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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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John Henry Ours, now living retired in Creston, although in former years closely, actively and successfully connected with the agricultural interests of the county, deserves much credit for what he has accomplished, as his strong will, steadfast purpose and unabating energy have been the salient elements in his success.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was born in the year 1839 and is descended in the paternal line from Irish ancestry and in the maternal from German. His parents were Joseph and Catherine (Newhard) Ours, the former born in Ohio, and the latter in Pennsylvania. The father was a millwright by trade and operated a flouring mill in Pennsylvania, to which state he removed about 1835. There he lived for almost a quarter of century, coming to Iowa in 1859, at which time he settled on a farm in Muscatine county, there spending his remaining days, his death occurring in February, 1885, when he was in his seventy-third year. He was prosperous in his undertakings, being practical in his farm work and possessing good business ability. He held membership in the German Reform church and was a republican in politics. His interest in community affairs was indicated by his able service in public offices, to which he was called by the vote of his fellow townsmen. Those who knew him entertained for him high regard and respected him for his careful and honorable business methods. His wife died in May, 1885, in her sixty-sixth year, thus surviving him for only a few months. She, too, was a member of the same church. Her father, John Newhard, was one of the heroes of the Revolutionary war, aiding in the cause for independence.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Ours numbered nine children. John Henry, whose name introduces this review, is the eldest. Anna is the next in order of birth. Rebecca is the widow of L. F. Creitz and makes her home in Muscatine county, Iowa. George, now a resident of North Dakota, enlisted in the fall of 1861 for service in the Civil war, as a member of Company D, Eleventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He served until the close of hostilities, taking part in many important engagements and was with Sherman on his celebrated march to the sea and in the grand review at Washington. Millie is the wife of Joseph McConnell, who follows carpentering in Seattle, Washington. Isaiah is a harness dealer of Randolph, Nebraska. Emma is the wife of George Geis, who is notary public and is engaged in the insurance business in Logansport, Indiana. Effie is the wife of William Dunsmore, who is employed by the Rock Island Railroad Company and makes his home in Rock Island. Mary is deceased.

John Henry Ours, whose name introduces this record, was reared on the old homestead farm, early becoming familiar with the work of field and meadow. He pursued a common-school education when not busy in the fields and after putting aside his text-books he concentrated his energies entirely upon general agricultural pursuits. He came to Iowa with his parents in 1859 and in 1871 settled in Union county, locating in Douglas township, where he had one hundred and sixty acres of land. There he resided until 1894, when he removed to Adams township, where he made his home until 1904. In that year he retired and took up his abode in Creston, where he is now living. He has been quite successful, for as the years have passed his careful tilling of the soil resulted in the gathering of good harvests.

The only interruption to his active life of farming came when, in the fall of 1862 he responded to the country’s call for aid, enlisting at Muscatine, Iowa, as a member of Company G, Thirty-fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. With that command he served until the close of the war and was with Sherman until the latter’s march to the sea, when his regiment was sent to Memphis, Tennessee. He was second sergeant and was always found at his post of duty, faithfully performing any task that was assigned him in connection with his military service. For four years after the war he assisted his father in carrying the mails in his district.

In the spring of 1866 Mr. Ours was married to Miss Anna E. Hartman, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1842, a daughter of George and Judith Hartman. Her father was a farmer of German ancestry, and in the spring of 1855 came to the middle west, living for a time in Muscatine county, Iowa, while in 1869 he came, to Union county, where he spent his remaining days. Mrs. Ours was the seventh in a family of eleven children, and by her marriage has become the mother of four children: Luella, the wife of Alonzo Howell, a real-estate dealer of Creston; Charles E., of Douglas township; George W., a farmer of Adams county; and Edith, the wife of Freeman Kinkead, a farmer of Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Ours have six grandchildren.

They are members of the Congregational church and Mr. Ours maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in Potter Post, G. A. R. He has always been a stalwart republican and in matters of citizenship is as true and loyal to his country as when he followed the old flag upon southern battlefields. He has at all times been found reliable in the conduct of his business affairs and it has been through earnest, unremitting labor that he has won honorable success.

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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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