Sunday, April 2, 2023

John Burns Couser Story

John Burns Couser, the fourth child of Thomas Couser and Rachel Orr Burns Couser, was born on December 3, 1845 in Adams Co., Ohio. During the American Civil War between 1861-1865, as a young lad of 19 years of age, John B. Couser enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 5, 1864 in Gallipolis, Ohio in Company G, 172nd Ohio National Guard. He also enlisted on February 11, 1865 in Company K, 188th Regimen of Ohio infantry volunteers. During his military service, he was appointed as an orderly to the generals in the camp, and was honorably discharged on September 21, 1865. For his service in the American Civil War, he was awarded a pension as a war survivor, as reported in the Omaha Daily Bee, July 5, 1902.

John Burns Couser Family

Back Row (L-R): Flora Wright, Alta Aaron Couser, Grace Craft Couser, Carrie Craft, Grandmother Rachel Couser, Maude Albright, Cora Albright Couser, Henry Herbert Couser, Ollie Wright, Daisy Fleming Couser, Arthur Pearle Couser,  Mary Elizabeth Skogsberg, unknown, Mrs. Albright, May Couser, Arthur L. Couser

Middle Row (L-R): James Burns Couser, John Craft, Rev. Simon Skogsberg, Baby Skogsberg, William. Albright, Thomas Grant Couser

Front Row (L-R): Boy Skogsberg No. 1, Boy Craft No. 1, Boy Craft No. 2,  Boy Skogsberg No. 2, Skogsberg Boy No. 3, Harry Couser, Edward James Couser

John Burns Couser married Rachel Alice Guthrie on October 5, 1871 in May Hill, Ohio, and lived on a farm in that area for 1½ years. In 1873, they moved to Southwest Iowa near Modale and California Junction. By 1880, John and Rachel Couser moved to the site that became their family farm in Lincoln Township, Story Co., IA, where they resided for 22 years. Later, they moved into the town of Zearing, IA.

In his obituary, his accounting describing the early years of married life on the farm included: “The early years of married life were filled with hardship and privation; homes were far separated and no ready means of communication; many day visitors were Indians; night vigils were frequently interrupted by howling packs of wolves; money was hard to obtain; markets were far distant and fuel must be brought by team and wagon over swampy prairies for a distance of 25 miles. Winters were long and severe. The first Winter they were in Story County snow came before any corn was husked and it remained until Spring. Men went thru their corn fields dragging a sack behind them picking the ears protruding from the snow.”

To the union of John Burns Couser and Alice Guthrie Couser, five children were born. The eldest was Thomas Grant Couser, who was born in Ohio, on July 8, 1872. Quinter Antrim Couser was born on August 18, 1874 and died in his infancy on September 20, 1876. Arthur Pearle Couser was born on February 8, 1877 in Modale, Harrison Co., Iowa. Alta Aaron Couser was born on March 3, 1879 in Iowa. The last child was Herbert Henry Couser, who was born on October 29, 1881 on the family farm in Story Co., Iowa.

John Burns and Rachel Couser
John Burns and Rachel Couser

John Burns Couser resided on his family farm in Lincoln Township before the town of Zearing was founded in 1881, and later incorporated in 1883. John Burns Couser was raised in the Presbyterian faith and remained deeply united with church service since age 15. After moving to Lincoln Township in Iowa, he became united with the Evangelical Church, which was initially located in the first school house in Lincoln Township called Winkham School. The Evangelical church later moved to a new location in the town of Zearing after its founding. John Burns Couser functioned as the church’s financial steward for 38 consecutive years. 

In his obituary, John Burns Couser was said to have provided a great service to humanity, as a soldier, school teacher, farmer, stockman, township assessor, and devoted church worker. John Burns Couser passed on May 31, 1927. Rachel Alice Guthrie Couser passed on February 24, 1944 in Zearing, IA. John and Rachel Couser are interred at the Zearing Cemetery, Zearing, Story County, Iowa.

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