James H. Letts, the heaviest stock feeder and one of the most extensive landowners of Louisa county, his holdings
aggregating fifteen hundred acres, is in possession of one of the best improved farms within its borders. He makes
his home in Concord township and is widely recognized as one of the leading and respected residents of the community.
His birth occurred in Grand View township, Louisa county, Iowa, on the 27th of April, 1855, his parents being Nehemiah
M. and Jane (Holderman) Letts, both of whom were natives of Ohio, the former born in Licking county and the latter
in Marion county. They were married near Ottawa, Illinois, and there continued to reside until 1853, when they
came west to Louisa county, Iowa, settling in Grand View township. Nehemiah M. Letts there purchased a tract of
land comprising three hundred and twenty acres and turned his attention to its further cultivation and improvement.
From time to time he augmented his holdings by additional purchase until they embraced two thousand acres of land.
In 1882, however, he put aside the active work of the fields and rented his entire farm to his four sons. He likewise
owned a tract of ninety two hundred acres in southwestern Texas and after his retirement spent the winter seasons
in that state, returning to Iowa for the summer months. His demise occurred in May, 1894.
Nehemiah M. Letts was married three times, his first union being with a Miss Grove, whom he wedded in Illinois
and by whom he had two children, namely: Rowena, who is the widow of E. F. Brockway, and resides in Grand View
township; and David G., who passed away in Washington county, Iowa, when forty years of age. Unto Nehemiah M. and
Jane (Holderman) Letts were born six children, as follows: William H., who died when forty nine years of age; James
H., of this review; Hilton M., a heavy landowner residing in Columbus City, Iowa, whose demise occurred in 1911;
Emma S., the wife of John Waters, of Santa Cruz, California; Noah R., who is a resident of Letts, Iowa; and Emery,
who died in infancy. The wife and mother passed away in 1863, and two years later Mr. Letts married Mrs. Adelia
Sawyer, a native of Rochester, New York.
James H. Letts enjoyed the advantages of a high school education and also attended college for one year. When twenty
one years of age he started out as an agriculturist on his own account and has since been busily engaged in the
On the 1st of March, 1877, Mr. Letts was married to Miss Mary M. Hendrics, who was born in Muscatine county, Iowa,
February 1, 1855, her parents being Henry and Margaret (Dinwiddie) Hendrics, of Ohio and Kentucky respectively.
Mr. Hendrics was twice married, his first wife being Theodosia Willits. To them seven children were born, four
of whom are living: William Hendrics. residing near Letts, Iowa; Mrs. Ellen Wagner, of Ashland, Oregon; Ira Hendrics,
of Avalon; Missouri; and Mrs. Melissa Long, of Pittsburg, Pa. In the '40s Mr. and Mrs. Hendrics took up their abode
among the pioneers of Muscatine county, Iowa, where he operated a farm during the remainder of his life time. His
wife died in 1848. In 185o Mr. Hendrics was united in marriage to Margaret Dinwiddie Whitacer, and to them three
children were born, but Mrs. Letts is the only one living. Mr. Hendrics was called to his final rest in May, 1893.
His wife died in October, 1895.
Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Letts have three children. Vinnie D. is a graduate of three colleges, the Western Preparatory
College of Oxford, Ohio, the College of Liberal Arts of Oberlin, Ohio, and College of Oratory, Cornell, Iowa. In
1908 she gave her hand in marriage to Clyde Turkington, of Loveland, Colorado. Adelia P., the second daughter,
is also a graduate of the Western Preparatory College, of Oxford, Ohio, and later was a student in Oberlin College.
Harland D. is a graduate of Cornell College Preparatory and also spent two years in collegiate work there. At present
he is a student in the University of Wisconsin. Mr. Letts is a stanch republican in politics but has never sought
office as a reward for his party fealty. In the county where his entire life has been spent he is widely and favorably
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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