James Arrington Mosher

Pvt., 14th Maine Infantry
GAR – John Brown Post 44, Kansas

James A. Mosher is pictured above with his wife, Helen V. Wilcox.

James Mosher was born in the State of Maine in 1849, and at the age of fifteen was accepted for service in the army as a member of the Fourth Regiment of Maine Volunteer Infantry. He had the distinction of being the youngest volunteer soldier from Maine during the Civil War. He served throughout the year of hostilities, then returned to Maine to marry his first wife. Unfortunately, she died eighteen months later.

He then moved to Kansas in 1868 to establish a new home and in the spring of 1870 he homesteaded on sec. 12 in Scandia township. His homestead quarter section in Republic county was adjoining the railway station where the town of Rydal was laid out on three acres of his land. In the spring of 1871 he planted 60,000 apple trees on his farm followed by all varieties of fruit and ornamental trees, vines, and shrubs that could be grown in this type of soil and climate. He established one of the best known nurseries in the state called “Pleasant View Nursery”, only to have it destroyed by the grasshopper scourge of 1874. Surviving grasshoppers, fires, blizzards and drought, Mosher also owned a feed and seed store where in 1916 he built and operated the Mosher Garage in Belleville.

Mosher married his second wife, Helen V. Wilcox in Republic county. She was born in Ohio in 1857 and together they had twelve children: Frank, Daniel, Alta, Fred, James G., Frace, Lorhetta, Alfa, Allahlee Olive, Zellah and Zellah. All twelve children were born on the homestead at Rydal and attended school there. James Mosher is attributed to have lived on that one-quarter section homestead in Republic County for 50 years, possibly longer than any other original pioneer Kansan. He was affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Grand Army of the Republic.

James Arrington Mosher enjoyed a long and prosperous life on his Kansas homestead from 1870 to 1926; he then retired with Helen in 1926. He died in 1929 at the age of 80, and Helen lived to 1952 where she died at the home of their daughter Zellah at the age of 95.

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