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James A. Bronson
Born 25 January 1825

JAMES A. BRONSON, the founder of Wyoming, Jones Co., Iowa; was born January 25, 1825, in Arcadia, Wayne Co., N.Y.; he is the son of Thomas Bronson and Nellie A. Calkins; his father was son of Capt. Ezra Bronson, of Danbury, Conn., and was born in 1793, at the old Bronson homestead in Danbury; his mother was a native of Putnam Co., N.Y., and was born in 1794; he was a local preacher in the M.E. Church, and carried on a small farm, he was a man of rare probity and deep piety, a good neighbor, kind father and useful citizen; his wife, now living. was his worthy helpmeet for nearly half a century.
The subject of this sketch has two brothers—Samuel M. who is a M.E. clergyman, and now laboring in Minnesota; Bushnell K. is a retired merchant, and is living near his farm in Floyd, Iowa. James A. Bronson spent his youth and early manhood amid rural scenes and the rugged duties of farm life; when 11 years of age, he, with his parents, removed to Genesee Co, where he remained until 1852; the county was soon afterward divided, and his home was thereby located in the new county of Wyoming, in memory of which this city, his Western home, was christened. On the 1st day of January, 1852, at East Pike, Wyoming Go., N.Y., he was married to Miss Henrietta Sartwell, who died at Maquoketa, Iowa, November 25, 1854, leaving one child, Charles S., who died March 4, 1860. Mr. Bronson's first mercantile venture was in 1852, at Belfast, Allegany Co., N.Y., where he continued about two years, until his removal to Iowa; in 1855, he laid out the town of Wyoming, Jones Go., in connection with his brother, B. K. Bronson, and C. J. Marsh. both of whom subsequently withdrew from the enterprise, which he carried on, single-handed, with energy and ability; he immediately built a store, and began the foundation of his present extensive establishment, which comprises all departments of mercantile business; he has been active and liberal in securing railroad facilities, and in promoting all other public improvements; he was appointed the first Postmaster of the town, and retained the position many years. He was married at Binghamton, N.Y., December 5, 1860, to Miss Jennie Van Benschoten, who died June 4, 1868, leaving three children—John Dillon, born August 27, 1863; Arthur J., born August 16, 1866, and Ralph E., born February 26, 1868, who died September 4, 1868.
Mr. Bronson has been a member of the School Board many years; has held the various township offices and the mayoralty of Wyoming, but has never sought or desired political preferment. He is a consistent Republican, and, during the rebellion, was a liberal supporter of all measures necessary for the defense of the nation and perpetuity of the Union, and he had occasion to decline honorable positions in the service of the United States Government. On the 20th of April, 1871, at Mount Vernon, Iowa, he was married to Miss Mary Camp, who died October 31, 1877, leaving two children—Rowena Eloise, born May 31, 1873, and George G., born November 30, 1874. His oldest son, John Dillon, is in Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa; the other three children are at home. Mr. Bronson is still the largest real-estate owner within the city limits. Since 1855, Mr. Bronson has been actively identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church; is present Superintendent of the Sabbath school, and several church edifices bear testimony to his liberality; he is a Director in the bank, and he is considered a safe counselor in all financial enterprises; honorable and social, with a spotless record, he stands a true representative of the successful man.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 599.


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