James Alfred Wren was born September 27, 1845, in Kentucky, the son of William Thomas Wren and Mary Montgomery.
James' mother died when he was very young and his father married Mrs. Allena Overall Hamilton in 1849, in Spencer County, Indiana.
The 1850 Spencer County census shows five-year-old "Alfa" living in Luce Township with his family. The 1860 Spencer County census shows the family still in Luce Township. James was listed as 18 on the census.
The 1860 Spencer County census listed James with the family of Zachary Johnson, a wealthy farmer in Luce Township. Apparently James worked for Mr. Johnson and was either staying with him some while he was working for him, or he was there when the census was taken and was added to Mr. Johnson's family.
James married Mary Jane Martin on August 21, 1867, in Spencer County. Mary Jane Martin was born December 24, 1848, possibly at Muncie, in Delaware County, Indiana. She was the daughter of John Martin and Elizabeth (last name unknown). Mary Jane's mother married a second time to John Hagens.
James and Mary Jane settled for a time in Spencer County. The 1870 Spencer County census shows James A., 24, a farmer, born in Kentucky and Mary J., 20, born in Indiana.
Living next door to James and Mary Jane in 1870 was the Henry Burgess family. Henry Burgess' son William Burgess married James' half-sister, Mary Wren. Living next door to the Burgess family was Thomas H. Martin, 20, a farmer, born in Indiana and his wife Rhoda M., 27, born in Indiana. Thomas was a brother to Mary Jane. Living next door to Thomas Martin was John Hagens and his family. This was Mary Jane's mother and stepfather. The census shows John Hagan, 58, a farmer, born in Kentucky; Elizabeth, 40, born in Indiana; William P., 18, a farm laborer, born in Indiana; Francis M., 8, born in Indiana; and John W., 6, born in Indiana. Elizabeth is John's second wife. (Note: William Hagens is from John's first marriage. Francis and John Hagens are from his marriage to Elizabeth. Another son, Jefferson, was born in 1870 after the census was taken.)
The 1880 Spencer County, Luce Township, census shows Alfred Renn, 34; Mary J., 30; David W., 6; Mary E., 2 and Samuel J., 3 months old. The census shows everyone was born in Indiana.
James and Mary Jane moved to Missouri prior to 1885. They settled in New Madrid County. Their young son Samuel died either in Spencer County or soon after their move to Missouri.
The 1900 New Madrid County, Missouri census shows the family living at New Madrid Township. The census shows James, 54, born September 1845, in Kentucky, married 33 years, father born in Tennessee; Mary, 51, born December 1848, in Indiana, had given birth to 8 children, 4 children were still living, mother born in Indiana; John, 15, born February 1885; Sarah, born March 1888 and Joseph, 9, born February 1891. The census shows that all three children children were born in Missouri. Living with the family was Henry Martin, 26, a nephew, born July 1873, in Indiana and his wife, Hannah Martin, 21, listed as a niece, born November 1878, in Illinois. Henry and Hannah had been married for 1 year and had no children.
Prior to 1907, the family moved to Iowa. The 1910 Muscatine County, Iowa census shows the family living in the City of Muscatine. The census shows James, 65, married one time, born in Kentucky, father and mother both born in Kentucky, working as a cutter in a button factory; Mary, 62, married one time, married for 40 years, had given birth to 7 children and 5 were still living, born in Indiana, father and mother both born in Indiana and Joseph, 19, born in Missouri. Living next door was their son John Cleveland Wren and his wife Emma. Also living next door were Emma's parents and siblings.
The 1915 Muscatine County, Iowa, census, City of Muscatine, Ward 3 (special census) shows James A. Wren, 69; lived at 1400 Grant Avenue; a laborer, unemployed 3 months in 1914; total earning for 1914 - $450; extent of education - 7th grade; birthplace - Kentucky; church affiliation - Ger. Brethren; father's birthplace - Kentucky; mother's birthplace - Ohio.
James died June 26, 1919, at Muscatine, Iowa. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery at Muscatine.
The 1920 Mercer County, Illinois census shows Mary living with her daughter Sarah. The census shows Ed Waggler, 32, a farmer; Sarah, wife, 30; Lloyde, son, 11; Viola, daughter, 8 and Mary Wren, mother-in-law, 70, widowed, born in Indiana, father born in the U.S., mother born in Indiana.
Mary Jane died August 4, 1926, in Muscatine, Iowa. She is buried beside James in Greenwood Cemetery.
Children of James A. Wren and Mary Jane Martin
1. David W. Wren, b. abt 1874, Spencer Co, IN; d. bef 1890
2. Mary Elizabeth Wren, b. 1877, Muncie, Delaware Co, IN
3. Samuel J. Wren, b. 1880, Spencer Co, IN; d. as infant or very young
4. James Wren, b. abt 1882, Spencer Co, IN; d. as infant or very young
5. John Cleveland Wren, b. 1885, New Madrid Co, MO (our line)
6. Sarah Ann Wren, b. 1888, MO
7. Joseph Christopher Wren, b. 1891, MO
8. Unknown Infant Wren, d. as infant