Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

JAMES B. STURDIVAN, a farmer residing on section 3, Westphalia Township, is numbered among the early settlers of Anderson County of 1859. His residence in the state dates from 1857. He was born in Wayne County, Ill., October 23, 1834, and is a son of William and Mary Ann (Fulton) Sturdivan. His grandfather, Stephen Sturdivan, was a native of Vermont, but removed to Tennessee and there reared his family. The father of our subject was born in the latter state, but attained his majority in Indiana. When a young man he went to Wayne County, Ill., where he married Miss Fulton, and with his wife removed to Rock Island County, becoming one of its early settlers and the owner of a fine farm. His death occurred there March 7, 1858, and his wife passed away in March, 1868. Their family numbered eight children, of whom James is the eldest; Stephen resides in Iowa; Mary Ann is the wife of Peter Noah, of Grinnell, Iowa; Martha is now Mrs. Van Metcalf, of Poweshiek County. Iowa; William is living in Sheldon, Iowa; John T. makes his home in Pocahontas, Iowa; Jane was the wife of Elias Clifton and died in Rock Island County, Ill., and Eliza is the wife of Nathan Sparks, of Pocahontas County, Iowa.

In taking up the sketch of our subject we present our readers the life record of one of Anderson County's prominent agriculturists. He was reared upon his father's farm and remained in Illinois until 1857, when he accompanied his uncle, David Sturdivan, to Kansas, locating in Jefferson County, where he followed any means of livelihood whereby he could earn an honest dollar. In 1858, he married Ellen Jones, daughter of Vincent and Lottie Jones, and a native of Missouri. The following year he took up a claim, the farm upon which he now resides, and as soon as the land came into market entered it from the Government. In 1860, he returned to Illinois, and for some time made his home in Rock Island County. In 1865, he enlisted in Company A, One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Illinois Infantry, and served for seven months as a defender of the Union.

In 1882, Mr. Sturdivan was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died leaving seven children, William, Marion, Oliver, Elmer, Stephen, Emma and Anna. In 1884, our subject was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary Starkey. She was born in Germany, August 15, 1839, and is a daughter of Hiram and Mary Angeline Bolson. Her mother died in Germany, leaving five children, Charles, John, Edward, Henry and Mary. Mr. Bolson was again married, and in 1843 emigrated to the United States. He settled in Philadelphia, and thence removed to Jersey City. By trade he was a blacksmith. In 1858 the family came to Kansas, locating in Anderson County, where Mary Bolson became the wife of William Starkey, who died in 1872. they had two daughters: Nancy, wife of Frank Kellogg, and Ida.

Mr. Sturdivan returned to Kansas in 1866, and has since lived upon his present farm, where he now has two hundred and eighty-five acres of valuable land. He follows general farming and stock-raising, having dealt extensively in stock for many years. He is a man of good business ability, sagacious and enterprising, and has acquired a handsome property. Himself and wife are well known throughout this community, and it is with pleasure that we present the record of this worthy couple to our readers.

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