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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


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

March 1891


~Page 521~


Brinson W. Slocum

Brinson W. Slocum, deceased, the subject of this sketch, was born November 18, 1809, in Saratoga County, N. Y. He was the seventh in a family of nine children born to John and Nancy (Fenner) Slocum, both of whom were natives of Rhode Island and both born in 1767. The parental family comprised the following children: John, William, Johannah, Ruth, Sarah F., Phoebe, Brinson W., Nancy and Lydia Ann.


When nineteen years of age the subject of this sketch removed with his parents to Erie County, N. Y., then called the West, where he bought a farm of sixty acres of heavy timber. He paid but a small portion of the price at the time, and went to work to make a home for his parents, who were then in poor health. His father was a blacksmith but was unable to do any labor. Providing for a family while he was clearing the heavy timber from the land and preparing a few acres only for a crop, was no small task for a young man of his age. After ten years of hard work, and still not being able to pay the purchase price, he sold this farm for but a trifle more than the balance still due. In October, 1839, our subject was married to Anna W. Holbrook, who was also born in Saratoga County, N. Y., March 20, 1812, a daughter of John and Susannah (Wasson) Holbrook, natives of Connecticut, and of English origin. Grandfather Wasson served seven years in the War of the Revolution.


In 1844 our subject removed from New York to Lake County, Ill., traveling the whole distance by teams. When they reached the Prairie State, as it was then called, they thought it would not be much of a task to make a home there. He purchased forty acres of prairie and ten acres of timber, and went to work with a will and soon had a comfortable log house, and commenced to break the virgin prairie soil. Here they endured many privations and hardships, as they were among the early pioneers of that part of the State. In the winter our subject would take an ax and go twenty miles to the Desplaines River and cut cordwood for twenty-five cents per cord, and so earn the necessaries for the family. Through all these hardships he maintained a cheerful and hopeful disposition, with strong faith in a loving Father's care. He took part in the organization of Zurich Precinct, the first voting precinct in Lake County. After the township organization he took an active part in the school district work and was one of the first Township Trustees, and also a Township Collector. In 1854 Mr. Slocum sold his farm in Illinois and removed to Fayette County, Iowa, settling on section 31, in Auburn Township, where he purchased a farm of two hundred and seventy acres. To this he added from time to time until he had a farm of over five hundred acres of valuable land. He was a hard-working, industrious and progressive farmer.


Mr. and Mrs. Slocum had a family of four children: Susan M., now the wife of P. R. Ketchum, a farmer in this county; Nancy F., the wife of R. A. Barr, now resides at Britt, Iowa, engaged in the hotel business; Lemuel W.*, single, and a resident of Hawkeye, Iowa; Mary J., now Mrs. J. M. Shaw, a farmer at Rock Valley, Sioux County, Iowa. Mrs. Slocum was a very devoted wife and mother. Though possessed of delicate health, she always aided and encouraged her husband, who, in turn, always endeavored to make her every care and labor as light as possible. Many of the early settlers of the northern part of the county were indebted to them for their hospitality. After traveling happily together for over forty years of married life, the wife and mother was called to her reward on the 22d of March, 1880, in the sixty-eighth year of her age. Mr. Slocum was a very affectionate husband and father, and always took an active part in everything that would benefit his fellow-men. Politically, he affiliated with the Republican party and was an active worker for its success. Religiously, he was a member of the Universalist Church at West Union. He possessed all the attributes of a true Christian character. Those who knew him best loved him most, and none ever doubted his Christian integrity. Though his early education was limited his general information was far above the average. His death occurred November 5, 1886, after a long and painful illness, which he endured with patient resignation. He gained prosperity by proving himself worthy of it, and his success in life is a grand indication of what can be gained by industry, integrity and perseverance.


(*Lemuel W. has an 1878 biography posted on the biography board.)




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