Biography of Thomas Winters
Audubon County, IA Biographies


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THOMAS WINTERS, who may be numbered among the pioneer settlers of Audubon County, Iowa, was born in Yorkshire, England, November 5, 1833. He is a son of John and Mary Winters, who emigrated to America when Thomas was one year old; they landed on Long Island, where they were shipwrecked, having intended to land in New York City. They crossed the Eastern States to Upper Canada, and stopped in Brantford, where they settled permanently and lived the remainder of their days. The father was a shoemaker by trade. At the age of fifteen years Thomas left home to learn the carpenter's trade, and served an apprenticeship of five years. After this period of time he worked as a journeyman on the tailroad through Canada, building bridges on the Great Western. He then left the British dominion and caine to the United States, spending two years in Michigan and one in Missouri; from Missouri he went to work on a farm in Mercer County, Illinois, and remained there one year. In the year 1862, when there was a call for men to defend this country's flag, he entered the army, enlisting in Company G, One Hundred and second Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He remained in Illinois some time; was then ordered south through Kentucky and Tennessee, and joined Sherman's army, participating in the campaign from Nashville through to Savannah; then hack through the Carolinas on to Washington, D. C., where he took part in the grand review. After being honorably discharged and receiving his pay he returned to his home and engaged in agricultural pursuits for the three years following. In the fall of 1868 he removed with his family to Audubon County, settling on what was known as the swamp land. The following spring he bought of the American Swamp Land Company eighty acres of land on the Nishnabotna River, in what is now Viola Township; the county had not been divided into townships at that time. Mr. Winters broke out his land and built a shanty, into which he moved his family. He had no neighbors, and his nearest market-place was Glidden, Carroll County, Iowa, at a distance requiring two days to make the trip. All the hardships met by pioneers were endured by Mr. Winters and his family. The second winter they spent in Exira, returning to the farm in the spring. The farm is rich bottom land, finely located, and well stocked with hogs and cattle of high grades. Being a carpenter by trade, Mr. Winters. built his own home. the lumber for which was sawed at the mill of Nathaniel Hamlin, the first settler of the county. In 1861 Mr. Winters was married to Susanna Wheeler, a daughter of Caleb Wheeler; she was born in Ohio, but was a resident of Mercer County, Illinois, at the time of her marriage. Eight children have been born to this union - Eva, Blanche, Nora, Laura, Minnie, Mary, Lois and George. Little Eva died at the age of four years. Death again came into the happy home and called away Lois, the youngest girl, a bright child of ten years. She died May 14, 1888. Mr. Winters has represented his township as treasurer, and as school director. He is a member of the G. A. R. Politically he affiliates with the Democratic party.

Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties Iowa
W. S. Dunbar & Co., Publishers.
Chiago, 1889.