The subject of the present sketch is a well known resident of Colfax and was formerly a farmer of Washington township, where by hard work and honest dealing he accumulated a large amount of property, and is still the owner of one of the largest and best farms of the township. To his neighbors he is known as a man of high honor and integrity, of good business judgment, an enterprising and progressive farmer and a loyal friend.
Jesse Slavens was born in Hendricks county, Indiana, thirty miles west of Indianapolis, the son of James and Mary (Davis) Slavens. The Slavens family were a family of soldiers. Many of the Indiana family served in the Mexican war. Reuben Slavens, the grandfather of Jesse and his son Thomas took an active part in the war of 1812, and Reuben Slavens’ father served in the Virginia troops during the Revolution¹. Jesse Slavens came to Iowa at the solicitation of his uncle, C. M. Davis, with whom he lived for a while. At the outbreak of the war no youth descended from such a line of soldiers could have remained away from battle at his country’s call, and Jesse Slavens enlisted in Company I, Tenth Iowa Infantry, under Captain Garrett, in 1861, and served for four years. He was in the Western army through the Corinth campaign to Vicksburg, was at the battle of Missionary Ridge, and went with Sherman to Atlanta and on to the sea, then took part in the Grand Review at Washington. He followed the line of greatest resistance, and took part in all the principal battles fought by the Western army. Always a brave and faithful soldier, he escaped with but one wound during the war, a slight one received at Champion Hill.
At the close of the war, in the fall of 1865, Jesse Slavens came to Washington township and located on the farm which he now owns, where he since spent the most of his life and which contains four hundred acres of fertile and improved land. On this farm he has expended much labor and it has been well rewarded. One year ago he rented his farm and retired to Colfax. Mr. Slavens is a member of the Grand Army, an Odd Fellow, and has taken the blue lodge and chapter degrees of Masonry. In politics he is a strict Republican, and has efficiently served the people for one term on the board of county supervisors. He is now trustee of Washington township, serving on his second term, having been six years in office. His official service has been greatly satisfactory to the people. Mr. Slavens owns a large amount of business property in Colfax. Mr. Slavens has one child, a daughter, the wife of Jesse Marquis, of Washington township.
Widely and favorably known in the county. Mr. Slavens is especially deserving of mention among the representative citizens of his community.
Past & Present of Jasper County, Iowa,
by Gen. James B. Weaver, B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis 1912
¹Note: this does not agree with family history, as Isaiah Slavens is believed to be Jesse's grandfather. Also, I have failed to find supporting evidence that "(m)any of the Indiana family served in the Mexican war" but would love to see evidence to the contrary!