A pioneer of this country before Wallowa County had a separate political existence, entrusted frequently with the duties and responsibilities of public office by his fellows, a prominent figure in the county today, and one who has assisted materially in up building the same and in its substantial advancement, the subject of this sketch is deserving of especial mention, since also he is one of those brave and self-sacrificing men who left home and loved ones for the field of bloodshed and carnage of war, when the flag of freedom was attacked by the minions of treason, and there he continued to do intrepid and faithful service in deeds of valor until the last gun was fired and the last attack repulsed, never more to rise in the face of the onward movement of enlightenment and civilization and good government.
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James J. was born in Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1840, being the son of James and Susannah (Miller) Stanley, navies respectively of Pennsylvania and Virginia, who settled in Ohio while it was under the domination of the savages and the father had Indian children as playmates when he was a child. His mother, the grandmother of our subject, carried her son to Ohio on horseback as early as 1802, and this worthy lady was one who had endured great hardships during the time of the Revolution, being reduced to the verge of starvation, so that the family were obliged to eat portions of their shoes for sustenance. Such was the spirit of determination that gave to us our priceless institutions of liberty.
The parents of our subject removed from Ohio to Mahaska County, Iowa, and there followed farming: while in that state and his native place, James J. received a good education and when he was twenty-one years of age he showed the same blood that had made his ancestors famous, by enlisting in Company H., Twentieth Ohio, Infantry, where he did faithful service for three years, nine months and ten days, being mustered out at the close of the war as corporal. He at once took up teaching school in Iowa and after a time went to Colorado, whence one year later he returned to Ohio, and there occurred the marriage of Mr. Stanley and Miss Mary, daughter of Moses L., and Susan (Brickley) Strock. Soon after this happy event, they went to Iowa, whence one year later they went to Colorado, 1869 being the year in which they landed in that territory. Mr. Stanley had not only acquired a good education in his youthful days, but also he had learned the carpenter trade and after mining in Boulder county for a time he went to work at his trade and for twelve years he lived in that county. During this period, his wife was assistant postmistress for a time at Lefthand. After the expiration of the time mentioned he removed with his family to Joseph, in what is now Wallowa County, and immediately commenced operations at his trade. During the time he resided here before the county was organized, he was justice of the peace from 1886-8 and in 1897 he was mayor of the town of Joseph. Mrs. Stanley’s parents settled in Ohio, Trumbull County, the father being a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of Ohio, and there the father was engaged in the mercantile business for a time and then he took up farming, which he followed until the time of his death. To our subject and his wife there have been born two children, Flora A., and Charles N. Mr. Stanley is one of the esteemed citizens of the county, being substantial, upright and capable, a supporter of good government and a champion of education for the people.