James Clawson Bristow, born February 5, 1835 in Beford County, Indiana, was a Baptist preacher. In 1845, his family moved to St. Claire County in Missouri. In 1856, James met Luranda Caroline Smith and married her and later fought as a Unionist during the Civil War. On April 26, 1875, James and several neighbors decided to settle in Arizona, drawn by accounts of agricultural opportunity there. They reached Middle Verde, Arizona on August 18. James rented land at first, but later acquired his own farm. In 1882, James Clawson Bristow was ordained in the Middle Verde Baptist Church, and served there until 1905. James died January 30, 1921 and is buried in the Middle Verde Cemetery with his wife. He had ten children, six girls and four boys.
The collection includes six handwritten manuscripts by farmer-preacher James Clawson Bristow, detailing his life and observations, written between 1908 and 1910. Also included in this collection are photocopies of the handwritten writings and typed transcripts, all of which are undated. Bristow wrote about his family history, his wife's, family history, and his travels from Missouri to Arizona. He also wrote about his time in Arizona, his observations on family resemblance, and his experiences with Baptist preachers. Folder titles have been copied directly from Bristow's writings, including his spelling mistakes.