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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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HAWLEY, JAMES M., retired merchant, Clarinda; born May 10, 1804, in Danbury, Connecticut. His early education was exceedingly limited, but by a perseverance rarely equaled he has possessed himself of a fund of knowledge that would put to shame many of more pretentious educational advantages. In the state from which he came are many peculiar trades, and he went to learn one of them—that of a comb-maker, following the trade for a period of eight years. In 1832 he went to Dunkirk, New York, starting a comb factory on his own account. Two years later he went to Detroit, Michigan, where he kept the Yankee Boarding House — it is to presumed after the good old hearty style of ancient New England. He subsequently took the Cottage Hotel, and in 1836 took the American Hotel, the largest and principal hotel in the city. After a two years’ experience with the latter he removed to Rochester, in Oakland county, opening a store and purchasing a flouring-mill, remaining for twelve years. In 1850 he went to St. Joseph, Missouri, forming a partnership with Mr. A. Sorley, in the mercantile business. In January, 1853, he came to Page county and located at Hawleyville, opening a store, using two barrels and a rough board for a counter, in an old log house, and retailing the first goods sold in Page county. In 1863 he went to Clarinda, starting a store in connection with A. Loranz, and selling out the business a year or two afterward to his son, J. D. Hawley. In 1864 he again went to St. Joseph, Missouri, and engaged in the mercantile business nearly nine years. While a resident of that city he was the secretary of the company which built the great railroad bridge across the Missouri at that place. After a residence of eleven years in the city of St. Joseph he came again to Clarinda, and soon came into public life again, having been elected justice of the peace. In connection with this public office he established a collection agency, in which he has been remarkably successful. Mr. H. was married in September, 1832, to Miss Charlotte L. Petty, a native of Clairmont, New Hampshire. They are the parents of four children: J. D., Clarinda’s most successful merchant; (Julia, wife of D. C. Chamberlain), Ada, (wife of D. C. Zimmerman, an attorney, at St. Joseph, Missouri), and one, the oldest daughter, deceased. Mr. Hawley’s identification with the interests of the county, and his influence in shaping its success is most fittingly commemorated by the village of Hawleyville, laid out by himself in 1853, and the oldest place in the county. A man of deep convictions, of sterling worth, of unimpeachable integrity, active and generous, the annals of this county will ever cause his name to be an honored one among all posterity.

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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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