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James Johnson "J. J." Belden
Birth: Sep. 13, 1822
Hartford County
Connecticut, USA
Death: Oct. 19, 1913
Caledonia
Houston County
Minnesota, USA

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His Obituary, Caledonia Journal, Wed. 22 Oct. 1913

James J. Belden, Pioneer Settle, Dies at Age of 91.

James Johnson Belden born September 13, 1822, died October 19. He was born at Wethersfield, Connecticut. In 1849 he moved to South Hadley Falls, Massachusetts, where he began business for himself and where on January 10, 1950 he was married to Miss Anstis F. Dunbar with whom he lived happily for fifty-two years before she died.

Mr. Belden came to Minnesota on April 10th, 1854, and located on a quarter section southwest of the site of Caledonia now within the corporate limits of this city forty acres of which he farmed at the time of his death.

Engaged in business in the (missing text) from which he retired about twenty-five years ago. In (missing text) he was appointed first clerk of Court for Houston County under Judge Welch. He was afterward elected to that post for two successive terms and served for many years as deputy.

He took an active interesting vocational matters and served several terms as school trustee. He was a charter member of the Masonic Lodge of this place and was a member of same for fifty years or more. At the time of his death he was probably the eldest pioneer settle of this city. In 1875 he was elected member of the village council and was reelected each succeeding (missing text) as president of the council Dec. 28, 1878.

Tho he attained the exceptional age of ninety-one years he retained the full possession of all his faculties to the last, being a constant reader of newspapers, magazines, etc. He kept himself well informed in matters of national, state, or local importance in all of which he took great interest. He was a man of strong convictions and of a high character and enjoyed the respect and confidence of all who knew him.

He leaves to mourn his departure one son, William D. Belden, and one daughter, Evaleen S. Belden, both of this place, four grand-children, William W. Belden, of this place, James E. Belden, of Decatur, Ill., Mrs. C. A. Patching, Springfield, Minn., and Miss Arvilla Belden of this place, and one great-grand-son, James W. Belden of Decatur, Ill, also one brother, Frank H. Belden of Wethersfield, Conn.

Funeral to-day (Wednesday) from the Presbyterian church at 2 o'clock in charge of the Masons.


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Biography by Tom Brocher

James J. Belden was born at Hartford Co., Connecticut 13 September 1822 to Elisha BELDEN and Mary JOHNSON; died at Caledonia, Houston Co., Minnesota 19 October 1913; buried there next to Anstis at Evergreen Cemetery [Houston Co., Minnesota, VR, Deaths, Record D, p. 73, Section 75; His Obituary, Caledonia Journal, 22 Oct. 1913; Becket VR, Marr.].

At age 15 James removed to Meriden, and later to Hartford, Hartford Co., Connecticut, where he apprenticed as a tinsmith. In 1849 James removed to South Hadley Falls, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. In 1850 Anstis and James resided there with her brother, Oliver DUNBAR [1850 U.S. Census, Massachusetts, Hampshire Co., South Hadley, p. 645, microfilm].

James J. was married at Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts 10 January 1850 to Anstis Fidelia Dunbar by James M. CLARK, minister of the gospel [Becket VR, Marr., Vol. 1, p. 76, dated 20 January 1850].

Anstis F. and James J. removed to Caledonia, Houston Co., Minnesota, from South Hadley Falls, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts, in the spring of 1854 [T.R. Stewart, Memoirs, p. 13A, 1905]. They arrived at Brownsville, Minnesota on the steamer "War Eagle" on 10 April 1854 and reached Caledonia by ox-driven wagons along with Anstis's brothers, William F. and Thomas, and her Uncle Oliver C. DUNBAR. James and Anstis settled on 40 acres about 1 mile south of Caledonia, Minnesota, in Section 24. James was the first tinsmith at Caledonia [T.R. Stewart, Memoirs, p. 14, 1905]. They were granted three parcels of land in Caledonia Township from the U.S. Government on 7 and 23-24 September 1854 [Houston Co. Deeds]. On 29 September 1855 they bought land from her brother, W. F. DUNBAR, near Caledonia, Minnesota [Houston County Land Records, Bk. B, p. 284-5, 294]. They completed another land transaction on 15 October 1855 [Houston Co. Land Records, Bk. 124, p. 416, filed 31 Oct. 1935]. Shortly thereafter, James donated a tract of land and logs to build the first schoolhouse at Caledonia, but the school was built closer to the center of Caledonia instead.

James and Anstis resided at Caledonia, Houston Co., Minnesota from 1854 until 1910 were they were regularly enumerated [1857 Minnesota State Census; 1860 U.S. Census; 1865 Minnesota State Census, entry 37; 1870 U.S. Census; 1875 Minnesota State Census; 1880 U.S. Census; 1895 Minnesota State Census, p. 1; 1900 U.S. Census; 1910 U.S. Census, all on microfilm]. James was a tinsmith, merchant, and retail store owner [Caledonia Journal, 13 Sept. 1970]; the stone business building he built at Caledonia on Main Street still stands. He retired from his tinsmith trade in 1888 and removed to his farm until the death of his wife Anstis.

Anstis and James completed many land transactions at Caledonia, Houston Co., Minnesota. On 5 July 1859 they bought land at Caledonia, Houston Co., Minnesota [Houston Co. Deeds, Bk. 3, p. 389-390]. Anstis and James bought water rights at Caledonia, Minnesota, on 24 November 1860 [Houston Co. Deeds, p. 393]. On 19 January 1861 they sold land to Sarah Ann GATES, Anstis's sister, at Caledonia [Houston Co. Deeds, Bk. N, p. 456]. On 8 April 1863 they again sold land at Caledonia, Minnesota, to Sarah A. GATES [Houston Co. Land Records, Bk. R, p. 337]. They sold land on 24 July 1867 to John N. KIBBON witnessed by D. N. GATES and Wm. D. BELDEN [Houston Co. Deeds, Bk. 1, p. 496]. On 18 November 1881 they sold land at Caledonia [Houston Co. Deeds, Bk. 29, p. 383].

James J. served in several public offices at Houston County. J. J. served as Houston County Treasurer in 1855 [History of Houston County, 1919]. He began a tri-weekly mail route from Caledonia to LaCrosse in December, 1860 [History of Houston County, 1882]. He was appointed Clerk of the District Court in Houston County on 8 January 1862 [Houston Co. Deeds]. In 1866, James J. founded and platted Evergreen Cemetery at Caledonia, Minnesota. On 24 May 1880 he was appointed Deputy Clerk of the District Court of Houston County [Houston Co. Deeds].

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Elisha Belden (1796 - 1874)
  Mary Johnson Belden (1803 - 1831)
 
 Spouse:
  Anstis Fidelia Dunbar Belden (1827 - 1902)
 
 Children:
  William Dunbar Belden (1850 - 1939)*
  Evaleen Sarah Belden (1858 - 1940)*
  James Ernest Belden (1860 - 1872)*
 
 Siblings:
  James Johnson Belden (1822 - 1913)
  Mary Belden Bidwell (1829 - 1892)*
  Franklin Belden (1831 - 1833)*
  Franklin H. Belden (1844 - 1914)**
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
Evergreen Cemetery
Caledonia
Houston County
Minnesota, USA
Plot: Section A, Plot 62
GPS (lat/lon): 43.63388, -91.5071
 
Created by: Tom Brocher
Record added: Dec 25, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 82358058
James Johnson J. J. Belden
Added by: Tom Brocher
 
James Johnson J. J. Belden
Added by: Tom Brocher
 
James Johnson J. J. Belden
Added by: Tom Brocher
 
 
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