of Oneida,  both  of which  institutions are prosperous and  thoroughly reliable.
      Mr. Rector was married on the 25th of March, 1880, to Miss Josephine Swinburne, a native of this county, born March 28, 1861. Her parents, John and Sarah  (Burley) Swinburne, were both natives of England and came to this country in 1852, first locating in Joliet, Illinois, where they remained for three years, after which they came to this county. Her father died here on the 3d of January, 1886, but her mother is still living at the advanced age of eighty-seven years and makes her home at Humboldt, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Rector became the parents of three children, Eva, John U. and Andrew J. They took great pleasure in the training and education of their children, who have repaid their devotion by filial love and the leading of useful, upright lives. Eva attended the Manchester high school and graduated from Bayless Business College in Dubuque. She taught music for a time and later was a stenographer for one year. She was married May 14, 1913, to Philip M. Cloud of Earlville and has a little daughter, Lois Maxine. John, a graduate of the Manchester high school and also of the Ames Agricultural College, is engaged in the operation of the home farm, as is also Andrew J., who was likewise graduated from the Manchester high school and attended Ames Agricultural College for two years. Andrew J. was married September 9, 1914, to Miss Vera Lenor Beckwith of Greeley. The brothers carry on general farming and are recognized as progressive and successful agriculturists. The Rector homestead is a splendid farm of four hundred and ninety-five acres in Oneida township and all of the improvements have been made by the family. Many trees have been planted upon the place and these add greatly to its attractiveness.
      John U. Rector attended the Methodist church for many years and was a trustee of the same, delighting in doing anything within his power to further the cause of Christianity. He was an active republican in political belief and was honored by election to a number of offices of trust in his township. For years he was committeeman from Oneida township. Fraternally he was a member of the Masonic order and found much pleasure in meeting with his brothers in the craft. His last sickness was of short duration and on April 3, 1911, he set out upon that journey which eventually everyone must take "on that dark and unknown sea which rolls around all the world”. His was a life which made for righteousness both of word and deed. Not only was he scrupu­lously just and honorable in all of his dealings with his fellowmen but he was kind and generous as well and many of the younger generation especially bear witness to the genuineness and helpfulness of his friendship. He was above all sincere and unostentatious, hating intensely all affectation and display. His qualities of upright manhood won him the respect of all and the goodwill which he left for his fellowmen and his unfailing cheerfulness made him beloved by many. His demise was widely and deeply mourned and the memory of his life remains as a priceless heritage to those who were privileged to know him intimately.


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II.

The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 38 - 41.

               Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.