IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

William Heffernan


A valuable farm of one hundred and fifty-one acres in Linton township pays tribute to the care and skill of William Heffernan, who is numbered among Allamakee county's progressive agriculturists and most successful representative of native sons. He was born in this township, February 22, 1855, and is a son of William and Mary (McCormac) Heffernan, the former born in Waterford, Ireland, in 1832 and the latter in County Fermanagh in 1838. In his youth the father learned the shoemaking trade and about 1850 emigrated to America, following this occupation for one year in New York city. He then moved to Poughkeepsie, in the same state, where his marriage occurred, after which he and his wife came west, settling in Galena,Illinois. The father followed his trade in that community until he came to Iowa in 1854, settling on what was known as the old Rice homestead, where the subject of our review was born. The parents continued to reside there for one year and then moved to another farm in Linton township, this property comprising a portion of William Heffernan's present holdings. The father spent the remainder of his life upon this property, engaging in farming, and died here December 28, 1903. He had survived his wife since December 21, 1899. Seven children were born to their union, of whom the subject of this review is the fourth in order of birth.

William Heffernan acquired his education in the Egan school in district No. 1, Linton township, and when not engaged with his books assisted his father with the operation of the homestead, becoming thus familiar with the best and most practical agricultural methods. When he was twenty-two years of age he left home and went to Nebraska, where he took up his homestead claim in Custer county which he held for fourteen years. He did not, however, reside continuously upon this property, going back and forth for one year and in 1879 walked from Broken Bow, Custer county, Nebraska, to Cherry Mound, Allamakee county, Iowa, leading a span of colts, the trip consuming three weeks. During the remainder of his time he lived on the homestead in Linton township, Iowa, caring for his parents in their declining years. Eventually he disposed of his property in Nebraska and bought the old Corcoran homestead in Allamakee county, a property adjoining his father's farm. He operated this and the family homestead until after the death of his parents, when he became proprietor of the entire tract. He has since disposed of some of the land, owing to his impaired health, and owns today one hundred and fifty-one acres which are ably managed and which he has made one of the valuable and attractive farms in this locality. Mr. Heffernan engages in general farming and has extensive stock-raising and dairy interests, all of the branches of his enterprise being carefully conducted and therefore profitable.

On the 12th of January, 1909, Mr. Heffernan was united in marriage to Miss Margaret Kelly, who was born in Linton township, February 15, 1857, a daughter of John and Bridget (Birmingham) Kelly, the former a native of County Galway and the latter of County Fermanagh, Ireland. Mrs. Heffernan's mother is a descendant of one of the noted families of Ireland. The Birminghams were of Norman origin and came to Ireland at the time of the English invasion. The grandfather was a nobleman but lost his property on account of religious persecution at that time when Ireland was steeped in internal troubles. John and Bridget Kelly crossed the Atlantic at about the same time that Mr. Heffernan's parents made the journey and they settled in Ohio, where for a number of years the father worked in a hotel. After coming to Linton township, this county, he purchased land and turned his attention to farming, following this occupation until his retirement. He and his wife now reside in Linton township. Both are highly respected in Allamakee county, and all of their living children, four sons and three daughters, are well-to-do. In their family were nine children, of whom two, however, died in infancy. Mr. and Mrs. Kelly are widely known for their generosity, hospitality and kindness which qualities they practice in their old age as they have done during their entire life. Mr and Mrs Heffernan have an adopted child which they secured from a Catholic orphan's home in Chicago. Mr and Mrs. Heffernan are members of the Cherry Mound Roman Catholic church, and he gives his political allegiance to the democratic party, having served in a capable and efficient way as a road supervisor. He is a stockholder in the Waterville Creamery Company and in the Farmers Telephone Company of Paint Creek township and is a business man of known reliability and worth. Throughout the township where his entire life had been spent he is well and favorably regarded and holds the unqualified confidence and esteem of the entire community.

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

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