JAMES RAYBURN has a large farm in North Buffalo Township, where he engages in general farming and stock raising. He is at present serving as justice of the peace, and is one of the well-known citizens of his part of Armstrong County. Mr. Rayburn was born September 29, 1879 on his present farm, son of Boyd Rayburn, and belongs to one of the old settled families of this section of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Rayburn's first ancestor in this country was his great-great-grandfather, who came from Scotland a few years after the French and Indian war. He settled in the Ligonier valley in western Pennsylvania. We have record of two of his sons, Matthew and James, the former of whom served in the Colonial army during the Revolutionary war. James, the youngest was the great-grandfather of Squire James Rayburn.

James Rayburn was born in the Ligonier valley, and removed to Armstrong County, settling in what is now North Buffalo township, upon land which has remained in the possession of his direct descendants ever since. He died in 1837 at an advanced age, a stanch member of the Seceder (now the U.P.) Church. He married Nellie Callen, daughter of Patrick Callen, who removed to Armstrong County from Westmoreland County at the same time as James Rayburn. Seven children were born to this union, six of whom reached maturity.

James Rayburn, son of James and Nellie (Callen) Rayburn was born Oct. 26, 1801, and died Nov. 6, 1886. He was a lifelong farmer, and though a modest and unassuming citizen, with no ambition for public honors, he served his community faithfully when called upon, and was frequently elected to the office of justice of the peace, in which he made a host honorable record. He was a Jeffersonian Democrat, active in the work of the party, and frequently represented his district in the county conventions. He was a faithful member of the Buffalo U.P. Church, whose house of worship stood on his farm, and his sincere and upright life made him respected and beloved by his neighbors. In 1827 he married Jane Galbraith, by whom he had five children. After her death he married (second) Margaret Boyd, whose father Robert Boyd, was an early settler in Sugar Creek Township, this county, where he lived for many years. To this union were born six children: Boyd, father of Squire James Rayburn; Robert, who settled in Iowa; Jane, wife of Samuel R. Steel; Calvin, who served as president judge of Armstrong County; Cyrus, twin of Calvin; and Darius.

Boyd Rayburn, father of Squire James Rayburn, was born in 1846, on the farm on which his son James now lives, and received his schooling in the neighborhood. He married Mary E. Kepple of South Buffalo Township, daughter of George and Elizabeth Kepple, and they became the parents of four children. The father died on his farm in 1888, and is buried in the U.P. cemetery, in South Buffalo Township. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

James Rayburn, second child of Boyd and Mary E. (Kepple) Rayburn, was reared in North Buffalo township, and obtained his education in the common schools. He was but nine years old when his father died and he commenced assisting with the farm work at an early age, being only a youth when he took control of the place, of which he had had full charge for a number of years. The property consists of 195 acres, of which twenty-five acres are woodland. He does general farming and feeds considerable stock, and raises some horses, sheep and hogs. Four gas wells have been sunk upon this place, only two of which, however, are now producing; they are held under lease by a corporation. No coal banks have been opened on the farm, though it is coal land. Mr. Rayburn has taken some part in local affairs, serving one year as road supervisor, and has been justice of the peace for the last four years, his services being highly satisfactory. His home is on Free Delivery route No. 2. from Worthington.

In October, 1906, Mr. Rayburn was married to Margaret Frances Claypoole, daughter of James. E. Claypoole, of Worthington, this county, and they have one child, James Boyd. Mr. Rayburn is a member of the Presbyterian Church at Slate Lick, and he is a Democrat in political connection.

Source: Pages 369-370, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed March 2002 by Helen B. Miller for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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