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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1158~


Joseph S. Bisbing


The family of this name were long settled in Pennsylvania and the earlier members were identified with the development of the Keystone state in the days when savage warfare was common on the border. They were laboring men or small farmers and tradesmen, but wherever found the Bisbings bore a good name and were regarded as good citizens. Jacob Bisbing, paternal grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was an important man in his day, and during his residence of many years in Pennsylvania was regarded as a man of strong character. He left a son named Peter, who also was a man among men, who led an industrious, hardworking life, made many friends and always did his part when anything was to be done for the benefit of the community. The later generation of Bisbings could tell interesting stories descended from their ancestors of the settlement of eastern Pennsylvania and the stirring incidents which accompanied the movement. The older ancestors went as far back as "Braddock’s Defeat" and could remember Logan, the Mingo chief, whose pathetic speech to the white men has always been regarded as an unequaled specimen of Indian oratory. Peter S. Bisbing married Mary Magdaline Barry, one of his Pennsylvania neighbors, and reared nine children, six sons and three daughters. One of his sons enlisted in the Union army during the Civil war and died of typhoid fever during his service. Peter was a farmer in a small way, but he always managed to make the ends meet and he trained his children to habits of industry. He passed away long ago, after a worthy and unobtrusive life, which left a good example to his children.


Joseph S. Bisbing, one of the nine children above mentioned, was born in northeastern Pennsylvania, January 5, 1856. Such education as he got was obtained in the neighborhood school in his native state, which he attended only for brief seasons in winter, as it was necessary for him to help with the farm work during the summers. He grew up a strong boy, well acquainted with work, and when the time came for him to branch out for himself he was equal to the emergency. As a young man, being without a trade, he turned his attention to various kinds of jobs, such as he could get to do in his neighborhood. He was active, industrious, a willing worker and found no difficulty in keeping employed. In March 1879, he determined to seek better opportunities in the growing West and directed his route to the great state of Iowa, which offered special inducements to farmers. Going directly to Fayette county, he located in Dover township, where he remained two years. Hearing much of North Dakota, he determined to test that field, but after spending one summer there decided to return to Iowa, as a state better suited to his purposes. On January 1, 1883, he removed to Clermont township and has ever since been a resident of that community. He engaged in farming, met with success and at the present time owns two hundred and forty acres of productive land. He has greatly improved his place by the erection of suitable buildings and adding other features calculated to afford beauty and comfort. It is at present one of the model farms of Clermont township and managed in such a way as to bring the highest degree of profit. All his life Mr. Bisbing has been a lover of fine stock and it was his desire to possess some of the choice animals which he saw roaming over the fine farms of Iowa. It has been his good fortune to see this ambition realized and any one who visits his place will find a lot of thoroughbreds of the best quality. There are Shorthorn cattle of the choicest pedigreed stock, which are kept sleek and fat by Mr. Bisbing’s skillful feeding. A fine herd of Poland-China hogs are also to be seen constantly in the meadow and pens and from this valuable swine comes much of the farm revenue. In horses Mr. Bisbing rather leans to the Percherons and keeps a number of these on hand all the time.


In March 1880, Mr. Bisbing married Ida. A., daughter of P. L. Rowland, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this volume, and who are members of one of the oldest and best known families in the county. They have three children, Jennie E., Harry L. and Victor H. Mr. Bisbing is a Republican, a member of the board of trustees and with his family is affiliated with the Evangelical church.



~transcribed by Nancy Schroder


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