James M. May is now living retired at the venerable age of eighty years, making his home in Columbia, where
he has resided for more than a quarter of a century and where for a number of years he was actively and successfully
identified with mercantile interests. His birth occurred in Indiana on the 25th of July, 1834, his parents being
G. W. and Mary (Wood) May, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. They were married in Indiana and continued to
reside in that state until called to their final rest. G. W. May went to the Hoosier state as early as 1814 and
took up his abode in the timber, living in log cabins for many years. He was an agriculturist by occupation and
undertook the arduous task of developing a farm, first grubbing out the stumps and performing the other difficult
labor necessary in a new district. To him and his wife were born two children.
James M. May received a common school education in his youth and remained under the parental roof until he had
attained his majority. Subsequently he bought a farm in Indiana and devoted his attention to its operation until
1861, when he removed to Monroe county, Iowa, there purchasing and locating on a tract of land comprising eighty
acres. He cultivated that property until 1887 and in that year came to Columbia, Marion county, where he has resided
continuously since. He was first engaged in business as a general merchant for three years, on the expiration of
which period he sold out and embarked in the hardware business, enjoying a gratifying patronage in that connection
until he disposed of the enterprise and retired. He still owns sixty three acres of land on sections 6 and 27,
in Washington and Cedar townships, and is widely recognized as one of the substantial and respected citizens of
his adopted county.
In 185 Mr. May was united in marriage to Miss Susan Harned, a native of Indiana and a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth
(Real) Harned, who were born in Indiana and passed away in Marion county, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. May became the parents
of six children, as follows: G. W., who is engagcd in business as a merchant of Columbia; Thomas V., an agriculturist
of this county; John H., who is a resident of Ringgold county, Iowa; Elizabeth, who is the wife of W. S. Long,
of Lucas county, Iowa; William B., living on the old homestead; and Rachel, who gave her hand in marriage to Buel
Maddy. Both Mr. and Mrs. Maddy are deceased.
Mr. May is a republican in his political views and has ably served as justice of the peace for eighteen years,
while for twenty years he has acted in the capacity of school director, making a most creditable record in public
office. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons, belonging to Tyre Lodge, No. 185, A. F. & A. M., of which
he has been treasurer since 1894. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal
church, in which he has served as class leader for years and to which his wife also belongs. They are widely and
favorably known throughout the community, having won the unqualified confidence and regard of all with whom they
have come in contact.
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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