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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  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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Among the prominent farmers and stock-raisers of Platte township is Charles H. Clem, living on section 21, and his life of intense and well directed activity is indicated in the excellent appearance of the valuable farm of one hundred and eighty acres which he now owns and operates. He has a wide acquaintance in Union county for he is one of its native sons, his birth having occurred in Union City, Platte township, June 6, 1857. He is now the oldest native citizen of that township residing within its borders.

His father, Henry Clem, was a native of Indiana and with his parents removed to Fulton county, Illinois, where he was reared to manhood upon a farm, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. There he married Miss Mary Washburn, a native of Nodaway, county, Missouri, who was reared, however, in Fulton county, Illinois. In 1854 Henry Clem drove across the country with team to Union county, Iowa, and settled at the old city of Union in Platte township at a point two miles southeast of the present site of Kent. There he opened up a farm and made his home, continuing to reside there until his demise, which occurred in 1892 when he was sixty-five years of age. His widow still survives him in her seventy-third year and makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. J. N. Nisley, who is mentioned elsewhere in this volume. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Henry Clem were born four sons and two daughters. With the exception of Eli, who died at the age of thirty-eight years, all are still living.

The experiences of pioneer life in Union county early became familiar to Charles H. Clem, who was reared upon the old homestead in Platte township, where he had good common-school advantages. The work of the farm soon became familiar to him, for as soon as old enough to handle the plow he took his place in the fields. More and more largely the work of the farm devolved upon him and for a number of years he carried on the home place prior to his marriage. It was on the 3rd of January, 1881, that he wedded Sylvia Crossley, a native of Ohio, who was born near Lima and was a daughter of James Crossley, who became a resident farmer of Platte township and is now living retired in Kent at the ripe old age of eighty-four years.

Following his marriage Mr. Clem rented land and thus engaged in farming until 1890, when he bought one hundred and twenty acres in the west part of Platte township, there living for three years. On selling that property he purchased one hundred and eighty acres where he now resides, within a mile of his birthplace. It has been his property and his home since 1893, he having resided upon this place for fifteen years. It was one of the first settled farms of the county but was in a badly run down condition when he took possession. His practical methods, his employment of modern ideas of agriculture and his untiring industry have developed it into one of the finest farms of the present day, and he annually harvests good crops as the result of the care and labor which he bestows upon the fields. He also raises good graded stock, feeding from one to one and a half car loads of hogs annually and deriving a good income from this branch of his business.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Clem have been born nine children and with the exception of Ross, who died at the age of three years, all are still living, namely: Harley, John H., Edith, William, Ray, Everett, Warren and Elsie. Of this number Harley married Clyde Miley and follows farming in Douglas township. Edith spent two years in Drake University in Des Moines and for several terms has engaged in teaching school.

Mr. Clem was reared in the faith of the democratic party but in recent years has given his support to the republican party where state and national issues are involved, while locally he casts an independent ballot. He is a man true to his honest convictions, as is shown by his change of political allegiance, and never at any time is his position an equivocal one. On the contrary, he is a loyal advocate of what he believes to be right, whether in politics or any other lines of life. He has served as township trustee for nine years and as secretary of the school board for two years, while for another two years he was president of the board and is now holding the office. He is thoroughly in sympathy with the movement towards securing good schools and delights in what has been accomplished in this particular in his home locality. Both he and his wife are faithful and consistent members of the Christian church of Kent and do all in their power to promote its growth and extend its influence while Mr. Clem has served on the official board.

As a pioneer he is familiar with the history of the county and has seen it emerge from frontier conditions and take on all of the evidences of an advanced, modern civilization. He has aided in breaking the raw prairie and can well remember the time when broad stretches of land were covered with the native grasses, starred with the flowers of June or covered with a dazzling sheet of snow during the winter months. Only here and there had a settlement been made and Indians yet visited the neighborhood, but the work of Mr. Clem and other citizens of progressive spirit have completely transformed this part of the state, making it to bloom and blossom as a rose. In his business life his success has all been self-acquired and it has been through untiring industry that he has gained his present prosperity.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

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

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