from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
George H. Ramsay, of Oskaloosa, engaged in the development of rich coal fields of Mahaska county, is a native of the north of England, his birth having occurred in County Durham on the 29th of December, 1844, his parents being William and Ann (Heckels) Ramsay, who were also natives of England. The paternal grandfather, William Ramsay, was a coal miner, who spent his entire life in his native country. The maternal grandfather, Richard Heckels, was manager of mines in England. William Ramsay, Jr., father of our subject, was also manager of a mine and died when his son George was but eight years of age, he having at that time reached the age of forty-five years. Following the death of her husband Mrs. Ramsay came to the United States with her family of seven children, making her way to Illinois in 1863, at which time George H. Ramsay was eighteen years of age. The family home was established in Morris, Illinois, and the mother's death occurred in Streator, that state, in 1875, when she was fifty-eight years of age. Only two of the children are now living, namely, George H. and John, both residents of Oskaloosa. The others were: William T., who was a manager of mines in Oskaloosa; Richard, a mine manager of Braceville, Illinois; Joseph, who was a coal operator of Des Moines; Margaret, the deceased wife of Richard Waters, of Davenport, Iowa; and Mary Ann, the deceased wife of Newick Longstaff, of Oskaloosa. Mr. Ramsay of this review largely acquired his education in night schools. Like the others of the family, through several generations. his life work has been largely in connection with the development of the coal fields. He began work in the mines when only ten years of age, being thus employed in England until he came to America with his mother at the age of eighteen years. He spent four years in Morris, Illinois, after which he removed to Pekin, later to Coal Valley, subsequently to Streator and afterward to Braidwood, being engaged in coal mining at those varibus places. He next came to Iowa and spent five years in Monroe county as manager of mining interests at Albia, Iowa, acting as assistant superintendent under Mr. Whiteman in the Excelsior mines. He continued with that company for sixteen years, when, in 1893, he began business for himself, opening mines at Beacon, Iowa, under the name of the Garfield Coal Company. He has since operated at Evans, Iowa, opening different mines, which have proved successful. Mr. Ramsay is still the active manager of the business and is associated in the conduct of the mines with his two sons, William C. and John H. His mining ventures have proved very profitable and are now bringing him a large measure of success. In December, 1868, Mr. Ramsay was united in marriage to Miss Mary A. Caswell, a daughter of Robert Caswell, of Coal Valley, Illinois and their children are: William C. and John H., both of Oskaloosa; Ann, the wife of Frank Ewing, of this city; Elizabeth; Estella; Margaret; Dorothea; Clara; Robert; and Roy. Mr. Ramsay has for thirty-four years been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, having become a member in Braidwood, Illinois. He is a man of generous impulses, in whom the poor and needy find a friend and all those who are worthy of assistance. He does not believe in indiscriminate giving which fosters idleness or vagrancy but is quick to notice a faithful service on the part of an employee and to reward it as opportunity offers. He is spoken of as a good substantial citizen and he has led a life worthy the respect and esteem which are uniformily accorded him. He may well be called a self-made man and in this country where labor is unhampered by caste or class he has steadily worked his way upward, enjoying the advantages which come through earnest, persistent effort and the success which is ever the reward of diligence when guided by sound judgment.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy