JAMES HUMISTON, one of Woodburn’s active business men, was born at Wallingford, New Haven County, Connecticut, August 16, 1835. His parents, Charles and Lucy (Bronson) Humiston, were natives of Connecticut. His father died in that State in 1842. His widow and her four children, James, John, Ann E. and Lucy A., emigrated to Iowa in 1845, six months before its admission into the union, and settled upon a farm in Louisa County. James left home when eighteen years of age, and learned the tinner’s trade at Wapello and Muscatine. In 1857 he established himself in the hardware business at Wapello. One year later he was carried by the gold fever to California, remaining only part of a year. He then returned and engaged in farming in Louisa County. September 16, 1861, Mr. Humiston enlisted in Company K, Engineer Corps, known as “The Engineer Regiment of the West.” He entered the service under Fremont; later the regiment was under Generals Halleck, Grant and Sherman. Mr. Humiston was in action at New Madrid, Island No. 10, siege of Corinth, battle of Corinth in 1862, siege of Vicksburg, in the campaign under Sherman culminating in the capture of Atlanta, and battle at Jonesboro. At the expiration of his term of service, in November, 1864, as non-commissioned officer he was honorably discharged. He passed through the entire service unscathed and without a day’s sickness. He returned to Louisa County and engaged in farming, then purchased a land claim in Neosho County, Kansas. Not liking that climate, he returned to Louisa County in 1871, remaining two years; then went to Boone County, farming one year; then to Clarke County. Two years following he was landlord of the Buckeye House at Woodburn, also engaged in the hardware and implements trade. In 1880 he bought the dry-goods and grocery store there, then owned by J. Findlay Smith. The latter business he has prosecuted vigorously up to the present date. New Year’s eve, 1856, Mr. Humiston was united in marriage with Miss Sarah E. Trible, in Louisa County. They have had nine children, seven living – Ellen J., wife of George S. Zaller, of Cedar Rapids; Charles P., died February 4, 1886, aged twenty-seven years; Horace L., died April 23, 1886, aged twenty-four years and nine months; Lucy, wife of J.S. Hill; Hattie, a teacher; Arthur, a clerk in his father’s store; Edith, Iola and Sadie. The death of his two sons, promising young men of whom so much was hoped for, was a terrible shock to the bereaved family, caused universal sympathy and regret. Mr. Humiston’s mother lives in the old home in Marshall Township, Louisa County, occupying the first frame house built in that township. She is now in her eightieth year, and still retains her mental and physical vigor to a remarkable degree. Mr. Humiston entered the army a war Democrat, and was a follower of Stephen A. Douglas. Since the war he has been an ardent Republican. He is a member of Davenport Post, No. 385, G.A.R. He owns a house and two lots in Osceola, and a fine residence in Woodburn, besides his business property.
SOURCE: Biographical and Historical Record of Clarke County, Iowa, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1886 p. 324-5