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James M. Peet
Born September 14, 1847


JAMES M. PEET, retired farmer; was born in Solon, Cortland Co., N.Y., September 1, 1821; was the son of Gideon Peet and Abigail Wildman, of same county, but originally from Connecticut; his father was a good mechanic and a hard-working farmer, and the subject of this sketch was early trained to habits of industry, while toiling upon a rugged firm in Central New York. He was one of a family of nine children, eight sons and a daughter, each of whom lived to become the head of a numerous family. At the age of 19, he, with his parents and six brothers, came to Fairview Township, Jones Co., Iowa, and settled on 560 acres of land five miles southwest from Anamosa, the county seat of Jones County. Mr. Peet now owns this land, which was entered by his father, at the Land office in Dubuque, in 1840; the father died in 1842, but the sons and mother continued to carry on the farm together until the death of the mother, in 1847, when Mr. Peet bought out the other heirs and became sole proprietor of the pioneer homestead. By subsequent acquirement, he is now owner of about nine hundred acres, of which fully eight hundred are under good cultivation; his home farm has taken five first premiums as the best farm and as the best-managed farm in the county. He was married June 5, 1845, to Miss Ann Dallas, at Red Oak Grove, Cedar Co., Iowa; she was the daughter of Robert Dallas and Isabel Couts, of that place. Mr. Peet has had four children—William G., born May 8, 1846; Lorendaa E., born December 3, 1848, and died March 17, 1877; Robert M., born March 20, 1856, and Orra D., born July 30, 1864. His son, William G., was married February 8, 1872, to Miss Eliza E. Saum, daughter of George Saum, Walnut Grove, Jones Co., a wealthy and prominent farmer. Robert M. was married November 26 (Thanksgiving), 1878, to Miss Carrie B. Carbee, daughter of Capt. William Carbee, of Linn Co., Iowa, who was killed during a charge at the head of a company in an attack on New Orleans in 1864. Both these sons are prosperous farmers and successful stock-breeders in Jones Co. For nearly forty years, Mr. Peet was a laborious, enterprising farmer, entliusiastic in raising blooded stock, and judicious in the selection of his crops for profitable general farming. His improvements were first-class and his farm was attractive to all members of his family; his wife, after nearly thirty years of joint pilgrimage, went before to the land of rest on the 22d of September, 1874. The oldest daughter, for years an invalid, followed the mother ere the leaves of three autumns had fallen. The farm having lost its charm, he gave charge of it to his son Robert and moved to Anamosa, where he purchased a home and now resides; industry and economy, combined with practical judgment and business capacity, have rendered him financially independent; he has retired from active service and is passing his later years in the serene enjoyment of domestic life and ample competency. He was married to Miss Matilda Weaver, of Anamosa, on the 5th of July, 1877. Mr. Peet is not a member of any church organization or secret society, neither is he closely bound to any political party—is a conservative Independent, has more faith in practices than professions. He is a public-spirited and honorable citizen; he enjoys recounting the experiences of pioneer life; he laughs at the memory of the beautiful coverlet of snow which sometimes fell upon his bed in his airy chamber. He smilingly tells of social calls upon neighbors fifty miles distant; tells with pride of the good crops raised on land tilled with the bungling plow having a wooden molding-board; tells cautiously of the "Vigilance" exploits with the outlaws who were compelled to "hug a black-jack" and their curses were changed, by stinging persuasions, to abject promises and piteous prayers; tells of convicted criminals "reported" to have been run into the Mississippi and bound to logs, which they were advised to keep "right side up with care," as they floated to the Gulf; tells of grain 6 1/4 cents per bushel, of frozen feet, of threatened "bear-hugs"; tells, with enthusiasm, of the varied hopes and fears, trials and triumphs of the Western pioneer.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 571.

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