Our thanks go to Norm Willis of Canada for much helpful information on this page
John Augustus Cuthbert Pallister was the first child of John (Augustus) Pallister & Sarah Vachon born November 3rd, 1856 at Point Levis, New Liverpool, Quebec, Canada & was christened May 5th, 1857 in Quebec.
In 1861 John & his parents were living in Levis, Quebec & John had 2 younger brothers – Thomas & Henry.
The family left Canada in 1867 to live in Iowa, USA.
In 1872 the family were living in Ottumwa, Iowa & the following year John began an apprenticeship with Boulton Bros, a confectioner. He started his own business in 1878 as a confectioner & fruit dealer.
John Augustus Cuthbert Pallister - 'the cycling demon'
In 1880 John Augustus, a keen cyclist, acquired the agency for the Columbia bicycle in the territory. John was for many years the best known cyclist in Iowa, winning many races. He was a member of the American Century Club which gave out gold bars to members who rode 100 miles in 16 consecutive hrs. John finally totalled 200 of these bars! His enthusiasm with cycling continued until the advent of the automobile & John was one of the first in Wattumwa to have a car which had steam power! He was noted to be a fair & honest sportsman. (Ottumwa Courier, August 4th, 1923)
In the 1885 census of Iowa John was living at West Maine St, Ottumwa, Wapello. He was still living with his parents & brothers Thomas A (26) & William H (24). All 3 boys were described as ‘candy makers’ & are known to have set up a confectionery business in Ottumwa. In the early 80s the Pallister Bros had the largest confectionery & ice cream business in Ottumwa. Five sisters were also living at home – the oldest 3 (Alice, 21, Victoria, 18 & Mary, 16) had all been born in Canada like their older brothers. The 2 youngest daughters, Matilda (13) & Anna (Joanna) (10) were born in Iowa.
Another business venture acquired under the name of Pallister Bros was the agency for the Eastman Kodak company & John, a keen student of whatever business he engaged in, became an expert in photography.
John became a naturalized citizen of the USA on February 7th, 1887
In 1895 John & his brothers Thomas & William were living with their widowed mother Sarah in Ottumwa. The 3 brothers had now all become cigar manufacturers. Their cigar factory became one of the largest in the state & was located on Market Street. With the growth of their cigar business the brothers disposed of their confectionery store. Sisters Alice, Mary, Matilda & Annie were also still at home & were confectioners. Also living with them at the time of the census was sister Victoria Johnson with her 3 year old daughter Susie.
On March 3rd, 1897 John married Mary Ida Dings in Ottumwa, Wapello County. Mary was born September 22nd, 1869 in Iowa, the daughter of Amanda Lineweaver & Charles Dings.
In 1900 John & Mary (known as Mae) were living in Ottumwa & John was a cigar manufacturer.
In 1903 John sold to his brothers Thomas & Henry his interests in the business & property owned under the firm name of Pallister Brothers. The Ottumwa Daily Courier of July 17th 1903 reported that John had been in poor health for some time & had decided to take a trip to Colorado to spend a few months recuperating. He & Mary eventually decided to take up farming.
The 1910 census of Arkansas shows John & Mary living at Gum Pond Township, Arkansas County, Arkansas. John was a farmer & there were 3 hired men living with them.
By 1920 John & Mary had moved to Colorado & were living at Englewood, Arapahoe County where John was still farming. With them was a nephew, Thomas A Pallister (18) who was born in Iowa & a hired man, Albert Bigelow.
Mary died on February 27th, 1922 in a hospital in Denver following an operation for appendicitis. She was buried in Ottumwa Cemetery, Iowa.
John returned to Ottumwa for the funeral of his brother William Henry, but due to illness was unable to return home. John died on June 16th, 1927 & was buried with Mary in Ottumwa Cemetery. An obituary for John describes him as ‘being a man of high morals, fine business ability & good judgement. He with his brothers have had an important part in the history of Ottumwa.’