James Mathias Cliser

James Mathias Cliser & wife Louisa Best Cliser 1854


This prominent and successful agriculturalist of Nodaway County, Missouri is a worthy representative of an honored pioneer family and this state and has been actively identified with it development and progress. He was born in Page County, Virginia, May 16, 1829, a son of John and Arisba (Wood) Clizer, both born in Shenandoah County, Virginia. James' grandfather, Mathias Kleiser, came to America from Germany and settled in Virginia in 1789.

John Clizer, the father of our subject, grew to manhood in Virginia, and in his early life worked in the Blacksmith Trade with his brother Martin Clizer in relation to farming. John sold his original homestead and bought a larger farm in another county, where he lived for about ten (10) years, but lost money in this transaction. In May 1847, he started out for Missouri, travelling my team to Parkersburg, where he then took a boat and proceeded by water. He reached the western part of Missouri in July, 1847 and first located in Fillmore, Andrew County, Missouri, where he bought 160 acres of timberland, upon which were some slight improvements. He was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, as his health failed and he died October 19, 1847 at the age of 52 years and his remains were entered upon the farm. He was a soldier of the war of 1812, a democrat in politics and an upright honorable man. His wife Arisba dies April 8, 1862, at the age of 57 years and was laid to rest by his side. She was the daughter of Joshua Wood of Page County, who was of Scotch descent and died before the Civil War.

James Mathias Cliser is the oldest in the family of 10 children. Of the others we make observations as follows: Louisa died at the age of five years; Cassandra married John Brand; Eliza is the wife of James Henderson; Sarah is the wife of William Gibbons, of the state of Washington; Julia dies at the age of 25 years; Charles lost one leg and one arm during the Civil War, and died a number of years later from exposure; Benjamin is a farmer of the state of Washington.

In the old Dominion, James M. Cliser was reared and educated in much the usual manner of farmer boys and his day. At the age of 18 he came to Missouri with his parentsand his father died shortly afterward, he took charge of the farm. Guided by a mother's good counsel the family was kept together and reared in habits of industry and honesty. In 1854, James married Louisa Best, who was born in Missouri, April 30, 1839. To Mr. and Mrs. Cliser was born 11 children.

Mr. Cliser's wife, who was an earnest member of the Christian Church died November 30, 1874, at the age of 35 years. Mr. Cliser was again married May 24, 1877, his second union being with Miss Mary Hall, who was born November 7, 1844.

After his first marriage, Mr. Cliser remained on the home farm with his mother until the Spring of 1855, when he then bought 80 acres of timberland in Nodaway County and erected a cabin near his presnt home. At different times he entered land, finally aggregating 200 acres, near this tract, and by hard work and persistent effort converted the place into one of the most desirable farms of this community. Calves being plentiful, he gradually became connected with the stock-raising industry, whic he carried on in addition to farming. Success has attended his well directed efforts and he is now the owner of 600 acres in the homestead, besides another farm of 80 acres elsewhere. He has money in the bank and also loans some on his own responsibilty. As a businessman, he is enterprising, progressive and reliable and carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. 

Politically, Mr. Cliser affiliates with the Democratic Party and takes an active interest in public affairs. He served as Justice of the Peace for a number of years, and he has been found true to every trust reposed in him, whether public or private. A southerner by birth and training, his sympathies were naturally with the Confederacy during the Civil War, but in 1863, he joined the Union Army, enlisting in Company M, Ninth Missouri Calvary, which did guard duty most of the time in central part of Missouri, looking after deserteds and bushwhackers. He was in battle at Camden point and at different times he was stationed at St. Louis, Mexico and St. joseph, remaining in the service until July 1865. At one point he was ill with typhoid fever and was sent home on furlough. It being three months before he was able to join his command. Before entering the army he was arrested and put in jail at Maryville by the United States troops, who released the man he was with on the payment of of a sum of money. Their object seemed to be to get money from their prisoners, but Mr. cliser's friends advised him not to pay one cent. Then they wanted $100 to release him. After two weeks spent in the guard house he was brought up for trial, but the witnesses gave him such a good name that the prosection failed to find anything against him and he was released. A few days later, after he was released from custody, these same midnight rangers came to his home and demanded $30, whic he agreed to pay for his release while in jail. To meet this demand, he had to give up his choice cow and calf.

James Mathias Cliser & wife Louisa Best Cliser 1854

James Mathias Cliser & wife Louisa Best Cliser 1854
Born in Page Co. Va. Moved to Nodaway Co. Mo