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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Nathan R. Proctor
Nathan R. Proctor, deceased, was born in Athens, Ames County, Ohio, July 24, 1820, and gave up his life in defense of his country in 1863. His father, Henry Proctor, a native of Massachusetts, was reared to manhood on his father's farm and in his native State married Miss Electa Rice. They emigrated to Ohio, locating in Summit County, where they resided until 1854. In the meantime the wife had died. That year Henry Proctor accompanied his son Nathan to Iowa, and with him made his home until his death, which occurred October 20, 1863. His remains were laid to rest in Dunham Grove Cemetery. In politics he was a Whig and afterward a Republican and by those who knew him Mr. Proctor was highly respected.
In the usual manner of farmer lads our subject was reared to manhood, spending his days at work upon the homestead or in attendance at the district school. In Summit County, Ohio, about 1845 he was united in marriage with Miss Lucy A. Perkins, who was born in that State. Their union was blessed with two children - Electa (Mrs. Bratt) of Center Township; and Daniel, whom we will mention later on in this sketch. Mrs. Proctor died in Summit County, in 1850 and December 2, of the same year Mr. Proctor wedded Miss Susan Collins who was born in Portage County, Ohio, and is a daughter of William and Phoebe Collins, natives of Connecticut. Thinking to better his financial condition our subject came with his family to Iowa, making the journey by team and settled on section 18, Westfield Township, Fayette County, where his widow and son now reside. He purchased eighty acres of prairie land and eighty acres of timber land from the Government, and in a log cabin they began life in the West. He was a good business man, industrious and energetic and soon had his farm under cultivation. About this time events arose which caused him to leave peaceful pursuits.
The war was in progress and on the 15th of August, 1862, Mr. Proctor enlisted in the Thirty-Eighth Iowa Infantry and was assigned to Company G. He spent the first winter in camp at New Madrid, and then took part in the long siege against Vicksburg, after which the regiment went into camp at New Orleans, where from the effects of disease and hardship, Mr. Proctor died on the 2nd of September, 1863. In speaking of the Thirty-Eighth Iowa Infantry, it was said 'The regiment left New Madrid, June 7, 1863, strong healthy men. They had spent the winter watching Marmaduke and in light camp duty, having plenty of good food but no toughening service. They entered the siege of Vicksburg in the heat of summer on the extreme left of the investing line with a high cliff on the east and a timbered bayou on the west only a few rods away. The picket line was stationed on muddy, malarious ground where water had recently stood twelve feet deep. They had warm, milky looking water to drink and nothing to eat but army rations. They did heavy picket duty and fatiguing work day and night, constructing forts, rifle pits and batteries. Those off duty were often called into line during a night to repel apprehended attacks from the rebels. The bluff reflected the awful heat of the sun upon the camp during the day and it and the timber shut out all breeze while the weary and fainting soldiers were kept from sleep and rest by myriads of insects.' All this was more than human flesh and blood could bear. When the city surrendered, attention which held the men to their duty relaxed, and disease swept through and prostrated the regiment. They went into convalescent camp at Carrollton, La., above New Orleans, August 16, and there Mr. Proctor died. Before the regiment was in service two years it lost by disease several officers and more than three hundred enlisted men, while over a hundred more were discharged on account of disability brought on by their hardships. It certainly did all it could for its country, giving its men freely and truer bravery could not have been found. Mr. Proctor, who upon the altar of his country laid down his life, was a man of strong convictions and upright character who won the respect of all with whom he came in contact.
Daniel Proctor, the only surviving son of the gentleman mentioned above, was a lad of fifteen years at the time of his father's death when the management of the farm fell on him. It was not an easy task for so young a boy but the lad had been reared to hard work and nobly discharged the duties devolving upon him. His education was limited, as at first there was no school in this neighborhood. His entire life, since coming to the county has been spent upon the one farm which now comprises one hundred and twenty acres of good land well cultivated and improved.
In 1873, Mr. Proctor was joined in wedlock with Miss Mary McFadden, who at the age of three years came to this county with her parents who are now living near Randalia. By their union have been born six children, two sons and four daughters - Lucy E., Lilly M., Katie E., Charles R., Myrtle I. and Henry E., all of whom were born on the old homestead.
Mr. Proctor has been a resident of Fayette County since 1854 and as a loyal citizen has faithfully borne his share in its upbuilding, development and progress. Its pioneer experiences are not unfamiliar to him. When a lad of eleven years he used to haul wheat to McGregor and in winter it required three days to make the trip. He cast his first Presidential vote for U. S. Grant and has since been a Republican and a warm advocate of the party principles. He has frequently attended the county conventions where he was an influential member but never sought political preferment for himself. He is a good business man, a substantial farmer and one in whom the people place their confidence and respect
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