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|History of the John C Tasker Family
This is the history of the John C Tasker family as told by Kate Sophia Johnson Tasker in 1942 from the John C Tasker family bible and transcribed by her niece Jane Tasker Roholt.
|Hon. John C. Tasker who represented Jones County in the state legislature and for many years on the county board.||Mary Jane Paul Tasker, his wife, taken by J. W. Miller, Anamosa.||Henry Tasker, oldest son of John & Mary, at age 20.||
|Like families were united by marriage when Andrew Tasker and Helen Andrews wed on December 1st, 1810 at Coupar Angus, Perthshire Scotland. To this were born five children: John C on April 5th, 1814, Catherine “Kitty” in 1817, William in 1818, Mary in 1825, and Betty in 1826. When 28 years of age John started across the ocean for the United States in June 1842. They were 66 days at sea owing to the vessel having sprung a leak. John with others persons had to pump their way to save their lives. The laws governing instances of this kind provided payment for such services by the ship company which enabled him to pay his way. After landing John made his way to his maternal aunt Hannah Andrews Donaldson of Augusta in Carroll County, Ohio. Later John drifted to Salineville in Columbiana County, Ohio. There he obtained employment in his trade of masonry in the construction of a woolen mill and store for James Farmer, builder of the Cleveland Pittsburgh Railroad for whom he afterword worked in the store acting in the capacity of bookkeeper for nine years, at the end of which his books balanced to the penny. About this time John’s brother William came from Scotland.
On November 28th, 1848, John C Tasker married Mary Jane Paul in Washington township with the Rev. Eli Regal disciple preacher officiating of Augusta, Carroll County, Ohio about six miles from Salineville. To this union two of six children were born in Ohio: Henry Lamberton on January 22nd, 1850, and William Spaulding on June 15th, 1852. Sometime during 1852 John Tasker and his brother William Tasker went prospecting and bought land in Wyoming Township, Jones County Iowa. John Tasker returned to Ohio and leaving his brother William in Iowa. In 1855 John moved his family to Iowa living with his brother William until he built a four room house from material taken from the hill he built it on, where he lived until he died. In Iowa Sarah Helen was born on May 25th 1855, Joseph Laycock on April 17th, 1857, Andrew Camron on October 8th, 1859, and Thomas George on September 8th, 1862. Sarah Helen died on May 3rd, 1862 at the age of seven years.
|William Spaulding Tasker, 1852–1939.||Joseph Laycock Tasker.||Andrew Camron Taylor, taken at F. A. Coyle, Monticello.|
|The three years I cared for John Tasker I never heard him talking of his past deeds. He was a great reader, a great gardener, and often when resting wrote poetry and articles on subjects he was interested in. From old papers in my possession I find that before he left Scotland he organized and carried forward a temperance society, new in Scotland at the time, about 1839 and also carried on other public work. Frank Tasker, the only remaining male member of the two brother’s families tells me John Tasker was considered an unusual stone mason and soon after he built his own stone house his neighbor Eli Franks was having a wall built for a barn 100 feet long, nine inches high and due to a workmen’s mistake it all had to be torn down. John Tasker was called to correct it which he did. With the help of John Burrell he finished the wall which stands today on what is known as Pete Smallfeldt’s place three miles north of Wyoming. Sometime in the 1860s he returned to Ohio to assist the James Farmers builders of Cleveland and Pittsburgh railroad in some work connected with the railroad and when he returned to Iowa he was made agent by the railroad company to sell 50,000 acres of land in the northwest part of Iowa. In 1870s John Tasker was elected County Supervisor. During this time he was active in changing the form from several to five supervisors. He was also made agent by the County Board on the sale of stone which there was a great demand for at that time.
From 1872 to 1874 John Tasker represented Jones County in the State of Iowa legislature. In that time everything in the northwestern part of the state of Iowa was destroyed by grasshoppers. Rep. John Tasker moved that $50,000.00 should be appropriated for the sufferers. He was appointed Chair of the Committee to attend to this matter. Rep. Tasker was so efficient and full of Scotch thrift that he did it well and he brought back $15,000.00 to the state. Governor Carpenter said never before had he heard of a Chairman returning money to the State Treasury. From then he got the name Honest John Tasker. From as far as I know he retired from public life to attend to his home interests.
|Thomas George Tasker, taken by Will Cundill Photo, Maquoketa, IA.||Mildred Ann Lapham Tasker Murray, adopted daughter of John C. Tasker & Mary Jane Paul. taken by Cundill|
His three oldest sons went to Hopkinton School and I think taught for a while but their desire for business life led them to farming and cattle feeding. They owned a farm near Prairieberg and Center Junction where they fed and grazed cattle managed by sons Thomas George and Henry while William and Joe bought and sold cattle. Sometime between 1880 and 1886 Henry, William, and Joe developed a large cattle business in Montana. A great many went in to this very promising enterprise under the management of William head of cattle ran different ranges in Montana with its abundance of fattening grasses. All went well until the winter of 1866 when all was covered with deep snow and very cold. Cattle all starved and froze to death and were piled up all over the ranges. Everybody went broke. Before this John Tasker was worth over $50,000 a rich man at that time. In order to help his sons he gave them all he owned, save only the place where he lived. This experience was so great at his age that he turned his farm to Thomas George and Andrew.
Joe Tasker remained in Montana working as a cowboy for over eight years. William Spaulding Tasker married Edith Sutton and settled in Monticello at his old business of buying and selling cattle. On November 15th, 1888 Thomas George married Kate Sophia Johnson of Wyoming and lived in Wyoming one and a half years where Thomas bought and sold cattle. They then moved to John Tasker's farm to help his brother Andrew. That fall of 1891 Millie Lapham Tasker, daughter of John Tasker by adoption went to Montana to visit her brother. During her absence Mother Tasker (Mary Jane) took sick and died before it was possible to get word to Millie as she was 80 miles from a railroad. In the fall of 1892 Millie Tasker married Thomas R Murray of handwritten note by John Tasker “relative of former Governor Murray of Montana, an old Montana settler.” This left Thomas and wife in charge of the old home for John Tasker and his three sons Henry, Joe, and Andrew. In June of 1894 Thomas and wife lost an infant son and a few days later John Tasker suffered a severe stroke. William Tasker and wife Edith came home to take charge and William, Henry, Joe, and Thomas took care of their father with Edith’s help while Andrew took care of the farm until John Tasker Soon died three weeks later on July 13th, 1894. Soon after this William moved to Chicago where he was a successful cattle salesman with a seat on the Chicago livestock exchange. William and his brother Joe bought land in Wisconsin for grazing and feeding cattle. This was near Turtle Lake Wisconsin where Joe later married Alice Buchwald on October 16th, 1907. Joe and Alice had one daughter Mildred who died at age 18, and two sons Clarence and Clifford. Joe lived the remainder of his life in Wisconsin and is buried there. In March on 1909 William’s wife Edith died after suffering from tubercular meningitis leaving four young children John Bruce, Edith, Robert, and Paul. She was buried in Monticello near her infant son. The four children stayed with their Aunt Kate until fall and then went back to Chicago where they were cared for by an aunt of their mother’s. Late Thomas and Andrew sold the old place and moved to another they owned between Springville and Central City. In the summer of 1910 they were forced to rent this as on account of infection in Thomas’ face on caused by cotton being left under a tooth. In the fall of 1910 the family went to spend the winter with Thomas’ sister Millie Lapham Tasker Murray in Montana. Upon their return they settled in Anamosa where George and Henry worked at the old business of selling and buying for the livestock feeders. They later moved to Cedar Rapids for land and at the beginning of the World War moved back to Linn County until peace was declared and bought a place in Anamosa. Thomas later retired.
Much of what is written is from John Tasker’s notes on a leaf from an old family Bible placed on a new one for safekeeping. John Tasker’s family in their busy life never gave thought to family history until last November of 1941 when eldest grandson of John Tasker, John Bruce Tasker who for many years has had charge of a 900 acre farm in Wisconsin asked me if I could give him any knowledge of the origin of the Tasker’s as he knew I, Thomas George’s wife Kate was the only living member of the old home. Fortunately I have the Bible with the family record written by John C Tasker for the benefit of his grandchildren and great grandchildren I will endeavor to write some of the like of John Tasker’s family history.
Kate Sophia Johnson Tasker
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