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Below is a family biography included in History of Page County, Iowa published by Iowa Historical Company in 1880.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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BURNS, MAJ. G. W., proprietor of livery and feed stable, P.O. Clarinda; born February 14, 1833, in Highland county, Ohio. His father died in 1845 and he, with his mother, came to Canton, Illinois, in 1850, where he grew to manhood, and was educated in the old-time log school house, with one log cut out and the space covered with greased paper for a window. At the age of seventeen he commenced learning the saddler and harness trade with J. W. Swearingen, in Lexington county, Ohio, which trade he followed until 1857, when he went on to a farm, where he remained about two years. In September, 1860, he came to Iowa and located in Clarinda, where he opened a harness shop, which he carried on until the spring of 1861, when he turned his business over to R. W. Schott, and at the breaking out of the rebellion he buckled on his armor, and enlisted the first man from Page county, in the late war, he being John P. Murphy. Mr. Burns was full of patriotism, and went forward, and by hard work succeeded in filling up the company, and started for the front with eighty-five men, and was mustered into the service at Omaha, Nebraska, in company F, First Nebraska Infantry, he being mustered in as first lieutenant, and served as such until January, 1862, when he was promoted to captain of his company, and served in that capacity until the fall of 1862, when it became necessary, on the account of failing health, to resign and recuperate. In 1863 he raised a company of cavalry, and went to Davenport, where, on account of their proficiency in drill, though they had but ten days to prepare and others had thirty days, they were mustered in September 30, as company A, Eighth Iowa Cavalry, he being mustered as captain of the company. There they were mounted and equipped and sent to Louisville, Kentucky, and from there to Nashville. He was taken prisoner July 30, 1864, in the rear of Atlanta, and was moved to Macon, Georgia, and from there to Charleston, and placed under fire, and was kept there for two months, to keep the gunboats from shelling the city. He was from there taken back to Macon prison, where he was exchanged in November, and returned to his company, just in time to command it in the fight with Hood against Gen. Thomas. At the close of that fight he was appointed provost marshal on the staff of Gen. E. M. McCook, which position he held to the close of the war, he having the honor of paroling all the rebel prisoners in Florida and his military district. He was mustered out of the service as major in August, 1865, when he returned home with all the honors of a brave and efficient soldier and officer. He at once resumed his former business, and followed it until 1870. In 1865 he was elected sheriff of Page county, and was re-elected in 1867, serving one year of his last term, when he resigned. He is said to be the only man that ever resigned a fat office. In 1869 he built his present barn and started a livery and feed stable, which he still carries on. He was married September 13, 1855, to Miss Mary Clark, a native of Canton, Illinois, they have three children: Fannie (wife of John Harrell, of Page county), Joseph P. and Mollie.

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This family biography is one of 558 biographies included in The History of Page County, Iowa published in 1880.  For the complete description, click here: Page County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Page County, Iowa family biographies: Page County, Iowa Biographies

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