Saturday, January 1, 2011

James Wilkenson Gammon

In my previous post I discussed the Gammons that first moved to Iowa. Now I'd like to discuss my 3x-great grandfather James Wilkenson Gammon - a member of that family.


About James:
He was born in 1825 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Dozier Brawner Gammon and Lavina Turbeville. Two of his three older siblings had already passed away. He was followed by three younger brothers. When he was very young, around the year 1828, the family moved to Putnam, Indiana. In 1850, they moved again to Iowa.

James' wife, Armilda Eliza Myers, was born in Indiana but her family relocated to Iowa around the same time the Gammons did. The two married on November 19, 1852.

They had a son, Louis Larue, in 1853, and a daughter, Lydia Josephine, in 1855, followed by three more sons: Newton Franklin in 1856, Eugene Theophilus in 1858, and Bird Lafayette in 1859. By 1860 the family was living on a 160-acre farm in Eden, Iowa. Martha Jane was born in 1861, Catharine Melvina in 1863, Willis Wilkenson in 1865, Dozier Gaines in 1867, and Charles Thomas in 1869, By the time their last child, Lucius Wickliff Lee, was born in 1871, the homestead had grown to 240 acres.

James died on February 11, 1886 in Eden. He left behind his wife and eleven living children. By the time Armilda passed away on April 14, 1901, however, four of their children had also died: Newton in 1890, Lydia in 1891, Charles and Lucius in 1894. Of all their children, only Charles never married. Although Lucius and Lydia both married (Lydia married twice, actually), neither produced children. James and Armilda had a total of 19 grandchildren.


I am particularly attached to James Wilkenson Gammon because I love reading about him. What little I've found indicates that he was quite an interesting man. I have included some of these documents below, with my favorite tidbits italicized.

James' Obituary: 
DIED -- At his residence in Eden township, Decatur county, Iowa, February 11, 1886, James W. Gammon, after protracted illness of some four weeks with disease of kidney and liver which seemed to baffle the skill of his physicians. He was born in Knox county, State of Tennessee, June 16, 1825, and was in the sixty-first year of his age. He moved to Indiana with his father in the year 1828 and remained there till 1848, at which time he came to Iowa and settled in Wapello county, but shortly after, located in Monroe county, and in the year 1852 was married to Armelda E. Myers, and moved to Decatur county in the spring of 1854 and settled on the farm where he died. The fruits of his marriage were eight sons and three daughters all of whom survive him to mourn his death. All of his sons and one daughter and his wife was at his bedside when he breathed his last, which was as quiet as the sleep of an infant. He was a man of broad and liberal views and of positive convictions, was always willing to defend what he believed to be the truth, but charitable to all who might differ with him. Reason being his guide his desire was to so live that to rest with mother earth that those who should survive him might be better qualified to live in harmony with nature's laws. His wife has lost an ever kind and faithful husband, his children an affectionate and loving father, and the community a kind and obliging neighbor. His remains were followed to their last resting place, in Eden Prairie cemetery, by a large concourse of friends and neighbors, and was buried in compliance with his wishes, without any funeral ceremonies.

James' Biography:

JAMES GAMMON, deceased, son of Lovina and Dozier Gammon, was born in Tennessee, June 16, 1825, and removed to Indiana with his parents in 1828.  He was married in Monroe County, Iowa, November 4, 1852, to Armilda E. Myers, who was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, in 1829, and removed to Monroe County in 1850.  Her parents were Thomas and Eliza (Jones) Myers.  They removed from this State to Nebraska, where her father died, and where her mother still lives.  Mr. and Mrs. Gammon came to Decatur County in 1855, and settled on section 24, Eden Township, where his family still reside.  He died February 11,1886, aged nearly sixty-one years.  His family consists of his wife, eight sons and three daughters.  The four youngest sons are still at home.  Mr. Gammon was an honorable man and an upright citizen.  Politically he was a Democrat; religiously he was opposed to the churches, and denied the authenticity of the Bible, but believed in doing right at all times and under all circumstances.

(From Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa, (Lewis Publishing Company (1887)), p. 563)

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