from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Rev. James D. Guthrie, a man of remarkable character and superior mental attainments, who in his life work has displayed great strength of purpose and has won success where many others would have met failure because of a lack of advantages, is today known as one of the strong and able ministers of the Christian church and as a business man of capability, successfully connected with coal mining operations in this section of Iowa. He was born in Wells county, Indiana, September 19, 1840, a son of James and Nancy (Corn) Guthrie. Of the sons of the family two died in childhood, while Faulkner was drowned in the north fork of the Platte river when on his way to California in 1851, and Leroy was killed in the battle of Shiloh in the Civil war. Harvey, who went to California in an early day, died in the west, leaving Rev. Guthrie the only surviving son of the family. His sisters are as follows: Annie, the wife of John Harvey, who afterward married Solomon Frye, of Jasper county, and is now deceased; Alexia, the wife of J. M. Williams, of Jasper county; Eveline, deceased wife of Francis Hughes, of Jasper county; Clarissa, the deceased wife of Preston Cowman, of Marion county, Iowa; Melissa, the wife of William Blankenship, now of Tipton, California; and Permelia, the wife of George Gilbert, of Jefferson county, Iowa, who is deceased. Rev. Guthrie came with his parents to Iowa when but three and a half years old, the family settling in Jefferson county, and on the 5th of March, 1845, they took up their abode in Jasper county, near the town of Monroe. James D. Guthrie never saw a school until he was about twelve years of age, when he was permitted to attend for three months, and when eighteen years of age three months more, but otherwise had no educational advantages in his youth. In the school of experience, however, he learned many valuable lessons and his ambition became stimulated for further intellectual development and prowess. Nothwithstanding his early lack of opportunities he has made steady progress in every walk of life with which he has become connected. He remained upon the farm until 1869, when he removed to Oskaloosa, and in the fall of 1870 entered Oskaloosa College at the age of thirty years when, as he declares, he "did not know an adjective from a noun." He attended college until 1876, when he received two diplomas. He won the degree of Bachelor of Arts and received a diploma from the classical biblical department. During the first two years which he spent in college he did much evangelical work and his naturally strong mentality, his magnetism and his forcefulness won for him a wide reputation as a pulpit orator. He was enabled to sway his audiences by the power of his logical reasoning and emotion, and he won scores of converts to the church. Much speaking, however, injured his throat and for five years he was obliged to discontinue his work in the ministry. During this period Dr. Guthrie became interested in coal mining and about 1875 joined his brother-in-law, R. T. C. Lord, in developing coal fields west of Oskaloosa College, but the following year, 1876, sold his interest to his partner. In 1878 he won the degree of Master of Arts at Oskaloosa College. The previous year, 1877, he began business as a coal operator on his own account on the land on which he yet resides south of Third avenue, on the Oskaloosa and Knoxville highway. In this business he has met with splendid success, developing the coal fields along modern lines and finding a ready sale for his product, so that his income became large and gratifying. A man of resourceful business ability, he has the power to group and co-ordinate, which has made him a man of affairs. in 1882 he began the manufacture of brick, building his own kiln and continuing in the business for several years. but he finally abandoned that industrial concern. He is still a coal operator, however, and in this connection has conducted a profitable business. Never for an instant has Rev. Guthrie ceased to grow intellectually and he has wrested from the hands of fate the opportunities which he was denied in early years. In 1896 he entered Penn College, where he pursued a post-graduate course in chemistry, anatomy and histology, until 1899. He pursued this course preparatory to entering Rush Medical College, of Chicago, and was given a special certificate from his teacher and the president of Penn College, eulogizing his extraordinary mental powers and the facility with which he mastered the branches of study that claimed his attention. In the following year he entered Rush Medical College, of Chicago, where he engaged in the pursuit of a regular course. Rev. Guthrie was married October 30, 1859, to Miss Catherine Davis, a daughter of William S. and Nancy (Zumwalt) Davis, and a graduate of the biblical department of Oskaloosa college, winning her degree in 1875, One year before her husband's graduation. Their children are: Alice M., the wife of Solon D. Stuart, now of Springview, Nebraska; and Leonard Guthrie, of Hartline, Washington. In his political views Mr. Guthrie was formerly an advocate of the greenback party and was nominated on that ticket for the position of state senator. He has served as master of Tri Luminar lodge, A. F. & A. M., in which he was senior deacon for seven years and as lecturer of the lodge, displaying marked oratorical power. He is a most fluent, earnest and entertaining speaker and has conducted evangelistic meetings in several counties in Iowa, always leaving a deep impress upon the minds of his auditors. Although holding no regular charge now, Mr. Guthrie is one of the best known ministers of the Christian church in the state. He is a man of broad mind, liberal views and wide charity, tolerant of the opinions of others and yet holding firmly to those ideas which he believes are the correct interpretation of the Bible. He officiates at more funerals and performs more marriage ceremonies than any other clergyman in Mahaska county. Wherever he preaches or lectures there is sure to be a large audience, including many of the cultured men and prominent citizens of Iowa. He lives at No. 1432 West Third avenue, in Oskaloosa, and is one of its most prominent citizens. It would be almost tautological in this connection to elaborate on his strength of character, his strong determination and laudable ambition, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. Like the pioneer he has toiled and hoped and realized, and like the builder and organizer has broadened the field of his activities with the passing years. Moreover, he has found time to cultivate characteristics subtler than those of adventure or commercialism and while he has won success in his business career he has never been unmindful of the higher and holier duties of life.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy