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Civil War Flags.jpg Joseph Thomas COMBS, son of Nancy J. and J. N. COMBS, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, September 7, 1835. When six years old, his parents moved to Morgan County, Ohio, where he grew to manhood on a farm. He was married to Miss Keziah McDONALD, January 22, 1858 [Morgan County, Ohio]. To this union were born six children: Mrs. Sarah Jane DAVIS, Joseph E. COMBS, Mrs. [Elizabeth F.] John LOWER, a daughter who died in infancy, Francis Marion COMBS, and Edward Melvin COMBS.

In 1863, he moved to Henry County, Illinois, and in 1876 he came to Iowa, settling near Guss in Taylor County. Here he made his home until his family grew to manhood and womanhood, enduring the joys and privations of pioneer life, and suffering the loss of three of his children: Joseph, Ellen and Edward, but gaining the care and love of two of his grandchildren, Thomas LOWER and Sadie K. COMBS, who lived with him during their childhood as his own children, and contributed to his car when he most needed it.

In 1900, he disposed of his holdings and moved to Humeston that he might more easily care for his invalid wife to whose individual care he spent his life until her death at Beaconsfield in Sept 1910. Since then he lived with his children and grandchildren ever being privileged to spend last winter with his daughter, Mrs. A. C. DAVIS at Westlaco, Texas, and also enjoying a visit with his son Frank at Fleming, Colorado, only a short time before his death.

He was well fitted by nature for the pioneer life. He enjoyed very robust health and liked to boast that during eight-six years of his life he had never been under the care of a physician. This he inherited from ancestors who were all long lived. His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and was at the surrender of Yorktown. At the age of ninety years his grandfather applied for a pension. One of his uncles lived to be ninety-nine years old. The good health of the deceased was all the more remarkable when we think of the hardships he must have endured as a soldier of the Civil War and as a pioneer.

Brother Combs was a very active Christian. Just when he was converted and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church we do not know, but when the Guss Church was built he was one of the leaders. He was enthusiastic in religion, and whenever he had a chance he was always ready to serve.

While he lived at Gravity, he was a member of the gospel team and although growing old he was always ready to go with the team and was generally the first to speak for his Christ.

When he went to live in Texas he felt that he could best serve his Lord if he united with the church there, and instead of leaving his membership behind and being lost to the church, he transferred to the Methodist Episcopal Church South, since the church of his choice was not represented there.

The deceased was a man of great industry and owned more than two hundred acres of land and improved it well. When he was seventy-five years old he made cement blocks and built a house in Gravity doing all the work himself. He felt that it was better to wear out than to rust out.

He was generaous and kind hearted. His grandchildren loved to gather at his home and a week of a month was to them and to him too short for the revels he made for them. Unlike many old people he never complained of the noise youngsters would make but seemed to enjoy seeing them have a good time.

In the early days when most of the travel was by covered wagon, it is said that travelers would hunt for the COMBS homestead for they were told that at this home they would always find a welcome. In those early days when money was scarce, many a young man received aid from Mr Combs whether they gave him security or not, or whether they were able to pay when the note came due. Many owe their start in life to him and when money was needed for the church he was always ready with his share.

He departed this life [near Gravity, Taylor County, Iowa in April, 1912] after a brief illness of intense suffering at the home of his grandson, Thomas LOWER in Gravity, at the ripe old age of 88 years, 1 month and 25 days. He leaves to mourn their loss two children, Mrs. A. C. DAVIS, of Westlaco, Texas, and Frank COMBS of Fleming, Colorado. He also leaves an aged sister, Mrs. BARMAN, of Battle Creek, Iowa, 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild, besides many nieces and nephews and friends.

He was a member of the I.O.O.F. lodge for more than 60 years and always enjoyed the fellowship of his brothers. He was also a member of the Rebekah Lodge at Gravity.

The funeral service was held in the Christian Church as the Methodist Church is being repaired, and the service was conducted by Rev McNICKOLS of the Methodist Church here. The funeral was very largely attended, the building being much too small to accommodate all who wished to hear it.

Interment was made in the Guss Cemetery in the family lot there beside his companion and other members of the family. The I.O.O.F. had charge of the services at the cemetery where the ritualistic order was carried out. Many members of the lodge at New Market were present as life long friends of the deceased. The three songs used at the funeral service were selected by the relatives as special favorites of the deceased. The floral offerings were abundant and very beautiful, the casket being literally buried under a bank of cut flowers and ferns.

His passing from earth brings sadness to many hearts who loved him. A good man has gone to his reward, and while Heaven is made richer by his going, earth is made more desolute, the influence of a useful, active life, tempered with a true brand of christianity will live after him and bear fruits for the final harvest of good deeds.

NOTE: Joseph Thomas COMBS was interrred at Guss Cemetery, Nodaway Twp., Taylor County, Iowa.

Joseph's father Joseph Napoleon COMBS was born October 6, 1808, Loudoun County, Virginia, and married Nancy Jane BRABHAM in Loudoun County, Virginia, on December 19, 1831.

Nancy Jane (BRABHAM), wife of Joseph Napoleon and mother of Joseph Thomas, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia on April 8, 1815, the daughter of Thomas & Mary (POWERS) BRABHAM. She died at the age of 69 years and 9 days in Dallas Twp., Taylor County, Iowa, on April 7, 1884 with interment at Guss Cemetery, Nodaway Twp., Taylor County, Iowa.

Submission by anonymous, 2006

Note by Sharon R. Becker, 2008

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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