J. H. Chrisman, who some years ago retired from active business life and now makes his home in Knoxville, has
been a resident of Knox county for more than half a century, having taken up his abode here in the fall of 1861.
He has been an interested witness of the changes which have since occurred and his memory forms a connecting link
between the primitive past and the progressive present.
Mr. Chrisman was born in Clark county, Indiana, September 1, 1839, a son of David and Elizabeth M. (Robertson)
Chrisman, who were likewise natives of Clark county, the former born in 1813 and the latter in 1816. Mrs. Chrisman
was a daughter of Eli Robertson, on whose farm was built the first Methodist church in the state of Indiana. When
their son, J. H. Chrisman, was but two years of age the parents removed with their family from Clark county to
Laporte county, Indiana, settling in the town of New Durham, where the family home was maintained for about eighteen
years. In 1859 a removal was made to Missouri and in the fall of 1861 they came to Iowa, becoming residents of
Marion county. The father was a strong anti slavery man. Living close to the Kentucky border, he saw the evil effects
of slavery and early imbued his children with the same spirit of hatred and opposition to the institution. That
his lessons took deep root is shown in the fact that several of his sons served in the Civil war. David Chrisman
voted, the whig ticket until the organization of the republican party and all of his sons save one have followed
in his footsteps. He was ever a man of high and honorable purpose and was for a half century a local minister of
the Methodist church, the religious faith of both the paternal and maternal ancestors of J. H. Chrisman being that
of Methodism. The father died at his home in Knoxville township in October, 189o, on his seventy seventh birthday,
and his wife survived until April, 1899, passing away in Knoxville. In their family were eight children. W. T.,
the oldest, enlisted in Company A, Thirty third Iowa Infantry, on the 11th of August, 1862, and died and was buried
at Mound City, Illinois, on the 1 th of August, 1863, just a year after he had enrolled as one of the "Boys
in blue." J. H. is the next of the family. David enlisted as chief musician in Company A, Fortieth Iowa Regiment.
E. R. is a resident of Fall Brook, California. Mrs. Mary J. Burzett died at Liberty Center, Warren country, Iowa,
a number of years ago. L. W., who enlisted for one hundred days' service as a member of Captain McCormick's company,
formed in Knoxville, served until the close of the war and is now living in San Diego, California. J. F. is a resident
of Guide Rock, Nebraska, and H. W. is living at Mojave, California.
J. H. Chrisman spent the greater part of his youth in Laporte went to Missouri. Two years later he arrived in Marion
county, county, Indiana, and was a young man of twenty years when the family where he has since remained and he
has ever been numbered among the worthy and respected citizens of his part of the state. On the 22d of April, 1869,
he was united in marriage to Miss Eliza A. Hodges, of Knoxville, Iowa, and they removed to a farm six miles east
of the town, on the Pella road. Mr. Chrisman bent his energies to the development and improvement of that place
and followed that occupation until nine years ago, when he removed to Knoxville and put aside the active cares
of business life. He had brought his farm to a high state of cultivation, had added to it many modern accessories
and conveniences, and as the result of his careful management had acquired a substantial competence as the years
went by. To him and his wife were born four children: W. T., who is now living at Long Beach, California; Ora G.,
now the wife of M. R. Voorhees, of Kansas City, Missouri; Gertrude, at home; and James G. B., who is living on
a farm in Knoxville township.
An important chapter in the life history of J. H. Chrisman is that which covers his service as a soldier of the
Civil war. He enlisted as a member of Company A, Thirty third Iowa Infantry, under Major C. B. Boydston, and was
with that command on every campaign save the one to Little Rock. His military history is that of the Thirty third
Iowa and with his command he participated in many hotly contested engagements. Today there is scarcely a member
of the old company remaining, four or five living in Knoxville or vicinity. His family have every reason to be
proud of his war record, for he was among those who won for Iowa her splendid reputation in connection with the
defense of the Union. Mr. Chrisman has adhered to the religious faith of the family. His moral standards are high
and he has lived up to them. One who knows him well said : "His word is as good as his bond; he is the soul
of honor and the better one knows him the greater the respect and the warmer the friendship. His home life has
been beautiful and satisfying and in it he has found his chief enjoyment."
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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