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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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When Union county was largely a tract of wild, unbroken prairie, when its homes were widely scattered and its now thriving towns and cities were small villages or had not yet been established, Nathan Burgess took up his abode within its borders. Here he has lived for thirty-seven years and now owns and cultivates a farm of one hundred and sixty acres situated on sections 16 and 21. It is a neat and well improved place and a glance indicates to the passerby the care and labor which the owner bestows upon it. He was born in Delaware county, Indiana, March 23, 1841.

His father, Joseph Burgess, was a native of Licking county, Ohio, and there he married Margaret Losh, a native of Pennsylvania. They began their domestic life upon a farm in Licking county but afterward removed to Delaware county, Indiana, where the father opened up a new farm, clearing the land and planting the first crops. There as he carried on farm work he also reared his family and it was sometime afterward before he came to Iowa. He afterward joined a son in Kansas but died the very day of his arrival, being at the time seventy-five years of age. The family numbered seven sons and five daughters, of whom five of the sons and the daughters reached mature years. At the present time three of the sons and two of the daughters are living.

Nathan Burgess was reared to manhood on the old homestead farm and is largely a self-educated man, having little opportunity to attend school in his youth. He made preparations for having a home of his own by his marriage on the 25th of June, 1863, to Miss Nancy Kemmer, who was born and reared in Fayette county, Indiana, a daughter of Samuel Kemmer, who was a native of Kentucky but was reared in Pennsylvania. He became an early settler of Fayette county, Indiana, and afterward removed to Delaware county, that state. Mr. and Mrs. Burgess remained in Indiana until 1863, when they became residents of Peoria county, Illinois, settling on a farm which they made their home until 1870. In that year they removed to Union county, where Mr. Burgess rented a tract of land, which he cultivated for two years. He then bought forty acres which he farmed and also rented other land adjacent to his home place. In 1887 he took up his abode upon the farm where he now resides. He first rented it and when he had acquired sufficient capital through his untiring industry and careful expenditure he bought one hundred and ten acres of the place and later added an adjoining tract of forty acres. This he cultivated and further improved, making it one of the fine farm properties of the township. In 1905 he built an attractive modern residence, the first meal in the new home being the 4th of July dinner. In connection with the raising of cereals best adapted to soil and climate he also raises and feeds stock. His life has been characterized by activity and energy and in his farm work he displays marked aptitude for successful management.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Burgess have been born two sons and four daughters: Marietta, the wife of Lew McKimpson, a resident farmer of Jones township; William A., who owns a farm in Union county but is now in Kansas; John, who wedded Alice Aken and resides upon the home farm, which he assists his father in cultivating and improving; Sarah Jane, the wife of Ash McKimpson; Laura May, the wife of Dr. F. George Johnson, of Athelstan, Iowa; and Nora, the wife of J. Wood, of Wright county, Iowa.

In his political views Mr. Burgess has been an earnest republican, supporting each presidential nominee of the party since casting his first vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. He has been officially identified with the schools for years and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. His wife is a member of the United Brethren church. They are a most highly esteemed couple, enjoying the warm regard of all who know them. Mr. Burgess commenced life empty-handed but has steadily progressed toward the goal of success, overcoming all obstacles and difficulties by determined and honorable purpose. He has ever been an active and useful citizen of the county, where he is most widely and favorably known.

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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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