IAGenWeb Join Our Team

This page was last

updated on 11/23/2011


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 654~


John Burns Lindsay


This old and esteemed citizen of Fayette county is a native of Scotland and a son of Alexander and Jane (Burns) Lindsay, who came to the United States in 1851 and settled in Illinois, removing then in 1854 to Fayette county, Iowa, locating on a farm two miles northeast of Waucoma, in Eden township, where they spent the remainder of their days, the mother dying in 1862, the father in 1867, both having reached the age of sixty-five years. By occupation Alexander Lindsay was originally a soap maker, but after coming to this country he turned his attention to agriculture, and followed the same until called hence. He paid four hundred dollars for his eighty-acre farm in Eden township, and later, with his two sons, bought one hundred and twenty additional acres at seven dollars per acre, this land at the time of his death being conservatively valued at twenty dollars per acre. In early life he was a Presbyterian in his religious belief, but became a Congregationalist and as such was an active and influential member of the church of that denomination in Waucoma. Alexander and Jane Lindsay were the parents of nine children, all born in Scotland and but two now living. Thomas, the oldest of the family, was accidentally killed in a saw-mill which he was operating, being about thirty years old at the time. Lillie married Andrew Tait, and has one daughter, Mrs. Husband, living in Fayette County. Christina, who became the wife of James Scott, remained in Scotland, where her death occurred some years ago. Jane died in childhood. John B., of this review, is the next in order of birth. Alexander, who owned a farm near the family homestead, died about the year 1880; his widow, Margaret (nee Murray) Lindsay, went to Texas some years ago and is now a resident of Houston, that state. Margaret, wife of Ed Munby, died fourteen years ago in the county. William, who succeeded to the old homestead, died on the same and his daughter now owns and operates the farm. Robert A., the youngest of the family and the only one besides the subject now living, was an early merchant of McGregor, but for some years past has made his home in the city of Waterloo.

John Burns Lindsay was born June 15, 1830, in Lancashire, Scotland, and in 1851 accompanied his parents to the United States, spending the three years ensuing in Illinois. In 1854 he came to Fayette county, Iowa, and purchased an eighty-acre tract in Eden township adjoining his father's farm, the land consisting of timer and prairie, for which he paid the sum of seven dollars per acre. Shortly after making the above purchase he hired by the month to team for M. B. Early & Company, of Asbury, who at that time were engaged in freighting goods from Dubuque and other river towns to various inland points, the distance from the former city being one hundred miles from McGregor, and Prairie du Chien, about fifty miles. He drove a large four-horse wagon, which was loaded with grain or produce on the eastern trip and with various kinds of merchandise on the return trip. The firm employed quite a number of men and teams, doing for many years the largest business in the eastern part of the state. Mr. Lindsay devoted about five years to this kind of labor, receiving twenty-six dollars per month, which, carefully saved, enabled him to stock his farm, make the needed improvements and otherwise prepare for his subsequent career as an enterprising and successful tiller of the soil.

Severing his connection with his employers in 1862, Mr. Lindsay was married in that year to Jane MURRAY, sister of Margaret Murray, the occasion being a double ceremony, in which the latter was also united in matrimony. Mrs. Lindsay's parents, William and Margaret (Orr) Murray, were natives of Scotland, but many years ago emigrated to Canada, where their daughter Jane was born. Subsequently, sometime in the fifties, the family moved to Fayette county, Iowa, where Mr. and Mrs. Murray spent the remainder of their lives.

Immediately after his marriage Mr. Lindsay set up his domestic establishment on the land which he had formerly purchased and in due time had the greater part of his farm in a good state of cultivation and otherwise improved. The original dwelling has since been remodeled and made into a very comfortable and commodious modern residence, and additions have been made to the farm until it now contains one hundred and ninety-five acres of fine land. In many respects the farm is a model, the improvements of all kinds being first-class and in excellent repair, the soil cultivated to its full capacity, and the condition of everything on the premises bespeaks the presence of an intelligent and progressive farmer who believes in the dignity of his calling and makes the most of his opportunities. While successful in the matter of tilling the soil and raising of large crops of grain and vegetables, Mr. Lindsay devoted especial attention to livestock, from the sale of which the greater part of his income is derived. He has been active in the support of all measures for the good of the community and, being one of the oldest citizens of the township in which he lives, his acquaintance is quite large and his name honored wherever known. In his political faith he is a Democrat and an earnest supporter of the principles of his party, though by no means narrow in his views, being always ready to accord the same right of opinion to others that he claims for himself. He has held various offices, in all of which he was faithful to his trust and loyal to the people whom he served.

Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay have had four children: Alexander, who is in the mail service at Sioux City; Robert Henry, a stock dealer and since the retirement of his father manager of the home farm; Lillian, wife of J. Lockwood, a carpenter and contractor of South Dakota; and Clayton, who was graduated from the medical department of the Iowa State University in 1898, and immediately thereafter opened an office and engaged in the practice at West Union. He entered in the practice of his life work under most favorable auspices, but what promised to be an unusually useful and brilliant career was terminated by the ruthless hand of death on September 2d of the same year in which he completed his studies and engaged in the practice.

back to Fayette Home