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History of Harrison County Iowa
published 1915, page 544-46.



     It is always interesting for the biographer to recount the careers of men who have been successful in their vocations, whatever their vocations may be. Physical labor is a mere incident of successful farming today and farming has become such a wonderful business that it offers unlimited opportunities to men of great mental ability. Marvin S. Moats, one of the most enterprisng farmers of Harrison County, Iowa, now retired, has gained a reputation which extends throughout the State of Iowa for his success as a breeder of fine stock.

     Marvin S. Moats was born March 9, 1856, in Clayton County, Iowa, the son of Peter and Caroline (Estellabaugher) Moats, natives of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and Germany, respectively. His mother came to the United States when a child about nine years old. His parents came to Harrison County in 1869, having possibly been among the early settlers in Clayton County, Iowa. They were the parents of nine children, of whom Marvin S. was the eighth child.

     Marvin S. Moats lived at home until he ws twenty-three years old, at which time he married. He rented land in Harrison County for seven years, and in 1886 moved to Wayne County, Nebraska, where he rented land for five years more and then bought three-quarters of a section of land. He paid fifteen dollars an acre for one half of the section and twenty dollars an acre for the other quarter section. He sold it in 1909 for seventy-five dollars an acre and came back to Harrison County, Iowa, where he bought three hundred and twenty two and one half acres in sections 6 and 12 of St. Johns township. This farm was improved by the erection of a large eight-room house and other minor improvements. In 1914, Mr. Moats built a large barn and has built the latest and most comfortable hog houses, now having one of the best improved farms in Harrison county. the farm and house being situated on the Lincoln Highway, the farm is known as "The Lincoln Highway Stock Farm."

     On March 16, 1879, Mr. Moats was married to Lydia Cox, who was born January 12, 1857, the daughter of Andrew R. and Barbara J. (Deal) Cox. Her father was born in Dayton, Ohio, but the family soon moved to Indiana where they lived until 1850, when they came to Iowa, first locating near Loveland. Mrs. Moats was born near Missouri Valley, Iowa.

     Mr. Moats' father was one of the organizers of St. Johns township, Harrison County. They were among the first settlers of the county. The first two elections in St. Johns township were held at his home, and in 1852 his home was the only one between St. Johns and Logan.

     To Mr. and Mrs. Marvin S. Moats ten children have been born: Letha Burl, Garnet, Ray, Earl, Carrie, Hyrel, Miles, Clayton, Ralph, and Berniece. Letha Burn, born December 11, 1880, married T.A. Jackson and lives at Shoals, Nebraska. They have five children: Wayne, Dorothy, Ruby, Waldo, and Milo, the two latter being twins. Garnet, born June 8, 1882, married James H. Parker and lives in Pender, Nebraska. They have six children: Reginald, Doris, Harold, Lucile, Lurane and Fern. Ray, born November 7, 1884, married Edna Stoddard and lives in Chicago, Illinois. They have one daughter, Dorothy. Earl, born September 13, 1886, married Mae Parker and lives in Kirksville, Missouri. They have three children: Mildred, Evelyn and Lavaughn. Carrie, born December 13, 1887, marrried B.H. Divelbess and lives in Harrison County, near Logan. They have one daughter, Elizabeth. Hyrel, born June 27, 1889, married Henry Wriedt and lives in Emerson, Nebraska. Miles, born April 12, 1891; Clayton, born August 17, 1893; Ralph, born September 11, 1896; and Berniece, born April 26, 1899 are still at home.

     In 1882, Mr. Moats took up the breeding of thoroughbred Duroc-Jersey hogs. His first Animals were Cap Hill, Jane, and Beauty. He got them from John Orr in LaGrange township. He has developed his herd until he has some of the finest hogs in Iowa and Nebraska. He has shown them at the state fairs at Des Moines and Lincoln, and has always taken prizes. He sold one boar that had won the first prize at the Nebraska state fair, for one thousand dollars. He then went to Des Moines and bought a boar, Proud Chief, for one thousand dollars. One year later, he sold a half interest in this hog for seven hundred and seventy five dollars and refused twelve hundred dollars for him several times. In February 1911, he bought King The Colonel, for four hundred and fifty dollars, and in two years sold him back to the same party for six hundred dollars. In 1913 Mr. Moats retired from active farming and turned the business over to his sons, Miles, Clayton and Ralph, who promise to become leaders in farming. In 1897 Mr. Moats went into the full-blooded Percheron horse business. He has owned some of the best horses in the middle west and has shown these horses at county fairs only. For a long time, he made a specialty of Shorthorn cattle, but in 1911 he sold out his Shorthorns and has now gone into the breeding of Red Polled cattle.

     Mr. Moats is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Masonic order, in the latter having taken the Royal Arch degree. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and he and his wife and daughters are members of the Eastern Star. His wife was worthy matron of Silver Leaf Chapter No. 202, Order of the eastern Star, at Randolph, Nebraska, for one year, and was appointed state representative for her lodge. Mr. Moats is a Republican, but has never held offices, always having refused to accept them. While not members of any church, Mr. Moats and family are in sympathy with the cause of the Methodist Episcopal Church and have helped to organize several different churches and Sunday schools. (end)

Thanks to Mona Sarratt Knight <> for typing this bio! 30 Mar 2001

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