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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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Thomas Cort is now practically living retired in Creston but still owns valuable farming interests and throughout his entire life has largely derived his income from agricultural pursuits. He was born in Leicestershire, England, August 7, 1837. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to the twelfth century. His father, John Cort, was a native of the same locality. He devoted his life to farming and, losing a large property in England, sooner than live there a poor man, he emigrated to America in 1847, Thomas Cort spending the tenth anniversary of his birth on the high seas. The family home was established in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where they lived for a long period, when in 1869 John Cort came to Union county, Iowa, settling in Platte township, where he purchased a tract of land. After the death of his wife he lived with his children until his demise, which occurred on the 10th of February, 1878, when he was sixty-eight years of age. In politics he was a republican. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Ann Carter, and was born in England, was killed by lightning while in her cellar skimming milk in 1873. She was at that time fifty-nine years of age and was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal church. In their family were ten children, four sons and six daughters. John, now deceased, was a member of Company H, Thirty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil war. He was but seventeen years of age when he enlisted in 1861, serving until the close of hostilities. He was shot in the leg at Stone river, was captured and spent two months in Libby prison.

Thomas Cort, one of the four surviving members of the Cort family, was reared on a farm and attended school in England. When a lad he was in classes in which some of the members were twenty-one years of age. He displayed particular aptitude as a student in mathematics and one of the strong features of his life has been his clear insight into business and other problems. Throughout his business career he has devoted his time and attention to farming and he owns two hundred acres of land in Platte township, where he lived until 1894, when he came to Creston to assume the duties of the office of county treasurer. He served in that position for four years and declined a third nomination, after which he returned to the farm. He has bred Poland China hogs and raised a number of cattle for the market. He continued to reside upon his farm until 1906, when he again took up his abode in Creston. While the active work of the farm is left to others, he still gives general supervision to his place and is deeply interested in all that pertains to the agricultural development of this section of the state.

The only interruption that has come in his active business career was occasioned by his service in the Civil war. In March, 1864, he responded to the country’s call, enlisting in Company K, Fifteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, with which he was mustered out in October, 1865, at Springfield, Illinois. The regiment was afterward ordered to Utah, where Mr. Cort saw service. During the progress of hostilities between the north and the south he participated in the battles between Resaca and Atlanta, also in the celebrated march to the sea and later took part in the grand review at Washington, where the victorious army marched through the streets of the city, cheered by countless thousands. He is now a loyal member of Union Post, G. A. R.

On the 25th of October, 1866, Mr. Cort was married to Miss Ann Borland, who was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and died November 26, 1896, at the age of forty-eight years. In their family were eleven children: Mora, who was born October 9, 1867, became the wife of George Benson, a plasterer of Oklahoma; Myrtle, deceased; James, born December 31, 1870, who is a
machinist of Hannibal, Missouri; Mollie, born January 6, 1873, who is employed as a bookkeeper in Des Moines; Margaret, born December 15, 1875, the wife of T. Master, an agriculturalist of Platte township; Charles, born March 9, 1877 who is an engineer on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, running between Mexico, Missouri and St. Louis; Thomas, Jr., whose birth occurred June 20, 1879, and who is in the railroad service in Oklahoma; Alma and Laura, twins, born August 13, 1883; John, who was born July 29, 1887, and is a resident of South Dakota; and Vera, born August 13, 1890, who is a music teacher.

Mr. Cort is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which he is serving as a trustee and in its work he is much interested. His political allegiance has been given to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise and, as every true American citizen should do, he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. For six years he was a member of the board of supervisors, serving in that capacity when the county seat was removed from Afton to Creston. For one year he was chairman of the board. In this office and also as county treasurer he displayed the utmost fidelity, so that over the record of his official career as well as his private life there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. In business circles, too, he has been thoroughly reliable and trustworthy and throughout the long years of his residence in Union county has commanded the respect and good will of all with whom he has been associated.

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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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