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Ringgold County Biographical Sketches

Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa
Lewis Publishing Company, 1887. pp. 382-83.


"ADDISON C. PAYNE, one of the leading agriculturists of Ringgold County, now living in Mt. Ayr, is a native of Vermillion County, Illinois, born February 29, 1844, a son of John and Letta (O’Neal) Payne. The grandfather of our subject, John Payne, was a native of New York, and one of the early settlers of Vermillion County, Illinois, where his son John was born. Addison C. was left an orphan at an early age, his mother dying when he was about four years old and his father being killed during the late war in the riot at Danville, Illinois. At the age of five years he was bound out to John E. Cooper, a practical farmer and stock-trader of Vermillion County, with whom he remained for sixteen years, and during this time received a limited education in the common schools. On attaining the age of twenty-one years he started out in life for himself without means, and the two years following was employed on a farm, receiving $20 a month the first year, and the second year his wages were increased to about $33 a month. He was married in September, 1867, to Miss Sarah H. Guymon, of Vermillion County, her father, Frank Guymon, being now a resident of Carroll County, Missouri. They are the parents of two children – Alta and Ora V. In the spring of 1867 Mr. Payne went to Madison County, Iowa, and during that summer broke prairie, and the same fall bought wheat, which he sold at Des Moines. He then began dealing in cheap land, in which enterprise he made his first money. After his marriage he removed from Madison to Adams County, where he purchased a farm, and after breaking his land sold it. In 1869 he assisted in laying the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and acted as paymaster of three divisions of surveying companies, locating the road from Afton to Council Bluffs. He also furnished supplies for the three companies of surveyors, each company composed of twenty men, and furnished his team for the sum of $100 a month. In January, 1871, Mr. Payne purchased a farm in the east part of Ringgold County, which he sold in the fall of the same year, and bought land in Grant Township, this county, and to his original eighty acres he has added until he now owns 640 acres of choice land and was there actively engaged in dealing in cattle until March, 1864 (sic), when, on account of failing health, he left his farm and removed to Mt. Ayr, where he has since lived somewhat retired, tough still looking after his business interests and trading in stock on a small scale. Mr. Payne may be classed among the self-made men of this county, having by his own energy and industrious habits accumulated a competency for his declining years. Besides his large farm in Grant Township he owns other land in the county, his real estate covering 1,000 acres."

Transcribed by Christy Jay for Ringgold County, Iowa Rootsweb, email:






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