Biography of John C. Bryan of Perry, Iowa

John C. Bryan dates his residence in Dallas county from 1882. He is a native of Rock Island county, Illinois, born on Christmas day of 1858, and his education was acquired in the public schools there while spending his boyhood days in the home of his parents, Thomas and Nicey (Sturtevant) Bryan, who were likewise natives of Rock Island county, where they were married. The father was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, November 1, 1837, and the mother in Wayne county, Illinois, March 29, 1838. He followed general agricultural pursuits in Illinois until after the outbreak of the Civil war, when, in 1862, he offered his aid to the government and became a member of Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, for three years’ service. He participated in all of the battles and skirmishes with his command and continued at the front throughout the term of his enlistment. He was mustered out at Pine Bluff in 1865. After the war he returned to Illinois, where he again engaged in farming until 1867, when he removed to Kansas, taking up a homestead three miles from Iola, in Allen county. There he cultivated his land and continued to reside until the spring of 1875, when he returned to Rock Island county, Illinois, where he again lived until 1884. He then came to Dallas county and settled in Beaver township, while later he turned his attention to merchandising at Bouton, conducting his store with good success there until 1903, when he retired to private life. He is a member of the United Brethren church, belongs to Woodward lodge, No. 454, A. F. & A. M., to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to the Grand Army of the Republic. He votes with the democracy and in matters of citizenship is loyal and progressive, standing firm in support of the principles in which he believes. Unto him and his wife were born twelve children, of whom seven are living: Mary, the wife of Charles Shaffer, of Rock Island county, Illinois; John C.; David, who married Iva Burnington and lives in Kimball, Brule county, South Dakota; Samuel, who married Mattie Channon; Hannah, the wife of Joseph Shaffer, of Illinois; Sadie, the wife of Jesse Battenfield, of this county; Lula, the wife of Herman Krascher, a resident of Bouton, Dallas county. One daughter, Mrs. Allie Spurrier, died in the spring of 1904.

John C. Bryan was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. He worked in the fields through the summer months and in the winter seasons attended the public schools until twenty-one years of age. His first work for himself was in picking corn, being employed for fifty days at one dollar per day. He then attended school in the winter, after which he was married and started out in life on his own account. It was on the 18th of November, 1882, that he wedded Louisa J. Perry, who was born in Rock Island county, January 1, 1847, a daughter of Albert W. and Margaret (McNeil) Wells. Her father, who was born in the Green Mountain state, died in Illinois, at the age of thirty-six years, while his wife, a native of Detroit, Michigan, died in Rock Island county, Illinois, at the age of seventy-nine years. Their children were four in number, of whom three survive: Eliza, the widow of John Babcock and a resident of Illinois; Antoinette, the wife of George W. Henry, living in Rock Island; and Mrs. Bryan. Mr. Wells was a stock buyer in the early days in Illinois, purchasing stock in Rock Island county, which he drove to the market at Galena. He was a pioneer of that locality, closely associated with its early development, and his political views were those of the whig party. After losing her first husband Mrs. Wells became the wife of Ira Weatherhead, who died at the age of sixty-nine years. Their children were four in number, Druar, Ellen, Kate and Ona.

Following his marriage Mr. Bryan came to Iowa, settling in Beaver township, Dallas county, where he engaged in farming for about ten years. He then removed to Bouton and after renting the farm he carried on merchandising, continuing in the business until 1900, when he sold out there and spent the succeeding winter in California. In 1882 he purchased one hundred and forty acres in Beaver township and has since added to it until he now owns one thousand and fifty acres in Beaver and Spring Valley townships in Dallas county, and Union township in Boone county. He took an active part in organizing the Globe Telephone Company, which is a farmers’ mutual company, of which he was director and president the first year also in organizing the Globe Manufacturing Company, of Perry, Iowa, manufacturing washing machines, and at the present time is a director and president of this company, which has bright prospects of becoming one of the great manufacturing concerns of the county. In 1903 he came to Perry and in 1904 erected a fine home here, spending the winter of 1903-4 in Florida. In the latter year he was appointed a member of the council and in 1905 was elected a member, to which position he was re-elected in 1907. Being three times chosen to the office is a fact indicative of his capability and progressiveness in relation to municipal affairs. While living in Beaver township he was trustee and road commissioner. He has never been neglectful of the duties of citizenship but on the contrary has always been loyal to the public good and his labors have been most effective and far-reaching. At one time he owned the land where Bouton now stands and subdivided this and laid out the town. He was active in building two churches there, giving lots to each. He was a most liberal contributor to the Methodist Episcopal church and also gave generously to the Lutheran church. He belongs, however, to the Methodist denomination and fraternally he was connected with Woodward lodge, No. 454, but demitted to join Otley lodge, No. 299, A. F. & A. M. He spent the winter of 1906-7 in Texas and plans to spend each winter in the south as he has done for the last three or four years. His has been a life of continuous activity, crowned with success. He has been eminently practical in all that he has done, whether in relation to public interests or private affairs and the value of his labors is acknowledged by all familiar with the history of the county.


Wood, Robert F., Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, Chicago, IL: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907.

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