William Hart


The pioneer history of Allamakee county would be incomplete were there failure to make prominent reference to William Hart, who for fifty-six years resided within its borders, taking up his residence in Paint Creek township in 1852. He was then a young man, ambitious and energetic, looking forward to what the future might hold in store for him as a reward for his industry and determination. A few years after his arrival here he married and established a home and throughout his remaining days continued a resident of this section of the state. Mr. Hart was a native of Ireland, his birth having occurred in County Galway. In the year 1849 he crossed the Atlantic to the new world and after years spent elsewhere made his way to Allamakee county in 1852, taking an abode in Cherry Mount settlement in Paint Creek township. He found the district largely wild and undeveloped. Much of the land was still in possession of the government and was covered with the native prairie grasses, starred with a million wild flowers in the month of June and in mid-winter covered with an unbroken dazzling sheet of snow. Mr. Hart at once took up the arduous task of developing new land and from that time forward was closely associated with agricultural interests in this county. It was on the 1st of November, 1855, that William Hart was united in marriage to Miss Alicia Conway, who was also a native of Ireland, born in County Roscommon. She left the Emerald Isle for the purpose of making her home with a brother who was then living in Paint Creek township, Allamakee county. She continued with him until her marriage then went to her husband's home in the Cherry Mount settlement, where their remaining days were passed. They began with their domestic life in one of the primitive old-time cabins, which stands as a venerable relic upon the farm which is now the property of their son Hon. William S. Hart. Year by year the father carefully plowed the fields and cultivated his crops and success rewarded him as time passed. Mr. and Mrs. Hart became the parents of a large family but lost two of their daughters, Sarah J. and Nellie, in early womanhood. Their surviving children are M.J., a resident of Waterville, J.P., who makes his home in Saskatchewan, Canada; William S.; John J., of Waterville; Mary A., who resides in Saskatchewan; and Mrs. Katie Lloyd, of Linton township. The death of the mother occurred on the 12th of June, 1897, when she was sixty-eight years of age. Her husband survived her for about eleven years, departing this life on the 1st of April, 1908. He had reached the venerable age of eighty-three years and was one of the oldest residents of the county at the time of his death, notable in point of longevity but also in length of his connection with this part of the state. His life was a busy and useful one. There was nothing spectacular in his career but he bore his part in the work of general improvement and lived to see many notable changes as log cabins were replaced by commodious and substantial frame and brick residences, as primitive farm machinery was transplanted by the modern cultivator, reaper and harvester and as churches and schools were built, thus developing the intellectual and moral forces of the community.

-source: Past & Present in Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Cathy Joynt-Labath

Return to index