JAMES H. FREETLY
The cultivation of his excellent homestead of one hundred and sixty acres in Warren township has engaged the attention of James H. Freetly for over thirty years. His birth occurred in Henderson county, Illinois, on the 6th of November, 1848, his parents being John L. and Mary (Robins) Freetly, natives of Pennsylvania, the father being of German extraction. Mr. Freetly, who was a linguist of unusual ability, speaking seven different languages fluently, acquired his education in Pittsburg. He was a minister of the Presbyterian church, being identified with that profession for over forty years, during the greater portion of which time he was engaged in home missionary work. During the latter years of his life he was a resident of Henderson county, Illinois, and there he passed away in December, 1896, at the age of sixty-four years. Mrs. Freetly preceded him in 1891. To Mr. and Mrs. Freetly were born seven children, the order of their birth being as follows: Margaret Jane, who is a resident of Gray, Audubon county, Iowa ; John Logan, who died in childhood ; David, who passed away at the age of eight; James H., our subject; William, who is a farmer of Gray, Audubon county, Iowa; Mary Elizabeth, also a resident of Gray; and Joseph E., who died at the age of forty-two years.
James H. Freetly was reared at home, remaining a member of the parental household until he was twenty-three years old. In the acquirement of his education he attended the district schools of Lee county and the public schools of DeKalb county, Illinois. For seven years after leaving home he herded cattle in the swamps, following which he moved to Iowa, locating in Carroll county. During the first years of his residence here he farmed as a renter in the vicinity of Arcadia. At the expiration of that time he had acquired sufficient capital to enable him to buy one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 16, which forms his present homestead. He has resided continuously on this place ever since settling here in 1879, with the exception of the year 1909 when he removed to Manning, but he returned to his farm in 1910. Mr. Freetly owns one of the well-improved and highly cultivated properties of the township, which is plentifully stocked with a high grade of cattle and hogs. He has always engaged in general farming, but also has a very fine orchard containing one hundred bearing fruit trees, which have proven to be very lucrative. One of the desirable things about this very attractive homestead is the excellent water to be found there. By means of close application and unceasing effort, assisted by Mrs. Freetly's capable supervision of the household affairs, he has acquired a very comfortable competence in addition to his homestead, besides which, in 1908, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Wells county, North Dakota.
Mr. Freetly's plans for a home of his own had their culmination in his marriage on the 25th of April, 1872, to Miss Mary E. Conner, a daughter of Martin and Harriet (Zigler) Conner. The father was a native of Butler county, Pennsylvania, of Irish extraction, his father having been born in the Emerald isle. Mr. Conner, who was a brick and stone mason, came west to Illinois in 1846, locating in the vicinity of Dixon, where he followed his trade. He came to Iowa on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. Freetly, in 1909, in December of which year he passed away, his demise occurring at the home of his son-in-law. Mrs. Conner died when her daughter Mary was in her seventeenth year. Mr. and Mrs. Conner were the parents of ten children: William E., who is a miner in Cripple Creek, Colorado; Mary E., now Mrs. Freetly ; Alonzo, an implement dealer and well driller of Harmon, Illinois; Lucius L. and Lena, twins, the former having passed away in South Dakota and the latter now a resident of Harmon, Illinois; John, who died at Woolsey, South Dakota, his death resulting from an attack of pneumonia, as did that of his brother Lucius, both passing away in one week; Agnes, who died in Pennsylvania; Anna E., the wife of A. Lenhart, a farmer of Geneva, Nebraska; Rheuamy, who died at the age of fourteen in Harmon, Illinois; and Ottis E., a retired railroad man, now interested in the sawmill and lumber business in El Paso, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Freetly became the parents of eight children. Elmer, a farmer of Calhoun county, Iowa, married Fannie Doty, of Lake City, Iowa, and they have three children, George, Velma and Claude. Elbert, who is a farmer of Boynton, Oklahoma, married Maude Sutton, of Manning, Iowa, and they have seven children : Levan, Dale, Florence, Ralph, Marian, Lois and Bessie. John M., also a farmer and a resident of Fulton, Minnesota, married Ellen Vollmer of Templeton, Iowa, and they have seven children : Glen, Frank, Otto, Cora, Hilda, Paul and Harvey. O. C., who is the fourth in order of birth, is a stock buyer at Manning, Iowa. Cora, the eldest daughter, married W. E. Wood, a farmer near Spokane, Washington, and they have become the parents of three children: Alma, Earl and Opal. Bertha, the youngest daughter and seventh in order of birth, married B. I. Harding, a farmer of North Dakota, and they have one daughter, Elva, a babe of two months. Arthur R., the sixth member of the family and Charles H., who married Marie Kortum, are both living at home. The first two sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Freetly, Elmer and Elbert, are twins. In addition to their own large family they took care of an infant daughter of A. A. Conner, Mrs. Freetly's brother, whom they reared to womanhood. She married Claudius Farrell, a farmer of Audubon county, Iowa.
The family always affiliated with the Presbyterian church of Manning, of which both Mr. and Mrs. Freetly are members, while he gives his political support to the candidates of the republican party. Although he takes an active interest in all township political affairs, Mr. Freetly has never held office save that of school director in district No. 5 of Warren township, which he retained for ten years. During a residence in the county which covers a period of over thirty years Mr. Freetly has become very well known to the citizens of his community, who hold him in high regard.