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John Byerly
Born 25 August 1825

JOHN BYERLY, farmer, Wyoming Twp., Sec. 5; P.O. Onslow; born August 25, 1825, in Mercer Co., Penn.; March 16, 1865, he came to Jones Co.; he owns 185 acres land. Married Catharine Klinginsmith June 1, 1850; she was born in March, 1828, in Mercer Co., Penn.; had seven children, six living—Florence, Elizabeth, Franklin P., Ida B., John H. and Emma J.; lost Mary E. in 1873, aged 22 years; member of Christian Church.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 600.

John Byerly, who for more than forty years has been a member of the agricultural community of Wyoming township, was born in Pennsylvania, August 25, 1825, and is the son of Michael and Mary (Lookabaugh) Byerly. The family is one of remotely German ancestry, for about five generations back one of the name left the fatherland when the fever of colonizing the new world was just invading the countries of northern Europe and settled in the vicinity of Philadelphia about 1635. His descendants have, therefore, in turn been connected with the history of this country from its earliest years, participating in all its struggles, from the conflicts with the Indians to the last great war which so nearly destroyed the nation that has been built from the colonies. Michael Byerly and his wife remained in their Pennsylvania home throughout their lives and there reared their family of ten children, only four of whom now survive: John, of this review; Hannah, who lives in Pennsylvania; Rachel, who is the wife of William Bolton and lives in her native state; and A. J. Byerly, of Anamosa, Iowa.
John Byerly received such an education as the public schools of his period afforded and remained at home with his parents until he was twenty-five years of age, when he married and started in life for himself. He bought a farm in Pennsylvania on which he lived and worked for about fifteen years, when won by the stories of opportunities in this state he disposed of his property and crossed the mountains and made his way to Jones county. Here 1805 he purchased the farm on which he now lives. It is one hundred and eighty-five acres in extent devoted to general farming which Mr. Byerly has pursued it for more than two score of years. In this period he has had opportunity to witness the many improvements which have simplified and lightened the work of the farmer, a progress marked enough since he has taken upon life here but even greater if he looks back over the whole span of his life.
At the age of twenty five years, just at the dawn of the second half of the last century, Mr. Byerly wedded Miss Catherine Klingensmith, who accompanied him along the highway of life for more than thirty years when she died and was buried in South Mineral cemetery, Wyoming township. Seven children were born to them: Mary E. and Florence, both deceased. Elizabeth E., wife of William White, of Olin, Iowa; Ida B. who lives in Wall Lake; Emma J., who is the wife of Thomas Hood of this county; Franklin P., who resides in Anamosa; and John H., who lives on his father's farm. On the 10th June 1880, Mr. Byerly married again, his second wife being Mrs. Jeannie Boyle—nee Edwards, the widow of R. D. Boyle, a native of Jackson county.
Mr. and Mrs. Byerly are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church, but politically Mr. Byerly owes allegiance to no party. All his life he has been accustomed to regard questions of local or national concern from many angles and being a man who has taken an interest in such matters and has kept himself informed, he feels that he would rather exercise his right of franchise in accordance with what he believes to be right and the better policy than to accept the guidance of an organized party. This independence of judgment and his acquaintance, not merely superficial, with important issues, makes his opinion of value in the community where he lives. He has served in various township offices, both in Pennsylvania and as school director in Wyoming township and has been a peacemaker and arbitrator in the disputes of his neighbors to such an extent that his services have been of great value in that regard and have met with the full appreciation which they so well merited.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p 615.


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