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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
Ruben Perkins, one of the well-to-do farmers of Fairfield Township, living on section 14, has been a resident of the county since 1851, covering a period of forty years. As he was then but seven years of age he has practically spent his entire life in this community. However, Iowa is the State of his nativity, his birth having occurred in Jackson County, September 28, 1840. His father, Calvin Perkins, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, where he remained until he had attained his majority, when he emigrated westward to Illinois going thence to Jackson County, where he entered land near Maquoketa. A short time afterwards he went to Missouri spending seven years in Monroe County and in June, 1851, became a resident of this county. He entered most of the land comprising section 14, Fairfield Township, and afterwards increased his possessions until he was owner of eleven hundred acres. Each year saw more of this tract under cultivation for Mr. Perkins was an industrious and energetic man and by his own efforts and the assistance of his sons much of the wild prairie was transformed into fertile fields. The little log cabin which he built is still standing, one of the few landmarks that remain to show the progress which has been made in the past forty years. He died May 28, 1884, and in his death the county lost one of its best citizens, a man noted for his progressive and enterprising spirit and the commendable interest which he took in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community. He was married in Jackson County about 1838, to Edith Scott, a native of Indiana, whose parents were early settlers of Jackson County. She died February 8, 1883, one year before the death of Mr. Perkins, Their eldest child, a boy, died in youth; Thankful, the second, is the wife of Killen Voshell, a resident farmer of Fairfield Township; Ruben is the next younger; John is a farmer of Washington; Sarah is deceased; Noah lives in the county; Warren lives in Washington; Phrania is the wife of N. Barnes of Brush Creek; Jane is a resident of West Union; Philip is located in Washington; and Leander is engaged in agricultural pursuits in Fairfield Township.
We now take up the personal history of our subject who in his youth received but limited school privileges yet he has made himself a well-informed man by reading and study in leisure hours. He was reared to farm life and also learned surveying. At the age of twenty-two he began working for himself and in July, 1869*, was joined in wedlock with Sarah Henseley, a representative of one of the oldest families in the county. Her brother Dan was the first white child born in Fayette County, and a sketch of the family is given elsewhere in this work. Mrs. Perkins was born in Fayette County, and died on the 5th of September, 1884, leaving eight children - Caroline, born July 20, 1866*, is the wife of Mr. Waltenbaugh living near Wadena; Emma, born May 21, 1868*, is now deceased. Andrew, born January 23, 1870; Warren H., January 9, 1872; Clinton, July 1, 1874; Elizabeth, November 9, 1876; Minnie, July 16, 1878; and Cordelia.
When Mr. Perkins began farming for himself he operated forty acres of land which his father had deeded him he was nine years of age. His farm now comprises three hundred and sixty acres and his residence is a fine brick dwelling conveniently arranged and tastefully furnished. In connection with the growing of those products which are adapted to our soil and climate, he raises Poland China hogs and Durham cattle, and in this branch of his business has been quite successful, so much so that he is now numbered among the substantial citizens of the community. He proudly cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and was a Republican until the rise of the Greenback party. Later he voted with the Democracy, but is now convinced that the Republican party is based upon true principles of government and gives it his hearty endorsement and support on election days. The hardships and privations of pioneer life were not unknown to Mr. Perkins; he overcame as far as possible all disadvantages of his youth and earlier years, and steadily worked his way upward, gaining the commendation of friends and acquaintances.
*These are the dates as written in the biography.
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