Lyman A. Longley, deceased, was one of the honored native sons of Poweshiek county, whose farm of three hundred
and twenty acres in Jasper county, near Grinnell, is now the home of his widow and children. To him belonged the
distinction of having been the first male white child born in Chester township, his birth occurring on the 6th
of July, 1861. For many years he was a prominent farmer and business man of this section and at his death, in 1909,
the community mourned the loss of one of its valued citizens. His father, Amos L. Longley, was a native of Maine
and died when our subject was only three years old. He owned a farm of eighty acres of land in Chester township,
north of Grinnell, and upon that place made his home until his death. His widow, who bore the maiden name of Cordelia
Bigelow, was also a native of the Pine Tree state. After his death she became the wife of Benoni Howard, who was
born in Massachusetts, and from that state removed to Princeton, Illinois, in 1854, the journey being made by rail.
It was his intention to locate at Princeton, but, finding land too high for his resources, he decided to come farther
west. Proceeding to Rock Island, he walked from that city to Vinton, Iowa, in search of a location and later went
to Tama county. Not being satisfied with the outlook there, he came to Sugar Creek township, Poweshiek county,
where timber was plentiful and conditions appeared more favorable than in the localities where he had previously
stopped. He assisted in the original survey of the city of Grinnell and also in stoning up the first well that
was dug there. After the surveyors had completed their work, however, it was found that the well was in the middle
of the street and it was necessarily abandoned.
Lyman A. Longley attended the common schools during his boyhood and youth and was reared upon his stepfather's
farm, displaying in early life an adaptability for farming and stock raising. Subsequently he served for ten years
as mail clerk and also engaged in the meat business for three years, but his life was principally devoted to farming
and in 1882 he acquired one hundred and sixty acres of land, including the old homestead. In 1908 he began the
erection of a handsome residence, containing all modern improvements, but did not live to see its completion. The
family estate now comprises three hundred. and twenty acres of well improved and valuable land.
On the 14th of September, 1882, Mr. Longley was united in marriage to Miss Alice Howard, a daughter of Benoni Howard,
his stepfather, and they became the parents of two children, Ethel Cordelia and Ralph Lyman, both of whom are now
living with their mother on the home farm, the son having charge of the place, which under his management is producing
Mr. Longley gave his support to the republican party but never aspired to public office, preferring to devote his
attention to business affairs. He was a sincere believer in the authority of the Bible and an earnest member of
the Congregational church. He was recognized as a man of honesty and ability a natural gentleman whose kindly and
obliging disposition readily attracted friends wherever he was known. A good farmer and a clear headed business
man, his opinion on business affairs was accepted as authority and by his associates he was greatly respected for
his enterprising spirit and genial nature and for his consideration of others, which was apparent in all his relations
with his fellowmen.
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Poweshiek County, IA
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