George Cecil, a resident farmer of Liberty township, is a self-made man who, starting out in business life at
the early age of twelve years, is today a prosperous agriculturist owning and cultivating two hundred and fifteen
acres of valuable and productive land in the township where his entire life has been spent. Hem was born in Liberty
township in 1866, a son of Abraham and Rachel (McBane) Cecil, both of whom were natives of Tuscarawas county, Ohio.
The father, who was born in 1832, passed away in 1871. In early life he engaged in farm work in his native state
but heeded the advice of Horace Greeley: "Go west, young man, go west," and made his way over the country
to Buchanan county, where he arrived in 1850. He found here a section of the state in which the work of modern
civilization and improvement had scarcely been begun. In fact there were all the evidences of pioneer life. There
were no schools, no churches and but few houses and those were mostly built of logs. He took up government land
and the property which thus came into his possession as a claim is now owned by his son George. He had to break
the sod and perform other arduous tasks incident to the development of new land and as the years went on he achieved
a measure of success which was most gratifying, coming to him as it did as the reward of persistent, earnest and
arduous effort. He was the owner of one hundred and twenty acres and through his labors his farm became very productive.
He was a man of sterling worth but of retiring disposition.
George Cecil was the youngest in a family of ten children, five of whom are yet living in Buchanan county. He attended
the district schools but his education opportunities were quite limited owing to the fact that his services were
early needed upon the home farm. He began to work as a farm hand in the neighborhood when twelve years of age and
was thus employed until he attained his majority, when he began farming on his own account. He now owns the old
homestead property which his father entered as a claim from the government but to this has added from time to time
until he is the possessor of a valuable farm of two hundred and fifteen acres in Liberty township, constituting
one of the good farms of that locality. He cultivates the cereals best adapted to soil and climate and is also
successfully engaged in raising stock, deriving a substantial income from both branches of his business.
On the 19th of March, 1889, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Cecil and Miss Jennie Roberts, who was born in Ohio,
a daughter of John and Esther (Bateman) Roberts. The father was born in the north of Ireland in 1813 and died in
1882, while the mother, a native of New Brunswick, was born in 1830 and is still living at the advanced age of
eighty-four years. When only a boy John Roberts crossed the Atlantic from Ireland to New Brunswick and there lived
until 1865, when he came to the United States, settling first in Ohio. The year 1878 witnessed his arrival in Buchanan
county, where he continued to engage in general farming and stock-raising, which had hitherto occupied his attention.
He became a naturalized American citizen and, though never a politician, he supported those measures and movements
which he deemed of benefit to his community. He was an active member of the Methodist church.
Mr. Cecil holds membership with the Modern Woodmen of America in the camp at Independence. He is well known in
the county where his entire life has been spent and where he has so directed his efforts as to win success. He
certainly deserves great credit for what he has accomplished. Denied advantages which other boys enjoy, he nevertheless
has cultivated the substantial qualities of industry, enterprise and integrity which lead to success and is today
one of the substantial farmers of Liberty township.
History of Bachanan County, Iowa
And its People
By Harry Church and Katharyn J. Chappell
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Bachanan County, IA
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