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James Lister
Born January 5, 1832


JAMES LISTER, foreman in charge of the building of the State Penitentiary at Anamosa; is a native of Scotland, and was born January 5, 1832; he grew up to manhood and learned his business there; he emigrated to America in 1854, and came to Duneith, Ill; he came to Iowa in 1856, and engaged in farming for four and a half years, then removed to Dubuque. When the war broke out, he enlisted in the first call for troops in the 3d I.V.I.; as the quota was full, the regiment did not go in the field. He was in the Government service in building bridges and furnaces; after the war, in April, 1866, he came to Jones Co.; he was engaged in business in Cedar Rapids several years; he was appointed foreman in charge of the erection of the new State Penitentiary at Anamosa when the building was first commenced; since then he has occupied that position. He was elected one of the members of the School Board, and is now serving his second term. He owns a farm of 105 acres, west of the city, where his family reside. In 1864, he married Miss Jane Perry, in Dubuque; she is a native of England; they have five children—Jane, Thomas, George, Arthur and James.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 563.

Numbered among the men whose memory is cherished because of the active and honorable part which they displayed in the history of the county in former years is James Lister, one of the leading representatives of agricultural interests of this community. He was born in Scotland, January 5, 1832, and spent his youthful days in the land of hills and heather, of mountain crag and lake and glen. He there learned the stone cutter's trade and in 1854, when twenty-four years of age, emigrated to America, seeking the more favorable business opportunities offered by the new world. For a short time he resided at Dunleith, now East Dubuque, Illinois, and in 1856 came to Iowa, establishing his home near Farley, where he turned his attention to general farming. He devoted four and one-half years to the cultivation of the soil and then removed to Dubuque. He was among the first to respond to President Lincoln's first call for troops to crush out the rebellion in its incipiency, enlisting as a member of the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry. As the state quota was full, however, the regiment did not go into the field but Mr. Lister remained in the government service for several years, being engaged in the construction of bridges and forts.
Soon after the close of the war, in April, 1866, Mr. Lister came to Jones county and subsequently removed to Cedar Rapids, where he engaged in business for a few years. When the work of the building of the state penitentiary at Anamosa was begun, he was made foreman in charge of the erection and was employed by the state as chief stone mason for the Iowa state penitentiary for many years. He built the first cell house of that institution and was employed altogether as boss stone cutter at the penitentiary for twenty-one consecutive years. His life was one of marked activity, thrift and usefulness and he became the possessor of four hundred acres of fine farming land just west of the city of Anamosa whereon his family long resided.
In 1864, Mr. Lister was united in marriage to Miss Jane Perry, a native of England, and unto them were born four children: Jane, Thomas, George and Arthur. Of these, Thomas and Arthur are mentioned elsewhere in this volume. The death of the husband and father occurred in 1899, when he was about sixty-eight years of age. He had been a member of the school board for several years and was ever most loyal to the public trusts which were given into his care. He formed a wide acquaintance during his long residence in the county and all who knew him esteemed him for his genuine worth and his many substantial traits. He had been a resident of the state for almost forty years at the time of his demise, having lived to witness much of its growth and development, while in many ways he had materially aided in its progress and upbuilding.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 424.

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