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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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Robert Colbert owns a farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 5, Douglas township, and is one of the substantial agriculturists of the community, for his place is well improved and valuable and brings to him a good financial return. He has lived in Iowa since 1868 and dates his residence in Union county from 1870. From Ireland, the land of his birth, he came to the new world in 1862, locating first in Canada, where he spent two years upon a farm. In 1864 he went to Philadelphia and there worked in a lead factory for about two years. On the expiration of that period he made his way westward to Illinois, settling at Kewanee, Henry county, where he was employed in nursery business for about two years. His next removal took him to Grinnell, Iowa, where he aided in establishing a nursery and also spent two years.

While at Kewanee, Illinois, Mr. Colbert was married there on the 30th of December, 1868, to Miss Ellen Moore, who was born in Canada but was reared in the state of New York and later removed to Illinois. They began their domestic life in Grinnell, Iowa, where they lived until 1870, coming thence to Union county, where Mr. Colbert purchased eighty acres of raw land, constituting a part of his present farm. This he broke and improved, fenced the fields and opened up the farm, to which he added from time to time by additional purchase until he is now the owner of an excellent property comprising two hundred and forty acres of very rich and valuable land. He has erected here a good two story residence, also two substantial barns and other outbuildings which furnish ample shelter for grain and stock. He has also planted an orchard and shade trees and made the farm what it is today. He likewise owns a farm a mile to the south comprising one hundred and sixty acres, now all in cultivation. He commenced life, however, empty handed but a spirit of determination has enabled him to overcome all difficulties and obstacles in his path and eventually he has reached the goal of success.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Colbert have been born four children. W. J. is married and is a prosperous agriculturist, owning and operating one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 5, Douglas township. He has three children, Robert A., Helen J. and an infant. Emma W. Colbert became the wife of C. E. Ours, who also has a farm in Douglas township, and they have three children: Ethel R., Florence V. and Carl Colbert Ours. Mary E. is the second wife of Frank D. Cherington, a farmer of Adams county, who by a former marriage had one child, while by his present wife there is one son, Loren. Frank Robert Colbert, the youngest member of the family, holds a position in an office in Seattle, Washington.

Politically Mr. Colbert is a republican. He cast his first presidential ballot for General Grant in 1868 and has supported each presidential nominee of the republican party since that time, his last vote being cast for Theodore Roosevelt. He was elected and served for a number of years in different offices of honor and trust. He served as road supervisor for over sixteen years and has been identified with the school interests. He has also been a delegate to county and state conventions. In 1892 he was elected by the legislature as a trustee for the Industrial Home for the Blind at Knoxville, Iowa, and by re-election was continued in the office for two years longer. Both he and his wife are members of the Congregational church at Cromwell. Mr. Colbert has been a resident of Iowa for forty years and has not only witnessed the growth and development of this part of the state but has helped to improve and make the county what it is today. His life has been one of industry and he is a man of tried integrity and worth, whose substantial qualities have gained for him the unqualified respect and confidence of his fellowmen.

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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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