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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Joshua Landis

Pioneer and Feed Mill Operator

Colesburg and Greeley



      JOSHUA LANDIS was born in Fayette county, Pa., July 18, 1820.  He is a son of Jacob and Rachel (Gosnell) Landis, natives of Maryland.  They settled in Fayette county, Pa., in colonial days when the Indians yet inhabited that country.  Jacob was a miller by trade and for years owned and run a mill in Fayette county, Pa.  In 1841 he and his family came to Delaware county, Iowa, and settled on government land two and one half miles east of Colesburg in Colony township, Delaware county. He still resides on the same place. He has reached his ninety-second year. He has followed farming since coming to Iowa.  His wife died in 1877 well advanced in years. Our subject's paternal grandparents were of German descent and came from the vicinity of Baltimore, Md., and died in Fayette county, Pa. The maternal grandparents were of Irish extraction, and died in Fayette county, Pa. Our subject's parents had four children, he being the eldest. He was raised in Fayette county, Pa., and received a common school education. He worked in a mill with his father in Pennsylvania learning the miller's trade. He came to Iowa in 1844 and sought such employment as he could find for several years. There were only four families living in what is now Colony township, Delaware county, when he settled there. He helped build a mill at Dyersville, in an early day. He afterwards run a mill at Colesburg the first season it run. He lived in the vicinity of Colesburg until 1888 and then came to Greeley where he has since been running a feed mill. He went through all the struggles of a pioneer life and knows what hardships of that kind of a life are.


     May 29, 1851, he married Miss Lydia Shaw, of Jeffersville, Clayton county Iowa. She was born in Illinois, February 16, 1834, and is a daughter of Samuel and Nancy (Becker) Shaw, natives of New York State, and of English and German descent. They were married in New York State, and moved from there to Illinois, and in 1837 came to Dubuque county, Iowa, and settled on Maquoketa river when the Indians were there, and about 1850 moved to Turkey river, in Clayton county, Iowa, where both died; the father at the age of fifty-three, and the mother at the age of fifty-seven. He was a mechanic, following chair an wheel-making most of his life. They had eleven children, Mrs. Landis being the fourth child.


     Our subject and wife have had five children born to them, as follows:  Melissa J., wife of Henry Ray, farmer and mechanic, of Clayton county Iowa; Nancy, wife of Nathan Griffith of Greeley; Abraham, a carpenter, in Greeley; Jacob, residing at Colesburg; Isaac R., of Dakota.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 579-580; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson